Naked Reflections The Shamelessly Sensual Blog

DNR Because You’re Free (Happy 6th Heavenly Anniversary Mommie!)

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Another clear sunny morning

to begin the 6th Anniversary

of your Heavenly transition.

While spending quiet time

reminiscing through old photos

your plastic arm band fell out of a stack

and landed next to my hand.



Do not revive something,


even you

from unconsciousness or death.

When your final days drew near

your wish was to be free

to go

your time here was finished.


Live each day with focused purpose

without fear of failure

pursue that which God placed in you

And He will provide a way.

I hear you.

Love with all you’ve got

hug those who hurt

smile more

and laugh

as hard as you can

let your tears fall like rain

sing and dance to ease your pain.

I hear you.


Feel every breeze.

I’m with you.

Stand against the wind like trees.

I’ve got you.

Soak in the sunshine.

I’m next to you.

Jump in puddles.

I’ll catch you.


Learn to let go.

Be free.

Don’t revive the past.

Don’t revive pain.

Let go.


Because you’re FREE.

Before the Call

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Twelve days before Donna left

I recorded her

Listening to me read “Before You Go”

A poem I wrote for her

She smiled and asked me if I wrote it

She said it was beautiful

Her last words spoken to me.


Two days before Donna left

I held her hand

Kissed her forehead

And listened to her breathe

Rubbed her pretty little feet

Fancy pink-polished toes

I watched her eyes roam

Behind delicate lids

Like she witnessed life unfolding

Before leaving

I said I love you.


A few hours before Donna left

She slept soundly

I placed my hand on her head

And prayed for God

To keep her in His care

To guide her in to Heaven

In His total peace

I told Donna to relax in God’s presence

To know that everyone would be fine

I kissed my fingers

Touched them to her cheek

Held her arm

Knew the coolness

Was pulling all her earthly love

Closer to her heart

Where that sweet spirit

Would ascend

I said I love you

The corners of her lips quivered

She heard me

I tiptoed out

Knowing she was going.


Before Donna left

I prayed as I went to sleep

For Donna to have a peaceful passing

An hour later

The call.


My selfish sorrows of sadness

Loss and grief

Then a joy unexplainable

For her victory

For her courage

For her wings

Like little Shelby said,

“Donna made it.”

If I…

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If I block her tears

the ones falling because fears

build walls around reality

creating imaginary realness

of everything false,

She would see again.


If I chisel the mask

the one feigning laughter

at anything that giddiness

squeezes loneliness from,

She would feel again.


If I scratch the record

replaying her blues life

spinning sorrow like her own

private web,

She would dance again.

Vacationing Amongst Selfie-Centered Offspring of Option-Offering Parents

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When I first traveled to Maui over 17 years ago with my young son and daughter, we did not have iPhones, iPads, iPods, or even EarPods. I struggle to recall if I even had a pager with me. We had each other’s attention, paperback books, Kodak disposable cameras, and plans to enjoy and explore Maui. I planned the trip with a few options in mind:

  1. How many changes of clothes to pack for the kids
  2. Where we would eat that offered chicken nuggets, pizza, and child-friendly breakfasts
  3. Which tourist excursion would be most memorable, least time consuming, and cost efficient

I vaguely remember any issues inside the airport or the car rental office. The only vivid memory related to transportation was our lost luggage. American Airlines lost our luggage and we spent the entire first day in Maui fully dressed on the beautiful Kaanapali Beach. I allowed the kids to get in the water up to their knees. They understood they had no dry clothes into which to change, nonetheless they completely enjoyed themselves. Although our luggage did not arrive until near midnight, I did not have to make special arrangements for my children to be happy or satisfied. They were in Maui on vacation for 7 days.

Fast forward to 2016 and I finally get to vacation in Maui again, but now I am an adult without children. This time I am traveling with new perspectives and plans on how to have a good vacation.

  1. How many changes of clothes should I pack for myself
  2. Which tourist excursion, if any, will I consider
  3. Will I run out of money

I had no idea so many selfie-centered offspring and option-offering parents would invade my observations. In the airport, young girls with outstretched-arms puckered and posed unashamedly at themselves before clicking, saving, cropping, filtering, and posting. Young boys with necks bent like upside-down “U’s” gripped iPads, iPhones, and training tablets as their thumbs manipulated the QWERTY keyboards faster than ten fingers ever would.

Conversations lacked eye contact. An occasional face-to-face interaction occurred when parents attempted to bribe their children to behave.

Option-Offerer #1: Honey, look at me. Do you want to see what daddy is doing in the line or do you want to sit by me and play quietly on your iPad?

Selfie-Centered Offspring #1: (age 4.5) I don’t wanna sit by you. You make me angry and so does my sister!!! Why is it taking Dad so long to get the car? I’m ready to go.

Option-Offerer #1: Oh my, you are spending more time angry than happy and we have not even begun our fun in Maui.

(Two aisles over)

Dreaded Teen: (wearing short shorts and a mismatched shirt ferociously scrolls her Facebook and whines) Oh my God, I’m sooooo mad right now. All of my friends are in San Francisco and I’m not!

Dreaded Teen’s younger sister looks befuddled and inquires how she could possibly be mad that she’s not in San Francisco if she’s spending her vacation in Maui.

Dreaded Teen: EVERYONE is at Pride and I’m not!!!! Ugggghhhhhh!

(On rental-car shuttle)

Option-Offerer #2: (looks at daughter) Sweetie, please sit down on the shuttle or you’ll fall.

Selfie-Centered Offspring #2: (gazes out the window) I won’t fall.

Meanwhile Option-Offerer #2 continues to tell her daughter she needs to sit down while the shuttle is moving. Deep inside her eyes, I see her hoping that her daughter falls down but doesn’t injure herself enough to ruin the trip, but enough to teach her a lesson.

Option-Offerer #2: (smiling at her daughter’s challenge) You’re going to fall, hold on to the pole, he’s about to turn.

Selfie-Centered Offspring #2: (remaining hands-free) I wish she would be quiet because she sees I’m not falling. I know what I’m doing. I have stood on buses before.

As the shuttle parks and we attempt to exit safely, Option-Offerer #2 tells Male Selfie-Centered Offspring not to push Selfie-Centered Offspring #2.

Male Selfie-Centered Offspring: (angry from having to stop playing his game and pushing his younger sister) I’m not pushing her!!

Option-Offerer #2: (pleading in her eyes) Please stop pushing her.

He pushes past them both to join his father after exiting the shuttle. Both offspring wanted to be by their father. My guess is that he sets the limits. He gets their respect.

Are these Option-Offering Parents feeding limitless egos of their Selfie-Centered Offspring? Every time a parent gives a child an option without setting boundaries and expectations, their children suffer. They don’t know which option is best, they only know that satisfying SELF is first. Would the 4.5-year old girl ever learn patience? Would the teen have been grateful in San Francisco instead of being on vacation in Maui? Would the rule-breaking girl eventually fall on a bus while standing and think back on what her mother said? Would her big brother push the wrong kid one day and get beat up? Do any of these options lead to lessons?

I said a few prayers before getting on the airplane coming home. I prayed that none of the Selfie-Centered Offspring or their parents would be awake, near me, or speaking loud enough to be heard. God answered my prayers.



Orchids Don’t Die, We Kill Them

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My orchid’s lonely segmented stem

Surprised me with two purple blooms

And 4 buds awaiting birth

This poem is not about orchids

The most common problems

For orchids

Poor watering

Atmospheric issues

Temperature changes

And root rot

Resemble what commonly destroys


This poem is not about orchids

Without water

We die

Constant movement

Void of consistency

Causes anxiety and stress

Sudden changes in temperature

Create frustration

And can lead to poor performance

Jealousy, insecurity, and anger

Rot the human spirit

Resulting in a lonely empty soul

Orchids don’t die.

We kill them.

This poem is not about orchids.




Pieces of Peace #24: Transformed

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Living with the power

of peace

transforms from the inside out.

But suffering inside the fire

of a dragon

kills like cancer

that metastasizes

at the sound of a voice.





Pieces of Peace #23: It Wasn’t Me

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I used to have road rage


I have gotten out of my car


I used to have anger issues


I threw a burrito at someone I


My fists would automatically clench


My heart would regularly race


I thought I was sick


But it wasn’t me at


It was


Pieces of Peace #22

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A poem I wrote

ingited sadness

that punched me from the page.

Wanting to drop each salty memory

into flames

blot out blood-stained verses

and rip the syllables like sin.

I stared at a reflection

of the woman I once was

she looked away

I sighed

then apologized

for not saving her sooner.




Pieces of Peace #21

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Whenever I teach my students

how to write “Where I’m From” poems

I crave the past,

popsicles and Christmas tree flocking

falling on presents Mommie promised

I crave Nana’s baking

her back aching

and her cigarette scented hugs.

I peek into poetic memories

of young writers now college scholars

and I read.

I read Where I’m From poems

from 2002 and 2004

Precious people whose paths and mine


and tangled footprints in sand

eventually blew with wind and tears

back to my heart

where I protect the peace

in each piece I read.

I find my poem from 2008

When I was from making enchiladas

and summers in swimming pools

But I sense some missing peace

in my piece.

I don’t read that aloud

but it still shouts and makes my skin sweat.

Instead I listen

to what my class is writing

in a 15-minute warm-up.

Every voice is valued.

I praise one for its musical memories

Another for its vivid visuals of family traditions

But when I hear rich rhymes

and unexpected innocence

about loving frogs and butterflies

from the kid who never tries

I saw his light shining from trickster eyes.

I’m from never giving up

just keep writing

you’re on this one

and poems have power.







Pieces of Peace: When I Was 20

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When I was 20

I thought love and peace lasted forever

and hot chocolate

with whipped cream could cure

the common cold.

I thought other people’s kids were adorable

and being an adult meant having a salary.

I thought cooked vegetables were toxic

and waffles with butter

and drizzles of syrup

fit in 3 food groups.

I thought men protected women

and women who were strong

could rule the world anyway.

Now, I know better.

Strong women can rule the world.