Ekphrastic Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Publication · Vita Brevis Press

Blue Baby

My Ekphrastic poem, “Blue Baby”, written in response to the painting “A Woman Holding a Balance” by Johannes Vermeer, has been published by Vita Brevis. Thank you, Brian Geiger!

Blue Baby – Poetry by Barbara Leonhard

It’s interesting that this poem was published on Father’s Day considering the theme I propose. What is she weighing? Is it really the pearls?

Check out some other poetry put up by this press.

https://vitabrevisliterature.com/

Image: Johannes Vermeer, “A Woman Holding a Balance” (1664)

Audio · Healing · Memoir · Podcasts · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Prose · Writing

Podcast: Grief and Racism Unmasked

I finally have a new episode up on my poetry podcast, Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul. Even though I have gotten some poems published, I lost my focus and momentum with the podcasts because I felt waylaid by COVID-19.

https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/grief-and-race-unmasked/

In this podcast, produced on Juneteeth, (June 19th), 2020, I recognize and honor the grief of African Americans, especially in light of current events with the murder of George Floyd and other African Americans by police. Racial discrimination is as lethal as another contagion we are fighting at present with COVID-19. Unless we turn to love and compassion, how can we heal? I selected poems that express different aspects of racial discrimination against Black citizens.

Poets read today: Phillis Wheatley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Priscilla Jane Thompson. Their works read today were found on these sites:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/

https://poets.org/

https://www.best-poems.net/

Juneteenth (Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day)

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/how-juneteenth-s-history-being-reshaped-america-reckons-its-past-n1231510

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/10-facts-juneteenth

Racial Disparities in Our Medical System

https://time.com/5855756/covid-19-racial-injustice-health/

Ahmaud Arbery

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/suspects-struck-ahmaud-arbery-vehicle-shot-dead-yelled-191300630–abc-news-topstories.html

George Floyd

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html

Rayshard Brooks

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/garrett-rolfe-charges-rayshard-brooks-video-cop-kick-death-a9572141.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/rayshard-brooks-atlanta-officer-garrett-rolfe-murder-charges-death-penalty-eligible

The image for this podcast was found on harpersbazaar.com, “Here’s How You Can Demand Justice for George Floyd”, by Chelsey Sanchez, May 28, 2020.

Poem · Poetry · Publication · Spillwords

Straw House

Spillwords published my poem “Straw House”, which reflects our times with COVID-19. Dare we venture out of our nests unprotected too quickly like fledglings stumbling out of their straw houses into the grasp of the predator?

My appreciation to Spillwords!

Straw House

 

Image: https://journeynorth.org/tm/robin/jr/Book_Babies1.html

artisticflarings.blog · Audio · Healing · Martha's Artistic Flarings · Memoir · Podcasts · Poem · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Prose · Writing

New Look for Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul

I notice that I haven’t completed a poetry podcast since April 2. However, as you can see on my WordPress blog, I have done some publishing. It seemed easier to publish in on line sites than on my own poetry podcast in my own voice. I have to admit, everything of late has stunned me. I have lost focus to some degree when it comes to the intimacy in my podcasts.

Meanwhile, Podbean informed me my site design would not be supported, so I have  chosen a new theme.  Simple and clean.  Kind of like life could be at this time…at least in an ideal world.     https://meelosmom.podbean.com/

What the heck happened? What have we become? I was once a young girl riding my bike and playing with dolls. Now I’m hiding from a pandemic and bullets.

Does this pandemic represent our diseased minds and hearts? COVID-19 has forced us to retreat to the silence of our souls, our heart minds. Can we stand to be with ourselves? Can we cultivate our beautiful garden? Or can we only find comfort in noise (distractions, addictions, possessions). Can we truly see ourselves, love ourselves? Can we truly see and love others? And what about the Other, those who are from different tribes (families, societies, races, cultures).

What is hidden eventually rises for healing as is shown in the response to the murder of George Floyd at the knee of a cop. Racism, social inequities, corporate greed, and other forms of social, economic, and ethical/ moral malaise are symptomatic of another pandemic hidden in our Deep. George Floyd was strangled to death for passing a fake bill, but what about white-collar crime and all the money doled out to corporations while the average American can’t put food in the table with one job? With this pandemic, we suffer from huge losses in income. Our economy is flailing.

Everything that happens daily becomes the memoir of our society and our world. It’s all recorded not just on film (owing to technology) but also in our DNA. The ugly can make us ill. As Caroline Myss writes, “Our biography becomes our biology.”

I want to avert my eyes and deny all that is aberrant. However, I’m simply storing it away, like I do old journals, letters, and photos. Some things trigger joy, while others uproot pain. I think that if I don’t see it, it isn’t there, but it is creating illness.

It’s no coincidence I have taken to memoir writing, exploring my Deep. What have I buried from view? What do I need to heal? Looking at the truth is visceral and, I am told, bold maybe even courageous and healing. However, it is also dangerous. Being truthful to our word can create loss. These kinds of shifts occur because ‘all that is not aligned will fall away’. 

I have feared excavating my soul because of judgment and fear of alienation and abandonment, but I see my life from my lens while others, especially members of my tribe, have their perspectives, which they can explore in their own memoirs.

I hope to continue to explore these themes in my poetry podcast and other wetting, and see my morning awaken, as the featured image of this post shows.
https://meelosmom.podbean.com/

©Barbara Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image “Morning Awakening” ©Martha Harris, Martha’s Artistic Flarings, artisticflarings.blog

 

Essays · Healing · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poetry · Publication · Reiki · Tai Chi · Writing

Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 3)

The final section of my article on infertility is up on Phoebe,MD: Medicine + Poetry. Links to the other sections are provided. I am grateful to Phoebe and her beautiful site for being a major part of my journey with memoir writing.

Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Click forPart 1andPart 2]

The bandage torn
From new flesh
Releases wails
The wound still
Imbibes air
The scab hides
deep repair
Let it rest. Wait
In time the scar
Records a fate

I learned that healing is a deep process. We may heal a physical wound, but to become whole, we need to heal emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. We need to dig into the old grout of our deep being. Moreover, we must trust help is available.

View original post 625 more words

Healing · Memoir · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poem · Poetry · Publication

Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 2)

Thank you, Phoebe! I hope my story continues to help others who have had to deal with infertility.

Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Click here for Part 1]

Depression developed and flourished because I grieved so much over loss of fertility.

Women who are childless miss out on a great deal. They never feel what it is like to have a life growing, kicking and wiggling inside of them; to cry out during the birth of a baby (a rite of passage to celebrate with girlfriends); to watch over and even to grow with a child through sickness and health, all the milestones of birthdays, graduations, marriage, and the births of grandchildren. I have even grieved not being able to be the tooth fairy, help my kids find Easter eggs, read them bedtime stories, take them to the zoo.

Feeling apart from and not a part of the tribe still saddens me. I find I am left out of conversations about all those life passages women…

View original post 694 more words

Free Verse Revolution · Memoir · My Screaming Twenties · Poem · Poetry · Publication

Betrayed – Barbara Leonhard

Thank you, FREE VERSE REVOLUTION!

Image: The fake 100-dollar bill printed by the United States of Halloween. I found this treasure folded up on grass along a pathway I was walking on and trying to clean up just to be a good citizen. I felt pretty excited and told everyone I had found 100 dollars! Well, upon closer examination of the bill, I found it was just paper. I was so disappointed and, of course, embarrassed that I hadn’t been more discerning in my excitement. The whole incident reminded me of love gone wrong out of in-authenticity.

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

When I first found you,

I thought you were the real deal,

Handsome and of means.

Your mystery, promises

Of jewelry and charitable contributions,

Maybe even a luscious meal with fine wine.

Your credentials, superb at first glance.

How no one had found you before

Is beyond me, but there you were,

Out there where all could see

And in my grasp.

I felt blessed for my good works,

My generous nature, attracting value.

I kept you hidden, my treasure!

How I bragged about my new love!

Friends and family celebrated this bond –

No one had ever found such a prize

Just by chance! –

Until I discovered your true worth

Upon scrutiny as it unfolded!

Your heart, counterfeit;

Our love, a sham!

How duped I was by your smile.

Those eyes, your vivid presence;

Your charisma, regal!

Your sources, trusted!

Your history, infallible!

My dreams, blind, hopeful the…

View original post 217 more words

Ekphrastic Poetry · Free Verse Revolution · Martha's Artistic Flarings · My Screaming Twenties · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Publication · Recognition/ Honor

Sunday Best: phantom

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My poem “Dark Apostle” ranked top of three best chosen for this past week’s challenge, Phantom. My sister, Martha Harris, created the digital image, “The Devil’s in the Details”. Thank you FREE VERSE REVOLUTION!

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

Dear reader,

I hope you are well; staying safe and healthy.

Catch up on this week’s pieces for the theme ‘Illusion’:

Tuesday – Megha Sood

Wednesday – L. Stevens

Thursday – Robert Ronnow

Friday – Prathami

Saturday – Jaya Avendel


This week’s prompt was ‘phantom’ and responses were posted across WordPress and Instagram, here are the top three:

Dark Apostle – Barbara Leonhard

A list of sordid memories – I. D. Bora (@mymusings.2018 on Instagram)

  1. of my pleated skirt and dried rusty brown patches on it. like maps in an atlas. the horror that followed amongst my batchmates as they giggled. ‘oh! that girl’
  2. a hound whose shadowy presence and untamed eyes trailed my footsteps.
  3. that phantom being who i thought could trust. who played piano in the dark. whose fingers so dextrous over the keys. found their way to my thighs then to my knees as my voice choked…

View original post 295 more words

Memoir · Poem · Poetry · Publication · Spillwords · Writing

New Publication: My Hair Eats Everything

I’m delighted Spillwords Press published one of my poems.

My Hair Eats Everything

 

My Hair Eats Everything

Silver pelage. Static cling

Velcro mouth gulping my life.

My hair, a pantry of my days.

Famished patron of my past.

It shows in my sheen, the shine

Of a clean plate.

 

Baby hair matted with egg,

Pureed peas, sour milk, spaghetti sauce,

Bits of cereal. Mom’s cleansing spit

Over my crown. Kisses planted

In the soil of my hair. Luster of life

Grows into a hungry coif.

 

The long stems of flowers

Woven into braids. My first perfume,

Splashes of hot lavender baths,

Swashes of wet polish, and Dippity-Do

Cling to my curls and create a crown

Of a complex banquet.

 

Grandpa’s musty garage, his yard

Of lake breeze. The smell of sand

Tangles my hair into my mouth.

The steam of Grandma’s fried sausage, rising dough,

Stewed chicken, spilled honey from toast,

Dad’s Old Spice snared by my hair.

 

Sweat from the Ex’s hands

His bad breath on my frizz.

Bloody spittle of squabble,

His ashtray, blight of air,

Day-old wine and stale beer

Linger on my dead ends

 

Mother’s ambrosia steeps

My life, the whiff of her red lipstick,

Her aromatic apron, her savory hugs,

Her last breath as I held the phone

To her ear for goodbyes. The anguish

Of her affliction infuses me.

 

My hair swells fragrance

Of holy spring rain. Tiny fingers of new leaves

Sniff of pin oak to my roots. Sticky juice

Of tomato vines cling to my gray locks

As I reach for the fruit. Strands of silver

Extend from cloud. The scent of sun.

 

©Barbara Leonhard

extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul (meelosmom.podbean.com)

my featured image by ivanovgood, pixabay.com

artisticflarings.blog · Ekphrastic Poetry · Healing · Martha's Artistic Flarings · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry

Dark Apostle

Rising shadows of flames,

dressed in deep void, I arrive

to burn the bramble of your complacent life.

You hide inside this clay façade,

live for self in idle pleasure,

slumber in this carcass

of addiction and desire.

 

I hold you down as you writhe in agony,

thrive on your muffled screams.

You smolder in my odious breath.

My laughter, cackling flames.

You recoil, gasping for prayer,

rebuking this demon

and fear that this blood fire

is your last sunrise. Confess,

 

I fascinate you.

Though cast to the raging depths,

I still rise, a dark angel.

Not all wings are lucent.

This charred cloak is age old,

frayed by lies, greed, addictions.

 

Inferno flames are still divine.

I am the instigator, the phantom fire

plundering your earth

to crack open your seed

and hasten your growth.

 

For this you need me, Dark Apostle,

the harbinger sent to alarm and awaken,

to jolt you from trance

into rebirth.

 

revised The Dark Apostle 05/12/2020

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog; meelosmom.podbean.com (Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul)

Image: “The Devil’s in the Details”, original digital art, ©Martha Harris. See Martha’s Artistic Flarings@artisticflarings.blog