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(first day in the office)
Written 10.01.00
By Rachel Bravmann

two thousand and five days
in my cloudy chrysalis
shadowed shapes from my former world
are moving past me, thriving, with laughter
and significance.
my dry throated calls fall deaf,
its five o'clock out there, happy hour.
in here every hour is the same, the
days have no distinction, the
perpetual weekend without the rush.
I'm lingering, malingering? I've been
amber, fossilized tree resin. this is
what is known, safety, the tools and
experience of my first twenty-five
years are simply air. I am empty
like the butterfly, I am earth bound
the fluid, the years, filling my body
tether me. impermanent, finally
the softness in my wings harden,
tender but powerful in the sun
the fourth stage of metamorphosis,
there will be

"Sing Me a Lullabye"
By Penny Gardine
Written 9/6/00

Why is it that,
when Grumpy is gone, melancholy seizes me
in its jaws and shakes me like a chew toy? I've
been thinking, tonight, that it would be nice
to be sung to. Odd, no?

Grumpy's never done. Bless his tone-deaf heart,
he couldn't carry a tune in a livestock tank if
his life depended on it. Besides, he'd
think it unmanly.

I remember going to dances,
as a giddy teenaged girl,
and having sweet-faced, sweaty-palmed boys croon
songs into my ear as we shuffled our way across
the dance floor. There was one....Vern....who made
my adolescent knees go all wobbly. His hand fit so
perfectly at the small of my back and his soft
beard would tickle my cheek as he sang along with
every ballad. It was this that caused me to have a
short, decidedly heated tangle with the fellow
some years later. Pre-Grumpy, of course.

There were others who tried their best to woo me
into dewy-eyed acquiescence with the power of
song. Some of those memories make me giggle,
others make me sweetly sad to recall. The last
time someone sang to me was after a rather
unpleasant event in my life.

So...why, tonight, does the
desire for music in its most intimate setting
tug at me? I wish I knew.
All I do know, though, is that the thought of
curling up next to someone, having my hair
stroked while I am coaxed into the velvet embrace
of slumber is so inviting. So intriguing. So
tantalizing. Ah well...

Perhaps the stars will whisper a lullabye. Who knows?

By Penny Gardine
Written 09.19.00

Be not Passion's slave
for it shall not profit thee.
It lifts thee into passionate
embraces of crimson velvet
and breathes promises into
thine ears with jasmine-scented breath.
Then casts thee down into the frigid purple
depths of solitude and
assaults thy hearing with mocking,
sulpur-tinged laughter.

Lean not to Passion's dictates
for it shall go ill with thee.
As assuredly as it tastes sweet
as cream and warm honey,
melting in welcome waves over
thy greedy tongue,
It can curdle and sour 'gainst
thy lips and stain thy
surprised cheeks with umber
streaks of bitterness.

Trust not thy truest Self
to Passion's grasp
But bind it gently with silken
strands of Faith, garnish it with
silvered Romance and sing to it
the calming melody of Love.
Taming Passion's bonfire
to an eternally glowing
ember of tender Desire.

By Penny Gardine
Written 09.05.00

Mask of shadow
Mask of light
Wrapped in velvet of the night.

Honied touch
Sugared kiss
Sighs of melting, secret bliss.

Swirling smoke
Leaping fire
Merging shadows of desire.

Burning darkness
Smoldering light
Passion's dictates join the fight.

I am me
You are you
Our masks disguising what is true.

Do you dazzle?
Do I calm?
Who takes our masks from open palms?

I see you
You see me
Burning masks has set us free.

Confessions from the Shadows
By Penny Gardine

Dark, twisted...two words most wouldn't normally
associate with me. Yet, we all seem
to have a shadow self of one sort or another. A
self who lurks just beneath the surface,
whispering, flitting across that part of us that
is "behind the eyes", so to speak.
A self who purrs on the back of a sigh or adds a
lusty low tone to one's laugh. We take
such care to hide this being from the world,
putting on a cheery mask
when all we
really want to do is wallow in the
glorious, velvety
sensation of being
truely naughty.

Secrets are an essential part of this shadow self.
Secrets are meat and drink to
this creature of darkness. Secrets are seductive
little tendrils that, when
alluded to, tantalize the listener into a froth
of desire to know. Secrets can be
the undoing of our shadow selves, though.
Seductive enough at first, secrets beg
to be given voice. They worry at the edges to blur
us into a false sense of bravado.
We cast aside the daylight mask, showing our
star-encrusted, moon-gilded night
self, and breathe out the secrets into a waiting
ear. Quite without warning, the
comforting shroud of velvet is stripped away to
leave us naked and vulnerable
to the chill winds of scorn and the searing heat
of rejection.

Have I a shadow self? Most assuredly. Have I given
up the treasures of my sweet secrets to the
hearing of another? Regretably, yes.
Giving another person care
of my secrets has left me ... floundering.
What will come of these breathless
confessions? In my fear, I have turned into the
worst version of myself. A few
purred sentences, meant to sting, followed by a
throaty laugh tainted with
the tinny echo of meanness. In confession, I
have flung my day-mask away and
immersed myself in the shadows. Do I want the
House Mouse mask back? I don't
know. Is there another, to whom I could have
opened myself, who would have seen
these revelations as a gift
instead of ammuntion? I wonder....

"Always the seductress, aren't you?"

~ Unknown

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember
what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms
with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations
to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become
vain or bitter;
for always there will be great and lesser
persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
Many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere
life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it
is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully
surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in
sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the
trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the
universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you
conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the
noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Between The Lines
By John Lennon

Admired from afar
Studied like a star
The others never even with a clue
Of just what I knew.

But, oh, how you brought me through
The hours and the times
God knows how much harder it would've been
Without you there between the lines.

Hardly a day would ever go by
When you wouldn't help me from my cries
For yours was a music to my ears
That would always allay my fears

Oh,how you brought me through
The hours and the times
God knows how much harder it would've been
Without you there beside the lines
Without you there in between the lines
In between the lines

Copyright 2000 John Lennon

How Do I Love Thee?
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

One Day I Wrote Her Name
By Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
"Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain essay
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise."
"Not so," quoth I; "let baser things devise
To lie in dust, but you shall live by fame;
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write you glorious name:
Where, whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."

By Gittarpik2

I see your faces and i do not
Understand why
Each time i dream you standing there
Right by my side
Why do you make me
I have no place to run
I have no place to hide
See how all you do is take my pride?

Imagine Again
By Mark Borcherding

Surrender to the moment
when all return to love
And every world changes
below and above

Remember as you change
and all unite
Each of your dreams flowing
into the everlasting light

The old world becomes a child
in another place
without greed
with another face
without death
among another race
without hate

The new world born an angel
shining in space
with peace
growing in grace
with life
people in phase
with love

Imagine again all this love
painting people in peace and life
And surrender to the dreamer
John was not the only one
We hope the moment too to come
and love change all as one

The Shaman

Edgar Allan Poe