Stuck In A Moment

Longs Canyon, Colorado

Make the journey and leave me where
I started. It’s all I will ever ask.

We went to lay you to rest in the
the Colorado mountains—
between your Grandmother and mother,
alongside past generations in the family plot-
the morning mountain air we wore in our
bones, our shoulders hunched around our ears.
Our heads cast to the ground watching for your footprints
march across on the damp wild hillside grass
where you once ran barefooted along the trails between
houses, calling out to your tribe of cousins,
sister and brother, who blindly trailed behind;
reckless and free you were staying out nights
until the dawn rolled with grace over the tips of the canyon.
I was happiest there as a boy. You always said.

Your soul we knew took flight
but this promise we kept and traveled from
our home, returning you—now ashes, in
a small silver box—to your first home. We climbed
the side of the mountain at dawn
and plowed the soil, taking turns with shovels
and hoes to burrow a resting place for your final home. We patted
the ground, leaving you covered with rich red
earth, where crops of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, melons
beets and pumpkins once grew alongside
the wild choke cherry vines and Piñons, you loved so well.
I tilled the soil in the canyon hillside as a boy. You said.

At your grave, we left calla lilies
gardenias, even butter-yellow
roses, and listened to Billie Holiday
playing on your old cassette player,  praying
Billie’s hypnotic torch of a voice sent
the rattler’s scrambling, while we waited—
remembering—watching for a sign of you.
Music cures a heart broken by loss,
love, and  life;  listen to the morning songs
of dawn and give way to the rise, these
words of wisdom, the last gift you gave.

At sunrise, in the dewy mountain
air is when God’s footprints are oft visible 
on the blades of grass.Your last words
the morning your soul took flight.


I was working on the new WIP this weekend when I got stuck in a moment I couldn’t write myself out of. I turned to music for relief and inspiration.  Music has a way of centering me when I can’t. A song rolled around on the jukebox and kidnapped the last of my awareness. The song remembering when, took the two of us went time traveling.  We stopped in Longs Canyon, Colorado. It’s where we left my Dad’s ashes.

It was the perfect moment to revisit.  I’d been writing and rewriting a scene that wasn’t working for me or my character.  About the instance the song rolled around I had decided to leave the scene unfinished–something I never do–and keep writing.  The kidnapping, although unexpected and heart pounding, was exactly where I needed to be. I recalled my moment in the Canyon and remember thinking I’d  never make it out of that moment either, but I did.

I started writing after the song returned me to my current reality. The poem has nothing to do with my story, but the writing released the shackles from my scene and I finished the chapter with ease. I remain perplexed by poetry but I continue to find pleasure in crafting a story in less than a hundred lines.

Are you ever surprised where you land after time travel?


I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

28 thoughts on “Stuck In A Moment

  1. Your poem brought tears to my eyes, yesterday was my dad’s birthday. He has been gone since January 2010 but the ache still remains, fresh and raw. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem with us, touched my heart.
    sulekha recently posted….No RegretsMy Profile

    • Sulekha – I am sorry to have cause an ache in your heart. I still think about my dad. I know he is in the heavens,happier because he is pain free, but I still miss him.

    • Thanks, Kelly. I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination. I simply enjoy the construct of words and weaving a tale. I don’t know the rules of poetry, they are on my bucket list. I do love writing stories and use free verse when the mood overcomes me.

    • Sondra – I wasn’t crying when I wrote the verse, because it was like making peace with the moment. I am glad you enjoyed and shared your thoughts with me. I will endeavor to write something funny my next post.

  2. I wish I could hug you, Brenda for allowing us to peek in to a very private, moving moment. Soon we’ll be taking a journey with my Dad and the rest of the family to a place we all used to live in. The journey is special for the memories but also for the fact that I know deep within that my parents’ time is limited …It’s time to savor every moment and I can see that you did that with your Dad and kept his wishes too.
    The story about the poem is fascinating – I’m always amazed at how my mind wanders and the strangeness of the dreams I have!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted….Finding My VoiceMy Profile

  3. What a beautiful, poignant invitation this poem holds. Gently, it folds us into the heart of your father: ‘where you once ran barefooted on the trails between houses, calling out to your tribe of cousins’ and speaks of ‘rich red earth, where crops of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, melons, beets and pumpkins once grew alongside.’ The vividness of this piece paints a picture of a full lifetime that I am privileged to have seen.
    There is a note for you over at The Garden Gate Brenda, to answer a question. Hugs.
    Elizabeth Young recently posted….THINGS THAT TRAUMATISE USMy Profile

    • Hugs back to you, Elizabeth. I didn’t start out writing a picture of lifetime, but that’s where I went. And thanks for sharing your sources of inspiration.

  4. Lynne Favreau

    Moments before reading this I was on my exercise bike. The last song I played was How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, and I came upstairs in tears.

    In the middle of all my emails, I clicked on the link to your blog first. I smiled as I read your poem, and at the synchronicity I often feel reading your work.

    Music is how I get deeper into my self, deeper into my subconscious where the words really live and muck about until they’re ready to surface.

    • Lynne – I remember, you sing and find your inner peace in music, this we share. I know the place you speak of, perhaps we can have a glass of wine there one day.

  5. k~

    I like the style you used in putting the poem together. It is like a story, with the voice directing, quietly, from the background. There are two narrators that share a space to deliver a poignant message. Perhaps there is another book brewing, beyond the one you are working on, and your father has his hand in it.

    Beautiful words… always Brenda.

    k~ recently posted….O ~ One City StreetMy Profile

    • K-I toy with the idea but I haven’t yet located on the vision. I write with the end in my head, and it hasn’t come into focus yet. As you say, ya never know.

    • Linda, your continued kindness is appreciated. I do enjoy messing with the medium, rules aside. It’s a wonder where the writer goes when the let go of the notion of rules.

    • Jennifer – I recently read ‘A Getaway Car (about 40 pages) I think you’d like it. About writing. I suspect being a writer, being inside of your head is a natural place to be.

  6. Brenda, never say you’re not a poet by any means! You are and this poem is a thing of beauty. I truly believe poetry is your forte. So go with it. There are no rules to poetry. Sure, there are haiku’s, sonnets, limericks, etc. But there’s also free style and that’s what you have here, free style. And Brenda, when it comes to poetry there are no limits. You are free as a bird!
    Monica recently posted….Cakes with PanacheMy Profile

    • Thanks, Monica. I realized my hang up about declaring myself a poet is I because I was not schooled in the how to part of writing it, but a dear artist friend reminded me yesterday ‘anything goes’ in art, in writing, in poetry, as you just did. Simple truth but words I needed to hear. Blogging is a trip – I learn more and more everyday about my writer’s voice.

  7. Grey skies. Sweet, silent flowers. Memories left by our footsteps on the soil ~ now smeared and stepped over by other other peoples’ memories. A sorrow passed but not forgotten. A voice not carried on recently but always heard, always recognized, always missed. Piano and cello, and wooden guitar. Honest music. Waves of everything.

    These are what your poem reminds me of.
    There was a time when a particular death occured that I thought I’d never get out of, too. And I did. Too.

    Hugs, B.

    Claudine Gueh recently posted….Spirited Away: A Girl Amidst Ghosts, Dragon & WitchesMy Profile

    • Kim, You know I woke up this morning in a blaze of glory – I am indeed a writer. It was a journey get here and damn if I am going to stand down now.

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