Friday, April 30, 2010

It's the last day of the poetry challenge and that feels good. I've written every day, a poem every day. I have posted some here, not all. I like some better than others. My mind has gone in directions I wouldn't have planned and I like that. The last challenge is "letting go" and that was an easy one to write.

Not Ready

I try to imagine locking my office
for the last time, giving Melissa the key,
bringing home the statues and crystals.

I try to imagine no appointments,
no emergency phone calls, no moments
when a client suddenly feels worthy.

I try to imagine myself retired,
unstructured days, No role as therapist,
no familiar structure, no new client stories.

I try to imagine retiring and I can't.
I am far from ready to let go of the most
successful role I have created for myself.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The poetry prompt for today was "Suddenly..." and my response just bubbled up uncalled from what seems like another life and my most profound experience of a sudden shift.


Unexplained pain,
shortness of breath,
misdiagnosis, surgery,
biopsy, cancer diagnosis,
death sentence, tears,
telling the girls,
hope, determination,
despeate sex, terror,
radiation, chemo,
playing with the girls,
work, life, hope, meals,
increasing pain, rage,
sense of doom, despair,
hospitalization, hopelessness,

Then, suddenly peace,
mysterious peace,
before you told your
daughters goodbye,
before our last kiss,
before your last breath,
blessed, mysterious peace.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Posetry prompt today was "end of the line". I actually really liked the poem and memories it brought to me. I feel affectionate tonight toward my awkward, tall eleven year old self. I'm not nearly as tall proportionally as an adult woman as I was as a child. Other kids caught up in height somewhere in high school. I feel like some of my relative comfort in my body comes from having learned not to hate myself for being always tallest - some time AFTER fifth grade.

End of the Line

Second to fifth grade.
we marched to lunch
in lines, shortest first.
Second grade I glowed
proud to be last in line.
By fifth grade I hunched
embarrassed to be last.
A girl was not supposed
to be tallest, last in line.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today wasn't a hard work day. I even had the luxury of a long talk with Joanna, full of memories and a strong sense of connection. I feel tired tonight though, I think just because the day started early. The poetry prompt is hope or hopelessness.


Hope is a choice.
Hopelessness too,
a decision. Either
I believe I can use
whatever happens
to me for good
and live in hope,
or I believe my
well-being depends
on circumstances
and I despair .
is a choice.
So is hope.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I could write and write about today except I can't because I have to go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and be fresh for work - frustrating. I hate feeling like time is limited. But today was a great day, playing with Andrea and liam, watching them come to know each other better, hug, practice sharing toys - a sweet day I need to let end.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Today's poetry prompt was to write a poem based on a song, and I feel uninspired. Writing off of someone else's work is hard for me. I complained about the task at supper and Ruth reminded me that I could put a personal slant on a song that I feel says it's message well already - so I'll keep it simple and write from Kate Wolf's Give Yourself to Love


I give myself to love
for love is what I'm after.
Sometimes I forget when
tears drown out the laughter.
I give myself to love
for love is what I'm after.

Victoria Hendricks - April 25, 2010

I am actually thankful for the prompt this weekend. I feel the waves of suffering and anxiety around me and feel shaky - but the reminder is in the song, just keep giving myself to love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sabbath quiet in the house. I need it. My work week has been challenging, lots of hard stories and great human courage and determination to change and thrive. I am getting my spring clothes out and winter clothes away, loving color TOday I wore a yellow skirt with ruffles and a green top and a gauzy yellow shawl that was a gift from Paris. Color changes are fun for me when the seasons change. Poetry challenge today was to write an exhausted poem and I just couldn't do it. Exhausted is a feeling that scares me and one I hardly ever claim - weary yes, and I am
tonight, but not exhausted. I wrote about inexaustible source of spirit energy because that is what I need to focus on.


I know some resources are finite,
oil, money, metal, can be used up,
unrenewable, gone for ever, forgotten.
I know species can become extinct,
Gene pool exhausted, last elder dead.
Energy though, I neede to believe, is
infinite, inexhaustible, available always,
constant source. I breathe in, breath out,
and strength, hope, possibility take root
in mysterious source. Spirit is inexhaustib

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have more energy tonight. Today's poetry prompt was fun - to write according to somebody. I picked Liam. Of course this is how I imagine he sees part of his world.

According to Liam

It is never too late for a bike ride.
Dogs are for kissing, wrestling.
Chocolate is worth dancing for.
Outside is better than inside but
you need hat and shoes to go out.
Laughter is contagious.
Cousins are for tickling.
Moma's room is full of treasures.
Ducks say quack, Lions rrrrrrr
Peacocks scream hayup hayup.
Please gets you what you want.
Words work better than screaming.
Daddy makes yummy noodles.
Mama lights the Shabbat candles.
You gather the light to your ears.
Daddy never lets you fall.
Mama helps when you hurt.
Love is abundant, infinite.
Smiles come easy. Life is good.

omebody. I picked Liam. Of course this is how I imagine he sees part of his world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tired tonight. I think travel caught up with me. I have morethoughts than energy to put them into words. The poetry prompt was to write about looking ahead and/or looking back and at least I got a couple of ideas before I ran out of steam.


Look forward,
I see muself
alter with
eachstep I choss.
If I don't change
direction, I get
where I was headed.


Look ahead,
I see myself progressing.
Look back
I see myself emerging
Look within
I see my naked soul.
Head in stars
feet in the river
I receive power
beyond self,
from above,
from beow.
to accept and
change what I see
when I look
forward, back, within.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I wish it weren't past bedtime wiht an early work day tomorrow. So much I want to write. Let it suffice for now that I am at great peace with the comfort and love in my life - so sweet to wake with Bob this morning, have him arrange to take me to the bus station, be picked up by Ruth and Liam upon arrival and to have liam delightedly sign "turtle" after seeing the turtles on my shawl, to come home then to the house smelling of Chris' pot roast, to take Liam for a short walk while his parents leveled two more beams on the new deck. I just feel amazingly blessed. This is the stuff that counts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Walk the Beach at Dusk

I do not ask for more than
to walk the beach at dusk,
between primrose dunes
and periwinkle sky,
to breath salt breeze, and
take time to sort the confusion
of terns Caspian, Forsters,
Least, Common, Royal.
To walk the beach at dusk,
hand in hand, is joy enough.

Victoria Hendricks
April 18 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pleasant rainy Thursday.I love the sound of raindrops on the office skylight. T
The poetry prompt today was "deadlines", probably because it was tax day, and once again, I couldn't make myself approach the prompt in a straight line.


Lines of the dead
lead back to source,
beginning, passion,
decision, action
love, ego, hope despair.
Lines of living pull
dead forward to
bless or doom
lines of unborn souls.

Live Lines

Dead lines,
Just marks on paper
How can they stir
my heart? Art.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today was ordinary, a good busy work day, not much to report. I did notice that the weather was soft and mild, not hot at all yet, really pleasant. It has been a sweet spring, and we still have bluebonnets, not all burned up like hte last couple of drought springs. Today's prompt for a poem was "Island" and I got a little nuts with it.


No I Land
not isolate.
We all land,
in the soup
we brew.
or toxic,
it is up to
all of us,
not just me,
not just you.

Victoria Hendricks
April 14, 1010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Busy busy two days. I've been taking Liam on lots of stroller rides while his parents build our new front deck, which is going great. Yesterday we cruised by the elementary school his Mama and Auntie attended, which he will probably attend. We got there just as the kindergarten was let out. The kindergarteners looked huge compared to Liam, but also tiny. We stopped by our neighborhood park on that walk too and happened on a play group of adoptive families, moms and kids. Many were international families including one Mom with two daughters, the two year old newly arrived from China, smiling an engaging "Hi!" and then shifting into Chinese. Her speech confused Liam, who is just beginning to really understand English. I was intrigued that the group of moms included a Muslim woman in full burka and an Orthodox Jewish woman (I know because she was talking about Passover) wo covered her hair.Also, one of the moms talked about adopting from the agency with which my bith mother had the bad experience which led her to private adoption and me to my home.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This weekend has been so busy (I hate that word) that it is hard to write about. Bob went to the teacher job fairs for his first and second choice districts, had great letters of recommendation, really glowing and well deserved, got some hopeful communication from principals, but no interview yet - maybe after TAKS testing.

Ruth and I peaked into an estate sale on the corner of our street - I had known the woman only very slightly, but it shook me to walk through and see the sold sign on her sewing machine, her shoes in their boxes and clothes in the closet, glasses in the kitchen, holiday decorations I used to see in her lawn every year - all the props of an ordinary life up for sale to the next taker. It makes me feel very mortal, hence my take on the poem for today prompt about the last something.

Last Poem

Melancholy tonight,
just thinking, we never
know, which will be
your last poem, or mine.

Mostly the weekend was good - baseball games which Texas won, symphony concert with K.K., walks with Liam, work on the deck. A fun side note is that Danny went to the middle school band test day to see which instrument he matches and he is going to play the TUBA!!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Today's prompt was to write a self portrait in poem. I did two.


I am as I have akways been,
one who jumps at sudden noises,
colors in crayon and word,
runs out to catch the moonrise,
likes fresh air, lemons, ginger
champions underdogs, stays
quiet until challenged, fierce
under threat, tenacious,
takes refuge in dawn, dusk,
mist, lives between worlds,
loves hard, grieves quietly,
picks up pebbles, feathers,
hopes as much as I fear.


People look at my long faded hair,
my shawls and bare legs and they
label me aging hippie. Wrong.

Aging, technically, yes, of course.
Every year is a year I've lived.
Sometimes my knees ache. .
I know I am past midpoint,
focus on legacy not future.
but aging isn't an important
part of my self image.

Not a hippie ever, good girl who
saved sex for husbands and never
dropped acid, studied hard, cleaned
up after demonstrations, was
embarrassed by drunks and pot heads.

But I am myself, a woman who likes shawls,
whose husband finds long hair sexy, who
has left leaning politics. Myself, still emerging.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Today's poetry prompt is to write about a tool. It's odd that there were only two candidates for subject matter in my mind, even though the growing deck is busy with power and wood working tools of all kinds and the kitchen is well stocked with cullinary tools. I've used so many tools for writing - from pencil to computer. The pencil was a candidate for the poem. But the tool of my heart seems to be one I use less often these days.

Needle and Thread

I keep my grandmother's needles,
safely in the powder puff she
stored in the sewing machine drawer.
I keep my mother's needles
stuck in fat red tomato cushions
I played with while she hemmed.

I cried when I discovered that
time had weakened my grandmother's
thread, my mother's thread.
Careful colors saved on Kleenex
cardboard, wooden spools, paper spools,
I finally threw away. They could not hold.

My grandmother, my mother, taught me
to use needle and thread before I read well
or could make my letters. Needle and thread,
tools of creation, restoration, artistic expression
connect me back and forward. My granddaughter
sews ribbons on pointe shoes with my needle.

Victoria Hendricks
April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Until I die,
Let me live.
learn, build,
grow, serve,
laugh, dance,
read, write,
love, cry,
dream, hope,
Let me live
until I die.

Victoria Hendricks,
April 8, 201

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Somebody (who actually uses the name "Somebody" posted a huge number of comments on old entries, as well as new entries to my blog this morning. They posted in a foreign alphabet so I have no idea what they said. I took my blog off all search engines - which makes me sad because I have enjoyed knowing people can find my blog, as I have benefitted from finding the blogs of others. I'm also screening comments before they post for right now. That has nothing to do with any of you who read my blog regularly, or innocent newcomers, just about the strangeness this morning. Now I need to go back and remove all the comments in case something heinous is being said in another language. At least they stopped.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Today's poetry promt was "TMI" - the jargon for "too much information", a cliche that makes me see red - hence the flow of "case against" poetry. The world is lonely enough for way too many people without further isolating ourselves by worrying over whether we are sharing "too much information."

First Case Against TMI

Hard enough to negotiate boundaries
without cute initials, sophisticated
cowardly excuse to cover up
You bore me. I don't care. I feel
uncomfortable with your pain.
It hits to close to home. I want
my denial back,. Don't trouble
me with your truth. I don't care.
If I overstep, put foot in mouth,
frighten or disgust you tell me.
Don't hide behind the shield of TMI.
Hard enough to negotiate boundaries
without the artifice of cute initials.
Second Case Against TMI

TMI TMI Too much information.
How can that be when we
hide in air conditioned cars,
converse in mannered sound bites
at market Excuse me. Policy is...
Have a nice one. Let me verify...
How can there be too much information
when we save face, keep ourselves and
each other at arm's length, avoid unsolicited
advice, eye contact, incidental touch,
How can there be too much information
when we teach a generation to us hand
sanitizer and consider every stranger danger.
TLI TLI I cry, too little information. Too little
connection. We live and die in isolation.

Third Case Against TMI

How can I learn to love you
if I have to make you up?
We leave out most of the
story, others just fill in
and friendships skim the
surface, unreal, unrealized.
I want your information.
I want you to want mine.

Victoria Hendricks, April 5, 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter day - not my holiday but Joanna's and the children's. I love the transformational message of Easter and also the family's traditions, Easter egg hunt and Joanna's lime pie. Joanna and the children went to mass, and both Andrea and K.K. looked precious in Easter dresses. K.K. looks way too much like a young lady though. Liam and Andrea are making friends, learning to play together, to share toys (some difficulty for Andrea to share her favorite wagon in her own house, but eventually she let Liam ride back and forth between pushers for a while. Liam loved getting to see Danny's turtle, both in and out of the water. It was a good family day. I am thankful for my good family.

The poetry prompt for today is history, which is a challenge for me, harder than the other prompts.


Forty years of letters,
carefully penned in color
coordinated inks on stationary,
chosen for mood, for fun,
typed on Mama's portable typewriter
corrected with correction tape,
correction fluid, carbon copied,
blogged on the computer, saved
in flash drives, blog records.
Forty years of history of me.

Forty years of letters,
Themes are constant, attention
to detail, compulsive need to
connect, to know and be known,
joy in the every day, willingness
to admit when I am wrong, hope,
an interest in gardens, moon rises,
appreciation for those who love me,
need to be loved, fierce love,
Forty years of history of me.

Victoria Sullivan Hendricks

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Today was a great day with Bob and Liam. We walked at Town Lake and saw all kinds of boats on the water, including a new to us take on Polynesian surf boards. The rider stands on a wide board and paddles along with an oar. i think I'd like to rent one and try. it was a great joy to walk on the mild morning and plain fun to see the huge variety of dogs being walked. There was even an animal rescue station where joggers could borrow a canine jogging buddy, complete with harness. At the end of the walk we sat on a bench for about half an hour while Liam ate cheese and commented on birds, ducks (yes I know ducks are birds but in one year old speak ducks say quack and birds say tweet). Bob introduced Liam to the wonderful Pete Seeger song (at least he's the first one I heard sing it) about "I had a (animal that makes noise) and I fed my (animal that makes noise) under yonder tree) It's perfect for Liam right now because he is entranced with animal noises and quite a good imitator. Speaking of metaphoric animals, the Texas Longhorn baseball team swept rival Oklahoma this afternoon - three wins in one weekend.

On a more thoughtful Passover note, I realized that my desire to free myself from the need to be in the center and make everything work for everyone, is full of hametz - all puffed up with ego. I am really committed to letting that go - hard though.

Another Passover thought is that the only difference between sin and mitzvah (good deed) sometimes is procrastination. That is so true. The right thing isn't the right thing too late (or even too early). I plan to work on timing - also hard.

Today's poetry prompt is "partly"

Some enter cold water by parts,
toes, thighs, belly, finally face.
Not me. Not partly. Not possible.
I rest warm on the bank, fully clothed
or strip naked, breathe deep, plunge in,

Victoria Hendricks,

Friday, April 02, 2010

Sweet sweet Friday. Because it is Good Friday Bob didn't teach and came in town midday. I also had fewer clients than usual so we had time to hang out, eat lunch at our memory lane and decisious food favorite, Trudy's near campus. We even went onto campus so Bob could get a transcript for his application for teaching positions closer to home, and it is funny how accurate the phrase "memory lane" is. I have very specific memories, fore every few square yards in the area around my old dorm, the tower, and the buildings where most of my classes were, and also the stories of the memories my parents have of campus. Bob and I talked at my office later - always a pleasant interval, walked a mild evening at McKinney Falls. Lovely day.

Poertry prompt was "Water"


Deep well,
pure water.

Fresh water.
Clear mirror.

Holy water.
Perfect truth.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tonight's entry will be a composite - a mixture not a compound. Different streams of thought inform my desire to write tonight.

First, April 1 is the anniversary of our terrible middle of the night house fire of fire of 1985. For those who don't know, the heater exploded when I was alone, sleeping in the house withmy two little girls while kerry worked the night shift at the post office. I woke to firs alarm, walls of flame, searing heat, terrifying roar, and the sickening truth that I could not get through the flames to Joanna, my second grader. I stood in the hall a moment, knowing I could not save her, that she could be dying that very instant, and that all I could do was save four year old Ruth and myself. I've never felt such horror, or such relief as I felt a few minutes later, outside the house when Joanna appeared, having gotten out her window on her own. That night I learned that stuff is only stuff, that trouble from which all family members walk away isn't real trouble, and that anything can blow up at any moment. The heater had been safety checked the previous week. Every April first I'm thankful we survived that night and also remind myself to take no sunrise for granted.

Second, we had another miniseder and I asked myself what way of being I would most like to free myself from this year. It's a hard one for me - the need to be in the center of relationships that matter to me, to make sure everyone is alright with everyone else, to keep peace and try to make everything right for everyone all the time. The truth is I can't do that, and just stress myself out trying. The other truth is the people in my inner circle are wise and healthy enough that they don't need me to mediate so much. I disrespect them when I try so hard. It will be a hard habit for me to change, but a truly liberating change to the extent that I can succeed.

Third, April marks a poem a day challenge and a web site my writing group uses posts a prompt each day. Today's was "lonely" and here is my poem - which surprised me. I don't know quite where in be it bubbled up from - feels very young. That's one thing I like about challenges. They get me writing poems I wouldn't write otherwise.


I want you to want me
as much as I want you.
I need you to need me
as much as I need you.
Show me you love me
as much as I love you.
I promise to trust you
and stop asking for more.

Victoria Hendricks
April 1, 2010