By D. Marie Fitzgerald

the straw hat seeker of truth

alone I don the straw hat
a Huckleberry
seeking freedom

under overhanging clouds
 always there
obscuring vision

I can’t even see 
the roses brought to me
by someone who
said he loved me
 offered me 

teacups of wild 
herbs 
 holding prophecies
could come true

during a sacred September
 a month when
school starts
when we buy pencils
and pads of paper
that will contain

 memories like water
 that seep into
our consciousness
 drift all the 
way down

to our very feet
take us where we think 
we are going

over time
 black and white
in a photo I

don the straw hat
which protects me 
from bittersweet
 memory

as I approach the river
where suspended dreams

for the time being
float on the water
of truth like debris
nature has discarded

meanwhile
 a straw-hat seeker of truth
floats endlessly on 

an alternative highway

How to make a person awful

Previously published by One Spirit Press

 I.
Preheat the household,
simmer with underlying tension.
Place praise in a shallow bowl. 
Sprinkle children with criticism; 
coat them with constant 
judgement. Heat tablespoons
of anger in a large skillet over
medium-high heat until hot. Add
children; cook, turning several
times, until done. Remove children from
household; release them into the world
unprepared and damaged.

II. 

Heat remaining adult years,
constantly stirring in spoonfuls of
bitterness, resentment,
 more judgement. Add
guilt, let it blend with the other
ingredients until each soul is a
crusty braise. Increase the 
measurements for many more
years and cook until each member
of the household is thickened.

III. 

Bake until inside temperature
is highest it can possibly climb. 

A Changed Heart

Previously published by One Spirit Press

The day his youngest son was born
with a hole in his heart
my grandfather made a novena.

As a child I was told the cruel history:
how he poured hot soup over my
grandmother’s head,
chained his sons in the garage to a coal stove,
made them go without food,
would not allow children to talk at the dinner table,
slapped them across the head if they did.

As an adult I faced his hilly garden,
admired the ascending rows of
peppers, garlics, tomatoes, onions, grape vines.

Pointing to a plant I did not recognize
he motioned me to a shed
where rows and rows of unfamiliar
leaves hung on string,
the aroma making them known to me.
He pulled one large leaf down,
crinkled it between his plump fingers,
deftly rolled a cigar,
lit a match;
it smelled like home to me.

Leaving

Previously published by One Spirit Press

Is not always hard to do, especially
 when it is a sendoff to a person
 place or thing.

 It is sometimes a natural
thing to do.

Leaving can be a departure
from a place, be it a house
or apartment,
be it a city, a state, a country.

Leaving can also be an exit
from a restaurant or the off-ramp
of a freeway.

It can be a parting of the ways
between yourself and a 
friend, or yourself and a lover.

It is always though, a good-bye,
a separation from something or
someone former in your life.

In the going, there is also a coming,
like Moses leading the exodus out of Egypt
so the Hebrews could come to the land of milk and honey.

Leaving can also be a withdrawal from
substances or a situation.
You might even call it a retreat.

You can leave on a trip,
a going-away.
These are usually happy leaves,
to depart on a jet plane, boat,
or train.

Sometimes when you leave
you abscond with the residual dregs,
the whatever that is left behind.

Sometimes you disappear
from former acquaintances,
or a gathering place that
no longer offers attraction.

Leaving is a renouncing
of what once was,
a forsaking,
like shaking off old clothes
or peeling off old skin.

It is a put-aside,
a removing,

but it can also be a
delicious escape,

fleeing the scene
with the evidence
that you knew all along
it just wouldn’t work out.

Sometimes it is a leave-taking;
he leaves taking with him
the memory of you,

and his leaving
is all you have left.

Drinking Champagne While Washing the Dishes

Previously published by One Spirit Press


This has been a year of broken appliances.

The garage door would not open its mouth,
therefore, no life could emerge from its depth.

The oven would not ignite,
its passion grew cold and uninviting.

And now, 
the dishwasher refuses to drain its waters.

So, I figure if I drink champagne
while washing all these friggin’ dishes,
the job won’t seem so tedious.

I am thinking now about the contrast
between drinking champagne and washing dishes,
how these two opposites can be a metaphor for life,
an analogy.

We have those days of wine and roses,
all the highs, the fallings in love, the parties,
good friends, travels, successes,

and we have the tedious:
washing dishes, folding laundry,
heating up leftovers, boring jobs,
boring lovers, having to visit a
relative whose repetitive stories
are monotonous.

So, I raise my flute,
drain my glass,
wash another dish,
and contemplate dichotomy.


2 thoughts on “The Straw Hat Seeker of Truth and Other Poems

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