Archives for September 2012

Sweet Apples & Honey

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for prayer, good deeds, reflecting on past mistakes and making amends with others.


Diving into the layers of color that are my life
Painting a vision of the year to come
Honoring my past

My father passed away on September 12, Rosh Hashanah in 1988. I used to say, Wow, two days a year to feel like crap. I was younger in understanding when I said that.  Now I wonder if his timing wasn’t part of the gift


Sweet apples & honey


Honoring what I have released
Has released me


Wants wishes dreams

Ah you’ve let go of dreams, one might ask.

Yes, I might answer

Let go of needing, pushing, pulling,
the angst that wraps itself
tangles, knots, ties itself
tightening around my delights
Wooosh, throw them to the water

Like a cloud
Or a bird that glides on the winds that come off the ocean
The bird launches into the strong gusts

A time to relax
A time to play
A time to drift
Riding the wind-wave

I will
I have
let go and I will be carried
I will

I saw the box
resting on the brown table
I was sitting in a waiting room
this wasn’t the first time
in this room
on this day
I Looked at the box
other days, the many times before, I picked up a magazine about Running
this day
the picture painted on the box
the blues and the greens
caught my eye
this day
I opened the box
a deck of cards
I picked up the card on top

Don’t take it personally
One  of  The Four Agreements

I turned the card over in my hand
I read

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you.  If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her.  Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal.


stitching together fabric too worn to seam
isn’t useful
words are just words
threaded together
to create a cloak
no matter how coarse and uncomfortable
I chose to drape it over my shoulders
let it create rash
scratching, itching, burning
rub my skin raw

Y is just a crooked letter


Sweet apples & honey




Tomorrow I’ll remember
40 years ago, 40 months ago, 40 days ago

this moment
the one after that

honoring those who have come and gone

through the windows, peep holes, cracks, nooks, crannies,
slipped in-between
swirled in through the front door
lifted out the back


Sweet apples & honey

Bread on the water



The submission guidelines for the online journal explained that they like poems.  Poems that are different, dark, light, tight, poems that might make them laugh, cry, scream, feel, think.  Poems that do not start with you drinking coffee, but you can prove us wrong. 

I’d like to prove them wrong. I’d like to write a poem about me sipping my coffee maybe on a cool morning that will make them laugh, cry, scream, feel, think, or just crave a cup of coffee.  I could write about my coffee, how rich it is and how good it tastes because I’m overlooking the Caribbean on a rainy day. I could write about my coffee, how black it is and how hot and how it burnt my tongue and how I should have waited before drinking it and how I remember so many other times I have been burnt.

Instead I thought about beginnings.


The weather

It’s hot
It’s cold
It’s foggy
It’s raining … again




I’m drinking coffee
I’m eating
I’m breathing
I’m sipping
I’m kissing
I’m fucking
I’m walking
Chewing gum
I’m drinking coffee
I’m drinking booze
I’m drinking coffee…black or with cream and sugar

It’s what we do

Business people
Its what we do
Its how we start

We Begin

Maybe they want

William Carlos Williams
Plums not coffee
White ceramic bowl
Not cup
Ice box
Not fridge


Lord Byron


They might want

Shall I compare thee to a summer day? 

Let us go you and I.


Or maybe

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

What about

I have gone out, possessed witch,

He came home. Said nothing.


Ahhh but these beginnings have already been written…



Poetry About Horror Movies?

I was on the radio last night.  Speak and Be Heard  

Remember "The Shining"?

That famous scary scene from “The Shining”

I was asked to write a poem about horror movies.
I was curious and needed more details, (I almost always need more).

The topic exactly:  Do the producers of horror movies make these movies to keep us living in fear?

Interesting topic.
I wasn’t alone in my perspective, although I had to bring serial killers into the conversation (see Fright Night below), I mean why not?

The host, Barry, was alone in his position that these films are meant to keep us living in fear.  Consensus around the table was, Then don’t go, no one forces us into the theatre.  Except maybe our own twisted desires… (Insert spooky laugh here).

About half way through my poem the line dropped out.  They called me back laughing, ahhhhhh the supernatural has stepped in, taken control, let us know we are not alone. Cue paranormal music here.

What a blast.  The whole process. Writing on topic.  Writing about something I would have never thought to write.   Writing to read on air.  Writing to share.  What a blast. I look forward to coming back, (I’ve been invited).  Next time, I’ll be in studio.  What a blast. What a push.  Pushing beyond where I feel comfortable, pushing myself to write something in poetic form ON TOPIC, pushing myself to dive in deeper, deeper deeper.  Ahhhhhhhh

Here’s to mainstreaming poetry!  More and more and more poetry being shared in the media.  Using poetry to bring us a new perspective on the topic, to bring us inside ourselves, to bring us to the heart of the matter, to connect us with our own hearts and thus with others.  Cheers I say!  (Listen to the show here in their archive.)

Here’s my poem:


Fright Night

We wait
Leaning forward
Breath held tight in our chests
Twisting with anticipation
Squirming with glee
In delicious dread
For the unveiling of horrors
Chasing chill up and down our spines.

Does life imitate art?
Or does art write life?
Coursing plasma
winding through words
a scarlet splash
splattering thick crimson blotches
projected through light
on the big screen
Over-Exposing whose demented truth?

Disturbed minds
predate modern emulsion
Vlad the impaler
George Chapman
Jack The Ripper
are just a few

What motivated these hollowed out
haunted souls
shadowed by Hell
to hover above shallow graves?

Who’s obsessed with whom?
We recreate
the hunt
the kill
the capture
the buzz.
Over and again
new grim fairy tales
track their clues
uncover their hints
dissect their moves.

Is it for thrill?
Is it to prevent repeat?
Is it answers we seek?
We are the characters
giving our life
to resuscitate these spirits.

The Delberate Stranger
Helter Skelter
To Catch a Killer
The Boston Strangler
Son of Sam
Citizen X

Into the dark we stare
watching gruesome scenes
anticipating our scare
our eyes open wide
as we step inside
dark twisted minds…



Carolyn Ziel September 10, 2012

Speak and Be Heard




Me and Dad Maui circa 79-80

I woke up this morning out of sorts.  I had to drag myself to my journal, but first to the coffee maker.  The sky is gray; the sun is working overtime just to give us light this morning.  It’s dark for 8:30am.

Then I wrote the date on the top of the blank page in my journal.

In four years I will have outlived my father.

Four years isn’t that much time and it will move fast.  Things change in four years. I have different goals, dreams, perspectives, tastes, habits and friends than I had four years ago. I spend my time with different people doing different things.  I’m different.  Yesterday I spoke to an old friend and we picked up like nothing had passed.  The foundation was built for years, through divorce, death, tears, trust and it was great to talk to her. We’ll always be friends and we are both different.

My days are different, I let them unfold a little more than I used to.  I used to be a pusher.  Forcing myself to do what I thought I should be doing.  Now I listen inside and I determine my next move from a more grounded place, from my heart.  My goals have changed.  They’re more defined, maybe larger, more connected to my heart and I don’t have to work as hard to achieve them. (That seems ironic huh?)

I’m easier. Easier on myself and so I’m easier on others.  I’m attracting people who are in the same place these days, ex-pushers.  Now strivers. We’re thrivers. (I like that word even though I’m pretty sure I just made it up.)

Mom & Dad circa 1987

24 years ago today my Dad left this planet. He slipped away, eyes closed, expelling his last breath, my Mother by his side.  The nurse had come over to her in the middle of the night. It’s time she said.  My mom moved to the side of his bed in the private room on the 8th floor at Cedars in the middle of a night in September. She held his hand and watched him move on.

I couldn’t imagine that moment.  I’ve tried.  That moment when you lose someone you’ve spent 47 years knowing and 25 of those 47 married.  I’ve tried to imagine the depth of that moment and its well of grief.

I can only know my own.  Grief pools at the bottom of my deep well and on hot days its vapors rise and permeate the air; breathing becomes thick and labored.  I know grief. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one to let it wash over me, through me, swirl around me, to dive into it and come out with a splash.

I have been cleansed by feeling the purest of emotions.

I know a lot, have learned a lot and in four years I’ll discover more.

24 years ago today my life took a sharp left.  From there I wandered twisted, curved, winding yellow brick roads that took me up and down and under and into this moment.  This overcast cool grey September morning I sit in my living room breathing into the gifts my father gave me.

My business savvy.
My sense of humor.
My courage.
My ethics.
My heart.
My resilient beating heart.

(And my spelling, I spelled savvy wrong, grateful for spell check).

My heart grew stronger that day, more robust in the years that followed.  Her scars give her character. I’m proud of them and the left turn and my gifts.

It’s a strange thing to say, I can now look at my Father’s death as a gift. It is also a true thing to say.  My life is my life because of all of the events in it and I can’t say I would change them.  I miss him.  His laugh, the way he would enter a room, how he was the center of attention at a party or a dinner, how he was so strong and confident on set, or in the office calling to the set, did you get the first shot off?

He was funny. We’d compete: I’m funnier than you Dad.

To come home from school and see a new car in the driveway, just because. His love for personalized license plates, movies spelled MUVEES, or CARLES, for me and my sister.  He could never top NGOSHE8.  (I have it and Michele came up with it.)

My Dad wrote great letters.  I’d get lots of letters and post cards all written in different color flair pens or typed.  The best.  We have memos he wrote about terrible times on set, Violets are Blue is a good one.  We have letters he received from Paul Newman and others he’d worked with over the years, funny letters he wrote to his buddies in New York when we first moved to Peck Drive and he was only driving two minutes to work at Fox. When I was a kid he’d start sending me birthday cards on August 1st, Happy 10 days ’til your birthday, I was away at camp and I’d get a card every day until my birthday.  He did it when I was in college too.

He would’ve loved Facebook.

I’d walk into his office at Paramount and he’d ask, are you here as a daughter or employee? Daughter, I’d answer. He’d press a button under his desk, his door would close and he’d say, Great, we can gossip.  

As I write this I can see him in my mind, dark olive skin, thick black hair, hazel eyes, deep smile.

He lives in my heart.

I am here, in this moment, in this life, living my dreams, because of his presence with me until I was 25 and beyond.

I bet he’s proud.

Board Meeting

Board Meeting

We wonder what they say
as we walk hand in hand along the beach.
They are assembled on the sand
30, 40, maybe more.
White and grey
feathers tattered and worn
decorated with that small orange circle
on their yellow bill.

It’s their weekly board meeting,
Saturday morning congregation
on the sand.
Sharing traumas of the week
like the narcotics anonymous circle of 17 chanting
the serenity prayer
a few lifeguard stations north.

They could be planning a party,
a surprise for Joe,
who will be turning 21 next weekend.
Deciding who will bring the main course,
the side dishes and the dessert.
“Don’t forget to invite his Aunt Bea, the one that lives in Marina Del Rey”
Jean prods Tom.

They could be discussing
how many fish they each caught that week;
comparing species
comparing sizes
comparing stories.
Or the garbage they saw floating in their ocean.
Or their disappointment at the low turnout of visitors to the beach
who brought bread or birdseed to share.
Or the amount of trash they left behind.

They could be confessing
the number of heads they dropped on
looking down
cawing an apology
of their lack of control.

Maybe it’s a support group.
They come weekly.
Today George is making amends for the fight he started with Jim;
George didn’t share the fish guts tossed overboard
from the rusty blue and white Luhrs fishing boat,
instead he swooped in
pecked at Jim and snatched his prize from the fisherman.

They’re working toward acceptance
of themselves and each other.
Appreciation for tattered feathers, orange dots and
uncontrollable droppings on cars and benches and heads.

My husband and I watch
as the meeting on the sand ends.
We listen to them chant the serenity prayer
like the 17 people three lifeguard stations to the North.
“It works if you work it” they squawk,
take flight and catch the wind.


Carolyn Ziel






I Love Lists


I love lists

Lists about life
Lists about love
Lists about lists
Lists about me
Lists about friends
Lists about family
about booze, food and fun
about gardening, swimming, sunning, sailing,
about kissing
whether to be or not to be
about questions and answers
about…. you get the gist of this list
Pros and cons lists
To do lists
Not to do lists


Fun with words, language and lists

Enjoy…feel free to comment and add yours…