A Pain in the Ass

graduationI’ve recently attended my first graduation ceremony, it was my own. Until this year, I’ve managed to avoid every opportunity for group celebration around completion (and many other events.)  I’ve come from a long, well-held habit of evasion.   I’d always known this was the case.  I’ve justified my discomfort by saying things to myself: I’m just not that social of a person, Or, my whole family were introverts….or I’m just not interested…or more recently, I don’t believe in endings (spritual sha-bang).

I’ve only had one reoccuring dream in my life.  In this dream, I never graduated high school.  I have to go back (at whatever current age I am) and try to blend in with the students and pass classes.  Even in my dreams I never make it to the graduation ceremony.  Without fail, few years later, I have the dream again.

People ask me about the process of Rolfing SI – and the best answer I have is: fun things keep happening to me.  What went from a question to resolve a literal ‘pain in the ass’ in the summer of 2012, turned into a psychophysical revolution.  Concurrently through the years of structural change, allies, friends, fellow writers and seekers of truth have emerged.  We’ve coincided like ecstatic magnetic spirals to serve and lift up one another.   And…. I now attend graduations, feel excited to meet people – and my voice is louder in my skull.  So that’s what is happening to me.

Remapping my body and nervous system has allowed me to let go of the old need to cling to stories of introvertism, and isolation out of fear of self preservation.    I realize, I no longer feel drained to be in the world.  And for the pain in my ass?  It’s still there, occasionally, when I am slouching and tired – when I’m not doing the things I love.  Pain is a good reminder for me to get off my ass – it is my friend.   I doubt I’ll have the dream again.

Allison for the Poplar Grove Muse

Orchard Girl

OrchardThey say I oughta be able

to get back to workin in a couple weeks,

soon as the stitchin heals up.  I keep thinkin

that doctor did something wrong, cause I know

I’m stitched up tighter than before

and then I keep thinkin maybe

Papa had something to do with it.

Maybe he asked him to stitch me shut.


Papa don’t look at me the same as before,

in fact, he don’t look at me much at all.

Says I shouldn’t a worn my hair down,

wasn’t proper, and in the dark the other night,

he told Mama, when he looked at me, all he saw

was what that boy did.


Soon as my dress started gettin tight

he stopped takin me to town and said

I’d be best to stay in the house and make myself

a new one.


The day the tall stranger come with a woman

in a blue dress and feathered hat,

he called me out so’s they could get a good look.

She was real nice and said I had “nice eyes” and

“a good jaw line.”  The man shook Papa’s hand

and they drove off.  “Best thing,” he said,

“lucky they come along,” but he wasn’t talkin

to me.  He don’t talk to me anymore.


All he said when my pains come was,

“Best get in the truck.” Mama come too

and she squeezed my hand so tight

under the edge of her skirt,

it liked to fall right off.


Mama stayed with me,

wiped the sweat from my face, and

when it was all done she wrapped

up my chest so tight I couldn’t hardly breathe.

S’posed to keep the milk from comin, but it did

anyway and I thought I know

how the fruit must feel

if nobody comes to take it when it’s ripe.

Just oozes with juice till it dies.


~Darci Hawxhurst for the Poplar Grove Muse

Lost Love…or Was It?

Glenda 5.16.16 We had four years of high school
to nurture the spark that both of us felt
but dared not fan into full blown flame.
I wouldn’t name it or claim it.
Our paths were too different,
(or so I thought)
and I was afraid to feel more deeply
than the smiles and the laughter—
the friendship we shared.

But that last day of school,
that senior class picnic,
when the spark joined our hands
and walked us round the lake
to a place of our own, a blanketed nest—
we whispered, we laughed, we kissed.
And we clung to each other,
like our girlfriend and boyfriend
weren’t waiting in the wings,
like we’d been at it for years,
with no strings attached.
There, on that sizzling afternoon in May,
away from routine
and in tune with our senses,
for a moment, an hour—
maybe a lifetime—
the power of friendship
and raging teen hormones,
(not to mention the scary unknown
of life beyond high school!)
kindled our passions
and set them aflame.

We have cherished a mutual, long-distance,
time-traveling love through the years
in a camouflaged cove in our hearts.
Not a lost love,
but a spark that still jumps,
still dances and flares up
when memory’s breeze
blows open the gate of the path not taken,
the alternate universe, unexplored—
the possibility of a different reality
that only imagination can know for sure.

Glenda Breeden for The Poplar Grove Muse
(March 25, 2016)

I Am Magic



This isn’t what I planned to read tonight. I had written something else. Then the Universe reminded me that I am magic. There’s no denying it. And yet, I have denied it. For years. Owning my magic was not the done thing. Not acceptable. Not ladylike. Fuck it. Call me a witch. See if I care. It’s a label I wear proudly. Proudly, like my bloody red heart on my sleeve and my iridescently black wings, sharp and to the point.

Our magic is such a powerful thing that historically, any woman who let her talents shine through was at the very least, persecuted, discredited, and vilified. If that didn’t stop her, she was executed.

I’m embracing it. Ramping up the power. Unfounded fear that I let too much leak out. It’s still there. Why waste it? I used to think my hair was my best feature; it’s not. It’s my magic. As I write about my mother, her mother, and my great aunts. I see magic lighting up the double helix of our DNA. We all had it, were all taught to deny it in different ways.

In 1995 when I showed up in Scotland my magic switched on full force. I was the most me I could be. I believe that’s why the pull I feel to return there is so strong in me. A woman I worked with at the Isle of Mull Hotel, her blue eyes piercing mine, said you know things. I nodded. Oh, aye. Her brother later told me I had the brightest aura he had ever seen. I stood taller. Owned it. No hiding my light there.

The world happens and we let our light dim. We don’t have the energy to shine. This morning, while at our magical Poplar Grove School, I drew a card from a deck of Grace Cards by Cheryl Richardson. It said Shine. You are a gift to the world. Boom! We all are gifts in our own ways. We can all Shine with a capital S. The world needs us to Shine.

Later, I read an article by Appalachian writer Anna Wess posted by the magically ethereal Allison Distler, titled The Last of the Granny Witches. And I thought, I’ll be damned, not going to be the last witch on earth. We are not a dying breed.

This world needs all of the magic it can conjure up. I’m going to start acknowledging what my gut knows, use my unique gifts to the best of my ability. Realize that I know these things not just to know them, but to do something with what I know. I will put magic into everything I do. If I make a difference in my own life, I will surely make a difference in the lives of others. Put on my oxygen mask first.

The practices we enjoy at Women Writing for (a) Change have taught me to be a better listener. To others. Now I begin to listen to myself. Say yes to myself. Dust off my magic wand, polish it up, and make it shine; shine bright, clear, and proud.

I’m going to squeeze the last drop of juice out of every day. Wring it dry so that my veins will sop their zinging for the night and I can sleep. Sleep with a Mona Lisa smile on my face, happy in the knowledge that I get to do it all over again tomorrow. And no one can stop me.

Rebekah Riebsomer Spivey



May 2. Since this happens to be a very political week here in Indiana, a poem from a new series that I am writing, tentatively entitled “The Politics of an Old Woman”, seems fitting for my contribution this time around. Enjoy !

Part I. In Public.
I want to protest those little boys in the Ladies’ Rooms…
Mothers sneak them in and then they peek under the dividing wall.
No boy-children in my bathrooms…
They are little perverts!
I’m sure they are up to no good.
When I was young
You had to pay to get into women’s stalls
A quarter a hit.
At least we should still have that
And the mothers should have to pay a quarter
For each male offspring
They loudly instruct about
What to do with their garments
And body parts.
All this, just so they can pee.
It shouldn’t be for free.
No mixed sex, please.
I’m sure it will turn them all into
Those ungodly, wrong-sex-identified perverts
Who, at age three, will want to attack me.

And don’t get me started on them in the showers at the Y!!!!
Join with me, Women out there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, come to think of it,
Us old folks with our wrinkly bodies
probably shouldn’t be allowed in any public facilities,
for surely we hurt the peoples’ eyes
and remind them of what they will become,
what will trans-pire before they ex-pire.
Keep us old transitioned wrinklies at home!

Part 2. A Post Menopausal in a Trump State.

I’m just waiting
for Trump and all of the “pro-life” soldiers
to put us post-menopausal women on their hit lists.
After all, we have all those unused ova dying slow deaths,
withering in our aged bodies.
Surely we women
must be held accountable
for such waste and devastation.
(I know I will be among
The first to go,
Not having contributed
Any of my population exploders
For the uncommon good.)
What a waste of skin and uterus
I must be.
But all of us of
“a certain age” will be called.
I foresee us being put out on ice floes
and sentenced to death for our crimes
of not using all of those potential “babies”.
Just sayin’

Bev Hartford