necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


April 2016

Letting Go


(Photo credit: German artist Gabriele Ahrens‘ piece, Crosslinked.


Confusion like a cloud of dust

Hovered in her hair

And sunlight caught each



Vomiting direction in a

Dizzying dance of

Pulling close and

Throwing to the ground.



Tangled and beaten

She ran her fingers through

Caught the knots

And skin tore off

Connected to sticky strands

Locked together

With grasping for thoughts

Not abiding by




She shaved her head

To stop the itch

Lice-filled reflections

Connecting teeth

And gripping her scalp

Until the day

She cut them out and

Watched them fall and

Heard them scream for help.



The sunshine and the rain

The moon and eclipse


Gathered ‘round her skull

The atmosphere

Was heavy

With invisible

Orbs of wetness and





She lay her head

In blades of grass

Body bent on a bed of mud

That drenched the surface

Where her crown

Once rested

Now a twisted mess

Blowing away.



She traded certainty

For chaos

Laid down security

For disarray

To the guard sitting

At the door

Of her heart

His badge rusted with




Alone and balding

Like a victim of


Whose anchors

Fire and acid

Threw themselves

Into her eyes

She stared blankly

At the sky.



“I cut him out,

the one who was

knotted in each strand

cascading down like braids

twisted and

wrapping around

and I thought

release would

set me free.”



Two minds—

Double you might say—

Projected their


Onto a screen

In celestial sphere

One depicted

Get up and walk

The other, succumb.



Freedom breathed

Into each choice

Clarity clothed in voice

Autonomy restored

To its former


She chose the hardest part—

Letting go and



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Like Any Woman


(Photo credit: German artist Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, Tree Of Perception.


It was not what she said


It was the way she held

The stem of her glass

Between freshly painted



Red wine and red.



She breathed in and out

Like any woman would


The silk in her dress

Gathered and fell

With inhale and


I waited for the next.



Her laugh was too loud

No clever disguise of


Formalized veiling her mouth


Candlelit stares

In the face of she

Whose savage joy mesmerized me.



There was a soulful tune

Permeating the room


Armor I knew

Well beyond its usefulness


I had grown accustomed to

Until I felt the thrust of she.



Never before had her eyes

Encountered mine

“Hello,” I said—

Enunciation tranquilized

Words fell all the way back

And slid

To the sharpest point

Of her black high heel.



It was not that I fell mute


I dared not dilute

Fortuity in the air

With words wrapped

In coherence or

Forced perseverance

Of my own understanding.



I held my hand open

For her to take


Gently cleaving

To the feeling

If she lay her hand in mine

Her touch would both stop and

Awaken time.



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Of Melody And Of Moan


(This poem was inspired by German artist Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, The Secret Carrier.




The sky is hot like leather

Brown and coating our skin

With beads surging into streams

Of sweat


In the distance

A lonely guitar throbs

Crooning refrains of love

And regret


We toil long and

Hum the oscillating songs

One by one to forget

The hour


Bugs sway back and forth

On blades of green

Tired and scorched by fever and

By life


Women tell stories

Laugh with heads thrown back

Simple versions of disaster pulsate in

Their smiles


Men with sinewy arms

Pull from the lazy earth

Swollen roots of sustenance and

Of dreams


Children thump the ground

Like ragtime drummers

Beating rhythms of play and

Far away


The musician strums andante

Caressing silvery strings releasing

Vibrations of melody and

Of moan.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson



(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Heiko Müller‘s piece, Arrival.


It isn’t the past

Upon which I stumble

It is the future


Dreamscapes far below

The airplane window

Of my soul


Traveling quickly

With altitude sickness

Not sure where to land



Waiting for Command

To tell me where to go


Turbulent escape

Parachuting down

Time to walk instead


Down dusty roads

Cracking dry

Under the heat of summer


I pass a burning field

A farmer destroying

The weeds that grow


Making room

For something new

To break through


On the ground

Is safer for me

And for my dreams


Sitting by the fire

Throwing things inside

No more room for them to hide


Lightening the load

Before taking to the road

A journey preparing


I can see you

Standing there

Fanning the flames


I can see you

Running around

Throwing water


I can see you

Laying there



I can see you

Running away

Wiping your tears


In the moment


It all turns to smoke


I will light my cigarette

Off the final



And turn to the horizon.



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


The soundtrack to this poem for me:



(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German artist moki‘s piece, untitled/2007 acrylic on canvas board 15x20cm.


Born into the beauty of Spring

Between a fog-covered morning and

Daffodils breezily performing

A ballet in minor keys

She was touched first by the sun



Our greatest star floated down

Like a blanket,




Her mother was gentle

Hands soft and graceful—

Rose petals against her fingers

Blushed in their inadequacy

To soothe pain

With placid refrains of


Sliding down from

Cheeks to chins

With whispers thin.



Her father worked the fields

Gathered to his chest

The yields he nurtured

From seeds into

Future nourishment


In straw-colored baskets

To a town where

Eyes lit with hellos and

Hands shook with goodbyes.



Buried deep inside

The beauty young

A grain of aberration was planted—

Roots grew long and

Slanted downward

Spreading wide

Like awns on Wheat

Piercing delicate organs

Changing the beat

Of her sunflower heart.



Melancholia filled the pasture

Of her mind

A harvest inward


Watered by heredity

Drowned in mystery

Tears stagnant


Breeding mosquitos

Draining from within.



Born into the beauty of Spring

She lived in the landscape of Winter

Bracing against snow-filled torrents

Of frozen joy—

A sculptor of ice into smiles

A painter of masks

Detailing profiles

Desperate to delight

Those she could not disappoint—

Ashamed to bare only flickering light.



Her mother named her Bliss

Her father called her Life

They held her hands

Through seasons passing

Interlocked their fingers

With her plans

Held her high for every eye

To marvel and admire

Proud of the child, the woman

They knew her to be.



Her outside


Silent cries—

A contrast of

Cheerful attainment to

Sorrowful containment

Wrenching from

The wish to please

To the reality of




As Autumn sang

Its songs of change

She unzipped her disguise

Let her discrepancy fall

And her hopelessness rise—

A coffin soft

Burlap and heavy

She sunk into the shadow

Where finally she could hide

From sunshine and from lies.



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

God Of The Street

Forgot to mention the moon.jpg

(Photo credit: German artist Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, Forgot to Mention the Moon.)


What if God was as close as

The domed ceiling of an antiquated church—

Walls lines with stained glass

Depictions of before and after

Christ invaded the story

The history of man

A broader narration

An epic

A comedy

A tragedy

A lineage of life and death

And birth and




The grandiose nature of

The Alpha and Omega—

The beginning and the end—

Could not be contained

The stained glass rattles

The musty, dusty wood

That used to be trees stretching

Tall in majestic places

Now bowing to parishioners

Waiting for

Waiting for

The release of weight

When men and women

Stand to their feet

Applaud and proclaim

Praise to the One that lives

Beyond the dome—



Outside the temple erected

His focus directed on each one

Who walks the streets

Umbrellas and tissue

And glasses and backpacks

Catering to their earthly needs

All the while moving inside

An invisible song

Pervasive notes swirling

In the air

The breath of God in the wind

His playfulness in

The wings of fluttering birds

His rejuvenation in colorful promises

Of spring

His love in the eyes of those

Who hold hands

His peace in the frogs croaking

Their midnight serenades.



He whose visage

Hangs in the churches

Broke through the walls to

Walk side by side

No dome

No tomb

No misunderstanding

No doubt

No running



No running



Can hold the God of



To our wood and plaster and


Drawn windows:

It is we whose frames are weak

It is we whose knees

Must bend

Whose heads must bow—

It is our shatters

Our shards that the

Incense picks up and carries

Into the atmosphere

Palpable with life

And into the nostrils of He

Who broke through the dome.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

The Unforgiving Dog

2016-04-16 11.14.56 (1).jpg

(The adorable boy you see here in my dog, Mr. Bates.  He is named after my favorite character from the BBC television show Downton Abbey.)


My dog will not forgive me

Though I asked him many times

With treats in my hands

Bacon in my pockets

I have pleaded,


And he

Sits silently,




“What must I do?”

I have pined

Looking for the clue

Some kind of cue

To begin my

Apology anew—

It does not come

Only a wag and

Stoic stares.



“Is this a staring contest?”

I have wondered

But I have yet

To speak the words—

I am afraid he

Will think me silly

Because contests

Are mostly born of

Human insecurity.



My dog will not forgive me

Though his water bowl is full

His leash is hot

With newly acquired sunshine

Gathered on the walk

We recently took,

An offering

My bribe to him,

“Please, let me off the hook.”



I now remind him of my faults

Repent and seek my peace

He sighs like a priest

Resting his chin on his hands

And wondering when

My tirade will find its end—

He sniffs

Licks the air

Then sighs into the floor.



“I guess I am a bore,”

I think

My shoulders fully slumped

I sink to sit before him, then

He jumps to his feet

Wiggles and leaps

Like a dancer with four left feet

“Finally,” he barks

Then rolls into my lap.



“But what about the times

I ignored you

forgot to adore you

when I stayed away too long

and scolded you for being wrong,

what about

my impatience,

when I chose not to be




He licks my hand

And lifts his paw,

“You humans don’t get it at all.”

Continuing, he reflects,

“We forgive right away

we never delay

because we remember

the value of living

and loving today.”



I feel quite embarrassed

I know he is right

I wasted time worrying

Mentally scurrying

Back to the past

Where all my faults sit

Like piles of vomit

I was willing to lick—

“You’re doing it again,” he winks,

“Just relax.”


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Question In The Sand

New Land IV.jpg

(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Thorsten Dittrich‘s piece, New Land IV.



As he leaned down toward the sand

His knees creaked under

Sensible cotton trousers

And then grew quiet again.


He sunk his finger between

A million grains

To write a message there—

First a W and then an

H followed by a




He drew a circle around the word

As though the spelling alone

Lacked power to

Catch the eye of anyone

Who might be qualified

To enter the quandary

With him

For him

Take it from his hands

Lift the weight

And carry it away.



His hair used to be black—

Until it was grey—

And in the wind that

Hovered above land,

After being cast

From the sea,

His curls lifted and fell

Like waves

Answering the whims

Of the moon and




He placed his hands

On top of his thighs and stood

Once more facing the

Mystery of tossing foam,

His question scrawled


And below—

In the center of himself—

Doubt churned

Under a stomach filled with

Acid and disaster.



Like bricks,

A collage of faces

A map filled with places

Melancholy traces

Unending races

Erected a wall inside his soul

Too high to climb

Too wide to choose

Whether left or right

Might end the

Mounting fight.



Hiding in plain sight

He felt alone

Until he was not—

She stepped in close

From a shadowy distance

To share his pool of light

Breaking through

The clouds

Illuminated by the night

The two stood staring,




“How did you find me?”

He asked—

She had no certainty

To give,

“I don’t know,”

Was all she said—

He brought one

Hand up to his mouth

As though to stop

The words from coming out,

“I needed to be found.”



They stood above

The crudely scribbled, “Why?”

Respected its presence

As a minnow respects a shark


They refused to bow their heads

In reverence for the question and,

Instead, they walked together

Hand in hand, and

Waited for answers to

Roll in with the tide.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson




I feel a great need to be understood, as though my own cognition is not enough to propel me into the next moment of my life. I experience such dissonance when I feel my experience is unanchored, floating free in the world with no shared recognition of who I am or the fires that burn in my heart. This dissonance can compel me in one of two directions: toward voice or toward silence.


One of the reasons I write is to test the waters of understanding in the world. My writing is like a flare gun into the night sky signaling for others who might say, “Yes, me too. I understand.” When I feel that I have written something true—either about myself or about others—a great sense of faith wells up in my soul that someone else will, indeed, be touched with a spark of connection, the igniting that catches fire in the hearts of those who feel they have been heard.


When I feel I cannot bring forth from the shadowy nighttime of my own experience something that will explain the inner me, or others, I feel claustrophobic. Trapped inside my own head with no release. It is like being sent to sit in the corner of my own life to watch those around me breathe and enjoy while I remain stifled. This isolation—this fear of remaining in the dark—used to cause me anxiety. Now, however, it brings depression.


Why is it thus? Why do I feel the need to be understood? Why can I not simply feel and think and know and experience without attaching anchors to all my thoughts and throwing them overboard. Why can I not walk away from misunderstanding and trust that, with time and reflection, all will eventually be made clear? Or . . . not. Shouldn’t “not” be okay, too?


When I was a child, I did not feel I had a voice. I accepted that my role was to support, entertain and find a way to blend in. To this end, I became an apt observer. I watched those around me with the eyes of one who needed to see others with clarity because, many times, when I was caught off-guard by the true intentions of a person I was quickly drawn into their currents and drowned by their hidden agendas. Perhaps, this has something to do with wanting to see and be seen. Maybe I learned early in my life that when I do not work to understand others I will somehow be hurt and cast aside. When I do not work to be understood, I will disappear into the fabric of the couch cushions or the crowds rushing up and down city streets. Lost.


Currently, I feel tossed about. My compass dipped below the waves and somewhere there is a shark swimming around the ocean with a newly acquired sense of direction sloshing around in his stomach.


I have written here before of anxiety and depression, mostly in a very safe “past tense.” That writing seemed to help many. Today I write in a present tense, which makes me more vulnerable than I would usually allow but my hope is that someone out there will help me this time.

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