My Words

by laurie howland

The ink hits the paper
And the words begin to form
Shapes, lines, dashes and dots
The amazing beauty they bring
As they come together
Like an orchestra
With its violins, oboes and drums
All creating a cacophony 
Of sound
Of beauty
Of magic
Letters are the instruments
That form the words
To carry the rhythm of my soul
They are my words
My meaning
My expression of who I am
What I feel
And what I think
Their weight on the paper
Is heavy
With reflection
Sadness
Loneliness
Joy
Or gratitude
So many varying emotions
The words can express
As each line forms
A letter
To form a message
A thought or a feeling
They are all mine
And I love them
They need not be perfect
Award winning
Some may find them odd
Or boring
Oh, what a bold word choice 
They may say
Oh, heavens, she makes no sense
When she uses the word cacophony
But all those judgements
Do not matter
For they are my words
To release
In whatever order I choose
My words
My stringing together
Of lines to form letters
To form meaning
My meaning

Ask Me My Age

by laurie howland

Ask me my age
Oh, I will tell you
I do not fear being judged
Do I look older than the number I give you
Is it cause I failed to take care of myself
Or was I not blessed with good genes
Maybe you think I look younger
Either way the wrinkles are there
The gray hair mixes in with the brown
The knees creak a little more
But I do not fear telling you my age
You see, I where it like a badge
A badge of wisdom
Years of growth and learning
Years of trials and mistakes
They are my years
The time that has given me my stories 
My memories
And all the experiences are wrapped up now
In my wisdom
To share
And each new birthday
Brings a reminder of another year
That I have been able to grow and learn
So ask me my age 
And I will gladly tell you
Just don’t ask me my weight

Frequency

by laurie howland

The dial turns slowly
And no matter how many times it clicks
The static still comes through
The static
The noise of nothingness
Can you hear this
The unwanted sound
Of vibrations filling the air
Breaking the silence
More than audible
For it fills your mind with images
It is cacophony of vibrations that fills the ears
And colors the mind with nothingness
Nothingness
Irritating
Annoying
It doesn’t seem to go away
No matter how many times
You change the channel
Or keep turning the knob
Hoping for something else
Hoping 
For music
For words
For a song to fill your heart
Words to inspire you, lift you
Something more pleasant
Every once in a while you can hear a voice
Behind the static
But it isn’t clear
Is there nothing on
Is the universe only made of this noise
This pressure traveling into your mind
Where are the melodies
The harmonies
The notes
The songs
The beats
The rhythms
The beauty
All you get is static
One turn after another
And not until you look
Really look
Not at the dial
But at what you are doing
Do you realize
You are not on any frequency
No AM
No FM
A no man’s world
Where there is only inconvenience
And not until you stop blindly turning
Stop a hopeless search
Do you become aware of it
Notice it
And when you change
Change your frequency
Do you find it
The melody
The harmony
The beauty
Your song

The Examined Life

Poem and photo by Laurie Howland

How often do we look at ourselves closely
Not to notice every pore or every wrinkle
But to notice every fine line of who we are


How often do we go through the course of a day
Fulfilling our duties and mundane chores
Without looking at ourselves and noticing
The moments that make our hearts smile


How often do we fall asleep at night
Exhausted from a chaotic day
Stressed from the burdens on our shoulders
And fail to notice all the things to be grateful for


How often do we rise in the morning
To begin our day without stopping to be present
So that all the fleeting moments don’t go unnoticed
Among all the mundane chores, burdens and wrinkles