Japanese Death Poems

I’ve decided it’s about time I read the books that have somehow made it to my shelf unbeknownst curated by me from my past self for my now self. I set this goal when I decided that I’d like to be who my bookshelf says I am.

Since there are challenges in my personal life that are coming to pass with full consent, but not without sorrow.

My most recent acquisition of Japanese Death Poetry written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death published in 1986 and again in 1988. This book made it into my hands because a brilliant man died and his widow passed it on to me. I have several books on death and dying that I’ve already read, but this one is of a different ilk than say, Stiff by Mary Roach.

I have so many things I want to share with you. I feel surprisingly alive, clear, and happy. It is an odd dichotomy with the sadness I feel as well. The compilation was made by Yoel Hoffmann.

When I look at the bookshelves of people more well read than I, it is a constant reminder of how much time I spent just trying to survive. Along with the Poems, I’ve also picked up a copy of ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE- An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. That one has been recommended by several of my friends so I feel kind of lucky to have that in my collection for right now.

I’m also pondering podcasts. I wonder what I’d do it on…

TAMP: Looney II Crew

I love people who frame their puzzles

and hang HOME upon their walls

I love the people who are never quiet

even as night-time falls

I love the people I call family

as right as any blood

I love the fam’ly of my heart

who love me like they should.

Dearest Mama 2020

I’ve thought about your chronological timeline of our relationship that you wrote with such attention. I wish I could see it like that. The absence of our relationship during the lean years of our emotional lives burdens me to this day, but not how you may think.

With your guidance, perhaps I’d have avoided some of the pain I endured because I refused your matriarchal wisdom. Without you, I kept myself small so that others, undeserving/saints, could shine their sins/lights through me, the prism child. The magical being you brought into this world. With my life reborn here, you’re not losing me, you’re gifted with the light’s rebirth in my spirit. It burdens me because I couldn’t shine for you like I shine here. Know that in my heart of hearts, I am but a reflection of those around me, and around you, I’m at my most glorious.

You wrote of us breaking apart in our relationship, but Mama, this is how I roll. I realize this with Ben and my marriage. I love that man ridiculously. I wish him not a lick of harm which is why I’m away from him. He couldn’t give me what I needed right now.

This was not personal against you, although I recognize how it could feel that way. Perhaps feeling like you’re not enough to keep my heart. As I stated above, it’s because of you that I felt brave enough to step out into the world. It’s because of you, I felt the confidence to face my darkest fears. No ordinary person could love like you, my mother, my heart, my love. You make mistakes, but man, so do I.

This, my beloved mother, is how I want you to know I love you. You’re not a saint, but you’re an angel in a meat suit. I think the world of you even when you’re doing what I call mundane things. Things I’ve seen you both do for a million years; Things that make me want to have a more musical life (like a real musical, not just singing (Hit song quality)). Ones where the true feelings pour out of the mouths of people like you and me in a harmony that is strictly our own. Like the Loon song you sing with Dad, the familiar feel of three-word arguments and ribs with deep gouges from elbows.

Please read this with an open heart so that I can snuggle up inside and feel the safest I ever feel. Allow me to cuddle up against your memories like when we’d watch TV on the couch and I’d get the knee because I was the oldest. How I’d fall asleep on your hip and don’t ever remember waking up. I want to remember how it felt to know I was protected like I feel now.

I know I’m not what you expected or maybe even hoped for. I’m loud, cuss a lot, think nakedly, don’t filter frequently, but I’ve tried so hard not to break your heart or disappoint you. It’s a reason I stayed as long as I did. It’s a damn good reason to stay. That’s not blame, that’s recognition for the truth you showed me through your calming words when I freaked out over stuff that, truly, should never have happened or been said, but there it was and there you were with the dustpan to help me sweep up another mess.

As I sit here in my living room writing this on the computer I’m still paying for, I can’t help but be grateful for the many things you’ve allowed me to achieve with your generosity. You’ve helped me commit to things I was busting buttons proud to do. You helped me realize I’m okay and worth it even when everything went south before I did. I don’t know the right words to express how deeply I adore your generous heart. You are far more trusting of your intuition now that you’re older. I admire the growth I’ve seen since returning as a significantly different person than I knew.

I want this to be a letter that you cherish. If it’s anything but, please let me know. Every intention of these words on the page are to convey to you how very deeply, truly, and completely I adore you.

With deepest devotion, your daughter

Mare Helen

TAMP: Jen Stark

She reminds me of fresh mown grass like spring petricore

Firefly constellations

Under a strawberry moon ripe with bright juices

Celebrating a halo of goddess hair kissing her cheeks with Medusa curls springing like snakes dripping to offer an apple to Eve


My bookshelves tell the story of who I long to be.
FANATIC!, The Goddess Path, Japanese Death Poems, Seriously Happy
Only not yet read or written:
PASSIONATE!, The Spiritual Path, Death Doula, Dynamic Peace
HOPELESSNESS!, The Lost Path, Writing Eulogies, Common Day Terrors
REMEMBER!, Your Voice’s Song, Your Purposeful Life, Your Revolution in Love


Write her love letters

so she knows where to look for the sunrise

Envelope her in

clouds of tender kisses

Slight on her skin

Caressing her cheek

as a rose petal

may bruise her blushing

Remind her of your

boundless connection

Demonstrate your love

Being dependent

On her breath for life

Baba Yaga’s House

I live in baba yagas house

My life presses up against the windows

Threatening to explode into a thousand bits & pieces

It’s like trying to make a call on Christmas morning

Bustling with spells cast with open heart

The truth in wisdom laying down gently is misinformed

Wisdom is furious battles with important happenings

Struggles rectified with triumphant beheadings

I live in Baba Yaggas house poised on her spoon

Forged by the oven’s high heat, taunting foolishness closer

Watching the White, the Red, and the Black

Racing by the windows covered in cobwebs

Resplendent in the tatters of Chronos’ robes

With a sharp sin of her house that dances on chicken legs

I am granted temporary reprieve into the sky clad night

I cast as she taught me and my house is hers

My hearth gives purpose, ruminations of grounds gained

Immersions into dark wisdom refreshingly blessed

Yes, I live in Baba Yaga’s house.

Lent to Easter

Where nuts & fruits throw themselves to gruesome deaths

Upon samurai paring knives

(Little swords of choppy clops)

I watch carefully for non-existent patterns

That sputter & fizzle like bangers & mash on Easter Sunday

My mom makes sure you don’t forget

She made Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish.

She gave on plastic grass

in lopsided plastic baskets

Reused, named,

Equitably packed

deaf chocolate rabbits that couldn’t poop

Malted milk eggs and waxy sixlets or coins

And a custom gift like Sweet Honesty

in an Avon silver-toned deer

Or the envied Matchbox cars or Hot Wheels

With real opening doors

that tossed imaginary victims

to gruesome imaginary deaths

Stilted House

Baba Yaga's House
This is missing chicken legs

I live in Baba Yaga’s house

My life presses up against the windows

threatening to explode into a thousand bits & pieces

It’s like trying to complete a call on Christmas morning

I live with Baba Yaga’s siren

All-knowing; All seeing; All brimstone’s gift

I watch attentively for non-existent patterns

Sometimes warp, weft, and weave draw-in

She flashes me what to know

She whispers, “We are sisters.”

She made me bend my knees

As I consider her value against my own worth

I know that together wisdom shall come

It is by my right of birth

Blueberry Pancakes

I love blueberry pancakes.

the ones my dad makes for me

when I get to spend the night.

They are emotions spread into 6″ rounds

with bubbly edges stained purple.

It’s how he tells me

“You mean so much to me.”


“I love you berry much.”

That’s not him, that’s me.

It’s the connection with a father

MY DAD that worked hard

so she wouldn’t have to.

It’s the flavor of buttered syrup

a modicum of sweet drizzled

over bruised blueberries

bubbling more

than some battered fruit

The stacks of his generous heart

tower over the platter

that he places on the table

solid, like him, dependable,

sturdy as stock he stands

I accept his gift as he tells a joke

with the punchline

strategically placed

in middle the middle