On Leaving Maui

—Lesa Medley


Sunlight glistening
waves crashing
palm trees swaying
hibiscus and plumeria,
ah, the plumeria,
its heady fragrance
perfumes the air
and casts a spell
like no other
strong trade wind breezes
keep it all
in constant motion
puffy white pillow clouds
hover above and
cling to the mountaintops
Kihei sits directly
across the water
from my spot
on the Maalea Harbor
Wailea, to the far right,
almost to the end of the point,
although I am preparing
to leave this place,
I am not yet ready
to say Aloha, goodbye,
there is comfort and solace;
however, in knowing
that I most certainly
will return.



—Lesa Medley

She’s tall, thin and very old
but not frail.
Long black lacy dress,
old, pointed high heeled shoes,
buttoned up.
Snow white hair in a tight bun
at the nape of her long, thin
wrinkled neck,
penetrating steely blue eyes,
pursed, thin, tight lips,
painted red,
long fingernails, tapered,
painted red.
In her left hand is a lit cigarette
held between two bony fingers by a long holder,
slender, tortoise shell.
Looking over my shoulder,
she takes a puff, points at me and,
blowing blue smoke in my face,
she says in her deep raspy voice,
“Oh no dear, you mustn’t write about that,
it isn’t nice or ladylike.

What will people think?
What will people say?
What will your Mother say?
Oh no, that will not do,
tsk tsk”.
Another puff and blue smoke.
“Will not do, at all.
Honestly, dear,
I just don’t know why you even bother,
you know you really don’t have
anything worthwhile to say anyway.
You certainly haven’t any talent to speak of.
Surely, you must know that. ”
The very next time she shows up,
(and she will)
I want to say…
no, I will say, this:
“You may be right, but for now,
no, I do not know that,
so thank you for sharing darling,
but, if you don’t mind,
I think I will keep trying anyway.
Now, please, put out that cigarette
and be quiet or go away,
I’m writing.”


—Lesa Medley

Years ago
while walking the beach
on the Oregon Coast,
Mom spotted a
large, gnarled
piece of driftwood
she just had to have.
Dad drug that driftwood
for 3 miles down the beach
back to our car
so that it could become
the centerpiece of our
front lawn landscaping.
Fast forward
some forty plus years
to a pleasant,
sunny Monday afternoon,
late August;
my sisters, my Dad,
and I,
parked across from the old house
on Wright Street
in The Dalles.
That same piece of driftwood,
weathered with age…
but still in place.
We began to plan a covert
night time mission
to take it back,
but couldn’t agree
on who should keep it.
In the end, we left it there…
and went to Big Jim’s
for ice cream. ~

Soul Searching

—Lesa Medley

If you cannot find where your soul is hidden
you must not give up, it is only hiding,
it is not lost
do not abandon the search
Perhaps you need only to get a little quieter,
and move a little deeper…
within yourself
just for a time —
in order to find the truth
and peace you seek
Or maybe, just maybe,
you have been looking for so long now
you may have forgotten
what it is you are truly trying to find,
which is yourself, isn’t it, really?

You have searched high and low,
here and there, and yes, well,
you may say,
“Just about everywhere”
but to no avail…
it just isn’t anywhere

You have yet to discover
after all this time
that you have been looking
in all the wrong places
Maybe it has been
right here with you all along
Did you, by any chance,
in some quiet moment,
happen to think to look there…
it is hiding
just behind your heart?

On The Outs

—Lesa Medley

Writing and I are on the outs at the moment.
We are not on speaking terms
No, we’re not.
I haven’t felt like writing,
I haven’t wanted to write,
I haven’t even wanted to read about writing.
I’m not sure how it happened, really,
It just happened.
It’s not like we had a big fight
or anything like that,
we didn’t mutually agree
to take a short break
from each other,
or to give each other a time out
for some reason or another.
It is just that we simply stopped speaking.
I think we both have been feeling lonely
and neglected and got our feelers hurt.
We both are being stubborn and sulking right now.
But it’s okay…
it’s happened before.
I know that it’s only temporary
and that sooner or later we will make up,
all will be forgiven and forgotten
and we will love each other again.
I’m finding myself softening already,
I’ve picked up a pen and opened my notebook…

I’m thinking it will be sooner.

Rediscovering Passion

—Lesa Medley

I’m rediscovering a passion
I didn’t know I had
or thought I had lost
or forgotten, somehow…
But I am finding that
it has just been buried …
somewhere, deep down
inside my soul,
a smoldering flame
warm, glowing…
just waiting
to be stoked
and coaxed back to life.

Oh yes, I want passion.
I want fireworks,
I want chill bumps.
I want excitement…
with a capital E.
I want to want something
so badly that it hurts,
so bad that I can taste it,
smell it,
feel it,
deep down inside
and then…
and then…
I want to grab it,
with both hands!

The Door Is Open

— Lesa Medley

The door is open
to where two worlds touch;
more and more these days
I find myself creeping up
to the threshold…
that line where one world ends
and the other begins.
I feel myself inching closer —
then stepping back,
almost teasing, tempting
until I’m just close enough
to put a toe across that line…
that boundary
between what is now
and what could be – maybe
someday.  If I dare.
The door is open…
Do I walk through?
Do I dare?  Am I ready?

Angel Directives

—Lesa Medley

Smile more often
Laugh more often
Light candles
Use the good dishes
Listen to music that moves you
Dance, play, create
Sing, even if you think you can’t
Stretch yourself
Surprise yourself
Always keep a positive attitude
Stay on the offensive, be strong
Speak softly
Practice gratitude daily
Do what you can do
Do what really matters
Let go of the rest
Be present and in this moment
Be gentle with yourself
Be kind to each other
Look out for each other
Rest when you need to
Tell those you love you love them
Make memories to cherish
Choose to be happy
Most of all…
Don’t take it all so seriously
Have fun, celebrate
Enjoy this wild and crazy
Precious life!


— Lesa Medley

I invoke the muse of play

to break these chains

of structure and rules,

release the bonds

of grammar and niceties

and my stubborn adult will.

I want to be free to explore

and investigate

to find joy and to laugh.

Help me to see clearly

through the fog and muck

of grown up worries,

doubts and anxieties

to the fun and wonder

to the heart of the child

that I know lives inside…

just beneath the surface…

if I just have faith

and can be quiet

long enough

to hear the whispers.

Crosswalk Observations

— Lesa Medley

Yesterday, as I walked up to the street corner
I saw a young woman who was with her sister,
maybe, or perhaps, her daughter.
It was ferociously hot and it seemed like it took
an eternity for the light to change to “walk”.
I couldn’t help but notice them.
The younger girl started to squirm as they
were standing there and the other, her sister,
maybe, or perhaps, her mother,
was deep in thought, her brow etched with worry.
I know we were probably surrounded

by other people at that busy street corner,

but they are the only ones I remember.
I can’t help but wonder…
Who were they?
Where were they going?
I hope it was to get a cool caramel sundae.

Note to Self

— Lesa Medley

Explore your own voice

discover what makes you,


Speak and write your own truth,

not anyone else’s.

Find your own rhythms

the ebbs and flows

the ups and downs,

the subtle nuances

that are uniquely


and write that down;

that story,

that song,

or that poem.

Only you can write

what you need to say,

in the way that

it needs to be said,

to be authentic

to be your story,

your song,

or your poem.

What I Remember About Kindergarten

— Lesa Medley

What do I remember about kindergarten?
I don’t remember:

Finger painting
Playing with clay
I don’t remember:
Working with numbers
Or sounds
I don’t remember:
Sharing secrets and whispering
With my very best friend
I don’t remember:
Play time
Show and tell
I don’t remember:
Snack time
Nap time
Or music time
I don’t remember:
My papers and art work
Proudly displayed
On the refrigerator at home
I don’t remember:
Performing in little skits
Or kindergarten graduation
So what do I remember about kindergarten?

I remember that…
I never went to kindergarten.

Word Sea

— Lesa Medley

As I sit here this blustery Sunday morning
there is a sea of words before me,
random words…
jet black letters swimming
and swirling on bright white paper.
I am seeking something
so I reach in with both hands,
hoping to grasp at least a spark
of inspiration…
even just a loose thread
that I can grab onto and
use to weave together
thoughts and feelings,
maybe add a little color
here and there,
some texture and flavor
for surprise…
to create a tapestry
out of what was once
just a churning sea
of random words.


Searching for Words

— Lesa Medley

I need inspiration –
that electric spark
that ignites
the strong desire
for words.
To hell with grammar
and punctuation,
just write down on paper
what you really feel
deep down in the dark,
depths of your soul.
Who says that words
need to ferment
until they are ready
to bubble up to
the surface?
I am drowning
in my own words.
Yet, I can’t find the
right ones.
I need to get them out!
I want to climb down,
explore what’s there,
then bring them up,
lay them all out
in the sunlight,
for all to see.
They say to take your time,
and the words will come.
In their own time,
their own season.
To them I say…
Patience is not my
middle name.
These are my words,
and I want them, now!

Another World Outside

— Lesa Medley

Outside the steamed windows
another life exists…
stray dogs and cats, birds,
an occasional squirrel,
or two
all going about their business,
foraging for food
seeking shelter,
or just happily playing.
They are all in the same business…
the business
of survival.
The same as us, I suppose
but on a different level…
a deeper more basic,
primitive level,
more instinctual perhaps
but we all want the same thing…
to survive.
To be safe, healthy,
and to grow strong…
to thrive.
And maybe, just maybe,
if we are all really lucky,
to be happy and
have a little fun
in the process.

In Mary’s Garden

— Lesa Medley

In Mary’s garden
a soft wind blows,
flowers and herbs bloom and grow.
A kitty named Desi sleeps
coiled in a corner in the sun,
one paw wrapped over her face.
She’s hoping you don’t see her.
The sounds of poetry, laughter
and chimes
blend musically with
the rustling of the trees
in the wind.
The afternoon sunlight
filters through the leaves,
casting a golden glow.
Hummingbirds hover,
wine flows, and
friendships strengthen . . .
and deepen.
Our writing becomes richer,
more alive
with this good food,
good conversation,
and good company
for inspiration.
Yes, magic happens . . .

in Mary’s garden.

In the Ghost Town, Where My Mother Was Born

— Lesa Medley

In the ghost town, where my mother was born
I see the slatted floorboards of the porch
of the hotel—I see the old porch swings
The hotel has been newly remodeled
It is now a cozy Bed and Breakfast
Weathered wooden Indian and Cowboy
Are still standing guard—as they have for years

Sagebrush, Juniper trees and tumbleweeds
Frozen stillness in the pea soup thick fog
Silent schoolyard, stagecoaches and jail house
Long empty City Hall and Wagon Yard
Shaniko wasn’t always a ghost town—
It was once “The Wool Shipping Capital”
Bustling with sheep, cattle, people and noise
Railroad, grain elevators and blacksmith

Moonshine peddlers, ranchers, and sheepherders—
Mule skinners and railroad men were there too
I can feel the pulse of what must have been
The house my mother was born in is green
I had always remembered it as pink
But things change—the way things will always change
In the ghost town, where my mother was born.

Posting from a Night Train

— Lesa Medley

Friday, May 3, 2013
On a night train,
no, not to Georgia,
but the #14 Amtrak Coast Starlight
8:25 pm to Eugene, Oregon
My final destination: Roseburg, Oregon

There is a Rod Stewart wanna be
in the seat in front of me,
with yellow-orange spiked hair,
he is standing in the aisle
smoking an electronic cigarette

After sitting for a while,
need to walk and stretch my legs.
I wander down to the sightseeing car
nothing to see out the big windows
except dark and my own reflection

I get a turkey sandwich, peanuts and water
from the snack car and head back to my seat.
The train rolls northward.
We stop and pick up more night travelers
and the seats fill up.

3:43 am Well surprise… I can’t sleep!
Finding it hard to get comfortable,
and it is not so easy to sleep
next to someone I don’t know.

We were stopped for 2 hours earlier
outside of Martinez
due to a medical incident
requiring paramedics.
Hoping for a good outcome.

Advised family meeting train
I may be late.

Now we are just lumbering along in the dark,
I am not sure where.
except for an occasional cough…
from somewhere,
and the creaking of the train.

The Plunge

— Lesa Medley

I had been on the sidelines,
back there,
against the wall
just watching…
for far too long.

One day,
I had had enough
just watching.
I gathered up
unknown courage
and strength
from some hidden place
deep inside me,
and I just did it.

Not shyly and gingerly
easing my way,
not sticking
my big toe in first
to test.
I took a running leap
and jumped right in
head first…
into the deep end,
my whole self.

I surfaced,
and as I was climbing
up the ladder,
my whole self smiled.

And then I wondered…
why I had waited so long.


Insomniac Parade

— Lesa Medley

My thoughts begin to gather
in the shadows
of the night and I know…
They are lining up
for yet another parade.
Those thoughtless thieves,
robbing me of my rest.

The festivities usually begin
with the
Unpaid Bills Drum & Bugle Corps,
marching by in their
soldierly rows,
banging on their drums
and chanting “REMIT TODAY!”

They are followed closely by the
Should Have Said / Should Have Done
Dance Team,
waving their colorful flags.
Then comes the ever popular
Health Issues Float,
with doctors and nurses aboard,
wearing sashes emblazoned
with their pet concerns.

Bringing up the rear, but not to be outdone, is the
Dysfunctional Family Mounted Brigade,
in all its glory.
And then there is me,
the ever ready clean-up crew,
running behind…
dealing with the inevitable fallout.