Sun Kissed Days

Sun Kissed Days

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Poet United Interview




So honored to be interviewed by Poets United, my peers and my poet community.


LIFE OF A POET - AYALA

Today, my friends, we are jetting down to Florida, land of sea and sun, to visit our friend Ayala, who blogs at a sun kissed life.  I am so looking forward to chatting with her, and hearing her story. For this one, I think wicker chairs in the shade, and tall glasses of iced tea would be perfect. Draw your chairs in close and let's begin.








Sherry: Ayala, it is wonderful to be chatting with you. I can't believe it has taken us this long to find our way to your door. Tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, with whom you share your life. And don't forget that beautiful dog beaming from your banner every time we visit. She is such a sweetheart!

Ayala: Hi Sherry, I live in South Florida with my husband and my youngest son. 


On our recent trip to Vancouver


He just started his  sophomore high school year. My older son and his wife live in Boston. I love to visit them during the spring and summer months.

My son's wedding


The dog on the banner is my sweet Daisy. She passed away, but I kept her on my blog banner. She was on it when I began in 2010 and she will remain there. 

Sherry: Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. She lifts my spirits every time I see her photo. It is so hard to lose them. Where did you grow up, Ayala?

Ayala: I was born and raised in Israel, up until the age of thirteen . My father was a poet and he wrote in the Israeli-Romanian newspaper. He was a politician, an entertainment impresario, and an art dealer. There were always interesting people and conversations in my life. 





My father was an inspiration to me. I would listen to him recite poetry to my mother and, even then as a child, I knew that I was privileged to be a witness to their love. When I was a teenager I allowed my father to read my poems. He encouraged me and believed that I had a gift for writing.

Sherry: What a rich environment to be raised in - art, poetry and love. Wonderful! I am wondering if the reason for the family's  move to the United States may have been political?

Ayala: My brother fought in the Yom Kippur war. After the war, there was chatter and political unrest which led my parents to decide to leave Israel. They sacrificed the life that they had built for their children.


My son's graduation from his 
emergency room residency


Sherry: You had very fine and loving parents, Ayala. And, looking at your family today, we can see you all thrived. I am struck by how much you look like your mother.

Tell us about your writing journey, won't you?

Ayala: I was eight years old when I wrote my first poem. I began to write journals at the same  time and I continued to write them throughout my life. I don't believe that I chose poetry, but  that poetry chose me. 

Sherry: True poets always say that. I know it is true. Would you like to share some poems with us? And tell us a bit about each?
Ayala: Yes, I would like to share 'Unvarnished'. It is a part of my story. It was a difficult poem to write because I did not want to hurt anyone. It's about trusting, loving, betrayal and rising from the ashes. Emerging better for having gone through the pain.

Sherry: My favourite kind of story, and poem! Let's have a look!

Unvarnished


The mirror shards,
sharp as the strands of grey hair,
unvarnished 
like the redwood trees.
You would not recognize
the resilient starfish
left on the shore 
to die.
You were a stray dog
that followed me home.
I let you into 
my consciousness.
You wagged your tail,
you licked my face
with adoration
before you barked.
When you bit me,
I put you down.
I was sober,
you were not.
I was not a munequita
to chew and spit out.
Blindfolded I was lured
by the darkness,
misery I mired in.
You set fire and scorched
our landscape.
I  rose from the ashes,
while 
you
became a 
ghost
of the past.
 Sherry: I resonate with the description of scorched earth. That is just how it feels. Thankfully, we do emerge stronger from such experiences. This is powerful, Ayala. 

Ayala: 'Forgiveness' is about someone that I loved dearly and in return betrayed my love and my trust. A relationship that spanned over thirty years. I forgave her but she could never be a part of my life again. 

I forgave her for lying
and trying to steal my soul.
I forgave her for bringing storms
into my days,
uncertainty in my steps,
and darkness in my hours.
I forgave her,
the sister I never had,
the confidante of secrets.
I brought her in from the rain,
from a past,
embraced her brokenness
unaware of her bite.
She loved me,
betrayed me,
said it was her illness. 
She took my heart,
sliced it open
watched me bleed
as she stood motionless.
I saw her photograph
on the internet,
her eyes haunted,
a scar on her forehead,
a ghost of yesterday.
It was not her words attempting
to crawl back into the place
she ravaged.
It was not her pleading voice
on the answering machine.
I forgave her
to crawl out of the gutter
she placed us in.
I forgave her as I battled
drowning in the outgoing tide.
I forgave her 
to forgive myself.
Sherry: An incredibly strong and powerful poem, I can see her haunted eyes, her sorrow, and feel the rightness in forgiving her, in order to free yourself. Such good writing!

Ayala: 'The color of my blood' was written out of sorrow and empathy for the victims and survivors of the Orlando attack at Pulse nightclub. It shook me to the core. 

The color of my blood

The shape of my eyes,
the sound of my voice,
the shade of my skin,
my sexuality.
The color of my blood
the same 
as yours.
If you saw the light in my eyes,
if you saw my mother's tears,
if you felt her fears,
grief engraved on her skin.
Would you have yanked me
like a weed from the
garden of life,
Would you have shattered
me in pieces
 leaving me
to bleed out in the dark.
Ideologies differ,
dreams unalike,
my diversity
makes me
unique,
beautiful,
majestic,
a beacon in the fiber
of humanity.
The shape of my eyes,
the sound of my voice,
the shade of my skin,
my sexuality.
The color of my blood
same as yours. 

Sherry: Diversity is majestic! I love "a beacon in the fiber of humanity". A fitting poem for those dark days, Ayala. Well done.

Would you tell us a bit about your blogging journey?

Ayala: I began my blog, a sun kissed life, at a painful time. My father and my mother passed away thirteen months apart. I was mourning, I was depressed, I was trying to live again. I was vulnerable. I was also afraid. My fear was to open myself up to strangers and share my feelings. I thought about it and finally I decided to take a leap. 

Sherry: Oh, Ayala, two such painful losses! How very hard. I am so sorry. And so glad you began to blog. The online community is so supportive. It really helps us through both good and hard times.

Ayala: I write for myself, so at first I was not discouraged that no one else was reading the blog. One night I was drinking, one drink too many, and I wrote a message to one of my favorite bloggers, Aidan Donnelley Rowley. She responded by visiting my blog and leaving comments. Her words fueled me to continue.  At  the same time I met Belinda Munoz and Brian Miller, on line. They were a constant source of encouragement for me. 

What I could not imagine at the time was that my writing would lift me. My writing blossomed and so did I. I began on-line relationships with kindred spirits, other poets, bloggers, journalists and authors. The on-line community was encouraging and supportive. 

Writing helped me heal. I examined my loss. I examined the ordinary and extraordinary moments of my life. Writing unearthed the gratitude that I always felt. 


"Writing unearthed the gratitude 
that I always felt."




Sherry: I am so happy you found good people. And I love your gratitude quote. Gratitude is the secret of happiness, I do believe.






Ayala: Recently one of my poems was published in a book called Poetry as a SpiritualPractice. It's a collection of personal essays and poems by fifty women. My words are alongside some of my favorite poet friends. The book was edited by the lovely Catherine Gosh. The wonderful thing is that all the proceeds go to WriteGirl, a non-profit organization that promotes creativity and self expression to help empower girls. To be a part of this gave me great satisfaction.
Sherry: It looks beautiful! And it's a wonderful cause, too! What things might we find you doing when you aren't writing, Ayala?

Ayala: When I am not writing I love to read, take walks, travel and visit museums in new places.  I also love to go fishing with my husband. He is an avid fisherman and he ignited my passion for fishing. When we are out in the ocean we see so much beauty everywhere. I realize how small we are in the universe. I always feel humbled. 




Ayala
My prized Tarpon catch
(It was catch and release)



Sherry: Me, too, kiddo. Is there anything you would like to add? Anything you would like to say to Poets United?

Ayala: I would like to thank you for inviting me to share a piece of my journey. We truly bleed on the page. Having other poets sharing their struggle makes us feel less alone.

I would like to thank my fellow poets for always lifting me up. Our community is filled with great talent and great heart. I am honored to be featured here. A special thank you to you, Sherry, for everything.

Sherry: You are most welcome! Thank you for allowing us to get to know you better. I am sorry it took so long! This has been such a lovely visit!

Wasn't this heartwarming, my friends? It is wonderful, week after week, to learn more about each other's lives. It gives more depth and understanding when we read each other's poems. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Redemption






 
Stripped of my vanity
I wear you like a crown
strands of white
downy floating on the
sides of my face.
Gentle like the wind,
gentle like my soul,
I am comfortable
in my skin,
unveiling scars of shame,
and unheard confessions.
The crows feet are seen,
I do not wish to hide them,
or erase them.
The mirror does not lie,
nor do I.
My narrative
is mine to tell.
We all have one,
or two.
How wild have you lived,
have you been afraid of your shadow.
I walked alone,
I did not need acceptance,
I did not fear the unknown.
Curiosity and wonder 
were my companions.
I wear my failures
on my skin,
on the map of my soul,
in my dark eyes
and my enlightened being.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mom


There was a comfort
knowing that I could hear 
your voice,
melt into your arms,
watch the shadows cast
on your face
and know how to bring
light into your eyes.
There was comfort in loving,
in living,
in a shared meal,
an anecdote,
in silent moments.
There was comfort 
I no longer find,
the one I felt in your womb 
or your gentle hand
on my burning forehead 
when I was sick.
I have no church or synagogue
to find refuge in.
I seek the museums 
of the world
where we once walked 
together,
I walk alone.
In their splendor
I feel you like a gentle wind
beside me,
urging me to see the magnificence. 
The art fills my soul
with curiosity and wonder.
I find you there,
loving me,
giving me the will
to find the essence
in the beauty of this life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Unvarnished



The mirror shards,
sharp as the strands of grey hair,
unvarnished 
like the redwood trees.
You would not recognize
the resilient starfish
left on the shore 
to die.
You were a stray dog
that followed me home.
I let you into 
my consciousness.
You wagged your tail,
you licked my face
with adoration
before you barked.
When you bit me,
I put you down.
I was sober,
you were not.
I was not a munequita
to chew and spit out.
Blindfolded I was lured
by the darkness,
misery I mired in.
You set fire and scorched
our landscape.
I  rose from the ashes,
while 
you
became a 
ghost
of the past.

















Sunday, July 17, 2016

Be the change


We turn off the news,
to survive the day,
yet the faucet leaks
through social media.
Senseless death
revisits daily.
we become the ostriches burying
our heads in the sand.
We become athletes 
hanging up their cleats
to resist the temptation
to occupy the field
while we lay bleeding.
We harbor memories
of ruthless violence
that left a void that can't be filled.
Grace will fall
like dew drops at dawn.
Grace will emerge triumphantly.
Grace understands that
evil stalks the innocent.
Grace knows that evil festers
in the sewer of humanity.
Grace whispers,
may you be soft,
may you be malleable,
lean into the light.
Lean into the light 
as we mourn,
as tears sting,
as the heart breaks open.
Be kind,
Love well,
dream of peace.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Six Year Blog Anniversary





I fell into life's embrace,
decay crawling on my skin,
naked to be seen.
Utopia,
a place? a destination?
my soul scarred,
shattered pieces
healed by love.
My vessel fragile,
yet my spirit like a great oak tree.
How do I matter?
What is this journey
called life?
The past and the present,
side by side,
tied like a ship with a lifeboat.
Where I have been,
what I have done,
is written on my soul.
What is life, if not
for the love that I breathe,
for the love I have nurtured
for my boys.
Every breath they took,
gave me the will to be better,
to survive,
to evolve.
Love is the greatest gift,
it blooms in my heart,
it flows through my veins,
it saturates my being.
 Six years ago today I began posting on my blog, a sun kissed life. It was a difficult time, I had lost both my parents and I felt wounded, tired, and vulnerable. A desire was sparked to write again and to stand with an open heart and share it. The desire was mixed with fear of leaving myself naked to be seen. My pain expressed for strangers to see, but I took a leap. At first the posts remained empty of comments, and it was okay because after all I was writing to find happiness within. As time went by my blog blossomed, other bloggers that I respected came by to read which made me happy and grateful. I was welcomed to a wonderful community of bloggers,poets,authors and journalists. We bleed on our pages and we share our souls. My blog brought me back to the writing I had left behind. It has made me examine ordinary and extraordinary moments of my life. To all my friends I want to say thank you for embracing me with love and acceptance. I am blessed to have you all in my life!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Poetry As A Spiritual Practice





On this 2016 Summer Solstice Full moon, comes a collection of personal essays, poems and meditations as we undertake to illuminate the powerful role poetry plays in unleashing our spirits ...
I am honored and proud to share my words alongside my poet friends.
 All proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to WriteGirl, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting creativity and self-expression to empower girls.
 
 
 
 
I thank all the sisters that worked and contributed to this special project sharing their empowering and inspirational offerings. A special thank you to my friend Ginny Brannan and the editor that brought us all together, Catherine Gosh.