Sun Kissed Days

Sun Kissed Days

Thursday, December 29, 2016

16


My boy Daniel celebrated his sixteenth birthday yesterday. He is one of the greatest teachers in my life. I have been filled with wonder from the first moment that I saw him. I love him to the moon and back. This morning we are on the road and I have not had time to write a proper post for this milestone but I did want to acknowledge this special time in his and our life.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Let Sadness In


Let sadness
transform you,
trickle down from
your head to your toes.
Let it widen your chest
and raise your heart.
Let sadness dance
in your veins,
a slow dance,
a deliberate dance.
Open the window,
let it sit for awhile.
Let it soak in your bones,
let it ravage you.
It will travel through 
the chambers of your heart
and it will leave you weak at the knees
like a gentle lover.
It will dissolve like fog at daybreak 
over the harbor.
You will grow
from the heartache,
you will weather the storm.
You will survive,
you will find joy.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Her Hands


I don't recognize these hands
blemished and wrinkled.
These hands
were attached to my body
for twenty years 
while I slept.
I awake to find them asking,
why I am reluctant to claim them.
They ask
why I pretend to be
a patient with temporary amnesia.
I don't recognize these hands,
they washed dishes,
changed soiled diapers,
turned pages,
and touched fevered foreheads.
Mom had beautiful hands,
even when she passed away
at eighty years old.
She rubbed them
with cream from Switzerland
after she finished
chores,
baked and cooked,
hung up her day,
like a coat on a hanger.
Mom caressed her hands,
as faint luxurious scent
floating in the air.
Mom had beautiful hands,
not mine.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Grandson


Grandson,
I dream of holding your 
sweet slumber in my arms.
Your hair wild,
your eyes luminous.
My finger laced
in yours.
My thoughts
 swept away,
unravel with hope and wonder.
You are a mystery,
I have yet to discover.
My heart beats
with anticipation.
Grandson,
I await
to greet you,
to look into your angelic eyes,
to touch your tender skin.
We have not met
but I love you
your footprints are
engraved on my heart.
Your breath,
your life,
a celebration
of adoration.
We have not met
but I love you.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Going Home


Her rivers pulsate in the veins of my mind,
her desert's wilderness on my skin.
Her land a piece of my narrative,
she thunders in the echoes of my thoughts,
in the geography of my being.
The soundtrack of childhood,
hopscotched into the present.
My roots tangled
with blurred lines
of self,
of quest,
of devotion.







Recently I went back to my birthplace of Israel. I was delighted and whole to be there,
to bathe in her beauty and to be with family that I love.

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.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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.


This poem is dedicated to all the victims and survivors of Orlando           <3 br="">

Monday, May 23, 2016

No Boundaries


I savor the snapshots of our life,
a little boy's laughter
angelic and sweet.
We were two peas in a pod,
smiling as we welcomed the night,
books by the bedside,
your little finger curled
in the tangle of my hair,
as you pleaded for one more story.
I was your cheerleader
in games lost,
in dreams nurtured and sustained.
I wanted to see the world through
your eyes,
not mine.
You taught me lessons
in ordinary moments,
that gracefully were extraordinary.
You taught me that there is
no other option but 
the naked truth.
I should have known
that your world
would become larger
and that mine would be smaller,
that life would be complicated,
a new path
mapped with boundaries.
The storms that I endured 
would be kernels of wisdom 
to let go,
to step back,
to watch you stand on your own.

Saturday, May 7, 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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Your beating Heart


The black bird carried a twig
to the nest,
the shimmering light reflected
over the lake.
Spring entered our home
and our subconscious,
yet I have not stopped 
to welcome the sounds of the 
earth awakening
dreamily stretching
like a ballerina executing 
a pirouette. 
I've been nourishing
and nurturing
those that I love.
I have been sadder 
than they can understand
and stronger than I can comprehend
I have been living in the past
more than in the moment,
feeling the helplessness
of how time floats through
my hands and my days.
Moments that we can't get more of,
days once wasted lost and gone.
I've been stretching my limbs,
my mind diluted.
the wind whispers in my ear,
"You are strong"
it says.
I scream,
"Have you not seen my tears,
heard my defeat,
felt the weakness of my wounds".
I run through the torrents of rain
listening to the uplifting guidance,
longing to hear
the sound of your beating heart..   

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A piece of ourselves

 

The sun honey colored
 and brazen
gleamed through the door as he entered
clutching bouquets of flowers.
Daisies, Lillis,Ginger
wild and beautiful.
I reached out for one,
the thorns of the rose
pierced my skin,
reminding me that life
was not always this way,
soft and loud with beauty.
The flower guy
was away in a mountain cabin
 writing his first novel.
I smile 
understanding the struggle of
bleeding unto the page,
pouring our fears,
unveiling our truth,
weaving our words.
How softly we click on
the keys of our devices 
writing feverishly.
Our minds holding boulders,
in the trenches of our thoughts,
fearful to leave on the page
more of ourselves than 
we intended to.
I trim the flowers
on a slant,
place them in the 
green and white crystal vase.
I cut my words
into shattered pieces of myself,
I place them on the page,
exposed,
quickly I
erase and
start over. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Forgiveness


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.




This poem was inspired by my friend Aidan Donnelley Rowley's new book The Ramblers. One of the protagonist had a mother with bipolar disorder. There was someone close in my life that was bipolar and ended up hurting me while claiming her love. She was family and it was hard. Aidan's book is beautifully written. You can find it here http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com/. It is so many things more than this, and it's about the questions of life and the struggles that we go through only to be end up better and wiser because of the journey. I recommend The Ramblers and I hope you pick up a copy today.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Retrieved


The sound familiar 
as it echoes through
the house.
The couch sighs
the way it did when 
she jumped off
to chase a squirrel 
in the yard
or follow me
when I walked away.
The memory recovered
the way she retrieved sticks
on autumn days.
Her wet nose,
red collar,
unbridled joy,
shaking the rain
as she swayed.
She faintly smelled like trees,
she wagged her tail
while words of poetry 
danced on the page.
Outside the window,
leaves are scattered,
the homeless cat can
no longer tell her tales
of the birds she hunts
and duck eggs left unattended
for moments at a time.
She daydreamed,
we daydreamed,
side by side. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Son



You took my breath away


Thirty years ago when I first saw you, you took my breath away. Your skin wrinkled, you sobbed with the look of distress sprinkled on your face . As soon as I held you, you ceased to cry. I had never felt love the way I did up until that moment. Every breath I have taken since has been filled with love and unwavering dedication for you.
Thirty years seems so hard to comprehend perhaps because I was twenty four when you were born. My infant son is now a man and what a beautiful human being you are. A man that makes the world a better place to be in. An Emergency Room doctor in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the United States. Altruism began early for you. As a small child and later as a teenager helping your grandparents at their business, going home with them and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom for them without them asking . Visiting your grandma at the hospital and taking her clothes saturated with urine to wash for her. At the same time volunteering at the hospital that you were born in. The first day there you witnessed a code blue and you experienced  the grief that a family had to go through when they lost their loved one. That was the day that you told me that you want to be a doctor and that you want to help people. Helping people is natural to you . The people that know you love you. They can’t help but feel your contagious enthusiasm and the light that shines from you. It was not easy for you. I raised you alone from the time you were nineteen months old until you were nine years old. You had a strong will and you were not defined by the mistakes your parents made. You embraced the truth without shame and you plowed through all the obstacles like the champion that you are. You faced the curve balls and taught me lessons in accepting life with grace. I tried to shield you from the storms but you in return showed me how to face them.
Joshua, I can tell you stories of our life and how certain moments are engraved in my soul. How my heart swelled with pride with so many things you have done and that you have accomplished. Your service, your integrity, your moral compass, luminous in the world. I remember the first time our eyes interlocked, you smiled when you saw how my eyes lit up. You must have heard my heartbeat loud next to your tiny body. I remember how having you was the greatest miracle in my life. A mother remembers , as I remember the tapestry of our life created by a million little and big moments. I remember you carrying your British soldiers into our first home. I remember how you would pull all your toys in front of the garage and share them with your friends as you wore a fireman’s hat with a siren. There were Christmas mornings, birthdays, bath times and reading time every night. There were trips to museums and bookstores and libraries. There were doctor visits, toothless smiles,viruses, ear infections long nights that I watched you while you were sleeping. There were conversations about life and following your heart and living your life with passion. I wanted you to have a life, a better life than mine. I wanted to help you create your happiness. Nearly one year ago, my better half (the man that helped me raise you with love in his heart) and I stood by your side as you married your soulmate. We felt immense happiness as both of you said your vows to one another. It was magical to feel the love,palpable in the room. Family and friends came from far and wide to celebrate with you. I hope you always feel the love that we felt that night from all the people that care for you both. Son, what is a son but a miracle. I wish you all the best on your birthday and every day. May your journey continue to be full of wonder and curiosity. May your heart remain full of compassion for humanity. May you love and be loved always. May you be joyous with all the simple things that life has to offer. I love you forever and always.
You have been my greatest lesson in life and I am honored and humbled to be your mom.

Mom