by Rose Guildenstern

This is how it feels to grieve.

This is how it feels to let go.

This is how loss of potential





It strikes in waves



The deluge is brief, but

over time, the aching

carves the core

like a cavern

a cavity

leaving me incised

with a you-shaped


One of my people

G       E

O       N

Not enough time

Not enough words

Not enough proximity

Never enough togetherness.

I find myself restlessing




for the sand mandala of

your shoreline.

Living in the hollow

of grateful

for precious

passing as

like calls

to severed



–a poem by Rose Guildenstern

Why do I write?

At first, I wrote to face the pain

and the emptiness.

I wrote arms around me,

holding me close.

I wrote those peaceful moments

when I knew whose I was and

where I belonged.

I didn’t write the truth,

I wrote me.

I wrote what I saw

what I felt,

I numbered my days.

Soon, I wrote to make sense

of the inconsistencies

and injustices

of this world.

I wrote through the insanity

the inanity and the chaos…

to find clarity and constancy,

to grasp the core of myself

and understand my own reactions.

I wrote what seemed real.

I finally accepted that

I am responsible for my own reality,

not anyone else,

and I’m only a victim

in the tragedy of my own making.

My life is ultimately what I want,

or I wouldn’t write it this way.

Now, I write because writing

is the only action

that truly makes sense

in my world.

I’ve fallen in love

with the written word

that is made flesh among us,

or perhaps that we use

to give flesh to the

bare bones of our lives.

I want to indelibly record

every glorious sunrise and sunset,

to remember his first kiss,

and the way the lights glisten

on December’s frosty tree.

I write to recall every moment,

shaping each into a story

to share with myself and others.

I write to bring forth

the worlds inside my own mind

for at heart I am Creator.

Part of the fun of creation

is sharing it with another,

and writing is my favorite method

to share my play.

I write because it is a solitary activity,

and although I cherish those I love,

I realize I am ultimately alone.

I am always writing

—in thought, word or deed—

whether I discuss my ideas aloud,

ramble on and on in the first draft,

nip and tuck in the second draft,

or preen and fuss over the final draft.

I love visiting libraries and bookstores

to play amongst all the words

to select a few minds to uncover

to smell the centuries of thought.

Every time I open a book,

I am meeting the mind

of a new friend.

I write so that someday

unnamed others

whose faces I have never seen and

whose lives are foreign to me,

will read my words and

meet my mind.

I write that my words are made flesh,

give substance in this world,

just as so many words

have given substance to my own!

And because every person


stumbles upon the truth,

I write to find truth

mixed in with all my perspective.

Our Stories

I love listening to your stories

…your grandmother’s albondigas soup

…your first disastrous kiss

…the day your father left

…and the intricacies of fly fishing.

I love sharing my stories

…as you listen and laugh

…grasp my hand

…experience my memories with me.

For we ARE our stories

…and I never tire of knowing you better.

Even the second or third hearing

…reveals a different side.

I love when we share our stories,

Because I love everything

…that is you

…and me

…and us.

Without stories our lives are meaningless.


Forgotten moments…

Someday you and I will tell

…the precious stories we’ve built together.

Our myths

…will become a part of our souls.

An experience is a four-fold joy

…one in the anticipation

…one in the doing

…one in the remembering

…and one in the telling.

No action can be repeated

nor should it be…

…except in our stories.

So tell me another story,

Let me love another part

of the miracle

…that is you.


Mask up

Keep your distance

Listen to what we say

We’re on the screen and

Dominating your feed so

Apparently, we’re the best


Beautiful people,

Successful smiles, rich

Followers to prove our worth

With so many watching us

How can you doubt

We’re above the rest


Join us

We’ll show you

All you need to know

Together we’ll create a scripted

Reality from our imagination

You’ll, too, be blessed


Don’t worry

Inject yourself with

Us to numb your painful

Mind’s raging cytokine storm and

Let us entertain you

Stay transfixed and obsessed


Ignore that

Man behind the

Curtain, for the Emperor’s clothes

Are what you want, we

Play our pipes leading

You children to progress.

–by Rose Guildenstern



Last night I went to bed warm, full, and content.
I proceeded to dream a succession of visions full of grief…
Full of cold disconnection…
Full of feeling alone and bereft…
Full of friendly strangers…
Full of unfamiliar intimates…
Full of rushing to win at trivial fixations…
Full of seeking for what was lost in a sea of discarded found…
Throughout each dream, an open door full of light remained tantalizingly out of reach…
And so this morning I awoke to read Putin’s full message:
“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside–if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history.”
Full stop.

–Rose Guildenstern

Life is sweet…

take a bite.

Don’t be ashamed that you’ll seem–




or of juice dribbling down your chin.

Imagine the cool mouthful

the tangy taste

 the refreshing pulp

the sumptuous filling.

Take pleasure in

the sunsets and sand

flexing your muscles

driving to work

dancing at dawn.

When life tears and hurts

when you get a worm or pit,

Don’t give up all fruit

and resign yourself

to bread and liquid.

(unless, of course, it’s wine)

Take bite after bite

don’t recreate the last mouthful

Enjoy the current morsel.

Sensuality requires neither loveliness nor togetherness,

It demands experiencing life with all the senses–


So take a bite of life–

and if you find life wanting

Look within.

For you bring the lack with you.

–Rose Guildenstern

This poem is holy.   Now, this may sound like sacrilege to some, but hear me out. This poem is framed by emptiness, by silence, by space. It is a moment of thought or emotion or experience captured in words and framed by space or page or book. Some poems are framed by music and become lyrics in songs, but some are best expressed against the background of silence. We all frame our artwork and use them to beautify our walls, but do we realize what we are doing? A frame sets apart a piece of art, causing us to pause and notice what we might otherwise pass by. Poetry, art, plays, movies, miracles—it is their “set apart” nature that makes them special and sacred to us. They take the truth that is always before us and present it in a new way, forcing us to notice the magnificence of LIFE. That is what it means to be “holy”—to be set apart, to be set aside and framed, so that when others experience you, they see God. Set apart by a sacred frame to help others perceive the marvel of their own existence. Some frames are simple, some ornate. There are natural frames like the rock monoliths in Utah’s Arches National Park or the mouths of caves or a chink of sky surrounded by clouds; there are manmade frames like doorways or windows or camera lenses. A frame causes us to stop, look at the landscape, notice the beauty that is always a part of our lives, yet we miss in our hurried, distracted, taking-for-granted oblivion. We must stop and put a frame around our moments in order to perceive their holiness. A poem is nothing special—it is as holy as we all are meant to be.    This poem is holy.

–Rose Guildenstern

Organized Religion

I tried you on for size,

…attempted to squeeze myself

into your zippered reality…

but found that (to put it plainly)

my ass was TOO BIG.

And although I

squeezed, and forced

nipped, and tucked

tried to trim the excess

through daily denial,

I was much too massive

for your proportions.

I watched others wear you

with such ease

as you loosely enveloped

their being,

and I tried all the harder

to fit myself into your

carefully trimmed pattern.

You convinced me that my extras

—unnecessary and unhealthy—

were “fat.”

I finally succeeded

(after destroying half of myself)

to wear you in public, and

for a time I was content…

even haughty of my

empty physique.

Yet eventually…

the deeper, richer, tastier

sustenance beckoned me,

and I began “cheating.”

A Morsel

of the metaphysical here,

A Bite

of bodhisattva there.

A Pint

of closet philosophy.

Soon my spirit began


outside of the outfit

you’d insisted

suited me so well.

I was embarrassed

by what you termed

my “weakness”

my “addiction”

and I tried to hide

my growth.

I even seriously considered

plastic surgery

to cut off my curves

and sew my open mind



my blind eyes were opened

by a solitary physician

who admired my shapely

breasts and butt,

and pointed out the

beauty of awareness

over acceptance.

My roundness

doesn’t make me a sinful slut…

it distinguishes me from the herd.

Now I have shed

your confining garb

and streak skyward,

dancing in discovery

(naked as a banshee)

—every expansive inch


in rhythmic delight.

–Rose Guildenstern


is obvious,


It smells rotten

or looks dangerous

or feels scary.

But the insidiousness

of a good poison

is that it’s none of these things.

It smells sweet

tastes delicious

feels so normal…

like cyanide

or antifreeze

or refined sugar.

And then there are the poisons

that fool us entirely.

The invisible poisons

we aren’t even aware are

slowly killing us.

Like a bad relationship

a smothering job

a noxious environment

or our saboteur mind.

We slowly asphyxiate


lose consciousness

assuming the poison

is either essential

or unavoidable.

Eventually, we believe

we are the problem

and thus we become

our own


–Rose Guildenstern

Back to Top