Our Burden

We are broken
Spangled banner
No words spoken
Have healed us
200 years of a
Festering wound
I hear you
I see you
Lift you up
Embrace you
Help me to
Understand you
I am apart of you
Not from you
On these words
Some will choke
Looking at
Leaders who
In avoiding hate
It disseminates
With silence
Grows pain
A burden
To which
We are
All yoked
Our Burden, Summer Teel 8/18/17
My heart is breaking for Charlottesville’s and the rest of our country. I know there are is no good hate. My belief is this though, hating and wanting other races eliminated and hating those that want to eliminate other races is not the same thing. How did we get to this point? How did we get to the point that racism is mainstream? It is no longer a Dems vs. Reps thing. This is not political any more. This is not normal. This is terrifying.

Meet my Butterflies

Our darling butterflies
Each one a star.
Johnathan’s ice blue eyes
Stare into mine
With a crooked smile.
Durrell is ready
He is calmly waiting
For his date with glitter.
John, Joe, and Jayden,
You hang on our every word
With curious eyes, delight
We play, learn, collect
Dalton’s and Alex’s giggles
At their horse’s nose.
Soft sweet,
Dandy lion seeds.
Andrew’s hands
Running over and through
Cooper’s dappled fur.
Jennifer quiet and
Reserved sweetly for
Coy moments
Of equestrian joy.
Johnny’s eyes exploring,
Pensively focused,
Hands creating.
Mark in Martha’s arms,
Gentle and relaxed
Swaying as he rides.
Our little Jedi.
His wild heart,
Brave, unfettered, free.
Kaleb stares into
A tiny universe
Seeking understanding
In this, his favorite place.
Meet these tender children,
Our Darling butterflies.
To us,
On their horses,
From their cocoons,
They fly.
Meet my Butterflies, Summer Teel 8/14/17
These are my summer campers. I get them for once a week for nine weeks every summer. Some will come year after year and then they age out. I fall more in love with them every year. Every year I never know if they will be able to come back. They are precious to me and our group of volunteers that come to support them. The whole experience is a labor of love.

Call it whatever you want.


I want to throw this book at the fucking wall.

This cursed and critical voice is my downfall

I am scratching at a dry and hardened surface.

It is a fiery twist of anger, making me nervous.


Words obscured by destructive, massive insecurity.

Laying splayed open, bleeding, cut up by scrutiny,

If a prose begins it is ruined by my sinking fear.

Discarded in tattered edges of the pages I tear.


Adrift wondering blind, my mind, body is numb.

Written phrases- trite, cliché, mediocre, dumb!

Bounded and torn, laden with crippling self-doubt.

Pressing these lyrics now as the flame burns out.


Actually, I hate these lines I am pessimistically jotting.

All inspiration murdered by a familiar voice scoffing

Resenting the laborious task of laying pen to page.

My hand pains me and there is nothing to assuage


I have somehow lost the boldness needed to express

That wonderful imagery and tone from which I digress.

My charmed descriptions of experience, of my crazy.

Now grasping at straws, my grip has become lazy.


Those sentiments, these haunting stanzas, delicate stories

It is a being and it is choking to death, it is a burden I carry.

A waif, my muse falls through my slippery fingers and dies.

I need something beautiful before the ink of my pen dries.


Call it whatever you want, Summer Teel 8/7/17


I don’t even really like this one. It’s over the top melodramatic. I am sick of writing about this subject matter. If I go for a few days without something inspiration I get this itch in my brain and I guess that’s what I am trying to express here.  Life gets in the way most of the time. Sitting down to just write and meander through my thoughts to find my next direction is an important part of life, but somedays there is no way I can make it to my journal. It builds up and I feel angry and sad. Terrified that I’ll be stuck in that zone where I didn’t write for 3 years. I also, maybe even more importantly I need time to read other people’s poems and entries. That way I don’t I write the same shit over and over (example above). “Keep going back there Summer”, a very wise man said to me. So here I am.


P.S. I started working on a piece about my campers as soon as I finished this one.

Dangerous Bridge

The pavement steamed with the sheen of misty rain and humidity. Faces were shadowed by the low illumination of street lamps, and hazy reflections followed passersby’s as they meandered down the streets. The sidewalk between her and I stretched out before me. The space was a canyon I had dug with selfish desires. My manipulation during a time in our history knew no limits. I had laced her up neatly in a self-serving web that was completely unholy.  A pattern I’m only a little ashamed to admit I have repeated often in life.

Abruptly, our eyes connected creating a collision of rocks falling into that chasm building an unfortunate and dangerous bridge for her to walk over. Her shoes ticked across them like some absurd drum roll beating with my heart. As she approached the air grew stale and acrid.  Fear of the judgement day for one of my worst storms grew in my stomach. I remember her being quite deft with words. Every step I felt a tidal wave of bitter sentiment buttoned up neatly in a slicing sermon. The revealing of my greatest insecurities and the scrutiny of my wicked soul.

“How have you been?”

Wiping my hand through my hair.

“Uhm, fine, really good actually”


Silence, the thickest heaviest silence I have ever endured for the seconds it lasted. In searching her face, I saw no hate, disgust, no warmth even, she was awash in flat affect.

“Well, I thought I’d say hi. See you around”

She started to turn away leaving me on the island of estrangement. Where was the venomous disquisition, the coals over which my honor was to be raked?

“So, do you hate me or what?”

The words barreled over my tongue with some masochistic need for crucifixion.

Barely breaking her gate… “I nothing you.”

She threw the words over her shoulder, and they fell on the cobble stone at my feet like a clanking piece of trash.

I stood there, stung by the chilling deflation of my over worked ego. I didn’t watch her go. I stared passively at the ground as it gently reflected the movements of the night.


Dangerous Bridge, Summer Teel  8/4/17


This is a departure in style for me but it was fun to write. The girl is some projection of who I wish I could be in a situation of running across someone who has hurt me. The other character is an amalgamation of people that have used my trusting nature and empathy to their own devices. People with mental illness can be susceptible to people with dark character flaws. We often find ourselves in abusive situations because of a variety of reasons. We don’t think we deserve better, we are going to save them and save ourselves in the process, we really believe deep down they are a good person. I know I have fallen victim to people who sense a weakness and honed in on it with laser precision until I didn’t recognize myself. I am much better at letting people show me who they are and believing them the first time. My husband has taught me a lot about judging character.

I might be crazy.

Sitting, wishing I could gather my words and throw them at this paper, observing where they land.  I would contemplate their loveliness as they slide over each other gradually combining to make strange new words. A purging of thoughts through the ramparts of expectation. If I could then run my fingers through them, experiencing the texture of each sound and enunciation. To be unshackled by these lines, instead of having to lay them down in a tethering chain. Breaking free from the bondage of the empty pages in my journal. Unconventional, powerful, free to alight the story as they desired.  Creating a curious, rare new dictation of my soul. Some conception that is un-played and exclusive to this empty surface. Spitting them right out of my screaming, racing, nervous, fidgety, unhinged brain.  An exquisite prose sovereign from the rules of written expression. Would you be willing to look for meaning in my chaos?  Would you see genius in the mayhem of my discourse? Would it be possible to relate to my turmoil?

No, I might be thought to be crazy, and maybe I am.

I might be crazy, Summer Teel 8/2/17

Sometimes my thoughts are impossible to line up because of something called rapid cycling. It’s typical for my people to cycle through depression and times of high energy. Rapid cycling is when you move back in forth from these experiences in rapid succession. Your mind feels out of control. Focusing on self-expression feels impossible and you want to escape it but can’t. Having a conversation hurts, finishing a sentence can be difficult, sitting still feels like torture but you also feel frozen with indecision. The idea of having that just explode from my experience would allow a deep sigh of relief. I also wonder what that would look like. I imagine it would look like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Art: Jamie Poole, She deconstructs paintings into art. It’s amazing.

I am stone

He is the oak
Branches out stretched
From whom our little
Birds have flown
She is the ivy
Climbing and growing
Over fence and gate
From the seeds sown
He is the flowers
Fresh and bright
Spreading over soil
In every color known
In this garden
Heavy and slate
Amid a bounty of life
I am stone
I am stone, Summer Teel 7/31/17
Sometimes people with mental illness feel like they are a weight to those around them. Because I am balanced right now I don’t feel this way, but this is a reminder of my past. I think about how easy it could be for me to slip back into that state. I am reminded every time I do something stupid or in the morning when I am tempted to sleep until noon. It’s one of my greatest fears. I have to work hard every day to stay ahead of it, to fight those temptations. I think every person with bipolar or major depressive disorder thinks the idea of just falling completely apart would be a relief because keeping it all together can be a lot of pressure. But in reality you just can’t, you have to try every day.

How Small We Are?


To the night attuned
Alabaster sliver moon
Bleeding its light on to
Silhouetted trees
Whispers of a breeze
In trembling leaves
Sensation covers me slowly
Never feeling lonely
When spirits keep company
Into the night I stare
Past the ancient specters
Of massive ghostly fires
Intangible darkness grows
Beyond all that we know
From where energy flows
There in awaits wonders
The origins of all colors
Places that darkness covers
We can’t possibly imagine
The immensity could madden
Consuming of understanding
Our breath with stars interlace
We can only humbly embrace
The miracle of God’s face
How Small We Are, Summer Teel 7/30/17
I have always been aware of the universe’s unimaginable size, since I was little girl even. It humbles me and makes me aware of our connection to each other and to the stars. It makes our problems, hate, and even our wars so small and unnecessary.