old poems

 It’s hearing my brothers name
on the radio.
           Tommy Sullivan.
His sister telling stories
his life …. lost in 911.
He worked for the stock exchange
           had a breakfast meeting that morning.
                        now he’s gone.

I couldn’t tell you how many times
     I’ve lost my brother
           Tommy Sullivan.
     Heart attack at 21
        Jaws of life at 18
A nickles worth spent in the state
    pen, before the age of 30.

It’s coming from a place in
the midwest that everyone thinks
they’ve heard of, some can
pronounce and even fewer
have visited.
Often confusing my home town
with a town in Wisconsin of the same name
just spelled different.

It’s wondering what time ticks
     when no one is looking….
       and will it ever
         just run away?

It’s cobbled streets……
somehow like stars
stirring up all my
demons and fears
taking words away
and offering magic
to passers by

It’s befriending the Banshee,
the Reaper, and Death
caring for them as they
continue to pass me by.

It’s this breath that has
entered my bones time
and time again
explored my marrow
and made me a yellow
gave me obstacles to overcome
and answers to pursuit.

It’s learning the chant
that allows healing to pass
thru the eyes and believing
it’s in my path to be humble.

It’s needing more than I can ask for
and less than I really want.

It’s a child searching his mother’s
belly button.
It’s knowing when you need to leave.

It’s peer thru archway
terra cotta, mint green into
bedroom yellow
salmon comforter
propped up pillows
and patched jeans

It’s leaving nothing behind
with out the memory of it.
It’s finding my voice in the
It’s throwing everything
into the sea.

Sally Sullivan


I am ……

I am breakfast in sundress.
Some collection of freckles and skin
absorbing summer sun
in back yard
bold breezes shaking trees.
I am the sound of garbage trucks
and dogs barking

I am thumb burst open, and back pain.

I am witness and example of
recovered health and willingness
to grow.  Of lost and found child
made woman.
Of lost and found woman made
child as I chew and chew and chew.

I am beautiful when no one
is looking and exotic if only
to myself.

I am mystery made flesh and
freckles absorbing summer sun
as I chew and chew and chew.

I am once anger and fear
Now awake………
awake in sundress and jeans
layers peeled  away and a
penetrated soul.  
All darkness revealed.
All light at once blinding.

Each day brings me closer
to a single moment
observed and unveiled.
In its innocence,
its evil, its anger, its peace,
its place in the world.
This extended moment

of I am…..
I am universe
I have meaning.
I am broken walls and
shattered truths
recovered soul and
ghost made angel.
I am ambassador of
lost dreams
I am in this moment if
nothing else.

I am
telephone lines
and bold winds
Answers only felt
and ripe fruit
Bare feet in tennis
favorite clothes unwashed
and I represent my truth.

Sally Suzanne Sullivan
Sept.11, 2008

My Fragility

its when I hold
my own hand
that I feel
my fragility.

Feel the bones
how small my wrists
how easily they break.

its when
I feel the strongest
and you touch me
embrace me
and I brace
for the splitting
of marrow.
at how frail
I am.

Observing myself
thru my reflection
I see bones surrounded
in flesh and muscle
hard work and independence.

I stand next to you
the contrast is revealing.
I’m dwarfed by your stature
but not in your eyes.

its a photograph
that shows me
who I am,
its a broken heart.

Sometimes it’s
wanting more than
I can offer.
Sometimes it’s
not knowing
defend myself

Mostly it’s the rain
and I shrink down
feel ribs
and remember broken bones
that ache when the
water falls from the sky.

I’m not weakened
with these thoughts
Just reminded.
That no matter
how “strong”
I get……….
I can still break

I’m so vulnerable
even to the strength
of my own hands.

Bones on bones
wrists, elbows,
and souls.

My lines show it
my heart knows it
the stars and cards
always relay to me
my greatest strength
a quality of my innate humanness
my fragility.