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FROM THERE TO HERE: BY GAYLE SLATEN
BY INVITATION: GUEST CREATIVES
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SHARON MARIE TATE
ELLE! ARTIST - POET
CARNEGIE HALL
A GAY GANGSTERS' LIFE
REMEMBERING RAY BRADBURY

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FROM THERE TO HERE


 I was named Gayle Lindsay Slaten at birth—my mother said she gave me a writer's name.  Prophecy or not, I have been writing since I could hold a pen.  Poetry flows with my nature, helping me to discover myself through hard times and a good friend to me as I traverse this earthly path.  From There to Here encompasses the balance between dark times and light, earlier musings and lessons learned along the way.  I share my writing to help others know that life can change in a moment, just by making a choice and taking that one step.  My book of poetry and prose, GLASS OF ME, will be out shortly.  

NO

I used to say 'no' quietly in my head
While eating chocolate to stuff down the pain
I used to let my body say 'no'
By growing a great wall of fat
It stopped others
But it didn't stop him from asking
I used to quietly smile while going along
With someone else's program
Magically thinking
I could always undo what was done

Then I learned to get angry and yell out
NO--I've had enough
NO--It's not OK to speak that way to me
NO--I don't want to live like this
NO  NO  NO
He said 'hear her roar'
And I said 'yes'
Now it's my turn!


Campfire

It started out as
A birthday surprise for me
Three logs placed in a triangle
Fire pit in the middle
Gathering place for friends

Friday nights under the stars
Roasting marshmallows
Feeding the deer and raccoons
Graham crackers and saltines
People would drop by
Bringing beer and wine

Such were the fairy tales
Of life on the Island
Idyllic pastimes
Communing with nature,
Connecting with caring friends
Feeling peaceful and safe

The truth was far from that
Those who joined us
On those warm summer nights
Were only interested in
Drinking and gossiping
By summer's end
No one showed up at all
And, after an hour
We'd put out the fire
And go back to our
Cold, quiet house
Not speaking

I left that island a year ago
Didn't look back
The only good memories
Were of the deer and raccoons
Gathering around us
Hoping for a handout
But even that got old
Someone always wanting something
No mutual love and admiration
Me, tired of taking care of
Everyone but myself

So, now, I live in the city
No campfires
No deer and raccoons
No drunkards
Giving sloppy hugs
I do have my self respect
Family and friends
And three dogs
Looking for handouts,
And giving back love
Amazingly,
Life is simpler here


Leaving

Life on the Island
Was no life at all
Tedious, alone with my husband
No conversation
Guarded
One day a week to town
Forty-five minutes away
Same three stores
No lunch, no niceties
Back in four hours
Because of the dogs

The islanders waved as we would walk by
Giving us the finger when we'd pass
Smiles to our faces
Never an invite
Fighting our right
To work at our home
Roadblocks to the hoped for life

A call at night
To a supposed friend
Fear in my voice
Telltale sign ignored
'Let him sleep it off', he replied
I kept the bedroom door locked
It felt like a dream in the morning

My hands were full the day I left
The dogs looked up to see me struggle to open the door,
Not getting up from their comfortable spots on the floor
I thought, 'I should give them a hug'
But I closed the door and didn't look back
I turned off my phone
Got into the heavily packed van
And took the ferry away from that island prison

'Unbelievable', I whispered over and over
When I heard the news that
My husband shot our dogs in despair at my leaving,
he was planning to kill himself
But didn't have the nerve
Alcohol and drugs made the
Unthinkable possible

'You are lucky you left when you did'
I heard from that supposed friend
Others were afraid to bring their children
To the island with the Mad Man
Police didn't arrest him
Just hospitalized
'Not a crime to have mental issues'

Now he is back on the island
All is forgotten
They asked him to be on the Road Committee
Back to normal--
Except for me

Some days I mourn my pets
Miss the deer and raccoons
I had fed instead of buying food for myself,
Miss the incredible sunsets from the porch
Walking to the rocky beach
To hunt for miniature spiral shells

More and more I feel relief
Experience joy and am able to laugh again
Every day has become an adventure 
Connections with family and friends
Expressing emotions long lost
I'm free to write without hiding
I am remembering who I am


My life has changed immeasurably since the day I left, over six years ago.  I realize now that the fifteen years of making my life small to please an unpleasable, controlling person, was a life lesson for me to never give my power away again.  It taught me to trust my inner voice, to appreciate the connections I make with other people, animals and nature.  It taught me that I could be alone without being lonely, that I could be joy-filled by simply being present to life.  I am happier now than I have ever been, more confident, more willing to share my unique gifts with the world.  I am coming home to myself.


You can contact Gayle here:

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