Motherhood and the ecstasy of being

Flames of my brother's memories

Two mothers gave me the life I know. The mother who birthed me taught the value of strength and the power of forgiveness. My spiritual mother, aunt Joan, taught me to live in the moment and to honor the divine feminine. The confluence of these two wise women opened my heart and mind to a universe of possibilities. One mother took care of business, introduced me to golf and the wonder of a story well told. Another presented the gifts of yoga and meditation. She cautioned that happiness is a […]

Filling the Big Empty

Peace Sign

In honor of National Poetry Month, a poem from Don’t Be Shy. (In Memory of Steven C. Clark) I have seen your face before among the crowded paths I have crossed. I close my eyes and hear you calling from some dark and distant place where parents float in cocktail prisons smiling like pickled Cheshire cats. You were a wonderful flower child celebrating new found freedom you made your way into Dream Canyon. In the Summer of Love you embraced the magic meadow where barefoot boys and girls sang and […]

Eulogy for Frank J. Cissne


My brother’s life is a love story so it is appropriate that we gather on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Frank was born in Beaumont, Texas January 29, 1939. Life expectancy then was 59 years. Average monthly rent was $28 and you could buy a new car for $700. Gone with the Wind won the Oscar that year as the world prepared for the war that defined America’s greatest generation, which included our parents. Our father was an Air Force officer. Frank inherited his hairstyle and asymmetrical sense of humor. […]

On the Passage of My Brother Frank

Frank Cissne circa 1952

One of the great characters in my life died early Saturday, surrendering to a lengthy battle with bladder cancer at age 76. Frank was staying with our sister Carol so we could look after him. When she called at 7 a.m. I knew his time had passed. An indifferent north wind hurled snow into my face as I crossed her lawn. I walked slowly, taking in each step, knowing Frank was my biggest fan and that I would never hear his praise or see his smiling face again. At the […]