TL Boehm - Writer

Written in my heart

Vintage Tam

80's mall hair, wave bands, I was a geeky Stevie Nicks wannabe - drawing unicorns on my Geometry folder and penning sappy lyrics in the library during lunch...we all start somewhere and this is where I was at 16. Peace and enjoy.  (artwork at left circa 87 TL Boehm "Sometimes the Rain Falls") Picture - High School 1982 - my junior year. There are three poems - The Secret, the Songwriter and "State of Mind" I suppose that made me think I was better than I was...and part of the reason I got hooked on writing....and now I can't stop.

Wedding Wish

With light steps
And joyous hearts
May you walk together
In the light

We join you in celebration

May you dance through life
As new leaves
Led by gentle spring breezes

May love lift your spirits
As birds carried aloft
In turquoise summer skies

My you be to each other
As soft mountain rain
Refreshing the soul
And bringing new life
To barren ground

May you capture your dreams
With rainbow lariats
And set them free
Within your souls

Now you have the secret of immortality
Entwined in bands of gold
A promise
And the spirit of two souls
Made one

TL Hughes Boehm

For Camille Dombrowsky and Ruan Bacigalupa 6/10/90 

Love like Sunlight on Water

Dance with me
Like sunlight on the water
You move with me so fine
Cover me
Like sunlight on the water
I long to feel your skin on mine

Touch me baby
The way that lovers do
Hold me till I’m crazy
And all I see is you
Talk to me baby
In a voice soft and low
Tell me that you love me
Then show me long and slow

Close your eyes and dream
In the morning I’ll be there
Fall asleep in my arms
Drift away on the love we share
And I’m happy by your side
Your warm body next to mine
Like sunlight on the water
You wash over me so fine

Its that look in your eyes
Makes me yearn
Your touch is a spark
In a fire slow to burn
Your desire makes me burn

TL Hughes

Your Love

Your love is welcome rain
Reviving a parched forest
Your love is the hush found at daybreak
After a first snow

Your love is a breathless climb
Up steep mountains
Yet I swallow my fear
And welcome the dizziness
Because I know you wait laughing
Just over the next hill

Your love is a quiet walk at twilight
Counting stars in a summer sky
Your love is a piece of paradise
Reflected in denim blue eyes

Your love is warm skin on mine
In the depths of the night
A gentle hand
To brush away my tears
And tickle a smile from me

Your love is a song
Heard for the first time
Let me dance to your music
Let me put words to your melody
Let the beat carry us…away

Your love is the rhythm of my heart
I am yours today…always
TL Hughes


I can't tell you that Dave was my first love, but he is the one who chose to stay, to be stand up to my dragons...(real and implied) I remember that first year. I was a monster. I still am. I just don't move as fast. But the trouble with hearts is - they are fragile. And once they stop - its over...Peace.

Sign of Spring

Don’t let words fall
Like icicles between us
Don’t let me grow
Colder than I am
You’re the only sign of spring
I’ve ever seen
But sometimes
Your sunlight hurts these eyes
Too used to darkness

How long can you stay
On shaky ground
Each time I fall
You pick me up
Will I grow too heavy
Or fall too far
For you to reach

And what can I give you
But tears
A few tired words on paper
For your emotional scrapbook
And a love that clings
Like a child awakening from a nightmare
Nothing more precious than salt
And dried ink
Even the spark of life we created
Has become a mistake
Something that cannot be
How can I face you and smile
Then casually put out the flame

Will our lives smooth over
Like the surface of a pond
After the rain
How long can you tread the waters
Of my insecurities
Before I pull you under
Don’t let me drown you

Can you teach me to swim

TL Hughes
3/25/88  For Dave Boehm


My beloved
You have found yourself
A shadow

This heart of mine
Has been dipped in acid
And left out to blow away
I’ve carried the dust in my pocket
Jingling against discarded dreams
And my few fond memories
Worn smooth like old coins
For so long
The pieces don’t mesh
Like a worn jigsaw
Put together too many times
The gaps grow wider

Yet you give me a new picture
With no lines
Or loose pieces to fall
When I am on unsteady feet
You’ve touched a spark to old ashes
And found the live coals
Now there is a fire to keep me warm
And I am dreaming again
Can I put you under my pillow
Can I hold you in the darkness
And whisper my wishes in your ear
I almost believe
You could make them come true

I want to be your world
Yet my circle is too small
For you to spread your wings
So let me be a pebble
You find on the beach
And keep because the colors please you
Hold me in the palm of your hand
When you’re alone with your thoughts
Let me be the soft scent
Of a flower in your garden
That drifts into your room
Before you fall asleep

Let me be your shadow
And when your sun is brightest
I will be unseen
Yet you will know
I am always somewhere
Behind you

TL Hughes

For Dave Boehm

You Keep Me Satisfied

The human heart is a prism, refracting love in myriad colors that dance across the surface of our souls. Shift the beat slightly and love is dark crimson – a vivid life force. A slight turn and it is warm – inviting – the golden smile of a dear friend. It becomes the color of your baby’s eyes when he or she lies cradled in your arms. Flaws, inconstancies of the heart prism shatter the light muting the colors until love may not even reach the surface of our thoughts. 
The media and entertainment offerings that inundate our field of vision use only some of these shades of love, mixed with lust, anger and other emotions that darken the brilliance we were meant to enjoy. Romance and passion intended for God’s people is diluted until the concept of love is a transparent blur we wipe away from the surface of our lives like dust on a window glass.
Yet real love is the driving force in the spirit of a human. We are uniquely designed to give and receive strong, powerful life giving love. It is the color of our existence, the palette of our souls. It is a blessing, and a gift. Let it wash over you in the full spectrum of vibrancy again. Allow yourself to love and be loved as God intended.

You Keep Me Satisfied

Sexual satisfaction
It’s a mutual reaction
Baby give me this and more
You must have a potion
You heat up my emotions
You can open up my door

I want every inch of you
To keep me satisfied
Only you can reach that part of me
Way down deep inside

I’m so glad I found you
Wanna wrap myself around you
Every single night
You set fire to my soul
With you I lose control
Only you can make it right

Wanna feel your skin on mine
Your lovin’ is so fine
You take me past ecstasy
There is no other man
To make me feel like you can
So do what you want to me

TL Hughes Boehm (written for the Hubby)


Down on You

In view of this situation
Can’t fulfill your
Better find something
Else to do
Can’t get up when I’m
Down on you

You know you drag me down
That same old dusty road
Change one word of your story
Can you be so bold
Selling a brand new tragedy
But it’s the same old lie
You always told
And I’m deaf dumb and blinded
By that stone you pass as gold

If thats your cross
Then bear it
If it’s the millstone round your neck
Then wear it
But I’m not your partner in crime
So don’t share it

Your life weighs on you so hard
You want payment for your pain
But I’m looking for the sunshine
So don’t bring me your rain
I’ve found my peace of mind
Don’t try drivin’ me insane
Take another fool for a ride
I wont’ go again

TL Hughes

Northern Light

Wanna lay you down in the moonlight
Let the wind in the pinon sigh
Make love with you till the morning
Underneath an amber sky

Child of cobalt waters
Soul of the northern lights
Won’t you let this southern daughter
Keep you warm in the desert nights

I hear your voice roll through your body
Like thunder in a summer storm
An echo that wraps around me
And the silence keeps me warm

I still smell your skin on mine
In the morning when I’m alone
I still see you through closed eyes
And I feel love I’ve never known

Wanna walk with you through life
Share the darkness and the dawn
For you are the words and music
And the meaning to my song

TL Hughes (Boehm)
1/29  2/27/88

Published American Poetry anthology 1989 

The Rose Remembers

Pressed between the pages of an old diary
An age lightened rose
Lies soap bubble thin
A claret echo lingers in once vibrant petals
Like the smudge of a first kiss
On a clean shaven cheek
Does the rose remember the blush?
Of the first love
Does it remember the warm wet earth?
That held it close
The scent still clings to its petals
Does it remember the morning dew?
Trickling down its leaves
Like droplets of liquid laughter
Spilling from my eyes
As I held it to my face

First love fades
Like the flowers crimson hue
But this rose
Like a dear old friend

TL Hughes (Boehm)


In the half world between dusk and dawn
She waits
Calling in low tones of wind
Through a half closed window

She taps at my door
With hands like long dead branches
Against the eaves
Dry knuckles clicking a muffled pulse

I see her around corners
Skirts rustling like leaves blown down a sidewalk
The scent of wet earth enshrouds her
And hangs clammy in her wake

Her image flickers in my mirror
A drifting wraith of smoke in a windless sky
Depthless indigo eyes stare sightless through mine
Lips set as a chisel mark on her tombstone face
She offers a new shroud
In exchange for the warmth I can’t yet give
My soul

TL Hughes

Lost in the City

See the trash along the street
The broken glass crunchin’ under my feet
Children’s tears are the rain
Echoes the pain
Each time another hope dies
And the billboard signs
And broken white lines
Are my trees and flowers and skies

I’m lost in this city
One sinner in a burnin’ hell
Lost in the city
Like a man in a prison cell

Hear the sirens in the night
Thousand dangers away from the light
Sometimes I feel
Like I’m starting to reel
On the verge of an endless fall
There’s a light at the end
Of the tunnel but then
I don’t see it at all

See the houses tumblin’ down
Old men sleepin’ on the cold hard ground
And the women who walk
And the preachers who talk
‘Bout the sin and the lust and disgrace
People tryin’ to sell
Peace of Heaven and Hell
Get me a ticket out of this place

TL Hughes (Boehm)
© 1987
3/13  7/16/87

Set In Stone

angst over the girl who "would" and did when I couldn't and still can't

Set in Stone

She drips
Tallow from a burning candle
Waxing the edges
Of your porcelain thoughts
Coiled around you each night
Your ivory Medusa
You lie mummified
In her copper gaze
Bloodless lips set to yours
Sucking you dry
Each caress from her scaled hands
Freezes your soul
Taloned fingers pierce your heart
She magnifies the final beat
And your love for her
A shadow from a statue
Set in stone
Death dances down her hallways
In her museum of dreams

TL Hughes
For Troy and Melanie

Witch Hunt (Content Warning)

She got the rumor started
And the fuel to make them burn
But she ain’t got the guts
Bitches like her never learn
She don’t know what she’s doin’
She likes to play with fire
So do a little flame throwin’
Make her lies her funeral pyre

Keep a smile on your face
Your head above water
And both feet on the ground
Keep your nose clean
Your eyes wide open
And don’t let the bitch wear you down

She’d sell herself to any fool
Stupid enough to buy her
She’d draw out your last drop of life
Like a bloodsucking little vampire
But if she thinks she’ll drink you dry
And tear your life apart
I got the nails for her coffin
And the stake to pierce her heart

She lives her life like a viper
Poisoning everyone in her path
She’s trying to make you her victim
Paralyzed in the aftermath
But what’s right will catch up to her
And strangle any lie
I got some hard truth for her
Maybe she’ll choke on it and die
Hey Witch
Keep playin’ your little game
Do all the damage you can do
Cause some body gonna come along
And do something rude to you
Hang you in your own lie
Can you swim in those acid tears you cry
Bitches like you deserve to die


Directed toward someone who peed in Buffi’s wheaties


Auburn Rain

You flaunted rainbows
Violet air
Wrapped round your face
And your hair
Trickled down your back
Like Auburn rain
We cast seed pearl dreams
In acid streams
Shaking the foaming wreckage from our feet
Carnage dripped from the folds of your dress
Leaving tide pools in foot prints
Auburn rain
We fell
Hot sparks from a burning match
Into frigid waters
I frantically broke the ice
But you never surfaced
Your skin fell away from mine
Auburn rain
In your wake
I tread water
Toss pennies into wishing wells
Like waterfalls
Of auburn rain
I read your spirit
Through bitter wine
Tear soaked words
Dripped down yellowed pages
Flowing red like blood in my veins
Bitter acid
Auburn rain

TL Hughes

For Evonne

Do You Wanna

Do you wanna fly
Across the floor
Spread your wings with me
Do you wanna
Set yourself free
Do you wanna try
A different high
Do you wanna fly

Do you wanna dance
Do you wanna
Do you wanna chance
At sweet romance
Do you want to dance

Do you wanna soar
Above it all
Just us two right now
I can show you how
Do you want more
Than a spin on the floor
Do you wanna soar

Do you wanna go
To paradise
A sexual wonderland
Take my hand
Do you wanna know
That special glow
Do you wanna go

TL Hughes


Selfish/Selfless Portraits

Selfless Portrait

I see myself
In faded pictures
That freckled girl with Daddy’s cornflower eyes
New penny hair
That scrawny monkey
Who dangled from trees and jumped on the bed
The one who devoured whole pizzas
Whinneyed like Man o’ War
And sung like Karen Carpenter
The one who was gonna be a veterinarian
When she grew up
The honor student
I left her in Jacksonville in ‘79

I see a stranger in the film
The freckles faded, the eyes grayed.
That penny has been in a pocket for a long time
I deprive myself pizza and bed time romps
I cried when Karen died
The dreams and grades dropped in old scrapbooks
With the horses and wishes I never had
Wishing I never grew up and away
Wishing I could be friends with this new face
I want that little girl back

TL Hughes Boehm

Selfish Portrait

I know you
Sitting in a mud puddle
All by yourself
Sucking on your toes
And wondering why life is so hard on you
The world is a bad tomato
Thrown in your face
And its stained your favorite shirt
Your dad is an alkie
And your mother’s morals would send the pope
Screaming back to Poland
All your friends are pregnant
But you couldn’t sell your virtue for fifty cents
On a street corner in Vegas

Yeah I know you
I see you looking back at me
From every mirror
Or piece of glass
What are you gonna do
When the hot desert sun
Takes your mud puddle

TL Hughes Boehm


He’ll tell you he’s different
Than the one before
He’ll say he won’t hurt you
Then he’ll hurt you even more
He’ll just bring you down
Cryin’ till you drown

One of my deepest fears
Always leavin’ me in tears
They say they love you but they lie
Turn away when you cry
Over and over again

He’ll tell you you’re the reason
For his very life
He’ll say he’ll always love you
You will be his wife
Then on your wedding day
He’ll turn and walk away

He’ll say he’s the one
Put here just for you
Then you’ll find out
He’s been untrue
No such thing as Mr. Right
They only stay one night

TL Hughes

First Love - For Kermit the Frog

First Love

Its the Muppet Show
Featuring our very special guest:

Oh Miss Piggy I hate vous
With your bacon dripping \u201cKermie\u201d voice
Glazed blue eyes saying kissie kissie
Stringy ham blonde hair
Your little pork body stuffed into that purple satin gown
A bulging lavender sausage
I want to stuff an apple under your pudgy nose
Wrap tin foil around those pink ears
And bake you under pineapple rings and cloves at 350F
Until you are golden brown
I could eat your poodle Fu Fu for dessert

You sow
Stealing my Kermit away from me
Kermit, my little green love
I used to run home from school every day
To watch Sesame street
Just for a glimpse of you
In your trench coat and jaunty hat
Your bugged eyes with Chevy pupils gazed into mine
And I swore off frog legs forever

Oh Kermit
My heart was yours alone
But you married that swine
And left me alone to wonder
Do you call your Muppet babies
Piggywogs or friglets
And should I get a snout implant

TL Hughes




I lie here alone

Staring at virgin paper

Wondering why the words won’t come.

They used to ring through my soul-

Too many, too fast, to easily…



My soul empty as this paper.


I remember better times

When we first met

I could hardly contain my words.

And you were amazed

You, who courted spirits,

And harnessed dragons.

(Except one. My own dragon)

Your words never came easily

Yet they were brilliant, priceless, indelible-

Diamonds take time-

Amazed at my talent

My words of glass-easily destroyed.


I was securely set.

One goal in mind.

You said you didn’t get involved,

You just sprinkled magic in people’s lives

Then moved on.

I needed that.

Magic without commitment.


Yet we touched

And love bound us together

And strengthened us.

We shared our secrets with the summer wind

We drank scalding hot tea in the August sun-

Never feeling the heat.

We walked barefoot through wet September grass,

We splashed through October’s puddles-

Never feeling the cold

And all the time

The words flowed…


But love’s ties became twisted


Trapping me.

Leaving you confused.

So you turned to her.

You asked if I was jealous-

I lied

You talked about her.

I said I didn’t mind

But inside the words were screaming,

And the ties worn thin

Snapped from the tension.

I fled within my words

Back to my one goal

My sweet dream-

Suddenly bitter…



You, no longer haunted,

Dragons don’t become you.

You, domestic, normal, marriage in June

(The diamond is for her)

You’ve found happiness, I suppose.

And me?


The words have turned against me.

Fragments of glass-

Broken-like my dream.

Tow few, too slow, too hard…

I lie here alone

Thinking of you

And knowing why the words won’t come.


TL Hughes


For Troy 




My tribute to Ginsberg....sans howling


Past jagged teeth of rocks
Tearing at my feet and clothes
Slipping off cliff tops
Into thunder ravaged clouds
Stampeded in ragged skies
Past a dripping sun
Sliding down a cheesecloth rainbow
Into a darkened basement
Moldy walls stink of urine and decaying rats
Black widow spiders dance minuets
Pirouetting in broken glass
Around blackened window frames
Empty eyes
Crying blood
And bitter candy that sticks to my teeth
Fouling my breath
Like rotting flesh
Clinging to the bones of memories and lost friends
Down down
Into dungeons
Filled with bodies piled in corners of twisted minds
Ending in concrete pillars under roadway under passes
Graffiti crawling above
Transients wallowing through foul water
Sewers and arroyos
I scratch my way up the sides
UP up
To buildings filled with animal eyed people
Half human
Sleeping alone
Virginal by force
Whimpering into faded pillows
Afraid to let Mama hear
Wasting desires in the Pent house or the Forum
Reclusive in their middle class homes
Watching waterfall behind the mirror
Neglected chipped paint flaking burnt and ugly
Dissolving into ashes in the fire
To float in smoke above with the phoenix
On wings of coal and lava
Melting down mountains
Spilling against my lace curtains
And I am falling onto paper stained black on white
But I dream
I dream in color

TL Hughes

Beyond the Rain

The cloaked man

With richly bridled horse

Rode to a tree in the woods

Rivers of hate for the woman he loved

Ran black, cold


Beyond the rain

Her cinnamon cloak flying under a red moon

The woman ran

A crawling black cat to the man

For he denied his love for her


The man

Shaking with bridled hatred

Felt the woman drowning under the icy rivers

Her love

Running beyond his hatred

Warmed him

Beyond the rain

They flew

For their love drowned their hatred


TL Hughes



Assigned – Pat Smith’s poetry class


Why do I write this?

An authority would say

That’s a good question

I often ask myself

Why do I write this trash?

There is a reason of course

It is simply a variation

A little change

Something new for a moment

(Like lemon in tea instead of sugar)

Even though I use the same tired themes

And threadbare words

As I did before

It is still a small change

If only in style



The lyrics are better

I don’t even consider this poetry

But it is different than lyrics

And that is what I need

An emotional release

An outlet for my frustrations

Why do I write this trash?

The answer is simple

It gives me something to do

To preserve my sanity

Just a little longer

October 5,6 1984 

TL Boehm 


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Best Friend

Walking alone
Through forgotten fields
Of heather
Just before dawn
The mist still blankets the field
Wrapping me up
In its clammy fingers

I used to come here often
To clear my mind
To sit in the midst
Of these violet bells
And listen
To their silent music
No music now
The bells have fallen
From the heather
Their withered remains
Rustle dryly beneath my feet
No life in these fields now

The sun rises
Slicing through the fog
A steel blade of light
Stabs the last trace
Of purple in the distance
As the mist thins
The purple takes shape
As I draw nearer
It becomes familiar to me
A faded gingham frock
Lavender and white
Against the straw-like heather

My best friend
How strange to find you here
In my private place
How long have you been here
Perhaps waiting
To surprise me

I kneel quietly beside you
And brush back your auburn hair
Expecting your smile

And you greet me
With dark empty places
Where green eyes should have been
Your jawbones bleached white
By six years of neglect
Gape at me in wonder
Slightly dazed
Amazed perhaps
That death could come so subtly

Tell me best friend
Was it the ring
On your fleshless finger
That strangled you
Or my absence
Would my touch
Resurrect you?
Or would your bones crumble and scatter
In the wake of my breath?
Did you come here
To save yourself
Or say goodbye
Tell me best friend
Can there be new life
After death

TL Hughes (Boehm)

Who Am I

Who am I?

When I cry

If I could make you smile for a while

And make the smile real

If I had something else to feel

Besides these tears I cry

Would you see?

Who am I?


Who am I?

That can’t get by

If I could see

Someone like me

And share my hopes and dreams

To me, somehow it seems

I would know

Who am I?


Who am I?

Though I try

I can’t live this way

Each lonely day

Gets darker without you

No one to be close to

No one knows

Who am I?


Who am I?

Always thinking about you

Who am I?

I am nothing without you


TL Hughes


Just another Day 

I stumble into the shower

Let there be hot water I beg

The temperature’s just fine

But something’s crawling up my leg

You know I don’t need to be clean

So I think I’ll make a quick retreat

I’ve heard that it’s nice to bathe with friends

But mine don’t have six feet


Lettuce in my coffee

Tomato on my blouse

It’s another perfect morning

In another family house

It feels so great to be here

In this fine old home

Where the parakeet is barking

And the plants are free to roam


Rover’s eaten another mailman

And the post office is getting furious

He’s just a growing puppy

Some people are much to serious

The say I must pick up my mail

Cause they won’t come to my door

Me and Rover both agree

You can’t get good postmen any more


Yes I have the problems

That every family must face

It’s just another day

In another normal place

It’s another boring Monday

A typical day you see

I think I’ll get out for awhile

Before the roof falls in on me


TL Hughes

11 83

5/23, 24/84

LRAFB Elementary #2

Little Rock Air Force Base Elementary #2
Even abbreviated
Covered two years of my life
Ms. Maybelline Hill, 4th grade
            Pink brocade dress
            Red tinted hair
            Skin the color of a boot heel
            “Is you talkin’ again chile?”
            “Where yo’ pencil at?”
            “Go stan’ in the corner”
I lived for recess
            No playground equipment
            Except tetherball poles
            We seesawed on them
            Until the day metal met bone
            And Suzie became Frankenstein
            She deserved a knock in the head anyway

Other girls skipped rope
            Double Dutch
            Build the tower
            Blue bells, Cockle shells
            Eevie Ivy overheads

We were more creative
            My best friends were
            Lizzie Borden and Dracula
            I was Lucrezia Borgia
            We were the “in” crowd
            Till Evonne grew out of her cape
It was a good year for epidemics
            Strep throat
            Chicken pox
            I got chicken pox for my birthday
            Tons of ‘em
            And a scar where Spot bit me
            And broke one
I was happy to see summer
            Sirens every week
            For tornado sightings
            Air so damp your hair never dried
            And economy sized bugs

We liked gross places
            Seven girls
            And a quarter mile of drainage pipe:
            A perfect day
            We frog-walked
            Through spider webs and blackness
            An occasional splash
            When a foot slipped
            And a rear landed in stinky muck
            When something wiggled under your hand
            We came up onto the street
            Thru a manhole
            Didn’t want to go back through
                        Two weeks later
                        Snake eggs found
                        In the bilge-green water
I got stuck in Mrs. Bishop’s 5th level class
            Salmon lipstick
            Raid scented perfume
            And a voice that crackled like glass
                        Cracking pencils
                        Playing cards
                        And talking out loud
                        Against the law
I spent a lot of time with her
            After school
            Writing times tables
            Till I could recite them
            Till she gave up
            And called me stupid

I wasn’t stupid
            I won spelling bees
            And essay contest
            Read Galaxies instead of Images
            And knew all about the Freedom Train
Another teacher for music/art/PE
            PE was kickball
                        I stayed at the bake of the line
            Or four-square
                        I was an “A” player
            Or concentration now beginning
            Starting with a number
            From the beginning

Music class was better
            Me and Evonne knew all the words to
                        “Philadelphia Freedom”
                        “Jive Talkin’”
                        “Bohemian Rhapsody”
                        “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
            We rode the Soul Train every week
                        We could Bus Stop and Hustle
                        But we were too young to Get Down
            And our biggest topic was
                        Did they really stab a girl
                        On “Love Rollercoaster”
                        Or was it the keyboard player screaming?
            I didn’t care
                        As long as I had my soul
                                   TL Hughes Boehm

Enchanted Rivers 

I begged you not to go

But you said you’d be all right

If you stayed out of the shadows

And rode in the full moonlight

I stood at the door and watched

As you disappeared across the moor

And I thought to myself

It’s the kind of night she adores


Did you go down to the waters?

Did you see the lady there?

Did you gaze at the silver moonlight?

That played upon her auburn hair

Were you entranced by her golden eyes?

And her skin as white as snow

Did she take you to enchanted rivers?

Someday I will know


I found your horse this morning

On my way to the riverside

She was grazing in the forest

You left her untied

She seem to understand my tears

As I asked her about you

If she’d been able to speak to me

She’d prob’ly say she’d been crying too


I went down to the waters edge

And watched the enchanted river flow

I though about a part of me

That died so many lifetimes ago

Here in these same waters

I saw my sister die

The river carried her away

I can still hear her cry


Sister please take care of him

His soul is safe with you

I know you enchanted him

And I know your heart is true

It’s not my fault I couldn’t save you

You and I both know I tried

So keep him ‘till I join you

Soon I’ll be by your side


TL Hughes


Did You Think I

Did You Think I (Wanted You Around)

Don’t think that because I smile at you
I want to be your friend
If just means I can’t waste my time on you
Are you too stupid to comprehend?
That I find you objectionable
I find you a little weird
So maybe you’d be better off
If you just disappeared

Did you think I
Wouldn’t do it
Did you think I
Wouldn’t put you through it
Did you think I
Wouldn’t be so cruel
Well you’re a fool
I don’t play by the rules
Ha ha ha

Don’t you follow me around?
Cause I don’t need another pet
If you keep on bothering me
I’ll give you a lesson you won’t forget
How long will it take till you realize
You just aint my kind of guy
I won’t let you into my world
No matter what you try

I know just what you’re after
But you won’t get it from me
So don’t’ even bother trying
Oh listen cant you see
I don’t want you around
Hangin on me every place
Can you take no for an answer
Just get on out my face

TL Hughes
One of my first – directed at the male species in general


Beyond the obligatory Scooby Doo postcard in fourth grade - you know - the one you got in thta cereal box you decorated with construction paper, macaroni and candy hearts - the sweet secrets of Valentine's Day where not whispered in my ear. Even as a young adult - my dad sent flowers to my work and my boss said "if you weren't so damned mean - you could get a boyfriend" Yeah well...I'm married now and still don't get them...

I just helped my oldest pick out some inane noise making dog, a box of overpriced Rochers, and a sappy card for his first serious "high school flame" I give the relationship about two or three months before they move on to the next teen challenge. I hope she doesn't stomp his wil heart out.

So I am feeling nostaligic, and a bit covetous this am and thought I'd go back about a thousand years to share my thoughts as Valentine Grinch. Some physical changes I guess since this little piece of refuse, but the heart is just as gravely and sour...Peace!


I’ve never looked nice in a frilly dress
All pink and covered with lace
I don’t paint my nails, my hair’s a mess
And rouge don’t touch my face
I never wear heels or panty hose
Or flowers in my hair
I won’t be caught dead in designer clothes
Or cashmere sweaters unbuttoned to there

I never get no valentine
But that’s ok now that’s just fine
Perfume gets me nauseous
And roses make me sneeze
I’ve never cared for candy hearts
Or Hallmarks sent to please

I can’t dance or speak with style
I could never talk sweet to the guys
My teeth look funny when I smile
And I don’t laugh sexy or roll my eyes
I don’t bathe in expensive perfume
That sells for forty dollars an ounce
I smell like soap, not roses in bloom
And when I walk I don’t jiggle or bounce

But if someone would just look my way
I’d put on frills and lace
I could think of nice things to say
I’d wear make-up on my face
I’d curl my hair and learn to dance
If some guy said he’d be mine
I know I could change if given the chance
If I got a Valentine

TL Hughes

The Secret

The morning mist spun silver strands
Of a veil wrapped ‘round the trees
Sunlight skipped down auburn paths
Gilt with fallen leaves

In the shimmering breeze two lavender eyes
And the flash of a burnished horn
Parted the fog as she danced up to me
A luminous unicorn

She shook the dew from her tawny mane
Flinging rainbows through whitewashed air
Then spoke with the voice of falling rain
Of a secret she wished to share

She whispered to me that wishes and dreams
If grown in the soul will come true
Then like a star in the morning sky
She faded away from my view

But she left me a priceless gift
Upon that dreamswept morn
Magic thrives as a child within our hearts
And speaks through unicorns

TL Hughes
-inspired by a dream
Published 10/88 American poetry anthology
This is my favorite piece of work.


The Songwriter

The songwriter sits, gazing out her window
At the soft mountain rain falling down
Tapping her feet and humming a melody
In time with the rain all around

Down dream swept halls her footsteps fall
As she leaves reality
With her velvet touch, she parts the curtains
And steps in to fantasy

Oh to be her, to have such inspirations
To spin dreams with the pen in her hand
Oh to be her, to have such inspirations
To have the muses at my command

Crystalline dreams though shattered still sparkle
In the misty memories of time
Under her spell they’re blended together
Reflected in a rhyme

Silken chords of gold flow from the songwriter’s pen
Verses flow like wine and time stands still
When she plays her sad piano
Shimmering notes melt winter’s chill

Whispering melodies lead ever onward
Through floating halls of sound
Spiraling harmonies showing the way
To the place where music is found

She lives untouched by pain and sorrow
Yet her songs make the coldest man cry
Living a life of eternal beauty
The songwriter is music, she’ll never die

TL Hughes

State of Mind

Walking alone at midnight
Following a well known trail
But something has gone wrong this time
And my vision begins to fail
The voices start whispering softly
Come close your eyes and fly
The forest around me is haunted
By the echoes of their cry

I see a light in the distance
Flickering dim in the darkening gloom
Maybe somehow I will reach it
And escape this feeling of doom
A building towers before me
And the gathering fog turns black
Something tells me to run away
But I know I can’t turn back

I wonder what I’ll find here
As I walk through the door
This place seems so familiar
I think I’ve been here before
My footsteps resound through empty rooms
Turned gray by endless years
I wander down desolate corridors
Lonely halls that saw countless tears

Down halls of bitter hatred
Halls of fear and dread
Hall that reek with life
From the memory of forgotten dead
And the lonely souls crowd closer now
Pitiful fragments of dreams gone dry
I’m beginning to fear I’m stranded here
And I look up to a starless sky

Oh where is that light I followed
It seems so far away
The lonely woods at midnight
Is no place for a child to play
Something’s got a hold of me
Or maybe it’s nothing at all
A bitter rain starts slashing down
I stumble, then, I fall

All of a sudden there’s a noise
Like the slamming of a door
I open my eyes to see
That I’m lying on the floor
Dawn streams through my windows
That light I was trying to find
And I know I’ll never be trapped again
In the dungeons of my own mind

TL Hughes
11/18/82 Published in my HS Yearbook...sigh.

Come Back To Me

I’m gonna go to my room tonight

Shut an’ lock the door and turn out the light

I’m gonna crawl in to be like nothing is wrong

And pretend that you aren’t really gone


Come back to me, I can’t live without you

Set my love free, I can’t live without you


I’m gonna stay in the dark behind this locked door

The light in my life doesn’t shine anymore

The flame went out the day you left me

So if anyone wonders, you know where I’ll be


We had a love once but not that is through

‘Cause all of it died the day I lost you

Hope the new love you found keeps you satisfied

I just couldn’t please you, God knows how I tried


Chorus to fade….

TL Hughes


I remember where I was when I wrote this, crouched on the floor beside my bed with the night light on...listening to a song called "Borrowed Time" by ONJ....first set of lyrics I wrote.

I remember the moment I started writing this. I was a freshman in High School, lonely, awkward, timid...Sandwiched between my bed, and bookstand I was on my knees preparing to write a letter to my friend left behind in Arkansas. I was remembering the prior weeks of summer in increments: Buffi sitting on the sprinkler, talking on the phone to her dad, sunburned and sprawled out under the AC vent. And this one moment - my first memory of her singing this song called Borrowed Time. She sat, one foot curled up underneath her – tape recorder clutched in her hands – as we listened  to this Olivia Newton John cassette - Buff was hitting every note in perfect pitch....and I missed her so much in that moment I thought I would never stop crying. I grabbed a piece of notebook paper and scribbled out a cheesy set of lyrics called "Come Back To Me"


I don't remember if I sent them to Buff or not. I wasn’t really into poetry at the time and was still set on becoming a veterinarian after High School. I hadn’t flunked Algebra yet, my dad hadn’t been arrested, mom hadn’t found a new boyfriend. And I thought at some point Buffi and I would be neighbors again. I had such a limited view of life and this first  shallow splash into lyric poetry could have easily been a fluke. It wasn’t – but I’m not sure that’s always a good thing….This poem though – written by a lonely fifteen year old girl is precious to me. It’s nothing special. There’s no great meter, message, or motive. It just is. Because I know my own humble poetic start, I don’t discount the quiet steps of others as they venture down their personal creative paths. And when – like my poetic friend who inspired me to remember a moment 29 years old – puts his or her greatness on the page for me to read – and I say I am in awe – I mean it. It’s taken me almost three decades to get where I am as a writer…some of you haven’t even been breathing that long. So when I say you’re good, know that you are.


“Come Back To Me” will never grace the pages of a book, never win a grammy, never be sung out loud – even though I entertained that hope briefly. But it is a snapshot of who I was, and a glimpse of who I now am. Peace. 


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