A Red Bird is perched on a limb outside

The world is frozen

Her heart is warm.

The train is coming.

Her love on board.

He is her heart beat, the blood that rushes through her veins.

He is her heart, her heart.

Her heart is warm.

It is cold outside.

The train derails.

Her lover dies.

She sits alone in a window.

A Red Bird perched on a limb outside.

He is her heart.

Her heart is warm.

It is cold outside.


-poppishirley (c)


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Keep Living

Whenever someone raised themselves up and pronounced that they would or would not allow themselves or others to do, my Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Strange would say, “Keep Living”. 

It meant if you lived long enough that one day time and circumstance, death, taxes and cheating husbands would happen to us all.  “Keep living” she’d say.

God has said that He would turn our captivity, that those things that the devil meant for our bad, that he would turn it around and make it for our good.  Our job is to do like Grandmama said, “Keep Living”.

–thanks for reading


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Divine Comedy

My first grandchild KJ was a wonder to me.  I prayed for him in church one Sunday.  Sitting halfway the pews , I asked God to Bless my children, to let me live to see them grow up.  They were about 8, 10 and 12 at the time. 

God always gives you over exceedingly above all, we  could ask or think on April 24, 2003 gave me the most beautiful grandchild I could ever ask for.  I took him for his first visit outside and he would stick his head out of the blankets to look all around him at the world of birds chirping and the Carolina blue sky.  I gave him his first tickle and he smiled for the first time for me.  Oh what a privilege!

Not having had a baby in the house for nearly 20 years, I was taken aback at all the bottles, diapers, and whatall associated with having a baby in the house.  When ever he stayed with me, he was keep pristine, –I cannot say the same for my home.

When he cam into his terrible twos, I decided to take him down to my moms where he could see the baby chicks, eat grapes from off the grape vine and run around a big yard with the family dog, bear.

At times though my precious child knowing that his grandmother was drastically out of her area and that he truly had the upper hand when it came to his own child rearing he took total advantage of the situation that entire weekend.

He whined, yelled, sulked, threw tantrums and invariably kept me running as if I was Edith Bunker and Archie had just come home and someone had been sitting in his chair.

When my precious little boy left that afternoon, I was uprighting chairs and scraping something indescribable off the walls when my mother came to the steps and said, “honey, there’s someone on the phone for you”  I whirled Tasmanian devil style (bottom twisting, head staying still) and yelled, MOMA CAN’T YOU SEE I’M CLEANING UUUUPPPPP!!!!!!!!!

–thanks for reading

-poppishirley (c)

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Private Dick

I had thought of becoming a Private detective.  You know, a private investigator that goes around finding out all those juicy secrets about cheating spouses and information concerning missing people running from their rich families, find maybe a felon or two or someone obtaining disability all the while painting their house or out  riding horses.

No, not like Dog the Bounty Hunter, He’s a bit too greasy for me and I’m too black for him.  However, one like a female version of John Shaft and wear a sexy black trench coat with 6 inch heels and carry a badge or something to impress the men at my church.

Lord, how I’d love to carry a sweet pearl handled pistol in my stocking and a fat glock in my purse, a sawed off shotgun under the seat of a little red convertible.  Something like my brother’s 67 chevy, and all my girlfriends would date men who love them on a serious tip.

I’d drink Jack Daniels with the guys and smoke a fat cigar all the while regaling my escapades.

I’d be a devil in a blue dress and keep my nails only as long as the tips of my fingers.

…and then i woke up.


–thanks for reading!

-poppishirley (c)

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Big Boobs

If you want to see me “go off my meds”, tie me to a chair and turn on Fox News.

It is like listening to Irish folk music played on a harmonica with one note. 

Personally, it only takes a few moments of listening to their “recounting” the news that my circuits break, smoke rises out of my ears, my eyes roll up to the ceiling. I go running for the remote,  arms flailing about like the robot in Lost in Space.

It is the only time when I truly do comtemplate shooting myself in the head to rid myself of their endless, turning and twisting into a “story” their version of daily local, national and world events.  Their stares into the camera remind me of crack addicts needing a “fix” for sensationalism.

What universe did these people come from?

It leaves me to believe that each of their resumes’ read “Psycho Killer in my former life” and at night they shed their skins and crawl into caves to await daylight.  It would seem their “female” versions only job description is -Sit on Couch, cross legs, smile and dye hair blond daily.

-thanks for reading

-poppishirley (c)

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The “Other Sister”

My sister, Joan,  is the “perfect lady”.  She is smart, poised, confident, intelligent diligent, thrifty, serious, hardworking, caring and strong.  A “black Martha Stewart”, she has created a dream home just overlooking the Hudson River.  Her work is valid and she has won awards for helping 1000’s of disadvantaged children find new ways of coping with their world.  She is tall and lovely. 

I am “The Other Sister”


-poppishirley (c)

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A House of Stone and Glass

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Suffering Out Loud

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, manic depressive disorder or bipolar affective disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are usually separated by periods of “normal” mood, but in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.


In July 2008, after being found in my room after several days 28 to be exact constantly at my computer, not eating, not leaving my room and after hearing several conversations with myself, my roommates were driven to have me admitted to the local sleep disorder clinic at the Fletcher Allen Health Center in Burlington, Vermont.

     My only friend at the time was a woman from the Congo who appeared real only in my thoughts.

     After my 21 days in rehab, I emerged with a new love for color and a large bottle of pills.  I kept the color palette and summarily threw away the pills.  Eight months later, I nearly gave my sons duplicate heart attacks by suffering a seizure on an afternoon when I should have been getting ready for work.

     I do not remember my mother who visited twice, the doctors or my children who visited daily.  My only recollection through shadows and fog were the constant faces of the ever diligent nursing staff of the Danville Regional Hospital in Danville, Virginia.  I thank God and them for their mercy.

   My recovery included a stay in Psychiatric and Behavioral Health where I once again painted and cried over the death of my boyfriend Charles and my Aunt Catherine.

    Questions answered left so many unanswered.   I was left weak with a new disorder, my life.  I now had to relearn things.  Especially the habit of living …middle ground.  A place I had never resided in in my life.  This sojourn would   be newer and more awe filled than when I first viewed 8 or 9 feet of snow in wondrous Vermont. 

    How would this condition affect the rest of my life?  Would I be relegated to forever walk around in my dead friend’s bathrobe and slippers as I had done in the days closest to his sudden death?  Would my hair grow long and scraggly like “boo radley”?  Would this sickness force my children and grandchildren away in horror and would I end up in a mental institution at the end of my days?  or live padlocked inside my own?  Grateful in all things, I was glad that I did not live in the Middle Ages and like The Madness of King Georgewould not be subjected to “blistering” to clear the mind.  Instead, I now take a “mixture” of Rispiridone and Depakote.  Unlike King George or Boo, I count myself “lucky”

Don’t Look Back in Anger

It is not in good times that is a measure of a man, but how he is affected in adversity-MLK.

I have been told that if you want to make God laugh, Tell Him Your Plans.

After all, I have kept my passion for 6 inch heels, traveling and writing.  I sometimes feel I have been nailed into a coffin and my only way out is through the written word.

Still, I make a mean Salmon cake.  With medication, I sleep all night and have not noticed any side effects like hair growing from my ears, hallucinations (except for the Congo lady) and have since dedicated my life to finding out about my disorder and educating others about the illness.

I would like to thank everyone who sent flowers, cards or letters or visited during my stayon the  “The Lido Deck”, and expecially to omigodimagoinnuts! for her wonderful comment.


-once again, -poppishirley(c)

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