Questions (a shardorma poem)




(for Tasha)

When it rains,
I wonder where are you?
Does it slip
on your skin,
like my fingers, making love?
Do you think of me?
When the sun
taunts the horizon,
as I might
linger near,
hoping to touch you again —
do you miss me, too?



Shardorma is a Spanish 6-line syllabic poem of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllable lines respectively. – See more at:


Flight (a palindrome poem)


(for Tranessa)

Fly butterflies,
with wind and wings!
Peacocks all preen
their jewel-toned feathers.
See my dance,
in this rain?
In dance, my sea feathers!
Jewel-toned – there –
preen all peacock’s wings
and wind with flies.
Flutter by!



You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half, but reverse the order for the second half, and use a word in the middle as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem – See more at:

strangers wait out the storm (a luc bat poem)


(for Nadine)

you might not notice me
here as I sip my tea, again
pondering this cold rain
you might think me too plain, but look
you’re clever as a rook
I watch you, with your book — pages
turning — passing ages
weathered like old sages, at sea



luc bat – (Vietnamese: “six-eight”) Alternating lines of 6 and 8 syllables. The rhyme scheme renews at the end of every 8-syllable line and rhymes on the 6th syllable of both lines: xxxxxA, xxxxxAxB, xxxxxB, xxxxxBxC, xxxxxC, xxxxxCxD, xxxxxD, xxxxxDxE. No set length or subject matter.

It’s Complicated


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu.

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller


On occasion I get the chance to have coffee with someone, and discuss polyamory, ethical non-monogamy, and how I found myself on this journey. This week, I had that chance again, with a very charming man. We met, as I said, for coffee one morning, and ended up strolling from the coffee shop to a nearby restaurant for a long lunch on the patio. The conversation was pleasant, deep, and intellectually stimulating…and as we shared, I was reminded that my journey has been far from simple.

In fact, I believe my entire life has been particularly intense, and complex. It’s quite possible that I’m wired for complication.  I recognize that I tend to fill my life with activity, to dig into thoughts and ideas that challenge me, that I thrive on stress, and struggle to balance just enough with not too much. I am much more content when there are multiple people in my world, with whom I can share connection, friendship, love and relationship.  In truth, if things get too simple, I get bored.

I seek out connections with others, and generally I look for people who are deep thinkers, self-improvers, and those who are interested in falling in love. I consider myself this type of intense person. Conversely, I’ve spoken with people who choose not to be non-monogamous, because of the complication, the risk, and the inevitable hurt, and I’ve learned that for me, putting up walls against pain is not an option. If I block out the risk of pain, I also put up walls against intense joy, contentment, and happiness. This is how I am wired.

This does not mean that I don’t have room in my world for people who prefer simplicity, in fact, I’m in a lifelong relationship with a man, who loves me wholeheartedly, and who lives by a much simpler philosophy than I do. I appreciate that about him. It takes all sorts to make up this diverse and wonderful thing we call humanity.

So, my musings continue, as I try to sort out they why of my polyamorous wiring.  My new gentleman friend has not yet determined whether his life has room for multiple, ethical, romantic relationships, and that’s okay. I am grateful for the friendship, and the conversation that has raised these questions in my mind.

I’ve come to at least one conclusion: In my experience, those “it’s complicated” relationship statuses you find on social media sites are pretty accurate — especially when it comes to non-monogamy. Relationships are dynamic and the more people you involve, the more communication you need, the more opinions matter, the more needs and desires come into play.

My current, lingering question is this: Is there some connection between ethically non-monogamous poly folk and a tendency to be more intense, complicated, and desirous of less simplicity induced boredom in life?

I suppose inquiring minds want to know.

Collateral Damage

Relationships have peaks and valleys. To make a relationship last…people must be committed to the climbs, just as much as they are to admiring the grand views.

~Kaliana Dietrich


Sometimes an argument saves a relationship, whereas silence breaks it. Speak up for your heart so that you won’t have regrets. Life is not about making others happy. Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others.


Sometimes, just writing the hard stuff, without drawing conclusions, without sharing lessons learned, is what is most needed. Today, I need to write this experience, just as I do others, so I can continue my journey. I hope it offers some backstory and perspective on what break-ups — monogamous or polyamorous — can be like.


I knew, when we met, in June 2010, that he was different. When he spoke about polyamory, and how people should be treated, he gave words to the conclusions I’d been drawing, as I sorted out my own philosophy, building poly relationships that were honorable, ethical, and designed to last a lifetime. The more he talked, the more I knew he was someone I could fall in love with, my heart would be safe. He had a primary relationship; he lived in Dallas and she in Houston. I knew and accepted that — even when his primary didn’t treat me with respect. I worked hard to find and live within the boundaries that made up his life, hoping he’d defend my heart, if his primary decided to use it for target practice. He, in turn, respected my marriage from the start.

I fell in love, trusting him completely.

In April, 2011, he began dating someone new. She too lived in Dallas, while I lived 251 miles away. Things between us began to shift. Time once spent on the phone with me was now filled with date nights, and weekend trips with her. It was NRE (new relationship energy). I was glad for him, but scared. We scheduled our weekends, talked through the changes, and he affirmed his commitment to me. I affirmed mine to him. I met new girl in May 2011, and she was beautiful, inside and out, genuine, caring, and head over heels with him. Together they glowed. I was very glad to see him smile, after so much hurt and upheaval in his primary relationship. She was a bright light in a room of shadows.

I liked her, and she scared me.

I was insecure, fearing he’d only been poly because he hadn’t found the right one yet. Maybe she was the right one, and I’d get squeezed out, as their relationship grew. I let those fears beat me up, especially when a few months later, his primary partner decided the new girl and I were both, indeed, disposable — and I should be the first to go.

New girl did something amazing. She stood up for me, fought for his love for me, and encouraged him to do the same. She spoke up and didn’t back down when it got ugly and difficult, supporting him while he broken-heartedly went into battle for me, and the polyamorous life he’d planned. I supported him too — from afar — but she was there in the trenches. I was thankful she’d come into our lives and loved her for being brave.

His primary relationship did not survive.

It died in December 2011 and like a wall of love we came together, surrounding him and sharing his grief. We loved him, and respected each other, and it was good.  I learned over the next several weeks how tenuous my place in his life had really been as his primary partner had attacked. I heard of new girl’s support, and how she’d been heart-broken by his pain. I was grateful, and yet, insecure. It might not make sense now, but then I was rattled by the depth of their connection, and the fact that I was so in the dark about the battle they’d been fighting for me. He’d not told me any of it. Communication was not his strength.

Turns out, communication wasn’t a strength for any of us.

In February 2012, he and I had plans to celebrate a late Valentine’s weekend, here at a local B&B — at the last minute told me new girl was coming along, and staying in our suite. I didn’t flex well. I panicked, and the resulting conversations only made things worse. He finally insisted she come, when she felt unwanted.  He insisted I trust him, as he wanted to talk to both of us. We were both physically ill, scared, and flying blind, But we trusted him, and when we came together for a heart to heart, we trusted each other.

That night in our suite, he declared his decision to make us both the core of his world… dual primary partners, each with different relationships, but neither with more importance or value than the other. He announced his intention to hold public commitment ceremonies with each of us, and to build a better life. Throughout that beautiful weekend, we talked and talked, vulnerability and fear giving way to trust. The walls between us crumbled, and we cried with relief in a three-part embrace.

Then it happened. It had been happening, but I’d been scared to trust… and on that day, seeing her vulnerability and beauty, and knowing my own, I took a risk… and I kissed her. We dropped our defenses, and began to fall in love. I was terrified, and I’m not sure that she wasn’t, too.  But buoyed by his love, and the trust we were experiencing, I let myself leap into an unknown place, opening my heart for the first time ever, to be loved by and to love a woman… her.

It was probably the best weekend we ever had.

The next year and eight months were filled with ups and downs. We argued a lot, and didn’t communicate enough. There were discrepancies, misunderstandings, and occasionally wonderful times in a huge king-sized bed. We shared trips, came out to some family, attended poly events and funerals… there was some good. But, communication about basics, like the structure of our triad, the individual relationships, the future, commitment ceremonies, designations like “fiancee'” and “girlfriend”, living arrangements, and expectations was not clear.

Eventually he moved in with new girl, and prepared to sell his condo. She proposed; he accepted. She expressed a need to be primary, insisting he declare her publicly as such.  I asked him for clarity, guidelines regarding what he needed from our relationship. He insisted I was still primary, too. No one came before me, no one came before her. I asked her for clarity, and it became clear that her views were not the same as his. I asked for triad conversations, which erupted into arguments without actually addressing the questions. When put on the spot in those triad discussions, he clammed up, afraid of hurting her, or hurting me.

The chasm widened; the pain continued.

I failed at communicating. Instead of pressing for clarity, I tried not to rock the boat. I believed him, when he said his feelings and plans with me hadn’t changed. I went on planning, hoping that things would get better. He failed at communicating, hoping the storms would blow over. For over a year, my fears and hers made it impossible for the two of us to explore the love we’d hoped to grow. She failed at communicating her needs and fears to him, and she stopped communicating with me. We were all hurting, wounded, and avoiding pain.

In October of 2013, she declared to him that she was done. She insisted he dump me, declared me toxic to their marriage plans and future happiness. She insisted I never wanted her, and wanted him all to myself. He gave me the news over the phone, that she was unwilling to continue, asked me for time to sort out his life, as his plans and dreams for our triad had just blown up.

So, I waited, mourning the loss of her love, alone.

In theweeks to follow, he gave me hope that he could make the transition from a triad to a V relationship. I waited in near silence for six months, until in April, 2014, he told me, he couldn’t continue. She was forcing him to choose. Though he still loved me, he had to end our relationship to save theirs. He swore he would fight to build a future with room for me. She — after six months of silence toward me — emailed him, my husband, and me, to make it clear she’d never permit him to have a relationship with me.

Two days later, they married and flew off to a European honeymoon.

I mourned the loss of my relationship with him, alone.

Today, he’s still trying to change the future. Today, she still wants me to disappear. Today, I am his friend. For ten months, I’ve been collateral damage, fallout from a polyamorous triad explosion. But, the road ahead keeps going. I know I am a good friend, a good poly partner, a good lover…

…and I will find my own way. 


girl walking__ (2)

A New Adventure

I’ve taken on an exciting new project, joining a team of talented writers over at the new OK Poly Network website. My column will be “Ask Pen”, and the below article preview is the first of many I hope you’ll find there:

Ask Pen
Volume 1



No Rules?! Are You Serious?

Dear Pen,


My girlfriend wants to open our relationship, but that scares me. What kinds of rules do you have in your poly relationships?


Dear New,

First, Kudos to you, for stepping out into new territory, and exploring ways to meet your partner’s request. You rock!

Second, as with any relationship, communication is oxygen, water, and food for your journey. Every poly experience is different, and we get to fashion designer relationships based on the wants and needs of those we choose to involve. The right way for you, and your girlfriend, to begin exploring ethical non-monogamy, is something only you two can decide. At some point, you will of course want to add the opinions, wants and needs of other partners to the blueprint. Still, this is your baby; you get to choose.  My advice is to talk, talk, talk…


[To read the entire article, check out and share some love!]




With plenty of ink and affection,



I’m an ink-stained, messy, poet-girl, I share life with three lovers, via frequent-flyer-miles, long drives, love letters, and texted poetry. I’m a vocabulary addict with embarrassing penmanship. Find my most recently published work  on the OK Poly Network  and in “Literary Sexts Vol. 1. (Words Dance Publishing) Send questions for “Ask Pen” to