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2019 Poems


from the Women Living with Parkinson’s Support Group, Kirkland, WA

I see people, and a great big hat

I see three birds on a black branch

They’re nestled up together

A turtle’s down

At the bottom

He’s got his head out just a bit

In darker water

I see sea life and fins

A coral reef

I see energy

On, off—on, off

Children’s energy

I see a couple of whales

Yellow, orange

Tulips, like a headscarf

I finally see something—

There’s a mother

Holding her daughter on her


A sleeping child

I see a little boy

With a balloon head

And he’s waving goodbye

To someone

Someone’s in the bed

Who is sleeping in the bed?

Why is the boy waving goodbye?

All I can see

Are three birds

I see a yellow and green sea serpent


On the coral reef, pink

Lilies, the tulips

Are the people—

A fiery orange


Leticia Stevens
When I was a young girl
Many years ago
My neighbor would take me for a ride
In a car she called” Shake rattle and roll”
That neighbor is gone the car is no more
Parkinson’s is the ride I have had knocking at my door
We have been up hills and down shaking and rattling everyday
Giving me a ride I wish would go away
Then one day a new ride i found giving me back a ride I thought was lost
Electrodes in my brain a battery in my chest
I’m a walking miracle no matter the cost
Parkinson’s disease you haven’t got me yet,
My neighbor would be glad to know I’ll no longer be going for a ride
In that car called” Shake Rattle and Roll”
written in 2011

Monochrome morning
Waiting for the walk sign
Sky the color of concrete and steel
Others hurry past me
Clutching their coffee
Matching in shades of drab
Me in my red wool coat
A robin among blackbirds
Head bowed against the wind
No one sees me smile


Fred McMullin

They’re Going To Put Electrodes In My Brain

They’re going to put electrodes in my brain

At first glance it seems somewhat insane

But as time goes on and things do not get better

We take shelter where we can in lousy weather

There’s no guarantee this will succeed

But the odds look pretty good to me

Sometimes you have to take it all in hand

And do your best with what you understand

The Beast

So you’re sick and you’ve been told

It could be years before you go

So take your meds, try DBS

Do this and that and all the rest

Your goal is to get thru the day

In such a manner, so you can say

Life is good despite the beast

That is trying to slip the leash

And tear into your hollow head

To send you off to join the dead


Peter Dunlap-Shohl

The Parkie From Kent

There once was a parkie from Kent
Who never could say what he meant.
Until the day he
Got speech therapy
Now no one can shut up this gent!


One of my fave PD thrills

Is swallowing copious pills
They do keep me going
when I feel I am slowing
But sometimes I choke on the bills.


Parkinson’s Disease is no joker
Mary’s symptoms darn near broke her.
Her face slowly froze
No emotion she shows
But at least now she cleans up at poker.

Frozen, the Sequel 

I stand frozen with arms akimbo,

Unable to escape from this limbo

I’d like to move on,

But my dopamine’s gone

So I guess I’ll just stare out the window

Stay Calm

Peace you may find in philosophy

But it’s not in my Parkinson’s glossary

I try to stay calm

But I find little balm

When my bladder’s become the boss of me


In my experience festination

won’t get you to your destination
But walk in reverse,
You’ll take off the curse
And be a backwards walking sensation!


Liz St. Louis

La Playa De Los Muertos

Do the spirits watch us swim?

Do they hear the hard sigh of the foam

up the afternoon-streaked sand,

and the thud of our careless feet

on the dirt track by their garden?

Do the Glad-wrapped white and

pink circles of plastic flowers

comfort them, when the moon makes

a hole in the velvet night

and the village dogs bark and rut?

Can they escape from their

concrete block prisons, painted

in ‘sugar almond’ colors-

peach and cream and duck-egg blue

bleaching in the daylight?

Do they object to us staring

through our foreigners eyes,

swinging shiny cameras, capturing

the ‘unusual’ of the scene,

the cemetery by the sea?

Would they ask their private Madonnas

to watch over us, to make sure

that the undertow doesn’t get us?

Do we have their permission

to play here, on the speckled rocks?

Did they lie in the sun once

on “La Playa De Los Muertos”

“The Beach Of The Dead?

The Price

One:  Cote D’Azur

You dance all day in the

Mediterranean Sea, with breaks

for caramel ice cream cones,

and French lemonade in glass bottles

with hinged rubber stoppers.

Your  parents stroke Nivea Crème

on your back, which just fries

your nine-year-old skin;

a few days later, the illicit joy

of peeling tissue-thin strips

off the burn.

Two:  Caribbean

Light sings on your shoulders

paints crystals in the water,

warms and fills your soul.

These are bright beach weekends

under the white hot arc

of a tropical sky.

You read, talk, and

occasionally play Scrabble.

At sunset you go home,

aware of the afterglow,

slap on green Aloe Vera gel.

Three:  Mexico

In a later string of years,

for two weeks every February,

the wavelengths beyond violet

soothe and heal the bruises of life.

By the pool decorated

with Styrofoam rocks,

you  lounge and drink Bloody Marys,

two for one, Happy Hour starts at 3 p.m.

You compete in tanning

with your golden-toned girlfriend

who only uses Factor 15.

Four:  Olympia

This year the reckoning;

a little dark  mole

is cut out of your back;

the dues to pay,


Malignant Melanoma.

Peter G. Beidler

[To the tune of “My Favorite Things” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, The Sound of Music.]

Walking up stairways I frequently stumble,
Walking down sidewalks I take a bad tumble.
Walking bent over with too-tight hamstrings—
These surely are not my favorite things.

Eating at diners I spill my clam chowder,
When I try talking my friends say, “Talk louder|!.”
I’m driving an old car that I’ve filled with dings—
These surely are not my favorite things.

Typing long emails with letters all jumbled,
I shout, “Anne, I love you,” but she says I’ve mumbled.
I lose playing poker (my Queens yield to Kings)—
These surely are not my favorite things.

When I stumble,
When I mumble,
When I tumble bad,
I simply remember my Parkinson’s friends,
And then I don’t feel so sad.

Sitting all lonely in deep concentration,
Wondering what brought on this tight constipation,
Wishing these dry guts would flow like the springs—
These surely are not my favorite things.

Turning the fan on rank air to expel it,
Thinking, “Why bother, I can’t even smell it?”
I lose table tennis (my pongs come out pings)—
These surely are not my favorite things.

Hand-writing long poems that no one can make out,
Trying to warm my stiff arm with a shake-out,
I walk like a zombie whose arm never swings—
These surely are not my favorite things.

My thoughts jumble,
And I grumble,
Am I going mad?
But then I remember my Parkinson’s friends,
And they make me feel so glad.


Gerri Bachman

One Moment in Time
Our lives are but a moment in time
    Just a second in the life of our earth
But if in our own time
    We can touch a soul with love or
Bring a smile to a lonely heart
    We can be at peace.
We may not climb the highest mountain
    But we can climb the foothills
We may not see our names in print or on a movie screen
    But we can leave our footprints in the sand
If we belive in our self
    And strive to be the very best we can be
Then all that we do in our moment of time
    Will be worthwhile
I am Me
I am me
     And I wonder in all I see
I am multi faceted
     Complex and quite unique
For there is only one of me
I do not always understand
    The things I do
I do not always understand
    The things I learn about me
But in the I knowing
    I have grown.


Doug Manuel

Dr. Overfield

He gently greets you in the waiting room

to observe how you sit and how you stand.

He takes your history,

tests your reflexes,

watches as you walk

down the hall and back.

He dictates his diagnosis,

“right-hemi Parkinson’s”,

while you sit and listen.

He is blunt in a kindly way,

as if tearing off a band-aid in one smooth yank.

He gives you drugs

and leaves you in the hallway with the office help

to schedule further tests and appointments the

wheres and whens of a newly shattered life.

“What day is good for you?” she asks.

And all you can think

in all your loneliness is

not this one,

as the next patient walks slowly

down the hall and is told,

“now turn and walk back”.


Maybe the drugs had started to work.

The doctor had said,

“Lack of emotional expression.”

So stopped at a red light,

I began exercising my eyebrows

in the rear view mirror.

Focusing on the weak right side,

trying to keep up with the left,

hoping for improvement.

Suddenly seeing the woman

in the car behind me.

Suddenly embarrassed by my “hey baby” eye brows.

But she did not see me.

She was looking in her own mirror,

putting on make-up,

waiting for the light to change.

Keeping Score

In memory of Al Weaver

Does it matter what the game is?

That we lose more than win?

A plastic ball

with holes in it.

A shot alludes us.

We turn and run.

We trip and fall.

The more we lose,

the more we try

to hit the perfect shot.

Knowing that it is the play

that matters,

not the score,

not the game.

We will try again,

next time and the next,

until there is no next time.


Renee LeVerrier – Oak Harbor, WA

There are times when I’m convinced my body and psyche are Parkinson’s punching bag, struck with each day’s ins and outs (and offs). Boxing turns that around. So, for you, boxing, I dedicate this haiku:

Block, jab, elbow in

up, arc, HAH. PD staggers.

Sometimes, I’m the glove.

Limericks with Terry Harrigan – for Art & Movement Symposium, Tacoma, WA
There once was a group from Tacoma (9)
That dreamed of a poetry diploma    (10)
Their efforts were heroic   (7)
You could see they were stoic (7)
Who knew? They all were from Roma! (8)

A limerick is a humorous poem consisting of five lines. The first, second, and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables while rhyming and having the same verbal rhythm. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables, and have to rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm.


Brian Camp – Everett, WA

Yes, I have Parkinson’s;
I’m the first of Jeff Camp’s sons;
Out of all aunts, uncles, and cousins,
I’m the only one!

See me shuffle into Albertson’s,
Where I bump into a cart—not mine—
Full of peppermint Schnapps and someone’s
Last-minute dinner; it’s Christmas time.

Watch me roll right through the shopping bog
And shimmy past the wrapped fire logs,
Or hit that special on egg nog:
I don’t fit in with the other cogs.

After I veer through holiday cheer
Towards the more-than-happy cashier,
I scramble for my wallet—right now, right here.
She bids me goodbye: “Happy holidays, dear!”

Yes, I have Parkinson’s;
I shop with it at Albertson’s;
I have more than Twelve Days of Medicine,
But I’m not the only one!


Inspired by artwork from Painting with Parkinson’s

Ayan, Stephanie, Jordan, Sarah, Melissa & Bette Jane – NW Parkinson’s, Mercer Island, WA

bright horizon

not ending or beginning

flowers get their flowers back

snakes in water running

wolves striding hills, wind

rushing through


like birds dancing

in the air, green leaves and

sound melting



Nola Beeler, RN, MSN – Anacortes, WA

T’was the night before surgery and all through the house, not a morsel was eaten – I was nothing by mouth

My warm wooly socks hung near the back door, in hopes I would see them at a quarter past four

Tom donned his nightshirt as I did the same; then we dubiously considered the sleep we might claim.

The alarm rang so loudly, so bold, and so clear

“DBS day is here, you have nothing to fear” .

So into the Honda – down the freeway we flew…your DBS is ready


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