I signed the contract with Nixes Mate Books for the publication of my third book of poetry “Crone.” I believe December 2018 is when we expect “Crone” to be released into your hands. I’m happy beyond words to be a Nixes Mate author, and I appreciate all that Michael McInnis, Anne Elezabeth Pluto, and Philip Borenstein do to bring the finest literary work to the world.

I began writing “Crone” at a women’s writing retreat at Chicot State Park, Louisiana last December, during a snowy week which is rare for Louisiana. One poem came and then another, and another. When Crone’s voice came to me, I knew there was a palpable, rich myth to explore. I gave myself a very short amount of time to work and the manuscript drove me. I had some searing personal pain happening at the time, and the writing fueled my fight for life. So, please stay tuned for more news about “Crone.”

Thank you,


Image: “Crone” by Clare L. Martin
2018-02-11 18.31.51

Embryonic Self

“Embryonic Self*,” mixed media, by Clare L. Martin



A tree held in its branches
a womb that carried me.
My strong heart
beat brilliant red
through fluid translucence.
A thick cord
connected me to roots
of the tree
into the blood
of the earth.

Who knew I would experience
such sorrow, such joy
once born into the world?




*Dedicated to Bessie Senette.

Clare L. Martin ©2016



Seen and Unseen



As a poet, I have been given gifts of perception and the tool of language. As a poet, I have an almost clairvoyant apprehension of things seen and unseen. I embrace my “self” as visionary and humbly identify as such. Protecting our sacred space is difficult when you are entangled in toxicity, but small comforts, tears and self-nurture can help re-forge our beings. It’s not necessarily walls we need to construct, but a temple. This is something I learned over the weekend of October 18th and 19th when I attended a healing retreat at Tranquility Point Sanctuary in a woodsy location in Ville Platte, LA. I can see with more clarity and perspective how the seemingly incongruous events of the past led me to that revelation.

I believe we are on this planet to give and receive love and to spiritually grow into our most holy selves. This has been what I have believed since I was a child. I believe in a Creator, the “Divine Whatever” which is what I speak with awe and reverence for that unknowable Force. I believe God is in all things.  All things. All experiences. In each and every living thing on Earth, Earth itself and the Universe beyond our little speck in space.

We use and overuse the word love. But I believe that we are loved and loving beings. We were born to love and love is our natural state. Unfortunately, everything in contemporary society and in our history for a long, long time has been commandeered by human greed to misdirect us from our spiritual selves and hence our openness to the Divine Whatever is denied and vilified.

I have many friends who are “devout” atheists. We get along fine, unless they try to undermine my beliefs with theirs. And atheism is a belief and a choice not to believe in a God, because really if we put the question on the line there is only the weak human mind that cannot grasp what is unknowable, until death, perhaps. I respect that these friends are for whatever reason convinced of the non-existence of a Creator, God, Divine Whatever and I don’t try to change their minds.

Most of the people I have encountered recently have a fierce aversion to religion and may not have really considered a grander idea God at all—many try to direct me to the harm that organized religion has and continues to perpetrate on this planet. I get that. I do not subscribe to a single religion but I do believe in Something. We can point to a million reasons why a God wouldn’t exist, because of all the prejudice, injustice and evil in the world. This is the world, however, and the humans in it, and not what I can only dimly imagine God is.

I went to Texas at the beginning of October to read poetry at an opening of an art exhibit Degrees of Separation/Degrés de separation; a project in which I was one of four Louisiana poets who worked with visual art from artists from Louisiana and France.  We writers were tasked with writing ekphrastic poems inspired by pieces of visual art. The project is being documented at the web site above.

It was a thrilling time and I am so honored to be a part of this project. I was lucky to be able to manage the trip and I broke through many fears to get there. My daughter and my friend, poet, healer, minister and navigator, Bessie, joined me. I was able to see my best friend from college, Wilhelmina for one night as we traveled through her town in Texas.  I had not seen her in twenty years and we were gleeful at our reunion.

It’s kind of funny that as she holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Willie, back in the day, proclaimed herself an atheist and had all of the arguments to back her stance up, but her life experiences have led her to a deep, grounded faith in the Divine Source. She and I laughed about that because we used to debate the existence of God all of the time, and now we just talk about the miracle that she and I are still alive and rejoice in all the blessings in our lives. What a wild trip. Unforgettable and the experience teaches me still.

What do we know?

Let me assure you, we know less that we think we do and the sum of all human knowledge is minuscule. The smartest humans can only theorize or try to present logical arguments for the proof of God or construct theories of disproof. The humanistic point of view is very popular now and to me it is not sad, because that doesn’t stop God from doing God stuff. Someone gave me a phrase over the weekend of the retreat that has stuck with me: “We are tools in God’s toolbox.” I believe this to be true. Even if we are crowbars, nails, hammers, drills, a two-by-four etc. in some way we are tools or instruments to reveal some deeper meaning and growth in our own lives or in someone else’s. We only have an intimation of what God has in store but I cannot even voice it because—hey, I don’t know. Something grand I am sure.

Part of my reason for attending the healing retreat, which I plainly cannot put into words what actually transpired, but can express that it was profound and led me to great joy, was that I had a negative influence in my life that was blocking The Good from coming to fruition. It troubled me greatly because to be free, truly free, I had to sacrifice something I loved. My intention for the actual healing session (which was miraculous in all ways) was to not be entangled in negative energy battles and to become more discerning in my choices and actions.

The healing session was administered by a healer and Reiki Master; a Lakota medicine woman, healer-teacher and elder; and a Buddhist practitioner of Reiki/healer. I have never, ever, ever, ever experienced such a powerful intercession on such a deep spiritual level in my life and the whole experience brought me to a wholeness of self that I only hoped was possible.  It was a complete surprise to me.

My grandmother was a traiteuse, a Cajun Roman Catholic healer. She was unable to pass on her “gift” before she died. This always fascinated me and I would have requested that she teach me but it was a very secretive thing and I was at the time unworthy for many reasons. After the healing session at the retreat, I wondered about the Cajun folk tradition and where it originated and looked into ties between Native American medicine and the folk medicine of the Cajun people. There is much more that I want to learn but the deduction I surmised was that the cultures intertwined in their shared histories in early Acadian life and out of life and death necessity there was likely a real sharing of knowledge for mutual survival. I plan to look into this further and talk to people I know to find stories that may illuminate my understanding. But for me, whereas at some point I may have been a true skeptic, the firsthand experiences of the retreat weekend blew my mind wide open.

The night I came home from the retreat, my mind and spirit were so open and so clear that I “heard” the voices of my French ancestors trying to speak to me emphatically in French. A spirit I recognized as my grandfather was trying to “translate” the Cajun French into English so that I could receive the message but it became confusing and I fell asleep astounded but also a bit lost. I need to brush up on my French!

I am much more grounded, and some of the doors that were open are closed a bit. As I write these words some people might think I am just a kook, but I don’t care. One day we will glimpse at the things of this world seen and unseen and acquire an intimation of that which is incomprehensible Divinity and Wholeness. This is my belief. I believe in angels. I believe our beloved dead are near to us. I believe there are repercussions for ignoring or deflecting what they have to say to us, or what life urges us to pay attention to. Life is not all that is on TV.  Life is not all war and destruction. Yes, these things are real, but if we allow a transformation of consciousness and connect in positive ways seen and unseen, I devoutly believe we can revolutionize the current state of affairs. I believe in spiritual evolution: a loving flow which can heal humanity and the planet, in service to The Divine Whatever which breathed life into us, and which will take that breath away, too.

May we turn inward, to the deepest we can plumb, and know within and without that life, here and now and beyond this, is holy, infinite. Each moment holds meaning. Each moment we have a choice to be our faith, a living prayer, and be in the revelation of the miraculous. In the darkest hour, if we choose to open our minds to the Divinity of all things, light can break through.


Sacred Tears

So many struggles in recent months that I will not reiterate here, but the resulting choice made at my wit’s end was to go on a retreat at Casita Azul, in Grand Coteau a couple of Saturdays ago. My greatest need was silence and a soft place to hold me as I was worn out from deep, constant grief.

When I go to the Casita, which has been a place of refuge for many years now, I usually don’t set rules for myself, except that I will do as I please and only as I please. Of course my pleasure is in the self-nurture and sacred alone time and not to trash the place! This time I did set one rule for myself: No music with lyrics. I wanted all the words in my head to be my own. I only listened to ambient music or instrumental music. I wanted the intangible things in my head and heart to un-spool against lovely, liquid music.

The ten year anniversary of Adam’s death brought out anticipated grief but the intensity was unexpected. Much of my creative work has been an exploration of grief. The whole of Eating the Heart First is saturated with it. But something I learned in the past couple of weeks is that there is no bottom of grief, you can go to extreme depths and keep going.

At the Casita, I realized that no one, no other human, could go to those depths with me. What was revealed to me was that while surrender to my emotions was necessary, and the tears, too, were necessary,  the only way to arise, awaken and literally stay alive was to ask the “Divine Whoever” for healing.

I have cried more in the past year than any year of my adult life. It is a good thing and I attribute it to many incredible positive things that have been happening in my life. I am more fully aware of my feelings and I honor them by not suppressing them.  I had become so hard, and that is not who I want to be. The tears are sacred and I am grateful for them.  I am glad to have broken open. I am opening to allow something great and divine to enter.

Since I have returned home after that short but important stay, I have begun a twice a day meditation practice. I still go to my Bathtub Refuge to thinkcrypraymeditate, but the practice I am doing as a new habit is part of a series of guided meditations that I discovered on this website. There are probably many other sites that offer good ones, but this is where I am for the moment.

I am a private person, believe it or not, but I like to share intimate moments of my own journey as inspiration. We are here to lift, love, and support each other, are we not?



I want to enter the cathedral and be alone. I need that quiet, the scent of burning candles and the enigmatic light through stained glass windows cast on cold marble. I need to light a candle for myself, for my soul. I need to be close to the dead.

I would like to sit alone in the cathedral for an hour perhaps and be in that quiet, but now the churches are locked, and maybe there are cameras for man to see what God does—

You do not know me. You know what my body does, how it moves about in physical space. You know some of my thoughts as I have spoken them. But you do not know me.

I don’t know you. You move about. You say things. I imagine you as you knead soft dough for a loaf of bread, or as you sweep dust and cellophane from cigarette packs into strands of light. A drop of water marks time in the small kitchen sink. You walk around naked, waiting for the tea to steep, crisscrossing open windows.

I imagine these acts but they are not necessarily how the life of another transpires. Maybe you lie in the dark and all things that are meant to be do not become. I am comfortable in the dark. I welcome the dark and all it contains. I am comfortable thinking about death. I am comfortable with you.

It is easy for me to make this life work. There are only a few things I let myself do or think. If I were to open myself to the possibilities life would overwhelm me. Eat, sleep, wake, bathe, dress, relate to the world— eat, sleep, wake, bathe, dress, deny the world.

I enter the cathedral and the organist is practicing. He is privy to my prayer. I let it slip from my mouth. If you knew me, you would know my prayer. If you knew me you would know what I wish for and what I despise. This prayer is for unlocked doors. This prayer is for lingering incense and a long, exhausting cry.

This prayer is for my own perpetual silence.

What Would Jesus Do?

How can anyone claim to be a Christian and still hold racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise discriminatory beliefs?

I am a deeply spiritual woman who does not follow any organized religion but I was raised Catholic and have come and gone into their churches since birth. The God I pray to is a loving God. The God I pray to in my actions and words is the source of life, the force of good in the entire universe. I think of God as the creator and the source of all things in the continuance of life in this world and beyond.

A dear, wise friend tells me that there is a blessing in everything. Even the things that we think are holding us back, or even harming us in some way—there is a blessing, a lesson, a trial that will purify us and lead us to deeper understanding.

It is a sad state of affairs that many people who claim to be religious hold racist, homophobic, sexist and otherwise derogatory views and beliefs in the name of God—no matter what religion they subscribe to. I know the various texts may hold some language that supports these beliefs but there is also language that supports slavery, punishment by death, etc. Ideas have been hijacked to serve an agenda, a one-sided view used to control and to dominate others.

There is a pick-and-choose going on with quotes from the bible. I will not delve into the specific texts that are quoted in defense of anti-homosexual attitudes or racist and sexist ones but they are there. I don’t believe they are in the words of Jesus. When asked what the most important lesson was that Jesus would impart to his followers, he said: “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”  That should end the discrimination.

I live in the Deep South. I am surrounded by people who do not believe as I do that two people who love each other are endowed with the right to marry each other. I am surrounded by people who are not afraid to voice their beliefs that a black man should not be president, and who express their utter hatred for our current president veiled in political shim-sham language, and sometimes not.

I am confident enough in myself and in the correctness of my beliefs that I do not tolerate hate. I am fervent enough in my belief in an all-loving, good God that I do not and will not allow this hate and prejudice to stand in my personal relationships and my public persona’s expressions and attitudes.

So, think for a moment, of the truths in your own beliefs. What will survive and what will wither away? Were you instilled with a prejudice against others different from you in your upbringing? Has there been a discovery of real, living truths that have challenged your prejudices? Are you a lazy human, living in cruise-control and not accepting the challenge by our society to accept diversity and acknowledge the human rights we are endowed with by a loving and all-encompassing God?


There are rooms in your heart I have never entered.  Your eyes are foreign to me.  Our conversations are half-spoken then abandoned. We are outsiders in our own lives. There is so much noise, constant noise setting our nerves cracking. I speak to loneliness. You speak to isolation. We are isolated in close proximity to each other. I look at women, the shape of their smooth calves, their perfectly painted toes and wonder if I could love them, if I could go through with it.  No one would care. You would just say goodbye and that would be it. But you are everything and you know it. You pull back farther and farther. Now you are a small, black point on the blazing horizon and I am lost in seasick misery.  A sick addiction fuels this black mood– 

Sacrifice upon sacrifice and still we ache.


As soon as I think it, the thought flees. Oh, it was the perfect opening; now an ethereal thought gone, maybe into outer space. What I do remember is that the water is boiling for the spaghetti. The grease is hot in the pan and the meat is sizzling.  I am in the middle of this sentence and I have to leave the page to check dinner.  Fuck. What I do know is that the ice is melting in this glass, watering the vodka down.

There is so much I do not know these days. I do not know if I will be alive and shivering in the coming Ice Age. I do not know if I will live penniless on the streets, although that is likely. I do not know this week’s winning lottery numbers, unfortunately. I could go on and on. What I do know for certain is that I am on a misdirected path. I am traveling backwards. I am struggling.

How do I look?  Pictures of me will always be of how I used to look. What does it matter if it was taken one second or many, many years ago?  My dreams don’t matter anymore. I have left them wallowing in sleep.  I am living a continuous dream– no, I am living under water. The currents take me elsewhere, somewhere dark and bizarre. I am unfamiliar with the life forms that surround me. I am alien.

I have tried to make you happy. I have tried too long at the expense of my own sanity. You are hard, unyielding. Why can’t we speak to each other with kindness and respect? Why are you so afraid to connect intimately? I open my palms to you and you come at me with shards. You swing at my vulnerable veins with broken glass—

I am alone in the past and present, and will be alone (dead) in the future.  As soon as I write it, I cower, and think to erase— I will always write of how I used to be. What feelings linger? What feelings persist?  

I am struggling. Can’t you see that? I am asking for help. I am asking for you to be patient with me and help me through this relapse into sorrow, into that old, hate-fueled addiction. I am scared—can’t you see?  Where is your humanity?  Are you so callous and cynical that you have forgotten our vow?  I thought five years sober was going to last longer. I give and give. I am empty now. I have given my all.

What else can I do?

New Writings…

What will survive—the poem or I?

I am lost in my own distraction. I am afraid to read the words I write. I am afraid of their truth. This day is hot. The heat radiates from within and without. I watched the John Lennon film for Imagine. My god! That white room!  If I were to set foot in it I would cry uncontrollably.  I would curl into a fetal position and wish to be born again.


I want to be born again in that white room. It is inaccessible to me. If I were in that white room I would likely not be able to write. The white silence would be too great. The clean page would erase me. I would only be able to write of ennui and the flowers growing unkempt beyond the windows.


I am so far behind in my own education. I know only the tutelages of grief. I write about death in every poem. The death of self, of other, of love—something has changed. The vodka is kind. I watched the way you cut the lemon. I came home and mimicked your slicing—neat and precise. My limes were perfect over ice in a glass with vodka and juice. It’s time for another.


Thank you for breaking into the jail of me.


I want to open figuratively and literally. I want to crush the glass in my hand and let the blood and cold liquor leak through my fingers.  My nature demands the wakefulness of ineffable shock–


There is a river in me. Storms have come. The snows have melted. Let the floodgates open.  I want to flow to land, wipe away structures.

I am on a cross and I am scared.



Retreat Writings, 2012, Part 6 (End Words)

End Words

I walk barefoot in the morning grass to load the suitcase and my guitar in the car. It feels so pleasurable–a feeling I have not experienced in years. In the field across the street, there is a thin mist lingering above the grass at the feet of a statue of a saint. I don’t know which saint it is, but Trecie would, of course. Cows are mooing “good morning” nearby, amusingly. It is not unusual to hear roosters crowing at home, but a “moo” is delightful and different. A hawk looms over the houses and settles in the top of an oak tree—crows scatter and caw. This stay has been exactly what I needed. I feel so excited about my time here and my new outlook. I am on a new path–I am rested and ready to go home.


Patti Smith—Banga

Joni Mitchell –-Miles of Aisles

Windham Hill artists (guitar and piano)

Gotye—Making Mirrors

“Kindness” (a mix CD a friend made for me)

Givers –-In Light

Radiohead—Kid A and In Rainbows

The Rolling Stones—Tattoo You

KRVS 88.7 FM