By Toni Partington
Poetry $10 US
WIND WING is a collection of poetry inspired by the lives of women. The poems provide a glimpse into life on the edge of mental illness, transition and discovery. In three chapters, the poems expose the life of an only child with a mentally ill mother, the transitions of life, love and loss, and the societal and personal observations that lead to self discovery. Partington wrote the book over ten years as a way to reveal the stigma associated with mental illness and its impact on families.
Toni Partington is a poet, editor, and life/career coach. Her poetry has appeared in the NW Women’s Journal, Selected Poems of the River Poets’ Society, The Cascade Journal, VoiceCatcher (editions 3 and 4), OutwardLink.net and others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Jesus Is A Gas (2009). She serves as an Associate Editor for VoiceCatcher, an annual Pacific Northwest anthology of women writers. Toni is a regular columnist for Writing The Life Poetic, an online zine that complements the print version of the book by Sage Cohen, http://writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com.
As a life/career coach, Toni works with writers and artists interested in exploring ways to integrate lifestyle and work. Toni is involved in promoting poetry, writing and art in Vancouver, Washington with a lively group of friends and peers. Her circle includes poets, friends, family, and dogs, not in any particular order.
scented with orange blossoms in early summer
caress my face pressed against the
open wind-wing in her Impala.
These rides; a secret time to talk
while we forget she is crazy –
top down, headed home with drippy cones
Her – strawberry
Me – maple nut
Just enough time to adjust the wind-wing
while the red leather seats grow warm
she lets me push buttons to find
the right song for our sing-along.
These are the times I remember now
in melancholy middle age –
her hair cut short, dyed blonde
shoulders tanned above the halter-top
while shorts sprout bare legs
down to bright red toenails.
I picture this as her departure from upstate New York
and Catholic School rules
when California set her free
and took her down.
I watched her ricochet between two worlds –
safe home or padded room
delicacies or dry-mouthed delirium
green lawns or barred doors
Sunday Mass or shock treatments
her sanity – barely or not at all.
I long for the Impala
it is easier than longing for her –
a drive along Victoria Avenue
lined with orange groves and old songs
while we drift between dark nights and darker days.
Her life, like the wind-wing
unlatched slowly, one inch at a time
till the wind arrives at high pitch.
Throw it wide open and watch everything fly away.