Letting Go of the Wheel

transition poems

original post 7.18.2016 ongoing…


oil & mixed media


still images from ‘Go Back To Never’

Kathy M. Skerritt / COASTAL WETLANDS - mixed media

Megan Hollingsworth / SNAIL STUDY


editor’s note: My hands were initially at the wheel for two of the three major car accidents I've experienced in my lifetime. Both of these accidents were high speed single car accidents during which, at some point, I let go of the wheel and let the wheel, or destiny, take over. I walked away from both accidents shaken and without a scratch on my body, much like a dream I had of being pulled under water by a shark. As soon as I surrendered to death’s possibility, I rose to the surface thankful to be alive with all limbs intact.

Now, like always, is the time of known and unknowns. The certainty of any birth is eventual death. I do not know more than any other what is going to come of this planetary transition. I do know that there is a certain grace when I surrender control, ask for guidance from Spirit, pay attention to what comes to my awareness, and then act on that. I gather then that surrendered knowing is key to navigating all-encompassing change such as this, as is slowing down and taking care helpful in avoiding avoidable catastrophe.

Letting Go of the Wheel is the final post to the Extinction Witness website. Begun July 2016, the gathering of transition poems continues to grow. You can read the introduction to the post at Shark Above, Shark Below / Bare Awakenings, which briefly describes my experience ‘waking up from the Dream’ and a twenty year course of surrendering to another, older, what I consider to be original, worldview or experience of reality.

Integration of what is a novel reality to one established requires care, patience, and time, and more when there is fear-based resistance.

So, as is said, ‘go with the flow’. Trust in change and remain curious. The soul screams that whispers be heard. The body’s instinct knows what the mind’s chatter confuses.

Megan Hollingsworth / Extinction Witness writer & creative director

Rella Lossy (1934-1996)
two poems from Time Pieces: a collection of poetry 1944-1996
published at Extinction Witness with family permission


Off the north coast of Minorca,
I float like a dark bottle,
(This the refrain: “Your watch!”)
waves peak, roll,
clouds dip, recede,
the mast lit golden,
(This the refrain: “Stay well out!”)
my heart flails
towards a brittle beach,
chopped from the gold
of the island,
the smaller island,
(This the refrain: “Catch the wind!”)
life folds like a sail,
crumpled the canvas
and gone the magic,
lost, no markers,
not a rag anywhere,
(This the refrain: “Hold course!”)
someone will find this note
off the North coast of Minorca,
no land of minotaur
nor snowman,
but sun filtered
through Spanish lace,
I float in a dark net
off the coast of Minorca
where my course is set,
(“Hold her steady!”)
mutely from point to point,
while I hear
witches of the sea
come sound me close
to dance within
wave’s mystery.


She thought:
I want to hug that elm tree.
She thought:
I’m on the edge;
If I do, I’ll cry.

(A King Lear fool,
pulled by a string of feelings
banging against each other
like headstones.)

She thought:
If I touch that tree, I will scatter to the winds.
Am I just a pile of dry leaves?

The old elm,
its bark tough-ridged,
sends her rings of patience.
Which she cannot wear.
Her fingers swollen
with grief stones
with fear water.
(We will not bore you
With details.)

The tree’s amputated arms
are a casualty of the war
between power lines
and what?

A war between
what we want
and what we want.

She thought,
I will go like a fool
to the tree
and hold it.

And later,
when there’s time,
I will weep.


published October 2001 by honeybite@yahoo.com in a three by two inch flip book bound with black cloth tape. On front cover is a photo of three apparently Muslim men and on back the Kentucky Fried Chicken logo. There is a page for each line commanding pause with each page turn. The book was offered among flyers and business cards, free of charge.


Dignity is one
by countless forays into shame
that lead you to the place
where you are not yourself
and then you are forgiven.
Released into the emptiness
that hollows out your soul

And you reflect a nothingness
that reminds you of your grandparents
Brothers sisters mother father
The family portrait
hangs on a dim wall
artist unknown
To remember is to accept
the limits of your present
The frame of this resemblance
is an accident you crave to capture
in points of ink
across a flimsy sheet
into love we flow
to where we once were never.
Go back to never.
Grab that golden orb
Just as it blinks into the day
Babies smell in a way that sends us down,
Down before their feet
To worship the majesty
of possibility
Be like this baby
and be a tender nursemaid besides
Visible this scene
like shutters close and open
Sepia light dies upon your faces
We’re fragments of the days
The self fades into the evening

*Listen to BE LIKE THIS BABY voiced by Megan Hollingsworth in ‘Go Back To Never’.

Kathy M. Skerritt


It shows itself through what it touches. Leaves tearing, branches rising and falling on invisible swells that break at the top. Its sound is the friction of its passing over wood, wire, edges, skin. The thing about wind is that nothing obstructs it for long. It presses in and onward. It drives pieces of the world into the flesh of the world: metal, dirt, water, hapless creatures. The big wind comes from over the sea and lifts the debris of consumer culture out of heated water to board-walked shore to side-walked tree to high-strung wire into a dark, cold flood of meaning. The big wind comes with a howl of warning and raises the sea to the left and the right.

Like the wind, nothing obstructs the sea for long. It rushes in and onward, flushing pieces of the world into the veins of the world: metal, dirt, water, terrified creatures. The sea comes from the deep, lifted by the wind. It rips the careful edge of street, wall, haven, order. It inundates with the substance of what has been given to it: wreckage of wars, deranged currents, chemicals, poisons of things that are made. The sea rising is a shout of catastrophe. The big wind and the rising sea will come again and again until the hubris of human ego is washed clean, until humankind submits to its place in the Lawful order of things.

Jenna Moon


It may be that your baby, sleepless from fever,
kept you up last night, and that today,
underslept and unwell,
her tears are a torrent, a storm
you do not want to endure.
And you, exhausted and absent of patience,
want in equal measure
to comfort her and, for someone
to comfort you.
It may be that for reasons only your heart knows,
your mother’s death, though long since passed,
is an ache, an immediacy.
Your heart heavy with an unspeakable longing for her scent,
or to see her in her silk pajamas,
the ones she put on everyday the moment she came home from work.
Or, it may be that you cannot bear to hear that
another black man has been killed,
another father or son or brother
has been taken by the ones meant to protect him.
And the thought of children now without their father,
threatens, a paralysis of the heart.
It may be that in the face of these fatherless children,
and your motherless self,
you want to rise up, overcome,
evoke some interior hero
who will soothe the baby,
make dinner, pay the bills, clean the house,
join the movement, fight the good fight.
But, now is not the time to be heroic.
Now is not the time to take action,
Now, your heart is laying on the floor in a million pieces,
and you feel a stranger even to yourself,
and love feels like it has walked out on your heart.
It may seem in this place that love has lost you,
has let go of your hand in a crowded thoroughfare.
And you are alone.
Don’t worry—
it is only cloud cover.
The sky above is still a radiant blue,
the stars, though not visible,
still shine in the heavens.
The mountains, shrouded in fog,
or not visible from the confines of your room,
still stand, reaching upward.
You don’t even need to believe this,
the ever-present sky, stars, and mountains,
but like love,
and belonging,
and beauty,
they remain.

Megan Hollingsworth


Snail knows something

about patience.

And who wouldn't

when going somewhere

means traveling without limbs

while carrying a round house.

My one regret, child, is cutting

the chord that ran the breath

through blood between us

before you practiced 

breathing alone.

Alaina Hart


of high grasses, fruitful trees,
flowering bushes, clear skies,
sheltering green valleys,
and beautiful blue mountains,
Oh, Wondrous Wilderness,
Where have you gone?

With your gentle smile
from sun and friends,
Warm breezes from the ‘treezes’,
and tickle-trickle of lilting brooks,
of doe eye looks from gentle,
animals and birds round every nook?

Oh Gentle Peaceful Days,
Starry nights and evening shades,
Without worry, work or weariness,
Here I stand among the plenty
keeping books, and busting for
bucks and bankers, and not so sure
we’ve progressed for proceeds,
profits, or the pain of gain.

Some replacement! from our
fields of pleasure, God’s fine gifts
that once were free now have
interest due and accounts’ fees.

It’s only my hope for better,
that I start the race again with
fellow man, and debit letters

That saving smile and gentleness
that comes from you my friend,
that reminds me that the world
can still be grand.

Your soft voice, your carefulness,
your concern, your caring, your
sharing, your cheer that we are
here – turn this whirring orb into
a wondrous world once again.

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