Pics & Prose from CJ Horn
all poems & photos by Carol Jo Horn


There is a longing
for order.
A tentative belief
in possibility.
If I marry reality and mirage,
Weave time into a breeze,
Engrave my dreams with light,
Can I
discover gratitude
in this basket of anxiety?


I believed it was my last trip that night.
Sirens blasted and EMTs checked vitals.
My beloved's face, etched in anxiety
Smiled encouragement
As I slipped into a state of
I knew he'd understand.
He could hear my words unspoken.
"I've always loved you, the thread will be unbroken."

As the ambulance sped through darkness
My family of friends gathered in the light
around my bier.
They held me aloft that night, dispelling
Pain and fear.

But looking back now through tears of remembering
To that night I almost left this earth
It was the night of greatest revelation.
When I discovered that
For all those years
For all those choices
I had no cause for shame.
I knew I'd lived a life of truth
And had not one regret to name.



Kisses of crystal
Spread rainbows
in my soul.
Hugs of sunrise
Lay blessings
on my heart.
In an embrace of hope,
Another day begins
And my desire prays
For signs of grace.



Last night I dreamt
I was listening to the radio
on a cloudless, autumn day.

Suddenly a burst of color
shattered the quiet scene.

Fire fell from nowhere
Smoke spread across the sun,
A voice interrupted the broadcast to announce:

"All passports are revoked
Cars will be confiscated and destroyed.
Hospitals are closed,
Authors will be jailed.
From today tea will be taxed,
The hungry will starve,
The borders are closed.
This is not a test
I repeat, this is not a test."

I have never been so grateful
to wake from a dream.


This spider rebuilds her web each morning
After it is destroyed each night.
Is it patience or pride
That moves her to action?
Does she rebuild the web exactly the same
Or is it different every time?
Does she try something new
Thrilled by the possible outcome?
Or is she mumbling in frustration
Knowing her work is strong but will
Nevertheless die.

One thread at a time
Her story is told
Again and again
Each time a thing of beauty.


Alphabets build words
That build sentences
That build paragraphs
That build chapters
That build books
That build libraries
That build societies
That build nations.

No alphabets, no words, no sentences,
no paragraphs, no chapters, no books
no libraries, no societies, no nations.

Doesn't it make the
The most powerful Tool
On Earth?


I have a friend who
Has every reason to give up
But she does not.

I also have a friend who
Has every reason to go on
But she is ready to
Give up.

Spirit is the key
That cannot be manufactured.
It must be awakened
Nurtured, tickled into life
each moment of each day.

When Spirit dies, we go with It.


In a box,
in the basement of my soul
are letters of condolence.
They are tear-stained and wrinkled,
torn and worn.

I take them out
Every time I watch the news.
War, famine, fire and flood;
Death, destruction, crime and blood.
I assure my soul that my mind
understands the grief
and sympathizes with
the pain of

In a box,
in the basement of my soul
are letters of congratulation.
They are written on scented, pink paper
And are tied with ribbon.

I take them out
Every time I visit with friends.
Music, poetry, dance and spring;
Laughter, adventure, making and baking.
I assure my soul that my mind
understands the joy
and sings with
the elation of


They engage my mind and heart
In a dance of laughter
Or pull me into stories
Where troubles belong only to others
And we solve the problems of the world.

Friends are like roses
That astound you with their
Beauty and whose fragrance
Lingers long after they fade from view.



Editor's Note: Carol Jo Horn is one of the most talented artists I know. She was there with her amazing writings when we first started the KotaPress Poetry Journal. I'm so very honored that she is here as a contributor for our last Poetry Journal issue. You have been my greatest teacher, CJ!!! Thank you so much!!


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