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The Killing Fields Of Home

It is a most difficult task to make sense of violence, particularly when it often seems unceasing.  There have been numerous horrific acts of murder recently, and in trying to write about them, it feels important to see these events not only as individual incidents but to also make the connections between them, both in why they happen and how we process them.  The following is a poem I wrote in response to the bloody and heartbreaking first week in July, 2016.

The Killing Fields Of Home


On July 4th,


when I was trying to make sense

of the bombings in Medina and Baghdad

on the very same day that the not so United States of America

was ritually celebrating what we call independence,

with colorful bombs bursting in air,


it seemed really important to remember that

the children who saw real bombs were shouting not with glee

but with fear before bleeding to death,

so I wrote haikus about that,

little poems like the children who died–


one for Medina,


Bombs bursting in air,

bodies explode, people die–

no celebration


and one for Baghdad,


Car bomb in Baghdad,

the twenty five kids who died

did not like fireworks


and I thought I had done my duty as a poet,

but then I read that dozens of people were shot

in Chicago over the holiday weekend

for who knows what reasons and they were bleeding too

and we haven’t even caught our breath since Orlando

and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to write a longer poem,


then Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

were gunned down by the police

because the color of their skin was a crime

and Melissa Harris-Perry wrote about how that feels

as a suicide note that I can’t stop reading


on the heels of the Chilcot Inquiry that minces no words

blaming Tony Blair for lying to his country about the Iraq war

while in this country we turn endless battle into

an anthem and Bush and Cheney just smirk


as a veteran of war,  taught to kill in defense of our country,

shoots at the police in Dallas and more blood is spilt

and they send in a robot to take him out

which prompts Donald Trump to want a photo op with the NYPD

and I’m wondering if a sonnet is adequate


when my morning paper tells me that there have been

ten gang killings in ten months in the county where I live

and they have a column too about the child

of a woman who was killed by her boyfriend


and someone says we should all remember that

sometimes the police help and he tells a story

about a police officer who helped a lady repair her mailbox

and that was mighty nice of her, and I mean that sincerely,

but I’m thinking that sounds like a bandaid story

when we need a tourniquet because


a GOP Congressman says there are a lot more steps to be taken

before they will vote on gun control legislation

and I’m wondering how many steps there could really be

from his office to the floor to take a vote and when are we going to

quit playing six degrees of separation and take action


and in the time I have been writing this,

more people have been killed,

and I cannot type fast enough to keep up,

or even pause long enough

to  pretty up this poem that cannot find its end.


–Lucinda Marshall, © 2016



Workshop: Moving Beyond Writer’s Block With Breath, Meditation, and Movement

Writer’s block is often due to issues that have nothing to do with our writing.  At a half day workshop in June, Kim Thompson and I will introduce you to some ways to free space for your words to flow, using meditation, breathing and gentle movement techniques combined with writing exercises that help us move past what is blocking the flow of words.

Moving Beyond Writer’s Block with Breath, Meditation, and Movement at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD:  June 5, 2:00-5:00 pm.  Fee: $50.    Taught with movement teacher Kim Thompson.

Can’t think of the next line?  Sometimes it is more than our minds that are blocked.  This workshop will introduce meditation, breathing and gentle movement techniques that you can utilize to get un-stuck and free space for your best writing. We will look at techniques that address stress, mind clutter, posture, how energy (and ideas!) move through our bodies, ways to unscramble our thoughts, and more. Please bring paper and pen and wear comfortable (suitable for gentle movement) clothing.


Creative Writing For Teens Workshop At The Gaithersburg Book Festival

I am so excited to have the opportunity to co-facilitate a Creative Writing For Teens workshop at The 2016 Gaithersburg (MD) Book Festival  on May 21 from 4:00-5:30 at the Writer’s Center Tent:

Using participatory writing prompts, teen writers will have an opportunity to experience and learn more about how workshopping techniques can assist them in their creative writing. They will have a chance to share their work and get feedback as time allows. They will receive information about MWA’s teen writing clubs which are offered without cost at libraries throughout the state as well as other resources to further their writing.

The workshop is free and open to all teens and a great chance to find out more about the ongoing Maryland Writers’ Association’s teen writing clubs and the experience of being a writer.


Great Article About The Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club

Great thanks to The (Gaithersburg) Town Courier for this great article about the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club. I think the quotes from two of our writers says it all,

Gabby Howenstein said the group met her goals “to expand my horizons in my writing, get good feedback, and hopefully make a few new friends.” In addition, she “had the opportunity to hear and read the wonderful writing of some of our other members.”

Yamini Manikoth heard about the club from Gabby, and “thought it would be interesting to see what it was like. And I think it’s one of my favorite things now, because so many people come in and talk about things of mutual interest. … So as someone who enjoys writing, hearing feedback from other people who think the same as you is one of the best feelings in the world.

Town Courier Teen Writing Article


Teen Poetry Workshop At The Writer’s Center–Signup Info

I am very excited to be offering a workshop for teen poets at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD this fall.

Here is the info about the workshop:

Days: 4 Saturdays
Time: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
Dates: 10/10–11/7
Location: Bethesda
Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Young authors (ages 12-16) will learn to use workshopping techniques to fine tune, revise, edit, and present poetry. Participants will have a chance to share their work, respond to writing prompts, get feedback, and learn about publishing options. In the last session we will hold a poetry reading to share work with family and friends. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or paper notebook. If you are already writing poetry, please bring something you’ve written to the first session. No meeting October 31.

You can sign up for the workshop here.


New Poem–Kaddish Season

I’m very pleased to have my poem, “Kaddish Season” in the Summer, 2015 edition of Poetica Magazine.

Poetica Summer 2015 Cover


Articulation of a Dreamtime

Many thanks to Nortina Simmons for publishing my poem, Articulation of a Dreamtime in Sediments Literary Arts Journal’s Newbies issue. You can read the poem here, page 38 (although of course I encourage you to read all the other fine work in this issue as well!).


Of Unicorns And Other Fancies

Want to read one of my poems?  Here is your opportunity.  My poem, Unicorn was published in Stepping Stones Magazine this fall.  It begins,

You were the unicorn
in the waves
but I didn’t know that
until just yesterday,

You can read the poem in it’s entirety here.

In other writing news, this fall I organized a one day writing retreat for women writers at the Fox Haven Learning Center in Jefferson, MD.  The leaves were turning and it was a great opportunity for all of us to get away from it all and ignite our writing passions.  You know things have gone well when the primary feedback is when can we come back and can we stay longer!

I was also thrilled to be a featured reader at the Zed’s Cafe (Silver Spring, MD) monthly poetry night in December.  Many thanks to Ginger Ingalls for inviting me to be part of the reading.

Teen Writers Full Page Flyer


And starting in January, poet Alison Palmer and I will be co-facilitating a teen writing club at the Gaithersburg, MD library as part of a program run by the Maryland Writers’ Association through the Montgomery County (MD) Public Libraries.

Happy 2015, now back to writing!



Self Meditation

The holiday season–that time of year when we get so busy buying, wrapping, cooking and caring that we completely forget to take care of ourselves.  A few years ago, during the height of all that, I reached a breaking moment and locked myself in the bathroom, did a few breathing exercises, said a few Hail Mary’s (considering that I’m of Jewish descent, that tells you volumes).

I didn’t have a smart phone then, but I grabbed a pen out of my purse, and was about to write something down until I realized that I didn’t have any paper and writing on toilet paper with a ball point pen is a thankless endeavor.  So I rolled up the long sleeve top I was wearing and wrote the following on my arm:

Self Meditation


Just for this moment

I am not your:





Partner or



Just for this moment,

I am only me.


–poem by Lucinda Marshall


Feel free to write it on your arm, save it on your phone, recite it to yourself as needed, and give yourself the gift of personal space this holiday season.


Hillary Clinton Serves Us Kissinger Kool-Aid

Sunday morning newspaper, steaming hot coffee, peaceful reverie, lounge chair on my deck, birdsong chorus in the background–bliss until I saw the Outlook section of the Washington Post with two, yes two, life size headshots of Henry Kissinger.

My peaceful easy feeling went full throttle grumpy in a matter of seconds.

Which was quite justified when I  found that this dual image travesty illustrated a review by Hillary Clinton of Kissinger’s new book (no I won’t provide a convenient Amazon link).

As a feminist, I am completely in favor of electing a woman president.  It is long overdue.  But as anyone who has read my work over the years knows, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton.  Yes, she has done some good things, but her world outlook is as dangerous as the male politicians who have preceded her.  Lest you doubt this, read the following few paragraphs from her very long review:

In his new book, “World Order,” Henry Kissinger explains the historic scope of this challenge. His analysis, despite some differences over specific policies, largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.

During the Cold War, America’s bipartisan commitment to protecting and expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: “an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance.”

This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others. Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of young people — don’t know these success stories, so it becomes our responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like.

Success stories? Through what warped lens is she viewing the world and our country?  Rare is the book review that could be characterized as chilling.  In this case, it is an apt descriptor.

Clinton is correct that many people, especially the young, don’t know these stories. But those of us who do call foul. This review is nothing short of an alarming adulation of Kissinger’s damaging tenure.

That she wrote it really isn’t a surprise, she has always bought into this toxic narrative and it tells us beyond doubt that regardless of the need to finally elect a woman as president in the United States, an Hillary Clinton presidency would be enormously dangerous.