now, a fuller life, than in all the years that be,

an insight greater now than all my former days

a perception an eruption waiting within me

once dormant within a youthful haze


an upsurge and momentum longing to crest

emergence not likely to be halted

unlike the flings and pops of the rest

entwined mind and heart now exalted


not seeking. keeping. down beneath my awares

inhale.   unbridled though latent in time for now

unleashing foregone no matter whom it scares

a mirror to which mattering matters anyhow


it’s coming. says the explosion to calm the alive

the calm explosion sent to breach the divide.



photo by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com


Page Turner


The boat capsizes and the army advances the angels sing and

the hero reigns supreme.  Within my hands such things are possible, they

feel the drumbeat and in their eagerness, my fingers turn.  Page after page

they delight not in the sense of touch, but the texture of words.


Guided by divine reality in the interest of escape.  Not the ordinary

day-to-day.  Willed forward by the dull adventure and the remarkable nothing.

In my fingers there travel secrets, stories, lies and joys.  If and when a stall

then the labor of it is quickly borne again to keep on and on and then.


When the pages go, my fingers dance across the words in anticipation of

the next-ness.   Though my eyes may be weary, my fingers dance.  They hold the place

of entering and exiting.  They are greedy in their seeking.  Alas when I can no

longer, they reach in reticence to bookmark.  They are still awake and wanting.



photo by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com.

Ballad of a Tech-Impaired Mom

photo (5)

It used to be easy, my mother once said

It used to be simple, it’s true

But now there are Iphones and tablets and more

All sorts of screens now to view.


How do you manage, if never before

Have parents faced such a struggle?

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and more

Can leave my old brain befuddled.


You see her there, face down and focused

On a screen that was never my purview

You realize the power in the palm of her hand

And that old tactics can no longer serve you.


Not going outside or walking downtown

You think of the things you know she is missing

Eye contact, exercise, great old novels

Or maybe the boys she’s not kissing (oh wait, that probably still happens).


She recoils, embarrassed, when I say something like

“TTFN” or “selfie”

But I’ll tell you right now, if she talks back,

That phone’s going up on the shelf-y.


But hold on, there’s a flip side as well

When a tale such as this is related

She’s a tech wizard it turns out and she helps

A mom whose skill building’s belated.


She knows what to do when I’m so confused

Frozen screens, copy and pasting

I just call her and plead to help me out please

Rolls her eyes at the time I’ve been wasting.


And you know what?  I look at her closely and see

A girl with a good head on her shoulders

She’s bright and savvy and lively and sharp

I don’t worry about when she gets older.


So maybe the moral of the story should be

To take a step back and find

All the ways you can meet her halfway


And just let her live in her time.


photos by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com


For Writing 201/Poetry, I wanted to share a gem.  Whether creating visual art, written works, in her parenting, in her community or in her life, Marybess is the epitome of the word “artist.”  Enjoy!




it’s the beginning

of every poem

of every thought.


what it represents

i do not know.

why it comes

i’ve yet to discover.



are you my favorite word?



is what I will call you.


from this day forward,




are my blue.


the sky

the ocean

my most comfortable jeans.




a wave of vinca

atop the green.


-mary bess gloria




photo by Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com

Compassion and Kindness, Acrostic Style


Can you remember the last time that you..

Opened your home to welcome someone new?

Made sure to clean up your dog’s pile of poo?

Put your arm around your sad little daughter,

And turned off your faucet to conserve water?

Sat and listened while a friend talked and cried…

Sent a card when your friend’s beloved mom died?

Insisted on treating yourself with respect?

Overcame the urge to overprotect?

Naturally, when parenting, kept your cursing in check…

Kisses and hugs are much better than

Insults and violence and words backhand.

Not the validation you seek from your snark,

Don’t you know the pleasure of  a flattering remark?

Noticing hard work and giving a raise?

Establishing rituals of tribute and praise?

Surely we all can open hearts wide,

So we can reveal the true strength inside.

photo from Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com

The Journey West


This girl once lived outside Philly

 And realized one day,  “This is silly!”

So she and her man

Packed up that blue van

And moved themselves West-how thrilling!

My husband and I moved cross-country, all our possessions in tow, almost 17 years ago.

And we never looked back.

photo courtesy of Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com

She’s Got the Astroturf Blues


A few years back, Linda and her husband Evan taught their son to pee on the grass.  At the time, it was funny.  And functional.  Landon was 3 at the time so he had to pee often, and urgently.  It was easier to find a patch of grass than a bathroom.  Who wants to go driving around looking for a bathroom with a toddler in the backseat screaming, “It’s coming out, Mommy!”  after all?  He was so cute, that little view of his backside as he was peeing against a tree.  Grass-peeing occurred when hiking, camping, on road trip pit-stops, and occasionally in the backyard-when going inside proved to be too long a disruption in his play.

Soon enough, his little brother Alex came along and learned the skill, which offered the same advantages as it did for his older brother.  Landon often gave sage advice such as, “keep breathing,” or “don’t look around” to put his novice brother at ease.  In chillier weather, Landon offered, “sometimes it takes a little longer when it’s cold” to an impatient Alex.  Both brothers delighted in the yellow art they created when there was snow on the ground.  Such frolicking and boyish play continued as the boys grew.

One rainy spring, Linda signed the boys up for indoor soccer.  Having spent the winter watching two little guys playing “Wipeout” using her new sofa, her tennis racket, a bucket of water and other assorted breakable items, she decided it was time for the boys to blow off some steam…under someone else’s watch.  The boys loved it, the running, the action, the competition.  One sweat soaked-practice after another, it was time well spent.  Linda congratulated herself silently, daring not rub it in Evan’s face, who had deemed it too expensive.

One practice, as she quietly tapped on her phone like 20 other moms seated on the cold, ass-flattening bleachers, she heard some out-of-the-ordinary screaming and laughing.  She looked up and saw a familiar sight, in an unwelcome venue.  Landon, standing beside Alex, was peeing in the corner.  On the astroturf.  Linda’s thoughts swirled from Should I run? to Does anyone notice? to Is this happening?  Finally, without her knowledge or permission, she felt her body lurching up toward her boys.  Alex, sensing the need to pee as well, began to unzip his fly, sending Linda into a full-on run.   Words began pouring out of her mouth as she entered the field.  She had no control of them, they were flying out too quickly.  She recognized “Stop” and their names, but other than that they were barely recognizable as language.  By midfield she feared she heard curse words coming from her lips but was unable to stem the tide.  Streams from both boys had stopped by the time she had reached them.  Teammates were abuzz with laughter, rolling around on the ground (away from the warm yellow puddle congealing in front of her boys) and pointing.  Alex looked at her and asked, “Mommy, why isn’t the grass sucking it up?” 

The rest is a “blur” as Linda recounts it.  A mom carrying two crying boys.  A befuddled coach.  A howling team of boys.  A pungent scent.  Linda threw $10 at the reception desk for “cleaning.”  And she went home and thought.  A lot.

If they don’t know the difference between grass and astroturf, how will they know the difference between right and wrong?  A nice girl and one who will break their hearts?   Fully cooked chicken nuggets and pink-inside ones which will make them sick?  Sighing, she decided she wasn’t a bad mom.  So she overreacted a little.  So what?  But she feels frustrated that she can’t always pave their way.  Sometimes they have to make decisions based on the information they have.  And sometimes they will make the wrong choice.  Maybe even learn a lesson.  That’s all any parent can do.

And so, Linda made her own choice.

Evan can take the boys to practice from now on.


photo courtesy of Barbara Paulsen at tandemechoes.com


On Your Mark, Get Set….

IMG_9229My foot on the starting line

Ready, Ready, (maybe)

My breath in and in and in

A flag about to raise


My pulse


My legs


The stadium



Flag raises and…yes!

I am off

I run free and fast

Away from

All of it


As I round the corner

He is there

And I sputter

Trip, Twist, Regain


Off again, panting

And as I turn and spy him

In my rearview

I silently tell him


To fuck off.


photo by Barbara Paulsen at Tandem Echoes