Developing the Narrative

Currently taking a class through the Art League (Torpedo Art Factory in Alexandria, VA) with Beverly Ryan on Developing the Narrative. Works in Progress:


Week 1 My mom and her 6 children “Emerging Into Light”


Week 2 “Women of Sudan” collage and acrylic


Week 4 “Spiritual Dichotomy”


Week 5 “Shedding into Metamorphosis”

Unfinished Acrylic paintings by Joy Lise



by Joy Lise

I’m captured,


Into this lustful rouge

Cheeks warmed,

Lips wet

Seeping with burning guilt

From esophagus to my pink definition

Touching sins and

Peeling away

This Avoidance of the past


A waterfall of taciturn inspiration,

Graped pleasure

Like a defiant communion

choking my soul

– Joy Lise (2010)

Fly Wings

Fly Wings

by Joy Lise

I mop my beige tile with the Kirby that those teenagers sold to 8 out of 10 houses on this street,

forgetting to remember,

there is a pile of dead flies,

I hunted,

and am collecting,

in the darkest corner of the kitchen.

I wanted to kill all of them before sweeping them up,

when I will stand above the chrome trash can,

morbid with the satisfaction that I led this mini holocaust,

their crinkled corpses, like little trophies,

with translucent wings,¬†dried and crackled…

and¬†it’s sadly beautiful, this pile of death,

atop  lastnight’s corn cob skeletons.

(Joy Lise, Summer 2011)

A July Feeding

A July Feeding

by Joy Lise

In this hour, they’re almost pretty

these bruises,

like shadows of your lips,

hungry fingertips,

the marks of your hips

and grips,

branding my skin.

Like sapphire, emerald & amethyst hued badges of our carnal victories,

where I awoke an army of stowaway daydreams with wings,

like moon-born moths,

insatiably famished,

gnawing tiny holes with their fangs,

feeding like parasites on my heart.

But the shirt I stole from you,

seasoned with the spice of¬†your skin–the musk of lies and lust,

smells like cedar to these moths.

An easy veil,

since I am a ghost here.

where my shrill sobs and sighs, hushed in the dark,

are mistaken for distant wimpers of a starved coyote pup,

separated from her pack.

And my pain is muffled by the whispered screeches of a thousand moth wings swarming away,

leaving my bone dried carcass soul for the vultures.

Their red blood stained cheshire smiles,

look like splintered garnets scattering  this last silver sliver of moon light.


…And now¬†my bruises are morphing, changing shape,

and betraying my eyes.

These goose-skinned, muddied parchment invasions,

these undercooked contusions,

are screaming behind the stretched white cotton,

gagging my knees.

And your essence is vanishing with each sun invaded sigh that passes my pale

parched¬†lips…the feast is over

the moths, now just dust

at sunrise.

(Summer 2011)

Of Mice and Sighs

Of Mice and Sighs

You ask why I sigh,

as you sweep up the mice i hunted for you today,

this misunderstood pile of my heart,

that I arranged ever so gracefully,

reveling in pride,

at their twitching tails,

while my teeth ripped through their tiny ribs,

and I carried their listless grey bodies,

in my mouth

as they drew

their last breaths.

But you didn’t even want them,

just swept them away,

annoyed at the mess I’d made..again…

so I sigh,

and I try,

again…and again…

Don’t you see that these tasty sighs are “rabbits feet”?

They are the leftover treasures,

the forgotten remains from an awkward and desperate meal in the dark.

The soft and tragic tokens once meager in mud,

now tragic and exquisite,

in the whispered tale of their plummet to a black holed light of hope.

A hope that these sighs,

in their next life

would become cherished lucky charms,

adored in their symbolism,

like stuffed and mounted,

glaze-eyed trophies of death,

celebrating the loyal,

altruistic and sufferable collecting and slaughtering,

of one cat’s dreams,

and mice—

eight lifetimes worth of an undying

and insatiable desire to be loved,

to be purred,

to be noticed…

…a mission as purposeful and as confused,

as collecting kindling to build a ship,

to sail on waves of sighs,

with mice for my crew,

doomed mice who read stars for navigation,

foolish mice with their own nightmares,

and sighs,

endless and silent,

like the leagues and the days they count,

that stand between our brave,

feeble and determined little ship of lies

and the hidden island of their demise.

Where I will finish my heroic journey,

a final attempt in my last of lives,

to seek your sirens who will finally sing to me,

where I will stand before my last and greatest sacrifice,

a fiery and glorious,

mice filled volcano,

the greatest of valentines for you…

In an attempt to awaken your soul,

to bring me ever closer to quieting the angels and demons who war in my feline soul,

by quieting their cries, with your sigh filled song,

praising my love,

shushing my sadness at last…


for real,

for keeps,

my lap.


But the fire has died…

and this island is still quiet.

The mice are just ashes,

and you are nowhere to be found on this lost island,

where my last mice sacrifice,

was wasted,

love unreturned.

There is no more hunting,

no more you,

no more lives.

As the tide gets closer, my heart grows cold and slow.

Alone on this island,

where I will spend the rest of my last life

scattering the sand with scribbled and skewed riddles,

trying to solve the mystery of the nine lives and loves I somehow lost,

or never found…

chasing mice for you.

There are no more purrs left in this soul,

I realize,

as I breathlessly release

my very last sigh…

an SOS that will never be heard.

(Summer 2011)

Gypsy Roots

Last spring I made the decision to move one of my weeping cherry trees that I had planted too close to one of my redwoods in the backyard. I spent hours carefully digging out it’s roots, to cause minimal damage and spent many hours finding a spot and digging a hole big enough to fit all of the roots. I surrounded it with tree vitamins after putting it in the earth and of course patted down the earth around it with love. I watched it carefully the next couple of days and at first it seemed to be fine! But, about 4 days later I woke up to find it looking very sad. The leaves were brown and drooping. The leaves all fell off, I was devastated, sure I had killed my beautiful weeping cherry tree. As the summer months crept up, it began to perk up, and even threw a bloom or two. A year later, I wonder how that little cherry tree is doing, in the care of another, is it even loved? I don’t know, we left California and my garden 2 months ago, before I could see my garden’s spring time magic. I too have been uprooted, and I too have felt in shock. My leaves have felt brown and droopy since we moved here… I miss my family and my garden very much. I miss my redwoods, my heirloom rose bushes, my jasmine, my baby toads, and my dragonflies. It’s hard to be somewhere different, knowing I won’t be here long enough to build another garden or make a true “home”. But, I slowly feel myself perking up again, and have begun to build a “gypsy garden” in containers. We will be relocating again next summer to Washington DC, so I plan on taking this garden with me. I even brought seeds from ¬†a tomato I picked from my magic tomato plant¬†and planted them in a mandarin orange cup. And the seeds have sprouted through to find the sunlight:


¬†and I think I might be starting to see the sunlight here too… Here are some other beauties in my new garden: snapdragon, moss rose, dianthus cameo quince & basil.

blogsnapdragon blogmossrose blogdianthus blogcameoquince blogbasil


So far Georgia hasn’t been so bad… I might even plant a peach tree, I wonder if it can it survive in a pot… ūüėČ

My Luna

Oh how luxurious it is

to wallow in the depths of this stale grief,

crusty with fear,

stagnant in its facade.

What else could it be? Four Seasons Have Passed!

But, I close my eyes and you are there…

Your face, a watercolor in the clouds!

Your voice, in every birds echo!

And an ache, like the moon’s crater… just a speck to looking eyes,

swallows me, beckons me,

consumes me some days.

This mirage of your love,

just a noisy wasteland,

empty of you.

December Fog

December Fog

By Joy Lise

The day you died, my love for you became homeless.

Wandering a world where you once resided,

without the wondering ache of hope to feed

and so it birthed a beautiful grief.

Thriving on the endless search for signs from you,

like a desperate parasite hungry for life,

dressed up in butterfly wings and tomato leaves,

at best a poetry longing.

While you slipped further away,

memories growing grainy by the day…

But ghosts grow faint in sunlight

and I grasped for that pain,

its comforting grip on my soul,

drawing tighter for what kept me closer to the luxury of this darkness.

Dragging this heartache around like a lifeless doll,

dressed up in a quiet absence,

the echoed sobs of an adult child

simply                 missing             her             mother.

Nowhere to rest,

but in the emptiness,

where my grief once resided.