decorate, reconnect

The little girl drags the bundle of pastel balloons along the sidewalk on Ditmars, pulling the string as if the collection can be lifted into the air like a kite.

Freedom to be anything. Freedom to have the time. Freedom to allow. Freedom to open boxes. Freedom to be gentle. Freedom to play.

She goes back to the place she once lived. It's empty, clean. We are one. We climb back out through the window.

How can one let go of things you might love again? 

Why can't death be living still?



Manhattan Commitment

Sunshine, open to New, desire to Build. Grateful for blisters that occur from going far, for covering a lot of ground, for not sitting dormant on a beautiful day. I like stacking my thoughts and experiences. Arrange them, move or delete. Thank you for this space to write. Thank you for mornings. I see my parents are having coffee, reading the newspaper. They urge me to be bold. 



where we've been


I took my insulin without food.

No, that isn't me.

I'm standing and floating outside myself,

knowing what I need to do,

hoping I have the time and

consciousness to do it.

"What happens next?" I ask her at the cafe. 



Dear Mom,

Are you typing something to me somewhere now to be delivered by air mail, by a bird flying over the sea, or perhaps, I will open my computer and find a message from you? I saw your scarf the other day and brought it to my face. I inhaled your scent. I tied it around the doorknob to the spare room. Then I pulled it off and tied it around my neck to wear to work. I wore the silver and turquoise butterfly yesterday. We bought it in Old Town, remember? Did you help me pick it out to wear?

 "Tonight, go home and work on your spare room to get it like you desire. Type this up, Jen. Stop holding back. Stop waiting. Stop overthinking. You can watch the debates at home or if you feel up to it, go meet up with friends and Chris. No pressure, babydoll. Walk through the passageway. A little at a time. Each piece counts because it feels good and right, butterfly.”




September Device Disconnect


to see the people on their phones whizzing left and right

darting from across the street

I called my sister Debbie before I walked into this cafe

to realize I prefer clear to call in a private space at home

miss those days

house phone

2017 - each child man and woman is on a device

pieces of words, conversations

saying "I can't believe he did that!"

"having really bad service!"

"OMG, Hiiii!"

I don't need to hear them

they don't need to hear me

I watch others on their devices

reading, searching, writing, scrolling

I get it

It's good for work and play

and delight in the day


I prefer to sit and not scroll

I prefer to eat and watch through this window

to listen to the music, the wind

to grab silent spots, the sun

to have a conversation with no one at all, myself





I posted this poem first on my other blog,


A few months to create this

our collection, Celebrating Sound.

patience with myself for

no knowledge, no workbook

of how to do this.


Fear in fingers,

Fear in sitting still,

Fear to decide,

Fear to get critiqued.


This is my manuscript

my rough draft to the world.


I know how to do THIS.

I AM your reader.


I am the paper gatherer.

I secured these poems,

originals in your red faded folder

from New Mexico to New Jersey.

I made photocopies at my job

26th floor at Source Media,

knowing they were my treasure.


A lifetime to honor us,

our story,

we share the stage.

I keep learning, asking questions

continue Celebrating Sound.


I am live speaker of your magic

word weaver of our conversations

extender of our love.


This book is trampoline,

This book is mixture

facts experiences memories


my errors

my love

my fear of how to do it right.


This book is every day I prefer different pieces.

I mix and match sentences,

take stanzas from our poems when I

perform, read aloud

like tops and skirts

poetry pants in my wardrobe

mixed with your embellished velvet

with our turquoise concho bracelet.


Imperfect art here I am.

Imperfect creator of tribute,

imperfect editor of stricter,

vessel of preparation and


I am.



To be here with you and take this higher,

this combination of our artistry, Mom!


I own the rights

to my family.

I am take me to another place.

I hope you will learn with me,

dear reader, audience member!

Love me flawed

Read me flawed

as I love myself

as I explore our relationships further.


I am curator of print

and spoken word.


What brings you pleasure, Jennifer?

The seeds of action, planting,

seeing the flowers grow,

my confidence,

my honesty.


Decisions of what to present,

I let go of what's not included today.

satisfied-correct in my desire


of every minute every word

a gift.




My mom used to call me Hobo Harmon all the time! I believe she started calling me by this unique nickname back in 2004 after I called her one rainy night walking home from the Path train to my apartment in Jersey City. I had a small hole in my boots and the rain water was trickling inside making my lovely warm socks a soggy mess. She said, "Oh, Hobo! We must get you new boots!" And of course, she sent me the perfect pair of fashionable shoes the following week. She often picked out perfect shoes #fashionistas - As a result of this popular nickname by my mom, my husband calls me Hobo more than he calls me Jen! During April I wrote poems under hoboharmon at A Daily Dose of Spring Poems. Then I started another poetry blog called Hobo's Poems on Blogger. Woohoo! 





I am Jennifer Dawn Harmon Gersbeck.

On April 1, I turned 40.

I am Desert Daughter of Jack Eugene and Patricia Anne.

I am love.

I am forgiveness.

I am darkness.

I am light.

I am strength.

I am home.

I am living.

I am sighted guide. I am being guided.

I am blessings. I am gratitude in climbing.

I am cactus covered with bright magenta flowers.

Strong spine

Robust, small clusters of up to 20 stems

Adaption in rainfall.


Alamogordo, New Mexico

Otero County

I am partly hidden in the prairies

in The Tularosa Basin between the Sacramento mountains and Capitan.

Sunsets above White Sands gypsum dunes.

I am from two teachers, my guides,

English and Braille, Pottery and Painting,

Poetry and Storytelling.

I am from changes

I am from Sierra Elementary soap opera stories sidekick to Kelli

I am from ballet and marching band state champs.

I am from NMSU journalism

I am from Divorce

I am from my first apartment living alone in Rio Communities

Orange countertops, linoleum kitchen floors

I am from Valencia County News-Bulletin

Reporter in Belen and Los Lunas

School board, city council, concert coverage

I am from leaving my homestate to move to NYC without a job to

Sleep on David Belcher’s red futon

I am from Oshman’s Sporting Goods,

Source Media, Samuel Christensen Law Firm,

Devachan Salon.


I am climbing the spiral stairs

To new opportunities

Travel Poet

My parents will meet me

My husband beside me

Myself, Listen

Never the same

A one woman show

Speeches, service to teenagers

And women everywhere

Sharing more of myself than ever before



Fear Less, Fearless

Sometimes an almost hour commute home on the train feels like


The crowd around me swaying as we rattle along

through the tunnel to


and somewhere

Queens Plaza finally

36th Avenue is next

Barely hold on to the handle of the double doors

I don’t care if I fall

because I’d like to sleep, take a nap

Their hands grip poles

Their coats hold keys

Oh, I’ve been on this goddamn device

All day

Oh, I remember the other trains, the other rides

Today I say thank you as I comb through the people and disembark

“Unwrap The Secrets of Mummies” the poster promotes at my stop

All mine are out


The sun is setting in Astoria

Climb stairs to street

Billboard on Northern Blvd. tells me

Fear Less


Clouds, scarves

I pass a bundled smoker

Almost home

Opportunity in the window





Heartbeat rising

Reflection of myself

Relief from what I carried and left on the sidewalk

Stretching after spin

It’s clearer to me what needs to be kept

What I will always have

What to let go

What to adorn and use and share

I climb the mountain

Third gear

Oh, Mom, I see us on the dance floor

We are getting down

The tempo increases

Turquoise swirled with purple beads

Caught up in enthusiasm


The sound of the rain

In my aloneness

My fierceness

My independence

The increase in the drops falling



My own rupture

I’m under the umbrella

Red with stripes neon yellow and aqua

I’m stuck in

The downpour

In my freeness


Craving it

In it

I choose this spot

Sit here in the beauty



I don’t want to leave

I can build up my strengths


Fuck smiling

I might go a whole day without doing

Because why not?

Because why not rest?




Not raising of the lips

No sir, everything is not ok

It is that bad

It’s not

But who the fuck cares?



Sonnet for Nathan

I wrote this for my friend Nathan last November for his 40th birthday

In Honor of His Birth, We Celebrate

Yes, we did imagine growing older,

but we could not predict the earth, this place.

Circle of friends, realize truth in his face.

We traveled through years to rest on this road’s shoulder

Glancing at old photos of Nathan in the faded folder,

A special love to support and honor thee, 

man of gumption, music, peace and unity.

The truth is we know of no one bolder.

In honor of his birth, we celebrate

his gift to uplift the tired and the weak

because sometimes it feels much to bleak

to continue on but we know we must

we make art, we make calls, we fight or we bust

down the wall, we dance and sing as one

family we are through sun and storms, we won’t come undone.




His health is deteriorating. He's not in the hospital.

I love him. I'm not in control of a damn thing.

I'm hopeful his condition will improve. I'm living in the moment.

I know pain. I'm familiar with loss.

Jokes about celebrity deaths and being done with 2016 annoy me.

A new year doesn't stop endings.

He has no appetite. He can barely walk.

I will rent a car. I can drive Joan's.

I am going to be with him.

He sounds the same. He sounds like a stranger.

I rally for love. I ask rage to come out.

I acknowledge tight muscles. I breathe through panic and tension.

I feel relief.

It's deep down inside me from long ago

not channeled at him or little me or God

I buried it in the desert

and covered it with flowered cactus

smiling, cutting my finger on the edges of the sharp needles




Today's Message

-----Original Message----- 
From: Jennifer Harmon
Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:54 AM
To: Jack Harmon
Subject: Hello!

Hi Dad,

I am still lying in bed resting, but I took some time to write in my journal. I was remembering with fondness our holiday traditions in Alamo as a family. 

Remember how we went to the candlelight service at Grace Methodist? Mom would often wear her silver fox fur coat. We would go drive around Alamo, looking at the colorful Christmas lights. Then we would head over to Tularosa to take in the glorious sight of the luminarias. I loved describing everything to mom! Then we would get home and have our delicious dinner at the lovely decorated table by our sparkling Christmas tree. Cornish hens, twice baked potatoes, prime rib, scalloped potatoes and ham....lots of memories of various meals,mmmm! Christmas Eve was always a magical night. Then Christmas Day was so fun yet relaxing. We had the fire going and had coffee while we opened presents. You made breakfast:)

I have so many memories of mom from everyday experiences to special holidays. I think it was 2002 we took a plane to go visit Aunt Kathy and Steven and Laura in Mahwah. Then we spent Christmas and New Years there in 2004 after I moved to NYC. 

I think I will wear mom's fur coat on NYE. Chris' brother Eric is having a party at his place in Brooklyn. We went there for Christmas. It felt good to be there although I missed mom so much. She always picked out the best gifts for everyone! I made her broccoli casserole and stuffed mushrooms with Chris' help. 
I love you mucho mucho! Maybe we can talk on the phone or do Skype this weekend. 


P.S: Did you get yourself an iPad yet? :)

Jack Harmon <>Sun 12/30/2012, 8:41 PM

Hi Jenn,

I fully recall all those things you mentioned and I will never forget any of
them.  I even had a dream about your mother a couple nights ago.  She was
walking in a group of people across a grassy area and looked so lovely and
magnificent.  I even started constructing a poem in my sleep about what I
was seeing but something told me to wake up first and when I did, I lost my
thoughts.  I still might try to recall my observations and see what comes

We can sure talk just about any time in the days to come.  Just let me know
when and we can do skype or phone.

I am spending the weekend watching football.

Have a wonderful New Years.

Love you,





Disembark the 1 at 72nd

2 to Times Square

step off, turn to the right for the N.

I get into a rhythm with my grief.

I get in a rhythm with Not My President posts.

No, this can't be true, these headlines

I bleed what is happening to me,

to our country.

I have to eat dinner.

I will take a bath in my blessings and

get dressed in gratitude






Standing on the R with my coffee.

How can you chit chat,


You bought three sweaters for work

and aren't second-guessing yourself.

"They weren't that expensive.

I have so many fur coats."

you you you

me me me

At work,

escape into the bathroom,

try and breathe.




Memory List

I discovered peace and forgiveness with my father when I wasn’t looking.

I see pictures of him walking me down the aisle.

He said he would crawl on his hands and knees if he had to

to bring me to you.

When I turned 30, he met Chris for the first time.

As he hugged me in the back of an NYC taxicab,

my dad said I was "in good hands" with Chris.

When we visited Iowa, they bonded more over cold Stella beer

& salt & vinegar potato chips watching sci-fi movies and Walker Texas Ranger.

He loved the song Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega.

I remember finding the cassette tape in our truck when I was 12.

As a little girl, he served me milk with my dinner.

He tickled my feet - not to make me laugh

but to help me drift off to sleep

He made me toasted English muffins with grape jelly and butter.

He ironed my jeans, silk tops on low heat, and nineties baby doll dresses.

He even colored my hair the kitchen sink, Salon Jack, at our home on Desert Eve Drive.

He always had a mustache. Oh, the sideburns! 

Every morning he said, "Jen, time for school! Time to get up!"

He drove me and Jessica to marching band practice and picked us up.

Listening to Prince, Nirvana, and Boyz II Men, we danced beside him

the whole way home.

He taught me how to cast.

We went finishing together for silver bass at Elephant Butte.

He fixed his famous ground beef and refried bean tacos, and

on weekends - silver dollar pancakes for me

eggs and potatoes with salsa for my mom,

chile rellenos made with roasted hatch green peppers.

He helped me pass algebra and geometry and research

my paper on the Titanic. 

He taught me how to drive stick shift in the abandoned track near my Sierra Elementary.

The night of the pajama jam dance in high school, before I had my license,

he let me drive us home. I spotted some cute guys as we cruised down White Sands Blvd.

He sunk down in the passenger seat so I could be cool and wave to them.

He accompanied me across country in my Geo Storm to my college internship in Craig, Co.

He moved my furniture into different apartments and houses in Las Cruces and Belen. 

He told tales driving around Muscatine,

parked near the Mississippi River, and sitting on the blue velour couch.

Stories about his parents, his cat Maddie, coaching gymnastics and his knee injury. 

He is helping me keep going and I know I will learn more from him.

 My Dad with me on my 30th birthday in NYC!

My Dad with me on my 30th birthday in NYC!

 My Wedding Day! June 28, 2014

My Wedding Day! June 28, 2014




He knows I'm here. Jennifer and Debbie, a daughter from two different lives on each side. Thank you for years of truth, for our coffee and conversations, for hugs in Muscatine and telling me about your first wife, hitchhiking to college classes, the years you spent at the Vinton School, the time away from your family as a little boy and coming back to them.

It's hard to breathe. It's hard to know what to do next. It's hard to know which relative or friend to call or text.

The rain. I can't move in the blankness of my yellow quilt surrounded by blue walls. There is no waiting or later or maybe when I'm good enough. I have to move, to go out the door, to a specific place, to do a specific thing.




79th Street

Discarded trees


body bags

wrapped in memories

sidewalk piled

of the lives we led

this year






I sense an interruption or some type of riot.

Where are you now?

I could sleep and never get up,

take a nap under a cherry blossom tree

here, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Mother's Day, 2012.

The last time you visited me in NYC.

There are certain things I still can't throw away.

Your lavender bath and body lotion,

the Joan Rivers leopard print jacket,

your wallet with your photo ID and

Applebee's lunch card for after church.

I find you when I put on my turquoise bangle bracelet.

I find you when I sip my coffee in Queens.

I find you when I close my eyes, quiet hugs in Toms River.

Lows happened at night.

I open my mouth to tell friends via phone 

Tape my lips shut and make it go away.

This is worse than after the divorce.

My mood is like your blood sugars

able to fall, plummet, based on a single action

one tiny second.

I tell myself

You witnessed my marriage.

How does God decide what to give each of us?

The hugs, the clothes,

the dinners, the stories,

your hand holding mine.

Let me rest now and wake to find

solitary happiness.