CarrieAnn Thunell is a freelance artist, columnist, and poet. She is the poetry columnist and a chapbook cover artist for SP Quill magazine. She will also be doing on-going haiku book reviews and interviews for White Lotus, Shadow Poetry’s new haiku journal. She is a member of the Olympia Poetry Network, the Washington Poet’s Association, Poets Against The War, Haiku Canada, and the Haiku Society of America. The second edition of her Sonnets From The Scandinavian is out, with many new poems. It is 60 pages and retails for $7.50. (The first edition sold out). Ms. Thunell's work has appeared in Amaze, (The) Aurorean, Beginnings, Bible Advocate, Black Widow’s Web, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Blue Collar Review, Bottlerockets, Candelabrum (England), Curbside Review, First Time, Flesh From Ashes, Freefall, Free expressions (Australia), Frogpond, Haiku Canada, Heron’s Nest, Hidden Oak, Hummingbird, Joel’s House, Kokako (New Zealand), (The) Lyric, Mayfly, Midwest Book Review, Mindprints, Mobius, Modern Haiku, Moonset, Neovictorian Cochlea, Nisqually Delta Review, Paper Wasp (Australia), Parnasus, Pegasus, Penwood Review, Percival Review, Poetic Hours (England), Point and Circumference, Presence (England), Red Lights, Silver Wings, Storyteller, Skyline, SP Quill, The Hypertexts, Thorny Locust, Time Of Singing, and Write On. More of her work may be viewed at



 Commercial Jingles Blot Out People's Cries   *      Frost on a Tilting Painting by Van Gogh    *  Homeless in Seattle   *    What's Become of the Land I Used to Know?    * Muriel Rukeyser, Poet-Woman    *    A God Who Has Eternity To Play   *    I Learned, God Meant to Spare Us Pain and Strife    *    Siberian Tiger    *     Hard Physical Labor    *     Jane, Jack of All Trades    *    Just Another Dirty Laundry Day   *    Human Services    *    In a Minor Key   *   Caught in the Web of the World   *   Free-Falling in God's Universe    *    Poets are Prophets Who Create New Worlds     *     Mighty Clouds    *    The Business Man Consults a Toad    *    The Light Passed Through Me Speechless With Surprise    *     The Ten Thousand Religious Quick-Fixes   *     A World Within a World   *     San Juan Remembrances 



Commercial Jingles Blot Out People’s Cries


Can you tell poverty is on the rise?

On downtown street corners, alleys, and slums.

In farmlands, small towns, cities, smog filled skies,

More people sleep in corners, live off crumbs.


On downtown street corners, alleys, and slums

The politicians broadcast empty lies.

More people sleep in corners, live off crumbs,

Commercial jingles blot out people’s cries.


The politicians broadcast empty lies,

The war on hope and war on peace are chums.

Commercial jingles blot out people’s cries,

Shop till you drop, while our soldiers beat drums.


The war on hope and war on peace are chums,

Designer addictions, holiday highs—

Shop till you drop, while our soldiers beat drums,

Buy Prozac, tobacco, chocolate, and pies.


Movies, and porn, titillate the humdrums.

In farmlands, small towns, cities, smog filled skies,

Prosperity doctrines sedate ho hums.

Can you tell poverty is on the rise?


Published in the Blue Collar Review, Spring 2004




Frost On A Tilting Painting By Van Gogh


The midnight street light’s circular bright glow,

Creates a mood of unreality,

A slightly tilting painting by Van Gogh.


Is this the street Frost crossed beyond the snow?

Half past the watchman’s hospitality,

The midnight streetlight’s circular bright glow?


What did the luminary clock then show,

To make one think of drink; mortality?

A slightly tilting painting by Van Gogh.


What barely perceptible tale of woe,

Was brought to mind with sensuality?

The midnight streetlight’s circular bright glow.


Within each heart lives one’s own feckless foe,

Propelling us to some fatality…

A slightly tilting painting by Van Gogh.


Acquainted with the night, heedless we go,

Towards fate, too late, for frank formality.

The midnight street light’s circular bright glow,

A slightly tilting painting by Van Gogh.


Published in the Penwood Review, November 2004




Homeless In Seattle


Homeless, no one wants to talk about it…

I remember—being homeless, the fright,

The dreams return—fear so real, I shout it.


Most folks want to overlook or doubt it,

In self-told lies, avert eyes from the sight.

Homeless, no one wants to talk about it…


This lifestyle is not a fad, to tout it,

Nor is it the result of one bar fight.

The dreams return—fear so real, I shout it.


Women and children; prayerful, devout, it

Does not overlook gender, age, this plight.

Homeless, no one wants to talk about it…


Young teens, grow up on the streets, they spout it,

Act tough to cover their shame, fear of night.

The dreams return—fear so real, I shout it.


If you doubt it, look on the streets, scout it.

Listen to them; look, can you brave the sight?

Homeless, no one wants to talk about it…

The dreams return—fear so real, I shout it.


Published in Mobius, May 2004




What’s Become Of The Land I Used To Know?


What’s become of the land I used to know?

Rich corporations bought our government.

The lines at every food bank grow and grow.


Gutted labor laws push workers below,

Unions ignored, to contracts, work is sent.

What’s become of the land I used to know?


Every day labor is dealt a new blow;

No funds to protect the environment.

The lines at every food bank grow and grow.


The less we all make the more we all owe.

Folks work full time, but cannot make the rent.

What’s become of the land I used to know?


Civil rights are stolen; resources flow

To rich folk at the top, the rest lament.

The lines at every food bank grow and grow.


We’re a wasteland of poverty and woe,

Greed, pain, and betrayal, we represent.

What’s become of the land I used to know?

The lines at every food bank grow and grow.


Published in Blue Collar, Spring 2004




Muriel Rukeyser, Poet-Woman

 "I need a language of a changing phase for the poem,"

Muriel Rukeyser, from her book, "The Life Of Poetry.

Muriel Rukeyser, poet-woman

turned wars and racial strife into leaven.

Her powerful poems poured a geyser,

poet-woman, Muriel Rukeyser.


She forged a change with word-art alchemy.

From angst of passion, human misery,

formed physics of phasing to rearrange.

With word-art alchemy, she forged a change.


A well-read lady of gestalten mind,

wove idea-baskets from disparate kind

of sciences social, hard, and shady.

Of gestalten mind, a well-read lady.


The spires of trees were her church and steeple.

From clay God is said to have made people.

Humans from humus, from Earth do we stir,

her church and steeple the spires of trees were.


Muriel Rukeyser saved from the dust

great minds whose volumes were starting to rust.

Her prose and poetry soothed, poked, and raved,

from the dust Muriel Rukeyser saved.


Published in SP Quill, Summer 2004


  A God Who Has Eternity To Play


“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."  (Albert Einstein)


The wonders of God’s bounty manifests,

In the vast beauty of the natural world.

The intricacies of each flower attests,

To hues, and order no happenstance hurled.

Evolution is the mark of patience,

A God who has eternity to play

With cells from amoeba, to sentience.

In God’s economy, love will hold sway.

No thing brought forth into being is lost,

It simply changes its form and it’s state.

Yet life from us exacts the highest cost,

A share in death, pain, suffering, and fate.

            Yet when each life seems to be at an end,

            A bright angel, heaven’s guide, God will send.


            Published in The Nisqually Delta Review, Jan/Feb 2005




I Learned, God Meant To Spare Us Pain And Strife


Like Doubting Thomas, I could not convince

Myself of God or faith from other’s tales.

God knows I’d read most books to lift the veils,

Thought faith was knowledge, not experience.

Life seemed but a pauper, and Death a prince,

            Over doctrines Life’s bitterness prevails.

At last to learn I drank of Her entrails.

                                    In tending hospice folks, Life’s core evinced…


‘Twas on deathwatch I reconciled with Life.

And at my own gravestone I learned regret.

It was in breaking God’s commandments that

I learned God meant to spare us pain and strife.

                  Through grief I made amends lest I forget,

                    The draught of painful lessons, Life’s caveat.


Published in Mobius, May 2004



Siberian Tiger


Siberian tiger padding with grace.

Her face appears, disappears in the fog.

At one with sinuous muscles, no trace

Of hesitation, she skirts the dank bog.

Hematite cold eyes contemplate and sere.

Her every move, a dance of tai chi.

I am mesmerized with awe and stark fear.

Her full belly turns disregarding me.

I live at her pleasure, gift not to waste.

I long to lope by her lithe graceful side.

Of danger, animal instinct I taste.

From jungle-omnipotent eyes few hide.

Parting tall grass in a silent furrow,

She knows every scent, scat, leaf and burrow.


Published in SP Quill, Summer 2004



Hard Physical Labor



Ready.  Show up

early.  Sign in before

dawn.  Watch the guys from the mission


me close.

Leering.  Making rude jokes about

the oldest profession.

Riding to site



blunt unshaven

suggestions of how I

could make more money servicing

their sweat.

I look

away.  Try not to show inflamed

cheeks and salty tears.  To

hide poverty

and shame.


Published in Blue Collar Review, Spring 2004




Jane, Jack of All Trades


I sit

at Employment

Security again.

Go for……………..any temporary

job that

will hire,

and interview me.  “But you’re just

a Jack-of-all-trades.  Don’t

you have career

goals?  Don’t

you have

a dream of what

you’d really like to be?”

My dream has been…… be able

to make

three times

the amount of one month’s rent.  To

have enough to pay child

care costs.  A car

that runs.

To not

need to have to

choose between food and heat,

or leave the kids alone…..  To make

ends meet.

To buy

the clothes I need for work.  To be

able to afford work.

To save a bit,

to live.


Published in Blue Collar Review, Spring 2004




Just Another Dirty Laundry Day


Battling in refried rage,

I angle my Saturn to shimmy

through its rings

of turning trucks and cars.

Wishing I had a foghorn.

Wishing I had oars.

I park in front of

the all-night Laundromat

past the noise of brawling bars

and radios detailing threats of wars.

I open the shrunken trunk

and prepare to disembark

last week’s aromatic mountain

of mismatched, dirty laundry.

Inside, I am assaulted

by a cornucopia of obnoxious odors copulating:

stale cigarettes, scented detergents,

fabric softeners, colognes, and perfumes.

I perch nauseously upon a stool’s edge.

My eyes drift randomly about the sallow

yellowed walls, rolling like pin balls.

There are potted

artificial houseplants, and genuine bums.

There are apartment complex dwellers

with sticky, sugar-coated, lice-encrusted kids.

I get the fishbowl effect,

but fortified with Exxon-Valdez. 

my eyes alight on the TV.

like a random fly stopping to groom.

The people on the soapy screen

sit talk-show style and yell

at each other.  The sordid details

of a sleazy extra-marital affair

are laid out by the participants and casualties

each vying for the world to take sides

in this “private” cold war, hoping to elevate

the status to world war.

The women screech, and pull

each other’s hair, ripping holes in clothes

like unbalanced washing machines.

One of the bums pauses to watch flayed clothing

expose skin

while absently eating cigarette butts

by the handful,

scooping them out from the silver bowl

off the tray of Angela’s ashes.  His eyes

never leave the screen.

At commercial time, Tide and Weyerhaeuser

bleach and clear cut my soul.

The news brief informs me

that the American War Machine

is preparing to defend Our Great Country

from all outside threats simultaneously.

Meanwhile, inside; school funding and Medicaid

are being cut,

and life is reduced

to just another load of dirty laundry.


Published in Freefall, July 2003




 Human Services


I get off the bus for work

at institutionalized purgatory.

Upon entering the heavy double doors,

I am blasted with the wind

of Buddha’s three confrontations:

old age, sickness, and death:

rancid body odor, acrid oozing sores; loose bowels.

Housekeepers here work overtime

to beat it

down with industrial strength

disinfectants and scented fumigants.

Wrinkled pink, brown, and red raisins lift

rheumy eyes and smile wanly

as I make my morning rounds.

An overdressed cheerleader

on a comatose football field.

With my huge arsenal

of hairdressers, activity calendars, jigsaw puzzles,

bible studies, and art classes,

I can’t have one tenth

the impact

of one fuzzy kitten


Purring fears away.

One toddler blowing bubbles,

blowing bubbles of cares away.


By the end of my shift,

my allergies are on red-alert.

I stop by human services,

pick up my minimum wage check,


rheumy eyes, and smile wanly.


Published in Blue Collar Review, Winter 2003-2004




 In a Minor Key


 The yearning to merge

fuels my sexual urge.

Yet in our nakedness,

less of our true selves

is revealed.


Sex becomes a diversion.

A psychedelic drug.

A hallucinogenic panacea


to wall off the risk,

and the possibility

of true intimacy.

Intimate strangers

dance and tangle

in a pseudo-strangle

in the night.


From true self-revelation,

each takes flight.

Their tryst resembles

a wrestling match

in æ time,

in a minor key…

b flat my love,

b flat


and turn down

the volume

of your soul

lest I am burned

by its intensity

in a minor key


there is no solidarity

in the hunger of one

dimensional sexuality


Published in Thorny Locust, Spring/Summer 2003




Caught in the Web of the World


Once in a beggar man’s eyes

swollen and faded with strife,

you broke out of Satan’s lies

caught a glimpse of the meaning of life.


And all of your visions

of what you would buy,

perfume and make-up

cheap love in a lie


soured like fruit in the sun.

Pale before truth in time.

Without shoes this ragged one

stretched cupped hands for a dime.


And your heart was laid bare

before Emmanuel.

In the tramp’s lonely stare

all your fast-buck dreams fell.


You felt the void in his soul

and the nudity of birth and death fall free.

You saw your own superficial goal

as a band-aid upon World War Three.


But soon you are walking away

and the temporal closes in.

Planning by year

living by day,

remembering then

anticipating when.


A glimpse of eternity

lost again

in the clouds

that cover the sun.


 Published in Joel’s House, November 2004



 Free-Falling in God’s Universe


We are all the descendants

of an ego-maniac inventor,

sculptor, watercolorist,

great composer, master-mathematician

sheer genius, world-class-lover

and All-Mighty CREATOR.


So of course, we are

destined to battle

huge egos, highly creative disasters,

great talent, limitless potential

and little practical usefulness

our entire lives.


This First Progenitor never

did anything by halves, as I recall.

If there was foresight involved

in opening the Pandora’s box

that is humanity,

then He can surely see a lot

farther down the road

than I can.


So, thank Him

for the genetic mixed bag,

and don’t worry too much

about being a lonely

misunderstood genius.

I’m pretty sure He

feels that way

a lot of the time, too.


Published in Joel's House, November 2004



Poets Are Prophets Who Create New Worlds


In the beginning there was Naked Thought,

the Thought that shaped itself into the Word.

The Word cooled and commingled into Form,

gaseous clouds condensed from Thought to Word.


Spun round to form the Matter for planets,

planets that Matter, born of the Thought/Word.

New life forms spun from out of one planet,

in joy they mated, bearing new Thought/Words.


Words led to Speech, shaping men’s Consciousness.

Consciousness bloomed to shape a new culture.

Culture bloomed to shape a new Consciousness

of human pride that shared no sphere with life.


All species were then endangered and doomed.

No one knew how to turn this course around.

Humans forgot Matter came from the Womb

of Word, and Word out of the Womb of Thought.


Nothing Matters when our Words Matter not.

Poets are Prophets who create New Worlds.

The Word has power to give back the Form

that flowed from Rivers of Life in the Tao.


Poets are Prophets who create fresh Words.

They call forth new Consciousness giving rise

to fresh Matter as Life Matters once more.

The Word has power to name life, Sacred.


Poets are Prophets who create New Worlds.

New Worlds of vibrant creatures that flourish,

they birth and manifest from healing Words.

The Word calls Sacred all life on this Earth.




Mighty Clouds


 Oh, mighty clouds

elusive clouds

timeless drifters

over endless plains.

Water sifters,

making rains…


You melt and flow

away as though,

by the sun’s heat, to rain.

Over the valley and plains…


You melt into blue lakes and dreams.

You splash into sparkling streams.

then you rise up again,

and are reborn when…


Misty changing

shades of gray.

Shades of night

and shades of day,

drifters passing by…


Flowing forms,

yet formless.

Nomads of the sky…



yet colorless

mirrors of the sun…


Note:  This poem won first place in the Storyteller’s Nature Comes Alive Contest and was published Summer 2004 in The Storyteller



The Business Man Consults A Toad


He came into the stillness of the woods,

He came into the stillness in himself.

He leapt past all the bridges built of “shoulds”,

Beyond the knowledge of books on his shelf.

He soiled his suit in mud to meet the eye

Of an inglorious and bumpy toad.

He stripped to better soak in sun and sky,

And felt himself much lightened of his load.

The toad communicated such a calm

In his unhurried squat and acceptance,

The man was soothed as though some healing balm

Had melted all his qualms and reticence.

“Both you and I live, breathe, and die,” said he.

“On sun and rain, pond and pain, we agree!”


Published in Nisqually Delta Review, Jan/Feb 2005




The Light Passed Through Me Speechless With Surprise


I slept under a clear star studded sky

On Orcas Island, sea tang in my nose.

Naïve and young, I looked up and blood froze

As every star plunged down, heaven awry.

My first meteor shower gave the lie

To all solid predictable fixed shows.

My veins had slowed and become cold ice floes.

My universe had shifted, so must I…


I remember an earthquake long ago

  When the bay window rippled like a tide

And waves of solid glass betrayed my eyes…


A time lightning hit transformer box so

              That reversed charge opened bolted door wide.            

The light passed through me speechless with surprise…

                                    In trusting God and not my eyes,

                                            Survival made me old and wise.


Published in the Penwood Review, Fall 2004




The Night Shakes Out Her Wild Black Raven Hair


The night shakes out her wild black raven hair,

And spills like pearls, her stars in filaments.

Like Christmas lights, they light the firmaments.

In scattered sparkles dense as dust in air,

Swirl bright spiral galaxies everywhere.

Black night’s glow, this light show of elements.

Of such star stuff we are embodiments,

From finite building blocks that we all share—


Unseen Benevolence behind it all,

                  Scoops up bits of matter and energy

Forms snowballs of potential hurled in space.


In our genetic make-up hums the call

                 A whispered,  “I’m in you, and you’re in me,”

In my body swims star bits and sky lace,

                        God of Einstein, without, within to trace.


Published in The Penwood Review, Fall 2004



The Ten-Thousand Religious Quick-fixes


The local used bookstore has a huge section

devoted to New Age Spirituality  and Asian

philosophies. There are angry feminist Castrating

Goddess books, ten thousand translations of the Tao

Te Ching, as well as The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet.

There are books on all manner of gurus claiming

to be the latest incarceration of Buddha.

It all spills over into the section on comparative

mythology, just before you get to self-help.

One book is a handbook of household Goddesses

done in watercolor.  It includes Aquaflushia ,Goddess

of the toilet, Microwavia, Goddess of the modern

kitchen, and Liberalsexalalia, Goddess of liberated kinky sex.

This particular book sits between self-help and feminist

spirituality, hedging it’s bets, some sort of hybrid book

for The Lost Modern Woman. 


The Christian books section is very small.  Mormonism

is mixed together with Catholicism, Lutheranism

and Unitarianism.  A crazy quilt of the ten thousand

denominations.  There are a lot of books on the ‘feminine

face of God’. Books with titles like, “Pray and Grow Rich,”

and, “Liberation through Evangelical Nudism.”

So what does it all mean?  I am plagued by disturbing

thoughts, as I wonder if America is sinking in a plethora

of ten thousand supermarket brands of spiritual angst.


While I thumb through yet another modern translation

of the bible, some guy tries to pick me up.  He says,  “Man,

the only way to know God is by direct experience.  Since

we’re all made in the image of God, what do you say we

go somewhere and experience each other?”  I mumble

some excuse about needing to go to the bathroom, buy

a book called, “Prozac:  Get Rid Of Disturbing Thoughts

Once And For All,” and leave the store.


Published in Freefall, Fall 2004




A World Within a World


 In a world within a world,

the sun’s on fire and the moon is pearled

as myriads of possibilities

through the universe are hurled.


Every drop within the sea,

trapped in its small entity

can never experience,

the larger whole’s reality.


How much of what we perceive,

conforms to that which we believe.

We measure, classify, and diagram,

and think our thoughts contain the I AM.


With neither humility, nor prescience

wallowing in over-bloated self-reliance,

adrift in the anxiety, of our relativity

our ad nauseum struggle, is to be free.


Without a deeper search for God,

our souls atrophy and corrode.

By choosing randomly our selfish fate,

we are wedded to what whimsy ,we create.


Melting from the sudden heat,

re-making life’s parameters in a rush.

Evolution skipped a beat,

as the painting grabbed the brush…


 Published in Write On, April 2004




 San Juan Remembrances


Morning fog hovers,

anxiously enfolding her clutch

of tree-spiked islands.

They are hidden in a billowing down comforter.

She broods protectively

over her tiny landmasses.


By noon, she relents.

She rises up, dispersing into fine mist.

Her brood of surreal islands and sea stacks

sharpens into focus.


Dark green silhouette trees poke through,

piercing the cumulous clouds.

Marshmallow skewers

before the sun’s radiant heat.

Waterfowl bob on pthalo blue currents.

Hawks circle overhead.


A foreboding dark fin slices

through rough waters.

The shrill melancholic cries

of island creatures

challenge the pale opulent sun.


I slip my canoe

into the water,

like sliding a glimmering sword

into its custom-made scabbard.

I dribble my fingers

over the edge of my craft

into trails of liquid blue-gray ice.


Published in Freefall, 2004