Welcome to CJ Poets Corner (& Artists Too) ~ Issue #13

From Our Editor: 

It’s hard to imagine, that we are in the last month of the year.  As I am sure there will many festivities, that you will be participating in, or if you are unable to get out, watching more holiday movies, than you can count.

However you celebrate, may the “Joy” of the season surround you and your families.

I hope you enjoy what we have in store for you this time.  As always, if you live with a chronic illness and would like to participate, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]


CJ Poetry Editor

In this Issue:

Father (Poem and photograph submitted by Leigh Joiner)

Today  (Writing by J.G. Chayko)

“Questions”  (Poem and photograph by Sylvia Walters

Oh No, Not I  (Poem and drawing by Karen Walker)

Every Joint That Aches (Poem and word cloud by Brenda Kleinsasser)


Editor’s Note:  Leigh Joiner

Leigh’s bio, in her own words.  My name is Leigh and I am currently earning my Masters of Social Work while navigating Sjogrens and Fibromyalgia. Poetry has always been a great release for me. I’ve been writing for over 18 years and its therapeutic effects are both physical, mental, and spiritual.

Father Time Model

PHOTO CREDIT: Wilson Rodriguez

your “love” packages unsent
the hint of musk, jovan white always feels my heart with something safe
and then I remember all the times I need you
left alone, guarded by my own insecurities
empty love
I convinced myself I could fill with everything,
toxic, you felt to me so nothing else to do but stop…
an eye for an eye
it’s been so long since we’ve spoken
I got the news today
I hope you’re ok


Leigh Joiner


Editor’s Note:  J.G. Chayko

J.G. Chayko is a writer who resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a poet at heart, but also writes fiction and creative non-fiction. She is the author of two blogs: Corkboards and Coffeehouses, a blog on writing, and The Old Lady in My Bones, a series of colorful stories based on her experiences living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In addition to writing short stories and poetry, she is currently working on a novel.



by J.G. Chayko


Today I am twenty, young beyond my years; today I will rise, an effervescent woman, facing the tempest of illness with a scorching bravado, reducing its swelling rage to a paltry trickle that rolls off my fledgling skin like a drop of dew. Today, I dance in the storm.

Today I am eighty, old beyond my years; today I am listless, plunging into the fissure of rigid joints and fiery heat that course through the membranes of my synovial linings, staining my skin with a crimson blush. Today, I kneel in the shadow my disease.

Today I am thirty, younger than my years; today I will open jars with ease, my swollen hands shrinking away through the hours; I will tackle household chores and play tag with frothy whitecaps spraying the shoreline. Today, I am restored.

Today I am seven, the beginning of my years; today I will climb mountains and watch the sunset behind rugged peaks, galloping away from the sting of RA, running with fluidity through lavender fields. Today, I am a stallion.

Today I am forty-one, true to my years; today I will face the routine of morning stiffness, thrusting the flow of warm blood into sterile joints through perpetual motion, seizing each challenge in a life rebuilt after the onslaught of disease. Today, I am strong in the face of RA.

Today, I am the infinite the age of arthritis.

Editor’s Note:  Sylvia Walters


Sylvia’s bio in her own words:   I am a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer who has recently had both knees replaced and started Enbrel 6 months ago. At this moment in my life things have changed dramatically but I will never forget my struggle to work/live/walk and the pain that almost crippled me. It seems everywhere I go, I see people like me, on canes and in pain; I will never forget my struggle.


Congratulations to Sylvia, on the double knee replacement. 

Sylvia Walters


 Dont Let the Pain Define Who You Are


Why do you stare when I walk?
Didn’t your Momma tell you not to gawk?
Is it gait or my cane?
Can’t you see me look away in pain?
How would you like it if I did the same to you?
Don’t you think that that is rude?
Do you think I am lazy because I don’t move around?
Should I show you my scars or explain my frown?
When I call in sick do you believe my story?
Or would you prefer to watch me and worry?
These are the questions we ask ourselves everyday.
But no one will answer, they only turn away.

Sylvia Walters

Editor’s Note:  Karen Walker


Karen in her own words:  Besides struggling with FM as you already know I also have RA.  My hands are giving me problems. Seems they just can’t grasp and hold onto things anymore.  Result of muscle weakness.   I wrote this trying to have a sense of humor that day.  No use in crying over spilled coffee. (Hee Hee).

Just a Morning with RA

Drawing by Karen Walker

Oh No, Not I

While sitting at my table
The morning just begun
My mind can’t help but wonder
Today, what will go undone?

When what to my wandering eyes did appear?
My overturned coffee cup,
My mouth cried, “Oh, dear! ”

So, my hands gave the answer,
Do you dare even try?
And I said, “Just try to stop me.”
“You can’t, no, not I! ”

Karen Walker


Brenda on Brenda:

I was feeling creative and silly one evening, and I came up with this masterpiece.  I hope you can relate.  It is a sing along to the song, “Every Breath You Take”

Musical note

Musical note word cloud created with app by http://www.tagexdo.com

Every Joint That Aches


Verse 1

Every joint that aches,

with every move I make…

Every step I take,

every scream I make…

Arthur’s watching me.


Verse 2

Every hand that aches,

from a firm handshake…

Fingers don’t bend free,

or there’re killing me…

Arthur’s watching me.




Oh can’t you see,

when I bend my knee…

How all my bones ache,

with every step I take.


Verse 3

Every joint that aches,

with every move I make…

Every step I take,

every pill I take…

Arthur’s watching me.




It’s been so long since

I have been pain free…

I know I have this hope

inside of me…

that a cure is all that

we all need…

So I’m begging Arthur…

Arthur pleassse!!


Verse 4

Every joint that aches,

with every move I make…

Every step I take,

every scream I make…

Arthur’s watching me.


Brenda Kleinsasser