Marilyn, aka Misk Mask, has lived in lots of different countries, as her husband’s employer moves them around the world. They are based out of the UK, where she’s lived for 22-years with her Danish husband. Marilyn has two adopted sons, both grown, one living in the UK and the other living in the USA.

She started writing poetry during the November 2010 Poem-A-Day Challenge with Poetic Asides, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She says it’s a release, like adjusting the value on a pressure cooker. Writing poetry is relaxing, but it can be equally frustrating, lonely, and painful in a sort of cathartic way. It is everything that she didn’t think it would be, and she loves the whole creative process and the people who migrate toward it.

Marilyn is also a keen cook and baker with an active cookery blog, where she enjoys group baking challenges, creating and archiving family-favourite recipes, and photographing food, photography being another hobby. Gardening also ranks up there with her top hobbies.

Marilyn’s WEB WEDNESDAY INTERVIEW 11/23/2011

Marilyn’s Blogs:

Misk Mask (poetry)
Misk Cooks
Misk Cooks Page on Facebook


© All postings and intellectual materials on this page are property of Marilyn Braendeholm.

14 thoughts on “MARILYN BRAENDEHOLM (Misk Mask)


    These two little girls,
    one’s brunette and the other’s
    blonde with bouncy curls,
    share a room where they sleep.
    They laugh and play and scowl
    and glare, and sometimes say

    shockingly foul things to each other.
    Tongues wiggling and sticking out,
    and tears of anger rolling down
    their cheeks, they pout, they stare.
    They’re sisters, quite a pair,
    and they’re supposed to love

    one another. They do but they
    won’t really know that
    or understand what it means
    until they’re both all grown up.
    Maybe when they’re really old,
    like 202-years from now when their

    cold joints creak and pop, and they
    push themselves along
    with wooden walking sticks
    so their spines don’t curl
    round like a cinnamon roll,
    maybe then they’ll remember

    they love one another and
    they’ll know what it means,
    but until then they’ll just keep on
    glaring and hissing and swinging
    dollies at each other until they’re
    told to kiss and make up.

    Poetic Bloomings Prompt: A Children’s Poem with a Moral Lesson

  2. A Shade of Translucency

    He was the majority colour
    of his village. The primary
    colour, one might say. Most
    were the same nondescript
    hue; slightly translucent is
    the word that best fits. See
    there on his hand, where
    the blue tint of tributaries
    web across the back of his
    hand. Yes, translucent was
    the colour he wore and he
    blended in well with
    the rest of them all.

    Poetic Bloomings Prompt: Colours

  3. Retuning Heart Strings

    Wipe your eyes and dry
    your tears, cry not for your
    own loss. Tie your grief
    to the wind and cherish
    her love for you.

    Poetic Bloomings Prompt: Gratitude
    29 November 2011

  4. The Chair with the Spindle Knobs

    There’s nothing left of you here.
    It’s Mom’s house now. No photos,
    no mementos your scent long muted
    by confused potpourri of lavender
    and cinnamon and apple, and Vicks.
    But that chair is still here tucked
    under the table as if you might return

    for one last supper. Your chair, the high-back
    one with the wooden spindle knobs
    and the woven thatch seat. You called it
    the barn chair, joking to keep the cows
    and the goat away from it because they’d
    eat the chair right out from under you.
    And then one evening after a long

    and substantial meal you leaned back
    to stretch the air from your stomach.
    At first we thought you’d belched
    but you didn’t. The high-back chair
    with the wooden spindle knobs and
    seat that the goat might mistake as its
    evening meal cracked and broke

    and hung limp like that chicken you tried
    to kill with the partially severed neck.
    That chair would never be the same.
    You laughed, Mom burst into tears,
    and then you flew into a rage. Sensible
    people don’t cry over chairs, you said.
    That was the year that I learned to walk

    on eggs shells during the holidays.
    You’re gone but your chair’s still here.
    Glued and reglued every time it breaks
    again, which it has. Twice more, I think.
    I miss you so much that it aches
    but I don’t miss the eggshells.

    Happy holidays, Dad.

    Poetic Bloomings, Prompt #30, Home and Hearth


    If home is where the heart is,
    then is a heartless man homeless,
    and a homeless man heartless.

    And so, I asked him

    this homeless man who was cold
    and lonely, sleeping in a foetal curl
    below a slatted bench. Was this man
    heartless from lack of home and hearth.

    Does his heart wander through dark
    leaf-strewn paths, searching bushes,
    seeking shelter, a home, picking
    at food discarded, bits of crusts, crinkled

    pickles, a suggestion of meat, anything
    to restore his energy for another
    night. He walks the shadows behind
    the mission’s cafe where music

    bounces into the alley along
    with tattered drunks from the tavern
    next door. Another night under a bench,
    newspapers tucked down his shirt

    and a double layer over his chest.
    The broadsheet headlines facing him
    so he can read what he calls the comics.
    He loves a good joke.

    And so, he replied

    If home is where the heart is,
    Then have a heart for this man.


    Somewhere between puberty
    and the Red Robin Tavern
    on Lake Union, I lost Jesus.
    I didn’t lose God;
    just his son.
    I woke up one morning
    and we were strangers.

    And so I just talked to God.

    I searched, I tried,
    I read, I cried.
    I couldn’t fill the hole that
    Jesus’d left; I couldn’t find him.
    Logic applied illogically.
    Logic removed emotionally.
    Bible enervation.

    And so I just talked to God.

    One-way conversations
    like leaving messages
    on a friend’s voicemail.
    “Ring me back when you
    have time so we can chat.
    Kiss-kiss. Love you.”
    I never felt alone.

    And so I just talked to God.

    Like I’m doing now; this space walk
    gone wrong. A slip, I spiral away
    like a leaf on rushing water.
    I should be scared; I’m not.
    I’ve never felt alone. I’m talking
    to God in the shadow of purgatory.
    I sure could do with a pee though.

    And so I just talked to God.

    So imagine my surprise,
    my life tethered in coils
    to God’s windlass, he and I
    bungee jumping, free-falling
    through milky streaks of stars.
    I’m not alone. God and Jesus
    have been here all along.
    Jesus still listening-in
    when I just talked to God.

    Poetic Bloomings at


    She thought him as ancient as marble
    but that’s where comparisons end
    His face weathered and rough
    with whiskers that scuff when
    he rubbed his cheek up against hers

    She touched a long lingering line
    carved from his nose to his chin
    deep as the cracks in the field
    where years ago corn used to grow
    as high as the top of her head

    Now dust swirls collecting in your ears
    driving its way up your nose and eating
    a meal means chewing on grit as it
    races its way through the night
    pricking and prodding at dreams

    He talks to her of times long ago
    stories that seem like tall-tales
    of the scent of pure green
    of a colour called pink
    of roses and clover and rain

    I remember, he’d say, the sound of rain
    a sound she’d never heard for herself
    He said it was a sound like that clown’s
    flat-soled, over-sized shoes, the one that
    chased her as she ran from its reach

    I remember, he’d say, the sound of rain
    pounding the top of my head cooling my skin
    after a long hard day’s work. It pounded
    like a hammer on soap, he’d say, and it’d make you
    bend over and hide from its weight

    But now only dust and wind filled the air
    the clouds emptied of everything but dust
    There was no rest for him here, so God called him
    back home, a dark day when the sound of rain falling
    was once again heard as they all cried their final farewells.

    11 May 2011 Poetic Bloomings Prompt #2 RHYTHM OF THE FALLING RAIN

  8. FINISHED by Misk Mask

    The rain can’t reach her here.
    She’s sheltered in the shadowed
    recesses of a rank smelling alcove,
    a dreary ravine between two shops
    that she calls home during the months
    that promise warmer weather. Wind flays
    the marble walls of the shopping center,
    paper cups and burger wrappers
    swept up in the gusts that fly
    past her imaginary front door
    with its peep-hole at eye-level.

    She pats her bulging pockets, protected objects
    retrieved here, there and somewhere she can’t remember.
    Store receipts, not hers of course, but she likes
    to pretend that she bought something there.
    Aluminium pull-tabs, 8 of them that she wears
    one on each finger as her precious rings;
    she’s a fashion rebel she tells a bluebottle
    fly that licks at a sore on her ankle.
    And there’s the mutilated fairy doll
    that’s missing its head but that doesn’t stop it
    from yammering on about nothing all night long.
    And empty disposable lighters in bright primary colours
    reminding her of a rainbow, like the ones
    created by her favourite key chain
    with its dangling crystal pyramid.

    But most valued, most precious, her legal tender,
    her handfuls of half-smoked cigarettes
    rescued from a nearby aluminium pillared ashtray.
    The one topped with a swathe of funereal sand –
    cigarette butts erect in it, tilting,
    bent and subdued under thumb,
    abandoned ghostly headstones.
    Abandoned like she was.
    Abandoned of hope.
    Abandoned of joy.
    Abandoned dreams of a life that included
    children smiling each morning in exchange
    for her hugs and kisses.

    She fingers the short stubs,
    counting and recounting them in case
    one was stolen by that freak of a headless fairy,
    possibly when sleep danced on her pillow
    stealing away her dreams of a fold-away cot
    with a clean pillow in a warm hotel room.

    “Concierge! Give me a light!” she shouts
    at a woman with fiery-red hair. Ignored,
    she launches into a Sunday sermon on the evils
    of shopping on the Lord’s Day of Rest
    and calls the woman a flaming heretic.

    She looks away and lets the last cigarette butt
    roll from her finger back into her pocket.
    “21!” she counts, but instantly forgets and so
    resumes recounting them one at a time.
    One hand counts, the other opens her package
    of empties. Time for a drink from the remains
    of the day – a discarded beer can. It’s marked
    by its previous owner as finished, the sides
    compressed together and bent into a deep fold,
    but she knows that nothing is ever finished
    until God releases her from this hell.


    At 5, she was taught
    and she was told,
    in no uncertain terms,

    tell no stories, my girl,
    and tell no tales,
    or a fur-flying and

    furry-ocious scolding,
    gazookingly ever so stern,
    she might possibly receive.

    Feck, she thought.

    So she gazookingly
    did as she was taught,
    putting a tight lid

    on all and every telling
    of stories or fanciful tales….
    which pippity-pooh got her

    furry-ocious scoldings
    and gazookingly stern
    huffity-puffs all the same,

    because telling no tales
    meant only telling
    the truth

    and now everyone thought
    her an awfully-blah-blah,
    rude little girl.

    Feck, she thought.

    So for the rest of her
    long, wordy-inky-linky life
    she wrote and told stories

    without furry-ocious scolding
    or strife, except during
    Novembers and Aprils

    when she only wrote poems
    and said the word ‘feck’
    a gazookingly awfully lot.

    [Note: The word “feck” is an Irish colloquialism derived from the word “effect”, as in cause and effect.]

    Poetic Bloomings Prompt: A Children’s Poem with a Moral Lesson

  10. A Seed in Her Ear

    Tell me about the seed, he said, the beginning.
    I offered him a single word, no need to say more.
    Miscarriages, I said.
    I felt the warmth drain from my eyes,
    icy defences like a fence post to keep
    my spine erect when my only wish was to slide
    back on to myself like a melting snowman
    cosied-up with an electric blanket.

    And …? he asked.

    It was a monosyllabic conversation
    of extraordinary depth. I reckoned that
    he was as drained of emotion as I was filled
    with defensive tools. I was a tiny, ticking,
    spring-wound clicking clockwork complete
    with squarely notched edges so my thoughts
    would fit together in a sensible way.
    Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. I was geared up.

    Adoption, I said.

    He peaked his fingers together like a steeply pitched
    cathedral roof, and then rested his chin on the top.
    I wondered if God rested his chin on church roofs
    when he grew weary of listening to our incessant
    whinging and belly aching. I doubted it. If God
    got tired, there was no hope for fool like me.
    He blinked, and paused …
    I did the same.

    And…? he asked.

    He and his brother were my everything.
    I was happier than any one person
    should be allowed. And then he grew up,
    he left home, moved far away, he married,
    and then there was Emma. It was my turn;
    I blinked, and paused …
    He did the same.

    And …? he asked.

    Well, the thought of her being so far away,
    the thought of her not knowing me except
    as that woman in England who sends
    very pretty dresses, ruffled umbrellas
    and pink wellington boots, well, the thought
    of her growing up without me was more
    than I could take. I was impaled on cold chills
    and throttled by panic. And then one day
    when she was 2-years old, we cuddled,
    we laughed, and we played. I treasured
    every moment of that particular stay.
    On that day, I hugged her
    and I planted a seed in her ear.

    Remember me, Emma, I whispered,
    Please don’t forget me.

    He stared at me, still playing God with his
    peaky fingers. There was a hint of impatience
    in his voice when he said,


    Well, she’s 4-years old now, I said. A big girl.
    When last I was saw her, she climbed up on my lap,
    clasped her arms round my neck and whispered,
    “Don’t worry, Nana, I haven’t forgotten.”

    He stared, and I stared back.
    How is that possible that a baby can remember
    something like that, something I said so long ago?
    He just stared, sitting there in his godly peaky pose,
    and shrugged.

    Well….? I asked.

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