girl at crossroads


When you face your truth then writing becomes self revelatory and hence a painful experience. Ultimately, you resolve the matter by admitting that it was your truth at the time, but you have grown away from that once held position and are continuously evolving towards an elevated plane.

I share with you my poem Crossroads.

Crossroads and  similar poems found in my book Splendor from Ashes


My God! My God!

Why hast thou dealt so harshly with me?

Why hast thou forsaken me?

Why? Why?

O God of my childhood,

sweet gentle Jesus,

I had not known you thus.

Why are pain and unhappiness

constant residents of my being?

God, remember how we were

intimate once, You and I?

I was the lamb frisking

in the green pastures of your presence.

We communed then,

You and I,

while all heaven looked on.

It was good then, so good, Lord.

Now visions of the grave rise

before my eyes and scare me.

Every moment I fear the end,

for in the menace’s eye

is the ominous presence of death.


And what is left?

A God who seems absent,

abuse from within and without

at the hand of a stranger—lover and brother.

Oh, my God, it never stops.

I’m the cornered fawn,

forever retreating

before the heinous hounds of hell.

I’ll be good, I say to the menace,

but that’s not enough—

nothing I do is ever enough.

I weep in the shackling gloom

A Narcissistic Boss


Aggressive Ethnicities (2013)

Aggressive ethnicities,

not race but class,

jump-starts this vendetta.

Cain-envy, that’s the story.

Crying shame, Abel’s not to blame.

You are your own fierce pain.

Cataclysmic sounds

scream from your underworld;

guttural cultural sounds

destroy, in any event

stifle the great.

Camaraderie linguistics,

collaborative putrefying hums

imminent birth abort, distort,

noblesse threat to crush.


Ghetto halo winging it,

competencies unimpressive,

etymologies of insecurity—

unquestionably, Mafioso eccezionale.

As Narcissus, prostituting other love for self-love,

your reflection in the pool must see,

else soulless gaze transforms to worthless stones.

I, Perseus, have you pegged.

This and similar poems found in my book Splendor from Ashes

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Echo and the Narcissistic Leader

Echo 2

We seem to be predisposed to choose as leaders; the physically attractive, the charming and the seemingly self-confident. Many times, however, these outwardly physical qualities mask latent traits of self-absorption, egotism and the potential for oppressiveness and the misuse of power. Wherever this genre of leadership is unveiled it can be categorized as Narcissistic Leadership.

Narcisistic boss

The narcissistic leader is power hungry perhaps driven by the need to compensate for inner powerlessness and lack of self‐esteem.  Compensatory strategizing is key to this type of leadership operations.  As part of the compensatory package, this type of leader self-promotes distinctiveness and evaluative positivity by inflating achievements and works to devalue the worth and competence of those perceived as threats. With boldness these bosses self-categorize as visionaries and transformational leaders, yet they disallow equitable exchange of information among their team or else manipulate information to discredit others to promote their own ego. The narcissistic leader cannot appreciate that there is a direct relationship between quality of leader- follower exchange and productivity.

Narcisus.2Death arises with the ascendance of Narcissus bosses for they like Narcissus can only see themselves. For an individual to allow integrity to get in the way of bowing to the manipulative exploitation of the narcissist is to knowingly commit career suicide. Weak others quickly learn that they must prove their undying love for the Narcissus they must sacrifice their integrity and begin on an emergent journey to Echo status. All soon learn that nothing and no one gets in the way of this type of leader, not race nor homogeneity of any kind; for class ascendancy is the grail. Meanwhile the Narcissus boss would only allow for a scant acknowledgment of the Echo group who must walk on eggshells to avoid getting in the way of this Narcissus as he/she reflects on and perceives of his/her own self-importance. The narcissistic leader must see only see herself/himself reflected in the pool.

The above treatise throws light on the poem (Aggressive Ethnicities” shared below  from my book Splendor from Ashes

Aggressive Ethnicities (2013)

Aggressive ethnicities,

not race but class,

jump-starts this vendetta.

Cain-envy, that’s the story.

Crying shame, Abel’s not to blame.

You are your own fierce pain.

Cataclysmic sounds

scream from your underworld;

guttural cultural sounds

destroy, in any event

stifle the great.

Camaraderie linguistics,

collaborative putrefying hums

imminent birth abort, distort,

noblesse threat to crush.


Ghetto halo winging it,

competencies unimpressive,

etymologies of insecurity—

unquestionably, Mafioso eccezionale.

As Narcissus, prostituting other love for self-love,

your reflection in the pool must see,

else soulless gaze transforms to worthless stones.

I, Perseus, have you pegged.


Owning Our  Dreams


We all have the right to chart and navigate the course of our own lives. We have the right to choose our independent course and not always be expected to sacrifice our needs and emotional well being for the security of others. Sometimes we may have to choose to  break with that which stifles our goals and our rights to self-determination. We take ownership of our dreams despite their quirkiness. In taking ownership of our dreams we do so propelled by a sense of inner locus of control, for we act in full awareness that we can exercise some influence over the events of our lives. We’re not powerless, neither will we fall back into blaming others for all that goes wrong in our lives. In fact we are even ready to act before the green light is given. We take ownership of the dreams as we are so persuaded by their potency and authenticity.

I share with you “Dreams” a poem from My book Splendor from Ashes

Dreams (2013)
I live your dreams,
and, oh, how I want to live mine.
Your dreams are not as sublime,
are not easy on the span of my mind.
Dreams, scientific, methodical,
incongruous weighty dreams—
your anchored and balanced dreams
sure don’t fit in with mine.
Dreams mirror the truer self.
My dreams are light and freeing,
infectious and idiosyncratic.
So unyoke my dreams;
my spirited bulls of Miura.
The truth is I would be fine
if you would allow me a slot
to define my own space in my own time,
to walk leisurely with the grace
to change my mind.
I need the privilege,
the easing out of tight ridges,
of ideas unprepared
and not quite decided.
I have the need to clear my desk,
without the burden of redress.
Get rid of the clutter,
and with each new dawn,
craft the path of the reborn
with dreams unplagiarized,
not borrowed, boxed, or generic,
and courage to revel
or put the gears in reverse.
I’ve lived your dreams,
and, oh, how I want to live mine.






The Abyss

The Abys with pictureThe poem; The Abyss reflects the impact of domestic violence on the psyche of the victim. And, although this happened years ago I can recall the impact as if it were yesterday. However, writing provides catharsis and further healing for me and I hope it will do the same for other hurting people.

The Abyss (2003)

There comes a time

when you give and you give,

and then you can give no more.

So the decision is made

to do what you can.

But you being you,

you do and you do

and you fight and you fight


You become estranged from yourself.

You step outside of you

and wonder who you are.

You find that you are a stranger

looking at your children,

and you are alienated

from the pain or laughter they bring,

for you don’t want to feel.

 Everything is being drained,

drained from you.

You wish that something would snap

and pop inside of you,

hurling you into oblivion

or to times of laughter—and soon.

You don’t want to think, think, think,

for thinking seduces you

and reduces you,

and you fall like a dwarf

before the Goliath of your thoughts.

Taken from my book “Splendor from Ashes” available at amazon




No Entiendo





I will like to share the poem “No Entiendo” with you. It  is taken from my book Splendor from Ashes. It was written as I contemplated my journey with its various high points and fair amount of challenges and the seeming comparative inadequacy of my responses. I hope it sets you thinking.

No Entiendo (2012)
gazing toward the horizon
with youthful investments of confidence that
in time we will understand. Get a handle on the puzzle.
Be better at strategizing
for living and loving and being.
Surely like fine wine wisdom will increase in the school of aging.
Surely early stumblings will decline
in the midst of the unfolding surge.

poised mid-staircase, we’ve still not arrived
’cause we’re still locked on the platform of reaching,
locked in the embrace of youthful yearning
for life’s beautiful things: understanding and clarity
which we no more possess than when we first began.
At the finish as at the start,
we’re condemned soldiers of the dark,
questing for that ever receding light.

Abstractions from “No Entiendo”

confused math lady

Abstractions from “No Entiendo”

The Inadequacy of Subjective Reasoning

Sometimes we think that insight gained as a result of overcoming one challenge would make the next issue we face more intelligible. However, when confronted with the next issue our learning proves to be inadequate and we are again floored. Is it that human reasoning is utterly deficient and therefore not to be trusted? Why is it that when we attempt to bring scrutiny to our logical processes by introspective analysis we still feel like life is an unintelligible abstract concept,  beyond our grasp?

confused andd on phone-


As noted in “No Entiendo” it is logical to think that with experience in the process of time one would be able to accurately abstract the principles/rules by which to understand the puzzle that is life itself. Yet even with years of experience we shudder at the daunting errors we make as we seek to identify life’s signposts and signifiers? Why does life continue to be vague and ambiguous and largely undefined? Is it that life itself transcends any ideas we may have so that as the Bible says we are condemned to be “ever learning and never coming to an understanding of the truth/life?

Probable vs Actual

Since our journey seems, to be limited by subjective understandings then perhps there is really an objective understanding that we should be reaching for. Then perhaps we need to step outside of the subjective realm of understandings  so that we can access objective understandings. Access to more objective understandings can only constitute a real and fuller picture for arrival at greater mental clarity. Accuracy of arrival at this position should help us to more effectively determine causation and its effects  which need to be grasped in order  for us to loop over the tragic/empty  spaces that place limitations on our understandings. Only then would we be able to establish the difference between the probable and the actual, which are key to moving from the darkness of mis-understanding and the  unintelligible, to well lighted spaces of understanding.

From  Dr. Ingrid Rizzolo the author of  Splendor from Ashes

Panther women:a symbolic militancy



Image result for women in black panther movie

A new woman is born

The portrayal of women in the Black Panther movie seems to be aimed at confronting and redefining myths, and at questioning long held beliefs of causation in an attempt to engage in the reshaping of myths that contributed to the imprisonment of the female psyche. The female characters have strayed from typical textual representations of women. Stereotypical notions of women are ‘garbaged’ as the Women of the Panther break the calcified molds of what women are supposed to be. The women of Wakanda are not presented through the narrow lenses of virgins and victims, women innocent of worldly life, seductresses/vixens and old maids, witches and nags but as women of strength and empowerment who fight with and for their men. It’s a new interface from which they engage with their contexts.



This new militancy finds its parallel in the fearlessness of the women in the “Me Too’ movement which is recalibrating and hence defining for us the status of the new woman. This new woman possesses a fearlessness definitive of certain militancy that affords her the ability to stand up and confront the big and powerful patriarchy. Unlike the feminism of the past this is not a physical militancy but a psychological one. These women do not internalize the male idea of the feminine but create for themselves rejuvenated shapes and ideas that fit with their collective truths.

new woman

As newly minted social historians they refuse to settle for retelling of historical events from the perspective of being “othered”. They are re-evaluating and rewriting the stories they were forced to tell and accept as truths about themselves. Empowered by the stories of the collective as  they transact with texts of other women and share their own texts on social media a new woman is born. A new woman is born who is not ashamed to tell her truth or to own her truth, ridding herself of guilt in the process. Through this process of radical constructivism women are making of meaning from their collective experiences as they journey towards self re-definition. Hail the rise of the women of the Panther, the possessers of a new militancy!!!

Written by Dr Ingrid Rizzolo the author of Splendor from Ashes available at Amazon .com. Click on the link to purchase


To be continued



Farewell Father: Icon and Legend

Born on January 28th, 1929, my father, Belfield Duke, lived a lengthy life which consisted of varied levels of experiences.  Belfield, Egerton Duke was an icon of an era. As an icon he represented a masculinity of a bygone epoch. He never broke with the traditionalist view of women and his sense of his own masculinity. Belfield was also legend who exuded a physical presence that outstripped his slim stature. Now a legend is a tale handed down through generations about a person or place. My father was revered and thus thrust into legendary status by the stories passed down about him across generations. Meanwhile in keeping with the genre of status he made the rules and broke them on his own terms. Growing up in the Belfield household one had to come to terms with that quite early.

Belfield may have been flawed but he was by no means a bland character. And, although one may have condemned the relative recklessness with which he pursued life one could not help but root for him. Not that the opinions of others could faze him for he was one who refused to be fettered.

It was about 5;15 on February 8th, 2018 When I learned that my father had passed. When I got the call, I estimated that something was perhaps wrong with my father, but I did not expect death. I knew how old he was, and I know with my head that death is inevitable, but the news hit me like an avalanche. I began to cry and was overcome with grief. In that year of my father’s birth, my favorite author Ernest Hemmingway published Farewell to Arms reflecting on world War 1. On February 8th Belfield Duke’s battles were over. He had written the final chapter of his book. He officially said his farewell to arms.

Belfield’s death represents the end of an era. He was the last of his siblings, his peers.  He was Ike a physical symbol, a fixture It seemed like would he would always be there, immovable in the shifting sands of time. In losing him we have lost, a griot of family and community history. For Belfield’s children, in his dying he has taken a piece of our hearts with him. I cared for my father and was committed to love him despite what happened. I am sure in his way he loved me too.

Image result for legacy

My Father’s Legacy

My father imparted to us his children certain robust values that guide the way we interact with others and which have become part of our definers. He stated repeatedly in no uncertain terms and I quote, “Not a bitch and their brother are better than me”. As a result, we developed the inability to feel inferior to any man whatever his status.  The unintentional fall out however was that some feel intimidated and read a challenge where there is none.



My father was a tour de force on the dance floor. The names of dances would roll off his tongue as a foreign mantra. Foxtrot, meringue, bolero and waltz were among the dances he would name. Yes, Belfield Duke was a dancer. Belfield Duke was also known for his graciousness as a host. I remember well how at harvest celebrations he would bring fellow workers home and my mother the dutiful wife she was, would cook up a storm in her efforts to support his desire to entertain. Meanwhile, like the country bumpkins we were we would climb up to the lattice work to look down at the guests, and report on the goings on to other siblings below. These snippets were sources of humor which ultimately became grafted in to our ongoing comedy routines.

book, data, documentStory teller

And Belfield was a masterful story teller. He would tell us so many stories. His repertoire was inclusive of Iocal myths.   As the passionate story teller, he was, he would create Science fiction stories based on his hunting experiences in the belly of the dark bushes. Then as a dramatist in true Off Roadway fashion he would enact those stories before a rapt audience; his children. Meanwhile we would be afraid to go to our beds for fear of reliving in dreams these scary scenes of his experience


I am most proud of his capacity to build physical things. He was an uncredentialled architect whose signature is stamped on almost 25% of the houses in the small town in which we lived.  I was so proud of his skill status and competencies.  As a construction manager he not only employed others but imparted his skills to would be apprentices thus spawning and investing in the career of others. So, death can be proud it has such a one in his grip (John Donne).


Oh, how I wanted to be there to offer words to comfort my father as he passed. I was missing him for such a long time but now he is lost to me forever. My dear father, like Orion you were once the brightest star but now you have faded into oblivion. Ironically, now your life has dimmed, it magically lights up my heart with unquenchable love for you. All is forgiven daddy. Farewell.

By Ingrid Rizzolo-Author of Splendor from Ashes

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Failure: The Other Side of Success



Thomas ERdison

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Can you imagine a world without the light bulb? It took 1,000 failures before Edison could invent it. Thomas Edison chose to account for his initial failures in this way “It took 1,000 steps to get to the light bulb” (Success, Pauline Estrem, 2016)

I remember as young student teachers going out on our first student teacher practice we gathered in a classroom to get clarity from the lecturer about  a new concept that was added to the curriculum. Instead of acting to alleviate our confusion he smiled and said, “When you’re confused you’re learning. He might not have been far from the truth. By the end of the tenure of student teaching we were possessors of great understandings. We were satisfactorily illumined

arrow-of sucdc3essBut who wants to work through failure or ambiguity? Experience shows that from time to time our world will be catapulted into a state of flux. However,  it is as we try to wade through the flux that clarity comes and the seemingly obscure pathway becomes clear.  We certainly do not arrive at the platform of success using parameters of the past. Within the context of ambiguity or failure there are certain dynamics. These dynamics propel us toward making purposeful, strategic shifts vital for interface with new dawn that is headed our way.  Another way of looking at the failure/ success dynamic is to recognize that  missteps/ failure/ mistakes challenge our assumptions and cause us to rethink or think of new ways required by the arriving new dynamics.

Michael JordanMichael Jordan, legendary basketball player who won MVP five times and led the Chicago bulls to six NBA championships confessed “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”


Ariana HutffingtonArianna Huffington is one who recognizes that success is built off of failure. Thirty six publishers thought her second book was not good enough. Now she is the author of 36 books and the owner of the Huffington post media group.

Vera Wang

Vera Wang despite training hard as figure skater disappointingly failed to make the Olympic team in 1968. Yet she went on to work first for Vogue and Ralph Lauren then became a revered name in the designing world.

Tina TurnerAfter a debilitating history of domestic abuse, Tina Turner made one of the biggest come back in music history. She ascended to the top of the rock & roll hall charts with the release of her songs “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and Private Dancer. Private Dancer won three Grammys and sold 10 million copies around the world (RollingStone Magazine).

Lucille BallDo you know the back story of Lucille Ball? Her biography would have said failed B movie actress. But then came the “I love Lucy series” that brought her success beyond her wildest dreams. Ultimately her biography had to be rewritten to indicate her ionic status as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors/actresses.

Humans, it seems must check into at the teaching point of failure en route to success.

By Ingrid Rizzolo author of Splendor from Ashes