October 17

I posted this early on in the year. I’m posting it again because this time, I’m thankful for hope, even when it doesn’t seem warranted. And even if it turns out adverse. Sometimes it matters to go through the journey, regardless of the outcome.

I walked a labyrinth
and found him
standing in the sunlight
a Greek statue marking
the center of the garden

the day was quiet but
my mind was circling
confused
so when he smiled

evil beauty

I lost a piece of myself
without him knowing
without me knowing why

except perhaps
I was blinded
by the sun and hopeful
for something
I can’t really believe in
but like Pandora’s box

it’s the only thing I have left

I need to travel back
through the maze
retrace my steps to find
the broken pieces
now scattered over the years

I’ve learned to live
with less of myself
but I’m feeling too small
suddenly

too unseen

incapable of my own
distress
I need to throw off
this cruel longing
and instead find
the doctor
who will help me
put myself back
together

I’ve already sacrificed
my youth to others
my wisdom he has not
earned
doesn’t yet know
how to share
so although I’ve paid
my due

I will leave my tears
here
at the river
and find my way
to higher ground

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September 4: Oeillade

I chastise myself for dwelling on the
inevitable, for loneliness plays upon my
wounds before they heal. The bandages

wear thin with the constant flow of
images, past and new experiences, most
real, some imagined but all embellished

with roses. Futilely, I cling to what
I know is already gone, or mostly gone,
and will be forgotten when the last

sand falls. The grains are already
counted and echo with their rapid
descent, until I can only hear the

tic toc tic of my heart. Will you
think of me afterwards as the weight
around your legs that caused you to

stumble in time? Or will you view me
in some dark, private cubicle, inserting
a quarter for a glimpse of the past, and

see me dancing in slow rhythms before you?

I wonder some days about the people in my life and how long of a time frame we have together. I’ve lived long enough to see many people come and go. Maybe by moving away. Or growing apart. Or dying. I’m reminded this week of the ebb and flow of life and how, no matter what we desire, some things don’t happen the way we anticipate. And that can be frustrating or maddening or disappointing or heartbreaking. It’s not easy giving up on expectations, but I’ve come to the conclusion, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, that often it’s necessary. Especially when it comes to other people. Instead, I’m thankful to be reminded that what I need to focus on is what their impact may be in my life and what mine may be to theirs. And try to be someone whose presence made a positive difference; someone worth remembering.

July 26

I cannot accept Morpheus’s offer, for sweet dreams
are only for the unburdened. Those happy idiots

who know nothing of love and so can close their eyes
and imagine worlds shaded in color.

I’m sure you’re sleeping, and I’m only angry at myself
for lying awake in this black and white

world feeling the heaviness of you in the air
I breathe. If I had the strength I could shut myself

away from the shadows that surround me,
for each one bears your likeness and mocks me

from its corner with sweet words torn from
haunted conversations that involuntarily replay

in my mind. I long to sweep them away like cobwebs,
brush the silky strands away from my face

but I know if I reached out, they would simply recede
into the cold. No, I’m too tired for the fight

and too weary of the dreams that take me nowhere
but back, so I lie here, awake, wishing the night

would bury the dead.

Why does nighttime bring out the desire to over think? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lay awake pondering things that somehow, with the setting of the sun, became insurmountable issues. And I know I’m not the only one. My friends often complain about the same thing. But I’ve gotten better as I’ve become older about recognizing that my nocturnal obsessions may seem a lot more manageable in the morning. History as proven that to be the case quite often. Sometimes not, especially when the heart is involved. Yet, as painful as it has been and sometimes still is, I’ll always be thankful for a chance at love. I hope I’m never at the point of completely giving up.

June 19

d
itch digger
I have watched you a long time
shovel in hand sun hard on
your tied-back hair
bright in your black earth eyes
muscles contract
reflex
sweat drips down salty
as tears wipe them off soft lips
with heavy hand
and continue on
what do you think when
metal crunches on rock and dirt
flings overhead
no one for company but flies
and earthworms
do you look at the ground
beneath you the growing hole
as your way out
tunnel to a better future
or does the earth feel like quicksand
ditch like grave pulling you
under turning your world
to dust

I was reminded a couple of times this week of how many people continually reach dead ends that they have created for themselves. Today I’m thankful for the reminder because I know how easy it is to slip into complacency instead of continuing to work toward a goal. There’s always a way out of the problems that stand before us. Sometimes it’s just changing how we look at the holes we’re digging. Are we creating new paths, or are we simply burying ourselves?

June 10

Today, once again, I’m thankful for words and inspiration from unusual places.

sometimes
love comes
imperceptibly
moving so slowly
we think its
not there
when all along
it was poised
like well-hung wood
pieces broken
and dangling
from branches
overhead
caught mid-fall
and waiting
for just the right
gentle blow
to send it
tumbling
down

June 6

I was going through some of my old papers and found this poem I wrote years ago after reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, Rappaccini’s Daughter. Hawthorne was a favorite author of mine when I was studying English in college. I forgot how much I enjoyed reading short stories and being inspired to write myself back when I was in school. It makes me look forward to grad school even more.

The roses you sent me have withered;
they now hang weeping over the edge
of the vase, the velvet petals
drop like blood onto the table
onto the floor…
I loved them.
Will you send me more–don’t
bring them yourself,
for I long for your touch,
something more than a glimpse,
and I would have you die in my arms
with only a kiss. I am cursed
and our moments together would be
fleeting.
Love me, but don’t
get too close,
for I am tainted by my endowment:
my whole nature is poison,
and the only antidote
is death.

May 12

I’m wearing the painted face
that you gave me,
the one with the sanguine smile
and the happy eyes that reassure you
you’re an inanity,
no pressure      no attachments
nothing real that will force
feelings.
It’s a tight fit, uncomfortable over
my chagrin, and it lies
heavy upon my somber countenance.
I wear it
as a painful reminder of my credulity
my punishment for playing
the fool.

There have been way too many times in my life that I have not been my true self, for fear of not being accepted or loved or understood. (Hence the poem above, which I had titled Effects of Folly.) I think it has to do with moving a lot, as I mentioned in a previous post. Moving required meeting new people, which required trying to make new friends and fit in. But I’m really not that good at pretending; it doesn’t last. The true self needs to emerge if we want to live authentic lives. I’m sure I’m not alone in that realization. Thankfully, I’ve become quicker at recognizing the difference between wanting to get along, which we all have to do at times, and wanting to be a person I think someone else wants me to be. Not the person I need to be. And in being more true to myself, I’ve found people who really care about me. And genuinely like me. Maybe it sounds rather childish and simple, but honestly, isn’t that what we all want, no matter how old we get? To be accepted and loved for who we are. I’m thankful today that I feel that I am. And thankful for the people in my life who know and genuinely like the crazy me.