Sunday, November 12, 2017

what I see when I close my eyes

in the image,
I am barefoot, standing
with my feet hip distance apart
my hands together in front of me curved
to form a bowl

I can feel the tears pouring softly, silent
steady rivulets
filling my open hands
with all my anxieties, my anger
but as they hit
like a magicians trick
they solidify
curve into each other
melding into smooth white feathers
until my hands are full
of baby doves

and with a breath sucked in
cool and refreshing
the tears slow
and I raise my hands close to my lips
and blow

the candle flame of all that
pain extinguished
as the doves' feathers rustle
and they fly away

the tears slow
and now
my face lined with arroyos
I am able to smile

my arms drop to my sides
with fingers soft
wrists loose
and I can look inward

where the hole is

His hole

and finally, as if I had walked through
the waterfall
to find an open, fecund land as yet
un-farmed, perhaps, even, untouched
I know
what I could not even allow myself to feel

The hole his death made
will never be filled

was never meant to be filled.

In order to move into the lush land before me
I must hold that space
for him

Like sheet metal pounded and curved
There is work to be done
to strength my stride
To give stability to this hole, I must now acknowldege
that work...
a random hole weakens the integrity even in metal
so the work now
is to groove the seam surrounding the edges

It is not going away
and nothing will ever fill it

The next step is soul work
self work
learning to make the hole
a strong
accepted part of me
and not a thing
to fear

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

what do we have?

I am close
so close
to the Buttercup finish line
of what the grieving time

and yesterday
I saw them, those two children
that live inside me

I had help learning to look inside myself
and I heard the echoes
of the zygote of a song
a game of
Hide and Seek
I knew it was Ani
and the words I heard
singing and swaying
in my mind
were telling me
the anger
of who the owner is

I heard that I should
stop apologizing

I see two children

One is about 11.
Her hair is blonde and she does not know
to make eye contact
she looks down
her shoulders curve inward
her hair is barley
and Oh!
how she dreams

like Cosette's floating castles
she imagines worlds
so much more gentle
than where she walks,
cuddle parties with lovers who hear you
and share so loudly
it is clear you are not
the only one talking

she lives without dreams
widely awake
and scared

her adaptation is her rigid frozen fear
doing what has been
asked of her
imagining the layers of pain
that exist below
each unspoken
The shame of the fact that they were ever
at all



the other child
is older

Her hair is jet black

and she,
with her tattoos and piercings, and fiery straight ahead eyes
she carries every Angry

she cuts them off
their words
their attempts at suggested connection
she'd cut off
parts of them
if she could

this time
the problem is his
and the anger
it comes
and comes and

there was a protective parapet
and the crumbling of it
was candy magic
for her drooling decadent needs
needs that were so loud
so real.
so loud and real they were all there ever was

and even there, the anger came:
her fists and car hoods
her head and metal doors
broken fingers from thick desk tops
and the bottom of so many
bottles of wine
even the dream of the twitch
of the steering wheel
at just
the right
moment toward the arching stone bridge
and there were night drives
with the lights off
and doors opened



and she
did not consent to ANY
of the pain
 and she will
cut you
although not deep enough to draw blood

she WILL leave you
block you
bar you

she is so young
so tough
so scared
so very

anger is not
a primary emotion.
It comes from fear and hurt.

I come from fear and hurt.
And I, I am old.
I have seen each of those. Worn the faces
lived the lives and had the same name
I hold them still, and more
inside my chalice cup

there are so many cracks in it
so many myriad meandering fissures
some are filled with gold
some with mud
some with silent screams that have no body
some with a body
that has no voice

I hold
them all

I can hold
them all
I know I can

It just
time and space, but I can do it

Trying to let myself be me
 so strong
to let myself have time to SIT
long enough to hold them all

to heal them all

to listen and comfort and calm
them all

for they are all

just me

And so,


for ultimately....that is all we actually have.
This moment, right here, right now.
To breathe.

Monday, October 2, 2017

learning my way- mindfully stumbling

unlikely lessons
sucker punch you the hardest
when fear and hope sway


eyes like mirror memory kisses
silent lips, finger tips
and fights


I know that moving forward, not past, is the idea
In moving I bend, stumble, fall and scrape my knees and palms and chin
for a long while
I cannot stand
I can barely breathe
Until I realize I AM standing
shuffling somehow somewhere
anywhere but where the blood marks lay
and there is fog like a blanket
fog like surround sound
fog like goggles and gloves and heavy, wet galoshes
I. Am. moving

The number of days that make up four years
Since we breathe
about 23,040 times a day,
that means I've survived
over 33 million inhalations
ingesting the energy he left behind

when I close my eyes
when I slow my breathing
when I repeat my mantras:       may I be brave
may I be kind, may I be well, may I be happy:
I notice my limbs
lacking a body to embrace
and so
I breathe again
and once more

building, failing, learning, growing
attempting so many -ings

sometimes, though the story
my fingers tell me about
how much they miss touching
is more subtle
than the other sound my heart can hear:
the harrowing screams
echo-clanging between my ribs
sealing hope into a vibration chamber
because I
am far more afraid
than I let myself admit.

They are abandonment screams...
screams that scratch out each story
of the lies, manipulation, misplaced trust, and pain
that came before him.

They are the abandonment screams...
screams that, creaking, etch the bleeding story
of how the One that Would Never Leave
was dragged from this world
to melt into
the hospice bed
leaving beside me a cool, heavy husk
leaving beneath me scorched grounds
leaving inside me a viscous hallowed essence
leaving around me only echo sounds

I want to be ready for the growing time:
gently, with awe and reverence, I will remove the husk
to find the seeds.
Barefoot, I will bend to the earth and dig
with roughened hands and ripped, jagged fingernails: for as a forest fire licks layers of life
into its grounds, perpetuating the nitrogen cycle,
the phoenix fire that I've been blistering in
has, perhaps, laid a new foundation

I will hold his energy inside me
the bits I breathed in since he left
and the bits he gave me while he was alive
And with them as my arc reactor
I will attempt
to allow the hallowed essence to fold and whisper the viscous bits
into something softer
I will breathe deep into my diaphragm
so that, instead of only echo sounds
I can open my mouth


Friday, September 29, 2017

I finally have some women around me
some hold me in peace and love when I'm breaking
some tell me how it is

and how it is
right now
may be that I am asking every man
who crosses my path
to be the

my next

One:  I don't want a next one
because that is a new one
and I want my old one
my first one

Two: my first one is DEAD.  Like a stone

Three: I want to try

Four: I don't know what the hell I'm doing. 

Sometimes eyes can bind you
and build a small garden wall of hope
but you
you are an experienced builder
You know not to go too far
without verification

But the hands are soft
the moment sweet

and still
I am too much

I want too much

And that,
all together
is just

too much

for even the best man

So maybe I need to admit what I am most
afraid of...

embrace what I made him allow me
in a way that closes it all down

I can, but cannot
I would, but the world will not
allow me
and within each hope, each fear
each everything
my world still spins

full of

large hallows

and my ineptitude

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I keep thinking about writing, but I never seem to get to my computer.  Our kids started back at school today.  Our oldest is in 6th grade, then 4th, and finally 2nd.  The oldest two are latch key kids.  That is something that never would have happened, if John had lived.  I felt him with me today...two butterflies landed on me at our fire drills, and a friend randomly mentioned January 13, which is his birthday.

What does it matter?  You clean up as much of the shit as you can, and YOU GO ON. You fail.  And you fail again.  More than anything else, that IS what life is about.  I am a tiny bit ashamed that, after four years, I am still saying this, but I whisper wish that John could try again.  And really, I'm not ashamed, but proud as hell because that wish is my way to honor the imperfect love we had for each other.  When I miss him, when I feel his energy, when I think of him, laugh about him, cry for missing him...all those moments are ways to keep him with me

I've spent a lot of time over the last several years thinking about how I will need to move forward WITHOUT a lot of things.

And yet, some connections I made this summer helped me to see that, along side those "without" people and things, I have some amazing "together" moments and people too.

Still, the nights are mine.  They are long, lonely, lovely.

always forward, always back.

Image result for relationship struggles quotes

It’s been over 4 years that I’ve been a widow
I connected with a man.  And he is smart and kind and a UU and
I just don’t know that I can do it.
I don’t know that I can ever try again
It’s too hard to get beyond my defenses.  I am
That everyone I love
Will leave…even if they do not want to
And I am over whelmed by the weight of every day life
As much as I love my kids
I want to give them away
It’s not a poem.  It’s a confession.  It’s my ripped up tattered heart
And it needs to be bagged and trashed

Except that kindness comes my way
And I want to honor love
And hope
And forward motion

Every moment of every day
Is a gift and burden
A chance to try for mindfulness
A slip into the oblivious oblivion
Of a 7 year old’s screams
Louder than the light of the sun

A swaying waltz of missteps melted to
Perfect moments
Where the cool breeze careeses my belly
And fish play a bubble song
Just below my line of sight

Where finger trails of symbiotic
Scintillating, circuitous trails
Draw invisible patterns on barely reluctant flesh

But the sun sets
The sun rises
The silence still screams its stabbing

And when I surface long enough to look around
Shattered windowpanes still surround us

So we define what we can
We break...which way
We choose for it to be open and not
But some days
THEY are the screams
Without words
That we must (CAN?)
To dance

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

For Trace

May 22nd, 2013.
July 17th, 2017

4 years, 56 days apart.

His mother died.  She hated her name, Theresa.
So we called her Trace
She was tiny
fairly brilliant
a voracious reader
an amazing mother.

she told me that, when she was young
she would garden
in spiky high heels
and climb out the window
of driving cars on the highway
like the preachers daughter
in Footloose

Setting up the Christmas tree
was an adventure in getting stabbed
a thousand tiny times
since the lights MUST
be wrapped
and wrapped again.
I will say it made for a stunning show
though I let that tradition go

She told me how she did some of the magic things
he never knew:

She was terrified
when he went on biking trips.
A secret whispered in the upstairs library
watching a delicate, slowly spinning
music box, unpeopled bicycles
riding an endless loop

She was terrified
of water and, as far as I know,
never learned to swim
His job was setting himself on fire
traveling to England, Japan, New Mexico
and diving from 10 meters into a 10 foot deep
swimming pool

If he thinks he can, he probably can.

The circle closes
on eyes and dreams, truth
and lies
like it does on every living thing

I miss what never was
and what I hoped for
what she gave the world
and created with her strength
the beauty she spread
with every unshed tear
and each determined step toward the future.

We are here
in time and space
and whether or not we see them
We are not alone.
Our fibers
were spun by them
and every inch of our souls
sing their songs
in tears, sighs, dreams, and giggles.

And the fireflies
will light our way.

The fireflies
will light