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

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Resilience:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness

A most desired quality
One, quite frankly, for the ages
A child of long ago, awaiting her father's ship and hoping it comes in soon
A young boy of not quite seven stating his appreciation that his dog is only one,
    because that means he has many years before he dies
The core of Odysseus,
surviving his battles and, even more
surviving his return

The rhythm pulsing below your favorite songs
and the leaping loops of alliteration
that lap at the toes of every poem
that has cracked open
your heart

It's my life
it's my poem

A soldier's life
and a widow's lot
are not
so different
after all

the world does not operate on rules defining what is right
it spins and turns
topples and twists
unbalanced in the magical night

and we do not get what we deserve
we get
what comes
and what we see, what we choose to see
it's about what we believe
like the demigoddess
I believe
in love

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

For John and Jacqueline I can

Four years
and my veil is lifted

It seems like I haven't
been able to really

till now

and now that I can,
the colors are coming back
the pain pricks sharper,

and oh!
but I shake my head
at the foolish things
I have done

I notice the crowd
surrounding me
and see
how few of them
can even pretend
to understand

and I can hear
hear her
hear her reaching from my heart
down my throat into my soul

some mystical version
of vine like self
I hear her
whispering my need
to be
kind, brave

and the wind taps my shoulder
so I turn my head

oh, yes.  Yes, that honors them too

I must also be kind and brave
for Me