Thursday, July 26, 2012

I went out tonight....

I met a friend for dinner and a drink or two.
to open our hearts and be together
instead of alone
for a little while.
Because together is just better.

When she left I stayed
and listened to poetry
for the first time in perhaps
18 years
I wanted to be a part of
the place in my heart that
writes and shares and pretends
it knows how to rhyme--
(even though poems aren't defined
by
rhyme)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The World
Keeping warm

"I was asked to ... do all kinds of things I wasn't prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it. "
Audrey Hepburn

Strength seems like
insulation
layers
that change you
to some degree
not totally- like the bumper sticker:
I may be fat, but you're ugly
and at least I can lose weight"

I'm me- I just so damn
different!
Hidden inside layers, gray hairs...
My voice is

the same
but it's my turn
to watch the moves, not make them
or be moved on.

How can I already be
almost 40?
How can I only be~

Even without words
the sound of
poems spokensung
is comforting on a paper too small.
It should be a notebook, regardless
this is
a part of home almost forgotten
the poet on the pulpit

A part of me
has been sleeping
He is tapping to wake her
But the landscape
is different~
Should I be...am I....which is me?

I want to be
but I can't seem to care. I just know
who I am
how I am

I'm part of this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's not about lips
fingertips
It is about being alone
becoming
something
new

Are you a reader?
It's a part of my soul.
The inward faced photograph
silenced
without a pen
sentenced.
Homeless.
Never, actually, alone
residing with all sides of me

It's about decision.

Each moment.

What can you carry?
What carries you through?

I'm reaching
casting
fly fishing poles
in running rivers

with what feels like
the wrong bait.

Regardless of the Ingredients

How much of who you are
is who you decide     to be
and how much
the one that pushes through?
How much the one that
carries you?
I can't tell.

From the outside
do I still seem
too young to understand?
Cuz from in here
it seems I wrote
the answer key.

The point of being at the bar
was never who was beside me.
But that it was me
defining me.
So
I suppose
it turns out to be
my own recipe.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The numbers


**Please note- this is a poem and it does reference some adult content**

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.  ~Japanese Proverb

It’s like I didn’t realize
I had a backpack on. If I had
I might have wanted to take it off
Or hide it.
I don’t want my skeletons in a closet, though.
I think I’d rather wear them
Display them, like hunting trophies mounted
On my memory wall
But…covering myself in my past demons?
Dancing in the rain made of
Tears of shame
                       And fallacy?

Each moment, even the losses, perhaps especially those
Have become victories
Strength.  Because I’m still here.

*The 16 year old
standing in the screaming slut-words
Flying from my mother’s mouth
I lived that slander till it fit, embraced it
With many men, too many.
But
On the flip side
                Is me now. Faithful, strong wife to an athlete and coach
                With cancer
                Mother of three
                Independent power goddess
                Growing
                Giving
*The 19 year old
laying too drunk
Beneath The Unwanted
Conscious enough to check for a condom
But not enough to pull away

Or standing scared in a dark dorm room
While the body building underclassman
Begs for a blow job
With a threat balancing on his biceps

Or crawling crying to the motel bathroom
Dripping from the hot tub
Hiding from the 2 guys who tricked me
And took me
I tried to join in with vigor
And ended up bawling, begging to go home.
But
On the flip side
                Is me now, 38 year old warrior
                Going out dancing with the girls
                Only a wing man
                Stumbling happily home
                To my always sober sweetheart
                Who doesn’t dance and loves me

*The 22 year old living alone with 2 cats
In a cabin in Maine only mildly different
From Thoreau
Student, teacher, volunteer, one family’s personal Mary Poppins~
Graduating that with not
Just a 4.0 degree
Most Honored Student Award
And highest graduating senior in my department.
But with the confidence that comes
From succeeding through giving.

Loving for years my own personal
Genius, reaching him, touching him,
Till beneath him, a whore
He was finally taking me, yet refusing to kiss me. 3 years
Of longing and finally finding it
Lacking the luster of any dream. An old record, skipping and scratched

These moments of me
These moments in time, some say they
Choose to change nothing
For each battle, won or lost,
Is a moment in training
For the war we are winning
Simply by living.

It’s more, though, for me.
I am here now, 38 year old
Mother of 3, 7 years a wife to a man
With a deep dent in his head
Scars from his war with brain cells
Gone rogue.

Cancer.

Incurable.

“Isn’t that enough?”
Since you are strong enough, no.

Teacher of 12 years
Finding faith
                Strength and hope
Standing at the head of the class, coaching
Modeling
Understanding
I have seen how much more kids learn
From our actions
So I act out the best of me
                For them
And in acting
Become
In becoming, building strength
So the classroom is taken
Leaving me wandering halls
A ghost in a shell

Till I realize

Whether I want it or not
That backpack is on me
These numbers all make me

So…
Empty the closet
Put up my trophies, my past Me’s,
Embrace them
                                                The scared
                                          Lonely
                                    Raped
                                Lost
                     Betrayed
                Abused
      Confused
And alone

Each one gives me power-
The strength and protection
Of armor and weapons

It’s not that I wouldn’t change
What I’ve been through, I couldn’t.
Rather I choose to remember
For facing this battle with brain cells
Grade IV, 52 week median life span
More numbers
This battle with cancer
And cohorts, desperation and destitution
Without my armor, my shield, and my weapons
I’d lose

This time I’m gaining the strength that comes
From learning to ask for help
Repeatedly
The strength of flexible tenderness that comes
From know how it feels
To be the one that needs
To ask for help.  And hold my head high.

No closets or trophies or backpacks
You can’t ignore numbers
But it’s too much
To wear on my sleeve

No. Instead, let me drape myself
In cloaks of my skeletons
Gowns made glittery
With the tears of past shame, loss, fear
Adorn me in jewels unbreakable
Forged in the fires
I’ve survived.

And let me always remember
To use the numbers to count the time, feel the rhythm.
I love to dance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Faerie tales


Once upon a time…I like faerie stories.  Tales of things fantastic.  But when it seems my life is swirling through the twilight zone, what then? I looked at the sky today and the clouds were moving.  There were two layers, and the closer ones were sliding along on a different track. It was surreal, for some reason.  I knew a long time ago that there were no happy endings.  Things don’t end like that…they keep going and when they go, they tends to be messy.  If they do end in that perfect spot, it tends to be Romeo and Juliet style, with lies and death, deception and loss.  Of course, those fit into any story, because real life is messy.  I forgot, though, until tonight.  I forgot a lesson I learned a long time ago…you are your only best friend.  When everything is said and done, there will be no one at your side, but you.  In Dan Millman’s book, he talks about how your body is the only thing you will always have.  That is profound, but I think my realization is more important.  I wonder why I seek the release of too much alcohol…I don’t want to be run by it.  My mother was broken by it.  Her father was a demon made flesh by it, beating the woman he loved, sending his children to hide under a table in hopes he would over look them. I’d like to dream.  To hope and imagine…but I don’t know how.  I keep trying but it just makes me feel selfish and bad.  I know what it is. I had something in me that is smaller now.  I feel life killing that part of me that used to shine…I had something.  Something special, energetic, bizarre and happy to be that way, Grabbing at everything that felt good and fun and strong and bright.  Laughing that way.  I don’t know where that part of me has gone.  I tend to think I deserve only the worst.  That comes from the women who raised me…There are people who barely know me that want to help and I don’t know what to do with that.  I don’t want to need help.  I feel awful when I use that help to buy vitamins that I hope help my joints hurt less and a bottle of wine to help my heart hurt less.  Who am I?  And why the hell don’t’ I know the answer to that at 38 years old??  John loves me so well, I didn’t realize that I had been forgetting how to be alone…how to be the part of me that I forced myself to get to know.  I left everyone that loved me and lived alone, in the woods.  I learned to find support and joy in myself, since I knew for sure I was the only one that would be there forever.  I really thought John would be there too.  When I think that that isn’t true, my world spins.  The thing that makes it suck extra??  He would be, if he could be…but the world had to throw one of the most deadly cancers at him to take him away…I know that is self centered.  I don’t know what to do with that thought, though…if he lives 2 years, 5 years, 20 years, its less than I thought, and I’m left alone.  I hoped I’d never be alone again.  Of course, there is my kids.  So I guess I won’t be alone.  I love them so much it touches parts of me that  you can’t see.  And I am so scared I will screw them up, it tears my heart in ways I can’t put into words.  There is not right and wrong as far as I can see… there is only the best you can do, and heaven help you to be strong enough to make that something good.

dressing room


Find an image, try it on.  woman scorned? Running away from the terror at home? New age business woman? Why am I 38 trying on personas?  My husband has cancer.  I can’t explain that so well. I can explain the disease he has.  I can explain the operations he has had; the dangerous fluid build up that followed the second tumor removal- what likely caused it, why they were so afraid, what he had to do to heal.  I can explain several different treatments, what happens post radiation, and what might happen with the poison he has to take to kill the cancer, otherwise known as the chemotherapy.  I can even describe the staples in his head.  I don’t know what it feels like to have staples in your head, though.  And try as I might, I don’t think I could describe what it is to realize that for the foreseeable future, we will have to face his mortality every two months.  And every month, when he takes that poison, too. I can’t explain why, when it hits him hard, I move through mud, can barely wind my own gears. It’s like there is a physical chord that connects us, not just the binds of marriage and love.  The house gets three steps beyond messy, deep into slob land.  Therapists tell me I am dealing with superhuman type issues.  Not living your normal life.  I guess I always knew that wasn’t in the cards for me.  But why does “not your normal life” have to be one of the hardest hands that one can be dealt?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Able at the least


Strong, weak, pathetic, capable, able at least…

John has to go into the machine alone.  The black and white smoky images that come back are not of my brain, they do not predict my future.  Not directly anyway.

What does he feel while he lies there?  What does he think of?  Does he walk through dives, recall adventures with his old friends?  Does he dream of me, of the times he touched me deeply, body and soul? Do the faces of our three little ones dance behind his eyes…

I don’t always know how to comfort him.  I’m not sure I ever really will.  Not sure how often, exactly, it is my job.  He needs to be treated normally, as often as possible…right?  It is a game.  I hate games.  It is a game I can’t help but play….something else…we are never going to be normal.  What is that?  I used to joke…it isn’t a joke anymore
.
Life throws a pile of shit at each of us. Sometimes in one huge clump.  Sometimes in a bunch of smaller ones.  I read of a monk, walking barefoot to beg for his food.  When asked how it was, he said it hurt, walking on bare feet like that.  The response was to focus on the foot in the air and how relieved and free of pain it was.  It is all about focus.

I understand that.  But sometimes, I don’t know how to find the strength.  Seriously.  So stupid, that it takes so much strength to focus on the raised foot.  I see the gratitude, the reasons for it.  Three times they cut into his brain, three!  And he is still himself. 

Justice is a concept that, now, seems even more undefinable.  What if it is stronger than me, the fear?  And I think, there is no real justice.  There may be some sort of balance, now and then…but it seems for the most part to be accidental.  The power lies within.  For each of us, regardless of the script we face, the power doesn’t seem to be in karma, god, or fate.  It lies within us, for each of us has the strength, if tapped and supported the right way, to move mountains.  We are able to find hope in devastation, faith inside chaos.

Family is what ties, whether or not there is blood to define it.  Hold close those that mean something to you.  Believe that within you lies the strength to get through seeing good in all the breaks around you, for everything breaks.