Monday, December 29, 2014

consulting the oracle (poem)

someday I'll be ready
to lend out my smile
so that it will be deeper
than what I have now

but now
for now
I will keep trying to face the tiger
till I can smile at him
till I can get him
to roll over
and let me pet
his forbidden belly

my ache is in part for
the lost thing
in part for a sense of safety

I walk in lines of life
filtered through sharp stick stones
a lack of words lined with

places unsafe

a misaligned compass
whose magnet might be

my directions follow feelings
and need alternate connections
a myriad of myopic microscopic
accidental miscreants
view me from somewhere concealed
and continue
over and over
to judge who I am
what I do
calculate scores
of calculated mistakes
that are nothing more
than moments

thus I'm borne again
forging my own iron mail
made of what I


will that be enough?

the Oracle
is silent
but she gestures

my gaze may be
cross eyed
no matter.
I will forge ahead
and listen to the song
of my own making

what else is there
to do?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

dance lessons (poem)

Take it.
The empty feeling. Take it in and
absorb it.
Let the emptiness fill you,
inflate you.

Wear it like a gown
of glittering gold...
a ball gown for a royal dance.
Fill up with the pain and the loss...
the hurt and the fear.

How else do you immunize? Inoculation
is the process of taking
into your blood stream
that which would otherwise
kill you.
So take it.

Decorate yourself with it, my dear.
You know
you will not wear
the same thing forever...
not even a beautiful gown, adorned
with jewels of crystal tears...
step into it...
zip it up...
admire yourself in it...
for it is worthy of admiration, this pain.

It is the inside lining of love.
Feel the silkiness
against your naked skin.
You will be ready to take it off
soon enough.
Try not to rush.

Like the infancy of your progeny
it will not last.
It's brevity is a gift.
It's existence an honor. Be the queen
of grief, for his love elevated you...
beyond princess, 
the daughter of the king of all gods. 

His Love made you real...
an ephemeral version of the blue fairy. 

And you've been lying. 

Lying that healing has begun... Progressed. 
That hope was on the horizon, 
dancing on the binary code 
of a computer screen. 

Hope is here...inside the silken lining. 
Hope is what touches your bare flesh. 
Hope is what sears and cuts and falls 
like gossamer across gooseflesh. 

Hope will not grow, if you hold back 
the tears or 
disguise the pain. 

So dance. 

Let the dress swirl around you, 
flaring up for all to see...
be here and now, adorned in majesty, 
and crying,
and dancing. 

Because you were blessed beyond 
so many. 

You tasted the fruit...
bruised and dented and still 
sweet inside it's imperfection. 
So dance, my darling. 
Do not attempt to still the beating heart, 
do not fear 
this emptiness, 
let the tears dry tracks 
upon your face. 
No make up will make you 
more beautiful.

So dance.

small confession

Here it is: I have been searching for a replacement. Not that I think John can be replaced. But I sincerely loved the way he filled me life, my heart, the space around me and within me.

But I haven't been searching for something new. I've been hoping to find him again, some version of him.  An immediate replacement...someone to slip into my life in the place where he was. But that isn't dating. That isn't hoping. That isn't moving forward. That is clinging to what was...what has died. Perhaps to grow, to move on, I must accept my desire to go back. Admit that I don't even know how to hope for anything other than him.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


"Yer a handsome devil.  What's your name?"  So says Martin's mom in Grosse Pointe Blank

I have felt that in annoying ways and places since John died.  I feel like someone cut a string I was attached to, and my job is to gather the unraveling insanity by looking at every moment, every man, every chance that comes as an opportunity.

I know the rules.  The rules are, you don't look.  And when you turn away, there are chances.  And if you are lucky, they are good ones.

I know two people who lost their spouses.  One before me, about a year, and one around the same time as me...from where I sit, they seem to have found someone.  First Christmas together, for one.  I am ashamed to say that I did not feel gratitude or happiness for them...I felt jealous.

Before John died, when it became obvious he was dying, I tried to tell him that I was terrified as to how I would respond to the loss of him.  I recognized that I would lose my mind.  I knew it would have something to do with my desire for connection.  I didn't know how to explain it.

It didn't matter.  He died.  And there I was.  There I am.  Once upon a time, I stopped believing in love.  I didn't believe in hope and I didn't believe in my ability to find anything real.  And so I gave a big way.  I decided to turn away from it all, to try and figure things out...and then there was him.

I didn't do any work on myself.  He just made it easy to make healthier choices.  He was my path to the places I didn't believe in.  He was what I needed, what I wanted, what made me whole.  He was my parachute key for a sky diver.  But it wasn't long enough.  It was enough to make a family, but not to give me myself.

So now, now...I look around and feel angry.  I feel lost.

I'm 41.  I'm a widow.  I have three little kids.  I have a deeply broken heart.  I have no compass.  I have a bizarre amalgamation of self confidence, self deprecation, courage, confusion, and desperation...

Looking for lyrics
and moments of magic
when there is no one to blame
and the giants have fallen
leaving you alone
with one hand inside mysticism
one hand in wrapped around needles
I'm a super star
nursing the man I love
to his dying moment
blood thinner shots
wishing there was someone
whose call I could wait for
there's nothing left to say

trying to fall awake, but my heart
still sleeps
and I cry
upon your aura...imagining images of what
should have been
what will never be
grasping at straws
not meant for drinking

I fall
and am awake
I dream
and scream inside nightmares
I crumble
and grow strong
and wear glasses
on blind eyes
knowing no direction
as the music sparkles in a star shine twinkle
and yesterday's news
lives inside a living noose
breathing softly
around my neck

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

when is it enough?

I'm not posting much, as my computers keep getting broken. The problem is, my heart is also broken. And this season brings more awareness of that shatter. I met a couple the other night...or met them again. And I found myself NOT mentioning my widow status. But it was a force of will. I wanted to...

What is a heart but a beating organ
That we infuse with magical powers
A walking broom
In an empty castle searching
For the sorcerer who awoke it.

What is failure when the heart
Strives for success
Is there
An appropriate punishment
For a soul striving to heal and grow and

There are blurry moments of
Everyone trying
And so few connecting

Fingertips swollen
With knitting wounds
Eyes swollen with the knowledge
That nothing connects

I'm older and I have no answers
Just more generalized questions
Greater perspective
No less deprecation

I'm tired
Of sitting in the dark
Trying to define my failure
My pain
My emptiness
And tired
Of being judged unworthy
When does it stop?
Is nothing
Only outcome
And what comes out
Is clearly


I find myself wondering
over and over
how do I do this? 
how did I get here?
how could this happen?
how can I heal enough
to find a way forward?
how do I find a way
out of the hole grief dug me into at work?

To be the best teacher
I can be, I search for
self knowledge
I try not to sweat the small stuff

And life hands you situations
that are all about the small stuff
The individual, specific, accountability moments
And people who see you as not their problem
scenarios that generate fear
self doubt

I do remember
that the small moments matter
I try to own my mistakes
to learn and grow

and there is fear
and there is loneliness
and there is pain
and there is loss

these things, though
are only
I don't believe that
I can't make anyone else believe
the things I believe.

which leaves me
with an addition problem
and no answer. 

I want there to be a poem, but I'm not sure there is one...I have conversations in my head.  I have these things that rattle around.  Last week, before we were sick, I went to a Christmas party.  There was a family there...two kids walked past as I was talking with the dad.  They were 8 and 6, and I  said "Add one more, 4, and you've got my set." I told him.  He said he didn't think he could handle another...they couldn't do three, as his wife walked over to him.  He told me that he didn't make it to the party last year, but they did the year before.  In my head, I thought, "Well, you might have met my husband then...before he died.  Try handling all three of those kids without a spouse...I'm a widow."

I remember reading so many different things about widows and how, for a while, they want to tell everyone, the mail carrier, the clerk at the grocery store, strangers on the street, that they are widows.  I feel like after over a year and a half, I should be beyond that.  I wonder when that will end.  I don't want it to ever end.  I feel like, if I stop telling people about him, about my loss, I lose the stories and the connection.  How do I talk about him, without talking about how he died?  That he died?  There is that loving phrase..."my late husband"

I don't live in a safe place anymore.  I wonder if I ever did.  I wonder how this works.  I don't understand how to protect myself at work.  How do I handle the fact that I miss to my core the way we touched each other?  I want to hold hands, to kiss, to have a place to rest my head...a shoulder.  And another part of me doesn't even care...that part just wants a naked connection, body and soul. 

The way I love my is so large.  I look at them and try hard to see them, to honor them, to pause each moment in our lives so that I can appreciate them in this particular here and now.  And it hurts.  And it makes me mad.  And I want to find a way to be grateful.  At least in some small way.  I hurt inside and want desperately to show my hurt on the outside.  I bite my lips.  I do not punch myself in the head. 

Find me.  How do I say that to?  I feel like I am failing.  I feel like I am not as good as I should be...yet I'm doing my best.  What is my destiny?  I don't believe in destiny.  Destiny is a fabrication.  Who am I?  Who am I meant to be?  Who can I become?  How do I get there?

can I get through this
and be the person I want