Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wind- bending toward hope

-inspired by Lilies, Mary Oliver-
-and you-

I have been thinking
About living
like the wind
that caresses each figure in its path

it comes from everywhere
and nowhere
 lifting, stirring the waters
cooling the edges of your skin

It belongs to no one
And touches every
One of us
Like an old sensation from
The bedroom when you were 16
She whisper-sings wordless melodies

That bend us both
Into feathery fields
Of magical memory
Where things change
And fear faded
And we both
Meandering through a maze that only WE were meant to solve
A maze
Called consent
A maze
Called incredible desire
A maze called
Trembling limbs and secrets sent through
The slowest mail

A maze, a labyrinth
Winding toward a wide open center
With no wrong turns and
Where ravishing lavender

Without protest
At your touch
On your tongue
And the dragonfly floats
On the tendrils of the wind
Winding its way across

Of our skin

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thankful after Thanksgiving- loving in return

There are so many sizes
of steps
and so very many

I remember choosing to not close off my heart
I was 16
compared to my hard as nails and mean as a snake grandmother
In the moment:
a horror
In retrospect:
a filthy crown gift more powerful than any princess

There were insults
taken too far
and moon sight wishes
whispered over the phone
into the ear of a hopeful, lonely child

Steps don't seem like they should be so

And yet...

I remember choosing
 to do the very things
they accused me of...
because, well, of course
And why not?

until it almost killed me

I remember realizing it was NOT
them that actually sent me down that path
but my choice
thus leaving the power
with me
to unchoose
what they force fed me

I remember years where I was desperate
to curl into the warm womb of someone's love
and then
I remember what it felt like
to do just that

For real.
With trust

I remember holding his hand
choosing to stand beside him
put my job in jeopardy
because this world is about love
and the best super power we have
is to honor it
to pause
and breathe
and focus ourselves in reverence
to love

I kissed his feet
and wiped his mouth coated in crusting white
dipping moisture onto the lips that kissed mine
and I never

I kept breathing
and stepping forward was stepping
and I didn't want any part of
those steps

I took them anyway

I fell
I crumbled to my knees over
and over
and others looked down on me
in pity
with no words
and walked away

I danced
and walked
and fell, trembling
scratching at the walls
unable to breathe
 and hyperventillating
all at once

And still
I stepped forward
a monumental feat

and again

time still stops
in the spinning cyclone of life
and today, I looked down at a tray
of rocks

and saw my mother, grandmother,
mother in law, my ancestors
whole and healed and softly glowing
a whisper of all the strength
I've ever needed
and He and I were in the center

Being seen
holding space

living into
each inch
of our space

and the soft tears
were the only strength
I've ever needed.

Because I remember
what it feels like
to be

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

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

brave enough

This grief thing is an emotion with the energy source belonging to a super villain in some show like Flash.  It really feels like it never ends.

It feels like I have a cord
and that cord is

or perhaps, if not unplugged,
someone attempted to make a type 1 plug fit
into a type 2 socket

So close.  But it hurts
and bends
and people
they start to judge you
for not fitting in
they point out every single time
you don't work right

And there's nothing to ground you
no where to recharge

Except it is my heart
my soul
the tips of tired, sacred parts of me
that are disconnected

so much so
I don't know
that I even remember
how to see me.

People search for purpose
make goals
strive for success
and ladder climbing
and wins

The only thing that makes sense
to me
is a purpose contained
in connections

the light
and the dark
loving each other
loving me

wrapping us all in swirling majestic
dichromatic rainbows
twisting themselves out of half hidden prisms

There is no win or lose
no ladder that does not
break down
to mulch

I'm trying to open my windows
to let the light AND
the dark in
learn to swim in the seas of  saturated
without twisting
so fast in the winds of change
that I choke.

*Note:  I'm striving for a "happy ending"...although our ends are all the same.  I keep asking myself if I can just give up on love...if I can accept a life of just my kids, both blood and classroom.  Because of everything, THEY are my purpose, my blessing, my gratitude.  However, I know that living only for the children sets a bad example.  You can drown and come to hate yourself, which is not a thing to model for growing humans.  They learn SO very much from what and how we do, that what we say is close to irrelevant.  So...how do I DO this right?  I do not know.  I thought I was finding my way.  I went from barely being able to breathe, to thinking I had found a path, to being sucker punched and all of a sudden hurting more than ever.  I realized then, I was breathing fine...so I hadn't slid far backwards.  It's just that now that I can breathe, I can also see all the things that surround me.  I see loving and distant friends...and I see clearly how much I want a partner and a lover...and how I accept that as okay and healthy.  And I see, too clearly, how difficult that path will be to find...I'm keeping the directions for everything now...my kids, my pets, myself, my household, my job...and in the juggling I am dropping.  In the dropping, I am tripping.  And it is hard, so hard, to get up for the 6,124th time.  But, after laying in the dirt for a while, there is nowhere to go, but up.


I ask for help.  There is no lesson more valuable to model for my children than basic humility.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Where am I?

We are rapidly approaching 4 years.  FOUR YEARS.  Sigh.  I have started trying to donate platelets on a regular basis.  Turns out it was me, not Molly, who has a very high platelet count: 420.  Higher than 450 is indication that you have something going on that should be checked out, but in the 400's is very helpful.  They get the amount they need much quicker.  But they have to be careful to not take too much, because only a certain amount can survive.  These are all things I learned on Saturday.

My lessons right now consist of relearning how to be here and now, be a widow, a solo mom, be Sabrina, and not be clawing desperately at the life walls that surround me, begging for a way to not have to face any of the things that I have no choice but to face.

I just took a moment to think about whether or not to talk about how the political situation is affecting me.  I decided, for now, to leave it.  And mention only that my fear about the trajectory of things caused headaches so bad that no medication touched it, I had to have an MRI, they thought I might have shingles, or trigeminal neuralgia, they gave me 4 different prescription medications which did all of nothing so I ended up in the ER.  They gave me a shot of valium, which tickled the pain.  I'm seeing a chiropractor finally, taking ibuprofen and tylenol in alternating doses and hating the drugs big time.  Valium at night if need be, but to be honest, I'd rather drink a little too much wine than screw with a drug like that.  So...

Baby steps.  That's all I've got.  I hid from the pain looking for sexual connections because the power of visceral physical connection hid the pain that made it so I could not breathe.  Breathing is pretty essential for life.  So I did that dumb thing I revert to...and it, of course, didn't work.

But through those silly and understandable efforts and reading The Little Prince to my class, I had a thought that I hope might be a realization to guide me.  It is just this:  I would like someone who can tame me.  I mean, that's what John did.  We didn't have the words for it when it happened.  But I figured it out when we planned our ceremony. I asked my friend to read the part of the Little Prince when the fox and he talk about taming...I want someone willing and wanting to come to me at a certain time each day, so that I begin to look forward to their step approaching.  And I'd love it if someone could be the kind of person that would put up with my strange and potentially difficult to predict desires for compliments and comfort.  And, if that person would also trust in me to arrive for them, hope for me to arrive for them, around the same time...to open their heart, just a tiny bit at a time is fine...so we can learn each other...and trust me enough to be annoying around me...the gift of that would fill my heart and soul to a place of joy.  And I would be grateful.

But I can only control me.  Not other people.  So I don't want to swipe left or right.  I guess I would rather be alone?  The man at the Red Cross blood donation center, when I told him it had been almost 4 years, quietly and briefly, without judgement asked me "So, you don't want to be with anyone again?"  That was the first time I've ever gotten that question.  I guess, enough time has passed, and I am not with someone...perhaps it is not about what I want, but what I will allow close to me and to my children.  I have never been a planner that way. I never had a type.  But I look for a heart.  John's heart, oh it sang to me!  Which is funny because he was a HORRIBLE singer!!!  But his heart...yeah.  I always worried I wasn't the right match for him because I am not an athlete and could never keep up with him.  Perhaps, what mattered to him and why we made sense, is my heart...perhaps my heart sang to his, too.

Think I could find a way to put that on a dating profile?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

reading books I love, putting away dishes, and learning through tears

I forget, sometimes, that I really like chocolate.  I know that sounds odd and potentially arbitrary.  But it's true.  I also forget other things...bigger things...if you can get bigger than chocolate.

We are approaching 4 years.  You'd think that the knock-you-on-your-ass tears were pretty much done.  And by "you'd" I mean "I'd".  But then, once again, I'd be wrong.

They ended pretty abruptly today though.  Almost as quickly as they began.  Beginnings come from odd and somewhat pointless places.  I was putting dishes away.  I just watched the last (latest) (on Netfix) Supernatural and I was sad because I miss being friends with my brother.  And as I was putting dishes away, it occurred to me that I wasn't supposed to do that ALONE every damn time.So this time, it began with small, square dishes.  Most of those damn dishes I bought with John.  He was supposed to wash when I cooked.  That was always the deal.  But now, well, there isn't a deal.  I just do what I can, when I can, so sometimes it sits.  But the small, square dishes with the orange and blue and yellow stripes made me cry.  Because I can touch them and remember dozens and dozens of meals we've had on them.  Without him.  And he was supposed to BE there.

I stopped crying midstream, though.  Because I realized that those tears existed because he tamed me.  I was Real to him and he was Real to me.  And what a gorgeous damn gift it was that we each took the time to break through for each other.  There is NO better gift.  And also, I realized, I have a community of folks that care about me.  I have a chance, every day, to walk into a job where small humans look to me for hope, curiosity, support, encouragement, and love.  Love.  We don't often have access to that in our work lives.  But I do.  I keep hoping to find friendship there, at work, with adults.  It doesn't really happen.  And I find my worst anxiety triggers stepped on almost all the time.  But still...I get to go to work, and share love.  I get to comfort little ones when they cry, even if I don't understand why.  Even when I DO understand why and cannot do a damn thing.  I can be present for them.

And yes, I want the chance to tame and be tamed again.  More than anything.  And that makes tears stream like a stuck drinking fountain.  I think I am done and I walk away and realize, um, yeah, nope.  Left that one open and it's still going.  Heh.  Oops.

And that's okay.  It's good to want that.  I think.  I believe it is...and what I KNOW is that I may not always do the best with my plan book, but I walk in my classroom every day fighting for the chance to love, cheer for, believe in, help, redirect, and listen as much as possible to as many humans as I can.  And when I come home, I do it again, at defcon level 10 for my babies.  Whatever the situation.  And that, that is a blessing.  Even if I do end up on the floor, caressing a photograph with a sparkling smile from long ago...a guy in a blue t-shirt with a monkey on his shoulder and smile lines like sunshine parenthesis, crying so hard I have to bite on a paper towel to dim the sounds and allow the kids to sleep.

I guess if I had a choice, and the choice couldn't include him, I'd choose to bring on the tears.  Because every moment with him made me a better person.  In so many ways.

And also for them

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Something simple

Something fairly simple occurred to me today while I was on my morning commute.  I realized that no one is coming for me.  I obviously need to explain that, so here is my attempt.

I remember when I was a young-ish teenager and all bubbly headed and romantical...I had occasion to walk away from a guy or two.  Each time, I walked stoically ahead, forcing myself not to look back, praying that they would follow me...that they would come for me, take my hand...tell me I was wrong and that all the love blah blah starry stuff was true for us...at least for the moment.

Needless to say, that didn't happen.  Pretty much ever.

And then, just like EVERYONE says, I had had enough of the ridiculous way I was behaving.  I decided to stop dating, quit smoking, stop most of the drinking and take a year to figure out how to do "stuff" right.  That was in 2001.  A week after that (this is the "everyone says" part), I met John.  Not only did that man come after me, come for me, but he didn't let me leave.  My illustrative story is the one about him hiding my keys:  it was early on in our relationship, perhaps two months?  We were arguing over something dumb.  I got out of bed in a snit and went to the living room.  I fumed for a while and then decided I was done and was going to leave.  Except, he had hidden my keys so I had no choice but to stay and talk it out with him.

So, when he died, the first and only person to ever have come back for me, it was like this part of me that was trying to rebelieve in romance stuff was dropped straight down a cavernous, slick walled, black as night well.  This part of me couldn't see, couldn't hear, was afraid to reach out and touch, so I went to my fantasies...I went to stories and movies and silly tales of widows who fall in love with their dead husband's best friends, or who are surprised by a long lost love from their high school years caught in a decent marriage that doesn't quite touch their soul...the universe takes care of its wounded birds, right?  Windows open that are actually big enough to be doors, and successful relationships come in all shapes and sizes...not everyone has to stay married till death and not every divorce has to end in hatred.  Maybe, just maybe, love was winging its way to me on the dust of something I'd swept away...always known and never expected...and someone might say "As you wish" and make me feel as beautiful as Buttercup.

The thing is, no one is coming.  I have peered into passing cars, watched fathers alone with their kids at the grocery store, eyed men working on the side of the road, puzzled over the guy at the table just beyond ours...every man I see, I've wondered "is he the one that will come for me?"  and I'm tired.  I'm tired of hoping.  I am tired of telling myself not to look and then, immediately, filling that incredibly brief hole of time with a caveat calling for that rule to kick in:  as soon as you aren't looking, he will come.

No shit.  But I already played that card.  It was quite lovely.  And I sat with it, with him, till his last breath came, which, for the record, was way too early.

And besides, the universe taking care of its wounded birds doesn't mean that what you lose, you also get in return.  It's not quid pro quo.  It's an ebb and flow that sometimes spills.

So I think about OTHER books I've read and wonder if my family was cursed and the women on my mother's side are doomed to raise their children alone.  I AM the third generation doing just that, after all.  Granted it's for a reason quite different from that of my mother and of my grandmother.  But it still comes down to my children growing up without a father, never seeing a man treating their mother with love, never seeing an argument between grown ups handled and fumbled and apologized for...

And please, do not misunderstand:  when I say that no one is coming, it doesn't mean I won't necessarily try to find love or won't be open to it if it appears.  But no one is coming.  I want to see that fairy tale.  I want the maiden in her tower, pining away, awaiting the kiss to break the spell like Fiona in Shrek.  Except REALLY no one is coming.  And she gets fed up, and slays the dragon herself and kicks the front door down in an explosion of dust and walks out, hands on hips.

Then maybe she has some adventures on her own and a shit ton of hard and boring days.  And...I keep trying to come up with a way that she can pick up a guy, throw him over her shoulder, and carry him off into the sunset...except wouldn't that still be a version of someone coming for someone else?  And if I change it into something sweeter, more gentle and where they are all simpatico, that makes me want to sucker punch the universe.  Because really??  No.  Just, no.  NO ONE IS COMING FOR ME.  And THAT's what that over-the-shoulder image is attempting to do:  be the manifestation of the simpering wish that someone would still be out there for me to find and hold hands with.

I do not believe that we all have one and only one soul mate.  I believe there are many matches for everyone and it's a matter of timing, placement, and desire to put in the work at any given moment. So losing John hasn't closed My One True Door to Love.  He was amazing and annoying and wonderful and self centered and thoughtful and kind of obnoxious.  He was mine and all I ever wanted to do was work on learning how to love him better and teach him to love me better and, lucky me, I'm pretty sure that he wanted that too.

But he's gone and I am here.  And for the first time since he died, I actually did get mad at him today. They say that anger is a part of the grieving process.  I haven't been able to get mad at him because he fought the cancer tooth and nail.  I get mad at CANCER.  But today, just for a bit, I was pissed that I am here doing this asinine dance in my head about the meaning of all this, and I'm doing it because he is gone.  I knew that drinking, smoking, and bad choices about men were on my horizon when he died...I know how I tend to screw up, and I was so PISSED that he left me to all that shit again.  I didn't want to DO that anymore.

I guess I just need to keep repeating it.  No one is coming for me.  No one is coming for me.  I do not like it.  And it's okay.  I can handle it anyway.  No one.  Is coming.  For me.  No one.  There is no "as you wish", no "you make me want to be a better man", no more hidden keys.  I don't want to think of it like my friend said, that now that we have kids, it's all about them because they didn't ask for any of this.  I watched my mother and grandmother stop living for themselves and live only for myself and my brother.  That was not healthy and it did NOT work out well.  So I do know that I need to find a way to live for me, to perhaps believe in love again.  So possibly, this mantra I need right now, this restating the fact that no one is coming for me, needs to be adopted as a temporary focusing tool.  For now, what I need to learn, is that no one is coming for me.  I don't yet know what the lesson after that shall be.  But I cannot hide from my grief inside the desire to not be alone.  I am alone.  I have been alone before, so that in and of itself cannot be my lesson.  Perhaps it's just that I need the year that I promised myself 16 years ago.  January to January.  It seems like an eternity.  It may turn out that it passes like one, too...or it may only be a moment.

I guess it really isn't all that simple, after you scrape the surface off.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

straight talk

Healing is so strange.  One minute you are doing ok, then you are drowning every night with tears that wash the entirety of your face and neck.  Then, something clicks without any noise.  And tiny steps seem to spin like a top when it catches the groove.  The next thing you know, you are running.  Like, running for 22 minutes!  And not drinking.  Well, taking (attempting to take?) two weeks off, to allow your body to heal.  And the smoking ended almost five months ago.  Also, sometimes I sweep and mop at night now.  I do so dancing to Prince on wireless bluetooth headphones and sliding around on TARDIS socks, but still...

All this "you" stuff is obviously me.  I noticed recently how much it means to me to do kind things in random places.  I told my class today about what it means to "pay it forward".  I told them how people donated money when John was going through chemo to pay our rent and someone at church paid to fix our car.  I told them how, because I don't know who did those things, I try very hard to see everyone as part of the person who did them, so I can spread the thanks around all over the place.

I also started calling and emailing Senators about issues.  There is a bill to do away with the EPA and one to get rid of the Department of Education.  I keep thinking about the tattoo on my back and how it was partially motivated because I believe it is so important for us to learn from our pasts.  I need it personally and this country needs it, too.  Before the New Deal, we did NOT successfully support the families failing and flailing from the Depression.  It just didn't happen.  We can't just get rid of things and leave a gaping hole.  Aiden sat beside me tonight while I called and emailed.  I could feel his pride.  That was pretty amazing.

I really am trying to "love the hell out of this world", and also trying desperately to recall that I, too, am of this world.  I can almost think calmly enough about living the rest of my life without a partner...in such a way that I see the empty, but also the full.  I see the possibility of imperfection and also joy.  I still believe in love...or at least in the possibility.  I mean, I was swinging around the kitchen dancing with my swiffer all sexy hips to "I Would Die 4 U", so...there's that.


**to remember, to be proud of myself, here is a list of the things I'm doing to care for myself and my world, in no particular order, I

  • started donating blood again
  • am also donating platelets 
  • am leaving my phone downstairs to limit screen time and sleep better
  • am writing every morning (almost) when I wake up
  • taking 2 dry weeks to clear my mind and body
  • quit smoking
  • am calling and emailing my senators about issues that matter to me
  • am training to run the 5k Race for Hope 
  • take walks on days that I don't run
  • am reading to Neil more
  • am making sit down dinners with the kids happen more, even if it's just simple stuff
  • have daily "family meetings" with my class so that I can listen to ALL of them EVERY day if even only for a moment
  • have started listening to music that always gave me strength in the past, like Public Enemy and Sinead O'Connor (I know, weird combo.  Whatevs)

Friday, February 10, 2017

I'm just not sure how

Sometimes the title of the story doesn’t fit
Sometime magic
Isn’t what you thought it was
I keep reaching to hold the whole

The good thing is that it is lined
With love
Because I chose to do that
The question is always “are you okay?”
The answer remains “not really”

Yet we soldier on
Because inside us
We so often
Have more
Than we ever thought we did

I have traveled many places in this world
And at times, I would touch things
I placed my palms on the Leaning Tower of Pisa
And on the legs of Notre Dam
My fingers have lightly played with poppies
In the hills of France
Snitched cherries from backyards
Of Spanish homes
My body was buzzed by a sea lion in the cool waters of the Galapagos
I did handstands at the entrance to Machu Pichu
And burbled excitement upon seeing a sleeping shark
Fathoms below me in the Coral Sea
I have stories to tell
And pieces that are broken, rebuilding, numb, dumb and confused

My fingertips still buzz
With the desire to touch
The wind
As it moves on
Beside me
Beneath me

Grief is not an ending to it all
It is a dancing script upon my soul
Singing soft and sexy songs
To lift
Me higher than I might otherwise

Have gone.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Absolute values and inequalities

Is a language all its own
A simple, majestic thing
That I wish I could speak better
Like learning the underside
Of everything your heart says
There are languages I do not speak

I’m good
At catching phrases
Gleaning meaning

I fake my way
Toward a fictional path
Where I can walk with eyes closed
Into the arms
Of nothing

Hold your breath
While the tears start to stab
And your head rolls back
Squeeze the muscles in every part of you
Till your calves seize

To face behind you
A Fibonacci spiral bending arcs
Of seashells and flower petals
And if I could count cards
I’d bet
Those poetic numbers
Might guide…


My tumbles toward you

There are visions
And they have no form
A shadow soul
That wraps its deadened words around me
Black lines on a white page
Full of invisible zeros and ones
An electric set of patterns

There isn’t an end.  There is a passing on
One to the next
And a step again
Stalled out
A step forward
A step backward
Tip toeing twice to the side
Three moments holding my breath
For five beats I close my eyes and break
Eight thousand times

Even dizzy and dreaming of a language
I can only pretend to know
I will hold onto the way
That he told me

“I love you”