I fled from days
of standing under your patchwork roof
offering no protection from the rain,
least of all my own rain pouring out of me,
threatening always to drown in its leave taking.
So I learned to float, flowing along the curves
others presented in my efforts to find
time, love, home,
the back roads where berry bushes
grow in abundance.
Yet I never tasted,
never picked any berries,
fresh off the branches.
Instead, I always found
the snakes hidden, lying in wait
beneath the berry bushes,
for the seeking,
and I, always bitten,
never learned my lessons
of serpents who lay in wait,
or the lessons of Eve,
I still sought,
in spite of the venom,
in spite of the bites—
I found the rains pouring out of me
to travel on
As a child, I survived the explosion of dreams that left hot greasy remnants dripping down the four-inch squares of avocado green ceramic tiles, marring their mirror like shine. As a grown woman, I survived the eruption of dreams that poured down an encasement of hot ash over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis, leaving monumental statues of grief. Thus, I chose to live where silence drones, a rumble in the ears. Nothing left-- a hole, a void made by echoes of desires held long ago. So, I have taken a corn broom to dance with me in time to music only I can hear to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs, the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas of me, my doings, my words. Yes, from my words, I shake loose all the years of dust, the years of ash, the years of grease. All words, oh, so many words I never loosed upon the air to float free upon the winds, tumbling away, up, around, then returning once more to spring up as wildflowers when things turn to green. I begin to loose them now, freed to scatter where they will, root, spring up where they find a place to rest.
Why I Have Always Wanted to Learn the Art of the Potter’s Wheel
clay slapped on the wheel shaped from spinning motion with the control of hands form, substance given before the heat of the kiln then give years of care secured from breaking ends in sharp edged shards broken: mosaic in form
Small Jars of Jam
Your lies hang,
in the summer air
from the tree
of your despair.
You pick the ripest apricots
to make jam
you ladle into small jars,
gifting them to friends
who smile softly,
touched you think of them
by gifting your small jars of jam
made from the apricots
you pick from the tree
of all your despair
I tire of seeing memes about having a positive attitude and choosing one’s feelings plastered
social media. It is no surprise our young people are in the midst of a mental health crisis when constantly bombarded with messages telling them, in essence, “The only reason you are sad is because you are making the choice to be sad,” or, (one of my favorites for sabotaging anyone’s self esteem) “You have a choice to make your day wonderful or not.” While such simplistic messages are well meaning, I believe they are sometimes extremely toxic. After all, what if your parent died on that day? Did you make the choice to have a horrible day? What if you go home to a toxic abusive environment? How can you choose to make your day wonderful? So before reposting those wonderful positive messages on social media, let’s all take a step back and think about what we are really saying to someone who may be going through something or in an environment where there is no choice in the matter but to feel what he or she feels. Let’s send messages that say it’s okay to feel what you feel and acknowledge it and to take time to feel it all,so something can be gained from it—a lesson, a positive action taken, whatever it may be, so we know our suffering was not for naught. Hence, this piece.
I gathered my despair,
my tears, my losses, all my grief.
Sat with each,
held them close,
let them dry,
waiting for spring.
When the ground warms,
softening, ready for tilling,
I will plant my despair,
sow my tears,
plough rows for my losses,
dig a hole deep enough to hold all my grief.
In the turning of time,
from the shrubs of my despair,
I will snip flowers and herbs
for healing others.
From the vines of my tears,
I will pluck the fruits and vegetables
to pile upon the table for all who need.
From the fields of my losses,
I will reap the harvest grain
to store for when a time of need arrives.
Finally, from the tree of all I grieve.
I will pick the sweetest fruit
Bandaged, She Walks
Bandaged, gauze covered, blanketed--
She never thought of bandages
until one wound oozed infection,
a malevolent fluid.
Thus, she learned of cleansing wounds,
bandaging them for protection,
Twice, she thought her wound healed, scarred over,
rejoicing, removed her bandage.
Twice, her scar split open, infection returning.
Resigned, resolving to keep her bandage always,
Refreshed daily, keeping infection at bay.
The Coffee Mug
shattered on the floor my favorite coffee mug nothing big, not much of a thing, just my favorite coffee mug-- sunshine yellow, with coffee beans, and a coffee spoon printed inside at the top along with a line from my favorite poem, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” yes, trite, you might say, emblazoned upon a coffee mug but still, yes, I loved the mug, love the poem. and there it was— shattered upon the floor there she stood, apologizing—ad nauseam— saying she’d buy another to replace it. But it was not to be found. Of course, the store didn’t have them anymore. The mug was the first broken thing. The first of a few, if it wasn’t liked, didn’t fit into the ideal of what could be forged of me if pinched in the grip of tongs and held in the fire long enough to be broken down to a molten, malleable state, pounded upon the anvil, shaped, dipped in water to sizzle cool enough to start the process over again— for easy fracture. Many things ended up broken, shelved, stored in closets— pictureless frames and frameless pictures, parts of me hidden away, never to be seen sitting on shelves in black closets— until I emerged chipped but no worse for wear unbroken into the light.
There exists no lexicon
For the echoes of emptiness here–
Where the azaleas bloom
Purple, pink, and white,
While dusty looking
Lavender sends up
As roses yield up
Open, thirsting mouths
To the sky.
Though the soil here
Nourishes color and green
While life appears
Although neighbors smile and wave,
The soil remains absent of truth, of meaning,
Of love—of a spirit—of a soul.
No lexicon exists for the emptiness
Echoing throughout the soil
In this place.
What is it that you wish to know? How someone could live with The edges of a life chipped away, Breath not taken, suffocated, Heart stilled, Walking dead Through the days of life, Just so onlookers believe The pretense they wish to see? While I, struggling for air, For the beating rhythms of life, Having lived too long inside a shrinking skin, Become petrified wood, stone, Armored in minerals. Only so close. Only so close. For I have lived years and years Of rings and more rings, All mineralized, Surrounding the core Of me. Nothing Could truly touch, Know the center. Nothing ever did Perhaps, ever will. It is easy to live As stone.
The Vines of a Tiny Truth
The Sunday Muse Challenge from The Sunday Muse
With my thoughts dried out,
cracking like the earth,
the seeds of some miniscule truths
take root within my chest
sprouting monstrous vines to wind down,
clawing into this cracking earth
until escape cannot be had–
the only tiny truth contained within the seeds,
the simple one of sacrifice
in the day to day.