Could You, Would You

image courtesy of jens at pexels

Could you, would you
know the darkness too?
Or would you try to erase it
as others do?
Would you ignore it?
Say you wanted it gone?
Say your touch
should drive away
the darkness within?
The darkness is there–
inside me,
it has always been,
I need it, need it to be there,
just a spot or two.
I need it to visit, take a trip with it.
Occasionally—
ride a night, a day, all the stars at times,
sleep and wake with it.
It keeps me strong,
this steel skeleton of my heart and soul,
keeps me whole,
makes me who I am.
My darkness does not need
some antidepressant elixir.
My darkness is a shit pile of things,
years, and incidents I keep
tucked away–
a part of me.

Could you, would you
know it?
Keep it, if given?
Or tell me to let it go and get over it
like others have?
Could you, would you
understand how happiness can be had
and yet keep the darkness
for creating, repairing,
reinforcing the steel railings
of my spine,
my soul,
my heart,
my mind,
my all that I am.
Could you, would you
understand, without the darkness,
I cannot give you all that I am?

Wild and Tame

My own image from Provincetown, MA 2015

Originally written in July of 2015.  Revised 2020.

My friend, the squirrel, sits at my feet.

I wonder perhaps should I be sitting at his.

He is tame

Unlike me.

I have peanuts for him.

He knows.

He is willing to wait

And teach me

All the lessons he knows

Of a heart

That is wild

Yet tame.

I marvel at all

That is contained

Within his tiny heart.

The joys of peanuts and sunflower seeds,

Being unafraid in the face of strangers,

And making friends so easily,

Of finding a home among things lush and green,

Knowing no fear to leap

Into things unknown.

Will he instruct me

In the ways to live once again

And move on?

Tell me to remove these rings

Linked to a grief buried beneath grey granite?

Can he share with me the lesson

Of what to do with all things circular,

New and old grief– link upon link of chain?

Teach me the ways of letting go?

The ways of living without fears

To staunch the bleeding of wounds

Both new and so very old?

Is this the meaning

Of being wild and tamed?

Scars of Flame

My scars flames–
The sides of my back,
pock marked brown
drying dark
if not daily oiled in
the red, orange, white
of flames,
trailing once welted scars,
faded, now barely.
if even seen–
Feathered flames
enabling flight,
if I should like,
or if I so prefer,
burning back past paths
behind so I may fly
to places I wish,
keeping promises
to my soul.
My scars flame–
Only I see
and only I know
the power contained
in my flaming scars.

Under A North Texas Sky

my own image

No roots here,
Not under this.
Not under this,
North Texas sky.
Nothing grew,
Nothing rooted,
Although I tried.

I planted native plants,
Fertilized and tended,
Weeded and watered,
Talked lovingly even,
Became the crazy lady
With the plants.

For a bit, just a bit,
Each plant bloomed
In wonderful cinematic, 
Glorious technicolor.
I would think– 
I’ve got it right!
But no. Each would start
To wilt and fade.
I googled and researched,
Soil tested even.
Yes, it’s true– to know
What to do.
But I was doing everything right.

No expert could tell me true,
Just why I could not
Get anything to flourish,
to grow, to root
In this, this North Texas soil
Under this, this North Texas sky.

A Tree in Winter

Getty Images vandervelden

My hope is
Different now,
Changed, evolved.
Once a verdant green
Of fresh, newborn spring.
Now evolved into this chilly thing–
Brown, dried husks,
A few barely clinging
To a tree in late autumn.
Seems something, someone
Sucked the hope out,
Fed on it as if it were life’s blood,
And I am left drained, a leftover hull
Of what once was. But I go on
As if all is the same and nothing
Is gone. A tree in winter,
Hoping enough green
Is left to grow, to live in spring.

Tattoo

I had not realized
That still I wore the black,
The widow’s weeds of anger,
These five years hence
Your death.
Until today,
When at your grave,
I stood and, in finality,
Cast them away.

Now, emerging from the black chrysalis
Of my anger,
Perching upon the vine,
I can spread the wings,
Waving them, allowing them to dry.

And you, my wife, are not here.
Not under this six feet of earth.
You have long flown away,
Beyond the things we were and were not,
Beyond the languages we spoke and wrote
To one another yet could not understand,
Beyond the desire of ego and want and need,
Beyond the hurts and the pains of life and selfishness
To where only truth, love, and real atonement
Color a spirit and soul in a prism of flames.

And in my freedom from anger and pain,
I wear your vine with my own rose, and
I am the Monarch with wings ready to fly.

Old Year

Images of the year
Drift in my mind
Like so many
Snowflakes melting
In a cold rain.
My blood turns icy
With so much frozen regret.

My dog stops.
We’ve reached a crosswalk.
Unlike me, she’s learned
Her lessons well.
But she reminds me
The years of regret are done,
So we walk on since no traffic comes.

The sun peeks out,
Deciding it’s safe,
She comes out all the way
To warm and cheer us.
My dog looks up at me
And seems to smile.

This year will be done.
Yes, soon, this year will be done.