Category Archives: poetry

First Contact

I’ve dreamed of you…

At first, the joy of freedom; and then

the sorrow for the grief you brought segued into

a smile, a nod, a shake of your head

to speak much more than words allow.

Always silent, yet I understood your conflict,

the push and the pull of wanting

to be here and there all at once.

*

Time, that human construct, is nothing.

A way to measure the span between

then and now; between

you breathing your first and

sighing your last; the span that

doesn’t measure in tears but in

click-ticks on a numbered face that become

hours in a day and days in a week,

weeks in months and years; in decades and centuries.

The sun’s path across the sky, chased

by Mother moon.

*

I dreamed of you…

They brought you to me, not your infant self

swaddled and seeking points of reference in your new world; but

fully grown, the man you were when you left.

You smiled at me. I wept my joy and

you held out your arms. You held me against your great chest,

in those strong arms heavy on my shoulders. My ear

pressed and listening for the heartbeat

once a whooshing jump-rope sound; once

a steady thump to reassure me through

the darkest of the dark.

There was only your weight,

your solidity, your smile. My trembling joy.

“Can you stay?” I asked. “Will they let you?”

“Yes, I think so.” But you shook your head, your smile saddened.

You stepped away, back into my brain wishing or the conduit

breaking; the connection unexplained, undiscovered

except in dreaming. The first contact in the span

measured only in tears.

TLD

salvador-dali-melting-clocks

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This Cold January Day

Where are you now? Drifting through

another realm, a plane more suited

to who you are? Truly are, and not who you

were forced to be. The entity of thought,

of indefatigable brilliance. The one

whose darkness mingled and melded inside, yet

never dimmed the light.

*

Were you here at all? I see

your bows displayed on the wall,

the roof you built, covered in snow; I listen

to you sing inside my head, your song leaping synapses,

pulsing in my blood. The blood we shared

for a little while.

I put your boxing gloves on this morning,

to feel where your hands had been, knowing

the sweat still seeped inside. And then

I put them away, in the armoire storing

the blanket that still smells faintly of happier days.

*

Your influence is everywhere, still

helping those you loved, and those who

you never knew, but owe you a debt; because

they’re pain-free, they understand what was

formerly incomprehensible, they know how to soothe

the demons inside. Those demons you never could

vanquish completely. But you taught them.

You showed them how.

*

Sorrow grips me, this cold January day.

I pry its fingers loose, one at a time;

Peel them back like orange skin that leaves

bitter pith behind, the sweetness

still another layer deep.

It cannot swallow me whole.

I must allow its place, its space or

have it implode and hollow me of words, my joy

my solace, and sanity. Sanctity. Sanctuary.

TLD

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That will be me

(Thoughts this morning led this to that. I am in a contemplative mood, nothing more. I don’t want anyone reading this to fear for me. Once again, I thought about keeping this private, for exactly that reason, but I made a promise and I aim to keep it, so this stays public. That alone should put you at ease.)

When you find hair in the drain, whether

black, white or blue, you’ll wonder if it could be;

I tell you now, that will be me.

Bite at the inside of your cheek and feel

a tap on your hand, “Stop that,”

you’ll hear. That will be me.

Whenever you feel the urge to cut your hair

and hear a voice inside your head, “Let it grow,”

it wheedles. That will be me.

And when you see a turtle, or a camel,

in fact or in illustration, you will add a heart to it

and again, that will be me.

 

When words froth at your brain and you feel

the need to catch them,

by heart or by hand;

When you see a dragonfly and call it fairy, a baby dragon

in an anole; when a beam of sunlight becomes a path to another world,

That will be me.

When friends drop by and you need to feed them, when baby monkeys

make you cry; when you smell onions sauteing in olive oil, and fear choking on pudding.

Me, me, they are all me.

 

Such ties don’t break when life does.

They simply change shape and form.

It won’t matter if whatever is left of me once life has spit me out

is riding the ether of some astral plain, Or

simply the echo of what once was, what I was.

It will be me, like it is him.

 

I hear him whistle;

and sing. All the time

I see him smile;

and shake his head.

I feel his joy, and his despair that

share time in his space, even now.

Spirit or memory, there is no cognitive difference when

love is at the core. Love,

and need; love and

the hubris to believe there is

more to existence than life.

~TLD

 

 

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Thoughts, upon waking

I do not in darkness dwell, when daylight holds its sway; but, in the darkness, I do dwell, on all day holds at bay. (~TLD)

sweet-dreams-dreaming-of-snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarves

Strange words to wake to, but I did. I don’t have to wonder why, though. I dream, and I remember my dreams for the most part. There are few nights I don’t go to sleep with Chris on my mind, and wake up to the same. He tends to fill in the space between.

I believe it’s because I do my best not to let the sorrow overwhelm me during the day. That’s not to say it doesn’t hit me, but I’m able to push it gently away, tell it, “Not now.” Then comes the night and pushing it away feels as wrong as it would to push him away. He needs his time on my mind, just like he needed time in my arms, when he was a baby who didn’t like to sleep on his own; or a young man who needed me to make sure he kept breathing through the night.

Day is for missing Scottie, for cherishing the broken ties he needed broken so badly. It’s for feeling Gracie’s excitement in finding her place in the world. It’s to experience Jamie’s babies, her dream career, through her eyes. Day belongs to them. And so, night belongs to Chris.

My newest work-in-progress, Heroically Lost*, is largely about knowing the difference between making choices, and letting the choices get made for us. I’m not sure if I made the choice to let Chris have the night, but I honestly don’t think I could unchoose it either. It’s just the way it happens, and I’m okay with that.

*Heroically Lost comes from a Yeats poem, A Crazed Girl

(Truncated)

…Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found…

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Filed under Family, Life's honest moments, poetry

Tumbling down the rabbit hole…

(This is a weird one. I’m not sure what it even is. Don’t read too much into it.)

My spine stays stiff, arms open wide

My shoulders are boulders, my brain mostly fried

I’m a locket in a pocket

Care to see it? What’s inside?

It’s a heart, and not a picture.

One bleeding as it pumps.

Stand back, watch it bump

disrupted feelings to the ceilings

Hear it tHuMp, ThUmP, ThuMp

Healing reality, the newest casualty

On this train ride in my mind, so unkind

Stay behind, or take this ride to the end

Round the bend, watch me rend

My eyeballs from their sockets.

 

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When you Wish

You were a dream I had once, long ago

When I was young and hopeful and free

of the pain of my past, a new beginning unfolding

And you, the binding of that past to present, to the future

A tiny ball nestled on my chest, breathing baby breaths

I conjured you until you were real,

Pinocchio after all the wishing was done, after

the whale and the sacrifice and a fairy’s magicked compassion

Blond hair and blue eyes, where did you come from

in my swarthy sea of Italians? You always said you were

Viking, a long-ago raider marauding along the coast,

leaving behind the blood that would tumble through time,

through DNA strands and couplings and transatlantic voyages

to show up in my arms, held to my breast, a bundle of baby boy  breathing sweet breaths.

You are a dream again. Now.

Images. Conjurings. Memories true and sometimes blurring

around kinder edges that spare me

sustain me, always skewer me straight through. Sometimes

the pain is exquisite, and sometimes

it’s just pain that I gather in around me because it proves you were real

not some fading wish once made upon stars already gone to dust

as if you were never quiet here to begin with.

~TLD

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Triggers

Please note: I wrote this last week when D-day was still looming and freaking me out a little. I scheduled it for today, because this is where it belongs, but it doesn’t reflect my state of being. Rather than a quivering, keening, irrational mess, I find the peace I came home from France with still on me. It’s a bit intense, but…I’m okay. There are always tears. Every day. But this peace…it’s like he’s got his big arms wrapped around me. Pain can’t get past him. Whimsical, maybe, but…anyway. ❤ 

There is no avoiding triggers, because

I don’t know what they are

until they’re pulled

And the bullet flies

And the blood spills in trickles

or rushes

a waterfall from my body,

my brain tossing  memories:

chemical spatters on the wall where he once blew himself up

conducting experiments in the basement,

thrilled beyond words,

tamed–the crowding thoughts.

The roof he built

The tools he bought

The songs he sang

The love he gave

The sorrow and the sorrow and the sorrow he never meant to cause,

that added to the thoughts ever churning

a frenzy of joy and despair and back again.

A trigger is pulled, and down I go

Getting back up again is rote

Like breathing, like laughing, like remembering.

It’s been a year. It’s been a year. It’s been a god-damned bloody year.

The first of forever. And here I stand.

Braced against the next trigger pulled.

Willing to take that bullet.

Because, by now, I can.

~TLD

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Psychosomatic

I think my heart is broken

It hurts me all the time

It stutters when it should thump

Crackles like safety glass

My right knee is numb

along the right side down

from owl to beanstalk inked in black

And green, and yellow.

Is it possible to have psychosomatic symptoms

if you’re aware of them?

**

I sat in my Comet (Mercury Caliente, 1965. Sublime)

for hours, for days listening to a’ha

Take on me

He surprised me with the cassette tape only

days before his death. I wore out two copies

but only kept the one.

I always cry when I hear it.

Pavlovian response, or grief?

***

I’m several days without crying

And can’t figure out why. Days at the beach

Love, and love and love.

A raven whispering messages, and

quorking on the deck.

Superheroes viewed from recliners,

in the dark. Dinner out. Sangria. Cake.

Happiness is as strong as grief.

****

I see a picture. Tears come

buckets. A whole sea of them

My heart is broken.

My knee is numb.

I am happy, still, sometimes, in any event.

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Preserved

Sorry. WordPress bugged out on me. First it reformatted things, and then it put up this post three days ago. Yeah, you read that right–it published as three days ago. WTF? No clue. I don’t like overwhelming those who read my blog, especially with sad poetry. Egads, that’s annoying. But it went up and some people saw it, commented. In my attempt to fix things, I might have lost those comments. If you did and don’t see it here, I hope you’ll leave it again. In the end, it was just too frustrating to fix completely so I let it stay up. Peace.

**

The hook’s gone up her nose, her brain

pulled out, an incision cut

organs removed and left

to dry in the desert sun.

Lungs and intestines, stomach and liver

In limestone jars watched over

by Hapy, Qebehsenuef,

Duamutef and Imsety.

Her heart goes back into her body

The piece of it that’s his alone

Her body is washed with wine and spices

covered in salt, a curing ham.

She’s stuffed like a taxidermy fox

Sand giving back her shape but

harder than it was,

As it has to be now.

She’s wrapped carefully in linen, preserved

Placed in a box and stored away. Waiting

for the rest of her still alive and loving.

Still happy to be a wife, a mother, a grandmother.

A daughter, a sister, an aunt.

A writer, a friend.

Knowing she’s dead doesn’t make her less alive

It’s only that piece of her

He took with him when he left.

Preserved and waiting in the dark.

~TLD
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Might want to take a pass on this one

It happened as gently as it could

He fell asleep, and just didn’t wake up again

No traumatic exit 

No pain, just release from this world he didn’t understand,

that didn’t understand him.

I found him in the morning,

long after those final breaths

Not in the dead of night

When the family and friends who gathered around us

Never could have done so.

We had a full night’s sleep,

and a full day to process what we could before

everyone left us, in this house far too quiet.

*

He was gone before life could spiral out of control again

When he left, everyone still loved him

He was our sweet, brilliant, lovable Christofer

Roostafee, gladiator, protector, goofball.

It was hard to love the person he became

when the demons gnawed their way out from that place he tethered them.

When the thoughts and thoughts and thoughts just wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

When turning off completely was the only way to get some relief.

(He blamed the leg, but it was so much more than that.)

He died at home, the place he loved the most

Not somewhere full of strangers who would run before they helped.

He didn’t slowly sink to the worst gates of hell

but skipped to the brighter oblivion

What I want to believe has little bearing on whatever truth exists.

Whether there is something more or no such thing at all,

He’s free.

**

He died the best version of himself.

He left behind love, and people shocked

to learn he fought so hard to be that best version of himself

to be the man they knew.

The scientist. The inventor. The gym bro.

The guy who bought groceries for the old lady

who couldn’t get out herself. The brilliant mind.

Such a gift. One that came with

sharp barbs and snagging hooks.

***

He didn’t mean to go, but he didn’t want to stay.

Carrying infinity around inside was just too big a job

for a single body, a single mind, the limitations of both.

The pain without was just a tiny echo of the one within that bounced

ear to ear,

all the time.

****

There is no what if,  this happened, and

it did so as gently as it could.

It left us best able to cope and I can’t help believing

He orchestrated it somehow.

Because something inside him always knew

We’d say goodbye to him before he had to say goodbye to us.

(It was the only pain he believed he couldn’t face.)

And if we’re some form of energy that thinks and knows and has been here before

He thought and he knew and he planned it the best way he could.

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