Category Archives: poetry

Some Days

Memory tumbles me
down.
Gnaws at my pit.
Chews me up from the
inside.
Grinds me into indigestible bits
spits me out, an owl pellet.
Bones and hair and teeth.
A mass of nothing useful.
Tangled moments and
disjointed pieces of
days and months and
years no longer viable in singular
Only as a continuous every.
*
I want to go where
the wild things are, where
memories get parceled out,
tied with red ribbon and
S.W.A.K.
Wherever it is the bad doesn’t
rob the good, doesn’t
taint everything it touches,
a splash of ink, of blood, in water.
TLD
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Future, Tense

Churning, something’s churning. Is that you,

Future, come to call? Knocking

at my door? Tickling

the glass? Let me in, let

me in. I’ve no hair on my chinny, chin, chin to

deny you entrance. You frighten me.

You’ve brought good, and

not so good. Horrendous, really.

That churning feels excited. It promises

something new, something

grand. But you’ve tricked me before,

fool me twice, and all that jazz.

You’ll get in, one way or another. I can

open the door, welcoming, give you

a plate of pasta, or some broccoli rabe.

I could try to bar the way, kick you and beat you back

but you’ll get in. You will, and then you’ll be vexed.

Are you set in stone? Or do I have some power

over you? A question Ages old, unanswerable. And yet–

eternally asked.

*

There is only Future. Present already

has one foot in the grave the moment

it comes to be, and there it goes,

Already gone, that present at the start of this page. In

the Past, past, always the past. Memorable, not

relivable. Gone. Out of reach. So, come on at me

I open the door. Welcome! Welcome!

Have some pasta!

Give it all you got. Maybe we’ll even be friends. And

if we’re not, it’s on you; I tried.

I even made you broccoli rabe.

jester

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This Makes Sense Only to Me

Their worlds and words are a part

of my days and my nights and my

in-betweens. They talk to me while

I cook,

watch TV,

drive, and sleep. They give me

scenes and dialog and dilemmas; joy and sorrow and

horror. They give me

the impossible, and task me to make it plausible. At least

enjoyable.

There’s Aggie and her mason jar, and

Rosemary’s wish, the one she won’t

take back. Then there’s

the woman who runs over the not-quite-a-man, in a town

on the edge

of forever. And crusty Queenie, who

never did much right, who

never thought it quite necessary, who

might manage to do some good.

There’s Yvonne and Jacob, back in 1949,

Bonnie-Jane and Hannelore, in 1985. And still,

in stories written and always calling, Nell and Ledanora,

Mabel and Frankie and Tracy. Back and back, to

Ethen and Zihariel, Linhare and Wait. There are

warriors and queens who knock on my skull–Remember us?

I do. I do. How can I forget? You were once

my everything. The foundation of

my everything. The beginning of

Everything.

If not another book gets published, I will

write and write and write. There will be

mutiny, otherwise. Inside my head. In

dreams and waking. I’ll walk about like a character

from Wonderland, quite mad and rather glad to be so. Better

than the knowing, the abandoning, the void of a well

left to dry.

I prefer the parade never end, a continuous loop, of

characters and places already known, and those

slipping the red-ropes to join in, unannounced but

always welcome, to dance their dances and sing their songs, to

tell their tales and ask for my assistance in

ditching the parade for

broader horizons.

 

 

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Pockets

It happened just yesterday, in

a box store, I

whisked through the aisles, wanting

to be out of there quickly, and

slipped into a time pocket.

It only lasted a moment, long

enough to steal my breath, to

make my eyes water, to

send me back in time. Smoked salmon,

of all things. I’d

buy it for him, even though it was

expensive, and

he’d eat it all in one sitting, because…

just because. I

slipped into that time pocket, I

reached for it, my

hand snagged on a thread that

pulled me back, out of the pocket, to

the now where he’s not here to

eat the whole package

in one sitting, while

I watch indulgently on.

 

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Fishing

There’s a fishing pole in the rafters
out on the front porch of this house on the river
He bought it one day, convinced it would quiet the chaos
Give him some zen
A fly rod, dancing the line out over the water
Enticing bass
He tied a few flies. I wouldn’t know
If they’re any good. But he was proud of
Those lures.
He only went a couple of times. The zen didn’t happen
The calm didn’t come
But he had one perfect day on the water
With his dad, casting the line
Casting, dancing, searching
One day is something, at least
The rod stays with the house.
It’s where it belongs. Here in this haven that was his cage
His safety net
His noose.

flyfishing

TLD

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Friday the 13th

“It’s marked as deceased. No one can do anything with it.”

Those words, overheard just now, they

hurt. Sorrow welled up and

out of my throat.

I covered my face so

my husband wouldn’t hear, wouldn’t

know, because those words hadn’t hit him

The way they hit me.

 

Two nights ago, a phone call from Texas:

“I’m calling for Christofer J. DeFino,

About a car he just asked about online.”

“He’s gone three years now. It couldn’t have been him.”

“I’m sorry, so sorry.”

My husband said it was our boy pulling a prank, letting us know

he’s still around to do so. I feared someone using

his name,

his identity.

That’s where we are, now. Him and me,

He and I,

Us.

“It’s marked as deceased. No one can do anything with it.”

Social Security, moments ago, assured my husband on the phone.

Upstairs, writing at my computer, I broke

into silent tears. He’ll read this and

He’ll know, silent will no longer

be silent.

They’re here, on this page, screaming.

~TLD

images

 

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Less

It doesn’t happen as often now,

those moments rolling

into tidal waves.

When they do, they hit harder

knock me

to my knees

hands clutching at my throat

trying

to keep air in my lungs.

*

It doesn’t happen as often now

those dreams of visiting

in familiar places.

When they do, I know

you’re not

really there

just the wishing in my head

flying

free as you are.

*

It’ll never not happen,

I’ve tried

to fit those moments

those dreams

into memories of who you were

in your best times

even in your worst.

I’ve tried being grateful

for the time I had,

that your pain is done,

about your next adventure.

I try and I try, and sometimes

succeed, and yet,

there are those moments.

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Looking Out the Window on a Rainy Day

*1*

It is ingrained in our DNA. Hide pain

so we don’t get eaten, picked out

of the herd, sent to

the bottom of the pack. Primitive instinct

at the core, always evolving.

*chorus*

We don’t want you to know.

We don’t want to see it in your face,

behind your eyes every time

you look at us. We don’t want conversations to stop,

or fall away when our subject is touched.

Eyes averted and cheeks pink, tongues stammering into silence.

We don’t want to be There but by the grace of god go I! 

In your hearts and in your minds. But we are.

We are. Compassion and pity are so difficult to tell apart.

*3*
We don’t want you to know, to hate

those we love, who cause us pain, and so we hide

what they do from you. We want

them to have a place in your heart when the chaos is over.

If it’s ever over. Sometimes it never is.

Fractals growing ever inward, ever outward.

*repeat chorus*

*4*

We hide our pain to spare ourselves, to spare

you the sometimes silent, sometimes shouted fury, to spare

us both pretending condolences don’t infuriate as much as

the blame, the co-dependent tags, the if-only-you-hads.

It all results in the same unavoidable circle.

You can’t do right. You can’t do wrong.

And so we hide behind smiles, behind tears, behind our own

averted eyes and pink cheeks and stammering tongues.

“I’m so sorry,” you say.

“Thank you,” say we.

Today, it may be just right. Tomorrow?

Maybe not.

*repeat chorus*

*5*

You don’t want to see our truth; trust me on that

You want us to hide; trust me on that.

Trust me. Trust me. Never trust me.

Pain hidden is an ugly thing, hideous, snarling

It’s contradictory and mean, pitiful and powerful.

Without an outlet, it’s deadly. This is mine, all

Mine. Borrow it if you need to, I give it freely, but don’t

worry it away from me. Don’t make me go silent. Don’t force me

to hide.

*repeat chorus*

maxresdefault

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Kapowie

I don’t even know the words I’m trying to find,

sitting here staring at the cursor blinking.

All my babies are sick, I wrote in a text

just yesterday. I hesitated over that line, that

simple line. All my babies. All

my babies.

Not all.

I couldn’t take it back and insert living 

in between my and babies. It was too crude

too…just too. Many things. Real and

raw, and simple and true. All

my babies.  All

three of them, not four. All

the ones left for me to aw, honey!

over their sniffles and sneezes, their relationship highs

and job lows, their new puppies and upcoming trips and

huge steps into all their tomorrows, like buying a house,

or a car, or a new brand of peanut butter.

*

There’s too much space between last time and next one,

That next one possibly the final burst of endorphins

released into my dying brain, or that wished for beyond of all beyonds

where a tunnel of light gives way to beloved ghosts, waiting.

It seems like too much wishing, and yet I will

on the off chance it happens to be the truth

And he’s waiting for me. They are. All of them, but mostly

him. Open arms (if arms we have) and brilliant smile

(if teeth are such a thing, lips curled up and over to flash in eyes once violet blue) falling-04

I’ll fall into them, and fall and fall and forever fall,

until the missing words fill in.

~TLD

 

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Conversating

Your name rolls through my head, thunder

and wind; the gentle downpour after

My boy. My boy. My beautiful son.

Why did you…why didn’t you…?

I didn’t mean to go; I just didn’t want to stay.

‘Why’ is your name, without the gentle rain.

*

I fought too much

I fought too hard

I fought futile battles time would never ease.

You could have. You did. Over and over again.

You were stronger.

No. I wasn’t. And that’s the fact you can’t–

Won’t grasp. You hold up my mirror to those few

ideal years. Golden boy. King of the world. Anything

mine for the asking. The taking.

But it was a lie. The one you wanted to believe

I did too. I swear. But the other me was real. The one who thought.

The one who knew. The one who hid his fight behind a

smile. The one who fought for others

because the fight inside raged on. He was the one you wanted me to be,

And that made it all the worse.

It isn’t true. I wanted you. I wanted the best

version of you, whatever that was. You had so much to give–

I had nothing left…

You were only twenty-five!

And ancient beyond counting years.

Pain wears a body down. Exhausts the mind.

I know! I know! Don’t you think I know?

I watched you, every day. I took you to doctors.

I rubbed your leg. I dissected every cue into

every possibility. Until I didn’t.

And that should tell you something, shouldn’t it?

I don’t like what it says.

*

I didn’t mean to go. I just couldn’t stay.

When given my choice, I left everything behind 

including you. Your worry. Your tears. Your love.

The bad, and the good. Sweet dreams, Turtle.

Sweet dreams.

*

I dreamed my eldest daughter

was a teenager again,

tasked with buying cookies for a party. She chose

lemon, and lime, tomato and basil flavored,

in the box store where dinosaurs wrought havoc

among the patrons.

There had been a bridge, and a gate

between their world and ours.

Someone had opened the gate. download

Someone had let them in.

While my daughter and I bought cookies

in a past that never was.

~TLD

 

 

 

 

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