Category Archives: poetry

Cusp

You were always on the cusp of things; between

Aquarius and Pisces; between

families blended; between

lightest light, and darkest dark; between

feeling too much, and too little. A shield,

perhaps, to guard one from the other.

Or maybe you were the extremes, not

the between; the edges of you far

from the cusps of your duality. I suppose it depends

upon the when of things. The cusp you were born upon pushed,

and pushed, until it had no choice but

to push back, springing with such force you landed

back at the cusp

where you died

on the cusp of spring and summer

on the same waxing crescent of the moon.

OIP

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Learning to Swim

At first, it’s a dog-paddle, all

kicking and flailing and taking on

too much water. Slow. Slogging. It becomes the breast stroke,

less effort. Sustainable. Getting nowhere fast, so you move into

freestyling the long stroke,

poorly. It’s all about rotating your arms and

paddling your legs in time with

breathing. Learning to coordinate all three. Exhausting.

Gratifying, and you backstroke for a time,

catching your breath. Watching the clouds, the water always tugging,

tugging you back. Tugging you down. Making you swim and swim and swim because

there is no end to the water. No land. No shore. No raft or boat or log to cling to,

just the water’s lazy promise, “I will drown you if I can. I promise. Oh, I vow.”

And so you learn to tread water, for

those times you cannot swim. It’s that or succumb

to the water always whispering, always whispering, always

whispering…

TLD

OIP

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Astronaut

Last night I dreamed you were

an astronaut, and I

was responsible for hooking you up to

your lifeline. I couldn’t get it quite right.

A plastic barb was stuck in my cheek, but I

had no hands left to pull it out. You were floating

up

up

away into the blue, brilliant sky. No lifeline, and

I scrambled, pleading,

begging for the scientists all around to help me.

But for the one who

pulled the barb from my cheek, they

didn’t even look my way. He

held it out for me; I had

no hands left to take it. So

he dropped it at my feet. I

grabbed for it, letting go of your lifeline, and

you flew away.

Sun, sunbeams against a blue sky - cloudless sky

(I 100% had this dream. Not a word of embellishment.)

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A Gym Bro Named Inga

I dreamed of you last night, We

were at a backyard party, and you

were with some friends:

A gym-bro, rather large, and bearded; his name

was Inga. There was also a girl

who had long, rainbow hair. I didn’t

catch her name, though she tried to tell me;

It was too noisy. You were busy monkeying with

your backpack, with something inside, pointedly

avoiding the introduction.

*

You never spoke, though Inga did. He was

quite insistent that I get his name right, while the girl

played with her hair, wanting me to see every

vibrant color, her smile sweet and kind of shy. It was important that

I like her, I could tell. And then off you all went,

the three of you.

*

You waved over your shoulder, barely

looked my way. Avoidance was always

the first clue, one I missed the last time around, but watching

you walk away, I wasn’t scared. I didn’t insist

upon seeing your eyes, or what was in the backpack.

I knew it was okay. You were okay.  (It’s hard for you

to say good-bye, I know. Me too.) Just

anxious to be off, having checked in with your Turtle.

*

Be free, my boy. Be safe and

brave, curious and

adventurous, and

as difficult as it is to say good-bye,

keep checking in. I like meeting your friends.

(I write my way, I write my way, I write my way to you.)

papow

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Carry On

(I’m not sure why this never published; I apparently wrote it back in August. In light of my recent brain-singing comments, it seems to be time.)

You are carried on song

like winds, inexorable. I might avoid

the radio, but the music

finds me anyway. In commercials,

while at the grocery store. Snips that cling to

synapses and sparks inside my head. Playing

over and over. Bands you listened to, Songs

you loved, sometimes those you never

even heard. Songs that speak

to me of you. Starry, starry nights, the

lights to guide you home, light up your bones,

You shut up and dance, bid hello to darkness, when you’re

lost and alone, and

sinking like a stone, to join the black parade. Lyrics and

drums and guitars and keyboards, they

play nonstop. Nonstop. Non

stop.

 

Long ago, before you were the ghost always hovering,

never within reach, when it was another ghost

always hovering, never within reach,

it was the same. Music

undid me, and did me up tight. Kept me

sane. Kept the tears coming so I’d not

drown in them, held inside.

 

Music speaks. For the living, and

the dead, the young and

the old. The happy and the sad. The same words

caught inside ears, wiggling and worming into brains

interpreting every note, every word, to its own

experience.

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Passage

Autumn comes–shorter days, cool and scented

with decay. Leaves without their chlorophyll. Flowers

crisp and brown-edged. The lingering hues saturated

against the surrounding fade. Pinpoints of color,

raging. The earth preparing for

the long sleep.

*

I write my way.

I write my way.

I write my way

to you.

*

Winter comes–silent, gentle–sounds muffled

by the cold. Bare branches reach. Click

against the sky. Crows call, their voices louder for

the silence. Louder for their hunger.

Need. Want. I leave bread for them. Scramble

an egg. They carry messages in return.

*

I write my way.

I write my way.

I write my way

to you.

th

 

 

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Four

Jamie, Scott, Chris and Grace.

I wrote their names, tagging a message to my kids not

an hour ago.

Jamie, Scott, Chris and Grace.

Automatic. Rote. Give me another word

that means it flew out of my brain and

to my fingers, before time could fall and

chop them off at the knuckles,

break me open and

let all the heat out of my body.

*

Four years, two months, and twelve days, give or take

a few hours, and that has never happened before.

I actually wrote his name without

meaning to. Backspace, backspace,

three more times. His name is gone, the message out.

The blank spaces where his name was, glare.

 

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Discomfuddled

I’m feeling a bit unsettled today,

Like there’s something I must do;

the storm inside me rages, so

I’ll write my way to you.

brainstorm

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Leather-bound

I dreamed I had a library book. It was
old and leather-bound. The pages
were thick, maybe vellum, and
it was beautiful.
When I opened it, the pages
were full of holes. All the beautiful lettering
pocked and obscured. The gold edges
flaking.
In my sleep, I was annoyed
I wouldn’t get to read the book.
It made me sad. Who would destroy something
so magnificent?
Dreams fade; this one didn’t. Hours after
going back to sleep, getting up,
having breakfast and doing chores and
writing some, I still see the book the
holes, the ruin. I still feel annoyed, and sad
so clearly, I clicked out of my manuscript to
write it out here. Maybe get it 
out of my head.

He’s gone nearly four years. My beautiful book.

His story full of holes, unreadable,
but beautiful.

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Momentary Glimpse Forward

I saw myself–clearly, so clearly–as
an old woman, sitting
in a chair. In
the sunshine. My hair white. My face
to the sun. I was tired,
exhausted really, of life, in that way
one has after a tremendous effort. Over
and done. Energy spent. No regrets.
The good and
the bad. The joy and
the sorrow. I was smiling.
“You are such a joyful spirit,” a stranger recently stopped me to say.
“Truly, a joyful spirit.” How is that so
when I heft the singularity of
a black hole in my core?
A beloved friend, true and seldom seen, told me
I shine. Of all the compliments paid, the insults made, that
has stuck with me the most. The beach, friends that would become
sisters, words and words and so many words.
“You shine, honey! You shine!” spoken at that exclamation point in
my life, the week of weeks when I broke free of
everything that ever held me back. When I became
the me I’ve always been, have always wanted to be.
I shine.
I’m a joyful spirit who carries inside
a black hole of more sorrows than the obvious ones. Sorrows
that will never dim my light.
I was an old woman, looking back. The
only way to look when one is old. Always
past. Looking forward to the fading years is
the same as it has always been.
Exciting.
Frightening.
The way is shadow and light. Back
I looked, the sun in my face, on my
hair still touched with long-ago pink
abandoned to the white.

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