to Erica: “…And every fucking day I look in the mirror and I have to decide if I’ve lost, or if I’ll keep my chin above the water.”
Also sharing this with Open Link Night over at dVerse)
I’m about to write a poem about a certain, special color for me (oddly it’s not at all a….pleasant one usually). This is Claudia’s creative idea over at dVerse Poets Pub. Join the fun, read the poems of other bloggers, comment, and the like. Thanks for reading.
Brown like the mahogany pews in the Rectory
my mother used to polish
as a side job when I was four,
trailing behind her with a bucket
of Pinesol–that clean burning smell
of brown sloshing bubbles.
Brown like the carpet squares she
single-handedly pieced together Continue reading
“Amy, you’re gonna get it,” Nikki tells me. I’m hiding between the lilac bushes, Barbie’s head in my hand. It’s our weekend at our father’s house.
“What’d you use?”
“Daddy John’s knife.” I’m not afraid. My father is harmless, even almost afraid of us. It’s my stepfather I’m scared of.
“I’m telling!” And off she runs toward the farmhouse. I fish for the knife in the pocket of my dirty overalls and slice at Barbie’s pretty blue eyes so they open. I sit and poke little holes where her pupils are and then I saw at her ratty hair. I lick my bottom lip, almost got it. A pleasure fills me.
“Amy! You get in here!” It’s Grandma Helen, I can see her wiping her hands on her apron through the lilac branches. The white house is blinding but filthy. The shutters are falling off. My Uncle Bob saunters up the dirt driveway and tosses a beer can near my hiding spot. He doesn’t see me, I breathe. His hands, I don’t like his hands.
I wait for him to get to the porch before I emerge. I stuff the knife in my pocket and leave Barbie behind.
“Amy what are you doing? Give your daddy his knife back, you don’t belong with that. Come in it’s lunch time.” I race up the stairs and into the kitchen where Grandpa Leo sits in his brown leather chair that spins and spins when you lay across it. He’s next to the window, above the lilac bushes, watching the humming bird feeder as usual, sipping his Old Style. I know it’s time to be a little more civilized so I toss the knife on Continue reading
At some point everything becomes clear. That doesn’t necessarily mean a good clear, but fact is preferred over fiction when you’re locked up in a mental ward. Again. And it’s snowing out–and worse–it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re thirtieth birthday is coming and you’re little girl must be looking for you. It’s all you can do to decipher the shell-shocked woman looking back at you in the tin mirror bolted to the wall above your sink. Here you get your own sink because this time, this trip into the bin, they knew it was much more serious than they had originally thought, and your “security” is upgraded. You have a thought you would usually have–that the upgrade only makes you feel more nuts–but at this point, you don’t feel nuts. You are nuts. I say to myself ‘I’m clinically insane’ and for a moment I believe it’s something to smile about. When the leading psychiatrist told me on New Year’s Day morning that I was clinically psychotic and suffering from complex PTSD, I thought about my mind–clearly–for a second, and I imagined a blue and orange brain-scan image showing clouds of lesions. Then I slipped back into the room , in and out of dissociating, and the yellow walls were much too close and I could Continue reading
I’m so changed by what’s happened to me, Erica. And I can stomach it. It’s usually my closest ones that can’t look me in the eye.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
Bon Iver's “The Wolves” I just can't stop listening to this as I write:
So I’m not sure how to begin this post because it was all so intense and beautiful. Some of you may know about Erica. I’ve written several poems and stories about her, including this week’s one “Wonder.” We were true adventurers and kindred spirits, soul mates, when our worlds around us (in private) were treacherous and unknown, we found sanctuary and beauty in each other. “My first love,” as she put it, “love in its purest form.” THat was us. We drifted, we “broke up” in a sense. But we never forgot each other–especially when we each had our own breakdowns on opposite sides of the world. We began emailing and writing to each other and sending music to each other. We confessed our souls out Continue reading
This poem is about God as my Mother; it only took a year to figure that out:
BEYOND THE BORDER
The pop and snap of prescription pill bottles,
swallow, light, inhale, scrape of the chair,
cluster of tap-tap-taps on the keys, a silence—
beyond this room, beyond this wall
I can almost hear you—the soil
sifting, seeds spreading out, dry in your palm;
folds of light robes around you like
You held the sun in your hand.
I stared at the light shining
through your very skin, your
fingertips red, as if you were
singly holding a ball of fire
and the darkness around us
was a wonder then, wasn’t it?
A universe we would harnass–
sketching stars in reverse,
stunned at such beauty.
It’s strange how the ones we love
seem to sink in the deep when we’re not looking. Continue reading
I was going through old writings and essays from college and I found a paragraph I just might use for my book’s intro (oddly enough, my book is going to be called “Small Parts”):
She’s pushing me hard. I want to say, “What is there to push?” I have nothing. She’s convinced someone is buried inside—some scared little girl. I’ve heard this shit before. I’m convinced whoever I once was is dying, because I’m trying to kill her. She doesn’t need to be anywhere around me. I enjoy watching her choke out and dim. I want to tell this psychotherapist, and ask her, “Then what?” What happens next? Because I can’t create someone out of nothing. I can’t start over. I can’t create what you want or he wants or she wants or I want. I don’t want anything but to float about through the day, but my body is always shaking and then I can’t breathe. They took me to the hospital and some small part of my mind wanted to go. Some small part of me. Small parts—that’s all we really are, aren’t we? And in the grand scheme of things this is all insignificant. We’re just statistics. Facts. Bodies filing into clinics for revival and pills and assessment. A small part of me wants to lay in a hospital bed for the rest of my life, watching tubes feed into and out of me; white coats, white blankets, white. Fix me, medical people. A part of your brain doesn’t comprehend the difference between physical and mental; all you know is there is no God and there is no point.
Needs a little cleaning up, but I like the endish area.
Yeah so…Nanowrimo…I’ve got about 5,000 words, I’m a tad behind. And I’ve really made the effort each day, several times a day, to sit down and write. And guess what? My house has never been so clean!! I sit to write, right? And I decide to clean the vacuum out before I vacuum cuz as I sit here staring at a blinking cursor, seeing debris on the carpet out of the corner of my eye. So then, I must dust all the wood in the house because maybe the smell of Pledge will stir up memories and inspire my pen. There’s a paint brush and unfinished trim, and my clean house doesn’t look complete without finishing that nagging project, then maybe, if I get it done, the nagging sensation will go away and my mind will be clear to write. Oh, I need a water. Bottled. I save what I haven’t typed and Continue reading
Better late than never–I missed Kellie Elmore’s “Freewrite Friday” November first, and as I can’t sleep I thought I’d give it a go. Kelley Rose was her guest host last friday and you can read her free-write HERE.
The free-write challenge:
What was a pivotal moment for you, and most importantly, how did it change you?
Hmm, so many…
It was a clear October night. My two sisters and I piled into the old red Chevy with our stepfather and headed outside of town for the hospital, where my mother was in the mental ward. None of us spoke; Steve, my stepfather, drove and chain-smoked Dorals. In my peripheral vision I could see when we came to the only two stoplights in our town so I knew how far we had to go. But something was strange, well it is to me now–maybe then I was so accustomed to strange things happening. But I wasn’t worried or scared or nervous. I refused to look away from the night stars–believing that if I focused hard enough, time would still, and this wouldn’t happen, because I couldn’t believe the kind of family we were becoming. Because real dads don’t drink away their kids, because stepdads don’t touch you and hit you, because moms are solid strong things that don’t go away. Continue reading
(another work in progress–my first fictional piece ever)
Strange how I can still remember the feel and sound of the stroller wheels over the broken sidewalks. Bernie had babysat me since I was a baby, so with this memory comes the image and sound of him—rambling and gentle and always there—a thick, crumpled figure in a blur of summer’s blues and whites.
Bernie had suffered from polio as a child, giving him a limp on the left side of his body. I remember listening to him talk with my mother in our kitchen. Through the streams of smoke from my mother’s cigarettes, I could make out his towering height at the table. He spat out his t’s and licked his hairy upper lip.
“Yeah I’m a catch! No, don’t nobody pay attention to me and that’s just fine. My hair turned white when I was only sixteen.” He smiled at me through ancient teeth. “Yeah, girls never interested me much, ‘course they din’t like me neither. But I think sex, sex is gross. It says in the Bible about Adam and Eve and I just don’t understand that part–that part about the forbidden fruit Eve took, but they musta had sex ‘cause otherwise we wouldn’t be here. My mother, oh my mother she always liked reading the Bible and to go to, to go to church and stuff like that, but I din’t. I never liked church. My sister, Peggy, now Peggy–she always went to church with my mother but told ME that it ain’t true. She’ll burn in hell for that. Where does she think we come from? I just don’t get it. Some people are just so stupid.”
He looked at me as he said, “But you ain’t no stupid kid, are ya, Tony? My sweet little Tony!” He patted my cheek and beamed. I’m certain I was his favorite. Continue reading