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
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
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
"We believe in one God, Father the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth..." I was raised a Roman Catholic. I have painted my old Reeboks white so they look new; they're stiff as I walk downtown toward our apartment. The steeple from my school and the lake behind it disappear behind the run-together row of clapboard bars, hair salons, and the broken down apartment buildings. Lilacs are always pushing through the dirty fences and even they smell like cigarettes and beer. Gum all over the sidewalk; gum in my mouth. I look down. I'm nervous every day at age eleven. I am shy. I do what I'm told and I have manners. I pray. I pray for my mother. I pray for the holy force to make Joey Larson fall in love with me. My shoes are dirty from the day--in the sunlight I see you can tell they've been painted and I feel for a moment delayed embarrassment. One block to go and I pass the Cassaloma--the last bar before home. The red door is held open by a rusted ashcan and hot, smuggy air permeates from the dark. Bleach and smoke and beer. Stale heat flutters my white blouse and I'm suddenly hot. I take my ponytail out and peek behind my blond bangs, just to see. I always have to see. There's the glare from the chrome of the barstool once my eyes adjust, and I see the silhouette of the man who's there, every day,at 3:20. He doesn't move as empty ashtrays clang and spin across the counter as the bartender wipes them with white rags. The sun catches in his big glasses that always magnified his blue eyes. I want him to see me; I don't want him to see me. I mouth the word "dad" just to see how it feels in my mouth. It's just a fact--as my mother tells us--he has been an alcoholic since we before we were born. A heavy woman in a Mickey Mouse shirt leans back from her stool and stares in my direction. I can't risk her drawing his attention in my direction, so I walk away and wonder if Joey Larson saw my shoes in the sun.
do you see the bomb blasts
in your dreams
and in your waking dreams
behind your eyes–fear
all around you and they assure you
you’re safe at home.
Men, women, children–their faces climbing
up the walls at night, children getting
on the bus here, in danger
no one is safe
especially you, in your very soul,
as you check for exits in every room
as you hear whispers and sounds–
your thoughts, tangled up and talking to you
go numb, so numb
and run away on strong legs
that you can’t feel
faster and faster
yet you go nowhere
give them shelter
give them shelter
find them safety
protect your men
protect your country
but now you don’t
to protect you
All This quiet time by myself
looking in the mirror, at my triumphs,
failures and mistakes
and I feel a sad song in my veins
when I think of you and me, my dear
I think you’ve gotten tired like me
Maybe we have no way
of getting out of this for awhile
I try not to call
but I’m not that good at being alone.
So maybe I’m sorry, my dear
Maybe I gotta do some things on my own–
as I’ve always tried to do.
I’m slow building up a new foundation
but the layers take me time
but I’m used to getting dirty
When I lost it in November
you were the only one
who could just barely reach my loneliness–
but you did, dear…
and when I hate me–
you’ve always seen some part
of me I can’t–some piece
of me you somehow see–and I trust you.
I think your heart is too big
for someone like me, dear
I think I hurt you
in a bad way–in a way from love
I didn’t know I was twisting up your insides
bad enough you had to
stop and pull back
And maybe I’m sorry
even for things outta my hands
because it’s me anyhow, behind the wheel.
And I don’t wanna drag anyone down
into this with me anymore
for some damn reason you were crazy enough
to volunteer in the dark at my side
and I am
I miss you. I miss us. I miss me.
I promise I’ll get better, my dear.
You believed in me–before I ever could–
what else could have possibly
kept me here?
Since I was little you were
what love was, like a mama, and shelter
and you always let me go my way
as maybe is the way of sisters
I wonder if you–did you think
you’d always have to break your back under me?
I got mad at you for being tired.
I’m sorry, my dear
I expect so much out of you
I see how you kinda had to let me go a little
step back, away
and that’s okay
I’m kinda keen on fighting alone–
you know I prefer to have pride that way
But maybe–you never let me be alone
and so I’ll trust you while you are.
Maybe, for the first time–
Ill do something for you
And let you rest.
as if Lady Day had kissed my skin and I sang–
how I sang to you–my idea
of love a passing summer’s day.
You wouldn’t go away–so serious
of the illusion you bought
or so I thought–No, I’d tell you
when you slept
No, I’m too much for you
and time slips
and it turns to
No, I’m not enough for you
while I thought you were dreaming;
but you knew, didn’t you? the inner
cycles in my matter,
you knew before I did
that I loved you
only you were too shy to say so, too shy Continue reading
This poem came out of me after reading only chapter 2 from the book Women Who Run with the Wolves.
It is a sacred place–this place
when I am unexpecting.
Sometimes it's when I am
overjoyed; sometimes when I am desperate
And sometimes in that space
between waking and dreaming;
But in that secret river–that sacred place–
is The Mother, The One Who Knows.
Search, she tells me, search, love.–the answers
you alone hold. You know what to do.
And of yourself–let die what must die,
let live what must live.
You have a power in your veins–a power
in your very mind–and it
is fed from your soul, she tells me.
And I, for a few moments, revel
in the possibility that illness
is just a lesson from a force
stronger than water.
Another great time at Open Link Night at dverdverse Poets Pub!
I used to imagine that the night sky
was a blanket God put over the earth
and that he was kind enough to poke holes
in it so we wouldn’t get lost in the dark–giving us a light
beyond anything I was ever a part of.
One night my stepfather took us to see my mother
in the mental ward.
We hadn’t seen her in a month
and when she came outside to meet us
she was robed and terrified, clinging to him.
She never looked at us but stood in the cool
October air crying. How strange it was
to see that, and it wasn’t sad–disappointment
was a large part of our lives.
I remember I couldn’t look at her
so I stared up into the stars, that blanket
I wanted wrapped around us,
clinging to my own small song.
Time for another round of Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets’ Pub! Come join in and share a poem and read the talent of others. This poem was inspired by Anne Sexton’s poem “The Room of My Life” and this is the first draft I wrote at six this morning. The title will change. Thanks!
THE ROOM OF MY LIFE
Here, in the room of my life,
a cigarette is half burning, the gray ash
snake still in the crystal. Cheap crystal.
Good Will crystal.
Painted black book shelves, yellowed paperbacks
with bent corners–The Bell Jar–like a pulse
on the second shelf. Two copies.
There is wallpaper–striped gold with deep purple
paisley and forest greens. I must have picked at it–
near the ceiling, strips are gone,
the delicate paper bowing backwards. Pieces of it
have slipped down into the cold register.
There are one or two windows…the heavy drapes block out
all seasons but there is, shhh, one crack between the curtain panels
where brilliant light sneaks through.
I lay on the dusty chaise like Woolf in makeup Continue reading