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Sunday, December 8, 2013

making space for christmas

the house is still groaning
from thanksgiving.
the extra large platters
haven't been returned to their cupboard
and the freezer is pregnant
with leftovers.
its time to make some space.

the spare room
has to be emptied
of its yearly accumulation
of castoff clothing,
empty suitcases,
piles of old towels,
and spring jackets
that have been waiting to be taken to new homes.
its time to make more space.

the shelves need to be emptied
and filled with the collection
that sees daylight for a few weeks each year.
its time to move the furniture
so the tree can be brought in,
boxes can be unpacked,
and the house can sparkle like it should.
we definitely need to make space.

the days are full,
overflowing into nights
from work to store to work to bed to work again.
there are lists filling up pockets,
the calendar,
and the little note pad on the fridge.
but still we need to make space.

greetings need to be sent
with lists of all the space
we made throughout the year
for fun and adventure,
sadness,
change,
and growth.
we wish everyone
(and silently ourselves)
the gift
of space for those things in their life next year.

our hopes are full
with plans
to watch that stack of movies,
spend an evening over games,
take that long snowy walk,
cook more but eat less,
and this time,
this time
stop and savor
the stars in the polished night sky,
the laughter filling every room,
and the way the tree lights
make you look like a child again.
somehow, somehow
we need to make space.

late, late at night
my bed is full
with thoughts and to dos
seeping out from the previous day's
unfinished work
that buries me deep under the blanket.
never have i more needed to make space.

at first light of morning
a thought like a mouse
burrows its way
into my waking mind,
gnawing, and wriggling,
trying to make space.

so i set aside the pile of lists,
the cookbooks
left unopened,
and ignore the silent call
of the mountain of gifts to wrap.
i sit down
with a cold cup of coffee
and realize
after the letters have landed
on the screen
that i may have done it.

and now
i hope
have you.

somehow

just now

we have made

space. 



Friday, December 6, 2013

examination

here I am again
back to that smell of fear.
stuck in the waiting place
for my body,
but especially
for my mind.

looking forward
and backward
simultaneously.

the familiar feel of the crisp robe
(that makes me feel so small)
dropping from my chest
like a weak curtain
that announces a show about to begin.
boring and rote for the viewer
who repeats the performance
a hundred times a week,
on the same stage,
under the same unfriendly lights.
the only difference
is the prop:

me.

waiting for the cold probing hands.
never the same pair
but always, always
the same,
cold dry and antiseptic,
and now over time
somehow reassuring.
waiting as they flutter over skin,
too personal
yet never taking enough time,
never searching deeply enough.
wanting them to see inside,
to act like a divining rod for sickness.
but that is the fear:
the wanting to be known.
the wanting to be owned by those hands.
to surrender responsibility
and make them make the discovery
and leave me out of it.
but that can never happen.
what is there is always there.

while waiting and wondering
the memories slip out.
the too accurate memories of the first time,
too late,
so scared and alone.
and all the times in between
spent always
with the waiting.
all of those times:
the first
the then
the after
the now
collected together on the same
string of fear.
a fine sharp wire
that pierces each memory
each moment
each breath,
and I balance on it
again
trying to stay calm
and not fall.

Monday, November 11, 2013

today i will retreat

today I will retreat
into myself
until i am a small seed.

i will curl a shell around me
tight against the world.

i will ask to be carried gently
in the cup of a careful hand.

i will stay warm against the cold
blind to the sun
and dry against the rainstorm
that is sure to come.

i will be brown
and hard
with only a small green heart in my center
hidden behind thick nut
and tough husk
and bitter shell.

today i will retreat.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

life comes in pieces

life comes
in pieces.
some are soft
and fleeting
like drowsy moths
and candle flame.

luckily
there are those
like the perfect palm sized stone
or tide sculpted glass
so unique
that they are kept forever
in secret places.


some are like needles
small, sharp, and painful.


sometimes
there are
heavy
immoveable
obstructions
that will darken the landscape.


but
worse are the long drowsy blankets
that take up space
and thicken the air
in boring suffocation.


the best pieces
are those mysterious
elusive ones
that change in different light.


they are never caught
they are fleeting
exotic
alluring
unattainable
and teasing


like a light across the valley in the night
an undefined thirst
a sense that something is about to happen
the knowledge of truth
and power

the moment of life.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

is it enough to see

is it enough to see or be seen?
to make a mark and relish in its leaving
or to see the ripples,
the turns and tumbles
and to know...
and be the only one who does?
is living
worthy
if it is spent only in awareness
as spectator...as witness?
sometimes
a thing cannot be measured,
announced
or weighed.
it can only be.
and sometimes
the service is in the seeing.
i see.
i am.
i see.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

tender edges

small

and warm

you curl into me

like a baby's peachlike cheek
like a shell tucked into soft sand
like a tender leaf warmed in the shelter of a sunlit stone.

the insurmountable mountains and dark depths of the day
smooth away
into gentle valleys
on your breath.

my thoughts

are dispersed

with the quiet ticking of your purr
as rythmic as a rainstorm
as constant as the quiet work of my heart pumping
life in my veins.

your paws pull and push

reminding me of your edges,
the simple rule
of where you end
and i begin,
the subtle separation

between sleep

and dreaming

and the bold crease
that is the new day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

april thoughts

the trees have blossoms of snow.
the seedlings sleep deeply
pale and cold
even as their southern neighbors
grow thick and dark.
there are storms
of ice
and wind
that throw up collars
and shutter doors,
pull on thick socks,
and fill cups
again
with thick hot liquid.
the blossoms stand against the ashy sky
turning gray in the early sunset
wishing and hoping
for their own demise.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

secrets

secrets never die.

they live on
in the cracks between doors,
in the blue cup you always used,
in the you-shaped depression
of your favorite chair.

why
do guilt and regret
never leave,

inhabiting the gray space

before sleeping

and the otherwise soft breath

upon waking,

when perfect memory
like the texture of your face,
the chocolate of your voice,
and most cruelly
the sun-warmed rock of your hand

slip out of my mind

like clouds leave the sky

on the wind?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

cypher

you dance on your toes
when you talk to me.

your padded feet massage the floor
writing a message

i am unable to understand.

your eyes look at me
with hypnotic attention
demanding understanding
but i am blind.

it is only now, too late,
that i long to know what you had to say,

clearly more than an ordinary expression of animal longing.

then there was always time.

no more.
no more.
no more.

perhaps

that’s what you were trying to tell me

all along.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

lillian

lillian: boss, free spirit, unchained fool, lover of wild abandon, lake jumper, pond swimmer, bunny marauder, neighborhood watch chief, apnea suffering snorer, unabashed beggar, outrageous bitch, bear fighter, coyote taunter, swaggering rule breaker, gaseous emitter of noxious fumes, door banger, attention seeker, velvet eared snuggler, verbal abuser, marshmallow eater, party lover, cat snuffler, waffles and syrup devourer, troublemaker, friend, confidante, lover of all things in the NOW, and forgiver of all else...you taught me the joy of joy, the importance of being unapologetically you, the thrill of living without fear, and so much more. i will endeavor to carry on in the knowing that you were a once in a lifetime kind of friend. rest in peace, lily. and for the record: thank heavens for the unknowing losers who took you to the pound. without their misfortune the past eleven years would have been so terribly dull and dreadful, spent with some ordinary "good" dog. you were the best damn dog ever.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the little i know

I’m not going to pretend to know everything.
And I don’t want to use any flowery language either.
I want to be as plain as possible.
If I know anything, it is that:

Life is short.
Anything can and will happen.
We don’t get to choose much about our lives; height, the family we are born into, and rock star guitar skills come to mind as good examples.
The choices we can make should be made with an even closer watch on what is important.
In fact choices are the only thing we can control.

Only we choose to love.
Only we choose to slander.
Only we choose to tell the truth.
Only we choose to treat others with indignity.
Only we choose to set a good example.
Only we choose to be bitter.
Only we choose to be grateful.
Only we choose to speak our minds.
Only we choose to forgive.
Only we choose to judge.
Only we choose to defend.
Only we choose to bully.
Only we choose to change.
Only we choose to hope for something better for ourselves, our kids, or others.

With all humility I reflect on the fact that these are truths I learned from my father.
My father: interestingly enough someone with whom my relationship is permanently affected by the choices both he and I have made.
But the comfort in that is that we both understand the rules and the outcome.

There are individual personal traits that I truly despise in this world.

Betrayal. Lying. Hurting others for pleasure or profit. Laziness. Judge-mental idiots. Show offs. Bullies of all kinds. Blowhards. Anyone who thinks they’re better than anyone else. Anyone who allows someone to take the blame for something they have done (also known as betrayal, but I felt it needed repeating). Proselytizing: this includes anyone who hammers their beliefs down on others, including but not limited to religious zealots, conspiracy theorists, and know-it-alls of any kind. Complainers who do nothing to help themselves or anyone else (see laziness or cowards.)

It is possible that I also compiled this list at the feet of my father. Or from reading a lot as a child. You can learn a lot from books: the difference between right and wrong, how shiny, perfect apples are sometimes the most poisonous, and that the story always changes depending on who’s telling it. Anyone who as ever displayed these traits to me can tell you...oh, no, they can’t...because I don’t have anything to do with them anymore.

Another thing I know.

No one can ever tell me how I feel.
No one can tell me what I know.
No one can tell me what I think.
No one can ever speak for me, and be authentically me. But that’s a good thing, right?

Anyone who tries to do any of these things should really read the paragraph about the things I despise again. If you persist, you may be on the naughty list for good. You have been warned.

Sadly, there are times where others can inflict themselves on my ability to make choices. Love, responsibility, the desire to get along, all of these things make it hard to stand up and choose a different path.

I have tried to teach my children that love is not a burden.
Love is not a requirement.
Love is a gift.
Love is bold.
Love should never be taken for granted.
Love should never be cheapened.

I don’t want my children to love me because I happened to be part of the chemical reaction that brought them into the world.
I don’t want my children to love me because I changed their diapers.
I don’t want my children to love me because I taught them to read.
I don’t want my children to love me because I’ve spent money on their education, clothes, or food.
I don’t want my children to love me because they owe it to me.
I certainly don’t want anyone to love me because it’s the “right thing to do”.

I want my children to love me because I have taught them about choices.
I want my children to love me enough to tell me when they are sad, happy, or angry.
I want my children to love me because they choose to.

The bravest thing anyone can do is to love someone.
Love can be painful, heartbreaking and frightening.
Love doesn’t always last.
Sometimes love breaks your heart.

Love should never, ever be taken for granted.

Monday, March 4, 2013

untitled

nothing to say
only bland weak thoughts
or flashes of internal light
that spit and immediately grow dim.

my mind wanders like a firefly
caught in the updrafts of emotion,
fleeting sites,
the smell of something once enjoyed,
the heat of a body just out of reach,
left to close off and slowly dim
until the pulsing light is merely a
retinal tattoo,
a smear in the dark.
a ghost of some once present thought,
now forgotten.

thoughts fade like breath on a window,
a dying star
only to be noticed
too late
and left unexplored.
left to wonder
from whence it came
what depths were left unplumbed
what treasures
will remain buried.

inspiration
with not enough inhalation

and far too much
exhalation.

to pause between is the key.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

old dog

she stares at me with eyes clouded by the past.

nose alert
haunches trembling
with anticipation for a time that once was
and might be again:
around the nearest corner,
under the fallen leaf,
or in the sound of my step.

is that pain
inhabiting the place
where once the bounce before running lived?
or is it merely the memory
of chases gone wild
toward oblivion
the ones that abandoned all training
and returned her to
that primitive
wolfish life
that beat inside
all along...

or, come to think of it,
can she now see more clearly?

is she unbounded
toward
that life
that self
that animal
that she was waiting to be

living

for the moment,

the instant when sunlight breaks in the piney morning,

the first bird leaves the nest,

the smoke scent rides the air,

and the rabbits are at last,
as they should be,
running far afield

waiting to be chased?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

it lived in the woods

to me
it simply seemed to be
a pile of bones.

oddly shaped
painted remains
of rotting wood
that were flaking faded cracked
and unpreserved.

it took up a sacred space
in the forrest
where i often passed.

pulseless.
haunting.
unkind.

bloated with the memories
i would never have.

i took a wide path.

not respectful
nor contemplative.

more often sighing,
ignoring its weight,
feigning a need to hurry a little,
sometimes,
i admit,
with my mind wandering to destruction.

the space between

me

and the bones

full

of half memories - half dreams
of me

small alone and left
staring up at its once frightening height,
this pirate ship of adventure,
with the tree canopy as its sails...

me on the ground,
and you up there
somewhere
traveling in its secret belly

to a life i would never have.


Evidence of a Life