Maybe

Maybe I just needed a new perspective –
like the famed Hanged Man of tarot –
committed to some deep, internal need,
willed a horizontal shift, landed with intent.

Maybe it is not my legs that are disabled,
but a soul longing to escape the continual
discord of perpetual motion, a never-ending
to-do list of the success driven persona.

Maybe there is a greater purpose for being
that is not encompassed by outer drive –
a mysterious meaning that is revealed only
in the quiet stillness in which I now dwell.

Maybe I have been called to a personal
pilgrimage – a Camino of sorts, a crusade
of spirit designed to cleanse and enlighten –
the journey is certainly arduous enough.

Maybe it is through acceptance, finally
having released  a need to control, move,
achieve, accomplish that I am able to
embrace the true lessons of suffering.

Maybe this cocooning is an act of Grace
demanding surrender before the actual
transformation occurs, and I will emerge
legless or not, winged and ready to soar.

Maybe, just maybe, this stripped down,
barren existence is not a penance for
shameful living, but a desert crossing,
offering re-alignment, hard-fought peace.

Imagining Genius

Imagine befriending genius –
accepting social awkwardness
embracing habitual quirks as
incubation for enlightenment.

If I could strip down, release
preconceived notions, agendas,
lie naked, exposed, in shallow
waters, intimately entwined,

unencumbered by sexuality
or gender protocols, I would
shake this sensual impotency –
become one with creativity.

As my father, wounded, I
am inhibited by my feminine,
opting for compliance over
strength, a conditioned identity.

His mystery extends, flawless
sculpting, archetypal secrets,
pretense proclaiming normalcy,
usurping vitality, genius stifled.

everyone-is-a-genius-but-if-you-judge-a-fish-lg

Re-de-fine-d

Ask me how I’m doing
and I’ll say “fine”, not
because I’m actually “fine”
but because “fine” is the only
socially acceptable response.

If I said that I have been lying
here for three hours now trying
to will my body to movement
that would elicit unsolicited
advice and tarnish my “fine”

I’d berate myself for breaking
my promise not to complain
knowing that complaining
provokes compulsive needs
to fix which makes me angry

Because my concept of trying –
which is defined by getting dressed
every day – does not match trying
every new therapy, drug, exercise
offered by well-meaning but clueless

others, who may experience fatigue
at times, but have no understanding
of what it is to be exhausted after
something as simple as bathing,
let alone debating what I haven’t tried.

So, ask me how I’m feeling, and
I’ll say “fine” and we can get on
about the weather or the latest
movie must-see, and I can bask
in the warmth of the contact

carry the conversation into the
void of the rest of my day, smile
to think that I still have friends
who accept my “fine” even though
they know I am anything but.

 

 

Dear Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I have examined your wallpaper,
discussed the scholarly attributes
of shades of yellow, traced the edges
of your unravelling with my mind,
argued the merits of Gothic horror;

marvelled at the brilliance of wording,
the courage to define the nature of
feminine madness, the boldness to
highlight inequalities long before the
establishment of a Person’s Act.

Forgive me, but I need to set aside
this keyboard for a moment, for I tire
easily, am suffering from an exhaustion
that is systemic and calls for elimination
of all stimulus in favour of rest, you see

I share your sentence of confinement,
isolated to a room with windows, my
mind wandering to ancestral gardens,
contemplating shadows and movement
cognizant of underlying forces, creeping.

My husband has just left, dear man, having
checked on me, taking on my burden,
concerned that I am not sleeping at night
thinks that by reading and rereading your
words I am only fueling an already over-

active imagination; begging me to be still
as the doctor has recommended; but I am
burning to tell you that time has no
relevance between us and that you and I
exist simultaneously – a secret we dare

not confess – how correct your impulse
that there was more than one woman,
that we are many, barred by the designs
of society, papered over by irrational,
outdated shades of yellow, lacking

symmetry, or sensibility, suffocating
our creativity, tortuously contorting
ourselves to been seen, accepted.
It is the smell of our discordant souls
that pervades your consciousness

the rotted withering of  a stifled
existence – a yellowed existence –
once hopeful, sunny, now molding
mucous, desperately torn away
at the edges, pleading for escape

How grateful I am that you see –
may I call you Charlotte – that you
have smelled the angst, witnessed
the struggle, are willing to tear at
the sticking places, to set us free.

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( The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman [not sure why 1899 edition depicted here bears a different surname] in its entirety can be found here:

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/literatureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf )