Limbo

With each stanza
I strive for an upswing –
idle thoughts leading
to a crescendo…

But exhaustion plagues
my try, and fog colours
perspicacity, so my words
land low, goal in limbo

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own)

What Dreams Reveal

Two decades before the fall
I dreamt of that white house
with black shutters,
entered the dimness
and saw myself –
withered, a straw body

Could I have altered the course
gathered that mummified self
in my arms, breathed new passion
into old bones, stopped
the onslaught of night
of cells freezing
passionless

No.
I walked in oblivion
seduced by false trickery
dim-witted in the fading light
cold, aloof, unresponsive
warnings be damned

Two decades later,
body inert, mind bereft
of hope – I dreamt
of a younger self
so intent on life
that she passed me by.

Some Days

Why am I courting judgment
like an old friend,
popping in unexpectedly?

She overlooks my needs,
barges in reeking
of stale perfume, and
energy-sucking shoulds

I crave the subtle tones of compassion –
quiet whispers over tea –
a gentle pat, words of encouragement

But, truth be told,
I squirm at even this –
hate vulnerability,
hate this weakness on display,
this chronic, fucking disability

Seems I have dressed myself
in judgment’s cloaks,
walk in the pinched shoes
of expectations too tight

No wonder I’m exhausted,
am dying…numbed
to my own drama.

(Image my own)

Chasms

Old friend, I would visit you
but this compulsive state of
martyrdom delays our reunion;
then you slip my mind.

You wouldn’t recognize me –
this mask I wear, a product
of the toxicity that I play host to,
puts a life on my kind-heartedness

I want to be helpful
but carry a burden of failures –
ghosts from childhood home
that plug my memory

I have hurt so many,
neglected, now lost; family –
these useless ties are shadows
lurking, directing me –

I am sensitive, wanting
to exile the negativity, have been
taught to be considerate, but
cannot erase the inconsistencies

Spend too much time
browsing, delivering a fragment
of the torment that lies within;
am over-involved with self

Really want to be my best
in search of something greater
but today the frustration
is too raw, am at a loss

Old friend, I have reverted back
to dependence, manipulating,
am mentally unstable,
cannot find closure

in all the scattered pieces –
all I have to offer are bit,
disappointing, really – stored
memories that menace

Believe me when I say
I am working hard; want to start
fresh, have a goal in mind,
have not forgotten you

but am running out of
options, frustrated, can’t catch
a break, as the distance
between us widens.

(Chasms first appeared here October, 2106. Image my own)

Most Saturdays I include an audio recording, but this week my voice is not cooperating.

Too Old?

She is young,
this artist-self
celebrating discovery

He chastises enthusiasm,
this intellect-self, favours
logic over emotions

I use disability as an excuse
Accept intellect’s restraints
Ignore encouragement
Refrain from submitting
Halter progress

Youth has ambition
her paint spattered hands
grasp at opportunity –
her tender heart
emits a joyful tune..

…but age,
having abandoned ambition,
is hard of hearing.

(Art mine)

My Spirit Stands Strong

Progress, seldom linear,
tosses me into unexpected decline,
stranded and incapacitated.

My son with labour-hardened arms
leaps to my side, steadying me
and I feel the fear in his caring grip

My daughter, ever compassionate,
reaches out, eyes filled with horror
as my body crumples onto the bed.

My husband, my oak, seeks to comfort
his voice betraying the helplessness
this futile predicament imposes.

Beloveds, I know that you see me
this dis-abled, non-functioning shell
weakened and sickly, lying on this bed

Do not be deceived-
it is only an illusion –
vessel temporarily fettered

I am in essence, as before
ambitions and desires intact
hold this version of me

Sense the wholeness of my being
the woman I am yet to be –
my spirit stands strong.

(My Spirit Stands Strong first appeared here August, 2015; edited for this version.
Image my own)

Not Dead Yet

There is safety in apart-ment living;
would corral the little ones, declare
responsibility, obligations as a mask
for this self-banishing compulsion…

except that I am lying prone, exposed –
brains spilling onto concrete – shadows
revealing the darkness of my condition,
hopelessly locked in physical inertia.

I am an unwitting contributor to
scientific (and pseudo) probing:
audacious autopsies pronouncing
conclusive evidence of motives.

Too polite (and weakened) to deflect,
I submit, demonstrating complacency,
sacrificing autonomy; fail to assert
that it is I who is taking this life test.

And, by the way, am passing quite
adequately, which defies all rational
diagnosis and prognosis, and serves
to reassure me of ultimate success.

(Not Dead Yet first appeared here June, 2016. Image my own.)

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,
willing my body to move,
that would elicit unsolicited
advice and tarnish my “fine”.

I’d berate myself for breaking
my promise not to moan,
knowing that complaining
provokes a compulsive need
to fix, which just infuriates me

Because my concept of trying –
which is defined by getting dressed
each 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 is 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 move on
to 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 anything but…

(Re-de-fine-d first appeared here February, 2016. Edited here. Image my own)

Shifting to Acceptance

In illness, I am passenger –
no matter how venturous
mind’s reach, the raw truth
is that limitations confine

This is not a sentence
for some perceived crime,
but a re-framing – attitude
shifting to acceptance

Choice becomes thoughtful –
time allows for that now –
and gratitude takes hold
in every corner of “I can”.

(Art my own)