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.
first appeared here June, 2016. Image my own.) Not Dead Yet
A simple shoebox, repurposed
with plastered images of dreams – paper affirmations of aspirations – shelved and forgotten, its contents
snapshots, faded and torn, remnants
of another time, a different future – captured when potential was prime and possibility untainted by illness
This one was retirement – a supposed
celebration – but note how the colour has drained the cracks obliterating pride of accomplishment; and notice
how this one crumbles to the touch –
the fragments dissipating even as my life has dissipated, the image lost before memory resurfaces, so much loss when circumstance dictates direction, overpowers will, and plans like snowflakes, vanish in the heat of reality – pain and insult burning
But wait…this one looks promising –
the edges only slightly torn, the image discernible – could it be that there is hope yet – a future author I might be?
That’s the thing about times to come,
we fill them with imaginings, and pray, our hope, like balloons set free in a sea of unforeseen challenges, and seldom
does the end result reflect projected
plotting, and yet, there is power in the dreaming, and so I’ll replace the old with new photographs to store away.
(This is a rerun of a rerun. Still resonates. Image my own)
not in circles but in spirals
continual movement marking progress
mocks such optimism regret unavoidable
none assuaging ambition incomplete inevitable
Can I stop this spinning
rescue the untidy threads weave an acceptable ending?
(Image my own)
If I were a kitchen,
I’d want an old-fashioned woman at my counters – rolling dough canning pickles, chutney, jam, homemade pasta sauce, and every Sunday, a roast. She’d wear her sweat like a saint, ignore her aching back – one practiced hand feeding her Carnation baby, while other children flocked to Formica, hot flesh sticking to vinyl as they picked at fresh made sweet buns, the pot on the stove perpetually simmering.
Or give me modern efficiency –
ninjas and presses, air fryers and induction cookers – let the children belly up to the breakfast bar, chomp on veggies and humus, while cook totes baby in a sling, and preps bone broth, strains of Baby Einstein emitting from a propped up iPad, while a cellphone vibrates on granite, and the Keurig spits out Starbucks Pike.
Just don’t abandon me,
piles of unopened mail, or tossed aside receipts company for coffee rings on my counters. Please don’t litter my surfaces with rotting takeout containers, or dishes caked with processed cheese – don’t leave my stainless steel sinks stained, spoiled food reeking in the refrigerator, traces of late night mishaps curdling on the floor; absence of familiar sounds declaring my presence invalid.
(Rewrite of a rewrite. Image my own)
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)
Where do the words go
when they slip through the cracks of my mental filing system?
And where is recognition
when words reappear, no longer categorized or referenced – out of alphabetical order –
not even an inkling of recall
as if our acquaintance is akin to discovery?
Mental-pause first appeared here January, 2018. This version edited. Image my own.)
The eight of cups –
an octopus balancing multi-tasks; I juggle fog, attempt to calibrate logistics but instincts are dull-edged, my tentacles lacking suction – will slither back into hiding.
(Tuesday, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own)
Maybe I just needed a new perspective –
like the famed Hanged Man of tarot – committed to some deep, internal need, I 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.
(Maybe first appeared here Feb. 2017. Image my own)
I am drizzle –
particles failing manifestation
I am xyloid –
essence of being stiffly carved
I am sun dog –
illusion of brilliance floating by…
(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own)
Fragility blindsides me –
I am a strong woman, not courageous but accepting in face of pain, grief, illness.
Fragility is pervasive –
body fibres stretched and torn, on brink of brokenness; mind overwhelmed, obsesses, unable to organize or let go…
If only I could let go.
I am weeping and not –
weeping from frustration of immediate impossibility; unwilling to weep, for totality of loss is beyond me.
Outside these walls,
life continues, regards me with disgust/ indifference/repulsion – equality ignores the ailing.
in this state of rawness,
stripped of busy-ness, I am as any other –
Just a soul seeking
a meaningful existence. ( The Same, But Broken first appeared here December, 2014. This edition has been revised. Art my own.)