aging · life · poetry · psychology · women's issues · writing

That’s What I Fear

“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretence and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”
– Maya Angelo

I fear living.

No, that’s not it.

I love living…
…but I fear engagement…
…drowning in engagement

Except, I love engagement…
… but only when I dip my toe in the waters
and feel the thrill…
and can still maintain control.

I fear losing control. I fear no longer being able to call the shots, life demanding more of me than I’m willing (or able) to give.

I’m willing to give…
… to a certain point…
…can no longer afford to be sapped dry, wrung out
and discarded… so much hurt
so much betrayal…
such lack of appreciation

I have given.
I have loved and sacrificed and cherished and
given…
…up…
…self

It’s self I’m afraid of losing
and why not?
I am only just able to touch her

She and I, still hesitant
building a certainty
a mutual admiration
respect…

And should I be called upon
to give…too much…well…

I could lose her again.

This is what I fear.

(Two separate blog posts hit me this week. The first offering the Angelo quotation (sorry, I can’t remember the blog’s name) and the second from my friend Dr Andrea Dinardo, who offers the question: What’s Under the Fear? Dr D offers a five step process for self-discovery. This is my response. Image my own. The poem also fits with my weekly challenge theme: except)

culture · poetry · women's issues · writing

Corporate Inequality

Wore green shoes –
a shock of colour
to highlight business –
attire aimed to succeed.

Walked ten blocks
rode fourteen floors
passed security,
heels continually clicking.

Navigating male-dominated
passages, I was driven
ignored patronizing comments
exercised for corporate ladder

But the lies, the betrayal,
the dirty little secrets,
they taunted me –
sold me out in back rooms

Broke under pressure
vile accusations, improper
propositions – How did
gender equate with progress

How did firmness of pert
breasts, the flash of muscled
calves, exempt me from rising –
Why should my efforts fall short

By refusals to drop my panties
and who could I go to –
boss and boss’s boss
all male, in on the plots

Big business banking –
financially fruitful
personally demoralizing –
I walked away, morals intact.

(For Reena’s Exploration Challenge:featured image.   Sexual harassment was rampant during the 70’s and 80’s.   Although we have known progress, the struggle for equality continues.)

poetry · relationships · women's issues · writing

Window Cleaning

Married addiction
adopted denial
settled for basics

Espoused spirituality
ignored infidelity,
pulled down the blinds.

Believed compassion
could compensate
for indifference.

Limited my outlook
to windows, too insecure
to de-smudge the pane.

Missed the gaping doorways,
the blatant rudeness
of belligerent disrespect

Till withdrawal prompted
accountability, commanded
ownership, changed the lock.

(Image from personal collection.)

creativity · culture · poetry · women's issues · writing

I Am Eve

I am Eve
living with accusations
storage full

Commissioned to clear
the backlash of parked myths –
vessels in need of repair

The path is uneven
littered with stones thrown,
still I proceed, plan

Patriarchy stands by
smugly vilifying
I am the snake

Deceit my foe
control my folly
battling a lost cause

Till rebirth redefines
innocence, grabs
serpent by the tail.

(Image from personal collection.)

culture · Love · poetry · relationships · women's issues · writing

Eating Wiener Schnitzel

He craves Wiener Schnitzel
and egg rolls –
complicated request –
they settle on
Austrian, forgo
the Chinese.

Noise of the place
disconcerts her –
rather be home
or somewhere quieter
(though she’d never say),
insecurity slides in
as resentment
pulls up a chair –

How is she dining here
with indifference?

Restaurants take her back
when the heat of the kitchen
consumed her –
yelled orders,
yelled at,
rush to cater
tip or no tip

A real education,
her Father said,
but sore feet and
a broken back
left her none the wiser

Stuffiness of ochre walls,
brocade upholstery
close in, reminder
of former lovers,

She doesn’t even like milk-fed calf

Mind wanders to other walls,
now crumbled, remnants
of dreams, boundaries
set when pup- like
loyalty won hearts,
shattered her own.

So many failures
she is ashamed
feels like a stray
living off scraps

It’s a rocky path
she travels these days
solid ground a forgotten
concept, teetering
on brink of flight
no legs to carry her

Resigns herself
to Wiener Schnitzel
convinced that compromise
matters more than
personal fulfillment –

Takes a bite of baby cow and smiles.

(Eating Wiener Schnitzel first appeared here November 2016.  This edition is edited.  Image from personal collection.)