dreams · poetry · recovery · relationships · women's issues

Lacking

Met a man who fulfilled
her dreams, saw in him
the qualities she lacked.

Projected possibility,
overlooked his Spartan
nature, interjected hope.

Catered to his friends
befriended offspring
re-envisioned his life.

Moved in; organized
planned, replaced self
with wifely anticipation.

Overcompensated for lack
with people pleasing panache,
felt judgment from every angle.

Lost sight of her lover,
overshadowed by the
darkness of her past

In a panic, she withdrew
saw folly in her actions
questioned his intentions

reassurances highlighted
her vulnerability, she was
a broken-winged bird.

Stay, he pleaded, I need you
but she was already gone,
chose self over his lacking.

dreams · Family · Humour · life · poetry · women's issues

Freak Show’s In Town

Come one! Come all!
Step right up folks!
See the amazing,
one-of-a-kind,
baby-juggling
woman!

Come see this matron
turned tigress!
Witness how the weaker sex
transforms into a powerhouse
of resourcefulness –
a magnificent multitasker!
You will not believe your eyes!

These are no ordinary
babies, Ladies and Gentleman!
See the menacing three-year-old
who looks like an angel but
has the mind of a devil!
Look upon the smallest child
only months old, but with lungs
that will shatter glass…
be awed by the gigantic
boy baby, youngest of them all
with an insatiable appetite.

Step right up folks!
Watch as this extra-
ordinary woman
breast-feeds two babies
and prepares supplemental formula
all whilst reading to the third!

Behold how she balances
two baby carriers
while strapping
a toddler into
her car seat!

Marvel over how
she shops for groceries –
a magnificent feat,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Tremble as she maneuvers
her two-carted entourage
through people-ridden aisles,
list firmly gripped between
her teeth, while she emits
a constant stream of baby talk
keeping the trying toddler
on a verbal leash.

Sigh with relief
as silence settles
over the household
and our heroine falls
into a deep, exhausted sleep.
Be terrified as she awakens
with a start, suddenly realizing
she has abandoned her boy-child,
in her vehicle, overnight!

You will be amazed!
You will be inspired!
You will be horrified!

Step right up,
Ladies and Gentleman!
This is a one-of-a-kind,
never-seen-anything-like-it
attraction, guaranteed
to entertain!

Catch it here, live!
Twenty-four/ seven,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
No two shows are alike!
Step right up folks!
Admission is free!

dreams · health · poetry · recovery · women's issues

Portrait of a Waitress

Jumbo Jet
they called her,
fast on her feet
zooming in,
swooping up trays,
delivering with flight
attendant flair.

When did she turn
to autopilot,
stop paying attention
to her destination?

Didn’t she know
she was set
on a crash course;
headed for disaster?

Tried to warn her,
wake her from stupor;
told me she’d reset,
but danger remains.

She is cruising now
over-sized,
turbo-lacking,
under-fueled
no longer able
to soar – trapped
in a treacherous game.

Waits tables,
tries to keep
the house clean,
caters to others
lends an ear,
has squeezed every drop
of self into her
low flying life

needs to land
a space of her own
with room to breathe
take life in shorter
intervals, refill
her jets.

 

disability · dreams · health · poetry · women's issues

Levitating

Suits meet, banter about deals,
conspiratorial heads bent, deep
throaty laughs, confidence reeking.

I glide by, imperceptibly, am a whisper
on the window of their intensity.

Families congregate on front lawns,
squeals of delight trailing blurs,
adult murmurs lost in shrill echoes.

I float on by, an ethereal witness,
no more than the wisp of a cloud.

Only a dog, unleashed, catches
a whiff of something inexplicable,
gives chase, nips at nothingness.

I am elusive, lacking substance,
he retreats bewildered, interest lost.

Am I somehow flawed,  I wonder
aloud to the gathering of females
draped across my bed, intrigued

Have landed now, solidly connected
to this other-abled reality, grounded.

Intimate discussions of life’s mystery
peaks interest, all want to learn to fly,
beg me to demonstrate, inspired to try.

Detachment is the secret, I reveal;
just launch yourself and release.

Instincts grasp to offer support,
arms reaching out in assistance,
roots hindering their deliverance.

Alone, I swirl above reeling minds
dissolve into the mist, am free.

(Image from scipio164.deviantart.com)

adversity · creativity · disability · health · poetry · recovery · women's issues

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.

200px-Yellowwp_med

( 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 )

 

health · Humour · poetry · women's issues

The Queen is Missing

She’s not in the kitchen –
presiding over the preparations,
thriving amidst the chatter,
tutting away thieving hands.

She’s not in the classroom –
mastering subjects,
upholding order,
ruling with a charitable hand.

Nor is she at social affairs –
smiling regally,
head bent in rapt attention,
compassion oozing forth.

The Queen is missing –
the poise and grace
that marked her carriage
has vanished without a trace.

Don’t ask the old woman –
tottering down the lane
stooped and stumbling –
she’s not all there.

Her mind’s a trickster,
her ego a petulant child
unwilling to concede wrong –
she’s merely the court jester.

 

aging · culture · life · Love · media · nonfiction · women's issues

Divine Self

I am letting my hair go grey.

“It will age you ten years!” My daughters and hairdresser protest.

“No, it won’t,” I smile.  “I will still be the same age.”

I am doing it to make a statement.

When my seventeen year relationship with my children’s father ended abruptly, I lost forty pounds in two months. Previously a dowdy mother of three, men would stop mid stride to open doors for me.   Heads turned and smiles of appreciation showered me.  I was no longer invisible.  I felt curiously vibrant in the midst of personal darkness.  I also felt like a fraud.

Growing up, I was the third youngest sister in a house with only two mirrors.  My mother would insist that I brush my hair, but it was impossible to find an opportunity to view my efforts, so I usually did a haphazard job.

“Who is ever going to love you?”  my mother would shake her head.

I was confused.  Was love only accessible to those with well preened looks?  No wonder my sisters spent so much time looking at themselves.

Vanity, I decided, was not going to be my precursor to love.  I wanted someone who would love me for what was on the inside.  So I read more, and wrote, and designed, and played, focusing on developing a personality that included empathy, compassion, a sense of humour, and intelligence.

“No man wants to marry a woman who is smarter than him,”   my mother warned.

Not sure I believed her, I started to pay attention.  Wives of important men, I noted, were attractive, and for the most part silent.  Intelligence was associated with the bra-burning feminists, and everybody knew they were radicals and bitches…..and single.

So I dumbed myself down, but continued to be nice, and outgoing, and fun.  I did, after all, desire to be loved too.

But I couldn’t hide my natural passion, and aggressive ambition, and impatience with ignorance, forever, and I came to see myself as a dark horse, with unbridled energy and a spirit that needed to be tamed, and I chose a man who would do that for me: put me in a stable and take me out in little jaunts and break me. And it worked.

Until he set me free, and the dark horse in me reawakened, and I vowed never to let her be extinguished again – love or no love.

But I found myself suddenly being that physically alluring woman, and I realized a new sense of power: sexual power, and for a time, I coveted it.  Men noticed me, flirted with me, went out of their way to do things for me, which was soon became tiresome.  None of them knew me.  There was nothing authentic about their actions; it was self-serving:  a primal reaction.  By now, I knew enough from my sisters’ failed affairs that physical attraction does not equate with long-term commitment and love.  It is only a shallow beginning.

Yet, advertisers spend billions of dollars of money to convince us otherwise.  The message is that we can never be too thin, too fit, too young.  Mastering our physical perfection is the key to true happiness, they imply.

Something inside me screams Stop the madness!  Stop it people!  This has all gotten so out of control!

What should matter, in the greater scheme of things, is the person that we are on the inside.  Our achievements, accomplishments, willingness to help others, and the gifts that we bring to this community that is humanity are what really count.  Think about it.

In my times of despair, it was not the fact that someone looked ten years younger that soothed me, it was their willingness to listen patiently, and hold my hand.

When I was wounded and needed surgery, it was not some size zero nurse with the latest do that helped me through, it was the efficiency and expertise of my caregiver.

I have grey hair.  It is part of being fifty-five.  I have wrinkles and a soft belly that protrudes.  They do not make me less of a person, nor do they diminish my capacity to problem-solve, or participate as a successful citizen of life.

So I am making a statement.  To all young women out there who think that they are somehow less than they should be, deficient.  You are perfect the way you are.  Embrace it.

That is divine.

I think it was St. Augustine who said that to reject self is to reject God.