Chronically Creative

Must-Have

Rain pelts against my window,
cheered on by the relentless wind.
Inside, I lie motionless
on my once-yearned-for
now resigned-to
bed.

Target has those things you’re looking for
texts my daughter,
pic attached.
Exactly what I’m looking for
but millions of miles away
when energy fails me

Instead, I yield to the fingers
of sleep
that pull me in –
blessed unconsciousness –
oblivion.

Ping! another message:
Starbucks has Oprah’s chai tea!
I can taste the sweet cinnamon warmth
and dream of the day
when I get out of this bed
and go for tea

The rain outside persists,
the light fading,
another day
of suspended animation
in this gloom of isolated
silence

A door opens below me,
footsteps, a voice;
Do you need anything?
I don’t respond,
too weak for words.
Do I need anything?

The question reverberates
through mind…
emotion…
body…
and comes up empty.
What could I need?
Too much.
Nothing.

Rain abates, wind subsides
and a brief ray of sun
brightens the room:
a promise
of spring,
new beginnings;
and I think –
I need clothes

but clothes means shopping
and shopping means energy
and the cycle continues
and still I lay
unmoved

Then you enter
an offering of tea
and a gentle word
and with renewed momentum
I shift to make room for you.
And it all comes clear:
You are what I need!

You are my must-have.

 

Increasing Harmony

6:30 a.m. alarm sounds.
“Time to wake up!” conditioned Compliance commands.
“Just a little longer,” Sensibility suggests.
Guilt, like an incessantly annoying child
tugs on Conscience.
“Come on, there’s lots to do!”
Body does not respond.

Sleep wins
and dreams come:
homeless,
relying on friends,
no food,
backed up toilet,
children’s wide eyes fearfully imploring:
When is this all going to end?

Guilt propels a return to consciousness.

8:25 a.m.
“Up and at ’em! There’s a good soldier!” Compliance attempts to be chipper.
“There’s really nothing more important than rest,” Sensibility submits.
“Can’t lie in bed all day!” Guilt counters.
But body is MIA.

Dreams surface again:
Setting up house in a thoroughfare,
people coming and going, oblivious to intrusion,
co-workers indifferent,
eyes scolding; convicting.

Guilt mutates to rage,
Body wakes up with a choking cough, and gasping,
reaches for the rescue inhaler
and sucks in, desperate for air.

11:11 am.
“That’s it! Up you get!”
“No! No! Rest is needed!”
“The day is wasted! There’s no getting it back!’

“SILENCE!” A new voice emerges.

A collective intake of breath.

“Breathe,” comes the message. “Just breathe.”

A unified sigh.

“And breathe again.”

Tempers cool, and emotions begin to settle.

“What’s going on?” Guilt wonders.
“Just trying to stick to routine,” Compliance explains.
“It’s always been this way.”
“But she’s ill now,” Sensibility adds, “and there must be concessions.”

“Breathe,” the voice reasserts, and all sigh again.
“Just be in the stillness of the moment.”

Stillness has no voice.
Its language is compassion and infinite,
infinite wisdom.

“And surrender.”

Compliance sobs with the release of such enormous obligation.
Sensibility gratefully gives over the burden of responsibility,
and Guilt… well, Guilt is little,
and happily snuggles up to Unconditional Love.

“There, there,” Voice soothes, “isn’t harmony so much better?”

Body concurs and rises out of bed.

 

Ride Along With Me

I am a passenger on the road of life
and I travel in the backseat
where my input is not asked for, nor appreciated.

I ride along.

I am a passenger on the road of life,
and if you ask me the direction in which I am travelling,
at best I can only speculate; the view back here is limited.

I am not driving.

Driver #1 is motivated and self-assured
and I sit back with confidence and relax –
until, his mistress climbs aboard.

Wait a minute, who invited her?

Driver #2 was handsome once,
and still is except he lacks direction.
Should someone else be paying attention?

I am not alone.

There are others riding along too, including
a lackadaisical high school dropout, whose only motivation
is his parents’ pocketbook and the promise of a Friday night booze up.

How did he get here?

You can ride along with us if you like, but be warned
the vehicle is outdated, and there is no separation between seats
so we you’ll have to squish in.

They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Oh yeah, and my crazy sister is aboard,
or that may be me, ’cause I swear I saw the ghost of another,
coming back to haunt me along the way.

Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not driving.

Night is falling, and we stop for gas
and the neon lights of the convenience store remind me:
if I’m going to make a break, it’d best be now.

Or I could find a new driver.

What if I put God at the wheel?
What if I said, God, give me direction; take me somewhere?
Would I have to sit up straighter and pay attention?
Would the adulteress and the sloth have to leave?

Would driver *1 have to be on his best behaviour,
and misplaced #2 finally find guidance?

Would my vehicle become a golden chariot,
powered by horses with wings of white?

And we would fly above the obstacles
straight to the Promised Land?

No, this is just a fantasy, but a good one no doubt.
Instead, I’ll just ride along in this backseat
until life restores my vitality, and my head is clear again.

Then I’ll park this old vehicle.

And get a new one with GPS.

 

Self-Sufficient

isolated and incapacitated
I am prohibited from partaking
of the influx of information incessantly presented

consequently cut off
from prescribed expectations
dictating costuming and culture

external expressions of acceptance
are sorely missing, suggesting
an overall lacking of self-worth.

interestingly inverse to such conclusions
is the sudden contentment that arises
from escaping the mayhem

internal relief overrides dictated performance
surrendering willingly to intrinsic motivation
and renewed self-acceptance.

 

Going With the Flow

I could cry tonight –
if it wasn’t so futile.

I would weep for all my losses –
not just this moment of weakness

but the well of energy that once drove me
is
dry
arid
sapped.

Shuffling steps
are punctuated
with

stumbles

and my grasp

falters

and with sorrow
I surrender

to rest

until the tide changes
and I am renewed
and life flows again.

 

Arrogance and Humility

Humility prepares the way –
selfless – focused on servitude,
lending a patient ear to each possibility,
befriending challenge with an open mind.

Arrogance arrives late –
a cloud of disruption, reeking
of too much perfume,
dressed like a dominatrix –
commanding attention.

Such display of total disregard
triggers Humility’s vulnerability
causing hesitation, and in that fateful
moment, surrendering control.
Arrogance thrives on chaos.

Humility chokes but regains
perspective, politely; assertively
suggesting Arrogance’s help
is appreciated, but not necessary.
Arrogance whirls and glares.

Feeling the pressure, Humility
holds firm and reaches deep within;
curiously, unexpectedly seeing a light –
Arrogance has ignited inspiration!

 

Meditation

If I were a tree,
my roots would run deep into the earth,
and spread in all directions
grounding me. Present.

My trunk would be wide and solid,
weathering all storms,
supporting other life –
a tower. Strong.

My branches would reach up to the sky,
and dance with the breezes,
and bend with the changing seasons,
and bow to Nature. Flexible.

If I were a tree,
I would be calm, yet strong;
have heightened awareness, yet be rooted in reality.   Enlightened.

I would yield to change,
yet stand proud in my own existence,
growing with grace,
an exemplar of peace. Leader.

If I were a tree,
I would live in harmony
with Nature,
proud of my existence. Belonging.

Present, strong, flexible,
enlightened, leader, belonging.

 

The Pilgrimage

A soft-sided, well-worn briefcase
sits slouched in a corner closet,
one side agape, a red lanyard
hastily stuffed inside –
occupational identification.
A row of black, brown and gray pumps
line up beside it,
a thin layer of dust
betraying their idleness.
Silent, unblinking a television set
recedes into the wall,
flanked on either side by images
of smiling faces –
shadows of nostalgia.
Stacks of books and journals rumours
a once scholarly mind.

The woman,
to whom all these trivialities once
had relevance –
is no longer here.

She has been called to another purpose.

 

Equality

It is the state of fragility that blindsides me –
I am a strong woman.
Someone once told me I was courageous,
but I cannot see it –
I have not chosen pain, grief,
illness.

The fragility is pervasive –
My body feels reduced to miniscule fibers:
stretched and torn, on the brink of brokenness.
Mind, overwhelmed, obsesses but will not organize, or let go.
(If only I could let go)
If you could see me I am weeping
and not –
weeping from the frustration
of the immediate impossibility,
and unwilling to weep for the total loss.
It is beyond me.

Outside these walls life continues
and regards me with disgust/
indifference/ repulsion.
There is no equality for the ill and disabled.

And, yet….

In this state of rawness, stripped of “life”,
or rather, busy-ness,
I am as any other –

Just a soul trying to have a meaningful existence.

Maybe illness is the great equalizer.

 

Discomfort

I exist –
somewhere –
between here
and the Netherworlds:
a ghost woman,
wanderer,
lost soul.

I exist –
on the periphery –
semi-conscious,
semi-paralyzed,
inept at
communicating

I exist –
reliant on help,
and courtesy,
and goodwill,
and willingness
to do for me.

I exist –
disoriented –
frustrated with inability,
afraid,
yearning for
home

unable to remember
where home is
or how to get there
or who to call

vague memories:
reassurances
loving acceptance
strength and
forgiveness

I am cold
body tired
energy spent
trapped in
some-other-verse

trying to send
out a signal
rescue me
find me
I exist.

 

Power

Hope glides
on the wings
of the early morning
dawn; awakening.

Whispered
promises:
new beginnings,
bright possibilities.

Hope smiles
electric blue,
sunshine yellow,
darkness receded.

Reality slams
the door closed,
harsh recollection
shattering illusion.

Colours fade
to gray –
nothing
has changed.

Hope trails –
a gossamer thread,
a faint flutter –
refusing to die.

The soul
shuns reality’s
heavy-handed
dictation,
relying instead
on the wistful
subtleties:
a butterfly
in the wind.

Who wins
in this struggle
for absolute reign?

Do I surrender;
resign myself
to what is?

Or heed…what?
An impulse…?
A glimpse?

Hope has
deceived me
before,

Reality has
proven equally
as unreliable.

Uncertainty.

Uncertainty
is the only power
that speaks the truth.

 

Ostracized

Disturbances alarm me –
an intentional bystander
burying my head,
avoiding conflict.

Strife spills over
butting up against
personal limitations;
forgetting myself,
I engage,
finding unforeseen strength,
defying odds;
then remembering;
letting go;
deflated.

I feel targeted.
Displaced rage
threatens me, stalks –
and I am helpless,
vulnerable.
My pleas for help
unheard, unanswered.

My life is at stake here people!
Pay attention!

Expectations are high,
uplifted by progress,
promising road ahead –
I am out of sync,
missing opportunities,
losing my place,
forgotten.

Disability
limits me:
I have no strength
but I have needs.

Life taunts me –
within arms reach
yet inaccessible –
rights diminished.

I crave life;
sustenance;
connection;

in isolation.

 

Spiritual Beings

Is death a gentle reprieve,
a final release of suffering,
a promised resting place?

Or is it contemplation,
coloured by memories,
demanding retribution?

Will death bring reunion;
unleash forgiveness;
shine with revelation?

Will one final earthly breath
call forth all the fragments of the soul,
and restore wholeness?

I have witnessed death-
both embraced and unwanted-
snatch the spirit from its nest.

Felt the whoosh of escape
and a swirl of celebration,
known the peace that follows.

Seen the body, open-eyed
and open-mouthed
become a vacuum –

Discarded membranes;
an impotent shell.

The spirit does not dwell there.
It lives on borrowed time.

Where it goes when all is done
remains life’s poignant mystery.

 

Letters and Words

Letters jostle for position,
back up,
attempt to regroup –
get detoured.

Frustration builds
and obstacles
pop-up –
cognition faltering.

Circuits are jumbled;
pathways rerouting;
patience exploding;
expression lost.

Word recall
out of order.
Word recognition
under construction.

Is there an exit
from this nightmare?

 

Watercourse

You’d think that sleep would be my friend.
Like a lover she would seduce me,
lulling me into her black oblivion,
coaxing me into her ocean of darkness,
a current of ever-changing images
gently rocking and soothing –
restoration.

You’d think that sleep would be my friend,
but she is a multi-armed demon
tossing me from shore to shore,
taunting me with her liquid blackness;
abandoning me, exhausted and spent;
the last laps of receding tide washing over me,
as dawn’s first rays ignite.

If sleep is an ocean,
then I am the castaway –
capsized,
stranded,
hopeless.

How did this shipwreck occur?
What sin did I perpetuate,
to set me on this tumultuous course?
What sacrifice must my soul make
for sleep to once again be my friend?

 

Presently Seeking Peace

Life is transition, and
when disability presented,
I brought along my social self –
optimistic, friendly, upbeat.

And, I brought my spiritual self –
child, maiden, mother, crone.

The possibilities seemed endless,
and lined with “woulds” –
reconstructions needed, projects abandoned,
work attached, room for the old.

Drama entered and theatrically
walked out: “I’ll have none of this!”
Apologetically, I asked for the parameters –
“All doable!” I thought.

Severe debilitation appeared –
sleek and menacing as a cat –
puncturing my self-confidence;
raising my ire.

I did not choose this existence!
I can only decide how to proceed.

So I simplify –
cut back my expectations,
seek purity in deprivation.

I am almost there,
but there are so many loose ends –
work to complete, messes to clean up,
questions to answer, justifications to make.

I uncover the consequences
of well-intended, but not-followed-through
promises:  garbage, garbage, everywhere;
and me, with no energy to dispose of it.

Charity nourishes me;
compassion fills the gap;
and though I want to reward it –
extend my gratitude –
disarray gets in the way.

And I cycle back.

Life is transition, and –
in the end –
death.

I can enter willingly –
with grace and peace;
resigned to my tribulations;
free from entanglement.

Or, I can rail against it –
mired in the smut of criticism,
pretending perfection,
oblivious to the blessings.

Life, my dear self, is transition –
and we are being moved along,
whatever our preconceived expectations.

Open yourself to the process;
be willing to release the delusions of the past.

There is peace to be had.

 

All The Little Pieces

You, old man –
silent onlooker,
career behind you,
motivation stymied
senility lurking –
You are a part of me.

You, grandmother –
chronic caregiver,
stiffly puttering,
good intentions,
punctuated by pain –
You are a part of me.

You, young woman –
heart full of passion,
longing to embrace life,
confined to a wheelchair,
dependent independent –
You are a part of me.

You, little child –
running with emotion,
driven by discovery,
curiosity cancelling reason,
needing protection –
You are a part of me.

You, young man –
cold-hearted and reckless,
menacing and lawless
cruelly harassing,
angrily destructive –
You are a part of me.

You, responsible one –
struggling to do it all,
holding it together,
rescuing the lot,
refusing to let go –
You are part of me.

You, my many pieces –
bound by disease,
beaten by hardship,
silenced by fear,
abandoned to rot –
You are a part of me.

I, shattered into pieces-
overwhelmed, and repulsed,
have not lost compassion,
will regain my fight,
hang on for salvation; because-
you are a part of Me.

 

The Mystic Feminine

Like silk whispering
across my skin;
a gentle mist
kissing my soul;
kindness unburdening me;
warmth, and cinnamon spice;
She comes.

Of the Earth, is She
whose heart beats with mine,
a rhythm of life,
renewal
and deepest bliss.

Her essence luminous and night,
shimmering at the water’s edge,
or pulsating at the core
of darkness.
Alive.  Very much alive.

No fanfare precedes Her.
No choir of angels.
In stillness, know Her.
In openness, receive Her.
She is here.

She is here.

 

Blessings

My mother’s feet scream with the agony
of her miserable condition,
underlying the disease that eats at her.
My feet, uncallused paddles,
slightly bent and fallen,
carry on with forgiving kindness.

My husband’s knees are red-hot pokers
shooting knife-sharp volts
with every rickety step he takes.
Mine, like knots in the spindly
trunks that bear them,
graciously allot me flexibility.

My father’s back grew weak with time,
faltering in the end – unreliable –
as if he’d borne the weight of the world.
My back, not without its moaning,
carries me proudly, erect –
like the spring sapling, winter endured.

My uncle’s heart beats erratically,
ceasing despite its mechanical support,
his life a testimony to modern science.
My heart flutters with expectancy,
aches with disappointment,
and soars with each new birdsong.

My sister’s tension rises,
the stiffness in her neck suffocating,
headaches blinding her vision.
My neck, slung now like a rooster,
puffs around my face like an old friend,
allowing me the comfort of perspective.

My brother’s mind has seized,
lost somewhere between today
and yesteryear – never certain of either.
Mine, a constant churning cog,
gathers information, spews ideas
and bends in the face of creativity.

My eyes have seen the suffering of others;
my hands throbbed with a desire to help;
yet each bears their cross stoically,
and so I watch with compassion and gratitude
for a life I might have lived,
had my own vessel not been so blessed.

 

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12 Comments

  1. Hey! I’ve just read the first one. And I am totally blown away. I am promising myself to return back to read them all. You are doing a great job. 🙂
    I’m too small to even praise you 😛

    Like

  2. Hey…These are all great, but “watercourse” is one to which I can more than relate…the relentless abandon of Sleep. I love how you personified her as a seductive but elusive woman.

    Like

  3. I agree with Shawn, powerful. The first poem took me on a journey through my own life. It helps to know we are not alone. I am thankful that I found your blog and that we are now, as you mentioned, blog buddies. 🙂

    Like

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