Weighted Down

Weighted down.

I swallow rocks
to anchor this restlessness –
no exit available.

Would love to re-locate,
check self-assessment
into a sunnier place –
but the room is not ready.

I shove it back down –
am a silhouette
against stormy horizons.

My sister and I meet here,
at the edge of denial,
both seeking calmer waters –
she swims; I crave a shower

we are haunted in our sleep –
shadows clouding dreams –
projections of mermaid possibilities
and electric blue skies, dimmed

I gain ground, sifting
through basements, tossing
old ideals, reminiscing cynic;

she breaststrokes through debris
of family storms, ignoring the rubbish-
polluted pool, maintains motion

I am submerged, trying to work out
a relationship with father –
long since deceased, still present

have opened the contents
of our stored horror – no choice
but to carry on…

we are bit players in a staged drama –
no fame to add acclaim – just misguided
endings, fragile audiences, and
a sisters following
a different light

weighted down.

(Weighted Down first appeared here in September of 2016, and has stayed with me, begging to be revised.  Today, as I was playing around with images, I created this one (featured) and felt that it depicted the essence of the poem.   It was time.  I am also submitting this for V.J.’s weekly challenge:  shadows.)

 

 

 

Changing Direction

This path I walk is not my own;
it’s paved with genetic markers,
familial dysfunction, and ancestral angst.
Can you see them walking with me?
Those whose lives were cut too short –
the addicts, the tortured, the diseased –
none of us free – ensconced in blame.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I stand at the intersection
of broken dreams and hope for tomorrow
and in my altered state of awareness
see the commonality of our striving,
understand the patterns that divide,
and grasp the illusion of injustice
that denigrates our interconnectedness.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I stop and wait for an opening
to share this revelation
of underlying harmonious intent,
but the whir of societal traffic
complicates communication,
and I can find no voice to cut
through the din of the dead.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I turn the corner on my old life,
detach with loving sorrow
from a road that never served me,
a direction wrought only with pain.
Tiny arms await me on this open road,
eyes wide with wonder and possibility.
There is joy to be found along the way.

If you walk with me,
I’ll share this new adventure
and together, we’ll have much to gain.

(Changing Directions was originally published June, 2015)

Tragedy

A splash of icy water –
first personal assault
on an adopted persona –
marked each day’s start.

With military precision
the lie, perpetuated since
childhood, was carried out –
a ritualized euthanization.

Starched collar, tightly
knotted tie (hangman’s
accomplice), solidified
the tortured charade.

A stray, unyielding curl
atop neatly cropped hair –
lonely vestige – belied
the woman locked within.

Stiff comportment channelled
inner rage, buried beneath
driven pursuit of monetary
success professing normalcy.

Behind the mask, a gentler
soul watched, agonizingly
lonely – abandoned authenticity
imprisoned, denied expression.

Alcohol, sought to numb twisted
reality – exacerbated tensions,
propelled acts of violence, drowned
unwitting co-conspirators, diminished

hope – no viable solution – society
uncompromising – fantasies of death –
swift release – defined behaviours,
created a legacy, a prayer adopted

by a child left behind, incapacitated
by father’s anguish,  smothered
by ashes of incredulous tragedy,
awaiting the phoenix’s rising.

Daughters, Be Free

I forge a path,
for those who follow –
my children and theirs.

We lived a small-town,
incestuous fishbowl
life, before the change.

As much as I would
recapture the simplicity,
nothing is ever the same.

The horizon has shifted –
former choices vacated,
sad memories remain.

Eerie desolation repels,
yet I’ve lost an essential
part of me, cannot leave.

Was it curiosity that lured
me into that seedy corner –
forced me into darkness?

Did I not see evil lurking
behind the black curtains,
deception masking as mystery?

I rage for what was taken,
strike out against injustice,
cry vainly for innocence lost.

My daughter, myself,
stripped, shamed,
dishonoured, for what?

Sexual gratification?
Exploitation and profit?
Is nothing sacred?

We lie to ourselves –
we women – born to
appease – disillusioned.

Abandon our birthright,
are marketed, consumed,
objectified, souls shattered.

I rage against the inequity,
plead for common sense
to save them – my daughters.

From the hell I’ve lived,
from patriarchy’s treachery,
from the hurt I’ve inflicted.

I’ve forged a path for none
to follow, pray they choose
another, brighter way.