Who Am I, If Not Responsible?

This pedestal of responsibility
elevates me out of reach,
out of touch, lumps together
childrenspousemothersister

Caregiver extraordinaire,
present overcrowded by
obligations, am unwell,
off topic, fed up…surely

I am other abled, have room
for more, non-martyr related –
hesitant to plan, my purpose
for being so intricately tuned

to the needs of others, should
quit while I’m ahead – silence
the noisy uncertainty, free us
all from this unhealthy game.

(Image my own. Poem first appeared on One Woman’s Quest II, September 2016)

Martyr’s Lament

I wake before dawn,
drive through blinding snowstorms,
if lost, alter course – without faltering –
even set out on foot when driving
becomes impossible, navigating
treacherous snow and ice, for you

So you can get where you need to be
So you can succeed
I risk it all for you

I keep you by my side
so that you will be safe
so that I can ensure your arrival

But, I grow weary, and my body
won’t go on, and all I ask for
is that we rest awhile,
so that I can catch my breath

And in that instance, you are gone –
no hesitation in your step, no looking back –
and when you finally stop to wait for me
it is too late…

A barrier has grown between us:
like an eight-foot, chain-link fence
separating me from protecting you

And you look at me with that glare
of exasperation that says:
“I should have done it on my own.”

Wait! Wait, I say.
This wall may seem insurmountable
but I can do it. I can do it; give me time.
I’ll just climb to the top.
It’ll be easy; you’ll see!

Don’t walk away! Give me one more chance
to prove my love. I do it all for you.

(Martyr’s Lament first appeared here in November, 2014.
This version is a rewrite. Image my own.)

Who Am I, If Not Responsible?

This pedestal of responsibility
has elevated me, out of reach,
out of touch – lumps together
children, mate, mother, sister…

Caregiver extraordinaire
present overcrowded by
obligations…am unwell,
off topic, fed up, surely…

I am other abled, have room
for more – not martyr related –
hesitant to plan, my purpose
for being so intricately tuned

to the needs of others, should
quit while I’m ahead – silence
the inner nag – free us all
from this unhealthy game.

(This poem first appeared on One Woman’s Quest II
in September, 2016. Edited here. Image my own.)

Martyr’s Lament and Superwoman’s Dark Side

MARTYR’S LAMENT

I woke before dawn and drove
through blinding snowstorms for you.

I was lost, but without faltering,
I altered course, and when
I could drive no further, I set out
on foot, navigating treacherous
snow and ice, risking my life,
pushing forward against all odds
for you.

So that you could get where you
need to be; so that you
can succeed: I risk
it all for you.

And all the while,
I keep you by my side,
so that you will be safe,
so that I can ensure
your arrival.

But I grow weary,
and my body just will not go on,
and all I ask is that we rest for a while,
so that I can catch my breath.

But you, you walk away –
no hesitation in your step,
no looking back –
and when you do stop to wait
it is too late

a barrier has grown between us:
an eight-foot, chain-link fence
separating me from protecting you,
and you look at me with that gaze
of exasperation as if to say:
I should have done it on my own.

Wait! I say, Wait!
This wall may seem insurmountable,
but I can do it!  I can do it;
just give me time.  I’ll climb
to the top; it’ll be easy –
you’ll see…

Don’t walk away.
Give me one more chance
to prove my love for you

I do it all for you.

SUPERWOMAN’S DARK SIDE

fine-cut crystal, silver and gold
sparkle and entice –
the table is laid
for guest aplenty

savory aromas conjure visions
of sumptuous gravy,
delectable roast,
crisp-cooked vegetables,
and decadent desserts

she’d stop to admire her handiwork
but the children, tired and hungry
bored with the waiting,
tug at her hem

Waiting.
It is her strength.
Prepare, prepare –
then wait.

invitees will arrive shortly,
noisily – full of their days,
faintly aware of the backdrop,
happy to have left their babies

and they’ll sit and be served
and remark on the deliciousness
and gobble up seconds
then push back chairs
and wander off for a kip
or a smoke

and she’ll linger a moment
picking at her congealed gravy-covered mash
unconsciously dabbing at a red wine stain
marvelling that she’d accomplished it all
once again
without bitching
without protesting
a trooper till the end

What’s that you say?
She’s sounding a bit like the martyr?

Oh no, you’ve found her out;
Superwoman has a dark side.

(Martyr’s Lament and Superwoman’s Dark Side were originally posted in December of 2014, and have been edited here.  They are personal favourites as they emerged from my dreams and marked an aha moment in my own journey.  Hope they made you smile.)

 

 

 

Eating Wiener Schnitzel

He wants Wiener Schnitzel and egg rolls –
a complicated request, yet she will try
to acquiesce, selects a restaurant where
the former is a speciality, hopes he’ll forgive
absence of latter – it’s busy here
and she’d rather be home,
or somewhere quieter
(though she’d never say so)
feels her insecurities sliding into the seat
beside her, drama welling up in her throat,
tries to push it down but resentment
takes a seat at the table and brings along disgust –
why is she eating in a place she would never
choose for herself, with a man who does not
notice, let alone appreciate?

Restaurants take her back to another life,
when the heat of the kitchen consumed her,
yelled orders, was yelled at,
rushed about to cater to the whims
of guests that may or may not tip –
A real education, her father told her,
but she came away with sore feet,
a broken back and none the wiser
about relationships –
has dined here before with former lovers,
friends, felt the stuffiness of the ochre walls,
brocade upholstery, close in on her,
wondered why she came,
doesn’t even like milk-fed calf.

Her mind wanders to other walls,
now crumbled, remnants of dreams,
boundaries she’d once built when she was
just a pup – believed her good-natured loyalty
would win over many hearts, instead
it only shattered her own –
so many incarnations she is ashamed
to think of it: enthusiastic house mate,
trophy mutt, Heinz 57 – now she feels like
an over-aged, overstuffed mongrel,
beaten down by years of neglect.

It’s a rocky path she travels, these days,
has lost the concept of solid ground,
finds herself teetering on the brink
of flight but has no legs to carry her,
no wings to lift her up, resigns herself
to meals of processed foods and
deep-fried suicide rather than
the curries and stews she craves,
convinced that compromise and
making others happy matters more
than what she wants or needs –
takes a bite of baby cow and smiles.

The Narcissist’s Argument

My wife stayed up all night,
waited for my sisters arrival;
told her they would get here
when they get here, but still
she remained vigilant – would
rather lose sleep than let go.

Cooked them a late night
meal, even though I told her
one is watching her figure
and the other precise in her
tastes – no way she could
please them, so why bother.

She worries, my wife, about
being perfect, being accepted;
she’ll never have the polish
of my upbringing or light a
candle to women in my family
and quite frankly, embarrasses

herself trying – I’d rather she
be a mouse, wait until I tell
her to act, let my sisters take
charge, stop trying to pretend
she is good enough, just worry

about fetching my dinners,
finishing the ironing, and
getting on with the children –
I am a busy man.  Makes her
angry though, if I say so; snips
at me as if it’s all my fault –

I didn’t ask her to do it – she
wants  me to talk to my siblings,
tell them she’s burdened as it is,
ask them to find a hotel – such
nonsense; such a bitter woman,

my wife, impossible to please,
always trying to control the
situation, complaining no one
else will help her – and who can
blame them; who wants to be
around that; that’s why I need

you, my dear,  so agreeable, lovely,
you lift my heart; give me hope –
thought about you all night, wished
you were there to fill up the empty
space beside me; know that we can
make each other forever happy.

(image from: galleryhip.com)

 

Superwoman’s Dark Side

fine-cut crystal, silver and gold
sparkle and entice.  the table is laid
for guests aplenty.

savory aromas conjure visions
of sumptuous gravy, delectable roast,
crisp-cooked vegetables, and decadent desserts.

she’d stop to admire her handiwork,
but the children, tired and hungry
and bored with the waiting, tug at her hem.

Waiting.  It is her greatest strength.
Prepare, prepare –
then wait.

They’ll arrive shortly, noisily
full of their days, faintly aware
of the backdrop, happy to have left the babies.

And they’ll sit and be served
and remark on the deliciousness
and gobble up seconds
then push back their chairs
and wander off for a kip
or a smoke

and she’ll linger for a few minutes
picking at her congealed gravy- covered mashed
unconsciously dabbing at the red wine stain on the tablecloth
and marvel at how she accomplished it all
once again
without bitching
without protesting
a trouper till the end

What’s that you say?
She’s sounding a bit like the martyr?

Oh no, you’ve found her out.
Superwoman has a dark side.

Martyr’s Lament

I have waken before dawn
and driven through blinding snowstorms for you.
I have been lost, but without faltering, have altered course,
and when I could drive no further, I set out on foot
navigating treacherous snow and ice, risking my life
pushing forward against all odds,for you.

So you could get where you needed to go.
So you could succeed.
I risked it all for you.

All the while I kept you by my side,
So that you would be safe,
so that I could ensure your arrival.

But I grew weary, and my body just would not go on,
and all I asked is that we rest for awhile,
so that I could catch my breath.

And in that instance, you were gone,
no hesitation in your step, no looking back,
and when you finally stopped to wait for me,
it was too late.

A barrier had grown between us:  an eight foot, chain-link fence
separating me from protecting you.And you looked me at with that gaze of exasperation,
as if to say that you should have done it on your own.

But wait, I say.  Wait.
This wall may seem insurmountable, but I can do it.
I can do it, give me time.  I’ll just climb up to the top.
It’ll be easy, you’ll see.

Don’t walk away!  Give me one more chance
to prove my love for you.

I do it all for you.