creativity · poetry · relationships · writing

Framed Perspectives

Framed perspectives –
I see shelter, a friend
whose branches shield;
you see obstruction,
prefer sunshine to shade –
our differences, like windows,
portioned previews
of a life segmented.

(My weekly challenge this week is to consider the symbolism of windows.  Won’t you join us?)

aging · culture · life · poetry · travel

Unsettling

Have opted for a minimalist existence –
efficiency dependent on accessibility –
still suffering the effects of disease, age.

Used to dwell in the sarcasm of fixed roots,
keep-up-with-the-status-quo, thought that
swapping furniture equated with renewal

Now the only fitting-in we do relates to
rig size and whether or not the next stop
on the road can accommodate our home

Have sold off the real estate, motivated
by simplicity; seek vistas that restore
our souls, preferably with a water view.

We are comfortable marrieds, adapting
new perspectives, easing out of the shell –
shock of former agendas, rat-race lives.

 

 

dreams · health

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.

health

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.

 

 

 

 

recovery · Uncategorized

Day 251 Careful and Carefree

Dreams have provided a source of personal revelation for me since I started recording, and subsequently learning about them, in 1986.  The poem “The Shadow of Shame” was based on the dreams of several nights, all bearing a similar theme – my ability (or rather inability) to form relationships.   By weaving together the images from those dreams and writing the poem I was able to recognize the underlying culprit.

Shame is insidious, silently spreading its menace, growing like a weed rooted in the soul.  It began for me the year I turned nine, when my teenage sister got pregnant.  While no one directly spoke to me about what was happening, I knew by the raised voices and frantically whispered arguments that something was dreadfully wrong.   A wedding was hastily arranged despite my father’s protests and my sister’s life was changed drastically.  That fall, when I started a new school, the shadow was already casting its pall over me – I felt myself on the outside of the circle looking in.  None of these kids, I was sure, was already an aunt or uncle.

Then, the summer of my eleventh birthday, my parents sat me down to tell me about my mother’s previous marriage and divorce.  Imagine my shock to learn that my sisters were half-sisters, and that two of my male ‘cousins’ were actually brothers.  “Divorce is a sin,” my mother told me, “So we don’t talk about it.  People would not approve.”  Marked by this new secret, I knew my hopes of belonging were shattered.

When we moved, mid semester, in the eighth grade, I was taken out of my gifted classroom and thrust into the mainstream.  Where previously being an oddball was celebrated, my new peers scoffed at my quirky abilities further fueling my growing awareness that I was fatally flawed.  When a boy I had latched onto and actually crushed on, publicly called me a dog, I learned how deep humiliation can run, as I then became the target of relentless bullying – everyone in our school took to barking at me at school and anywhere else I happened to be.

When we moved from that community, I had already learned the importance of caution around others.  I knew that making friends required careful observation and consideration, and demanded that I not reveal my true self.  There was little provision for letting one’s guard down, or being carefree.

And then my father dropped his bombshell – revealing to me the duplicity of his life – and any shame I might have felt before was now multiplied a thousand fold.  I was certain that others could tell by looking at me that my family was a total wreck, and furthermore, I knew they were justified in their judgments of me.  I shrank into myself, seeking dark corners, avoiding eye contact, or skipping school all together.  I tried running away, cutting, drinking, but nothing numbed the emotional pain, nor brought me closer to others.

When, at fifteen, I was abducted and raped, my family unwilling and unable to deal with the fact, just didn’t talk about it.  Called a whore by my father, I pushed the memory to the back of my consciousness and fixated instead on ways to end my life.

I thought I had put all that behind me.  I believed that through therapy, and just as a side effect of maturation, I had eluded the black cloud of my youth – and yet here it is -rearing it’s ugly head again, reminding me that I still struggle with getting close to anyone, certain that they will despise me if the truth comes out.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?  Yet, I bet that we are all, in some degree, affected by this plague.  Shame builds walls where there are none, creates distorted images of superiority and inferiority, and takes personal blame where there is no fault to be had.

In the final dream, I am befriended by a troubled youth ( something that occurs regularly in my chosen occupation).  It is at the moment in which we both realize that we have shameful pasts that we are able to let down our guards and freely be with one another – just two humans being.

Maybe it is the very things that shame us that make us human, and the willingness to share our shadows that brings us connection.

I know that this heart longs to step out of the restrictions of careful interaction to experience carefree intimacy with another.

In the meantime, I will keep dreaming.

Uncategorized

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.