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.)

 

 

 

A Mother Seldom Asks

Where does a woman store her dreams
while children need chauffeuring
and parents’ health is in decline?

What goal does she dare strive for,
that won’t supersede obligation,
nor tax already waning energy?

Why is it that her efforts –
exceeding expectations –
often fail, demanding more?

How does she keep hope alive
when illness usurps functioning
and the off-ramp is miles behind?

Who will carry her when winter’s grasp
makes passage undependable, and
she has no choice but to surrender?

(V.J.’s challenge this week is questions.)

Conspiracy Theory

The floorboards,
imagining themselves waves,
undulate,
throw my balance
off kilter…

The lemonade,
ignoring my thirst,
refuses to open –
holds fast to top
rendering me weak

Even the frying pan
fights my efforts,
twisting my wrist as if
arm wrestling,
rather than cooking,
is the game called for here.

Surrendering, I sit,
and with propped up legs
pull out the laptop,
certain that perusing
blog posts will meet
with less upheaval,

but the keyboard
is a trickster,
misreads my commands
and windows open and close
without reason, and
frustrated I push it aside.

This house is conspiring
turning a perfectly capable
human being, into a fumbling,
doddery old fool.

(Written for V.J.’s Weekly Challenge: personification)

Image from personal collection.

Moving Day

A single, blow-up bed
claims my stake
on this house

mostly empty –
dust remnants
of former occupants
rise at my passage –
I chase them

Renovation
will precede
settling in

yet, I will not leave
wrapping myself
in these walls

waiting for
the revelation
that this is home.

(Linked to V.J.’s weekly challenge: home.)

Moving

Outside, clouds hover,
heavy, threatening.

Inside, men haul –
china cabinet,
weathered couch –

accumulation
marking years,
exiting under duress

echoes fill in the spaces

scent of soured sweat lingers

kitchen counters
glare, empty

layers of our lives
stripped away

our vacated shell,
an emotional tug

Is it fear?  Sorrow?

What was it all about anyway?

closing the door behind us
locking memories in the past

we load our small boxes
essentials for a simpler life –
a home on wheels life

point our nose forward
and drive away
as the sun breaks through.

(A year ago, we sold our bricks and sticks house, along with its contents and moved into a motor home.  Now we are reversing the process – accumulating and setting up house again.  Apparently, we like change.  V.J’s weekly challenge is fittingly about home.)

Storing Energy

Comfortable is the state
I aspire to today –
lounging pants,
a weathered tee,
and a pace to match.

Tomorrow, we prepare:
finish up packing,
load the vehicle,
await the signal –
the house is ours!

Small town living
is the setting of choice –
Stonetown – quaint
shops, cottages of lime,
a river running through it

We’ll settle in amongst
other seniors, register
for local activities, walk
along the trails, and
visit nearby theaters

take the grandchildren
swimming in the quarry,
blue as it is deep –
water trampolines
and kayaks ready for fun.

Yet another adventure,
in our life of many –
so today, I rest, make plans,
nap – save my energy
for busy tomorrows.

(Thanks to Fandango for the daily prompt: comfortable, and to the Ragtag community for quarry.  The focus of my weekly challenge is home. Love it if you’d join me.)

Enough

Whatever you do
give it 110%

Father’s words
whirl,
confuse,
belittle

ambiguous, at best,
attainment remote

I am not enough

Good, better, best,
never let them rest…

morning chant –
eggs and bacon,
(seldom acceptable)
served up
by an ever-inadequate
mother,

Father’s criticism
whipping,
cruel

I will never be enough

apologize before beginning
a wallflower
on the social scene
a plebe
in the working world

presence hesitant
accomplishment tentative

Winners never quit and
quitters never win

blood boils
silently
I scream

Till I cannot bear one more
extempore lecture
face my foe
square on

catch a glimpse
of what?…
self-doubt?
fear?

These tirades
are not personal
it is not my ineptitude
at stake

merely the railings
of a tortured soul
trying to find
solid footing
on unsteady ground

I am learning to be enough.

(V.J.’s weekly challenge is accomplishment.  I’ve been pondering why it is so difficult to feel as if I’ve accomplished anything, when logically I know I have.  The daily prompts helped me to put this in context.  Thanks for Fandango for ambiguous, Ragtag Community for extempore, Daily Addictions for remote.)

A Final Mystery

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

witnessed 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.

(Originally posted January of 2015, this poem fits V.J.’s Weekly Challenge theme of mystery, hosted on One Woman’s Quest II.  There is still time to participate.  Head on over and check it out.)

Finding Light After Divorce

Jilted by a philandering husband and defrauded out of my share of the assets, I made a convincing victim.

“You are righteously angry,” a friend counselled.

Perhaps so, but something niggled at me.

“A man does not stray unless there is a reason,” someone said, and I felt as if she looked right through me, could see the flaws at my core.  My mother’s repeated warnings came back to me:  “No one will ever love you.”

What is wrong with me?  my broken heart wailed.

Urgency drove me to find answers.  I never wanted to go through this again.  I had to know why my life had turned out this way.

I read.  I read Daphne Rose Kingma’s Coming Apart, and Susan Anderson’s The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, and The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz:  all offering glimpses of insight and understanding – something I could hold on to.  So many books passed through my hands and desperate to learn more, I turned to a galley copy of a book I’d received as a bookstore owner.  A commercial piece, now released, but that I’d never bothered with in the past, having stashed it beside many other soon-to-be published editions.

It was Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil McGraw.

“Too Late for this, really,” I told myself but I decided to give it a chance.

Dr. Phil wrote the words I had suspected all along:  good relationships begin with the self.  His advice made sense, and more than that, I felt like I was finally onto something.  I attacked the book as if reading a how-to manual, highlighter in hand and pencil at the ready.

Relationship Rescue delves into the different “bad spirits” that we bring to our relationships, and as I read along, I began to recognize bits of myself in the “scorekeeper”, the “fault-finder”, and the control freak, but when I reached the eighth category and began to read, I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach and wanted to throw up. I was the “bottomless pit”.

I told myself that I didn’t need anything so that I wouldn’t be a burden.  What I was actually doing was sabotaging my partner’s chances of ever meeting my needs.  “He should know without me telling him,” was another one of those false beliefs that I measured by husband against.

The spirit I brought to my marriage was ugly.  I had so many expectations about what I wanted and didn’t want based on my parents failures that any partner was destined to fail.

With understanding comes change.  It would not be easy, and I am still a work in progress, but Relationship Rescue gave me solid understanding so that I can be accountable and achieve a healthier relationship.

My challenge this week is to write about (or submit images of) a book that made you sit up and pay attention.  What book(s) made a difference in your life?