defeated

broken

before she peels herself out of bed

counting the minutes before she’s back there

hears the chatter outside her head,

but she ignores it, sighs

looks out the window

wills herself out there…

to go wherever they’re going

wonder what his cigarette tastes like

wonder how that ink feels flush against the skin

blush, have to look away

wonder if that was a sin

 

surely she’s more than this

to just sit here, sit here and just exist

to take up this space

longing to have the laughter last

waiting for life to return to her face

she wishes herself to be anywhere,

any place else, away from this chaos

but alas, she remains, sighs

broken

before she peels herself out of bed

before

before

the numbness set in

she had a great deal to say

but that damn sadness crept in

sly little imp, it was

before

the crying spells set in

she had so many plans for the day

but that damn loss of hope crept in

clever little demon, it was

before

the emptiness set in

she used to pray and pray

but that damn nothingness crept in

cruel little devil, it was

and

she lost her words, lost her memory

so unfortunate,

she had so many beautiful memories

but that was

before

she’ll be right

Please forgive my wandering mind, but I want to go to Australia.  Forget about the long flight, and watch the kangaroos with their dangling arms cross the street.  I want to smile at the way they say my name, Sheila.  Have an old Aussie take my scarred hand  and whisper, “How ya goin’ luv?”  Nod back.  If you only knew.

I want to go to a place where I can drink wine at lunch guilt-free.  Tour a vineyard near the coast and dream about buying an old villa.  Befriend the locals and whip up a mean spaghetti alla carbonara.  Watch my prosecco sparkle in its glass, and toast to the year I never had.  Listen to them laugh and think.  Isn’t this nice.

Go to place where I bow to show respect, and I’m admired for being tall.  Drink loads of green tea and feel uber-relaxed because of all that L-theanine.  Touch the translucent screen with my fingertips, close the shoji.  Slip in the futon and sleep like never before.  Learn how to play the shakuhachi and delete the Deuter station on my Pandora.  I don’t need your music anymore.  Be so relaxed that I’ll defy gravity, so I’ll float and swim in the clouds.  And I’ll feel sorry that you can’t join me.

Go to a hidden forest and have the moss stain my vision green for days on end.  Hum the song “The Misty Mountains Cold” as I walk around for hours in sacred silence.  Go for a month-long stay in Bora Bora.  Be greeted with fresh pineapple, and then graciously tell them that I’m allergic to pineapple.  But I’ll dream of eating pineapples when I sleep over the water and grow delirious with their sweetness.  The glass sea will be so breathtaking that I’ll forget how to cry.

Go to a red house with a pink door bathed in sunlight.  Walk inside, leave the door open, and not faint when I marvel at its beauty.  Flowers will adorn the counter and tabletops.   Heavenly bulbous flowers that would make the Queen of Hearts jealous, or at the very least, she’d want to know my secret for growing such massive flowers.  I wouldn’t tell her though.  She’d have a tantrum, but I would only laugh.  She wouldn’t, she couldn’t ever phase me.

I want to walk through the house, and run my fingers along the patched gossamer blue walls.  I’ve missed you.  Smell the lavender you sprayed a moment ago.  Hear the cardinal that always pecks at the door.  Poor thing, he’s confused, because the house is red.  Notice how much the carpet of pink around the pool has grown.  Wonder how the flowers fell so gracefully in the laps of the worn ballerina statues, and I’ll admire their patience.

Please forgive my wandering mind, I just want to be hopeful.  It’ll be different this time.  I’ll close the pink door and pray.

i forgot

I’m an object, I’m a thing

far from a human being

but

I feel the pain again

I swam so much, I

forgot how to swim

let me just rot away

wishing for another day

 

I’m an object, I’m a thing

far from a human being

but

my ears buzz with every scream

I dreamt so much, I

forgot how to dream

my arms are torn

damn flesh is worn

 

I’m an object, I’m a thing

far from a human being

but

tonight my soul took flight

I cried so much, I

forgot how to cry

pointless words spoken

my only heart broken

 

I’m an object, I’m a thing

far from a human being

but

I saw the ghosts turn into the willow trees

I was so much, I

forgot how to be

abandoned, dead inside

no breath left, but still alive

here

I feel like I’m on an island

all alone,

in this stupid paradise

been here 5 years

since we ran from the corn and ice

but I was happy then

it wasn’t perfect but we had a life

 

I miss people, I miss talking

in that wonderful coffee shop

you know, the one next

to the bookstore that looked like a vault

instead I’m here

placing blame, saying, it’s not my fault

 

Now surrounded by palm trees

and endless sun, I’m here

crestfallen, and jumping out of my skin

when the coconuts fall

stopping fast when the lizards zip past

having baby panic attacks in the shower

when distant door slams sound like blasts

 

But I’m trying – here in paradise

missing your laugh, missing mine

while fixing my margarita or

pouring my wine

I’m here regretting the years

we’ve lost to Old Man Time

 

I feel like I’m alone on an island

and

I’ll remember the golden aura

around the moon

as you go your own way

I’ll remember all the wonderful

things we wanted to do, someday

here, alone on this island

I’ll remain, I have to stay

 

 

hidden

there’s a suitcase in the far corner of my closet

the older one with the worn brown

checkerboard pattern and a faded luggage tag

can’t make out the name any longer

not going anywhere anyway

and if I pretend

the flattened leather handle still feels warm

probably from when you used it last

back when life was happy and our souls were stronger

sometimes when things get loud

I want to place a blanket in that suitcase,

in the far corner of my closet,

crawl inside, zip it up and lie

quietly, silently

will he find me

I want to say aloud

but I don’t dare make a sound

these days, these long days

after the first door slam, I want to bolt

run far before the terror takes hold

but no

I have to stand there and take it

stand there and stand there

stand there and fake it

place my trembling hands in my pockets

ignore my heart pounding in my ears

taste the rapid beats, choke them down

why is it getting so difficult

I’ve been doing this for years

every time I enter my closet

I give that suitcase an extra glance

maybe one day I could do it

run quick when I have the chance

when I’m first warned

place a blanket inside, make it cozy and warm

crawl inside, zip it up

lie quietly, silently battered and worn

Snippet of Her

She could have been the mother of a dozen girls; all with raven hair and cheeks dusted with the pale pink sheen that left her countenance ages ago.  Lovely, airy, gentle girls with names like: Polly, Emmaline, and Mae.  With giggles in the morning, books in the afternoon, and Rooibos tea in the evening.  They would love her and show her affection, and she would know they cared.  Know that she was their mother.  Unlike how she felt today: invisible, worthless, stranded, and forgotten.

She could have been the mother of an army of girls with pigtails and curls, petticoats, and dolls.  Stupid, perfect dolls with porcelain skin and fingers, so delicate she would hold her breath to touch, just to touch their dainty fingers.  She would cry herself to sleep not knowing the wedded and domestic future of her unborn, imaginary army of girls.  Cry over grandchildren she would never see, never love, never hold.  She would mourn this loss over and over until her heart broke into a million tiny pieces, scattering and chasing each other  while blaming themselves for the break.  If only her heart had been stronger, tougher, maybe she wouldn’t have failed so miserably.

This mother, this very same mother, looking past her broken son, in a puddle of his own urine, with stained straw hair and with eyes, seemingly so dark, she couldn’t see the blue.  With eyes that pained her with every blink she could scarcely look at him as he waited on what she did not know.  She could have been a good mother if only her son could have given her a chance.  But it escaped him, he was lost in his own world.  His world filled with chaos, destruction; senselessness that cruelly clashed with her idyllic, impossible thoughts.   Her impossible thoughts.  

They would never understand, she’d think.  This mother with guilt so alive it walked beside her clutching her hand, would collapse under impossible pressure countless times.  She would drown daily with not a life guard or life preserve in sight.  They would just look at her with disapproving eyes – eyes that didn’t know the story.  The story of love and hope that in one minute would turn into duty and despair.  They would not know the doctor that said her son was haunted by ghosts or know all the medicines, the little colorful pills that turned against him and caused him rage.  They would never know the pain, not ever, even if explained.  She was sick of explaining.

This mother would crawl into bed and pray for forgiveness.  This woman would dream of her army of girls, all fancy and sweet, singing lullabies.  These tiny angels would dance with ribbons of pink and peace would overcome her until she was reduced to tears.  She  would feel happiness in this dream;  this gift, this blessing of a dream.  It was always enough to give this woman a fragment, a drop of hope that the next day could be that day.  That day where she would reach her son and her son would live in her world.  That day where neither anxiety nor frustration dwelled.  That day where her thoughts were not so impossible and laughter cradled, rocked, and soothed the both of them, mother and son.

She didn’t need an army of daughters – she just needed her one son.  

My one son,” she would cry and release to the air.  That had to be enough.