to calm

To calm your wild

I’d give my life

stop being a mother 

stop being a wife 

 

To calm your wild

I’d except my tired eyes

die a painful death 

swim in a storm of lies

 

To calm your wild

I’d do anything 

stop being human 

crumble my beating heart

become a thing 

 

To calm your wild

for you to have a life? 

I’d do these things 

I wouldn’t think twice

reminisce II

making me hunger for the cold.  want to

feel the icicles jump down my throat when

I inhale to steady my breath, causing

my eyes to fail me and freeze.  blurred vision

has me fumbling; hard ice has me stumbling.

sliding down to my death cause my legs are

too weak.  causing flashbacks to all those times

I went sledding as a kid.  skin numb and

laughter frozen, not one damn care in the air.

 

view

Set the cotton candy mounds ablaze;

transformed their blue haze

to grey.

Tried not to look back at the bridge that

called so boldly out

to me.

Imagined me atop its railing;

set to spring forth up

to them.

Mind wandered to that dying bunny

in the yard we found

last night.

Heart sunk and wished I’d held it so it

wouldn’t be afraid

to die.

Today you checked on it. Still breathing;

its glassed eyes on the

blue sky.

Put it in a bag; tied it tight.  To

end its misery;

its fight.

Peeked on it later; its shut eyes now

at peace.  Walked away

to cry.

hush-hush

Have you grown weary of our clandestine

meetings?  You seem impatient with all my

weeping.  My tears getting mingled with my

drinking.  Drops of salt make it taste better

anyway.  The grief tastes sweet, begging to stay.

 

How long will it be?  How long will this grief

remain?  Tired of waking up sad mourning

in the morning.  Would rather smile back at

you, something I’ve forgotten how to do.

Could we forgive us?  Could we even try?

 

With hushed words in secret places in the

dark holes of our home; he waits and spies on

us.  We stop our chatter and vow to try

tomorrow.  Let our clandestine meetings

last.  Let’s be strong.  Let’s ruin this sorrow.

elude

I want to build a house by the coal sea.

You say Mr. Take Awayer won’t find us

there by the dark sea that rocks us to sleep.

Mr. Take Awayer will wear a shabby

garb of white.  You tell me he floats sideways

in the contrast of night.  Always at night.

By the vast sea I pray his calls are drowned

out by the violent waves and rocky shore.

He beckons to deceive you far from me.

But you won’t hear him I promise.  I swear.

I hope you’ll be happy, hope we are too.

When I build a house by the jet black sea

and every night have its torment sway us

to dreamland.  Find comfort knowing it could

swallow us, forgetting this pain on earth.

Hidden afar from Mr. Take Awayer.

 

 

privy

She told me in confidence that she thought she gave birth to a beast. She looked around the room to make sure that we were alone. Her eyes darted down and she whispered it, “a monster. The odd thing is that his birth had been so peaceful that January evening with the air so quiet you could hear the falling snow. In the peaceful, dim-lit room with hushed voices late at night, he just slipped out. He just slipped out.  

She told me that when he was born he looked like a little alien. He hardly slept for 2 years and his hunger was insatiable. When he cried her heart would race, and her eardrums would go numb. She would catch him staring in his crib at things she could not see. Stare so long, his eyes would drip water like a faucet. But he would twirl her hair when she nursed him, and she would feel the softness of his cheek so intently she’d fall in love with him all over again. She’d forgive him for all those sleepless nights and all those staring fits that would leave him unsettled and clingy.

She told me that after he became adorable, he finally learned to walk. He walked a little late. He took to the habit of running from things that weren’t there and he would fall and scream into her bosom. He would look up at the ceiling with a face of horror until Zonegran stopped the infantile spasms. He said his fan blades were covered with blood. He would see pizza on the walls and see shadows move without any light. And when they were trying to be good Catholics, he would tell her that the inside of their church smelled like old people’s burning flesh. But he looked so cute when he played on his wooden airplane. And when he wore his adorable baby blue sweater with the puppy on it, she’d fall in love with him all over again. She’d try to forget all the odd images he put in her head and those strange things he whispered in her ear. She tried to forget her anxiety over all the tests he had and the medications he tried. She’d try to crush the panic that would walk into her room in the middle of night.

She told me that when school started he had a hard time paying attention, hit the teachers, and would play chase without permission. He would cry before school would start, and his dad would have to carry him to the car while he put up a fight. But he would draw her pictures and write, I love you Mommy. He’d ask so sweetly, “do you want a hug?” She’d  fall in love with him all over again. She’d forgive all those meetings she had at the school and tried not to grow jaded when explaining his situation. She was always explaining the situation.

She told me about a day in March, a few years past, when she received a call from the teacher to pick up her son early from school. She walked tall into his special classroom and apologized for the massive amounts books and chairs strewn all over the room. Really, he knows better,” she’d say. She walked out of the building, her son’s hand in hers and made it to her car before she collapsed to cry. She cried for 2 straight hours and couldn’t even make dinner, she was too full of sorrow.

She told me that he could dream of the future and have night terrors that haunted him for weeks. He’d get up at bizarre hours of the night to gather and cut up his clothes. He’d sprinkle cinnamon all over the house 2 days before Christmas because he liked the smell.  And dump baby powder all over his room because he said, “I miss the snow.” She looked surprisingly good for being awake all this time.

She told me that although he is growing up into a beautiful young man, he is taller than her now and in some ways smarter than her. But he’s moody and sad, happy and mad. Up and down he goes, round and round he goes. He’s always able to lure her into his trap. He can even catch her eyebrow twitch and it seems that he can read her mind before she speaks. He’s always inches from her and circling around her. Pecking at her, laughing at her, chasing her, and clawing at her. Unfathomable that this was the same human being that had just slipped out so effortlessly into the world.

She told me with a pensive tone that her entire being was filled with fright and even her soul, her aching soul, mourned for it to be over. And she felt betrayed because she asked me, “isn’t your soul supposed to be stronger?” Traitor, she’d call it. She said she felt empty and blank. She’d ask, “how much can one vessel hold?” And with every night that she went to bed thinking she was spent, she’d wake up and have to start it all over again.  Each and every night, each and every day. She then told me that when the best place in the nation said, “your son is a candidate for our inpatient program,” she was surprised to be struck with grief instead of relief.

A few moments passed, and then she just stopped. She wiped her cheek and told me in confidence that she wanted to tempt fate in a sea of aqua glass. Feel the wind rush past her face. Witness the brown clouds get taken over by the foam. Tease the pull toward the moon and float. Revel in that and not talk about home.

 

today

Today, this day, 10 years ago she watched her father die in a cold hospital room during a Nebraska winter. 

Today, this day, she decided to go to the beach.  

This woman, while resting in an umbrella of warmth, heard a man shuffle by; wearing a blue shirt, his profile reminded her of her father.

The one that could grow a red beard and whose eyes got greener when he was mad.  The one whose laugh could wake the dead and the one who hid his sadness with a mask.  Until that day – she got the call that he wanted to end it all.  One week he would stay at a different hospital, decades before his unluckiness would take him.  Decades before the cancer devoured his laugh and made him blow up like a fish.  Decades before she saw his last breath.  

The man she saw today was shorter than her father, but they shared the same hair color and smile.  She was sure his eyes were green and that they sparkled like sand beneath her feet.  She would close her eyes and try to recall the ghostly memories of her father.  The way he shifted his weight while talking on the telephone.  Right foot, left foot, with a sort of rocking motion.  The way he sprayed a cloud of Aqua Net on his hair every morning.  And the way he never seemed to dry off his hands after washing them; he just shook them in the air while her socks soaked up the water. 

Between reading, trying to remember, and wave gazing; she spent a great deal of time watching one particular seagull.  The fat one with a long neck who bellowed for the others to stay away.  The one who looked irritated at the smaller, scurrying birds that busily ran after their shadows.  The one who approached her expectantly as she ate her honey mustard pretzels and then was chased by a little girl who reminded her of her daughters.  The one with the peach and blue bathing suit.  The one with the ponytail that looked like one long curl down her back.  The little one with all the power to chase the seagull around and make him soar away.  

This woman longed to borrow the little girl’s happiness, borrow her smile, borrow her power to make the seagull ascend.  Especially today, this day, when 10 years ago she was forced to say goodbye to her father. 

layers

My son drew this last year.  Last year was a hard year.  Challenging behaviors that got worse worsened and I wonder how that’s even possible.  But here I am staring at this beautiful picture that he drew, that didn’t win the Rare Artist contest, but who cares?  It is still flipping awesome.  Layer upon layer of oil pastel.  I could, in fact, make an oil pastel chip cookie from the extra wax bulging from this picture.  But that is what he does.  More and more and more of whatever he is fascinated with, or not so nicely put, whatever he is OCD’ing about.  But this I can handle – because at the end of the binge is something positive to show for it.  I walk into his room and collect his art, as if on a treasure hunt, and I keep the ones that evoke a response from me.   A smile, perhaps a wince, because they aren’t always neat and pretty.  Sometimes the pictures involve teeth, lots of pointy teeth.  Why does he draw the pointy teeth?  Why does he so easily drift to the dark side?

I remember when he was little he was stuck on painting a red smiley face on crisp white paper.  It always made me happy.  One such painting on canvas was bought for $100 through a tuberous sclerosis charity auction.  It was a proud moment.  But after a couple of years – the layers of stacked red smiles became a little too much.  I begged for him to draw/paint something different.  After a few houses and sunsets – he graduated to complete faces.  Some are like the above face but most are not as nice.  He titled the drawing above, Mummis, layer after layer of colors that represent both an explosion of emotions and an entrapment of emotions.  Again, how is that possible?  For my son it’s possible because he lives with “Mummis”  everyday.  For him to feel sadness, frustration, boredom, hopelessness, confusion, embarrassment, anger, frankly any emotion without the capability to express it often leads to the explosions.  Explosions of sadness manifest as anger which leaps out in acts of aggression.  Layer upon layer of emotions that for him can be catastrophic.

I like Mummis.  In this still form on paper it appears to be pensive, even peaceful.   Peaceful—the opposite of my life right now.  I could layer and layer that forever.