crestfallen

that sadness always hits us like a brick

hear its calls louder when there are fewer

distractions to keep our dull minds at bay

sadness that wears on us like blankets

heavy, smelly, making us suffer and smolder

stifling, because it’s always summer here

 

you say you want to feel it though

swim in it, surrender to it

hear its taunts that test you

so you’ll grow, you always do

you’ll defeat it, and like its own season

it’ll pass

 

dear crestfallen one,

I’m proud of you, I’m grateful for you

as I try to feel hope instead of this weight of despair

that sadness just seems to hit us so hard

each and every time

as I count down the seconds that I can call you mine

 

 

the year

The day he turned 15, she was attacked by wolves in the parking lot of her son’s therapist.  The drive had been long, and when she looked in her rearview mirror, she found her son staring out the window, holding his hands praying.  She stepped out of her car when the wolves overtook her son.  Men were fixing tires and changing the oil in the nearby lot, but they couldn’t hear her cries over their noise.  A woman waited in her car but didn’t appear to want to help.  People were ordering their lunch in the McDonald’s drive-thru but didn’t seem to see.  

The biggest wolf, the one with the pale eyes, came from behind her and snagged her shirt while the other two clawed at her arms till she bled.  She danced around the lot for what seemed to be forever, but they had just wanted to play with her, they were bored.  Or maybe one had heard a voice and convinced the others of its scheme.  Perhaps they just had their usual bad thoughts.  

She walked into the therapist’s office holding her bleeding arms.  Her face collapsed into her trembling hands, and she cried out of exhaustion.  She left forty-five minutes later and drove north to eat crap food while her son sat next to her and turned 15.  The year where most young blossoms are getting permits and going to movies with friends.  The year of growth and possibilities.  But she sat grieving as he turned another year older yet seemed to stay the same.   

The year he turned 15 – every sound hurt her ears.  The lawn mowers, the closing of doors, that chip bag, her spoon against the bowl slurping up Rice Chex.  Even the gorgeous birds had a way of gnawing at her brain.  Some of the bird calls would make her wince and moan.  One day she chased blue jays out of the coconut palms; their territorial sounds stabbed at her eardrums.  She watched them soar up to the clouds with their excited calls.   Good riddance.  Then she’d go back to her hell to make her coffee and there she could even hear the sound of her forming tears. 

The year he turned 15 – they made it a habit of keeping shoes by their back door for sudden escapes.  Run quick, they did.  The neighbors probably thought they were playing chase, but they were running from his frenzy, his fury, his fuming, his fists.  Those fists that always landed on her arms.  Arms that became swollen and purple mixed with an odd charcoal gray.  But she had stopped reaching for the ice.  It was the year where toasters flew off the counters and where doors were torn off hinges as if by Hulk himself. 

She’d listen attentively and say all the right things, but she’d still get new marks by the end of the day.   What was wrong with her?  Would she ever get it right, this business of raising her complicated, miserable, yet beautiful son?  She still loved him though, and on a good day, she would play with the back of his hair.  Golden, wispy, slightly curled up hair.  She’d think.  Why is it dread instead of joy, looking at this man that’s still a boy?  And wonder.  Is love even enough?

And then mid-way through the year, he came after her with such rage, her arms abandoned her.  They were tired of the pain, so they just simply ran away.  It wasn’t her choice, of course, she had loved her arms.  It was all those desperate words and his sheer brute-force.  So she stood around with no arms, and when he went ballistic, he had no choice but to go for her face.  And by this point – she wished she was far out in outer space, floating about only hearing the sound of her heartbeat.  It would be a familiar sound.  

That year, she went half dead and was almost unrecognizable.  She stopped marveling at the black butterflies that slowly fluttered past.  And when the swans tried to drown each other, she didn’t interfere; she didn’t shed a tear.  She stopped buying orchids; they just didn’t take her breath away as they had.  She lost her spark – the whole damn world made her mad.  She chose to swim with the sharks than heed the lifeguard’s warnings.  Watch its shadow cruise past then place her broken hand on its fin and tell it to swim.  Look up to the blazing sun, be amazed and give everything up to Him.

 

 

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

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 a 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 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

 

 

night

the way he is right now

I’ve learned to walk silently across the floor 

I’m a tall, strong woman with weary size ten feet

but I’m here tiptoeing and praying not to wake the manic beast, 

the way he is right now 

The past 2 weeks were okay

how I wish that guy could stay 

the one with the kind blue eyes 

the one that copies the clouds 

in the sky

the one who speaks gentle words 

and doesn’t wish for me to die

He doesn’t mean it, they always say 

But seriously, doesn’t dawn always beckon a new day?

Oh God, what if he means it?

These are the thoughts that make me lock my door

before I attempt to sleep

thoughts that make me say that extra prayer 

thoughts that make me easily tiptoe with my weary size ten feet 

to walk silently across the floor

begging not to wake the manic beast

i go

swept away, away i go

into his vortex, trembling…

waiting for the top to blow

first on my arms, then my nose

what he does next

well, you know

whatever is loony,

the opposite of sane,

living like this…

i’m going insane

 

somebody please stop this senseless ride

i’m getting dizzy…

i want to run inside and hide

fall asleep for a thousand years and a day

a small reprieve from

waiting, pacing…

praying, trembling…

all the while being swept away,

swept away i go

 

 

strings

the crescendo swept me away last night

tiny violins, mellow cellos

…my friends

the ones with the low gorgeous tones

I remember how its strings felt

beneath my fingertips

first cold, then warm

left little bite marks, they did

 

that crescendo last night

I’m surprised you didn’t hear it

what’s wrong with you?

did you fear it?

that music ran me over, made me spin

tossed me into oblivion

 

 

to feel

i want to feel a lion’s whiskers against my face,

its hair flat against my eyebrows.

open my eyes to only see an amber sea.

wrap its giant paws around my neck,

much like a mighty embrace.

have its roars momentarily

deafen me, silence me,

rattle me to the bone.

have its breath take away my breath,

engulf me like a storm.

be lulled to sleep by its heartbeat

that transforms to steady drums.

dream of wild safaris,

i’m in his land now.

free, roaming,

elephants trumpeting

but the drums stop.

i wake up, no such luck, the lion is gone.