this

this beauty gots to even out the ugly 

the motion gots to keep you steady 

yet every day is just the same

left is right, this way is that way

the sun is square, the sky is brown 

your sad is mad, your up is down

the beauty gots to even out this ugly

this hope gots to get you ready 

 

 

fear

I think back to one Halloween—thirty-eight years ago, while walking
through the woods and talking about candy and mud pies—my little
sister and I were chased by a man on a motorcycle. We cracked the
sticks beneath our feet with the weight of frenzied confusion.
We jumped over streams of murky waters, leaving all the tadpoles
in our wake. In fear, I ran so fast, I left my terrified sister
begging for me to wait. All I could do was pray that my sister would
be able to keep up, stubby legs and all. All I did was look back and scream,
 “Stephanie, run faster, please keep up!”
Now, as a much bigger me, I feel less like a coward, but I sometimes
awaken in the darkest part of the night. I’ll freeze and shake, like a
thawing statue, thinking my son woke up in a manic state again. I
become like ice, frozen with fear. In this, fear is clear. It sees right
through me to magnify every flaw, and everything going wrong. It’s in
the dolls and horrid images that haunt me until dawn.
Ever since my son’s diagnoses, fear continues to take me into the
future to exhaust my days. It’s the lack of progress, no growth, it’s my
wasting away. Fear is the attempt to take the pain from a loved one
even when you know they’ll never be the same. It’s a first cry facing life
and it’s in the last breath facing the unknown. It’s in every syllable
against deaf ears with violence and shouts begging others to hear. It’s
in the static lost in translation and in those distant, muffled cries. It’s the
thoughts of tortured souls right next door and in the ghosts that have
lost their way home.
With the arrival of Halloween, I find myself reflecting about
that day long ago when we wanted nothing more than to be and to play.
Think about how I was the protector, I was like Sheila the Great, but I let
fear dictate another fate. If I could do it all over again, I’d stop and wait.
Plant my feet in the muddy waters, before the ledge of rocks we had to
climb. Take Stephanie’s small hand in mine and declare,
“Fear, you’re no friend of mine.”

choice

her skirt blowing in the wind,

next to the cliff, next to the ocean

her gnarled foot making the rocks,

the sand trickle down

flashbacks of her ballet time

her foot against the edge

and

the crows flew sideways that day

she looking out with eyes closed

wondering if tomorrow she’d be so brave

flashbacks of her walking away

creep

the demon he carried was larger than him

he was unaware but I saw it

and I was just a little girl

this man who smelled of cigars and aging skin

barely spoke, but he had all the baby dolls lined up

and I’m sure he touched them all

including me, innocent and small

this man who crept in with the shadows

when he thought I was asleep, didn’t have a clue

 I could turn into a statue and not make a peep

this man was naught, this man who was a creep.

keepsake

let my eyes stay here and play awhile

before you go away. let me marvel at how

your light shifts shape, your amber haze so

addicting. let my eyes stay here and

play awhile, before you fly right out the

door. leaving your golden smile, your aura,

your everything – helpless on the floor

waken

had a dream that I was playing the violin last night.

their scrolls were bobbing in the ice, the vapor was

freezing on the strings.

made me want to reach for my rosin,

but instead I felt your hand pulling me

out of my dream.

hear the static voices screaming, SHEILA!

cry out as the spirits jump on top of me,

causing me to fly much like her blossoms

that blew in our yard last night.

the flowers looked like paper mâché hearts,

the white and pink on them torn.

much like my far-gone heart, beaten and worn.

watched the wind make them scatter and I’m

wondering how I let myself even

care that they mattered.

 

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.

la manie

it’s nothing, it’s everything

it’s the stuff fraying at the edges

it’s the goo left in-between

 

try to outwit it, run and escape it

but it’s clever, it’s faster

go blind when that mania warps shit

 

it’s nothing, it’s everything

the ailment that’s in your brain

leaving us stuck in-between