a time ago

the glass looked divine tonight,

thank you for the suggestion

laughed at the silly pelicans scooping

at their reflection

saw my profile in the clouds,

a reminder that I’m only vapor

saw the pink streamers reach out

from the heavens

and

the black bird tried to distract my view

as I watched the seagulls get lost behind the waves

 

the glass looked divine tonight,

as the coral water sheened

looked behind the lifeguard stand,

saw the orange gulp down the white

watched you go into the water

under that sleepy light

and

it really did look divine tonight,

thank you for the suggestion

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.

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

 

 

daydream

i want to sip Rose´on the deck of a yacht,

a big yacht

wear a white dress with no bra and a gold,

a very gold anklet that jingles when i walk

wear shades so dark that i can’t see past,

have them get tangled in my black hair

play tug of war with the salty air

call out to the teasing sea, “Where am I?”

have it answer back, “Does it matter?”

dive in the green, swim through the purple,

hold my breath in the orange,

inhale, count to twenty and exhale every trouble

every trouble i’ve ever had

look down at my sun-kissed arms, my perfect hands

my turquoise nails – wearing that amethyst you gave me last

listen to Frank Ocean – every syllable making me jump

sip the Rose´ and look past the crooked sailboats

imagine i’m on the other end,

the other part of the world

say, “Where is that?” and have

it answer back, “Does it matter?”

 

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.

sadness

step in the pool of green

without a shiver or wince

play with the garnet baubles 

at my fingertips

hold my breath

let the slime ooze down into my ears

till I can’t hear,

till I’m numb,

till I no longer feel sick

let the lily pad roots tangle and bind me up

play with me until they’re bored

then release me

till I’m no longer stuck 

swimming,

swimming,

in this ivy muck

look up to the heavens

and grin at the sun

who’s 

blinding yet hiding

from me

behind ivory angel’s wings

I step out of the water

for now, 

that was enough

momentary

Do you remember the seashore?  Do you remember the water?  How it cooled us, held us, renewed us that day on the shore.

That day where we escaped what we’re going through and just focused on the crests of foam breaking down as it came in twos, chasing each other; only to be crushed by the bigger waves that almost always followed.  It always seems to follow.  But for those few hours – we pretended that it would not.  We closed our eyes and felt the sun soothe us, we calmed our trembling brains.  We breathed in the salt air – tasted it on our lips.  Breathed it in again and held our breath.  Is this what peace feels like?  Stillness.  Roaring in our ears.

Opposite of  being lost in the fire where our whispers turn to shouts.  Remembering all the battles, but the scars we’ve lost count.  Fleeing from the panicked, pale creature with the crazed blue eyes and drowning out the threats to die, his sighs, the cries.

Perhaps that is why I liked it there,  I’m nothing compared to that vast place.  In that place, I was only between the sand and the sun;  I wasn’t an emotional stress ball for my autistic son.

That day, I reclined and watched you play in the water.  The sun sprayed off your back and you looked happy.  The possibilities were endless and you sang with the mermaids in my dreams that night.  I watched the seagulls choreograph a flight to the violins that played in my head.  Those beautiful violins.  Is this what mercy feels like?  Those moments, that place.

 

 

Madness

 Does it mean I love you any less,

 if I want to keep the best of you,

 but want to change the rest?    

 

I don’t know why I’m feeling the way I do.  The way I was last night, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t right.  But he started up again; wanting this, wanting that.  Throwing this, throwing that.  He took my phone and jammed it into his wall.  The glass is shattered, I can barely make a call.  I tried to keep him in his room as you were moving his wooden toy toaster and his broom.  Removing scissors, long objects, and most anything that he could turn into a weapon.  We, unfortunately, know that part too well.  I kept him in his room as long as I could, but I let him run out, thinking that it would help calm him.  He said he was calmer anyway.  What a good storyteller he is.  Off to the sitting room he went, to put holes in the walls.  I tried for ten minutes, but I wasn’t able to block them all.  Out he ran, he said his blood sugar felt low – 

Ok, I’ll test you – let’s calm down, let’s go…”

He tried to go into your room – to put holes in the wall…he said. 

My voice got louder, my face burned with confusion, exhaustion –

Please calm down.  Please go to your room and calm down.”  Please, over and over again.

He punched my arms harder.  I grabbed his arms just to stop the pain, and you thought I took it too far. 

Mom, give him space – let’s have space!”  You repeated yourself louder and he felt more rage.  I ignored you, concentrating on your brother, but I saw his wrath boil into a crimson fury.  He was on fire and he kicked four new holes into our walls – big ones too, it was what I didn’t want him to do.  I felt warmth escape my ears – I thought…

Why does it seem nobody can hear?”

I collapsed to the ground and grabbed my head with my trembling hands and I wailed a scream I didn’t know I had.  I became primal for about five seconds.  I lost my sense for a fraction of time, I lost my wit – I witnessed my soul escape and enter again.  My vocal chords instantly felt ripped apart; very fitting, they matched my heart.  Something happened, something clicked.  I’m one step closer to feeling insane.  One step closer to losing my mind.  It’s all so very unfortunate.  

This above incident happened August 10, 2017, and it left me at odds with my youngest daughter for about two days.  I felt decimated – perhaps even betrayed a little.  I got over it – but I guess that’s what mental illness can do.  It can turn loved ones against each other in the swirls of madness, in the twisting of insanity.  Prompt loved ones to turn into frozen statues paralyzed with fear to only thaw out long enough to survive.  That’s what we’re doing now, surviving.

These past two years have been really trying but something about these past few months have been especially sinister.  His punches are harder, the damage is greater, and his thoughts are more tortuous.  Is it the Abilify?  Is it the antidepressant?  Is it too much Abilify?  Does he need a new seizure med?  Who knows anymore.

I remember when a trial of Seroquel turned him into a demonic giant with powers that terrorized us day and night.  Night and day.  Two weeks of pure hell and the games got sicker when I had to increase it.

We need more time to see if it will work,”  the doctors would say.

I would nervously laugh, and think, “I pray we have more time.”  It was just my youngest daughter, about 16 at the time, and I during five days of the roughest part of the med trial. My oldest daughter and husband were on a school trip to Paris.  My Mom, who was staying with us at the time, went back to Missouri to help out my sister and her family.

My daughter and I would wake up to battles and the ritualistic dismantling of our house.  I would stand at his doorway during an event to lessen most of his tornadic activity that could happen to the main part of the house.  But most of his torment landed on various areas of my already bruised body.  I would put on an old winter jacket that my husband used to wear and put on heavy utility gloves, but it offered only a bit of protection.  I became the guard and he became the beast – with foam dripping out of his mouth, and my brain would have to recover from all the horrific words he shouted.

The longest event on one particular bad day lasted a little over an hour.  It was one of the five or six events per day he would have during this Seroquel trial.  My heart raced and I would feel like I ran a marathon after each event.  Between episodes I would put ice packs on my arms and maybe even my face, rest, and pop Motrin like candy.  My daughter would ask if I was okay, but her eyes had already been stained with his violence.  There’d be no turning back.

We’d have a little reprieve where he’d act more “normal” and we’d take a walk or play a game, but we didn’t venture out during this time.  We’d eat our meals between violent events and act as if nothing had ever happened.  He’d say he loved me and I’d respond back with an, “I love you too.”  Most always an event would happen before bedtime and then he’d collapse into bed, praise the Lord.  Once he was asleep, we would assess the damage of the day and clean up accordingly.  Put home decor back on their resting shelves, move end tables, and place remotes back to their original, eager location.

During this time, when he was asleep, the house was unnaturally quiet and appeared unshaken.  My daughter and I would get our pajamas on, fix a snack, and fall on the couch.  After a console session and a good cry, we’d  put on a movie and zone out.  Escape to a different world where we weren’t hurt, bullied, or terrorized.

Around midnight, we’d say goodnight, crawl into our beds, and pray for a better day to be waiting for us.  We’d close our eyes and let the stillness lead us into calm waters.  We would either dream of old ladies whispering hush or bloody mouthed wolves that chased.  There was no in-between.  It was madness.