can’t

 

I can’t even enjoy the rain anymore.

I’m always pacing, reaching for the door. 

I can’t even savor my meals anymore.

I’m always eating while standing; 

hurriedly chewing and choking. 

I can’t even stand my showers anymore.

That water hurts my burgundy 

striped shoulders.

I can’t even stand to stand anymore.

The gorilla on my back just keeps 

getting older. 

I can’t even love my words anymore. 

They just sit here pretty like, 

as a constant reminder that 

I just can’t anymore.

 

 

 

float

Takes me back to that time,

watching it glide cross the

water, its dance with wind.

Gives me pause, slows my heart.

Old raft, it calls me in.

 

Takes me back to that time

when I marveled at how

the harlequin Danes roamed

on the in-between path

as we walked towards the foam.

 

Takes me back to that time

being rocked to sleep with

sand tangled in my hair.

My lips dry and salty,

back then I didn’t care.

 

Takes me back to that time

smiling across the fire,

when I didn’t fret so.

I just was, brought me back

to that time long ago.

reflection

I dreamt I heard the floorboards creaking

hoped you might be home

but it was only the piano again

the pedals were moving on their own

my ghostly player knows the gravest arrangements

it plays with the most mournful tones

caressing the E’s, lingering over the G’s

hear its breath during the pause

makes me grow quiet, knows how to make me grieve

causes me to get lost in my thoughts

think about when you were home last

how I miss your face, miss our family

miss everything, miss the past

the pressing of the pedals

I just can’t stand it anymore

smelling the absence, feeling the regret

I cry for my gifted spirit to stop and go away

but it only nods and continues to play

 

 

mask

she is so perfectly agreeable

with her fading eyes and lost smile

they only see her bravery

looking past her hollow words, her slowing breaths

how she longs to not be so perfectly agreeable 

yearns to not care 

get lost in her own storm 

twirl, get tangled up with the wind

and prove you wrong

cause remember, you think she’s so strong

but if you listen, you’ll hear the subtle quake to her voice

the whispery sound of her words

she’s had lots of time to practice not being heard

cause it ends so badly, her being around

so she glides around the house

without making a sound

and she’s fed up, did you notice that?

she is so perfectly agreeable

as her antsy soul waits and waits to be born

but she wants to get lost like her smile and fading eyes

till she is no more 

gracefully, forcibly

yet unnoticeably slip away, but even in that

she would be so perfectly agreeable

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

figurative tale of living with a beautiful soul that has a brain ravaged by tuberous sclerosis complex…

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.

 

 

sliver of something

I was raised in a field of buttercups, milk dribbled down my chin. I knew no hunger and what evil belonged to men.

I’m running through the buttercups 

chasing the light

flitting around like those monarch  butterflies

we saw way back when 

 

I’m running through the buttercups 

blinded by their strength

upright, perfect

wipe their charm from my brow

 

I’ll rely on their light

to lift me up,

brighten my mood,

those lovely, compassionate buttercups

help

you know more than what I’d tell a friend

privy to the situation you are

my business of

waiting hopelessly for my heart to mend

knowing this problem is just a drop in the ocean

but it keeps coming down like a wave

taunting, waiting for my spirit to cave

how I wish you’d help him

Come on!

help me, rescue us already

just dive in the ocean and swim

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 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.