Jan 28 2023

the things that save us

the second poplar tree in the front yard is dying.

it lost its mate a few years back, and being the romantic that i am, when it started dying from the top down, i decided it must have a broken heart. ha. then again, perhaps i’m right.

i have to figure out what to do about it this year, how to afford to cut it down, if i can bear to cut it down, the hole it will leave in my view (and my heart) when it is gone. how much i will miss the sound of poplar leaves rustling through the darkest hours of long summer nights.

it will mark another ending, in this winter filled with endings i have not yet learned to process. all part of the same era, the same time-vine of hope. i planted those two poplars when i first started my garden. i planted my garden when i first started my marriage.

and now i am surrounded by empty spaces, dying graces, loaded places.

there is so much to say and nothing to be told.
so much to grieve and nothing real to bury.
so much to carry and nothing left to hold.

my truth is a dark burden, and in the silent hours of night, i sit by my window and watch those bare dead branches pierce the sky.

the gap its absence will leave on my horizon is too difficult to consider just now.

i’ll deal with it this summer.

. . .

there’s another tree in my front yard, a young river birch with its own painful story.

last summer, i actually thought about killing it. of course, i didn’t. i couldn’t. i wouldn’t.

after that, i thought about moving it, to somewhere out of sight from that same window.

i didn’t do that, either.

i decided, in the end, to watch it grow. it has three trunks. i have three children, three grandbabies. we all have roots here.

it doesn’t even begin to fill the sky yet, or close the hole in my horizon, but i’ve re-framed its significance in the window of my existence.

one day, it will offer shade to this tiny house still filled with love. in the fall, i’ll watch yellow leaves drop down through the night and think how often we all begin again. each morning, each month, each year.

the seasons have always marked my cadence.

i’m looking forward to the spring.

 

 


Jan 7 2023

silence and the song it carries

keeps playing through my head and
i walk my way through
this melody of motion

stay busy stay busy stay busy
stop, drop, and roll
lay on the floor crucifix-style
stare at the sky/ceiling/sky
a bit longer

strangely, the race feels over. life has slowed to its essence:
breathe and begin, breathe and begin.
the floor, the ground, the hollowed out place where a heart used to be,
these are my constant companions, and i adore them for their loyalty.

(just as i adore the beautiful souls who stand beside me through my trial)

circles circling and life living and hearts bleeding/breaking/beating
just as they always have.

last night, in a dream, i heard rapping on my window.
hard, insistent,
and i thought it was you.

or the moon.

it doesn’t matter which, really.
the sky was filled with clouds
and lost coyote screams

and i felt no fear,
nor did i part
the thin white curtain.

for you have no face and i, no mystery.

just this silence
filling cracks
with bits of blue.


Dec 30 2022

think i’ll move

into the bedroom
burrow deep into a dream

reminisce with my lost dark side
build long bridges to the past

wander boldly through a labyrinth
of strange rooms

i may redecorate
one corner of my psyche

add some art, fresh journals,
a book on the sibilance of silence

paint a sunrise in each window
moon hung high upon one wall

weave flowers through each door frame
music breathing from the floor

fix tea and toast and nectarines
for every endless meal

watch swallows flitting in and out
bits of sky caught in their tails

think i’ll move
into the bedroom

burrow deep
into a dream

float through brief moments of survival
built on colors from a stream

::


Dec 18 2022

the poet’s manifesto

integrity is honesty in words and actions

damn the game-playing,
word-changing,
hide-and-seek
gladiators

: :

i’ll take the bird singing joy
surprised by each sunrise

the child’s new word
wrapped in giggle and smile

i’ll take the plate washed with love
to complete a good meal

and the call in the night
to remember what’s real

i’ll be quiet and staid
in a world filled with pretense

wrinkled and worn
in the fountain of youth

i’ll walk steps on the path
my own feet have created

humble-quiet and found
through dark forests of pain

: :

i will listen with love
and be your best mirror

shining back your lost song
from a field
sown with grace


Dec 8 2022

ripple effect

your hand trails through water
and the boat down the shore
dips a bow to polaris

and

we all break waves
on sanity’s shore
just trying
to find

direction

::

as the truth
sands us down
to blurred edges


Dec 1 2022

on walking through fire and other pisces promises

being a sagittarius, i’ve never been a water girl. i barely even know how to swim.

but this year, something changed, something shifted, life delivered the cruelest of blows, and suddenly, everywhere i go, i’m drawn to water.

it’s a mystery, but one that makes me smile in weird ways at odd times. perhaps it’s the desire to float away from this pain i’m standing here holding, held in place by roots wrapped hard round my feet, refusing to budge until spring.

and i’ve been thinking a lot about anger.

the way we’re told, especially as women, that we’re not allowed to be angry, at life, at other people, at circumstances beyond our control. that we should be nice, accepting, nurturing, we should let it all go. that it’s our job to be happy every minute of every day.

i disagree.

there are times when anger is the only answer, when anger is deserved. when anger is the flame that keeps your light from going out.

i keep thinking back to the old “just smile and look pretty” maxim. the one so many of us were conditioned to follow as little girls and young women. the one we’re still held to as grown women, by those who want to fit us into those little, quiet, smiling boxes.

anger is a normal emotion. it’s part of life, part of living. it’s a catalyst for change. it’s a response to injustice, to intentional harm, to tiny daily abuses, to the constant squelching of basic human rights.

being told i shouldn’t be angry ends up being part of what makes me so angry.

one of my goals in life has long been to not grow bitter as I grow old. and it’s still one of my goals. but you know what? we have every right to be angry at intentional harm. i can be angry and see the beauty of a lone leaf clinging to a tree. i can be angry and cry at the beauty of a sunset. i can be angry and open my heart to all the world has to offer. i can still look out my window and smile at the titmouse cocking his head at me as he feeds.

we always want to see things in black and white, and we always think anger is red.

but i’m holding mine in a circle of blue, that place in a flame that holds the most oxygen.

one of these days, i’m going to use my anger to walk right through the fire that’s burning in my heart. and then i’m going to march right past all those rules til i reach the wide open shore, and cool my feet in the healing forgiveness of water.

perhaps that will cauterize my anger. crystallize it, temper it, transform it. but i shall always refuse to drown it.

you will hear me howl and the faint crackle of tough skin.

when that happens, i hope some part of you will smile.

 


Nov 17 2022

the other side

of cold

spinning deep down orders
to watch and warble and

listen

the way you stand there, alone, in a memory
of sanctitude

as if
as if

as is

forgiveness is the penny with no shine
worth next to nothing ’til you save it up
build a bright copper mountain
watch sleet coat the north

with patina

so much patience, required
this bold gift of living

inhale

over there, the beast just keeps rising
sun-gold and heat brittle branches
painting red a beginner’s horizon

luck is the path,
compass forbidden

embark, unmoored

stand frozen,
arrested

these clouds all smell
of winter

exhale


Nov 1 2022

under his eye

in the crooked end
of a thunderous day

all these colors
marching cross the floor
in turncoat uniform

the way you meant to go
in dark straight lines
but the labyrinth picked you up
on tiny golden bird wings

dropped you down
into the well

of expectation

deliverance in perfect
pirouette form

spinning leaves and knitted landscape
into this holey shawl

of absolution


Oct 16 2022

echo

release the girl you buried in sand
the broken mug you carried in hand
release the sun you held like rain
the bitter voice that slipped your name
release the carry
the call
the fall
release the heartbreak
of us all

release the truth you thought you knew
release the lies that no one threw
release the center
raw and runny
release the words that can’t be funny
release the cry
the sigh
the tarry
release the rhyme
the time
the merry

release the weight that broke your bones
release the scars carved from stone
release the hate
the love
the fear
release the flaws
that brought you here


Sep 27 2022

vessels

i broke the last egg
as you gathered

berries

it wasn’t breakfast
we were hunting

sideways and
loop-edged
in the miracle
of kitchen

crumb-crunch on the floor
fresh bread
daily broken

the sound so much less
than silence

scriff-scruff
and ground level

eyes never met

through a limerick
of dance

you were always so bawdy
and i was the pattern

true pitch
ticking time
to your song
of burnt flesh,
soft toast,
crooked finger