choking

words sit in my mouth-
too many pieces of gum chewed til the flavor is nearly gone.
I can’t swallow the spit or blow a bubble- there has become too much to say.
the gum just sits.
words choking me- demanding to be set free.
in my mouth I feel I can not take anything back in, but will puke the emotion.
a geyser of bile that will no longer and never more be contained.

so so so many years that I could not speak my mind for every reason that was not mine but to keep another happy.
what would people think?
who would I make mad?
what if my words led to me losing my job?
don’t embarrass your child with so much emotion.
don’t make me look bad by telling your story.

and so the words and the stories and the song lust of my survival stayed in my brain-
my heart became heavy with confusion-
why would I no longer release its song?

but now, now the words are allowed to be free and the song bird’s cage is not just opened, but redefined as a home with windows swung wide and doors freed of their hinges.

1/13/2020

yesterday was easter

yesterday was easter
I have confetti in my hair

we visited my family cemetery

against the swift breeze
mother put laundry out to air

stories of sisters arguing over land
they may one day reside inside

two uncles laid at my feet
I poured beer on the blanket
of their decomposed toes

why did you pour out your beer,
my child asked

It’s easter and they are thirsty

shedding but stays

Fall leaves drop from grand trees-
Composting at the base of barreled trunks
mixed amongst the snarled roots-
Always to be part of the tree from which they fell

What it was, contributing to what it will become-

Spring’s new growth-
new friends come to fill the tree-
some will be branches that stay-
living in the shared sun and shadows-
always part of the tree’s system

Some will stay with the tree as leaves or small branches
playing a part in the life of the tree-
For a time, seeming indispensable-
One day shedding off-
Adding to the history-
Always part of the tree-
Not always as part of the tree.

young adults

Untangling from the person whose body created you-
the person who projects
how they could’ve done better-
how they wanted to be treated-
onto you.
Telling them, that’s not what I am thinking / feeling / doing.

Even when working to see your child-
stepping back to hear them and give them space-
even when fully accepting them-
still you see how you would’ve or could’ve done differently.

stepping back is so very difficult.
stumbling, apologizing and learning to keep your damn mouth
shut.

learning to let them be them.
watch them become bigger.

updates

That aunt of yours, you know she just rushes through all the time … never having time to talk. She just brought me flowers … wearing little white shorts, showing off her legs. She just wants to show me how skinny she is.

A pause falls as she takes a drag off her morning cigarette.

Mom, I am sure she didn’t pick her shorts out thinking of you.

I hear her sip her coffee.

She probably did! You know how women are … always trying to compete. Trying to prove they are better than you.

Okay mom, it was nice to talk to you … glad you are feeling better. I’ll talk to you later.

first kiss

Both wary from broken hearts, and protective of our space, and time, we were feral cats licking wounds with no desire to acquire more. After months of talking via texts and some flirting with the idea of a fling, then retreating into hiding, then peaking out from our respective hollows, we finally sat with each other. For an hour we sat close, watching musicians make magic. Then another night with music and our familiar, comfortable walls. On the 2nd night there was a feeble attempt at a kiss followed later by a teasing conversation … was it a kiss and what if it was. Then back to days of long text conversations about writing and the weight of words and friendships and how to speak to children and protecting of the weak. Then we met again.

As we parted from an evening of talking with friends and eating tacos, he swatted me on the ass and smiled, saying that it was good to spend time together. Then, he leaned down and, as sudden yet complete as every experience we had shared, our first kiss came and went. I think he held my waist, I know my hand found the nape of his neck and we kissed twice. Then we scurried away to our cars.

But there was nothing to be denied. It was a proper kiss and we immediately created space.

Fully distracted by the unexpected kiss, I drove to get groceries. As I walked into the store, I noticed, he was arriving as well. Hoping to avoid him, because I still felt his stubble against my face and I didn’t want to feel it as badly as I wanted to feel it more, I rushed into the store. He caught up with me and asked if I was just going to ignore him. I told him that he seemed to be an ass man so I just figured he’d like walking behind me. Or I tried to say those words, but the surprise of him there, and the feel of my skin ever so slightly and happily abraded by his stubble, made it so I couldn’t quite find my voice and he could not hear me. I had to repeat myself, twice. Finally, he heard and quipped back, “It’s not a bad view, even if you’re shy about it,” but he was wrong.

I grabbed orange juice and stuttered back that I was not shy. He winked and said he was going to get his groceries.
“Ok. Fine. See you around.”
“See you around.”

And I tried to focus. The store was bright and I needed my glasses, but all the input made my eyes hurt and I had to make choices so I could feed myself and my never-full child, but I kept feeling him against me. I tried to focus. I told myself, “I need eggs and tuna and …” My mind wandered, his lips had found mine and “I need olives …” and he swatted my ass. No one had been that bold in longer than I could recall and strawberries went in my basket because it was summer and, in summer, every trip to the store meant strawberries.

I stood in a too long line at midnight. I texted him.

“This place is a madhouse”
“I shouldn’t have left.”
“You shouldn’t have and I wasn’t shy. You flustered me.
The kiss and seeing you in the store.
It was good. I don’t get flustered.
I like that you made me feel something I was not prepared for.”

Later I ate the strawberries while I wondered what his lips would taste like on a summer morning.

perfect imperfections

She is not the girl who will cause a scene. You can take her anywhere.

She pulls off Dior as easily as she changes the oil in her car.

She’ll eat funnel cake and thinks Jesus is a badass, but understands why atheists disavow religion. No topic is off limits and if she doesn’t know, she’ll listen and learn.

She is the girl who will give you space, because she needs hers, and understands some seasons are all about hockey.

She’s not jealous and more fun than you’ve ever had. Spontaneous, but measured. Beautiful and kind. If the world is on fire, she’s the one who will not let you burn.

Her fearlessness and self-confidence are a stunning combination and in exchange for being by her side, she only asks one thing …

Who are you?

She doesn’t need the answer today and she may never ask it directly, but in everything she does her heart pushes her to be better and her soul fears she will never know she’s enough.

So as her lover, who are you? What are your edges? Can you try to love people simply as they are? Can you live in joy, but savor the cruel morbidity of life? Can you make things awkward and laugh at yourself? And when she wakes screaming in the middle of the night, can you hold her and not ask why?

In one moment

In one moment

years are cleared

memories of tears and time

hope for forever erased

In one moment

your shape in my heart

is filled by a greater need

for my shape to exist.

24 august 2019

Warning signals

This is how people get swindled. If you are in business and you have invested in a start-up, but it isn’t creating return, you don’t keep investing. You recognize you’ve lost a gamble and you move on. However, if there’s a really great frontman, they expertly tie the hook, run the line, and begin the cast. Sending you out and back with hopes of being part of the greatest success story. But, in a swindle, the story to end all stories ends with you over investing and losing more than you bargained for.

We had been so close to launching what felt like The Greatest Love Story ever. To let us go tore me to my core- in a way I had never experienced losing a lover. With him, I’d lost so much on my investment, but kept going back because our good days were pure magic. Finally, I couldn’t keep losing. I ended our relationship, deleted his numbers and cut all social media contact. I stopped making the coffee we shared- Cuban-style espresso with hand creamed sugar. I stopped baking the bread recipe we shared. I changed habits and forced myself to try dating and, after some time, finally stopped missing him everyday. After seven months of zero contact and new routines I was finally back in the black. I’d found myself and was truly content. Then, due to a friend of a friend situation, I let curiosity get the best of me. I sent one email. We made one decision to have dinner. With a hug and hello it all came back.

When it was good between us it was so good, it was ethereal. Then he would cast me out, shut down with no explanation, and I would feel confused because nothing had been wrong- he just needed space- then he’d draw me back with the grace of a professional fly fisherman. He never wanted to catch me, it seems, just enjoyed the sport of having me close.

I wanted to feel our magic again. I ignored the memory of being cast out and let the good overtake. I had a sliver of hope that after seven months he was ready for the magic. We sat down to dinner. He ordered cava and oysters and I finally asked if he was seeing anyone. In fact he was, but nothing serious he said, only dating a few months and, yes, they did go to Mexico, but only because he had an extra flight voucher.

I told him I still loved him because part of me does- the hopeless romantic that surfaces around beauty and good food and talk of a better world. He said he still loved me, but I could see him setting the cast- pulling me in with hope, but lining up his exits. Of course I wish I were wrong, but this isn’t a movie script and I now see that he’s no happy ending. I realize now, I wasn’t for him what he was for me and in the last seven months he hasn’t grown into what I need, but rather he’s moved on.

He’s found a new river, a younger fish with two children. Soon he can worry over whether they accept him or not. He can say he’s so happy, but … He can cast and pull and she can swim under the shadows of his line. Perhaps their story will end differently or perhaps he will always fish for sport.