"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Saturday, December 31, 2011

My body is so smart

it knows things
things you can't learn in books
things you can't even remember.

The steam was an after thought.
I have one pan, one lid...in use
so a plate, as a lid
and once lifted

and my thumb blistered before my brain could even register
and my hand released.
Save the fingers
fuck the plate

and it shattered.
There were four, now three
and I am concerned
that I can't get another to match
and the downstairs neighbors must have jumped, and perhaps the baby next door was woken from it's nap and the mother is tired and the floor is messy and there is no thought to the fingers that bubble like boiling water.

but my body knows.

my body knows that in this place
the bathroom door does not need to be locked...
my hand does not even shut the door
and that is a strange freedom
but perhaps not a healthy one.

i am amazed that with all the times I have gagged this body
all the times I have taught it not to care for itself
all the times I have told it to lie
that it still knows how to save it's life!

I am listening to my body.

I don't think I should be the only one.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wading Through

Yestarday there were no tears. The first of such a day in a long time. Today I am all tears. I feel the target of many arrows. They sting. Everyone has their own agenda. I'm not going to try and explain myself anymore. I'm just going to do the only thing I know to do at this point, for myself, my husband, and our relationship. I suppose no one else has to understand it. We will understand it when we are through it. My husband and I have always been the King and Queen of hindsight.

Each of us is unique, a fingerprint, a snowflake. There is a language between myself and God. It is like no other. You cannot speak it. It is pain. Where once I would use denial, sin, alcohol, busyness, and lies to deflect this conversation between God and I, now I sit on the footstool in rapt attention. I WANT to learn the lesson no matter how much it hurts. I am hoping that on the other side of this, we will speak differently. My ears may only be attuned to the language of my parents. That has been no aid to me. It is no fault of God's that he must speak to me in the language I hear.


He asked me if I talk to God.

"I beg him" I say.

And what does he tell you?

"He no longer speaks English. His language is pain."


"And it hurts to understand."

Do you want to?

"I'm afraid."


"Pain. It's muddy. It transfers. It cannot be controlled. I cannot keep it to myself."

Should you?

"Should is no longer relevant I suppose. I can't."

Then what are you begging for?



Today is my husband's birthday. He does not need to wish for hope. He has always had it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baseballs & Smiles

Hold each thought and emotion separately.
Cling to none.
Push away none.

Like pitches across the plate, each thought is watched and labeled. "That is a curve ball."  "That is a fast ball." Do not catch them. Do not swing for the fences. Observe and label, feel and release. Wait for the next. This is a metaphor in mindfulness and my daily exercise. With this practice I will eventually know a strike from a ball.


Yesterday I was at Office Max waiting for a print job. A man was at the counter. He turned to leave and smiled at me. I thought I smiled back. He said, "Oh, don't give me that kind of smile. I've been getting those fake smiles all day." I gave him my best false 'Cheese'. He wasn't so thrilled with that one either. Another man walked in the door. He said, "Smile. It can't be all that bad!"  I said, "Are people going to tell me to smile all day? Do I look that pathetic?"  He said, "You woke up breathing didn't you? Smile."

The old cliche, "Things could always be worse" never really has any teeth. Of course they could! That's why we have the story of Job. I'm not sure when I'll feel like smiling again. I am grateful for my family, health, jobs, bills paid, grace, mercy, forgiveness. So much. But a smile comes from somewhere else, somewhere beyond gratitude. I'll know it when it comes. I'll take a swing at it.

Monday, December 26, 2011


I held my sobbing husband in my arms. Once again it was my doing...this pain. I want to take it all back, to comfort, to heal. But there is no other way but through this now or I will just continue to harm him with my lies. I don't think anyone understands and I feel the weight of global disapproval. That can't matter. This time I must see it through. Lies are not best. I will use this time to find my truth and examine it, separate the wheat from the chaff, be open to anything but pretense.

We had breakfast as a family. I watched my boys tussle. I watched my husbands hands shake. We played dice and I saw my youngest follow in the tracks of my personality and my oldest pattern after his father. They are great young men. They are the best things we ever did and I have had nothing much to invest in them these last few years. That has to change.

It is Christmas day noon and I am now alone as the family gathers elsewhere. I have lived almost 50 years and even in the worst of them, I have never been alone on Christmas. Ah, but I am not alone. God is here and I feel him tugging to heal our relationship, for it is fractured like so many other things I tried to tape together. I am eating chips for Christmas dinner. It's almost humorous as I eat them with such a method. Suck the salt, pulverize the chip, swallow with a wine chaser. I can actually watch my hands swell.

I lay down on the floor and watch the sky turn against the trees and blacken their bark with fire. It is a high window in a high ceiling, and I so far down below it.

-from my iphone

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Truth Monster

The carpet is brown.
I am laying on the floor of this apartment
like a dirty snow angel
limbs askew...one shoe off, one shoe on
bare feet or shoes?bare feet or shoes.barefeetorshoesorbarefeetorshoes

My teeth are clenched
these jaws of life
having given birth to sequestered monsters
that ate the heart of man
while I held his convulsing body in my spent arms.

The monsters got too big to swallow.
Thou art loosed and the battle has begun.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knowing More

We're afraid.
So we hole up in our preservations and stew in our fear.

We watch the steam rise from the water of our immobility and our skin starts to boil. We know we should be on a mission to escape, but the water has warmed so slowly that we thought we were simply bathing.....
....until we knew more.

And when the temperature gained ground, we reached out to turn a knob, and there our fingers scalded. We pulled back to preserve a hand...
...not realizing we might lose a life....
....until we knew more.

We heard a noise, like eggs coming to boil
realized the cacophony of our own bones rattling far beyond simmer.
To attempt a release now will surely be a far worse burn, for the flames....
...the flames are licking at the rim and dissonant against our skeletal racket.

The tea kettle starts to whistle, yet no one has called for tea. We find our mouths open and recognize the wail from our self tortured soul as anything as simple as tea.
We are knowing more.

Subconsciously, we begin to churn the water, our legs...barely within our reasoning...furiously kick. And our arms slap the water, making waves. We are so petrified to create movement with our mind
that our body
lie detector that it is
says "ENOUGH"
and as if, without our consent,
The Perfect Storm.

We invite the wind.
We throw open the shutters and pull a tornado out of our hat.
We are knowing now....
that we WILL be moved...
that our bodies have rescued us from being poached,
or worse, hard boiled.

We've blamed the pot
we've blamed the water
we've blamed the bones.
We see movement only as a physical migration...
and for a time it has to be
we are so hot, so burned, so tired of heat.

We will come to know more.

Perhaps it wasn't about the pot.
it wasn't about the water.
It was just the bones
having something to say.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I thought I could be a feather
airy like that
no weight
moved by the will of a whisper
or merely by will itself
a footless print
a ridgeless finger
and being so unidentifiable, so light
I could do no damage, no harm
but to my own plumage
an oath, a denier's creed
desirous to be so anemic

but I sank
all iron feet and fingers
and with me I took you
choking and astonished
that your feather
could ever be something you were unable to carry.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grandma's Heart

Fragile is the ornament on my grandmother's tree
and her mother's before that, and my mother after.

Every year I unwrap this glass heart that could easily crush
with a tremor of my thumb.
I am amazed that year after year it withstands my clumsiness
though all the grace I have, I give it.

Do you think it survives because it has acknowledged it's own fragility...
puts on no airs as anything but?
It wears the word delicate as a namesake
a right for living so long.
Or perhaps it just always was, and is...

I am delicate.

My heart has made no such claim.
It has machismo and makes concrete statements, like
"I can handle this."
"I can carry you."

If I had conceded early on, that my heart was tissue thin
and crushable in an instant of unexpected cruelty,
would it make any difference?

I am delicate.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


'Without Pretense'
Artist Barbara Cole

Die to self.
I tried.
I believe I am dead, and yet
the pain is horrendous.
Do the dead have nerves?
Do they bleed from the insincerity of their eyes?

If so
I revoke my wish for death.
There is no peace in it.


I would like to live more honest. I keep trying and failing, assuming there are appearances to keep, and people I need to live for. I have thought that to protect people from my ugly feelings was the kindest path to take. I have taken everything I felt that was not in line with how I thought I should feel and tucked it under my arm. Can you believe I thought that would work? The decay of that thing became the unmistakable odor of pretense. What a fraud! A friend called me egotistical. It is the grandest egotism to think that I can make someone else happy. I cannot. At this point I cannot even make myself happy.

I apologize to the blogs I follow. I tell myself...go there. I tell myself...read. I tell myself...comment. I should, I should, I SHOULD. And yet, I have nothing to give you. I am a fraud, even there. There was a time I had an investment that was true. Now I really have nothing of value to give you. I am too empty. Writing helps me, if I can be honest in it. I'll continue writing here, but won't be around much to your blogs. I've been dropping off, dropping out...too confused and too ashamed and too lost. Now I just don't want to fake it anymore. I have a lot of work to do. And can you believe, I want to ask your forgiveness for being absent where you write out your own hearts, your lives, your own pain?  I feel like such a shit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


The wind is worried today,
restless spirit, touching here
touching there
unable to decide if he has whipped this landscape
enough for penance
or defrocked that tree sufficiently
that her completely bare and naked shape
is intimately acquainted with his touch.

He has knit his brows together in the clouds
concern an ever deepening wrinkle
that perhaps the work is not done
and never is.

So he strikes again, and Again, and AGAIN
at the weary world, as if to subdue it.

The sea fights back
with angry white swells that batter boats
as if to subdue them

and the boats bang the docks
as if to subdue them.

The work is not done.
And no one is free.