my wish for you

as you journey on your way, travelers, i wish you well.  i know that as broken as we are, we can always hope for change.

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the silent halls of my mind

she’d been wandering so long,

down the silent hallway

her footsteps clicked in minutes

she went right up to the oaken door,

pulling at the handle…

“Are you absolutely, positively 100% sure there are a bunch of words inside?”

“Yes, I know you suffer from writer’s block.  I can’t diagnose exactly what kind of block you’re suffering from.  But, I can certainly try to understand.  It might be a basic fear.  You may simply be incapable of moving past your inhibitions.  Consider your family.  Do they stress you out?  No, don’t answer that.  It was a rhetorical question.  On the other hand,  you are probably not working hard enough.  Just write enough to fill up a page.  Have you tried self-help books?  Or blogging?  You should just work harder.  You may be unwilling to face certain emotions.  This is obviously a deep spiritual quest that I think you need to undertake.  Perhaps it is a lack of faith on your part.  Believing isn’t just a 9 letter word.  Or, and I say this in all seriousness — perhaps your desires have nothing to do with writing, and are about the deep psychological recesses that lead to general dissatisfaction and an inability to create healthy relationships….

…Hmmm….Is this helpful to you at all?”

“No, not really.”

“I see.  I don’t usually like to tell people this, especially those who come to me for help, but there’s really nothing I can do for you.  Why don’t you put on a warm sweater and go ahead and open the door?  Let me know what’s inside when you get back.”

“Sure.”

 

 

The story goes that there were roughly one hundred and one words waiting for her on the other side.

She was very happy.

When she returns, I will let you know how it ends.

about families after the death of a loved one

first, breathe.

i wish i could tell you that families come together after the death of a loved one.  that they miraculously fuse together at the bone.  but, it’s more likely that whatever weakness, whatever rift, even a tiny disturbance, is caught upon the mean glow of Death — and incited to a frenzy of actings up, rearings of ugly heads, and raging argument.  All families want to be fair, mothers to nod objectively upon the housework of the daughter, fathers to shoulder pat over the infractions of manliness by a son — siblings to slice the grief down the middle, each one carrying their equal part of suffering, guilt, and blame.  But there is nothing fair about Death, not even when she proceeds to take everything.  I wish grief was a simple act of crying, even for a long time.  But there are so many words that cut the veins of loved ones upon a dying breath.  Memories and symbols fill up a room even better than white lilies, standing spring bouquets, or even ribbons.  There is something painful in the face of all this losing, something that we are certain is a lesson meant just for us.  Yet no matter how many times that lesson is learned, we still struggle, baking sense out of nonsense, juggling hot pies, burning our hands, worried about the act of dropping.  Even within this cage — I think somehow we wake up one day after the death, and certain things become clear-er.  That we are the loved ones.  That we loved.  That we are hurt, even though we wish to deny this plain and simple fact.  We wonder about our own path.  We become certain that there is a togetherness ahead, and a minority become fervent that there is no such thing as reunion.  No after life.  No matter how empty the promises, how restless the night, we convince ourselves that we are ok.  In the end, we continue without endings because what we find is that no matter how hard we try, how heavy the burden, that death brings with it the terror of freedom.  We grip the bars, and we shake fiercely in defiance.

first, breathe.

losing weight

for faith

we never talk about it much, do we?

constantly discussing the fit of clothes your

swelled waist, invisible feet, gaseous interruption

primary accusations tend to be appearances

fleshy protection, brazen armor of fat,

annoyed resentment, watching another girl

pills, diet plans, zones, balloons, caloric obsessions

when i climb on top, your eyeballs lingers such

subtle puffing of shoulders, slight protusion of belly,

shop windows down the street stare soulfully

preening away pounds, we name our gaze concern

somewhere sometime, i wonder about tears shed

memorizing life, each pain we gain a pound

please, tell me the story of your body?

i am your mirror, tired.

i am your weight, lost.

truthfully

this lizard is ready to shed her skin.

hard-headed old man

i imagine him, spine bent, spindly fingers, eyes poring wildly over a dusty manuscript.  Wild hair.  Spectacles for sure.

He is as bent as the house he is drawing.  Not with crayons, for he grew up earlier than most of the other children.  He has a No. 2 pencil which he sharpens fastidiously, but only on days the tip is so blunt it’s actually swallowed by a would-be shaving.

The old can be powerful when they have not yet extinguished that creative force spilling itself like ink onto all the pages of our history.

The house he builds will definitely be haunted.  I think it’s a bit sad that the house will contain one old man and one old woman.  I want to talk to them and ask about the confines of their relationship.  Why are they still here?  Did their insides look like the house?  Were they in love?

I am afraid I have grown impatient for answers to questions which are not fully formulated.  I cannot spare a thought for the ghosts living in my house.

It grows quiet here.

My fear.  In the corner.  I hear it breathing.

toe shuffler

after revelry and music, a show with a mighty bare-chested singer who proclaimed life to be somewhat celebratory — it turned out to be a dark night after all at california plaza.  a black beret, and a goatee, his eyes sunk deep in his skull.  he materialized out of nowhere and was talking to two nondescript people — they had their backs to me, and i didn’t recognize him.  he looked sensitive, like he had just returned from somewhere important — war, famine, funeral.  are they all the same — can he shake the cloud upon his eyoreness?  yeah, he’s always been an eeyore, this guy, quiet, melancholy, suicidal if you don’t watch him.  but not angry.  just sad.  i slumped down a little in my seat while everybody else rushed forward to say hi to him.  they were offering their congratulations upon a death, but i’m sure they meant to be offering condolences.  i looked at him, he looked at his shoes.  i looked at the water, geysers of light behind him.  i think the corner of his eye caught up to me, but a thousand reasons of common yearning and uncommon pain had piled up between us, and we didn’t acknowledge each other.  he must not have wanted me to smile at him.  i could feel truth in my gut, and nobody wants truth when they’re hurting.  so i stuffed it all back into my box of be.  as a goodbye — instead of waving — i stood up and paced as if to say hey — look at me!  look at me!  — but it wasn’t the time, it wasn’t the moment.

somebody else reached out a hand.  i had already turned around and walked away before checking to see if he took it.

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