I was nearly two when it happened. My mom had gone through the closet looking for clues. She found a business card in the pocket of his clothes, my father’s clothes; the clothes she usually laundered. Looking at the white rectangle business card she held in her hand spurred hot tears. The logo looked so innocuous, so pleasant- A divorce attorney. Why couldn’t he find the words? As a toddler we are encouraged to use words rather than clock unknowing people bruskly over the head with our toy? Why couldn’t he find the words? Not even Goodbye?
As a child my hobby-
Rock collecting, and poetry writing.
Hours were spent,
my pointy nose inches from soil,
daylight, my shadow and me
Digging with whatever sharp tools
were found in the garage;
in my own back yard,
…..Fools gold, mini garnets,
rounded globed octagon treasures,
my rock book was miffed,
me smiling, entranced,
By middle age I question,
When did the grape become my hobby?
It wasn’t even my favorite fruit.
If only I’d stuck to rock collecting
And poetry writing, and stayed true
You don’t walk
In my shoes,
Don’t pretend to know,
You didn’t wake
With your decisions made,
You didn’t feel him go,
Do not make those eyes,
You cannot feel my pain,
But you can hold my hand;
and be my friend,
all the same.
You are better than I,
Everybody is special….
And nobody is special,
You cannot fool me
My eyes are green,
Perhaps they have more cones
more rods than yours?
They detect anything….anything inauspicious,
Anything less than genuine, directed my way,
I sit, cat like, in the shadow of a weak constitution,
You look down your nose
Envy, as green as moss,
I detect it miles away,
you’re the paradox
I’ve always known you pitied me,
And I you, simply
For pitying me?
It is not simply more love, less hate;
It is “let’s talk about it,”
Let sit through it….the ugliness,
perhaps not holding hands…but meeting eyes,
a scouring pad couldn’t clean it,
the layer of burnt on hurt…
But I will sit with it, cross legged-like a yogi
I will inhale it’s truth-
as I inhale smog filled air.
I will wear it, even if it bunches at the knees,
And pools at the ankles,
as ill-fitting as a cheap suit with a chincy hand; navy blue,
Sure you can drive people away, flatten them,
Like a race car driver named Pity,
leaving black rubber at every turn.
But like me you’ll awake another day;
Breathe in through your nose,
smell all that is fetid and rank,
Surely you’ll wince and turn away,
but it smells of truth- the kind you avoid
the kind with answers;
and when the air is cleared it smells clean like the sea.
Even Raw chicken,
must be seasoned and roasted,
to bring about flavor.
Sit with all that is real, raw, even the unthinkable
A murderer in a grey walled cell,
Surrounded by each moment of what he has done,
with no where to look but inward.
Go back to the beginning of you,
did it start at your mother’s breast
or did it start on the couch with the canary yellow floral print
and the rust colored piping that trimmed the arms that hugged you in-
that jungle of upholstery telling a story through faint smells
of gingerbread and cigarettes
And drug store perfume that should be called Eau de’mothballs,
take the love that is there and forgive.
How do you tell the difference between a happy middle aged woman and one who feels used up and left for dead?
- Her calendar has gone from cocktail outings to waxing appointments
- She wears an infinity scarf not just cause it will stay put-but to remind her of her longevity
- She is not afraid to announce her best friend second to her husband is her regular grocery checker who ties for second with her cat/dog
- She talks to her boobs
- She has phased out jewelry and phased in expensive undergarments
- She openly admits how many sex partners she has had
- She is proud to announce the rare occasion she used the recipe from the box
- She buys flowers for herself at least once a month completely devoid of any hidden messages to her husband
- She works out so she will feel good rather than look good
- She sees age-discrimination in the workplace as an opportunity; a second chapter, “how to turn your hobby into cash flow?”
A good friend spoke these words to me,
As my insides squeezed inward,
An invisible fist wringing my heart,
My breath dashed away,
“it’s just a drink”
For her it was….Simply, a beverage
For me it was utter darkness lifted,
Painful quietude removed,
I sipped, then I gulped,
The light switched on,
The dark empty room bright with light,
Like a toy room awaiting a sick boy,
By the second glass innocence freed,
Me- a floppy, toy rabbit,
Coming alive, ambling out of the walls,
Add red wine, a catholic priest, a wafer of grape on my tongue,
Demons giggle and rise to the top,
The rabbit is in full swing; Tango, Foxtrot, Lindy Hop,
Eased by smiles flashed her way,
Is it the flaring of the dress that gains approval?
The yearning subsides,
I am skating, gliding on the glass top
Like a figurine on a child’s music box,
Pulled as if a magnet tugs beneath my skates,
A once dormant smile stretches wide
My heart drops out,
If only temporarily,
I am Weightless, buoyant, bobbing free
Wanting for more red anger serum
The people down below
Have been doused for days;
a proper washing…
Where’s the scrub brush?
A little misting wouldn’t do.
The sunshine, a large kindly dose,
Was sent to warm them fully,
To rebirth their kindness,
To widen their eyes….
To the needs of those hurting,
To remind them,
even beauty can be harsh;
Even Blinding at times,
Why did they not slow….to smile at one another?
Why didn’t they stop to splash about?
I didn’t want to pummel them with non-stop rain,
But they needed to be soaked,
Plastered, sopping, cold to the bone
Look up, take note
You are not so alone
What you cannot see
Heartache fully realized is relief;
Just as a clay sculptor forms brilliance through design
A forever mark, an expression of capability,
A trademark; “of his truth”
Each artist must journey through the kiln,
Pass through the fire, to know
His realized beauty.
Once, a grey lump of malleable sand and silt
Emotion harnessed from heart-to hand-to object;
Before him in this thing of nature,
That was once meaningless is now exquisite.
The doctor scrawls his words in his notebook
“A slight murmur”
A stethoscope has changed nothing,
This murmur was his song,
Always one beat behind,
Varnished red, as brown as hemoglobin’s shadow
Always a little blue,
A song of a struggle, a song of a want; oxygenation
How do some live an artless life?
Why do some fight for air, when it surrounds us?
How could art be….
All that it is
Without the doctor’s recognition
of a broken heart?