The Invisible Heart

I backed away because I didn’t want to hurt you, yet again.

Nights upon nights I cried and prayed over your pain.

Can I say this?

Can I tell you how my times I held the phone in my shaking hands, your number queued, willing myself to press the button?

I remember so clearly the moment I knew… the blazing morning sun reflected into my tear-filled eyes. I set aside the phone. I knew. I knew that this thing would be the only straw. Something mostly beyond my control in either of our lives would be the nail that split the beam, but how could I ask you to hold it with me?

Can I tell you now, how at the same time I let go of you, that all aspects of my life were crumbling? Work, family, my faith, and my sanity…

Can I tell you that I could barely hide the hormone-induced near-psychosis I clutched so tightly to my chest? I don’t know who I was. I’m barely back to who I should be. The pendulum still swings between “fine” and failing most weeks.

How could I tell you then of my sorrows or my joys? I let you go because I couldn’t hold the weight of wanting. Another crushing weight bearing down on my heart because my joys would add to your sorrows.

My mother told me to never shine too brightly so I locked all the fire away with cold apathy. An ice queen still wears her heart on her sleeve, even if her emotions pass by unseen.

Voided Life

Drink with me tonight for the stars remind me of a starless life.

 

i am nothing

Nothing,

too much trouble in the phrase “not a thing,”

I am nothing.

I would that it were true.

The waves of nothing have weathered my heart from the beginning of me.

I learned to be nothing–the absence left where a child should have been.

So now when others ask and depend, when they require of me… I falter under the pressure.

I want to be useful, to be helpful and not in the way, but for them to ask me to lead them…

in those moments I see only my weakness–I was nothing–my inability to be what they need me to be.

Expectations, presumably unmet, bare teeth at my sanity, which was already brined in self-aware insufficiency since infancy.

Patterns and tendencies pulsed before me, leading away from stifling darkness to crystallized light and, just beyond down that star-lined path, a world unseen…. to have taken just one breath of it’s open air

No. Too precocious, too much intensity. The only solution to decimate, cancel out, declare void, cut ties to destiny.

Survival depended on the ability to create deliberate deficiencies to hide away the swirling complexities–suppress the memory, push away before comprehending, skip a beat before responding.

I’ve always been acutely aware of the weight bearing down upon me, of my shortcomings,

and of the struggle to cling to the vestiges of me.

How do I process? How do I adapt, expand beyond the thorny cage that tears at old wounds, making them bleed afresh? How does one rebecome who one once, too briefly, was?

no answer yet, the culmination of feigned indifference

The truth is there was beauty there, in the way the salamanders’ slick skin glistened with sunlight as they scurried through the drainage ditch. There was music in the howling and braying of the dozen dogs. There was a sweetness to the discounted peanut butter and a comfort found in ketchup sandwiches. There was a path of contentment, and I would have shared it had they but let me.

 

To blunt the barbs of reality, to feel a loosening of the ropes binding me, what is it to take a drink, a kiss?

Pour another glass, my love, to wash away the salt of crashing seas.

 

 

To the Soul-mate Seekers

When you date (and marry), let it be to a friend.
Someone who can see all the joy and the laughter you have and just by who they are, help you to find that place within you. Life is too short to live unloved. But you have to be strong so find someone who you can live without but you can’t resist.
Someone who sees all the pain and the scars and your darkness but can stand with you in midst of a storm. Darkness comes from you or him or just from the heartache and unanswered questions of the world so find a man who can overcome his own darkness and hold you when you need to be held. 
Find a man who can forgive because he’s made his own mistakes but who’s not afraid to say he’s sorry.  Marry him only if he drives you pursue greater heights, he makes you crazy, and he ignites all of your passion.
Let your love be a river, steady and calm yet still raging and deep. Then you’ll have found a love that holds true when it breaks upon the rocks, that carries you when you jump from its heights, and that sustains you through the dry lands.

I Can’t Compete

I Can’t Compete

 

He likes how I want him so much,

but all I know is that his apathy feels like rejection.

If only I had the power to make him stay,

to imprint the feel of his skin on mine, the warmth of his kiss.

 

I see my reflection, what everyone sees–

I know I can’t compete with the curve of her lips or the way that she moves her hips.

My hair too frizzled, my teeth unstraight,

no dazzling smiles or tinkling laughter punctuate the bounce of my hair.

Others get annoyed with their own flaws but all I am IS flawed.

He likes how I want him so much as if the shape of my desire outweighs all of this.

 

I am all that I am going to be–

all that I am is contained inside of me.

 

When our eyes met there was this spark recognition that stirred a soulfire.

I want, need, that connection–

something that rips and bleeds when torn.

I’m not a thing that has to be done,

not a chore or a duty or some choice that’s made–

I’m not a moral higher ground, loving me is not an altruistic contribution to the world.

I’m desperately love-lorn…

He says he likes how I want him so much,

as if the force of my affection is enough.

 

Beauty is not fading

Beauty is not fading.

It’s not slowly disappearing nor staying, preserving.

It ebbs and flows, and akin to our lives it goes

in crashes, and comes in bright flashes,

and we are waiting for a recreating.

 

No, beauty is not fading.

It’s here in glimpses and then it eclipses

all that can be seen and that which is unforeseen,

leaving us breathless and nearly senseless,

and still shaking when we should be waking.

 

See, beauty is not fading.

Trying to catch what is so fleeting will be too much for hearts that are beating!

We need to start breathing, at last really seeking

what we cannot define or try to consign

to the care of our own minds.

 

Beauty is not…

Maybe beauty is not what leaves us caring for naught

but that which inspires us out of the mires

to live in the world with love unfurled.

 

 

April 2011

poetry contest winning entry

Lonely Exile

Let me tell you what it feels like to be the awkward girl. The girl trapped in her own mind. The girl who can’t stop the voices in her head but clams up when someone greets her.

she jumps at shadows but battles demons

tired of fighting but scared of peace

haunted by hope she can never quite reach

a hope to be wanted, worthy, and free

but she rules herself condemned and destroys the key

she’d rather be empty than overflowing

silent and broken than breaking and clanging

one day she dances, the next she despairs

a lonely exile in self-imposed captivity

she’s yet to learn that her weakness is not even a fleck of dust in the cosmos

that the failure of the universe is not cast upon her shoulders

 

 

Invasion

it started out as a distant tap tap

like bugs smacking the window glass

then it was a clang clang

prisoners hitting their bars

space wasn’t the vacuum we thought it was

they came, with little warning,

a faint tap

then bang

we were running away from the depths of our graves

 

 

to my boys: cherishing the now

I loved sharing chocolate with you while we snuggled on the couch.

I loved listening to crazy stories you dreamed up with me driving trains and you flying airplanes.

I love seeing through your eyes as you watch the world with wide-eyed wonder.

And when life feels too much for you, when it makes you anxious and afraid, I want to hold you in my arms and tell you, “It’s OK.”

I want to dream with you, and you with me, and show you how to reach beyond what you see.

I want you to go wherever I go, but there are some places that you can’t follow…

I hope that the war I face–that darkly pursues–never reaches you, even if it consumes me.

I hope you will forgive me for being your mother, for all my mistakes and wrong choices and character flaws, and that I haven’t turned you from hope.

And when we grow older, I hope you will hold my hands as my eyes dim, recounting days gone but not dead.

My sweet little loves, may you always know you will forever be my heart.

 

I’m not her anymore

I used to be one of those girls. One of those girls who was ready to prove that I was better than all of them, my eyes blazing with challenge.

I was more beautiful.

I was smarter.

I won him.

I was ready to track down his admirers, expose them in all my light that was as “beautiful and terrible as the dawn.” I aware, now, that I realized some time ago that there was no need to fight. I love him, I love him, but if he does not love me, he does not. I couldn’t be both the victim and the heroine. If he didn’t want the other girl, he would have to make the choice to walk away, block her number, let her fade away.

I don’t have to show her, or him, or even you… Who I am has so little to do with the ring I wear or how I don’t seem to care about the mess of my hair. I’d throw out all the mirrors–curse my reflection! My selfies, my ego, the competition is not at the heart of what God sees in me, nor am I mirroring him if that is all I see.