The deepest cut

an-apple-rotten-on-the-inside

It doesn’t take much to knock a bruised fruit to the floor

watch it split apart like rotted glass, shards of damp skin in slow motion

try as I might, I AM that bruised fruit

try as I might, I cannot seem to recover myself back to where

once took for granted, the feeling of wellness

it doesn’t help when someone you loved abandons you

in the middle of your darkest hour

things like that aren’t supposed to happen

people who swear allegiance and loyalty aren’t meant to

be the ones leaving your side

such is the hour and fickle fan of illnesses devour

at least I know I’d never treat someone, that poorly

despite this and because of it, healing is slower

though I suspect anything less than fire would be

I didn’t know these things beforehand

the un-annointed do not possess future perspective

to see how illness strips your childish faith, cleaves you

bare and gasping

where family didn’t need to see me, even as I spent weeks in hospitals

it cut me to the quick, but it wasn’t the first or the last

maybe preparing the groundwork for your deepest cut

they say you get used to it in time

I never have

just as I never have truly understood the cruelty within some, who profess so hard to love

now, I am a changed person

I cannot make plans like I used to, thwarted by my body, haunted by ghosts

my illness is like a cobra, she stays quietly in the leaves

rearing up when I least expect or when I want most to escape

her possession of me, the way she knows how to tickle fear

with just enough venom until I am on my knees

I am sure some would say, this is therefore; psychosomatic

that it what they tell all women of hysterical turn

I saw in your eyes when I told the horror; your own disbelief

until doctors produced the proof, you still wondered

it became apparent to me, just like with sexual assault

being believed is paramount to recovery

alongside having faith in ourselves

I did not do a good job of the latter

finding myself more alone than when I started

and I thought I started pretty alone

I know I am a survivor and I was not destroyed

yet it feels like I was

when I look inside myself and find

so little left, a house without windows

it was only because of you, I kept trying

I told you that, I said, you were holding me up

when you let go

I fell to a place I did not know existed

I wanted to ask; Couldn’t you have just waited

long enough to see me through the worst?

but you wait for nothing except your own need

I had to find a way to stand even as everything crumbled around me

which is the biggest test I ever had and I failed it

I failed it again and again

walking through the lullaby of desiring to die for so many reasons

not least, the never-ending dance with sickness and pain

but somehow I did not die, I turned instead to stone

when people say I am strong now and ask; How did you get through it?

I don’t tell them; I am not through it

I still lurch and shake in the throes of unnamed demons and at night

I feel like an arythmic god has taken me and is spinning me

on high-speed like all my parts are made of jello

I want to ask that god; what is it you are trying to shake loose?

surely you know by now there is no more fruit left

not even the rotten kind

that fell and split and sunk into earth, a long, long time ago

it is only me remaining now; leafless, without sturdy branches

I cannot rely upon myself, I cannot rely upon promises

no longer a young, untouched tree with green shoots

I am damaged, broken and hobbled, by this specter and the unknown

as much as by those I knew and trusted

asking why to the imploring void; why are we stricken down?

to what do I owe my continuing? Even as it is, insubstantial

can they see in my eyes, when I pretend, I am trying not to gag?

my appetite spirited away by the scourge and never returned

I would die of hunger and not know it

were it not for some strange determination

I don’t know where that comes from

but as I stand, it must be a place within me

does not give up, as she did not, all those years ago when

the flames licked the top of my house and burned, everything I knew to cinder

I am not like the rest of the world; stronger for my poison

nor am I able to disguise my scars

if I were asked what recommended me; I could not answer

I would probably open my mouth and howl

because you can reinvent yourself, a million times it seems

I am just one incarnation, coming apart at badly mended edges

you, who are able to vault life in gentle sprint, must mock

I am after all, just a fallen fruit, lasting as long as she can

in imperfect, bruised skin

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Advocating

She used to tell other girls

Sista! Stand up for yourself!

And when others needed her voice

She lent her ROAR

Don’t be quiet and let them walk over you, she cautioned

But when it came to her own

She sat demure, a photo in old box

Doe eyed and blinking

Knees together, ironed hair

Palms touching in supplicate

Head keenly nodding on hot wire

Stomach lurching like unmoored ship, drunk on the dream of voyage

All the while

A scream building inside

NO! NO! NO!

I am not a number to be parceled and coded

Spat out and told, we have no answers, for we have no understanding of the soul

I FEEL and in the night, if you listen closely at my door you’ll hear me pray

To every spirit and four leaf clover, even, the lopsided rabbit in my arms

As time flickered away with each new day of sickness

She needed an advocate

To be her unguarded voice

Which had become lost

In all the twists and turns.

And the tall doctor

He was no mind-reader

He had his well rehearsed routine and could if needed, click his ankles in mid-jump

She wasn’t easy to label and dismiss

Nor did she want to be, a compliant good girl

She wanted to question until they dragged her out into the street

Writhing to the sound of her own outrage

That we are abandoned by medicine in our most desperate hour

Leaving unhealed like scabs, without voices, our ill tended shadows

She wanted to understand

And find ways that didn’t involve dependency upon pills

He was a blonde marionette, testing his overbite

Talking in her head, Yak yak yak

The sound of chomping wood and splinters for lunch

She heard no future

Unless she spoke up

But where was her tongue?

Where had it gone?

For survival is found

We looked at the bright box

Lighting reproductions of your brain

You made the inevitable joke

And I wondered how many had

Sat like us, closely squished into single seat

Faux leather gleaming with accumulated sweat

For humor seems solitary solace

When the world goes to hell in a hand basket

Leaving behind folded gloves with bitten tips

Back then I was untrained, in navigating pursing hallways

Pushing wheelchairs, your head horizontal, stapled

Youth’s strength saw us over the sanitized hump

Out into the car park where we ran, loose gowns and trailing bandages

Afterwards felt like climbing out of hell, without traction

Floundering to understand the submersion of health

I told you, even nightmares have to wake up

And with each removed staple, pulled from your sore skull, you found release

Near did I guess, my own oily cavort with sickness

Lay silently sheathed, like store bought bread, just around the corner

I should have worn those pinching purple shoes and danced

You should have run the glow foam 5k and eaten vegan tamales

We should have visited Kavik River Camp in Alaska and climbed jagged cliffs

Tried the new Japanese restaurant with pastel tea lanterns

Wrung out from quick glimpses, thimbles of life

Instead I borrowed on my new found strength

Worked long hours, forgetting to look out the window at passing moon and sun

Putting off tomorrow, building futures without living now

It is our mistake when shown a lesson, not to stop and be mindful

For survival is found in, the smallest moments

Second chance

Not if, WHEN I am well, I will not squander, but should not have needed, a second chance

It will be / It already is / a spiked and harpooned, learning curve

There is humiliation, in not being insightful enough

That it took, being brought to kneel, flayed by horrors, to be grateful enough and find strength

As only when / it’s almost too late / we plead and beg / for one more chance

It is the truer person, who needs no such prompt, but lives rightly, first time around

I am declaring reincarnation and broken-handed, putting myself back together, limb by limb, until even I, do not recognize, the survivor within

She has sore knees from beseeching and a box of unwound screams for keeping

Maybe together, we can shift the albatross, tie on our ice skates, and, leaving bearly visible lines, skate the circumference, to where we last left ourselves, before water absorbed and we sunk, full of the weight of years, undone

Long ago and just now, these worthiest goals lay fallow, ink blots of punctuate

For the urge to live fully, is always most powerful, when denied.

Then, it is up to you, said the rise of each, urgent day

To scatter yourself in those lined troughs, awaiting divine chemistry

To grow once more, whole, when the door is opened and light let in, again

I pray for all, who yearn to begin

One way you can see, throw a penny in a pond, watch ripples cast divination

Fortune can be such a fickle playmate, the one who steals your efforts from your plate or, coin shall surface, catching sunlight, glint, at days ahead, not so dim

And while you wait inside your bird cage, the journey of even those imprisoned, can rise, from the depths of status quo

The lost and lingering who have forgotten how, to float on water

To be that girl again

I breathe

Listening to the words

In my aching chest of wingless birds

They say

I am afraid

Today I woke and prayed

For a better day

And it didn’t come, though I heard the horses

They were galloping fast, they did not stop

How momma? Do we stay grateful? For every given hour of precious breath?

When scythe of hurt cuts so well and wraps the days away in little vials of hell

How to live in the present, when presently is torture, crushing her toes on pointe?

I try momma, I break the fine bones in my hands in supplicate, my arms making sundials on wanting earth

I ask my toy penguin

He eyes me with the same glass eye he has been using since I was little and he saw me break

And turn to seed and grow back into a girl who recognized he was real

And I know if there were a flood

I’d save before myself, that glass eyed toy

He has seen my days in ways nobody else, could or would

Though he is stuffed and inert, also the witness to each tug of war, his little cloth heart

Beats like a stray moth against my window pane

He tells me to remember

Despair will pass

A bad day is not forever, and so in time we’ll learn to hold, tighter

The unbearable and it may turn, like shaken snow globe, upside-down, white obscuring foul

Some slow imperceptable change of season, a sign, the very beginning starts with one

If he could speak and he does

He’d tell me to be brave and wear my best dress for the clouds cannot and will not persist

Take comfort in those smallest things

It could be one minute in an hours slow turn of hand

It could be one moment out of three weeks broken by tired cries

I am on my knees

I long for peace

And the quiet of memory reminds me

You have been here again and again

You have risen to answer the entreaty of a heart still beating

Longing to be released from her sentence

And if you look closely

There is still

A desire to overcome with the wish of a river to capture rain

Stronger than anything you’ve ever experienced, my penguin knew before myself

He is who I’d save, if the world exploded into flames, curling value to cinder

I am reminded of what I can feel by his capacity to shake, my despair out of her plan

To hang by tree and catch late afternoons air, as dead as last night’s terror

And I stroke his face

Wishing with everything that stuffs and fills to become me

To be free to laugh again

I promise him

To be that girl again

Wellness

I am aware of the acrid taste in my mouth

of months

rolled under yellowed paper and stuffed with dust

I am aware of the dusk and the dawn

as it begins and falls outside of my existence

for the confined are the ones, who most seek the light

held back by the devil on my back, digging his rusty spurs

I dream

of who I was before, and who I may again, become

Restrained in abayence, watching the spin of twitching world

was there a time yet? I did not sicken at the mention

of nutrition and sustainence?

or energy enough to power through, whatever ailed me

now the vampire drains me of enough, I can only watch

in flickering shadows, a dance of memories across my jaundice

so much has come and gone in this short time, where a day

feels eternal

where an hour of pain is like

a life time without

as if cruelty stretched it out

until you could hardly see

where it began and where it stopped

or maybe it did not

end and instead

drags out, again and again, as if set on repeat

wake up, sicken, do the same until all you see

is the specter of yourself, treading lost time

and the taunt of health, is always a little too far to reach

yet you must try girl

yet you must seek

wellness

Vibration


The teacher

Her grey hair thick and spilling

Chanted Om in quiet room

Filling with vibration

The beat of our efforts

Twisting, turning against, Winter’s pinch

She places her wide palm

On my pain

We say nothing

The movement is our language

I see my thin arms

Draw in unknown strength

Holding me up, though I would lapse

I remember being seven

A year since my mother was gone

The door still too heavy to open on my own

Practicing in a room of adults

One lady had a long back and narrow waist

Another, cast her shoulders against

Cold draft of late arrivals

I was relieved to be 

A child

Not yet held to standard, free to swap error 

Watching others

Pile obligations on their shoulders like camels

Bending low to earth

Forgetful of the impulse

To stare into the sun