Survival

The man wasn’t yet forty

Had cancer four times

Told her; This time I can’t survive it

She asked; Why are you still at work?

Don’t you want to leave it behind?

Take a trip? See the redwoods?

But before he answered, she knew

The photos on his phlebotomists table

Of three little faces, told her why

And it made her angry that they both lived in a country where

Dying people had to work for their children

To receive healthcare

And she was more angry

With her own lack of appreciation

For a healthy life that she possessed

Without children

Or any reason to try so hard

And he was brave because he had no choice

And she was weak

Because she did

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All they saw

All they saw were moments left by those who came before

Not knowing what they meant or who they were

Lain in their waterpainted graves like matryoshka dolls

Did they grieve like us, whetting their knives on totems?

To understand those things that cannot be understood

A child breathing her last, in dimmed swaddling

The ache of old age, enveloping once limber athlete

Love crumpled like fallen leaves, forgotten beneath

Did they yearn to be special? Noticed? Relevant?

Or glide invisibly through spun sheets of glass

Like early morning bakers rising their bread

Grown stale by afternoon, becoming food for birds

Such circles clasped in ever decreasing circles

Worn as sea pearls on mermaids smooth throats

Were they kind? Merciful? Fearful? Incomplete?

The sight of tilled soil and ruined land cleared of living green

Did it bury the same arrow in their quincing conscience?

Will time gently lay a wreath of forgetfulness?

Over their efforts as if never and not, their lives

Extinguished in a long roll of time and bundled up

To lie beside other oxidizing keepsakes and memories

Til the last person who remembered, was no more

So much existing, lost in favor of the clamoring now

All they saw were moments left by those who came before

This is a real world as it is an unreal world

I was going through the list of who I am following on WordPress with a view of clearing out people who had stopped writing on their blog. It’s sad. All the good intentions we have, all the excellent names for blogs, the ideas, the effort, where do they go?

Interestingly; I noticed that many of the people who had depression and/or feminism in their title line were no longer writing. I wondered, is that a coincidence or do things that matter but are not popular (depression/feminism) die out?

Whilst I admire those who continue a blog for years, writing faithfully every day/week/month I would also say that many of the BEST writers are those who start blogs and never continue them. I wonder where they are now? I wonder if they are okay? It seems sad to see their potential and ideas lost.

When I was sick I didn’t write for a few months here-and-there but people knew I was still around. I wonder how long it takes to not be around and not be noticed if you are not around, I wonder how long it takes to vanish or feel you have vanished?

Upon joining WP I met with a small group of writers/poets/thinkers and they were my ‘first’ friends here. What is interesting is of those, some are still my dearest friends and some completely vanished and this after professing love and life-long friendship. Of those who vanished, either into their own egos or others, they were the loudest at proclaiming such undying friendship. Had I known then, they were just saying it, I wouldn’t have invested as much time in cultivating those friendships but not everyone is like that, usually only those who speak the loudest (and I wonder why that is?).

At times I am tempted to ask some of those who never keep in touch, what happened? Where’s the love? ha ha ha! Because they were SO VERY effusive and then like a raisin in the sun they dried up and went onto greener pastures … I guess that’s the whim of the budding author for you! Yeah I met a few of those too. I learned from that fickelty though. No matter what happens, I’ll never feel too self-important for those who were there for me.

Going through the list is like looking back on the years I have written on WP and all the people I have met. I feel so lucky to have met those people, so many of them I really count as TRUE friends and I care deeply for them. Others I may not be literal friends with but I admire what they do and who they are, very, very much. We are basically, a wonderful community and I feel richer for being here.

Let’s spare a moment for those who are not here. In our WP world we have lost people. Those who have died. Those who have become too sick to write. Those who are too depressed to write. Those who are not here and though we do not know why, they are gone. Let’s think about those people we met when we first began here, the faces and voices of those who are not here now for a myriad of reasons. I for one, do not forget them. It’s a bit like first-love, you don’t easily forget your first.

Thank you to Rita, Eric, Tony, Monique, Derick and Sabrina, some of the very ‘first tribe’ who welcomed me and whom I had here on WP, for still being around and still sending your sunshine my way regularly.

Oh, and if this teaches me anything, it is to appreciate someone whilst they are here and to try to always keep writing through life’s ups and downs and appreciate the value of people coming into your life and holding you to the light.

For Paul and Cynthia. We remember you.

 

Unable to speak the words

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Love can be the greatest feeling in the world

love can be a lie

and when love is a lie

it can rip you to shreds or enable you to rip yourself

because love isn’t quantifiable

therefore you may never know

who it is who guts you and slays you; Is it you? Is it love?

how can a feeling have the power to empty you of hope?

or leave you ransacked

how can an emotion

something that can’t be touched, or jarred or bottled

hold such sway?

cut with deep scythe, parts you thought impossible to reach

was it the other? Did they own the power

or was it giving them permission? To dictate an emotion

or is love, proof of being human

and the sorrow of that and the beauty of that

a very human trait, along with hate and indifference

which at times seem, to take the place of love

and when your eyes, look at me and there is no movement

only the wearing down of time, a series of frustrations

when you fidget and seem to want, to be anywhere but here

I imagine you in years to come, remembering nothing of us

then I wish I had no capacity for love, I wish I had pretended all along

replaced my heart with coal

but it was never an object, never something you could hold

love was almost a virus

you walked into the room

and I caught it

the fever and the aches

they may never leave me

now I have a relationship with them

in absence of you, I’ll find myself inheriting memories

wondering how, some people walk away, almost light-footed

and others stand in place and burn, the oxygen all gone

unable to speak the words

of loss

Through the looking glass

mirror-twins-with-mirror-56a689b15f9b58b7d0e36f0dThrough the rain, the sound of ending

Despite this, I am closer now, to remembering

Every sharpened affection, how it took every bit

Left nothing in its place

I am closer through the looking glass

Sounds of a hundred regrets

Of each time and then

Of you taking me by the neck

Laying down in our abyss

This

I am still closer now to this

Though it has been figurative years

Lifetimes and burials

Lost in the neglect that comes

When you have always seen in the other’s eyes

Such a deep thing of enduring

As if it were swept out by a big brush now it is gone

It was a error to believe that look was love

Wanting to fit a jigsaw piece but you did not

Once they knew that, the need for you

Snuffed out

And the ship carrying your heart

Saw no lighthouse and floundered on rocks

And you with less than you ever had

Sunk like a exhaled regret

Like an exile without tether

Down into the drowning of your grief

As thick and peerless as anybody could be

Without air and succor

No hand reaching through water

No one there, perhaps they never were

Now it is definite, it is legal, it is provable

Gone, as if not once was any of it true

And the lies you told yourself

And the hope you carried

Sinks with you

Where you have no more words

Where nothing is nothing

Without that sustaining strength

And the rain is inside you, not exterior

You are the girl crying in public places

You are the woman watching emptiness drive away

You are years down the road alone

You are forgotten and yes .. you wanted something whole

It broke into pieces too smashed to remold

So long ago you don’t know where you put the parts

Perhaps they stab you now like thorns in weeping dark

But you’ll never trust again, not one word, not one action

You’ve walled yourself off, in an ocean of your own

Set on repeat to drown, every time you wake up

Every morning it comes around

The pain

Excruciating and long

Eternity and punishment

For ever believing

For ever letting yourself believe

What they felt was the same

Because it wasn’t, it couldn’t have been

They still inhabit the land of the living

And really you should have known that

A very very long time ago

When you were both younger and smooth of melancholy

A sense the promise was too sweetly said

Fast in utterance, not enough breadth

Like puffing up your cheeks and letting go your breath

Is no more than rushing air, warm from your mouth

And your eyes, I should have examined closer

They did not blink and I thought this meant truth

When a lie can wear

The very same outfit

Drought

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Out loud you hear yourself say

I don’t need to be cared about

And the cave dweller behind your eyes says

Liar

The rain is mentioned on the news nightly

But it never arrives

And we are driven to distraction by

Our dry state

If you

Knew what I was thinking

You may blanch, squirm and feel embarrassed for me

For the feelings I have, not reciprocated

Or you may

Take me on the lawn before the rain came and green was turning brown

Turn me into water and let me loose

 

Or you may

Be holding three versions of repulsion

If we’re meant to read minds, my sense is blunted

I only see the gathering clouds swell ominously overhead

Stubbornly hold onto their rain despite our need

Standing below imploring

Though it is us, with our concrete lives

That usher the rain gone

Until when you least expect it

When you have given up

Taped and sealed yourself back up

Return to maker

Perhaps then

Rain

Will fall

And you will open

Your arms and let me

In

Family photo

Draw a line in sand

She’s the border of one side and the other

At times unteathered

Without prediction

There’s a mystique to change if it’s bidden

And if not …

Galloping down flights of stairs in Wellington boots

Doors unlatched, bodies surge toward the wild

Leaving behind tables of cups and saucers

A black current stain on her dress, she didn’t

Care what others thought

Letting little boys see her private parts, beneath the weeping willow

Hers was the reaction

A swinging, uncovered, naked lightbulb

Denied its right to be switched off, to sleep without searching hand

She learned, the way of obedience, had a sharp taste in her throat

Better climb out, scale the walls, tear your hands than

Be mounted with his collection on a pinkering wall

To dessicate and lose color, for each pulse of his filthy yen

A gamble necessary to quit and never look back

Running on bare feet with feathers in her mouth

If she left the earth would she sink or float?

Going over the edge, empty-handed and savage

Yet .. children survive

Incomplete and clean of doubt

Their enemy known, in the family photo