Natalie Scarberry

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(I took a long time to write this so it’s terribly late – I found it very hard to write. But it’s never too late to say how much you care about someone). This is for my beautiful and dear friend Natalie Scarberry who has left this earth and hopefully is out of pain and smiling down upon us from somewhere.

I have never meant to be selfish. I grew up knowing some very selfish people and I swore never to be like them. I think since I became ill I’ve had less and less time and energy for social media. Frankly I don’t know how you people do it. An hour of socializing online is my max and I have to work. I can’t seem to do all my work, run a household, balance life, make dinner, and spend as much time online as many people I know. (Although I equally know many who are never online). I realize if you don’t have a job or you’re retired it is easier than those of us who work, but I’m still amazed at how much time people can spend online.

Of the many I have met online since my first book was published (before then I was never online as much but it helps to promote) one person who touched me so much with her honesty and sincerity and true goodness was Natalie Scarberry. She spent a huge amount of time socializing online but it never felt like you were one if many. You always felt special. She had that angel’s ability of making everyone feel valued, she used to say it was because her mom did not value her, so she decided she would be the exact opposite and she truly was filled with light and love.

Despite being deeply devout she didn’t judge people who were gay or who weren’t Christian and she understood love in a way few do. From her generation and time that was so rare and she was the kind of person that truly made this world a better place. She was one of the most compassionate people I have had the fortune to know, and it was sincere. She was a wonderful gardener and her garden was a little Eden here on earth. She was one of the smartest, most caring and truthful people I have had the pleasure to know.

We have lost some incredible WP people including two Paul’s and dear Cynthia. I didn’t ever think I’d lose Natalie. And worse, because I’m rarely online long and rush to do things, I had not been in touch with her this last 4 weeks and she passed during that time.

I didn’t know. I am ashamed that I didn’t know. I should have done more. She was so worth it. Although any bodies life is worth it). I complain about others not caring when you’re sick and I was guilty of neglecting a magnificent woman.

Natalie. I don’t want to eulogize. You know how I feel. You made that same permanent mark in every life you touched. And I cared about you these long years. For your courage and honesty which cut to the truth and guided me so many times. I don’t get super close to people easily and you were family.

We who cherish you will never forget you my friend. Forgive me if you can for being so errant and offline these last few weeks when I should have been checking. I have no excuse. I never learned how to spend hours socializing online and that is why you and I wrote letters and sent cards and talked. But I am truly sorry I wasn’t there. And every time I drive through Ft. Worth it is you I shall always think of.

You once said your mom hadn’t much cared for you and we bonded over our moms not really liking us terribly much. Being a disappointment to them. Not understanding why they didn’t like us. I learned years ago from you Natalie, how to realize this isn’t personal even though it seems to be. It isn’t anyone’s fault. And my relationship with my mom was much better and brought us both some happiness for some years because of that. Even though she ultimately decided to end our relationship, there is no anger or hate on my part because of what you, Natalie, taught me. I value myself irrespective of whether my mom does and do not take her not wanting me in her life, personally. Your wisdom taught me to be okay with who I am without needing to hear that from someone else.

You had a brilliant sense of humor. I loved how you would always CUT TO THE HEART of things and write your truth, sometimes with lots of swear words! I found that so funny because you had such class but you were able to say it without reserve. I always knew you were honest because you didn’t mince words or say platitudes. Sometimes you would kick my butt and other times you would scold me but it was always in love. Furthermore you were a light so many reached for, with your daily quotes and thoughts, and your far reaching compassion. When I got sick you were one of few who checked on me regularly and cared – right up until you were sick yourself and had to spend more time taking care of that – although you never stopped caring for others, it’s just who you were.

I didn’t just value you for what you did for me. I valued your fighting words and your spirit. Your humor. Your deep faith. Your beautiful heart. I hope you know all that you did for all those in this world who love you. Your legacy will never die. I am terribly sorry I didn’t know you passed, I will miss you terribly but I truly believe your good heart will always be here with us. I pray for you and your family. Please know from all of us who loved you on WP that you will always be among us. Bless you dearest Natalie. There are not enough good people like you in this world and you made this world a better place for existing in it.

GO FROGS FOREVER. (TCU – we are both huge fans)

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/natalie-scarberry-obituary?pid=192267253

http://www.sacredtouches.com RIP Natalie Scarberry

Something her daughter wrote after she passed; https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/119695645/posts/20618

A beautiful in memorium to Natalie from another WP writer https://planetdreamdiaries.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/heart-of-natalie/

And another beautiful tribute to our friend of colors https://wp.me/p8LpnW-4nF

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The unlit room

pexels-photo-241705 - Copy

like a surveyor of tea leaves or coffee grains

you have only seen the bad in me

mama, there is more than that

so forgive me if I hope, you don’t read this

though as I write in the unlit room

with unfurling gloom of coming dark

shadows whisk past in fast motion

like hunting birds intent on victim

pictures of another life

when I close my eyes I hear your voice

imagine home, it includes you

exile is a word I find hard

thinking we’d find a way all these years

my child heart foolishness

we try to repair the mauled favorite toy

we try to reclaim the torn moment

but time moves on and people

betray each other as easily

as reading congealed tea leaves

so read them, tell me my fate

I am sure you think you know

and as the words come pouring out

each one designed for maximum hurt

I will grow away from you like a plant

facing determined shadow will

strain toward the purity of light

I didn’t want this

it wasn’t my wish, the choice was removed

but I am, contrary to your belief

not dying of my own poison

the illness within me

will be healed

and that part that blames me for everything

lying in you, a furious envelope

that tells me I am responsible for my suffering

will meet

the karma we all must face

when cruelty is reflected back at us

I had hoped so much all these long years

for your mercy and your presence

but as they told me

you cannot long for something you never had

cannot make someone feel what they do not feel

you asked me why I called today

I knew you would lash out, I knew it would hurt

and maybe like a penitent I felt

saying goodbye and letting you know

I love you, was worth the scald

because I had a dream

it was a dream I lived a long and healthy life

it wasn’t with you and you were not there

somehow I still smiled and carried on

and when I woke I wanted to ask you

how could I ever live without you?

when you brought me into this world

I know your voice, as I know myself

and I have loved you more than anyone

but I already hear the answer

burning the silence of my stare like a

forgotten match wicking itself to fabric

devouring oxygen and matter like

a scream will penetrate quiet night

I know, in the slick loathe of your tone

the way you know just how to plunge the knife

you don’t need me you say, you never did

I am an unwanted thing, better disguarded

let loose to tumble into the past, better never born

and though I may not know it now

you set me free as I forgive the ache

letting go of all those years of chasing

those folded sorrowful times of indifference

to claim what we should all have

the knowledge of real love

instead of being reminded of

someone who never thought you worthy or special

who happened to give birth

with the anger of a condemned prisoner

Oh and I wish

I could go back in time and undo

that bloody hour

where you never had

to endure the pain of bringing me into the world

for surely

I would

that is the point of unconditional love

you give even when it hurts

and I would dissolve me to save you

but it is too late for that

and for wishing I had a daughter

I could pour my heart into

but I will find something else

maybe out there in the wild where

people do not carve out pain with

the sharp edges of their own

and when I told you I would always love you

I meant it

even as you push me away one last and final time

which I accept

with the gait of one who knows

she has more life ahead

in the bowers of empty space

among the fir trees growing like prayer

toward the glassy reflecting heavens

it will not always be so sad

it will not always be so sad

 

For my first friend in America

Your hand covers mine

we clasp for the camera and smile a 100 watt smile

The American Way

I have learned

how to park a truck

that pale legs are not

as anathema in Texas as in Cannes

I understand, ordering drinks you size up

trying clothes, you size down

topsy-turvy world for a foreigner

lost in her baggage claim.

You made me feel

easy and comfortable like an adirondack chair

smooth wood, deep grain, eccentric shape

this became my town and in so many ways

it was thanks to you taking the time

to show me the way to fit in

the candles dim in the windows of the bar

as if they know you are now gone

where the bird died and we buried it

flowers grow up and a little crepe myrtle

as if forever our steps, will be marked here

mountain laurel blooms wildly

across splayed streets replete with thin cats

seeking their breakfast at Taco huts, the color of watermelon

where I ate among the gladioli without fear.

In the beginning

you were like Tiger Balm

rubbed over my fear, I was no longer shivering

could make my way through the throng

as good as anyone

your watchful eyes on my narrow back

seeing how I did, urging me onward

how will I continue with you gone?

Family, you said, comes from the heart

you may find someone you love in the strangest places

I found you in a Chinese buffet eating Won Tong soup

in my skinny jeans and piss and vinegar

you asked me if I used to be a dancer

I said yes, and now I unravel for a living

you took under your wing, that juniper girl who

didn’t know how to fit in to her new clothes

taught her the measure of her adopted land

like the time we planted trees and you warned

never forget to be merciful, to those less fortunate

the sky was pure blue that day, on the wind

the smell of honeysuckle and river lily

white cranes flew languidly overhead

we shared Limeade and Tortas, our feet dipping in hot puddles

I recall

the first time you were sick

I said, you reminded me of my grandmother

and you frowned; I’m not old enough!

But what I meant was

she had a strength, nobody else could see

every time I went to school she’d wait

in her high-waisted pants of crepe or wool

tight curled hair, wearing oversized sunglasses

below the stairs, nodding with a wink

mouthing the words; You got this

and I’d go into my classroom with a 100 watt smile

not fearful anymore

nobody saw that side of her, just as

people dismissed you as a Jesus Freak

seeing past the strength of your resolve

to live with love

I admire those; who have mercy and compassion

I look to those; who are loyal and unafraid to love

it is the weave of this girl, to follow in those footsteps

bring kindness, do good, lend yourself to gentleness

when I grew sick I saw, how many live with

anger and resentment, undoing their humanity

until they are unrecognizable and only breathe

the exhaust of their bitterness.

To the rose

opening this day

after your passing

I say, O glory, O beauty

live in the sun

as radiant and perfect as anything I have known

and I hear your voice, see your face nodding

you got this

I want to run backward and say

please don’t leave me, don’t go

but I know you have to

and I have to go on

alone but holding your wisdom

your mercy

in those lessons you left

imprinted upon my heart.

The expulsion of love

this oneWhere are you now?

Sitting on your stoop, first light, cats weaving between

coffee in hand, watching sunrise,

what are you thinking?

You are not thinking of me

the door is shut on us and you turned the key

it took only the loss of hope that gentle thing

and I became a stranger

so many days, months, years and still

I know you less

is it that easy? Was it that hard?

The expulsion of love

still live, dying on the floor.

I met you when the coals were

burning hottest, all I wanted was

a reflection of those feelings

you took my hand and guided it

into your clasp and pressed my back

with a deep

push into another world

the world of you

where I have been these many years.

They weren’t just words

though if I strain I can hear

the first you whispered

our curled against other in dark

your fingers creating universes

I felt their beckon

as I had not before

the press of you and the beseech of me

it was as if once inside

you claimed that part and as your possessed

I never struggled to be free

it was what I had always sought

to be needed at that scolding temperature

we barely survived our love

it burned and that heat was

the very raging heart of us.

Now day is long

you are gone in so many ways

absent in your once fine mind

emptied of the gentleness I knew

a stranger to me, a welted memory

it is not death, it is not life

I cannot talk to you, the only one I would

I have no solace in recall

it is like being tortured

there is only time, and they say time

heals all, but that is a lie

perhaps for you, already forgetting

I recall too much and everything

is a red road sign to us always.

The day I stood nude on white balcony

I did not recognize that girl who

had stupidly wanted forever and you

she wanted the innocence of us

how neither had ever fallen before

how you were virgin of touch and I

closed and shut up

together we opened the universe

you, it was only you and

it wasn’t me but for the echo of you

enfolded and besotted as no

future can replicate

there are some times only

once and never again

moments and feelings untested

who meet and create together

that celestial place in time.

I think of you now with a crushing feeling

as if someone has come within me, a trespass

thrown out all the certainty and warmth

leaving me emptied and discarded

surely you know that and pass it by

as your armored heart does not

recognize me anymore

there is nothing more awful

than to fade and diminish in regard

until you are no more than

a throwaway comment.

I walk the streets of my memories

like a widow in her veil

watching myself dry into a statue

of torment and you? You I suppose are free

it was always your selfhood to

change and alter in fickle flick of wrist

the time, the hour, in this case the girl

who stands in her memory palace

trying to rid herself of the feeling

it will only ever contain your shadow

and the footsteps you left

some bloodied, some too deep

to ever expunge that influence or

the sound of your whisper calling me

over time and space to some created place

where I am ever yours and never

free of that promise I made when you asked

me to submit and wed, the marrow to

your existence.

I did not understand how easy it was

to break and smash the very articles of

us

oh my love, oh my love

I never said it before, I never said it afterward

where did you bury my soul? And where

is the key to unlock that prison I inhabit now?

where being alone, I hear at night

the fidget and torture of your touch

over the fading moon an outline of

you and only ever you, it has become

an effigy to something once

consumed me whole and kept me digested

within you darling, to your very core

where I heard your life blood rush and gather

I became then, the child of you

she cries out now to your emptied eyes

turned from me, reduced to ash

as cold and unfeeling, as if never was

the burn and sear of branded emotion

we called us two and now only one

the loneliness is destroying me

inch by inch, I claim further madness

for you were me and I do not know

how to exist without, the belief we were

sewn in harmony with

each other’s binding, become all I know

all of me born, the day you baptized me

with your claiming eyes

deciding it should be me, you take

as your mate in this world.

Now our world has decayed to naught

you will not return, or have a thought

for what you left behind when you

closed that door

and

without sound

left the key to

rust into

red

water

Totems to that absence

It isn’t my weft to self torture

but on occasion, often bidden by

emotions tumbling from rusted cage

I try to restrain them

overtaking my control

then, you are there

in the sunlight streaming through paper blinds

hurting my eyes so that all but a whiteness

is felt behind closed eyes

the unceasing wetness of tears

cause my skin to feel chaffed

even in summer

you would think eventually

they would dry up, but they never do

just as you would think I’d stop

remembering so accutely or

longing so intensely for

things near and far away and closed

as to not exist

except in my urging of them

the you, that you were

confident, slick, arrogant

I have never liked arrogance

but behind it

a soul and a heart

I wished to conquer with my own

urge gentleness out of you

like impatient bird who cries

before it is morning

I often feel, if I allow it

that I was created for you

and despite this

you threw me away

because I could not survive, or pay my way in the world

if I did what you asked

you did not care about that

but only, what you would receive

and though I remember the light in your eyes

dimming and your kisses growing

less in intensity

there are days I wish only

to touch the moments

that for me, were happiest of my life

whether that is absurd or downright

sick

it really doesn’t matter anymore

now we are lost in time and space

spinning away from the other

more and more, with every passing moment

and that hurts as if it were a fresh wound

though it is old and many times healed over

that healing is a lie

because I am never okay

without you and this you knew

when you left, it was to take

the part of me I loved best and

the capture of my heart

the days afterward were

inconsequential even though I tried

to bring meaning back, it was as if

color and sound had fled

only the flowers I bought you

linger in my mind

their lovely pink and the way

flowers must always die

just as

time kills

but does not destroy

the original love

or its resulting

pain

I do not want to spend

more years sitting at tables alone

watching my tears grow cold as

the light captures me in a moment

of you

and how you were

when you didn’t yet know

you would always leave me

the radiance of your smile

still lights my heart

followed by a pain

knowing

that version of you

shall never exist again

that love for me is now

grown over and neglected

by irrevocable doors closing

we did not know, would sabotage

something as true

as the feeling

of us

I still believe if you’d

searched your soul you

would not have let go

for life gives us few

if any

perfect

memories

too often we remain

eternally haunted by

totems to

that absence

Where you once turned

Without you I am a blank erased space

emptied of misletoe

I am the weed that grows fitfully from concrete

without nourishment I survive

but survival is too great a word for what I do

enduring time like chewing tobacco

to be masticated and spat

black and stinking on unsullied

surface

you are the spark within me

I used to have many years ago

a key I misplaced

perhaps I hung it from a tree I was climbing

and it was simply lost

though I suspect

the key drowned

fell to the bottom of the lake

and was unreachable

glittered as it did from the depths

my own hand claimed

by weeds and gravity

the need to be lost in that

murmuring ache

I saw the key once in a while

sparkling from below and for a few hours, maybe a day

I could pretend briefly like a long drink

I was wearing scarlet tights again and you were

pushing me in the shopping cart

my cheeks red with laughter

the rings on your fingers counting down the days

until we cut our hair and sealed ourselves inside

envelopes to nowhere

you were always better at

pretending there was a point

I did not know how to

make things grow in my garden

with you absent

the moon even

an eclipsing reminder

of those waning moments

before the storm

so still the skies

so hush the trees

like velvet inhabited nature

a majesty of peace

I closed my eyes feeling

the length of your slim arm

a pulse behind our skin

like neon lights left flickering

long after dark

your eyes reflected against

deep pools of water and gathered

tears all emotion spent and real

something sincere in every ushered

appreciation of you

even as I am the only one

still paying attention

for you are staring out of windows

watching migrating birds

cross colorless skies

they are heading away

and you wish

for something to stir

the calm opiate within

your spare and unheated room

feel something

again

turning to stone

slow and grave like visitors to a wake

sometimes it feels like preparation for

our own funeral

yet there is life still

catching and flickering

the smell of sulfur

the sound of laughing

when we knew nothing and we knew one thing

the resound of the other

making music in

all we touched

and you touched me

deeply and with the earnest of

something bound not to last

for a flame is most beautiful

when it is fragile and almost

gives out

lighting darkness and ourselves

just enough

until it is not

and there is cold again

in our cupped hands

beseeching the void

where you once turned

and all the world existed

in the love from your eyes

Back to life

What is this place that one returns to?

for some, possible, easy even

to put aside a person, shelve them with other memories

like a box of postcards growing yellow

whilst I was always the girl who climbing on top of boxes

found the postcards and brought them down

splayed like restless tarot on my lap

try to fathom, walk back into time

absent people, love letters sent to

girlfriends now married, unrecognizable

childish handwriting, burst of emotion scored in yesterday’s colors

I have always liked stories and wanted

to read the secret histories of those

who would not share them with me

so your letters I had to put

in a green river one by one

for fear if they were not wet and destroyed

I’d read over and over til you came back to life

finding myself

running lonely highway to your home

knocking on your still familiar door expecting to see

your living breathing face, cheeks infused with color

smiling in that way only you did

when I stood before you.

When someone has died

they steal air from the room

leaving behind closed windows

rattling against wind and chill

you have to go in with heavy shoes

make noise, shake cold from your bones

open them wide until pure sunlight

blinds primal darkness

I recall

how your hair looked when

sun stroked it in streams of light

how unbroken perfection of your skin

resembled fruit, summer time and children

lolling about in gardens upsidedown, tongue out

though you were older, I always felt

protective in that way I imagine a parent may

reaching for their child, smelling joy and motion

of their life laid out ahead in patient sillouette

I have always been remote and stood away

from frilled crowd with hidden daggers

content to observe and only participate

in flung arms of dancing and those raw easy things

not requiring sustained inspection

it takes a lot for me to wish

to share myself with another

to open up those parts of me, I struggle to reconcile.

unceasing criticism can close off even the thirsty traveler desperate

to sit by warming fire and stoke shadows to divination.

With you, we were two unsupervised kids

sitting on the dusty floor of my attic

opening boxes of memories with fearless hands

we talked without fear, then as

day began to show her pink slip in sky

I’d take your slim arm and lead you

into my bed where

light enveloped our heads like halos and we tasted the rapture of undisturbed acceptance

see in the eyes of one born of me

part of you

our mingled DNA taking lilac wing

in the electricity of love making

I could smell you on me afterward

and loathe to bathe

stayed writing by the window

watching you cycle away

the strong muscles in your skinny legs peddling like

knock-kneed urchin

turning the corner

always leaving

the circumfrance of you behind

radiating on the road

like a mirage

and in my hair and on my body

a ghost or whisper of

someone absent and close

if I could have kept you safe

or stopped time

but the heart is a closing flower

once damaged she ushers her dancers

fold into velvet, trap the dream

we were strangers, then siblings

of sorrow and laughter

like night and day play

on the fringe of their fading

your dusky skin against my pale

never enough time

to say what I wanted to say

in language untranslatable

to mortal minds

we existed as pollen

carried on high wind will

strike new life into that which sleeps

drousy and given over to liquid day

and I have never returned to that place

without a throat full of pain

wanting to call your name

hear your return

the indent of your existence

anything but

silence