Leaving WordPress – (but you are coming with me)

After numerous appeals to WordPress I did not get my ability to follow other WP authors reinstated. It was horribly unfair and ties my hands on WP, as part of my job is discovering and publishing talent. I’m disappointed, but I want to move on positively. In order to do this, I have decided to leave WordPress rather than condoning them.

One of my best friends built me a site. I have WordPress Reader and all those whom I follow (before I was banned from following any more) and all those who follow me (and you can continue to) will be exported with me so I can continue to read you. www.thefeatheredsleep.com

If you are not following me, you still can. When you go to my new page it gives you a way to follow me by email (Subscribe to Blog via Email on the right-hand-side of the page). If you subscribe, I will show up in your WP-Reader. www.thefeatheredsleep.com

My best friends online (although I’ve met many in real life by now) were found on WordPress. The caliber of people on WP is outstanding. I literally have met people I adore. If not for Mark, Philip, Tremaine and Susi, I might never have survived the worst of my illness and those people and others, are life-long friends.

Recently, we had a big loss in the WP community when Sue Vincent died, she was widely respected and I respected her deeply as a colleague. Her bright spirit infused everyone. Her life has touched myself and others deeply in many ways. It was actually the non creative writing that touched me the most. The her in herself. The woman she was. The process of her life.

A few years ago, we lost Paul, and many of us still remember him and think of his face. I have a photo of him that comes up in my memories often, and I never deleted his last message to me. He was one of my first friends on WP aside Eric, Rita, Tony, Pelgris, and Monique and we all knew him and cared about him. His death was tragic and senseless. Monique and I talk of him every time we talk. He walks with us.

When Natalie Scarberry passed, it was gut-wrenching. She had fought so many battles in life, and was such a rare human being because despite being in her 70’s she still had TIME for people, she still could talk about ‘a bad day‘ or empathize with others, and often life beats that out of you, but it didn’t with her. Despite having difficulties with her own mom, she was a surrogate mom to many of us. I keep her photo in my room and I think of her a lot. She will always be with me. Not in the pithy sense, but the truest sense.

Even when sick, Natalie was encouraging and loving. She wrote this on one of my posts;

You know how a pin ball machine hits all those things that make noise; when you write like this one that is so honest and raw it feels like a pin ball is hitting everything that has ever hurt me or touched me deeply and I have to wonder how that can be. And I feel sure others who read your words are impacted in the same way. You have an incredible way of understanding all the sham of life and the betrayals, we as flawed and broken humans, are subject to. Reading this was heartbreaking and at the same time spelling binding in its profound insights of existence in a fallen and flawed world.

We should never forget the value of true support and selflessness.

With each person lost, I have felt such emotions that have taught me more value and a greater understanding of the most enduring things in life. I have literally grown in my heart and soul because of knowing these people and being briefly connected to them. I shall never, ever forget them.

I am so proud of every single one of you who has been in an Indie Blu(e) anthology and as our company gets larger and more successful, we hope to have more breadth to share the works of such talented writers and artists – whom we have mostly met via WP. What a sad story then that WP would ban me from following new talent, because of an algorithm? That said, I am determined to continue to support those talents in whatever way I can and balance my day job alongside my Indie Blu(e) work, because it has literally been one of the most meaningful things I have done in years.

Thank you all. I hope you come with me when I go. Because I have learned, in going, you never really leave.

RIP Natalie, Paul, Sue & all our WP friends who have passed, but stay firmly in our hearts. We see you. We love you.

Please consider following me if you don’t already, at www.thefeatheredsleep.com

Also thanks to: Tara, Christine, Derrick & Jaqui Knight,, Jane, Erik, Mark & Chris Renney, Merril, Cordelia, Holly, Monique, Dorlinda, Bob, Aakriti, Sarah Doughty, Devika, Little Charmer, TGFJ, Philip, Helene, Mr Militant Negro, SonofaBeach, Basil, Raili, Crow, Megha, Laurie, Sunshine Jensen, AND SunJesper, Kindra, LIB, Nicolas, SuddenDenouement, Nicole Lyons, Dev, HastyWords, Black Duck, Cyranny Skye/, HMS, Henna, Braeden, Carol, JaneB, RobT, Anya,
Contoveros, Charlie, Nathalie, Sabrina, Em, Richard, Jaya, SNTC, Bjorn, Sue, John, Audrey, Rpoetry, Wallace, NFW, Chris, Peter, Teti, Mani, Amitav, My Jewish Sister, Lunar, slpmartin, OP, SHL, Lamar, SFD, ELR, Tanya, Forrest, Sol, Sheldon, JAGL, Keith, KMF, NFW, MSP, TCFC, GhostWriter, Janet Wright, Vidur, Joseph, Jacqui, Ashley, TRP, Andrew, TBP, Ken, Dawn, YOU, Betty Albright, Ivor, Ogden, TBFO, Penny, EOB2, Smita, Willow, Petru, Earthwalking, David, HLR, Perditus, EFTDN, Poet Pas, Jude, H&R, Carol, Eric, Jonathan, Krissy, EDCW, Ali, robertgoldstein, Merbear, Jasper, Annette, Meg, SliceTheLife, CODS, GC, Vic CigarMan, Bethany, Maureen, Emma, Ameena, BCB, Maria, S&B, Morgan, Kim, Eugenia, Day, ChrisR, Usha, Melissa, mylifeandme, anitabacha.com, Samyra, saynotoclowns, Spiritkeeper, Jade, TTT, PFTP, TH, EOL, SageFemme, Amir, and everyone else.

The nadir of naught

It’s very difficult to write

when you are depressed

when you know depression

isn’t fleeting

isn’t because something happened

but the same as

a piece of string

will get affixed to tree limbs sometimes

and despite all effort

not be able to get

free

O

I envy (you’re not supposed to envy, but I do)

those without this malady

the world would call them stronger

they may blush slightly and say

aw shucks it’s a lottery isn’t it?

I could be just as glum as you if

my dog died, if my car broke down

and in those instances I want

so much to say

nononono

that’s not it

at all

it’s crying on your wedding day

from pain not joy

it’s feeling strong at a funeral because

the wires in your head don’t fire right

it’s understanding you’re going to have to try ten times harder

just to stand and be counted

and even then

you may wish

not to be counted

because perversity

is the twin

of sadness

she breaks you into shards

snickering as you

flail to put things back

It’s very difficult to write

when you are depressed

when you know depression

isn’t something you can push through

like your MFA teacher bid

one night when you contemplated

cutting your wrists with broken pottery

almost on a lark when hearing; try to work smarter!

desperation surging unbidden

fast and dark like unfiltered coffee

always leaves its gritty mark

on the ennui of fileted souls.

(This is for all those who were ever shamed for being depressed and having depressive symptoms, for feeling they were ‘less than’ because they could not function seamlessly as others appeared to. I see you. You are counted).

Thoughts in light

She has written herself off

or so she says

watching youth inherit the mantle

she stares at her own flaccid chest

in unforgiving morning sun

and tries to convince herself to gently let go

light pouring in through the bay window

creating a halo effect in surround

she is bathed in unexpected warmth

her pores absorbing hungrily

that urging intensity, a happy blindness

as if the world paused in its toil

to tap her on the shoulder and whisper

it’s not near over yet girl

go out, gather your arms full

live

live

live!

I join you, though I am not you

Your smell stayed like a red hand print

Trying to grow in spaces that do not fit

I join you, though I am not you

Lingering in the periphery

Feeling a hard pain in the bones of my chest

Knocking like persistent woodpecker

a wick of red against gray

Truth or dare

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you

about the real me

she’s not happy with her subtefuge

it cost her heavily

the weight of deception has always

sat like curdled cream in a bowl

waiting to be thrown away

or consumed and in so doing

poison truth from her hiding place

she’d be forthright if

it didn’t cost more

than she had in her purse

purchased inexpensively

in a local artisan’s market

that closed years ago

when creativity waned

and people hoped their kids

would go to Business School.

Ecstasy

When labels were collars around necks

ruffled, feathered, leather, yoke

you were either ‘gay‘ or you weren’t

I was. And I fell for a man.

Boy really. Once. Only time.

Hips smaller than mine, delving into my bones

like cream poured through coffee we burned calcium

our former labels damp at the door.

The value of a woman is in her smell

the rustle of her soul, how gentle and tough

merge together into womanhood

he was none of these

acrid, funny tasting (masculine?) Sinewy arms wrapping around

like a lost bear it didn’t feel ‘right‘ it didn’t feel ‘wrong

we were very young, his mind on fire trying to figure out the world

popping little tabs like they could pause time

because God, someone had to.

In Winter’s loose ends, we holed up at his brother’s flat

half-Thai eyes and burnt toast skin, along with the tang of marijuana

it’s hard not to fall for genius’s and sexual beings with magnetism in their lips

we lay in the dark, he emulated a girl and then became a boy

shadows on the wall, male, female, something more

I clung to him through torrent, it didn’t feel ‘wrong‘ it didn’t feel ‘right

night stretched out in submission, he loved me being a woman

in ways maybe another woman never has

joined we were, hard to separate, laughter, solace, grief, shards of joy

his body sleek like a girls, hard to accept the difference, I looked away

feeling him move inside me like a word

aching for punctuation.

I felt like a woman, a woman, a woman

contrast, a figure of eight in reflection

kinder than any girl I knew, smarter than any other human

a girl will touch your breasts with knowing, then ask you to find her bra

he brought me gypsy guitar and red wine and sucked until I screamed.

Dancers, we, danced in detail, scratching out labels defining

what this was, who, what?

I didn’t love him, no. Love an underdeveloped muscle

in a closed box, only women and their sharpness can pick

he searched my face, my breasts, my thighs, for signs

of relenting, wanting to bury himself within, become one

stay together, two cusps, why not? Be mine. Marriage

some papered form of devotion. Not ownership, just need.

I wanted to give him a child then, birth it

right there on the futon, beneath moon, hollering; “eat me until

I become glutted on your goodness,” We shook together

a ritual, procession into silvered ore earth’s center

letting go, the child came, bidden, quickening, like opening

your mouth and accepting change, drink me down

between my legs, the writhe of us, male/female/female/male

losing edges, the blurred outline of pretense.

We woke when the light came

to an empty room

nothing left of us to consume

just condom wrapper

unused by the bedside

and life in my belly rounding music

he wore my silver ring

I told him, don’t cut your hair

remember nothing

we walked in opposite directions

he took a bus

I, a train

he never knew I took him too

in my belly, quiet and full.

Something about her

There is something

about you

they said

and they were right

in that way that isn’t universal

she did have something about her

and then she gave it to you

and you had

something about her

locked around your neck.

When you whistled

only she heard your call

came running time and again

hands powdered with flour

losing each time

something about her

because that is what happens when

girls give it away

without thought

as if it, and themselves, were

a paper boat let loose to rent

how then to remain whole?

they have to have it

to be

something

about

them

or they stay as tinsel in corners

gathering misapprehensions dust

no one remembered to take down

after the celebration was over

as hollow as old marzipan

left to suck up dry cupboard air

when placed for safe keeping by soft hearted child

leaching color onto old towels

still smelling of beach and sand

Dear

Often I imagine, when you open someone up, peal away their layers, inside you find this pomegranate, bright in the way only nature can create. So many people have these rich lives; children, grandchildren, homes, adventures, careers, compassion. Beauty and abundance of life in so many forms. Social media exemplifies this which is why I need to limit myself, a bit like eating a box of chocolates. If I indulge too much, I feel overstimulated, lost in the sari’s of color from so many lives, people, worlds, thoughts. It’s not even the emotions, those I can relate to, it’s the living in technicolor.

When I think of what resides in my inner most self I see my old worn much loved penguin and little ted, I see me running into my grandmother’s arms. It is as if I am possessed by the past and not even present.

We are taught to live in the now or for the future. But never the past. Why? Because living in the past isn’t living, it’s remembering, it’s regressing. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t honor the past. But we must also move on from it.

If there were a house fire, it would not be the expensive things I’d seek to save. It would be my green Kermit The Frog, the pressed flower from the meadow my grandmother and I walked. It would be trying to save the past from flames, even as they climb nearer.

Occasionally I wish to lose it all, so I would be forced to start over. Without the weight of the past on my shoulders. Some people say we’d be better off if we didn’t recall the past, we’d be free of it, and able to be whomever we wanted.

The funny thing is, if I were a blank slate, I think I’d go out and start looking for much cuddled toy penguins circa late 1970s and patchy, lost fur little teds and green frogs with crayon on their eyes. I think I would climb right back where I came from. Because nothing since, has ever, ever been as dear.

Highway 101

This is what I’d say
If we were speaking

If cellos played ambrosial
If those who said they were alone actually knew what alone meant
This is what I’d say
To the ancestors with sepia faces
To the full family tables I could never navigate
The empty drive, unfilled road, the lack of fake
I’d say
I can’t do pretense

Or big events
broken pipes
yellow light

Or changing people

False words
Mislaid purpose

I would say I couldn’t get on with you
We fought like siblings
Though both were singletons
The vibration of only children with no children
I would say I became angry when you lied
When you faked who you were
When you got suckered by people stupider than you
When you lived in your pretend world
Whilst I ate and feasted on blisters
I would say those from wealth and those from basalt cannot understand

The empire
Of emptiness

A track road with lisping night creatures
And desert burning into mirage
I would say it seems at times
Futile to try to get close

to anyone

But I felt serried to you
That’s likely why I got so churlish
Why I stopped talking

Said nothing

Because betrayal comes unconsciously for most of us
In the voluble let downs and unseen affronts
Like a storm threatening, then retreating

Electricity in verging air
Reminding us of bigger purpose

Points of tangency and points of equilibrium

The hour until we ease into contiguous dying
The way you assumed I’d believe what you believed
I never did
I carry a heart with wormholes in it
The rain lets out
You get out
I drive on
In the mirror of oil on the road
I see you understand

I would say we were the same
Not even at different ends
Just burning with curved impulses

That quench the other
As I look in your eyes

I see myself

And it hurts and unsettles me

Worse than my own reflection

I inhaled the knife

You didn’t encourage me to write or let me know I could do it

you told me; you can’t spell

you don’t speak any language well

you have split ends and are at times

manic like a dervish without charm

but you’re always on time, good at lifting heavy things

maybe you should organize talented people’s lives

because you don’t have any of your own …

talent that is.

I didn’t listen. Not because I didn’t believe you

Oh I did. I inhaled the knife.

Sometimes the road will hurt like a thousand feet

trodden on your back, weighing your down

but what can you lose? 

Still not speaking any language perfectly

you may hate me … but I?

I send you love and I send you love

because that’s all I have.

I remember the year

I found a rabbit on my window ledge

celebrating six months of not wetting the bed

I had peed into nightmares wondering

if you would ever return, but you never did

though you may be surprised

I gained strength through that pain

even when you think I am weak in my ways

I see the courage in being able to feel

the toughness it takes to love when you are not loved in return

because I still can’t spell and you laughed at me and said

what writer can you be if you don’t know

your pronouns from your iambic pentameter?

Hemmingway. Austin. Oh I can name a hundred … 

But I learned anyway and by then it didn’t matter

because you’d already made your pronouncement and left

your wet umbrella still propped by the door.

I thought of all those souls like me

who were not taught words of light

instead the dark shroud of incessant criticism

who did not learn how to believe in themselves

recalling all the reasons you gave

for why I will always be a failure and a disappointment

then I wrote it down

poured myself onto a page

not always perfectly groomed 

with the savagery of one who has

felt so much and loved so hard

in the glaring halo of afternoon

where yellow turns to indigo

suffusing everything 

momentarily incandescent