I reflect, confect, arabesque, meditate cogitate rèflexions in the mirror opaque, convex, invert, perverted lips leaving stain, tea-cup, coffee-mug, wine-glass your underwear torn, scattered like poppy seeds what shall we give birth to? When the time comes to see clearly? (It never will, we are chimeras of body dysmorphia, we inhabit false hope, blind faith […]Reflections – Candice Louisa Daquin — FREE VERSE REVOLUTION
I grew up knowing what cruelty was
it curled at the corners of day like
a well fed tiger.
Sometimes I did not think on it much
for I was preoccupied by my own
sense of emptiness and self pity or
just the song on the radio at that moment.
Years later I feel it
just beneath the surface like
new skin, flinty and unyielding, unfamiliar
and somehow horrifying
bleeding like a bruise
as yet unseen.
Maybe the brittle disappointment of
my ancestors, their sagas of
grief, shifting quiet loss, building
like ant hills awaiting flesh to
pierce with poison is my
There is shame in realizing
I am guilty of what I abhorred, this
softening violence, a compound fracture in
my psyche, alarming long held belief
I was kind
when there is no nice affability in
what I sometimes feel
only a wish to burn
deeply, leave charred and dead
those who would harm me or try
to fight, thinking me defenseless.
In that, I inherit the family tradition
of haters, long held like tarnished
shield, we have only endured by
cutting down those who would harm us
we are warriors without goodness
we fight sometimes because we like
the taste of spilt blood on our sorrowful lips
it is a necessary thing, I realize, that I am the last.
So when you tell me I am kind and good
do not use those platitudes so keenly
nor trust entirely, my motivation
I am every bit as wild as that feral
hungry, you bring in from the cold
who scratches you deeply, first
time you mistakenly take her purr
for pleasured trust
know no such.
Natalie my friend.
Because you are you know. A real friend.
Though you lie beneath your roses now and I
feel as if I lie beneath them, with you.
For I am not as alive, once, twice, three times
as you ever were
you, who were beloved in life, you, who passed too soon, too well
into the light, beyond to your garden
where those who loved you and there were many
sat cross-legged waiting for you to tell a story
make us laugh, make us smile, radiate with your old world charm
for you were one of the last ones, the best generation
reminding me of my grandmother, those fine ladies of yester year
who did not have our mistakes and our errors, the Booming Boomers, befuddled Gen X kids, lost Millennial’s who
never quite learned, how to wake up early and brush their hair, until
I keep your photo, I retain your last message to me, I have a quote on my
desk you wrote
and mindful always, you told me; Listen, don’t give a shit
People will hate you, especially if you are good
it’s the way of the world, you told me, smell the roses, don’t give a damn
and don’t forget to swear copiously …
I have forgotten many things, my rule book is sabotaged, I keep making
the same mistakes, *stop it!* (say nothing, it’s safer!) I blunder as if I were a child sometimes, unsure
of the etiquette, not able to read minds and plunge my hands into
the mass of wriggling thought, to harness something tangible
I never understood humans ever so well (why are they so cold?)
their mascinations, their secret selves, it were as if being
an only-child I watched from the outside with bemusement
(or horror) (or incomprehension) why do they survive without needing
something? Someone? More than ego? Self-satisfaction? What
urges them to action? If not something meaningful?
One minute they would be saying, they loved me and the next
turning a cold shoulder, the variations, the deceptions, the quiet
subtext I did not relate to, what ever did they mean when
they went silent and I dropped like a dying star (autism is
more honest than what we deem normal, i’m certain)
out of their orbit? How to tell? What to care about? (I am
afraid of not mattering to anyone, and everything I do being futile, I don’t
want to go my entire life as lonely as now, with that hollow
fear inside my mouth, unable to come out, lodged deep
like a burrowing moth will press itself like unbidden velvet).
Natalie – – you said; Child, don’t care so much
for nobody cares as much as they say they do
unless God is watching and even then, they would be loved
without putting forth effort, they would have worship without
knowing the feel of ground skinned beneath their knees
few will truly care, this idea you will have a devotional
following, is only for the wicked and the vain, if you are lucky
I mean — really lucky
you may have friends you can count on one hand
who truly, when the chips are down, and before dawn has come
will turn to you and rise you up
from sickness, in health, in death, who will come and pay their respects?
I recall your funeral, how we passed down the long line
many were your contemporaries, women you said used to
criticize you for swearing overly, even accused you of making it up
about your mother, (surely her life wasn’t that hard!) but that’s why I love you, you said
for you believed me straight away and with the innocence
of children we came together, I had my first seventy year old friend
staying long at the coffin, flowers on top, clouds filled with rain as
if God were waiting until we passed, to let loose his tears
I didn’t believe in God, as you did, I did believe in you and you
were faithful and hypocritical like the best of us
a flawed, imperfect, relic of a human being with
magnificent hair and a dirty laugh.
I should have come visit more often, I said,
as we all say when someone meets their grave and the
smell of dirt is in our nostrils, time being as it is, so fickle
and short, and we, who are still young, think we are far
from this hour, not so far, not so far.
You told me, listen, forget what you’ve learned about
piety and mortality, people are beasts, the world is cruel
but if you can find someone who loves you, then hold on
for dear life, and do your best to help them through
for there is nothing sadder than loneliness in a room
full of people and there is nothing better than one hand
reaching for you in a crowd
pulling you out
into fresh air, where if we were the same age
I suspect I would have stood up to those who bullied you in
your thirties and told your mother to go hang when she
said she found you a disappointment
I know how that feels Natalie, we shared the same stories
forty years apart, when you were born I was not
still feel I am not, I miss you because
you were a riddle in a lesson in a riddle in a lesson and I
don’t meet people like you very often, nor have I in a long while
stood in your garden and smelt the roses, they bloom just
before the light you said, just before it begins to dawn and
that is when I would most like to close my eyes for the last time
and sleep forever.
On that day you died, I watched out of my window
for surely there would be a sign, something of you
gathering into the ether, if I took my glasses off and squinted
maybe I could see in the unyielding darkness a little of what
you spoke about, that stirring of Gods and tempests and
humans lost on their own gloat, people who exist without
giving a damn about, each other, or the basics of care, I never
understood, even if I were well versed as you, on parents who
didn’t really want (me) (us) (you) (I) (anything).
Last night I dreamed of going braless to the store and seeing
an old lover who stared at my chest the entire time, I dreamed
of boarding a plane with nobody on it, except waving oxygen masks
I dreamed of you and I dreamed of my mother
in the dream of you, you were walking through the rose
bushes and in time you were out of sight, and music I liked was
playing through an open window and I saw you take flight
and soon you were high in the sky and my eyes could no
longer follow your trajectory and I thought – – maybe I should
let go, but I don’t want to, I never have wanted to, I can’t
it isn’t in me to let go – – – (God I wish it were!) and the dream was about my mother
and she had always been gone and wasn’t there and
I was (holding her hair brush)
and I was (stepping into a lake)
and I was (still)
left behind to take these memories of people and sustain them
as if a bomb had obliterated everything but my recollection
be it real or wrong or scattered like pollen, I don’t know
I don’t know what to do Natalie, to be loved? Be glad of shrugging
them all and living in a cabin in the woods? Or to matter, to
be of consequence, like I felt with you. Was it because you were
old or just kind or just hurt or just battered by your own mother who
you said told you she had wished she had
a boy and not a girl and not you and not you and not you.
Why do the good ones die? Why will one day I watch them
throw flowers for my mother and long then, to have had her
tightly woven around me like clay
but untouchable is untouchable and yearning is for children
(she won’t have a funeral anyway, she doesn’t believe in God
either, and she won’t invite you, no she won’t invite you least of
all to a wake without a wake).
So grow up and put your shoes on child, your feet will get muddy if
you continue to walk bare foot when it rains and the thorns
will always sting even if you are pricked countless times
there is a sharp edge to beauty you said, did you know, I was once beautiful?
I know I replied, I can tell, you still are, because a woman with
wrinkles like ships on her cheeks can smile just once and
a room is devoured by her radiance
if others can’t see that, it’s all right
I think of you now, and then and in the future
alongside my day as I work beneath the fan, it is still hot
in September, yes you said, it always was in bloody infernal Texas.
People remain alive in our memories or they are forgotten
as I am, before they die
it’s all about how much they exist and what magical
recipe keeps them real and how much glue they possess
and whether they hold on, out of sheer bloody mindedness
or just for the hell of it
or perhaps they swear a lot and eat three over-easy eggs for breakfast
when the sun rises and the day is golden
and we begin over
like lovers of people who are warm and good
Natalie, like you.
I would like to be
a bit more toward normal, ordinary, unnoticed
because when we hold hands
bubbles appear above their heads
they say without moving their mouths
she’s a lesbian?
what a shame.
a terrible loss
I bet her father sexually abused her
surely some man really mistreated her
don’t you remember how strange she was as a kid?
Do you think she watched me closely when we went swimming as teenagers? Gross!
I always thought she looked at me in a weird way. didn’t you?
I feel uncomfortable around her, (she’s not like us).
And so I do not
book double rooms in some hotels
for the stares of receptionists cleave my good intention into bitter twine
I do not cup your hand in mine on every street
sometimes I let go, when I see a certain type of glance
I see their flickering of disgust
read like braille, the unsaid words
Disgusting waste of a female!
Around their pursed ashen mouths
as they talk about their dishonest children
as they talk about their cheating boyfriend’s and husband’s
the new grandchild, the latest form of contraception you
don’t even have to take it every day.
Even Plath and Sexton might have
raised an eyebrow and shuddered it was
so deeply entrenched to be judging even among
fine minds. When I read about you Radcliffe
I clutched the paper so tightly I thought I tore
your very sentiments out of print into my
aching lonesome chest.
I wear my hair long as a justifying act
I don’t use communal changing rooms
in case you think I’m looking at you, or worse, why
aren’t you looking? Why didn’t you desire me? IS
a woman who loves another woman supposed to
be the poster child? I don’t want my photo published
next to your intolerance and dissatisfaction in
your moldy marital beds just leave me well alone
I’m doing my thing, it’s not part of yours
don’t flatter yourself, just don’t flatter yourself
you’re not my type.
I know what you think, when I say I’m a feminist
you think; well those types usually are
I want to buy you flowers and bring them to your office
I want to propose a wedding no-one would attend
because people don’t think we’re the same as they are
we’re just girls who haven’t met the right guy
wounded, unnatural birds with confused identity
our parents lament us like Thalidomide babies born
without limbs, bespoken to no-one
if they could, they wouldn’t talk about us at all.
I couldn’t go to some countries, with you on my arms
they’d stone us for who we are
and I’d carry the stones in my mouth and walk into a lake
before I expressed my shame
my shame at being natural
and not quite
natural enough for
The pool reflects deep with shallows, an opaque pearl
she has always been beautiful, even now, even then,
she dives without concern, because, what else can happen?
When people die, that’s how you feel, invulnerable in the face
of dreads previously unimagined
and also, terribly, terribly aware of pain.
Some hide the rest of their lives, others drive fast cars at night
not wearing their glasses
she is one of those who stands somewhere in-between
the grief of injury lies heavy on her dark shoulders
still, she plunges into water, imagining other realities
one where she never knew horror and horror never knew her
where babies were born perfect and whole
husbands did not get crushed in half and
soured settlements buys them luxury
they’d trade it all in, to have him whole
less angry, more able to be, swimming underwater with her.
not lost, broken even after healing, crushed despite being repaired
holding the welt of injury in his throat like a choking bird.
She has moved on from who she was
ten years ago in Africa
under the sun, hiding from herself, hiding from kaleidoscopic future
it has come, blooming wild and spreading its green fingers
into her oval mouth
she has no time for passion anymore
she has no patience for imagination
she can only swim
cutting through the reluctant weight of water
like a blunt knife will eventually carve
the true price of things.
Before hard faced words and tightened bouquets of spite,
The child swirled in embryo, unscathed by adult cast of hate
Yet unknowing we inhabit cruelty, like a brand in darkness will
light no way but vengeance, reflecting shadows of lost conscience
against petroglyph walls
stories dissipated in forgetting what is true.
This child who once had temerity and self-worth clad about her, the vestige
of some right to exist, perhaps.
An instinct, as weeds will thrive in exhaust and skinny cats climb insurmountable
to glut on that thrashing impulse, called survival
words now scarred, like badly bandaged souls do not forget the echo
of a tender heart turned wicked, nor that merciless piercing
through skin thought impenetrable, to embrace hot metal
as if it did not catch our very soul on fire.
Once, we all wished for, love, pure and unfettered, blooming as night rose
carrying her scent against warm air, inhaling vetiver magic, aware then, of all things
our cache of hope, restless in the waves, we yield, undulate and count
moon peal across black water, spinning youth into gossamer
too fine to hold us securely.
Those burnt coals raked certain, beneath the old impulse to run
mindful of how we grow, the thirst for something real remains
against the roar of white waves, crashing tirelessly to shore
reducing our ankles frigid with the climb, a vaunted capture
of sea — receding against open hands to places beyond
our feeble reach.
As it grows light, the footsteps of those who walked ahead
finding debris of promises washed to shore, frozen by their spent fuse
and silvery starlight echoing her distant mockery of possessing any
those, who for some reason remain here, despite themselves
hollow in the want for familiar arms to gather them up whole
pressed to a beating heart, the murmur of security bound in
A reddening brings the dream, she swoops low and achingly,
casting silvered birds from their reverie
that we not succumb to our collective despair
finding the drawers and cupboards of truth ransacked and emptied
by unseen robber
and instead, wait by the edge, long in the rising sear of sun
blackening our backs with shadow
for the sound of her footfall, across the dunes, sunk in splendor.
Her journey long, she made it anyway, even in the worst heat
of midday, when insects burrow against the burn and her mouth
opened in an O for the drink of your love
a beacon on a jutting rock, watching seagulls mock the air
with white foamy lift
wanting only for you to need
in equaled measure.
Our society worships entirely the wrong animal, venerating them and reducing others to ash.
The news recently devoted a good portion of the sports coverage to how much money certain sports figures were going to be paid for kicking a ball across a field. And this in a time when our jobs are dissolving, our society is being wrecked, our economy may be irrecoverable and certain industries will cease to exist en mass. Put simply, there will not be jobs to come back to folks but apparently we still need to pay these guys billions for their service to humanity?
I cannot understand how ANY society and how any of us can tolerate/accept a sports figure being paid anywhere NEAR that sum for what they do when those who really do jobs worth paying, are dying in droves because they are not receiving enough personal protective gear to protect themselves.
When did we start paying someone to kick a ball millions and a nurse who saves our life, hundreds?
What’s wrong with us?
If I were an alien observing our planet, I would seriously wonder if we all were crazy in our assessment of VALUE. What we value. What we do not. If nothing else, Covid-19 has given us a chance to see this once and for all and try to do something about it.
We have marched for Black Lives Matter during this time because it was over-due and our raw emotions on the subject burst out of their polite shell and filled the streets with ire and a desire for equality but how many of us really want equality? Not all of us that is for sure, look around and you can see it in every facet of life, a desire to be above someone else somehow.
We still routinely under-react and permit by our inaction, serious hideous crimes like rape to go unpunished in this country and others.
It’s the year 2020 and we still think inequality for women is acceptable in some forms and fashion. Let us not forget what Maya Angelou said about wanting to vote for a white woman over a black man. She said – women were the original oppressed group, thus we should work backward until all oppressed parties are equal. I agree with her.
We still think hate crimes against Jews and telling Jews that Israel should not be their country is somehow acceptable, despite those Jews having descended from that country. Would we say the same to Black People about Africa. Of course not! So why do we say it to Israel? Because of the Palestine Question which Europe in particular has decided to side with, uncaring of the history of persecution toward Jews and their right to have some land of their own. Of course we shouldn’t persecute Palestinians either and of course, Israel has made mistakes but it’s now about what optics politicians choose and what side of the story is half-revealed via inaccurate news reporting. It’s essentially about which side looks right to support? Because Trump supports Israel, most left-wing supporters are against it. Yet it is not that simple and never should be. Lest we forget our history.
We still think homosexuality is unnatural and abhorant and that being queer isn’t natural. We don’t say it out loud because it’s not popular to say it, but we think it and we act it and gays know. They know.
We talk about slavery and how horrific it was, but half the time we just pay lip service to the deeper issues, because we don’t know our history so we don’t mention Native Americans and how they were exterminated en mass and continue to be disenfranchised. We’re so proud of ourselves for changing the Red Skins but we think that’s enough. Or how slavery has never really gone away, it’s just changed hands and outfits, but it’s still well and thriving in many forms.
So it’s never enough. Until everyone is equal and inequality and racism are a thing of the past. But will they ever be? With people who seem to thrive on discrimination and putting themselves ahead of others and putting others down? If people think wearing a mask is too much, is it any wonder they really don’t give a shit if you are sick or you are vulnerable? Don’t they just want you to die and bugger off?
Likewise with illness, with chronically sick people, it’s never enough to just have laws that allow them to not be discriminated against because discrimination comes in a myriad of differing forms. Subtle. Unreachable. Devastating. People of color have to put up with this EVERY SINGLE DAY as do women, as do gays, as do sick people. Just one roll of the eye says everything. Says; ‘we think you are pathetic‘ invalidates an entire moment.
Chronic illness is a little like amputation. Obviously anyone who has suffered an amputation will refute this and rightly so. But metaphorically it remains akin to the loss of a limb. You are left flailing, unsure of how to right yourself, and continue as once you were. A part of you is lost.
They talk of periods of adjustment. The stages of grieving: Anger for what you have lost. Shame imposed by a society who now judges you weak. Acceptance of a ‘new normal’ that includes intolerable things such as chronic pain etc. For many, those stages of grieving never really end, they cycle and you go through different dilutions depending upon how you progress.
But progress is perhaps not the right word. In our linear society where so much is expected. For someone to drop off and no longer thrive, in nature they would be left behind to perish. In our society they are carried along but reminded frequently, of their burden, of their ineptitude.
For many who suffer mental illness, physical illness, both, there is a lot of shame attached to their existing after this fact. Even as people do not come out and say it directly (and believe me, many do!) there is a thin veil that is easily penetrable. People know when they are treated differently, seen differently, worse, judged without jury.
Being ‘sick’ in any manifestation is seen as a ‘weakness’ by our society. This invariably goes back to the ‘dog-eat-dog’ notion of surviving. The weakest link perishes or is a burden to the whole. But these days, with our so-called faith and mercy in place, one might imagine a little more compassion? And if you did, you would be sorely disappointed.
Since getting sick in 2017 I have felt intermittently well enough to continue working and ‘accomplishing’. But as with any pendulum, when it swings deeply toward illness, I am right back at the horror point of when it all began, down on my knees, imploring the universe for healing. And for the most part I have done this alone, because as all those who have been sick for a time will attest, most people do not stay by your side. Even those you expect to.
You can’t plan any longer. A trip is a fear because what if you get sick? Then someone suggests; maybe it’s in your head, maybe you are making yourself sick? And no matter how many times you prove otherwise, they think maybe it’s a choice, just like being gay is a choice, right?
Wrong. You can’t rely upon yourself like you used to because you never know how it’s going to be, how you are going to be. And usually you could be relied upon 100 percent and now that’s gone and somehow you still have to plan a future, but how do you plan a future if you can’t rely upon yourself?
I try to take something from every experience I have, including negative ones. Without learning we don’t grow we just regurgitate and I would rather grow even if I’m throwing up and in pain as I do it. I have taken from this experience what is obvious, but I have also tried to take from others experiences, and have noticed disturbing patterns among those I know who have also been sick for a while or a very long while.
People don’t care.
Poverty goes hand in hand with illness.
Anxiety and fear are natural outcomes for a plethora of reasons.
Loneliness can kill.
What I have come to see is this. Sick people are TRUE WARRIORS.
They fight the unimaginable that most of us never have to endure. They have to get pacemakers in their 40s, they have to struggle through taking 2 hours to get dressed and STILL MANAGE TO SHOW UP and this strength – this strength is what I have learned the most from my experiences and listening to others. Strength comes in many forms. We dismiss most of those forms but they are real.
I watch people who have seizures and brain tumors, fight and fight and fight and I realize, we’ve got it backwards. We should be applauding these people not marginalizing them. But we do everything backwards, because as a whole we are poisoned by false ideas of what is valuable and what is not. We toss aside those we deem un-valuable when they are perhaps some of the most valuable people in the world.
So if you are disabled in any way, be it in your head, or your body, remember that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world. Let nobody ever let you forget that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world.
This is written for my sister Angie. You inspire me every single day. You are that light in the dark that refuses to give up and because of you, I refuse to give up too.
The Right To Die debate is one I have strong opinions on. Ever since Brittany Maynard decided to end her life to avoid inevitable agony and suffering and watching her discuss this in many interviews, I concluded that the Right To Die law should exist for everyone, everywhere.
There are pitfalls no doubt. I can imagine nightmare scenarios where people are ‘terminated’ by bored relatives who do not wish to take care of them. So obviously safe-guards must be paramount. That said, I am open to the RTD law be expanded to include dementia patients and those with serious Chronic Illness, including long-term-depression.
That’s murder! You may say. And part of the invariable slippery-slope! But I would disagree. Unless you have been the victim of Chronic Illness and/or long-term-incurable-depression you cannot speak for others who suffer each and every day.
A few years ago I killed a kitten who was suffering. It was in agony, unsavable and its liter mates had died in excruciating agony. It was a Sunday and no pet-store nearby was open to euthanize the kitten. To spare her suffering I put her to sleep myself. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, I didn’t actually think I had it in me (to take a life) being vegetarian among other things. But the compassion for her suffering over-took the fear of harm.
The harm was her suffering any longer and that is how I see RTD laws.
Obviously we have to put into place protections against this being misused. I recognize that many deeply devout folks believe God takes us when we are ready, but I have never subscribed to that. How is suffering in agony EVER God ordained? If a God exists I do NOT believe he/she chooses people to suffer in agony for years on end. Thus for me, that argument is moot.
Without the issue of ‘taking God’s job away’ we are left with the morality of RTD laws. If I see someone suffering as horrific as it is, to consider their dying at my or their own hands, I would want to help them not suffer. If that was their true wish.
In the case of dementia patients, if they sign a waiver now they can ask not to be force-fed and kept alive, but it still means those wishes can be ignored, effectively they can exist for years as a vegetable, and do nothing about avoiding that outcome. This isn’t a pragmatic thing. Obviously our society is going to be destroyed by dementia cases as more and more develop it, but irrespective, this isn’t about convenience of death, it’s about the mercy of death.
Few of us (I know some exceptions) would wish to shit on themselves, not be able to eat, remember, function etc, and lose all dignity and awareness. Most of us would prefer to die. Giving us a way to write this out and have a representative help us achieve this, seems to me, a mercy not a convenience.
The whole subject is heart-achiningly awful and we avoid talking about it for the most part. But we need to think of this. Just recently with Covid 19 ventilation, the question of dying and life has been very pertinent and young people who never wrote living-wills have been in limbo. It is never too early to consider these things because we really don’t know.
When I put my cat of 18 years to sleep it haunted me. Briefly I went back on my belief that RTD was the best choice because I thought; If I can’t handle the images and flashbacks of the catheter being put in my cats arm, and watching him being put to sleep, if I felt that was ‘wrong’ in some way, how could I handle it if it was my dad? Or someone I loved?
Truly I think I am nearly not strong enough to cope with that day. But despite that I would still do it. TO END THE SUFFERING. It would haunt me and yes it would feel worse to me than if they died naturally just as it would have been ‘easier’ if my cat had died naturally instead of being given drugs that killed him. Watching that was horrific and it did feel ‘unnatural’ because it was but sometimes it’s the only choice, and it’s the best choice and even if it leaves us feeling horrific, we should consider it.
I don’t regret putting my cat to sleep. But I regret that it had to happen and I still get flash-backs of the last moments. If I had to do that with a human-being I know it would be the hardest thing I ever had to do. But if I loved that human being and it was THEIR WISH I would hope I had the courage and love within me to do it or be part of it or at very least, support their wish.
Having had chronic illness I know we can be ‘not in our right minds’ and so the issue of ‘how sick is too sick?’ must be considered. Depressed people for example, may be able to be cured, so are they really the right candidates for euthanasia? I don’t know the answer, I only know that if someone I knew had suffered for 20 years and wanted to die, I would find it hard to deny them that mercy. If all else had failed.
This is not what we want to think about but right now, out there, are many people who are in this VERY situation right now and have no recourse to end their suffering. I believe safe laws CAN be made that protect against abuses and I believe at this juncture in our societies evolution we need to consider those things, not to keep our sick numbers in check, but to be merciful to suffering.
The courage of Brittany Maynard has stayed with me ever since I heard about her and followed her story. Some may say that is morbid. I say it is honest. I still think of her, she affected me deeply and opened up this debate. I hope others can get over their prejudices of what they believe others should do and give people a CHOICE. Just like my best friend who doesn’t believe she would have an abortion but believes others should have the right to choose if they want to have one. Such is this debate about an individuals right to choose their outcome. Who can honestly deny that in the face of suffering?
I often think if I live to be old, I will be alone and I fear that very much. I think if it were possible I would choose to end my life simply based on not having enough money to keep going or enough reason and family left to make it worthwhile. Is that wrong? Maybe. But one day that too may exist as an ‘option’ and a mercy, to help those who would otherwise resort to suicide which can often fail and leave awful aftermaths. This is a very sad subject but it’s one many of us will one day face one way or another. I don’t want to dwell on it, but equally, I don’t want to pretend it could never happen.
I think now more than ever, we have learned, anything can happen and we need to be prepared. Taking responsibility for our lives AND our deaths is a responsible decision, and helps those who may be left in our lives, follow our true wishes. I hope I never have to find out, but I believe we should all be prepared for both the best case scenario and the worst. Contrary to popular opinion, taking ones life is probably the hardest thing a person can do, not the easiest. But as this article above states, there are worst things than dying and I would say suffering in agony meets that criteria and forces us then, to consider this subject honestly and with compassion.
They don’t want to hear about you
you’re not their kind
color, height, smell and gait
sets you apart, making you unpalatable
cast out from something you never belonged to
your back is curved before you hit the ground
cowing in utero to the inevitability of rejection
this is you, yellow girl, jaundiced before birth
you enter the world with a cigarette in one gnarled hand
the other high in protest
Gloria Steinem. could learn a thing or two about
while she grew up in affluence and chose her metal
you were given nothing but inherited disease and
a penchant for purposing
all this in the time when women were
supposed to cross their legs in polite company
and open them for their husbands every whim
it disgusted you, the hypocrisy of hate
people at your Baptist church crowing gospel
calling you sinner when they caused more harm
than any so-called pervert
sent to camp to straighten out, you
fell for your coach and she for you
making out behind the outdoor toilets
confirmation of bias in the unhooking
of her clumsy sixties bra
feeling the first areola and you were lost
to any other kind of conversion
I wish I’d known you then, when eyes bright
despite the infernal din, you struck out against
the norm, trying daily not to let that
milk of magnesia asking that you straighten out
it’s hard isn’t it? When even those pretending to
‘understand’ leave you out of invitations and the like
because you’re different, you’re not looking for a penis
not putting up posters of James Dean but Farrah Fawcett was okay, nor
waxing your legs for Friday nights
you didn’t like what every other girl in the changing rooms
coveted and so, they turned their tanned backs to you
and left you alone
to think of why you had more in common with
Billie Jean King and Radcliffe Hall
than cheerleaders with pom poms of scorn
and football players who would rape you to show
what you were missing
was it really such a sin to want to love
another woman? What was it about how you felt
scared them into loathing? And why when they knew
did it seem such a sport to exclude you?
Until you wrote pain on the insides of your wrists
a dowry of teenage repudiation
ending up in a mental hospital where the nurses
were all secret dykes and you fingered each other
at midnight, hiding your disappointment behind
this wasn’t love either, anymore than lying beneath
a grunting boy, at 14, hoping to fuck out the
feelings people said were evil, though
his use of you, seemed far more abhorrent
than the dreams you had of girls
not just any girl either, not just a writhing
creche of women parts, but one startling woman
you hoped to meet, among the girls who would be boys
and the girls who would be bi on dark and cheap drink weekends
gay bars were undoubtedly
some of the saddest places in the entire world
you neither excelled at pool or darts, you couldn’t
join in anymore there with cunnilingus against bathroom stalls
graffiti the tired penitent of fallen souls
with strangers who reminded you of boys in make up
you didn’t want to be with a girl who hated being a woman
dressing more like a man than your father
you wanted to love another woman with all
her madness and her fluxes, the rise of her lace covered breasts
how her thighs were not muscled but soft and her lips
pillows for your fevered whispers
no such woman seemed to exist back then
when gay venues were often raided by bored
knee-jerk religious police seeking to molest a girl in
baggy trousers and flattened chest on Friday night
shame after all, is a universal weapon and you
had tasted its liquored lash many times by then
watching your friends beaten with sticks by
heady boys in pick-ups waiting outside bars, high on local beer
and blood lust
you were too small to protect anyone, but witnessed
with grief so sharp it left marks in your eyes to think
of how the strongest girls rushed to defend the weakest
struck down by weapons wielded by the ‘righteous’ oh! Texas!
You were such a loathing state and things haven’t really
changed so very much
they still close their doors
they still tell their daughters
“don’t play with her, she’s queer that one”
and as grown up as you are, the pain is twice folded
for you wished by now things would be different
with laws and blood spilled surely paving a way forward
you forgot, for every step, there is one backwards
still just as you resolved to go without
you found me and still I found you
among the carnage, and our own wrecked self-destruction
still we laid in darkness sharing our stories
I tracing the scars on your arms and thighs
like Sanskrit of former muzzled lives
when I looked in your tired eyes I saw
how long you had been watching
this cruel world destroy her rainbow
sometimes the greatest love comes
from broken people
too late in their August lives
to kick up chipped heals
they find solace in the depths
of their much labored, chambered heart
for as much as they punish us for existing
we keep returning, generation after generation
unbidden, unwanted, labeled abominations
or just silent dismay
carrying our quelled pain in beseechment
the whole world unsure of how to treat us
often resorting to ignoring
for who knows what to do
with something different? I still
don’t hold your ink stained hand in public very often
fearing I suppose our heads being bashed in
or someone cutting silence with ugly laughter
I think I could handle my own
abasing but never yours
you’ve worn the brand long enough my love
I now aim to remove it, defend you
as you saw the bloodshed longer than most
young men mowed down by AIDS sucking
their last breath through second-hand
straws, emaciated by the squander of
their worth, by a society intent on
blaming someone., anyone, in their aimless pointing
Reagan in the office doing nothing
beneath his hollow cross
even Obama had to ‘evolve’ his
opinion of gay-marriage like it was a
right that should be earned rather than
but after all we are not
considered very natural
are we? Funny really …
as being with you
is the only natural
state of being I have ever
Many years ago when her ancestors wore
white skinned women like herself were considered
in shallow groups of weak-chinned groups
the ultimate prize.
She recalls the stories she’s read
racism tied with a daggered bow
servants without souls or so
they liked to judge and damn
whilst still they raped and plundered behind
their wives fine china sets
the ‘help’ though slavery is more accurate a term
for no choice was made nor proffered.
Years ago and still present
people swerve away from black men
in hooded tops
when really they ought to be looking at
white men in high rise buildings making
as the enemy of us all.
She looks in the tall mirror, her hand on a DNA report
the wonders of 21st century finding out too much
seeing her ancestors gallop
through the thick red wine of French blood
how much do they have on their hands?
What side on the Revolution did they stand?
She sees how fair skin is more prone
to stretch marks and ageing
she carries hereditary thrombosis throbbing in
her thin veins and the genes of her light colored
eyes have cataracts to look forward to.
At least she doesn’t have Celiac Disease
roiling in her belly, rebelling against
the abundant wheat field
instead she realizes
she is alive in the wrong colored body, in a too late era
to matter much anymore
where now women of ebony and brown and russet
conquer the rhetoric in their claim
finally the prize after decades of denial and she
ordinary, flab, drab, pale, wane, yesterday’s news
they say it really isn’t about that
when they pass her over for someone from
Uganda or Iran but she knows better
Kardashian or Iman Bowie
she knows the enticement of dark eyed girls
their thick hair and beautiful skin
she is just a late magnolia weeping
waxy and left too long on the branch
maybe she is paying for what ancestral harm
back then and still now, depending on what
part of town.
Men tell her; I like your slim ankles
you look fetching in that blue dress
but their eyes betray their digression
it is not her they will ever want
she has nothing of the difference they crave
imbued with rainbow continent
spiced with unknowns and becomings
the raven always the raven, ever the ebon bird
who with her glorious chiseled features
captures their unfurling lust.
She is relieved in a way
nobody comes calling for her
existing behind glass in her pressed skirts
although still young, she feels she has
lived too long and it is better
in the vapor of silence
watching her reflection get lost
in the setting of the sun
weeping trees whispering karma
to turquoise and orange