Poem: Food For Free


School Lunch Lines

with hair net lunch ladies

and cement paste potatoes

and spit filled ketchup

But today the book said:

159

(160 if you count 5-year-old Luciana)

Lining up outside

long before the prison-bolt door is let loose

drawn like a vortex

walking and sweating with bags and backpacks

or stopping in front from the city bus

and the cars stuffed full as they hope they will be too

“Sign the book”: is the weary demand

it is the Payment

The Price

for all you will get

Fill your bags and your belly

“I have no teeth, so no corn on the cob”

“No dessert because I am diabetic”

“I am homeless and live in the streets”

Gracias

Thank you

I am now the lunch lady

I give food for free

 

 

Poem: The Street Lamp


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The street lamp

seeps

through the jail slit blinds

while I lay wide-eyed

remembering

trying to sleep

It lights my thoughts

the moment when you

got on your knees and begged me to stay

when I played the now dead song:

“I Will Always Love You”

(which wasn’t true)

Laying on the lamp-lit bed

even with lavender soaked eye-pads

I cannot escape

the path of memories

illumination

 

 

 

 

 

On Dying


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I was in the presence today of a dying person. No, not like you and me–I mean actively dying. We are all dying of course, but this is part of my hospice volunteering, my first day meeting with my new patient.

It’s not at all like being a paramedic because we aren’t given much: only a name. No diagnosis, no real history, no nothing. Of course, I’m not your average volunteer, so I can deduce some things. But, I’m not there to fix really. Only to sit. And maybe to provide some small comfort, maybe some smiles and to help a caregiver get some respite.

In this case I am reminded how much we can tell by someone’s eyes. They may not be able to speak much anymore, but their eyes speak volumes. And maybe they aren’t able-bodied any longer, but it is easy to remember that this same person was someone else, someone before they were dying.

They were like you and me: laughing loudly, arguing, dancing, quilting, walking around, loving, working and most of all–living.

It makes me wonder why people spend time while they are alive wasting it on unhappy things. On things that upset them. On things that they can never reclaim. On people who will never care enough. Why I did.

I need to spend more time living while I’m dying. Because we never know when it will be our turn that the dying will become active. Or maybe the living will simply stop.

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The Edge


In my experience as a blogger I have been upset and bothered enough to stop only twice. Today was one of those days. Today I felt like I had a Facebook experience honestly, not my usual warm and friendly ‘community’ feeling of the blogging community.

I made the mistake of commenting on a blog recently and was rewarded with a barrage of answers from the blogger, and someone related to her, that was…well, more than I bargained for shall we say. It left me stunned. The thing I commented on actually, if found anywhere else, most likely could have been considered edging very close to a hate statement (in my opinion anyway)–and that is why I commented on it. I said something far more tame than I could have in fact.

In most instances what I saw on the blog, and might have been seen elsewhere, might have been taken down on other sites as offensive. It certainly was to me. But WordPress seems pretty lax about things. They don’t monitor much. And, worse than that, they don’t allow us the ability to block harassing people. So we must endure their comments, no matter how mean they get–self-righteous as these people think they are.

WordPress feels this is an open forum so buck up. Take it. And if you can’t, get out of the game. Make your site private (which can be very tricky).

Well, I guess I understand. But I don’t have to play.

I’ve been thinking for some time about a break anyway. The ideas have been coming hard. One of my favorite bloggers told me maybe to stop writing every day. This seems like a good idea. I just had my five-year anniversary on the site. Five years seems like a good time to try something different. So I may just write when the mood strikes me instead of forcing it all the time, every day.

Sometimes the Universe directs you a certain way. That blogger that won’t go away has directed me. If she won’t go away, then I will–at least now and again. So I say to her: thank you for helping to push me towards this decision that has been hard to make. You tipped me right over the edge…

Little Thoughts


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When thoughts start to clutter my mind now, especially ones that take me away from the present, this is my new mantra:

I am here now; I am alive; I am healthy; I am grateful.

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“Extended bliss is boredom of the existential kind.” from the book NutShell  By Ian McEwan.

Small Town


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Sometimes I wonder how pathetic I am.

Today there was a post on my Instagram account (if anyone wants it, please just let me know) from one of my friends who is hiking the Appalachian Trail. Very cool. The AT goes very near where I grew up in Connecticut. A lovely little town in the NW region…a very little town.

It got me reminiscing. I honestly have way too much time on my hands these days, because when I get in one of these moods, I can really get on the track of things. First I went on Google. That came up with some pretty typical stuff: the town page and all. I wasn’t too surprised to find that one of my Ex’s was listed as a prominent figure on the list of ‘important’ figures in the town. The town sexton actually. I had to look that one up: a sexton. In this case, they may be referring to taking care of the town?

I had contacted him a number of years ago as part of a healing process. We were married very many years ago (and divorced). He was very glad to hear from me (thank goodness), which isn’t totally surprising as he was really a very nice man. He still lives in this beautiful town in the family home. Cool.

After the Google search, I decided to dive further and went to YouTube. This was where I hit gold. There was a video of the town, apparently one of many (all the others to be found in the town library), that actually was a bit of a historical and present day visit to it. The best part was that it had actual footage of my Ex!! There he was making maple syrup, just like his Dad did many, many years ago.

It kind of hit me (this is where it gets pathetic I suppose), how life goes. I remember going out on freezing nights and checking the temperature of the sap to make sure it didn’t burn. And I think to now: what an amazing gift to still be participating. It’s just the kind of life I envision–we had envisioned long ago. What happened?

I look back on so much of my life and wonder about it. How a part of me must have known that some of the people I picked were right, but then I couldn’t see far enough to stick with it. What was it in me that didn’t have the ability to stay?

And now I’m simply so jumbled about it all to even want to step into it all again. It all felt so much simpler when I was young. Looking at someone and thinking you could be with them. But when I was actually there–I always seemed to see something else.

Now I don’t know what I see these days.

It’s so easy to get lost in these fields of that little town; in the hope and the green and sounds of the stream. Is it all just something from long ago? Or will I someday walk again in a place and feel something is right?

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Is Anybody Out There?


bridge

While we may be introverts, most of us eventually need human contact. Sometimes we don’t even realize we miss it until we have it again.

I’ve had many months now to be by myself and it has been very restorative. I needed it really to heal and figure out some deep emotional things. It’s easy to get caught in a trap of never wanting to be around too many people.

But I have noticed symptoms not unlike depression also during these months. And when I compare myself on a day when I come back from helping at the soup kitchen, I noticed a marked change in how I felt.

I’m still tired, but it’s from getting up early and working, not from sadness. And there’s an energized feeling from just being around other humans, even when the interactions aren’t always wonderful.

It just reminded me what social creatures we ultimately are and being isolated day after day can play poorly on our psyche. We simply need a little juice from our fellow beings now and again.

That’s not to say I prefer constant bombardment, but I can plainly see that utter solitude can do a number too, unless maybe you were somewhere tremendously beautiful.

I’m glad I will be picking up more volunteer hours so I can keep getting my fix of human contact. Hopefully it will keep me a part of this crazy species a bit longer.

Just Right


“In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you are supposed to be. ” — Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

How long do we wait for the right place and the right conditions? It may seem to some of us that we take a long time to stretch out; that we spend much of our lives contorted and bursting apart just to come together again. I have.

The right conditions seem to involve some sort of special magic; a particular brew that mixes together to concoct the spell where the microcosm in which we move feels easy and the skin that we wear no longer needs tailoring.

Some folks that we meet seem to have been born with this magic as they whirl around with the twinkling Universe hovering nearby. But most of us aren’t so lucky. Some of us seek it, but I see now this maybe isn’t how it works. It may be more like how a seed turns into a tree. It’s just dumb luck. It just waits encased in its shell until all the conditions are perfect and then bursts forth into the world.

But most don’t get this far.

Maybe I’ve just tried too hard to make everything happen. Can I be more like that seed? Just quietly sitting on the forest floor gathering the magic conditions to crack me open. Will I be one of the lucky ones?

And once I am that wonderful entity, crawling with life and fluttering with each breath of wind, my roots firmly reaching in all directions: then I will know I am who I am supposed to be.

Poem: Fed


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Oh cratered heart

holy like Mother Teresa

and Swiss cheese

 

Eaten by disappointment

from the moment of conception

birthed into the recycling bin

to be repurposed into  something more useful

 

It becomes a hardened pit

squeezed tight with shuttered angst

surrounded by a sea of tears

whose salt will season the pain

 

And when the tides subside

and pull away from the gritty sands

it leaves behind a moist wet world

fed by a juicy beating heart

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Poem: I Am Flowers


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I am Snap Dragon

with fire fingers

which have lost their click

 

I am Rose

that has learned to kneel

to hide my height

 

I am Queen Anne’s Lace

now a pauper

begging for freedom

 

I am Bird Of Paradise

wings clipped

roaming the sands

 

I am Tulip

mouth quiet

because no-one will listen

 

I am Bleeding Heart

ever battling

slowly dying

 

I am Iris

forever watching

but never seen

 

I am Freesia

saving your soul

while lost in the night

 

I am Marigold

filled with riches

only a few can see

 

And I Crocus

much as I speak

I’m heard as a toad

 

We are Pink

We are Hellebore

We are Mugwort

And Phlox

 

Touch-Me-Not

for I can never be

reached

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