I Don’t Bounce Like I Used To


Who will let go first,
Leaf or branch, now that green
Has given way, yielding to yellow?
Orange and red dance in the treetops—
Life aflame, well lived and at its peak.
Will they lose their grasp on life
In the browning? Edges curled,
Yet holding still with spindly
Grasp, afraid to fall.

Who will let go first
Me or you, now that youth
Has given way, yielding to prudence?
Wisdom and sorrow waltz in the kitchen—
Life burning out, hard lived, now in its prime.
Will we lose our grasp on love
In the aging? Hair grayed,
Yet holding still with weathered
Hands, afraid to fall.

I pray the wind to take me first.
God’s breath exhaling mercy,
Carrying me far from this tree
Of life, from pain and infirmity.
Let the branch release me before
I forget orange and red, yellow
And green, branch and leaf,
And the fear of falling.


I Only Look Tough


We walked together holding hands,
Strong against the wind.
I leaned on you and laughed.
Your touch felt good. We were just kids.
I told myself that I was strong—
You didn’t need to stay.
But without you by my side,
I lost my way.

I fall fast when you aren’t there
To say you love me for all time.
I fall hard when you don’t whisper
That I’m all you’ll ever want.
I fall down each time I stumble
When I walk this world alone.
I fall down; you pick me up
And lead me home.

I’ve never been a weakling.
I don’t ever fear the dark.
I do my job and pay my rent,
But don’t protect my heart.
So when life starts feeling lonely,
And there’s no one else around,
I fall hard, I fall fast, I fall down.
When I’m lost I fall again
In love I’m found.

The Journey Never Ends


Long hall, dark tunnel
Leading nowhere
Darkness soft
Caressing massaging
Tangible nothingness
No muffled steps
No sound
Absence of all
But peace

Turn around, look again
Through the window
See the faces
Reflected back to you
There find self
In them find meaning
Each a mirror
Only by looking out
Will you see within
What huddles or strides
Cringes or rejoices
In the darkness

No Individuality
No separateness
No being not pure being
One essence
To see the self
Look to the world
To feel others
Rest within

Still No Good

I’ve been writing all morning with nothing to show for it. I can feel myself trying to force the words to fit and somehow create meaning where there is none. What is wrong with me?

Nothing. Days like this (weeks like this) are as much a part of writing as those when everything flows together effortlessly. I can add and delete endings, change tenses, omit prepositions and adjectives and adverbs until my fingers bleed. Nothing I do to those words today will make them want to stay together. There’s no soul to what I’m writing. No heart. No life.

I’m not sure when I started thinking I had to write poetry every day. I think as more people started reading and liking posts (total shock to me, honestly), I coded that not just as encouragement (thank you, by the way), but as a challenge. (Hello, I’m Aries. Nice to meet you. Let the competition begin!) Granted, with me, the competition is almost always with myself. I avoid competing with others as much as possible. I still want to win, but I don’t need you to lose. I’m loser enough for all of us.

Before I poked my nose out into the world with this blog, I could stop writing when I felt this way. I stayed away from writing poetry for years. Years. Like thirteen of them. So, this new pressure to produce something vaguely readable every day has mostly been good for me. Sometimes, though, I just can’t make anything work. I need to find a way to be okay with that without going silent for decades.

Meanwhile, I will keep plugging away in one form or another. I’m not giving up just yet.

All the Answers, None of the Answers

I’m struggling to write this morning. Nothing is working the way I want it to. I’m feeling that frustration with my brain that makes me worry about the future, about Alzheimer’s, and the losses I already see in myself. I wonder at times like this whether I do have early cognitive impairment, or whether these glitches that seem so intense to me are merely a reflection of poor sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Oh, and stress. Lots of stress.

If that’s the case, there’s hope. I can make changes, choose healthier options, take care of myself. But will I? That’s the question that I’m struggling with most these days. Will I do any of the good things that I know would improve my life? Will I stop thinking about them and take action? Making a list of changes, it turns out, is not the same as making those changes.

I had to make a big health-related decision last week, one that involved doctors and procedures and tests. I was on the brink of getting swept up into the healthcare machine, when I made myself stop for a day and really think about what was happening. I read a lot. I thought a lot. Then I calmly cancelled the next appointment. This triggered a call from my doctor, who needed to cover her own ass and clearly document that I was in my right mind and aware of all the possible implications of  my actions. I was. I am.

Underlying my decision was the resolution of an interesting dilemma: do I want to prevent my own death? Here I was finally facing something that might turn into something-that-might-eventually-down-the-road-possibly-kill-me. What was I going to do about it? How much of a patient was I willing to be? How far would I take treatment? All the questions are hypothetical. I haven’t been diagnosed with anything. Chances are, there’s nothing to diagnose. But they made me think.

I decided that I would be willing to make lifestyle changes. I could give my body the best chance of healing itself by feeding it and caring for it. I would not accept the conventional treatments offered by our medical system. Not interested. So, why go through more invasive testing? I can make those changes myself. They’re beneficial no matter what’s going on. If I do have a condition that kills me, then so be it.

I’ve spent most of my life in and out of major depressive episodes. I’m one of those people who arrived on this planet and felt immediately out of place, out of time, unwanted and unlovable. There have been times I’ve longed for death, hoping to fall asleep and just pass during the night. I’ve cried at waking to another day. Still, I function. I get out of bed and go about my day. I do what needs to be done. I function.

I don’t fear death (not my own, anyway), and I’m not a fighter. Any disease that wants to take me before Alzheimer’s has a chance to set in is welcome to me. Meanwhile, I know that I can make some significant changes in my life that will benefit my overall health (including my brain). The only question left is: will I?

When You Least Expect It


Fortune, grinning, springs
From darkened doorways,
Leaping with abundant mischief
To take another victim unawares.
He stalks the blissful
Drawn by their innocence,
He startles the hopeless
Moved by their plight.
When he is least expected,
He makes his entrance
Without apology.
But do not call,
Nor whistle, nor command,
For Fortune then will
Turn disdainful face
And seek the shadows,
Biding there till the
Unsuspecting happen by,
And with sudden abandon,
Take their breath away.

Eventually, You Will Land


ground gives way
the edges crumble
clouds won’t hold
me through the sky
mountains shift
the oceans rumble
I spread my thoughts
and hope to fly

my shaking heart
seeks calm assurance
falling fast, I’ve
none to give
the world I knew
lies broken open
sorrow swells where
joy once lived

inside out
the worst now spoken
loudly cry the
barren trees
I’m falling still
no one will help
they weep, we pray
on broken knees

sky gives way
to mountains thrusting
life from death
new earth is born
I land atop this
jagged crest
where lying bruised
I wait the morn