Tough Day

IF YOU HEAR ME

Spirit, if you hear me, answer.
All my cries are meant for you.
Torn my soul, alone I wander,
Bleeding out the life I knew.

Nothing in this world feels friendly,
Harsh the light that fills my sky.
Hard and cold, stone faces turn,
Grim strangers watch me limping by.

Sagely noting wounds and sorrow,
Well they know the pain I bear.
Still, they offer no assistance.
Broken hearts no longer care.

Why have you remained in shadows?
Why refuse to hear my cries?
I’m desperate for the smallest hope
That tales of you are not just lies.

Spirit, if you hear me, answer.
Death believes I’m all alone.
Show us both you walk beside me,
Gently guiding me back home.

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Why Do I Write?

Why do I write? I understand why others do when I read their words. They create such beauty! They tell such tales! I want more and more. There is purpose in what they do, those writers who write for the rest of us.

Why do I write?

Because I always have. Words on paper teach me what I think, tell me what I feel. The putting of the words, the choosing, and the playing are all part of the lesson. The discovery. I hold the paper like a mirror and there see who I am.

Why do I write here? Ah. That’s a different question: the blog dilemma. I started it as an exercise in discipline. Could I write daily? Could I write creatively (whatever that meant)? Could I write something more than my journal and share it? Could I write about writing all those poems I’d kept hidden for years? Could I write as a way to connect to a part of myself that no one else knew? Could I write?

Why do I keep writing? Because if I stop, I can’t call myself a writer, even though that’s a secret identity I’ve shared with only a handful of people. I’m like one of those characters on a tv show who has a handmade superhero costume and goes out at night to fight crime, but always ends up needing the real hero to save him. I’m actually very timid and have no confidence in my own words. I don’t have the courage of the real writers, the ones who publish, the ones who enter contests, the ones who say, “Look at what I do!” I only come out at night, when there’s little chance that I’ll run into anyone who knows me.

“Are you a writer?” Me? No. I just write. It’s not the same.

Why do I write when I’m so afraid? Because I don’t know what else to do. I need something to do. This is all I know. I feel trapped, and alone, and scared, looking out at a mysterious world. I don’t know how to be in this world. Words are armor. Books are friends. Poems are snacks. I can survive this way.

Why do I write? Because I enjoy it. I do. I love words and rhythms and rhymes. I wish I were more clever. I wish I were more everything. I remember a me who lived long ago, before years of wandering shaped this self, a me who loved the spotlight. That me would sing songs in front of strangers, laugh loudly, welcoming the attention. She bounced through her life, lonely on the inside, but still confident enough on the outside that she didn’t fear the world. She was clever and quick. She could have been a writer. A real one. That me.

Why do I write when I’m not her anymore? Because I’m afraid I’ll forget everything about myself. I’m afraid I’m already forgetting. Maybe it’s too late for me to tear free from the fear—it’s thick and smothering, and I’m not strong enough to fight through it. I struggle to learn my own words. She would have remembered them with ease. I’m not her anymore. Song lyrics are gone. Poems I knew by heart, I can’t recite. Not even the ones I’ve written myself.

I write because I still can. However well. However badly. I wish it were something more than it is. I wish I were more than I am. I wish I knew why I’m not.

So I write.

Another Existential Crisis…Must Be Tuesday

ANGELS, DIMES, AND FEATHERS

no angels appear when I call
no dimes, no feathers
no spirit visitors in the night
I listen for whispers
sniff the air for the faintest
hint of your perfume
waiting for a sign you
still exist and angels are real

I give away my books
then buy them back again
books about spirit and signs
life after life
memories of other selves
and the wisdom of mystics
all borrowed, not believed
I want my own stories

no angels appear when I call
no pennies, no butterflies
no message of hope in my dreams
I search for patterns
link the smallest details
of every coincidence
wanting to believe we
still exist and angels are real

Who Let the Sun Out?

MY DEAR CLOUDS

save your sunny sky
for your bright and shiny friends
bring me back the rain
and my dear clouds

we’ve got an understanding

roll out the blue
for my funeral
I’ll be laughing then and glad
to have a clear path

I won’t need your tears

for now, I prefer
the thunder and the gloom
the cold spring rain
and my dear clouds

we get each other

Friday…Feels Like Tuesday

Do you ever feel like you’re trying so hard, but the harder you try, the worse your writing gets? That’s where I’ve been lately. I’ve started and scrapped several posts this morning. Nothing is working, and the poetry sponge is wrung dry.

I’ve been telling myself alternately to give up or to keep trying. So far, I’ve hated just about every word I’ve written today. So much anger for something so trivial. This is supposed to be fun. A creative outlet. Something for myself in a world where most of what I do is for others. Not today. Today, it’s magnifying the feeling of failure that pervades the rest of my life. Maybe I’m too hard on myself.

I live with a deep sense that I wasn’t supposed to be this person, that I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the wrong life. I adopted a persona, played a part, but lost touch with an essential part of myself along the way. Now my memory of that self has faded, and I can’t get her back. I’m stuck here, as this me, with nothing to show for it. I’m alone on stage in an empty theater, but the final curtain never drops.

Who am I really? I wish I knew. My own words get stuck in my head on when I’m feeling this way. I wrote this years ago, and I’ve posted it before. I change the punctuation sometimes, and alter words here and there, then change them back depending on my mood. But here it is again, in case you want to know me. My theme song:

STORYTELLER

Who owns the words that tell you my story?
Who keeps the rhythms, who sells the rhymes?
Who knows the where-ofs and why-fors and so-whats?
Who’s heard my weeping voice time after time?

What do I do with an untold life story?
Wrap it up softly then throw it away.
Are there boxes for keeping the old fading mem’ries
Of times past and times spent and grey yesterdays?

Who will listen? I call out and ask the wind gently.
Who can hear me? I whisper though no one replies.
I am trapped here, a stranger in green shining meadows,
Alone in the world under threatening skies.

All around me life whirls in a dance unfamiliar,
Only I stand immobile not knowing the song.
As my feet tap I long so to join hands together,
And dance till the music is finally gone.

One More Time

PLASTER AND LATH

My walls went up a hundred years ago,
Plaster and lath, generations thick,
Family built and carefully maintained.

You saw them when we first met and
Agreed these walls could last a lifetime,
And you were okay with that, because

You knew walls. You ran your hands
Over the surface and felt for weaknesses,
Showed me the spots that had some give,

While promising not to tear them down.
You knew walls. Said they had character,
So I invited you in and let you stay.

But now you’re tired of plaster and lath,
Tired of this being my house, not ours.
You’ve brought wallboard, so smooth

And hard. It doesn’t give an inch.
All these years, you left the old,
Never promising you wouldn’t build new.

This Old House…Revisited

RENOVATION

I waited till he wasn’t looking,
Then tore the paper from the walls.
He thought they’d crumble if exposed,
So we waited, and did nothing,
And lived with the dull paper
Made brighter by a few stickers
The children left behind.

I couldn’t wait any longer,
Even though I knew I couldn’t
Fix everything alone.
That’s why he wanted to wait;
I knew that too. He didn’t have
Time for repairs when things were
Fine, if dull. When left alone.

I did it anyway, for myself.
Because not doing was worse
Than fighting about who fixes what,
Or arguing about whether to paint
Or repaper, not knowing if we’d
Even have walls. Somebody had
To tear away the old.

It peeled off quickly, ready
To let go. Relieved to let go,
With only a few stubborn spots,
Stuck bits needing more attention
Than I wanted to give, so I left
Them for another day. Left it all
So he could see the walls had held,

Ugly and bare, with a few cracks,
Yes, but only a bit of separation
After all this time. Nothing
That can’t be fixed.