Let’s Try This Again

INTO THE FORGETTING

If I live into the forgetting
will you remind me who I was
when we first met?

Will you recognize my anger
as fear, wild because I
no longer know your face?

Will you tell me I can go now,
back to my childhood home
and join my parents who
wait for me there?

Will you hold my hand
as we look both ways and
help me cross that street?

This is the original version of HELP ME CROSS THE STREET. At the time, I thought I needed to rework it, but today I like this better. Tomorrow, I might scrap them both for something else.

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I Wanted to Write Something Upbeat

MESMERIZED

I slowly sipped your bitterness
Still fooled by your disguise
The truth that others claimed to see
I never recognized

The buried lies

If only I had passed that cup
Not stared into your eyes
Your poison has no antidote
It kills by compromise

Love can’t survive

Clearly, I failed. I’ve had this fragment in my writing folder for a week or so, and every time I tried to write something else, it kept intruding. I finally gave in and got it to a point where I thought I could call it finished. (For now. Nothing is ever finished, especially here.) The other piece I was working on was another meditation on dirt. So…yeah. Not remotely cheerful or upbeat. I wanted something else for today! I really did. I sat, I typed, I deleted. Nothing flowed in, not one cheery thought.

I almost walked away without posting, but that’s become too easy. I like easy. I prefer easy. I watch tv instead of reading, snack on potato chips instead of making a salad. I let days go by without posting, because writing every day takes effort. And effort takes energy, and energy is scarce when I’m depressed. And I’m depressed. That’s the truth that I have to face every time I sit down to write. I know there are things I can do to ease depression’s grip: choose healthier foods, move my body more, feel what I’m feeling. Not wanting to look at it doesn’t make it go away.

It took me a while to realize that’s what this poem is about. For me. It’s not about a relationship with someone else. It’s me and my depression. My depressed self. Or maybe Depression itself. Are they separate things? I’ll have to think more about it to tease that all apart.

Rest

A SONG OF LIFE

Dig me deep into the underground
the cool and dark below the loam
where rock and worm weave magic spells
through dusty trails we cannot follow

Dig me deep into the heart of earth
the pulsing mud abubble with
lost bits of life long buried and
forgotten in the sand and clay

Dig me there into the soil deep
rich with memories and farmers’ tears
where god-sweat stains the ancient rocks
destined for mountains never born

Dig me deeper into silty silence
whose melody drunk by greedy roots
is flung from branch to moody sky
a song of life for the ever dying

Inch by Inch

I’VE STAYED TOO LONG

I need to step out of the room;
I’ve stayed too long
At this party. Your party?
I don’t know who invited me.
All the faces too strange,
The voices too loud,
And I don’t like the music.
You push me to the dance floor
Where I freeze.
This isn’t my scene,
Or yours either, but
You want to stay,
And I, I am
Desperate to leave.
You laugh at the noise
And the lights that blind me.
I need to step out of the room,
Into the wind, far past the moon,
Out into the living light
Of the stars.
I’ve stayed too long.

No Excuses

I have no excuses this time. I simply stopped writing. No poems, no daily practice, no journal entries, nothing. I’ve been acting as though writing is not a part of me at all. Every so often, I felt a twinge, a subtle urge to capture the words in my mind, but it never grew strong enough to take control. Whatever fragments of poetry or prose that were in my head evaporated.

Most days, I didn’t think about writing at all. Does that mean I’m done? Has this experiment come to end at last? I honestly don’t know. It’s strange living such an isolated life that when you stop something that has been so vital no one notices. I don’t have anyone in my life who encourages me to do this work. No one says, “Hey, I miss your posts, your poems, your thoughts.”

I shouldn’t need anyone but myself to say those things. I’ve always written for myself, because it’s part of who I am, whether or not I share. But this time, I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss me. I wish I had someone asking, “What’s up? Where have been?”

Maybe I need a vacation. A change of scenery, a new routine. Maybe I need more sleep, less whiskey. Or fewer squirrels digging up all the bulbs in my yard and eating the few blueberries that have survived this drought. (Still fuming. Can’t let it go.)

Maybe I need to cut out all the junk food I’ve been eating and see if my overall mood improves. Or start exercising to get the blood pumping to my shrinking brain.

Maybe I need to let myself feel the feelings I’d rather numb with food and television. Or read one of the books that are lying around taunting me.

Maybe I need simply to accept that I didn’t write for a week, and that’s okay.

One Voice, Singing in the Darkness*

MY SONG

I sing for no one
a song few understand,
words in a secret tongue
known by my heart and taught
only to those few who have
passed through patient enough
to ask for a translation,
happy enough to hum along,
until they learn my words,
until a new song catches
their ear, and they are gone.
Still I keep singing,
on and on, the only song
I’ve ever known,
a love song to no one.

(*Thank you, Barry Manilow, for one of my favorite songs of all time.)

Remind Me to Look Both Ways

HELP ME CROSS THE STREET

Will you hold my hand and
Help me cross the street?
Cars careen, aiming for me,
I’m sure. I can’t do it alone.
You have a stranger’s face,
But familiar voice, calling
Me honey, though we’ve never met—
Have we met? I’d remember.
Will you help me find my
Way across, back to my parents?
See them waiting there?
I want to go with them;
They’ll take me home.
Don’t cry. It’s only traffic.