Moving On

art-of-moving-onNot too many days ago,
my mind developed a mind of her own.
It happened almost the very second that my eyes read
that sappy online blog.

You can make a choice about moving on.

I, as usual, rejected the pop psychology blather.
Sure, I said in my best know-it-all sarcastic voice.
I’ve tried for six years, count ‘em, six years,
With help, without help,
praying, ranting, practicing the old fake it ‘til you make it.
All to no avail.
But, somewhere inside my head, I repeated the corny line
with the perfunctory obedience of a stubborn child.

Instantly, my mind,
which had spent a lifetime lurking unseen, unheard,
somewhere inside my left parietal lobe,
came to life and grabbed on to the new revolutionary idea.
In a flurry of celebration, my mind shouted,
We’re moving on? Awesome!
I’m so sick of thinking those same useless thoughts,
so bored with your futile wishing and hoping.
How many times are you going to make me plod through the same daydream,
the one with your version of a happy ending,
the one that gets rid of the wife and his bad habits,
the one that rights all the wrongs,
and vindicates six years of avoiding reality?

At the same time my mind seemed to have compassion for
the five year old me,
the child inside who still wonders why Daddy left,
why no one asked her to the prom,
why the years without love have far outdistanced
any moments of bliss, and
who still wants her fairy tale ending.

But now that my mind has finally spoken up
And has convinced me that torturing her
isn’t going to solve my problems,
I can’t seem to go back.
The fact that the very next day I had not one but two offers for
coffee and conversation, and a third close on their heels,
added a karmic underscore.

As with all things
life rummages about and finds
chinks in the armor of even our
best intentions and insights.
The cancelling of one offer,
a disappointing turn of events with the other,
and tears surged over the spillway of my cheeks,
creating deep gouges of despondency.
Thoughts of revenge clamored for my attention,
pounding on the door of my mind
with a battering ram of malevolence.
A full out assault demanding
justice for wrongs done.

My mind, without comment, declined to cooperate.
Once liberated,
out of patience with my lifetime of self-pity,
of conjuring up happiness in my head
instead of creating it in my real life,
my mind refused to send the emails that would
illuminate then destroy their lives.
Then, she sat with me on the edge of the bed
until the gush of tears turned to a drowsy drop or two,
coaxed me under the covers and
lullabied me to sleep.

Upon waking this morning,
she got me dressed and fed,
sat me down to write this poem,
put on my make up
and shuffled me out the door
for lunch with prospect number three.
No promises, she reminded me,
but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Oh, please!
But out the door I went.
Moving on.
Awesome!

Flight of the Soul ~ A video poem for recovery

I have flown on Southwest to San Diego many times. During one flight, it came to me that perhaps I needed to be on a very different kind of journey and Flight of the Soul was the result. Now I have turned it into a video poem for those in recovery of any kind.

For more poems for recovery visit this page.

 

Dreaming in the new year…a video poem for recovery

Last Sunday I took an inspirational course from Kai Carlson-Wee, a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at the Stanford University Creating Writing Program, on Moving Images. It inspired me to take my poems for recovery and begin turning each of them into video poems. And as we learned in his workshop, the music, images, and words can infuse each other with new meaning, new directions, and a more exciting creative experience. My first effort,appropriately enough, is Dreaming Into the New Year.

Enjoy the video poem version.

Good and Evil on my dresser top

14590405_10106873760480710_7791093641878332179_nFaces not so different
Both gnarled with age
My fairy godmother and my necromancer
Posed in uncomfortable juxtaposition on my dresser top

Meticulously carved expressions
Wide-eyed rosy-cheeked Good14657444_10106873760800070_322077144382564574_n
Dark-lipped deceptively malevolent Evil

14494784_10106873760685300_8403029407292149811_n

Both in exquisite garb
Good in pink paisley leggings
Evil with spangled bloomers tucked stylishly into ebony boots
Nevermore perched in a cage upon her arm14650664_10106873760590490_6177776904577473120_n
Good a flutter of diaphanous wings
Evil awash in a black veil with silvery spider clasp

Both reminding me that I have grown old with them
That this very day marks my seventy-third year of dancing between the two

At times inhabiting a world of pink froth—helping others, bringing children into the world, trying to be a loving mother and grandmother, a faithful friend

At other times donning a darker habit, thinking myself quite justified in self-centered pettiness, harboring hateful, revengeful thoughts over what I consider life’s injustices

And so, they sit in judgment upon my dresser, looking down on me
Reminding me that each moment of each day
I have a choice between good and evil

Practice patience

Patience-allows-life-time-to-fall-in-place.8x10unexpected pain
a moment of inattention
the fall that only “old” people have
forcing me to face my age
my vulnerability

thrust instantly into
helplessness
incapacity
realizing I can’t just
pick up a fork
wash that other arm
reach for the remote
open the fridge
searing pain stops me short

cracked eggforcing my brain to remember
I will heal
others won’t
I can use the other arm
others can’t
I can work from home
others have lost their jobs to illness
I can count my successes
others will cave to failure
I can ask for help
others feel too defeated
I have family who have stepped up graciously
others are truly alone

I can see the benefits—
mindfulness in abundance
a window into aging
full evidence of being loved
acceptance of life as it is

attitudes and habits to carry
into wellness
when it comes
and it will come

just for today
practice patience

Valentine’s revisited 2016

Lonely-heart-miss-you-3D-wide-300x250now is the only time to
create a state of mind
a joyful moment
that will carry me to the next hour
travel with me though my morning
thread its way into my afternoon
trickle down to my tomorrow
spill over into next month
next year
to color all the days of my life

I always fantasized that that joyful moment
the one that becomes a contented hour
then turns into an afternoon of delight
could only come if my hand were held
my face caressed
my yearnings satisfied
by a man—a mythic prince.

but my prince is not here
not present in this valentine moment of mine
he is off smiling that shy little-boy smile
the one with the dimples and the heavy-lidded longing
for someone else
or so I imagine.

I could as easily imagine
that he is asleep at this moment
or lost in the shadow of a frown
perhaps his jaw is clenched in anger
his lower lip quivering with grief

yes…he could be sharing a blissful moment
with the woman he now loves
but they could also be sitting apart
hearts aching
in a dark place edged with uncertainty

will our paths ever cross again
will we need or desire each other if that moment comes

silly questions that beg to be left unanswered
I have only now
only this valentine moment of mine

what shall I do with my moment on this red-letter day
I will breathe in my solitary pain
I will breathe in the pain of all those who find themselves alone this day
I will breathe in the poison of lost dreams—mine, theirs
I will breathe out a measure of loving kindness,
that soft breath out will soothe me
and flow out in endless ripples
to comfort all the solitary souls

heartscould a moment in a lover’s embrace
with its uncertainty
its impermanence
ever produce such a melody
such a true and clear harmony
as the symphony of a thousand lonely hearts
connected by a single breath out

An ode to life as it is

cheeriosticking items off my list
picking popcorn from aging teeth
polishing up health policies
affecting thousands
popping cheerios into hungry mouths
cleaning up spilt milk
plopping exhausted on my couch

 

cameliasfinding joy in life as it is
winter camellias in rosy bloom
carried to school in pudgy hands
a warm sun drying sidewalks slippery from drenching rain
friends doing more than expected
kind words here
good thoughts when needed
even when not

crocusthankful for hints of prayers answered
before they are even lifted up
a new relationship springing up
like a purple crocus breaking through
freezing snow
bringing forth the hope of
spring as my life slides into
its own winter

wisdomallowing each moment to elapse
with no regret and
few expectations
asking only for
willingness
a sense of wonder and
wisdom

‘Twas the day after Christmas

‘Twas the day after Christmas, when all thru the house
Some creature was stirring, could it be a mouse?
Empty stockings were flung on the floor with a shrug
And Legos and dollies covered the rug
The children were wrestling on top their beds,
With way too much sugar still filling their heads,

And me with my covers pulled up to my chin,
Had just settled down for a chance to sleep in —
When outside my door there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Out of my bed, I flew like a flash,
Tore open the blinds and threw up the sash.
The sun was just rising this cold winter day,
Giving sparkle below to San Francisco bay
Then, what to my bleary eyes should appear,
A five-year-old being, who was no longer sick
And a three-year-old darling, so lively and quick,
I knew for a fact it must be grandkids

More rapid than eagles their footsteps they came,
They whistled, and shouted, and called us by name:
“Now! Mimi, now! Nonna, now! Daddy and Mama,
“Come! Mimi, Come! Nonna, Come! Daddy and Mama;
“It’s time to get up! It’s time for our toast!
Are we going to school? Or maybe the coast?”

Oh, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

IMG_1309 IMG_1310

Conversations with people who are not there

imaginary friend on benchmy life has been spent having
endless conversations with people
who are not there

redoing real conversations that
went wrong
rehearsing future conversations that
won’t happen
at least not with those particular words
futilely expecting others to say words
I have put on their lips

making up both sides
as I do when writing fiction
where outcomes are almost always
in favor of the protagonist
that fascinating character who is
some better version of me

Imaginary friendfearful of real conversations
the shy five-year-old inside
still trembling in fear
in a corner of my PhD mind

trying to make life
turn out my way
believing I can control others by
my thoughts
just as nuts as those meth addicts I saw
who thought the FBI was talking to them on
their television
and I’m the helper
the sane one?

what if I refuse to have these
conversations with people
who are not there

I feel as though a big sink hole will
open at my feet
making life even more
treacherous
tentative
troubled

some of these conversations are filled with
dread or desperation
some are flights of fantasy
those even worse because
my “reel” life
will never measure up to
my “real” life

Illlustration of two children talking

stop bingeing on junk thoughts
build courage to have
real conversations with
real people
keep the “reel” conversations
in the can

just for today
no conversations with people
who are not there

Riding the my-will train

riding the my-will train to a
destination of my own creation
located nowhere on reality’s map
rocketing down the wrong track
hoping to pull a magical switch and
end up where I want to be

train stopwhat I need to do is pull the emergency cord
bring this insanity to a lurching stop
would I ride a real train to the
wrong destination
again and again
year after year
bewildered when I arrive
finding no welcoming arms
no expected outcomes

yank on that red cord
tell the conductor I want off
run to the station master
ask for direction from the one in charge
who knows all the best routes
including the one created just for me
take a few short trips at
his suggestion
regard it as an adventure not a
chore

smokey trainget off the train to self-destruction
head safely in a new direction
even if I have to wait in the station
be patient and let that
smoky false desire chug on by

read the wisdom of ancient passengers
scratched upon the walls
plato’s advice that
time will change and even
reverse many of your present opinions
refrain, therefore, awhile from
setting yourself up as a judge of the
highest matters

or elizabeth barrett browning
whom you greatly admire
a woman of letters and love who scribbled
God’s gifts put a man’s best dreams to shame