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.

The nature of GOODBYE – a poem

good-byeGOODBYE starts as a word
shot from the lip
penetrating reluctant ears
ripping through soft tissues
creating internal wounds
more felt than seen
leaving a bloody splatter of rejection
upon the soul

GOODBYE registers in the brain
as an alien thought
a foreign invasion
a disruptor of dreams

GOODBYE leaves a residue of grief which
pollutes the present
sullies the past and
relegates the future to a
rubbish heap of
broken promises

GOODBYE repels all attempts to
breach its impregnable walls
with reason or
understanding or
new beginnings

GOODBYE remains dormant
a chronic infection
that lurks in every cell
waiting to break out into
tears and wailing

GOODBYE has no antidote
nor immunization
to protect humanity
from its sting
but fade it can
and fade it will
as seconds tick away to
minutes
hours
days
weeks
years
until a new hello
seems possible

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

An ode to my alter ego by Doc Flamingo

flamingo_closeup_peeping_md_clr__stperfectly balanced
knobby-kneed leg tucked under
a fountain of pink fluff
bold black beak
ending in scimitar curve

2014-01-20 10.18.52instantly recognizable in any form
elegant
comic
tropical
plastic
neon

shall I compare me to thee
deserve I your name?
“doc” is well earned
“flamingo” perhaps
misappropriated

flying namibiado you scoff at my timidity
compared to your bravado
soaring en masse over wetlands
in the Carmarque or Namibia
or regally planted on lawns
dignity never lost
never needed

do I draw the same admiring looks
spark the same smiles
or do I swim listless in a sea of
beige humanity

Maddux Flamingos do I catch the collector’s eye
as you do
alive with form and color
or do the connoisseurs pass on by
leaving me to gather dust
on a nameless shelf
cluttered with equally
non-distinguished folk

would I keep your sense of humor
if caricatured in pastel hues?
or would I bristle
with high and haughty hubris

even faded and forgotten
in the aftermath of some raucous party
you remain an icon of delight
absent the rage I would feel
to be so ill-used

flamingo_sunglasses_drink_md_clr__stbut I stubbornly keep your name
and hope you will forgive
your pink passion gives off
a secondary glow
making me into what
I aspire to be
I can always hope for reincarnation
as the real thing
in my next life

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

Mimi’s morning

IMG_0896pitch black
door squeaks open
four little feet at the
bottom of sturdy legs
wrapped in Frozen flannel
pad over to my bedside
turn off my c-pap
can’t breathe
can’t sleep
peal covers off my
reluctant body

clock says 6:36
“get up, Mimi”
down two flights
bananas in hand
turn on Sophia the First

up two flights
gather outfits
pink stripe
polka dot princess
down two flights
distribute same
stern warning to get dressed or
TV off
clamber into shower
try not to slip on
treacherous tile

everyone dressed
up one flight
breakfast
cheerios for one
toast for the other
orange juice
sipped through snout of
dog…bear…whatever

assemble lunches
daddy fixed the night before
line up
backpacks
water
jackets
shoes
water down hair
slick back into
ponytails

clock ticking
mommy says 7:45
ready or not
everything on
down four flights of
red brick steps
van seat still blocked by
boxes of whatever
beyond my brain to
figure it out
mommy helps
off they go
chattering in French

up four flights of
same dangerous brick
gather garbage
theirs…mine
down four flights
stuff in cans
up four flights
count as exercise
dishes in dishwasher
down one flight to my
Provençal pink lime
hideaway
strangely quiet
writing time
8:01

gratitudes
children here and afar
productive
loving
grandchildren
smart
healthy

prayers for women
who have not my
blessings
whose exhaustion comes
not from hectic mornings
but from mourning
lives without
little ones to
pry open their eyelids at
6:36