Velut arbor aevo

My son, have I taught you all a mother can? Is there more to teach?

Climb high son, fear not brave one. You can do this, just extend those limbs, and reach.

You will be graduating very soon, and I don’t know why but it is really getting to me. I am a lucky mom, you’re a terrific young man. Some would say you are untested, you’ve been protected.

Over the years I have seen you grow and change into someone I think can be relied upon, someone genuine and kind. I know you will be a good and kind man to someone, someday. I know you will be private, my young strong Leo, keeping himself mainly to himself.

The family tree we have built is one of many wild little roots, but you have grown in front of my eyes, I’m sorry its taken til now to realize.

 

I have given the wildest of wild roots from which to grow, but they’re yours, so you wont be planted in one place- the world is yours, go now and fill it with your dreams.

It might be scary, but it wont be as hard tomorrow as it seems.

Go now and claim the life you want for yourself. Take this step with great pride, you earned it.

No other mother can ever be more proud of her son than this. IMG_4767 (2)

 

 

 

Washed Away

Something happened to my heart

I can’t follow where it strays

Something took hold of me,

My wild beating heart has left me

It Betrays.

Give me back my common sense,

Im so sick and tired of the nonsense.

It twists my form, and leaves me feeling a kind of dirty that cant be cleaned.

I will rise- filled with a pathetic, if even an honorable compromise.

I strip away all that I am. I will shed this skin I am in.

Give me a new pair of boots, I will dig myself out, and take with me, these earthly roots.

A storm swells inside, this is not a new wave to ride. When the eye finally drops, everything that we have been ..simply- stops.

 

washed away

 

 

 

8 Minutes in Heaven

yesTo make my grandmother’s special chicken and noodles you must first be fearless.

You gotta clean your hands and enter her kitchen with your sins washed away for she will see them. All of them, saying nothing as she stirs the fine flour into a dusty powder.

You wont need to speak much as her few words carry weight- and will ring in your ears

You must never stop listening as she hums and moves from chipped bowl to bony fingers yielding in her way to form the dusty powder into a perfect ball. And watch with reserved fascination at the expert way she rolls out the dough, telling you not to worry, that first time you make your own. Because honey, she’ll say as she nods her head knowingly at counter she stands at,  the dough is forgiving… just keep kneading, and when it gets too big, or little sticky pieces get away from you- you can gather them back into the fold with your gentle, loving fingers.

She will clap her hands and you will watch the sunlight catch her smile.

She’s singing under her breath the songs she sang to my mother as she tucks experts fingers in her apron pockets. From her pockets she will pull a secret, something you wont see, but it is there in her lilting fingers, she’ll hold it almost out for you to touch, she will say, nothing you do for them will ever say better, I love you so much.

She will ask you to test the broth bubbling like a brook in an old silver pot atop the stove where she stood days before she had my mother, resting her hands atop her swollen belly, telling my mother as plain as day, without you my dear, there is no me.

And you will know in that moment as I did when I first had my moment, that you will never forget the feeling, the warmth, the sounds, the scent of her lemon skin, and that pure, perfect love smells like chicken soup and sunshine pouring in through the kitchen window.

Watch her as heavy hips sway with the clock on the stove as she watched patiently, as the minutes tick, waiting as if by instinct for 8 minutes to pass- to drop the roughly cut, fragile noodles, cut wide so you know they’re special, they hold her secrets. The ones she whispers into the pot. The ones you can taste, because know this now, you will never get her recipe quite right, no matter how many times you recreate it in your own kitchen- its not just the love that pours itself out over all the food she’s ever placed in front of you. Its her hope for you. Her worries for you.

She will tell you to serve this with something else, that this dish on its own isn’t quite enough. It was always enough. Please when she says this, tell her as I must remember to tell myself. Its enough, Nanna. You are enough, Nanna.

New Beginning

abbys

Sometimes just taking a shower can be life affirming.

Sometimes water can wash away the feeling.

Like being born again baptized.

There is a new kind of daring flashing in those fierce and all too knowing eyes.

Something under the surface is showing, her strength belies.

Letting It All Hang Out

She rides to treatment today with her knees drawn to her chest. She’s reading the book I started, and because she isnt the one driving she has now gotten ahead of me. The words drip off each page and fall like petals into her lap.

Treatment today will be filled with questions I can hear ringing in my ears. Why was she at the party? Didn’t we discuss her not being at the party? Did you observe her? I did. I think so? She’s hard to watch I always want to sweep her hair from her face. I always want to change her clothes. I hate myself for this. I wish I could just relax around her. She’s a time bomb to me. She’ll go nuclear again, and we’ll find her on the floor.

I feel so judged. I know it’s just me. Im doing my literal and actual best. I know this. I cant do more than this. I have twisted myself up, and feel like every instinct I have is wrong. So wrong I am afraid to leave any permanent marks anywhere. Nothing that cant be undone somewhere else. I am not good enough these days for writing words in ink. They must all be free to be erased and begun again.

I watch with curiosity as the other mothers make their way in and out and seem to hold a confidence I just dont. They look like they all finished college. I bet they didn’t have their sick daughter when they were 21. Its just plain too young. You know I hear speak of their kids being “cured” and I think to myself- “Fools!” This is a not a common cold. This is a cancer that lies dormant and go into remission only to strike again, without permission. riding in cars

It All Comes Out In The Wash

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It’s been three days since the laundry was done-

They never say “thanks”

But, in the still world between the covers of words I never hear, it’s passion is so exactly placed.

Do days go by without excitement? I clasp my book against me.

And on the little landing we’re dispersed, and totally undisposed for employment,

And I want something else to get me through this life.

Couldn’t we pretend to be pedlers?

It’s not your trying, or anything. You’re an inconsistent player.

All the world’s a stage and you’re my player, my portrayer.

We lean to the other side to keep balance, and in consequence are the most exposed.

So I lean on my knees, taking several breaths,

Taking several breaths

If only to straighten

And keep on Going,

Inheritance is Accidental

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Daughter- I cannot take it back.

I did not see it coming.

I just watched the pain ravage you from within,

Daughter- I hold you while you cry.

Held your hand with breaking heart, and red eye both times in the hospital because for you it was harder to breathe than it was to die.

Seeing the girl I had pinned my hope to, my very heart to, hating her skin.

Knowing that every single day was a sort of hell you were living in. 

Because I thought if I loved you harder, held you tighter, and saw you make friends, and write poems, and learn to make a perfect pie-

it meant you  were better,

the nightmares, and self loathing were over.

And like a chapter in a book we women come to know as growing up,

we turned a corner.

And your life was precious not just to me, but to you.

All credited to the outcry of love from all the people around you.

A lie you tried to swallow too.

Because it was easier than telling me.

Daughter, hear these words-

It isn’t your fault.

You did nothing wrong.

Daughter! I begged you to stand up to demons within,

take control of them.

I was so stupid.

I didn’t know the things you did.

By the time you were big enough to talk, you’re spirit had been stolen.

See, the thing is,

I was an artist, unconventional.

Being the kind of mom who taught you see the stars as beacons of hope to pin dreams to.

Busy being the mom who taught you to love,

to forgive, to fly free-

because, for me, daughter that was the only way to live.

We stop looking up,

we can stand firm on the ground.

My hands once held open, are a closed fist- ready to stop the monster who stole consent, and innocence from your lips.

Daughter I will always stand beside you,

I do my best to guide you.

I may not always know what I’m doing, ( a secret fear in the hearts of all mother of all daughters throughout the history of children )

I don’t have every answer to these kinds of hurts,

there is no bandaid, or magic kiss that can take the pain away.

But every time you feel sick, sad or scared Daughter reach out,

let those delicate fingers stretch out beyond your safe zone-

and put it all, every bit of it into me.

Daughter!

Let go of what is gone, and cast that demon out-

Scream, cry, stomp and shout.  

Like a phoenix rising from the ash,

Daughter you can start anew.

There is nothing now that demon can take away from you.

If ever your feet fail you- fall into my arms.

I wont suffocate you.

I wont diminish the light inside you, somehow even in your darkest hour it burns brighter than the sun.

Daughter- the world is yours. And I am yours, too.

Inherit the wind,

Daughter- let it carry you from this place to new ones.

Discover yourself.

Challenge accepted wisdoms,

and redefine the wheel as a thing that gives you momentum.</p  

Spirit Guide

freedom

Emboldened by belief in forgiveness and peace

I have assembled all the ages I have ever been into this one woman before you.

I’m a wanderer. I have always lost track of time, and thought. I would give my last dime to a beggar on the street with a smile, wishing him well… no care for things I haven’t got.

No time to stop and think when the waters are restless inside of me. When even a flash of light can send me running through our streets at night.

Some call me crazy. Some call me whore.

Their words can rise from the dirt where I stand, pulling at me, trying to plant my feet in the ground, pull my poetry down without a sound.

I am indignant. I am an artist. My syllables pulled from my core do not speak the language of limits… they take my spirit with them… they endure.

I will outlive most of my critics. Its not just an accusation, its a simple observation.

I live inside of love. Unfurled on the floor you will find my words ringing in your ears-

Like a mirror reflects what is shown, I am a light that shines to the bone.

I am refracted by cruelty, but never reduced.

My poetry cuts in, my words a knife, it carves, and you’re seduced.

I am the butterfly whose wings wrap like words around the feet of my foe- intent not to follow- but to lead where you go.

An unbearable lightness of being will break the heart of the still breathing child- but I am their champion. My words cry out for their freedom.

A garden rich in its soil, will feed them. Their bellies full with the dreams they have eaten. I will but guide them with my soft colored wings..

 

Muscle Memory

There is a tree still standing in the Redwoods that remembers

There’s a ring sitting in a trunk under old love letters, and a woolen sweater, it remembers

There’s a photograph of your smile shadows cast by the setting sun in an album now covered in paper,

it remembers

And it’s been a while, but I recall that big sweet smile.

And I remember the Mean Green Machine of family celebrating your arrival.

I remember the first time you held my man, little man.

I remember your five tiny fingers on the left, and on the right

I remember that I loved you so much, you were worth every bit of the fight.

I remember your funny little toes, and your perfect little nose.

Today, while you are away this is where my mind goes.

I remember the time you said my name. The first I love you. Kissing away all your pain.

I remember when you were almost two and scared to cross the seams in the sidewalk…

I remember your proud brother teaching you to talk.

You make a perfect square. Together we are family.

Funny little one, how you fascinate me.