still

i am restless,
out of place, so
i dream about moving to a town
so far away and small that
i am unknown — where the
only talk at the local diner is
the weather and coffee refills
but i stay here instead, practiced
pleasantries obscuring quiet
hope in a swirl of spoiled
creamer and
thin smiles.

in praise of g.w. carver

I walk the entire perimeter of the cafeteria. 

I almost eat a salad (!).

But eventually I reach for a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. 

Why? Because by lunchtime, I have succeeded in working myself into a sappy sack over sad old memories and things I can’t fix and stuff I’ve lost. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that PB&J can make so many sad things better. 

note to world #3423

here i am, internet surfing for garb for my upcoming ‘life-force yoga’ retreat. and i guess i’m learning that it’s a ‘thing’ that all yoga tops must be shaped like loose spider webs that hang off your breasts.  and i suppose no regular shapely and firm yoga-doing person cares much that i hate spider webs and that the last thing that hung off my boobs was a nursing baby who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for her contribution to the study of the acceleration of mass toward gravity.   and i wish i had paused – for even just one moment – before saying yes to something i had honestly thought was a “star wars” trilogy movie marathon weekend for ladies.

in the car

lately 

when i get in the car, 

i have this vision 

of my death 
maybe it’s the news 

on the radio – but

the sun is shining

and then there’s that
hurtling rush of 

darkness and sound,

then frozen silence – 

and the sun is shining.

sunday evening harangue

somehow, every single couch in the house was claimed by some other being /not her

she had even spent an afternoon rearranging the living room /feng shui be damned

so that the couch no longer gave the dog a good view out the front window /triumph

and now that couch contained a smallish girl with long bony legs /back to square one

and in the TV room the sofa had already become an oversized dog bed /who’s in charge

dreaming in vignette

I sat completely still.

My mother brushed my long hair slowly and carefully, and I closed my eyes to better feel the love in her hands.  She said she was going to trim the ends of my hair for me, cut away the dead and old, leaving crisp new edges against which I could cup my palms.

While she brushed, mother told me she had heard on the radio of a new world. That the once powerful landowners had lost their rights when the water came, and now people like us were starting new lives above the water, high up in abandoned buildings.  As she spoke, I imagined our life in this new place.

Mother finished talking just as she clipped the last strand of my hair, and I opened my eyes.  She put her hands on my shoulders and looked me in the face.  Tears troubled her gentle brown eyes.  “This new place sounds promising, doesn’t it, child?  I will not be there for this part of your life but I know that it will be quite an adventure for you. Now, go.”

I wasn’t sure what she was saying.  But then I saw all of my hair, a thick dark mess on the ground – and under my mother, a growing pool of red – and I knew.

I slipped quietly into the dark water near me and sank downward until I had no more mother.

in memoriam peggy

she was looking but not looking

just beyond the naked boys
being beaten by their mother
an angry monster
with a smoker’s cackle

and in this way the
boys looked only like
twisted shadows of pain
cast against the wall

she was listening but not listening

to the sounds of abuse
a dark tune in her head
the steady beat of leather
against broken flesh

and in this way the
piercing wails seemed
more like high pitched echoes
ringing from afar

she was there but not there

bearing witness to nothing
anyone cared about –
was it a secret if no one
wanted to know?

and in this way it
never really happened
not even when she tried
to mention it to her parents

she learned but did not comprehend

years later, the allegory of
the caves, which for her classmates
was just a theory, but for her
was her childhood, her world

quavering shadows on a dim wall
distorted echoes of reality
her place among the darkly chained
what she knew about life for so long

and even now, she knows but does not really understand