Thursday, November 11, 2004

Out Of Reach

He dances circles around me,
decorates my little world,
lays gifts at my feet,
and loops around again.

I try to catch him in my arms
when he comes close,
but I trip over the flowers on the floor
and he speeds away, back to his task…

of embellishing the life around me,
giving me every precious little thing,
padding my life with care
so nothing can snag or scratch at me.

I live in a room, plush and perfect,
where the splinters of my own need
prick my lonely heart to bits
and the only gift I want, dances out of reach.

(This comments on a common relationship issue, since men are trained to give us everything except for love.)


The ticking stopped.
The rush is over;
Too late.
Nothing will come of me,
No new life to justify and fulfill my own,
No reason to return home.
I will never buy a crib.
My husband has ducked my love.
All my plans have fallen to dust,
Just like this useless womb.
All I have to teach is dead;
All I have to give, deemed unworthy.

What is a poet?
What am I?
A rambler… a stringer of words.
Too tired to form long sentences
Too direct, too honest,
I dare myself onto paper
It’s the only birth I can accomplish;
Words as brief as my mark on this world
And just as forgettable.

I saw the future…
I saw her crib,
And the characters I painted on the wall
Chosen for a theme
to please the love of my life
And frame our beautiful child for him
To show him the promise
Of what he might share with her.
I pictured her little fingers
Wrapped around rosewood and strings
With his hands around hers
But she’s been taken from me
Before I could hold her even once.
I saw the future
But then the future never came.

Just once he held me in comfort.
For a moment he promised to listen.
He told me he loved me.
But, he says that day was a mistake,
A moment of weakness.

Second Hand Jacket

Soft little ridges
Of camel-colored fuzz
Look bookish, masculine
Elbow patches and all
But it’s thicker than most,
A deep corduroy
Warmer than wool
Softer than fur
And made for me.

$1.25 at goodwill,
back when I was young,
with inside pockets
to carry what I needed with me.
Wearing my home,
a bulky stained real-estate,
the only place mine.
Inside those satin-stripe lining walls
no one could take a thing from me.

Little more to claim, back then,
than a tattered used coat.
Little more to claim me
than my since-deferred dreams.

If I dawned that jacket, like a super-hero’s cape,
Could I defeat the thought police…
evade the clutches of the combine’s henchmen
and slip into myself again?

Nothing to Fear, but...

Have no fear,
my distant love.
Have no fear of love.

Fulfill no dark
prophecies, my dear.
The threat is in the fear.

Test as you must;
what will fail is your trust,
though you’ll still say I blew it.

Keeping love at arm’s length
will spend its strength
so you can say “I knew it”.

(a poem on self-fulfilling prophecies, as I still suspect that the reason he pushed me away was fear )

Relationship Dance

You turn away from me
I feel the threads rip between us
Tugging too deeply

I rely on myself, not so much on you
You turn back and see me
Looking my own way

We shove, tug and turn
Our words cut, tears burn
We side-step around our fears

Our arms reach out
They push away
We curl and tense, our bodies sway

Moving around each other
Like a tribal rain dance
Summoning down pain on us both

Brides By Design

If my love were “for sale or rent”
It was his, for only wanting spent
But beneath that add must have read
“Will build to suit” above my head.


He looked my way and smiled, warm and sincere
Bubbling over with love, awe, devotion
For the girl he projected across my face
Like I was a white roll-up screen

She is always working, never forgets,
She is outgoing and bubbly
And could only fall short of absolute perfection
If she willed to, out of selfishness or spite

I’m introverted, pasted in place to the wall
Some times my springs won’t coil
Sometimes my edges fray, sometimes I fall apart.
Sometimes I get dusty and everything I reflect is dim

She had his heart completely
She had everything I wanted
I had all the intellect of a roll of canvas
To have believed that smile was meant for me.


Your long, elegant fingers traced my cheek;
gentle hands laced with the scent of cigarettes.
I kissed your knuckles, cold from the bite of winter.
I buried my face against your neck,
my arms around you under your jacket.
The thick leather sheltered me
from the bitter December winds.
The scent of your cologne warmed me,
soothed me from the lungs out.
I was so young back then.
You were larger than life.
I was entranced with you,
nervously hoping to win your affection.
Your jacket changed through the years.
Your fingers rarely smell of smoke.
We no longer have to steal moments
in the cold winter wind to be alone.
But some things do not change;
your eyes still strike to the soul of me,
and I would trade anything for your love.


In the Morning I see him
curled into clouds of cotton
safely enveloped in sleep.
His lengthy strong back
creates graceful curves
that whorl into shoulders
and curve around his pillow
in an innocent embrace.
He holds onto sleep,
his face serene and weightless
like a child not yet trampled
by the rigors of daily life.
I want to curl up into
this spell that frees him in sleep.
I want to be a part of the smile
that glows on his handsome face,
still smooshed against the bed.
I wrap myself against him,
kiss the artful angles of his shoulder
and thank God he is mine.

Back to School

This archive is for all of 2004 - an odd year.
With the strength behind me of having a new life I can only describe as my first and only experience with happiness and security, I decided to go back to school. Of course, as soon as I tried to return to school, my ovary practically exploded resulting in internal bleeding, my thryoid turned dangerously toxic and (as if two surgeries and other stresses weren't enough) that happiness (the secure trust I had in the love of my husband, the love of my life) turned to dust.

-Good thing I had my dreams of writing and my new-found friends to keep me going. I was a mess, but I pulled myself together (after a lot of venting through poetry), or maybe my friends stitched me together. I stayed alive for Tori's sake. I started to hope in enjoying life again because of my newfound friends. The idea of sharing all my future writing successes and dreams with these guys, mostly writers and artists too, kept me going. I'd never had friends like that before. Terrific guys, and one terrific gal.


Feed me a chill, a leaden fill
I’ll walk my own way
With a clank and a whirr
Cool mechanic motion…

My insides slick
With grease and steel
My carbide backbone
Near as hard as my will

Flesh is full of cravings
For sex, cocoa, and sun
The heart is treacherous
Full of need, pain and fear

The combine is at my heels
The darkness at my soul
But I’ll evade them all…
Once strong, perfect, and cold.

a simple, unpoetic truth

You swore you loved me
then required I change completely
into some polar opposite,
some cheerleader suburbanite.
Well, then… I love cantaloupe,
But only when it’s red
and tastes like raspberries.


This not only sucks, it's whiney, but it reflects much of 2004 for me, so I'm including it in the archive. It needs punctuating/editing, but perhaps another day...

He said I changed
And I had not
What in his eyes had altered?
Was his perception
Suddenly skewed by fear?
Or had he not known me before?
He’s known me forever
I never put on airs
I thought it was me he loved
Then he asked me to become
Less than I am
And more than I could be:
Perfection in act, health, memory
But less in the mind,
Less contemplation - more bubbles
If I could become
Whatever woman you wanted
I would without hesitation
But then you still wouldn’t love me,
Just your own invention
Which I’d kill myself to live up to
I can’t be someone else.
I had to leave – I couldn’t watch
You suffer to tolerate me.
The irony sets in,
For now I have changed…
Weaker, darker…
I bounced back grinning
From abuse and desertion
And survived death and loss
But only you, the loss of you,
Could leave me bitter,
Hopeless, and without love of life
You are all that matters to me.
My life from here on
Is just a meaningless farce
And I’m still forced to live it.

If men were honest when speaking their vows:

In sickness and in health-
unless, of course,
your sickness interferes
with you keeping up
on your chores,
or if it puts a damper
on our social outings.
Then I will resent you.
I will honor and love you,
unless you want to write,
or to be yourself,
and do the things I don’t relate to,
Then I will resent
everything that makes you
who you are.
I will be your protector,
but if my friends don’t get you,
I will not explain you to them.
I will resent you
for not impressing them,
for not being someone else,
for not being bubbly and empty and vain.
If you work, though you are sick,
If do your crying alone in the tub
because comforting you
is too awkward for me,
If you are exhausted, sick, frightened,
I will turn my back to you.
I will never hear a word you say.
If I am afraid, I will blame you.
I will claim sour-grapes
and insist why you are no good
before I’d ever admit
that I’m just scared.
I would rather destroy all we have
than be vulnerable to you.

It's been a long time since I wrote on this subject, but re-posting old poetry about the subject made me think about it. So, I wrote one more on an old topic.


(written mid 2004)

I bear the brunt of your defenses;
the thrash,
the blow,
your heart’s retreats…
Your words trample me to sour wine.
You didn’t want me anyway
you say,
you contest…
You expound on my failures,
invent crimes,
and stay safely above my love
till I can’t tell which is real…
Is it true affection hidden beneath fear?
Or contempt softened with guilt?
no love of mine can reach you,
soothe you,
or win your approval.
I’m just the rogue who dared to scale
the stone walls of your surface smile,
wishing to revel in the treasures within,
the heart I love,
the mind I cherish…
but it’s better to swim in the moat beyond
than to live hunted by guards
in your castle.


(Published in 2004 edition of The Review)

It curves generously,
opening wide to offer
its precious bounty.
It’s graceful side, an elegant line
broken by a mist of condensation

Black enough to hide me,
silent as I want my mind to be,
just cool enough to sooth me.
The froth, soft like flannel,
I want to pull sheets of it around me.

It can’t heal my body,
erase my anguish,
or bring anyone back
to drink with me one last time.

…It tastes good.
It softens my mind’s voice
for a little while;
a glassful of pub-chatter
that ferments my whirling thoughts.