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Conditioned

Lady and the Tramp

Is the first time

I remember being told

That the guy

(From the wrong side of the tracks)

Has a heart of Gold.

 

Next was Johnny Castle –

(A classic example)

of

The nobility of blind love.

And I think about them and

I wonder:

If this is why my mom went under

So many times?

 

The guy who would drink

And pull her around

(by her hair)

With all his affairs –

He nearly broke her.

 

And the man she married (twice)

He played so nice,

Smiling, and smiling,

Snorted our inheritance.

(At least he never hit us.)

 

We moved so much,

New schools, new houses

(Mouses)

That big wooden mansion

The creaky door

Frigid nights lying on a cold floor

Crying.

 

Is this love or is this dying?

Why do they feel the same?

 

I write about love so much,

(And inside me it’s all twisted)

An abstract, a theory

Sewn together with earthworms

And memories that feel like

Delusions.

 

What I have learned,

What I have earned

Is at least the certainty

That

 

Love does not mean pain,

It doesn’t scream or steal or lie

And many times

You can love someone and

Still walk away

Because it’s wrong –

(The side of the tracks you’re on,)

And no one is singing

There is no happy ending,

So you go.

 

(So I go.)

 

Stream of Consciousness

My knee hurts today.

The book I’m reading says each astrological sign corresponds to a part of the body. Knees are the goat. I’m reading about powerful things people don’t believe in – made infinitely more powerful by the denial, I think – when a cover of The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” starts blasting.

I have to go. My knee hurts today.

Faith and Silence

“Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested.”

Elizabeth I said that.

It’s inscribed on my heart, and yet somehow it’s a lesson I keep learning, always for the first time.

Giving away anything to another person – a favorite book, a cherished family recipe, a poem they might never have read – it’s like giving away chunks of your soul.

Don’t do it. Keep it inside. Use it for your own work, don’t let them harvest it for theirs.

Elizabeth also said, “grief is the price we pay for love.” So right, so right she was.

Loretta’s Lines

 

Every time

I climb up

In your truck

You spin the wheel

Around

And we’re driving down

This same old dirt road

But

Darlin’ don’t you know?

I’m not going that way.

 

I already had a past

With you

Now I want a future, too.

So do you think that you can

Stop reminiscing?

I feel like

You’re missing

A version of me that’s long gone

And I’m not really the one

Just a fantasy

You’re holding on

Too tightly

And I know

I will let you down,

So just turn around and

Let me out

 

Remember when you said

I was heaven sent?

I should have

Taken the hint

It’s not making

Any sense,

Driving down to

That same old dead end,

The one that takes us

To yesterday

and

I already told you, babe

I’m not going that way.

 

I’ll hop out here

And hitch my way

I promise, it’s ok

I’ll find my way

And hey –

 

When you wake up

In the morning

And the day is dawning

You’re wondering where

I am

Baby, believe me

I still care,

I do.

I love you.

 

I’m just not going that way.

Still Life [version 1]

She grew up here, in this garden.

Rooted in the soil, watered by the rain and heated by the sun.  Not nourished by the sun, exactly, as she had never been brave enough to expose herself to its light.  Not refreshed by the rain, exactly, since she never let it touch her face. But this was fine.  This was life.

She was a tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals, and even shut into herself like this, she was a wonder to behold. Every day people walked by the garden on their way to – she didn’t know where – and sometimes they’d stop and look at all the flowers and plants.  Their eyes were always drawn to her, because she was tall and graceful and otherworldly.  Still, they could not truly see her, as she remained tightly shut, afraid to let in the light.

One day, a man stopped on the sidewalk to peruse the flowers, as people often did.  He noticed her like all the rest before him, for she was tall and graceful and otherworldly.  But he didn’t just look at her and walk away.  Curious and inspired, he knelt gracefully beside the garden, leaned his face over her, and began to whisper in a voice so low that only she could hear.

He told her she was lovely – a treasure, if truth be told.  He told her she was a gift too precious to stay so tightly shut.  He told her she was unique, and he had never known another like her.  He told her it was safe to look upon the sunlight – that even though it might seem scary to expose her true self, the risk would be worth it.

When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed the dirt off his hands, and walked away.

She – the tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals – stood tall and motionless, but the man and his remarks touched her deeply.  His words echoed in the raindrops that fell heavy and loud over the garden that night.

The next morning, she decided to face her fears, and she began to stretch out her long, lovely petals. For the first time she felt a bit of the sun’s warmth inside her and she knew she could never be shut again.

Over the course of the day the beautiful yellow flower opened herself completely to the bright sun above.  She allowed herself to be vulnerable.  She allowed herself to be brave.  In doing so, she revealed her nearly indescribable beauty to the world around her, and she made it a better place.  People now stopped to photograph the garden and several of them gasped at the ethereal, glittering light that seemed to radiate out from the tips of her petals.  She was happier than she had ever been.

She had bloomed.

A few more days went by and the once tightly closed bud, who was now a fully realized golden garden goddess, began to notice some changes in herself.  Her leaves were drooping a bit, her petals sagging and falling off.  She knew what was happening, but she hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly.  Just as she was pondering her newly wilting countenance, she felt the cool of a shadow over her.  It was the kind stranger who had awakened her days earlier, come to whisper to her once more.

Ever so gently he leaned down and again spoke in a voice that only she could perceive.

He told her she was lovely, but more than that, she was brave.  He told her that her courage had transformed the world.  He pointed out that ladybugs, bees, and butterflies had been attracted to her radiant aura, her honey-like scent.  He told her about the crowds of people who had come to see her.  He told her he had painted a most incredible portrait of her and he thanked her for her gift.

When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed off his hands, and walked away again.

By nightfall, the beautiful flower had wilted completely to the ground.  She lay there, cool in the dirt, and pondered her long life shut away from the sun – and her short but glorious time under its rays.  It was worth it, she knew.

She had been closed off for so long, until a magnanimous stranger simultaneously enlivened and doomed her.  His near-silent, secret whispers had provoked her to the edge of her greatest fears.  He had introduced her to the sun.  Oh! – the hot, beaming, delicious sunlight – and how it playfully danced and glided over her magnificent petals.  That was her favorite part.

She prepared herself for the slow and peaceful fading back down into the earth that had born her, and she considered the irony that in destroying herself she had finally learned what it was to live.

Her life had not been the garden, or the breeze, or the people walking by or even in how long she stood there, afraid and tightly shut.  No, all of that was simply existing.  For the tightly closed bud with the beautiful yellow petals, the meaning of life – and the measure of it, too – was in the blossoming.

Subconscious Misogyny

A woman’s place is not in the kitchen, or with the children you both wanted and brought into the world, or wherever she’s commanded to be. A woman’s place is where she chooses to be. Her time is not less valuable (even if she is paid less). SHE is not less valuable, even if she’s treated like the help. She is a treasure, not here to assist you but here to be an individual unto herself. The potential is there to be a power couple instead of a one man show, but you have to set your ego aside for that and a lot of men can’t bring themselves to that place. In fact most of the dynamic women I know bring to the table much more than they are ever given credit for, or paid for. I’m so tired of the “shh, the men are talking” attitudes. Maybe if the men would hush and take a seat they would learn a thing or two from the women around them who are quietly, often times without  recognition, building and changing the world around them.

I’m not loud anymore

Maybe it’s not so bad? Being alone.

At least I know I love me

And I don’t have to explain myself to me

Just to be willfully misunderstood

No one to try to appease all the time

No one to make me feel like I don’t matter

The voice inside tells me,

I matter

But the longer I stay here

The harder it is to hear that voice

What was a roar is now a whimper

So maybe it’s not so bad, being alone

Let’s raise a glass to finding out.