Wallflower

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.

—–

She’s flirting with ghosts
who are stealing her soul
and all I can do
is tie my own hands,
sew my own lips
into a fake smile,
watch her fade into fog
a little more each day.

I am the rope tied to her ankle.
I am the Polo to her
distant cries of Marco.
I am grey and thin,
a beating heart resisting
my own evaporation.

She waltzes in a graveyard
while I sit this one out.
She’s borrowed my dancing shoes.

AUDIO FILE:

Feeding the Darkness

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.

—–

It’s nearly four, and Darkness comes to nudge me from the depths of dreaming. Her cravings won’t be sated. Outside the window, a cry echoes once, then again — the black dog’s voice is neither howl nor bark, and yet both.

Darkness paces impatiently, her boots echoing with my heart’s “too much, too little, too much, too little” syncopation. I feel her in my skin and my soul sighs out a name. I feel the cold and warming bodies of my children and their children pressed to my naked breast, see my mother’s dry lips pursed in disapproval.

I invite Darkness to dine with me, again — to dine on me — as she has done before. It’s a borrowed, black, denim work-shirt she wears, and though it fits poorly, it pulls at me, like a black hole collapsing my lungs.

The distant black dog mimics a wolf — calling again, and the Wolf who shares my bed doesn’t flinch. She doesn’t sleep anymore, my Wolf. Instead, she warily watches as Darkness takes a seat at my table.

I offer my heart as an appetizer, always too eager to see this inky void filled and satisfied. The Wolf who used to lay her head in my lap now growls at the riverbank, staring into shadows. The new moon has drawn the clouds up over her head, trying desperately to sleep in peace. I’m not certain there’s any peace to be found in these small hours when the black dog calls.

Darkness eats daintily, wipes her mouth on my skirt, then flicks her ravenous eyes at my Wolf. Her greedy, plucking fingers are alder branches, stirring widdershins in the murky water of my soul.

She draws the tarot from her pocket, and the cards fall before me like winter leaves, thin and colorless. Five coins tumble into lonely orphans, with no bread. King of Cups stands on his head, angry and brooding, while the Lovers gaze anxiously on. The inverted Moon stares at her confused reflection in the water. High Priestess is here too, offering a hand through the labyrinth. But Darkness exhales a thick, wet fog, and gestures toward my Wolf. “Feed me.”

I attempt a bargain, counting out five coins, like sweet cakes, and my desperate heart breathes a name into the darkness. The Wolf’s fur bristles along her shoulders and I close my eyes, slipping finally into the deep end of the pool, where sleep swims elusively upriver.

—–
AUDIO FILE: 

Changed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

—–

Recently, I spent a week enjoying the family vacation of a lifetime — on the island of Saint Martin — with my Dad, his wife, three siblings, their spouses, and mine. I feel indescribably fortunate for the chance to experience several firsts, thanks to the generosity of my father. I’d never traveled outside of the U.S., and it was a pleasure to find that whatever the language, whatever the culture, people are more similar than we are different. I enjoyed conversations and stories with several really beautiful souls; and I was reminded that the world is truly smaller than it looks. 

I had never been sailing before, and was a little nervous, but ultimately thrilled to share a sunset cruise — on a catamaran — with a delightfully funny and friendly crew, where I got my first taste of salt-spray, racing seagulls, and the rise and fall of gorgeous, blue-green ocean waves. I’d never swam in the ocean, and not only was it incredible, it was exhausting, in the most challenging and wonderful ways! The sand was gorgeous, the water clear, and in order to remember this first, for a very long time, I gathered a tiny handful of sand and bits of rock and shell to bring home with me. I’d never eaten lobster thermidor, or snails, or several of the delicious vegan dishes my brother whipped up during our stay in a luxury, open-air villa — with breathtaking views of the water, the distant volcano, fiery flamboyant trees and other lush vegetation, two gorgeous, wild kestrels nesting in the corner of the dining patio, and a very loud, wild parrot that greeted the day — and all of us, at five a.m. — with a dozen or more hellos.

There were some things I have wanted to do for many years, like having my passport stamped, swimming in the sea, and experiencing island dining at it’s finest. However, there were other opportunities which I’d not imagined I’d ever have: 

I opted out of the extreme sports experience with the water jet propelled boots. I’m not that crazy. But, I did go with my family on a speed boat day trip around the island. We waded through the ocean up to my chest, to eat delicious mahi and drink pina coladas on another beach, and when the option came to get into the water, with fins and a mask, and swim with gorgeous fish and majestic sea turtles, I was nervous. However, there was a wolf’s voice in my head… the same voice that has pushed me and cheered me for nearly a year, to hike and climb, to stretch and challenge myself. She reminded me that I’m stronger than I used to be. I’m braver than I think, and I might never again get the chance to snorkel with my strong and courageous, seventy-one year old father. She wouldn’t let me stay seated and let this opportunity pass me by. So I stepped off the end of the boat into the ocean. I put my feet in flippers, and strapped on a snorkeling mask. I ducked my head into the water and swam.  Within a couple of minutes, I was watching a school of bright blue and perhaps yellow fish, and a few minutes later, three different sea turtles! It was an amazing experience, and one I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

The opportunities for courage didn’t end there.  Because I realized it was time for my husband and I to step out on a limb and tell some of my family about my amazing, wonderful, polyamorous world, and specifically the two people who’ve become such a huge part of our daily lives that we’ve become one family living in two homes. I did sit down with my brother who lives in L.A. and share my happiness with him, and then later we spoke both to my dad and step-mom.  They were surprised, and incredibly loving. Mom had a few questions about jealousy, and logistics. Dad wanted to be sure we were happy, and though he doesn’t agree with our choices, he supports our right to make them our own. It was both a scary and wonderful set of conversations. When we returned home, Dad called and invited the four of us to come to dinner this weekend, and I was amazed at how wonderful it felt to share my whole truth with family. I’d never expected to do that, or to really want to as badly as I did. Our little quad is part of the family, and at least two of my parents are welcoming and glad to get to know them. I can’t imagine being happier with the outcome of this chance to take a risk and be vulnerable.

I knew when I boarded the plane to leave the country for the first time, I’d come home a little different. I hoped to have my pale-and-freckled-skin version of a tan, a little more salt in my blood. I expected to come home a lot more relaxed and refreshed, with beach hair and a suitcase full of laundry and souvenirs. What I didn’t expect was to come home changed, stronger for having been vulnerable, for having challenged myself to do things that were scary. This week that I’ve been back has been punctuated by trips to the pool and the creek, in a relentless search for sun and water. It’s also been accented by a growing realization that I am made better, stronger, and happier by the relationships in my life, and the people who make up my family.

This gypsy, wanderer, part island-girl poet is grateful, and that, so very much.

islandgirl (2)
—–

The Words

The words have flown — I don’t know why.
Perhaps they’re nesting in the trees.
My pen is empty, ink is dry–
my thoughts are drifting on a breeze.

I will not worry, at my lack
of flowing verbiage for a poem.
They’ve fled before; they will be back. 
Like me, they know the road to home.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

Advice for Travelers

image

The road away from your door
will always sing a siren song.
There’s no use resisting.
So load your guitar and two
extra tires onto your bicycle.

You may miss your chance
to climb the distant tower,
but slip a stone into your pocket,
and you’ll find the right path–
one step and rock at a time.

Trees will no doubt invite you
to gaze into a magic mirror,
and renew some old promises.
Listen to the voice with the map —
it will nudge in the right direction.

Follow wings that swim circles,
and you may dance on the sand.
with an enchanting water-witch
–wet your bare toes in the scent
of rain on the summer wind.

When your bohemian feet grow tired,
gather up four corners of your heart.
Shake tangled doubt from your hair.
When you hear rhapsody on the road,
trust your voice to sing you home.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

Breathe

Picture

Today she said to me, just breathe.
I know it’s hard, but there are trees.
There’s a path here, through these woods.
You can find it, hike and run it.
You’ll feel better,. Just breathe.

Today he said to me, just breathe.
I know it hurts. You’re not alone.
Just keep sharing, and believe.
It gets better, if you trust love.
You’ll find a way. Just breathe.

Today she said she couldn’t breathe.
My heart stopped beating in my chest.
My lungs clamped shut, and tears ran hot.
My fears they came to shout at me.
What if it’s too hard for us to breathe?

Tonight these words play in my head.
Just like a song set on repeat.
She said breathe. He said just breathe.
I cannot breathe, she cannot breathe.
I cannot sleep, I lie in bed, and breathe.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

A Moon-Flower Nest

MoonFlower

 

She’s a blackbird perched in shadow
of a fragrant moonflower vine,
as dawn bruises the horizon
like the blush of cherry wine.

She’s been sitting through the darkness
breathing in the sweet perfume
of moonflowers blooming gently
by the light of lady moon.

Stretching tendrils have been reaching
toward the raven, slowly curling,
and her ruffled, ragged feathers
are becalmed by scent unfurling.

Soon the vine speaks, voice entreating,
“Trust me, I will be your nest.
You can stay until you’re ready
for the blue skies — come and rest.”

Tired

wpid-2014-11-02-20.52.05.png.pngIt won’t always be this way. My heart will find what it wants and what it needs, and saying goodbye is sometimes the only way to make room for that.

You see, I’ve been telling myself this for over a year. I’ve been reminding myself this chapter isn’t the last. This is not where I land. I’m making way for something better, something more. I’ve been working so hard.

I’ve been on coffee dates until I hate Starbucks, and those OKCupid notifications make my head hurt. I’ve met amazing people, people with whom I could fall in love — a few with whom I have — and watched them come to the realization that I am either more, or less than what they were hoping to find.

I’ve been reminded, so many times, that I’m unique, uncommon, different and yet, not a good fit. My heart is sore from trying. I have watched too many people opt out of a chance at a deep, intense, holistic, full, romantic-relationship kind of life, with me.

I am tired. I am sore. I am lonely.

Still, I look into my mirror, and I know I’m being true to my heart, true to me, even though in ways I can’t explain, I am alone. I have a husband who loves me. I have friends, and lovers. (Can I call them lovers if our intimacy is never, or so rarely in person, that I’ve forgotten how they smell?)

I should be thankful, count my fortunes… instead I’m staring at these puzzle pieces, and still my picture is no where near becoming clear.

Today, I mourn as two beautiful people have chosen to walk away from a romantic future with me. The fucked up thing is, it was the right choice. I know it, logically, but my heart thinks logic is stupid. I could not keep my heart from falling. I can’t regret being true to me, but I hate this pain.

Today, I don’t have the strength to get up and move on. I will not be dusting off the OKCupid profile. I will not respond to flirts and invitations for coffee. Today I will be saying goodbye to a future I really wished for, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing now.

Tomorrow, I will find my feet.