Ode to a Four Letter Word

Ode to a four letter word:

Own.
Your.
Shit!
Your secrets and opinions
your scars
your mistakes
your misspoken words
your hurt
your intentions
your respect
your flaws.

Work.
That.
Shit.
Moving Earth with every step
Every toss of the hair
Every flirty smile
Well polished on the outside
In the way you move
the way you carry yourself
Take notice
Work.
It.

Shit happens.
As if this phrase ever helped anyone.
Yes, of course shit happens
It happens to others
To people that aren’t as fortunate as me
It doesn’t negate my perception
My truth
Shit happens
as a dismissal of true emotion
Is this shit even relevant?

Enough.
Enough of this shit.
Your tongue churns out lies like they’re hot off the press
Like a record skipping
Hollow words
No depth
No meaning
Enough of this deadbeat dad shit
This nationwide epidemic we ignore shit
Enough of this poor single mom shit
This struggle to get by shit
Enough wiping my son’s tears
Crying for his father
For any father
For a man he will never know.
Fuck that shit.

About to lose my shit
Yet it always comes slinking back
Anxiety tightens the brain
and you run out of deep breaths to take
Teetering on the edge…
of what?
What would it look like to just surrender?
To just give up?
To just let shit go.

Quit.
Talking shit.
Pack that shit
Pass that shit
Light that shit
Smoke that shit
That green shit
That “take the edge off” shit
Quit.
Taking shit.

You tell yourself it doesn’t mean shit
(but it does)
You tell yourself you are
Over this shit
Done with this shit
Yet, you keep coming back for more
This shit
This waste
It camps out inside you
Gypsy traveling sadness shit
The wander the earth alone shit

The realizing
We are all in this together shit.
Rebuild shit
Reinvent shit

Stop.
Stop this shit.

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Anchored

Anchored, I am tethered
Marionette strings,
I dangle
Abyss below
Eyes close
I am air
I am breath
Breathe.

Anchored, I am suspended,
weightless
The world rolling off my shoulders
The phantom planet tumbling
As heavy gusts lift me
Where memories fall soft upon your skin like snowflakes
Like warm rain.

Anchored, I am free
to roam and wander
to hold hands with spontaneity
I am exploration
Unmarked territory
Open space.

Anchored, I am
Silent.
I am lights off and shapes of shadow
I am arms wrapped tight around thoughts
I am a reminder
I am resurfacing and adaptation.

Anchored, I am
Safe in my skin
I am black and white
wooden frame on a wall
Circa 1983
Head falling back
Party dress
Feet almost touching the sky
I swing
Soft wind in my hair
Sailing through time on a tire swing…

Anchored, I am
That moment
That minute where gravity escapes me
and gently brings me down again
A slow, determined pull.
That kind of freedom,
Pine trees and blue sky.

Anchored, I am
limber,
arms and legs swaying
I am alive in these spaces
These random pauses
Between the love and the lonely
Between chaos and sleep
The flashes your brain captures
Snapshots.
Filmstrips.
A glass jar of stories mingling
Whispering eternally.

Anchored, I am
bone and flesh
heartbeat and fingertips
molecules and ribs
synapses,
muscle memory
I am tooth and nail
Involuntary electricity.

**(inspired by writing prompts from http://jenaschwartz.com/writing-groups/ )

Slow Rumble

It happens when the dust clears
When the sunlight streams in the frost bitten windows
When the brass statues are polished, and all the books are gently placed on the shelves.
When the table is clear, the plants are watered
When there is space between minutes
And the room thanks you for noticing
When small gestures feel like rewards

It rests in the pit of my stomach
A fluid weight
Like diving under water and holding your breath
Just long enough to imagine what a different life feels like
To know where your primordial gills and fins would have taken you…

A tsunami.
A tsunami stirs my blood.

It feels like snowflakes, fresh fallen
Cotton, gray skies
The cold pressing against your tongue for a moment
…a second
(the impermanence)
Your senses left tingling

It rests right below the surface,
Skin like ice
A frozen epidermis – with waves and crystallized particles mixing
How it sounds different colliding with the shore
A hollow lullaby washes over the rocks

You ache for warmth
You breathe in the cold
Let it paint your lungs of lace
You pause
Releasing
A visible exhale
Yes, this is alive!
Hot breath, cold air lock hands in a symbiotic dance
A swift rhythm
A pulse

It feels like this,
Right now when the house is quiet and the snow gently falls.
When my pen touches paper and spills out letters one by one
Until they connect
Until they make something
Anything.

Sometimes a low, slow rumbling
Eyes open
An underwater scream
It is mine
However vulnerable or powerful or vain

My rattle
My shake
A ripple of concentric circles
Expanding
My tiny earthquake
A roar
A sound of eruption
A soft and deliberate demolition
A flow
An overflowing
A cadence
A moment
This moment
A satisfaction
A solace
A fierce whisper
An only escape.

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Naming the Bones

And he said to me, while curled up, head resting in the space between my clavicle, eyelashes reaching the stars, “mama, when you die I’m going to keep your skeleton. I’m going to keep it next to me when I sleep.” I kissed him gently and told him that he could be the keeper of my bones, of what will one day be left. I name them: his treasure. I name them love. I name them devotion.

Our beginnings are soft, malleable frames, dipped in fluid, an encased sanctuary. Islands afloat an embryonic sea. “You began like this”, I tell him, “I miss those moments sometimes, where you were everywhere I was. When we were one. When I knew you in such a different way” I name these bones: temporary, happiness, innocent.

Our ending is hard, frail, broken, chipped, worn. Life’s map of erosion. An artifact, a keeper of records. Full of love and laughter, of grass between your toes. Of loss and guilt, of dreams and years imprinting themselves. He is 10. He knows this. These bones. The ones that carry him, shelter him, the ones that gave birth to him.The ones that have moved and contorted, that have eyes and ears all their own. The ones that grind.The ones that can cut down and tear up. The anchors, the ones that hold, that stay, the loyal ones. I name them: a work in progress, a list of secrets, an unfinished story.

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Walk with fire

I awoke with languid limbs, heavy from dreams I was still speaking to.
My head a fog of past particles mixed by confusion and the sound of my son calling.
Winds had battered my window all night
A banshee knocking, beckoning me to come play
To be swept away in endless frozen gusts
I breathe deeply and promise myself I will get him to school, despite the arguing, despite the begging to stay warm and safe in dark blankets.
My gentle, yet strong words cut through his attempts
He finally cracks like ice beneath his boots and agrees to get dressed.
Only three hours late for school.
I sit in the car, warming my hands.
Just breath.
Just silence.
For the first time in sixteen days.
Home again, I dress the dog in his ridiculous coat and force myself into the subzero
The cold hard ground bites back
My face numb
Winter has taken me.

I walk slowly, letting the cold absorb me, watching the puddles, now miniature ponds
The smell of pine and smoke blowing past me.

I walk with a fire inside
A fuel
An eternal flame of defiance, devotion, disillusion
I envision the burning words I began this new year with

Goodbye to memories that taint my vision, goodbye to dead love lost and long buried, goodbye to fear of failure and exposure.

I am exposed.
Face and hands raw
Stepping determinedly
Like a predator
Like a wolf inside me
Ready to howl with neighborhood dogs paws up on fences
I stop and meet their eyes.
They know this cold,
This heavy gray

I walk with fire burning inside, my charred words resonating,
Hanging by strings
Held tight by ribs
And lungs
By layers of skin and clothing.

I release my breath, I bare my teeth
I watch this slow release
This air escaping in curls and whispers from my silent, empty throat.

I turn the corner toward home
I turn my back to the bitter cold.
I step inside
My stomach a space of grounding, of intuition and trust.
A new breath of fiery coals.

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