Been a long time

Well, it’s 2017 and I’ve been gone awhile.  Not writing, that is.  Writing used to be a part of me that wouldn’t stop itself.  It poured out of me in my grief, anger and hopelessness.  It was the one thing I could count on to move myself along.

Then, selling our house, moving to Sacramento from Georgia, finding the right place we’d want to call home for the rest of our lives. took a lot of energy and spirit.  I found that writing about it only made events hang around longer, working on my mind.  So many hopes, dreams to look forward to and then having reality smashing a lot of those dreams.  When you move out of California, it’s harder to move back – but I had to – there was no negotiation.

I let go of a lot of “stuff” to get back here.  Stuff that meant something to me, but for travel and the unknown – I had to make a choice.  Sometimes I still look for things and then remember, I gave it away (which is a good thing).

And it all took its toll.  So frustrating looking for a house armed with a budget.  Considering the hidden fees that we could afford was a factor that soon became important.  Great house, good neighborhood – taxes that would bankrupt us with several years.  All bad trials ended when we found the place we are in now.

It’s a wonderful house in a retirement community.  The fees are low (no paying for golf or road work).  It had a great clubhouse with activities, a gym, pools and classes on every subject.  But one casualty, my writing stopped being effortless.  With all the work in moving and setting up, I was eager to get back to writing.  Then Trump happened – the whole election process made me sick of the world.  I was angry, hopeless and grieving, but writing didn’t come easily.  I start and I stutter and get hopeless and no words on the screen.

Maybe I’ll be back soon.  Getting there is the hard part.

It’s here again

It’s been months since I’ve written

Caught up in change, I whirl from one to another

And then I realize

It’s HERE.

The date that you died – 28 years ago

How can this pain be so fresh at a memory’s touch

I can be there in the parking lot when I found out

I can see the cars parked and feel the sun on my face

And I now witness from afar my world caving in

and my knees giving out

and the scream in my throat

Suddenly, witness turns to actor

The sadness sets in – sadness of the lonely vigil

I keep every year that you are gone

It all so selfish – it’s all about my loss

You lost the rest of your life

the what would-have-been scenarios I play in my head

never to be

I’ll have to dig deeper this year

to acknowledge the pain and get through it.

and go on to next year.


Never forget

I saw him sitting on the curb
Cardboard sign in hand
Scraggly hair
Poor clothes
Dirty backpack at his side
Broke and Ugly
The sign read

I was in my new Prius
Stopping to get ice cream
From McDonald’s
Celebrating the purchase of a used truck
My husband drove in behind me
And parked

I looked over my shoulder
Thinking how grateful I was
To be able to get ice cream
Whenever I wanted

There was a time when I could not
I had to look along the road
And the trash cans for bottles to turn in for cash
For beans and rice
For my young son and myself

I had so many second, third and fourth chances in life
I made mistakes, but forced myself to get back up,
To get it right, to get it back on a path I could choose
Oh, and I had help, lots of help

So when I asked Mike for some cash
He asked if I was going to give it away
And I said yes.
Together, we walked over to the curb
The man stood up
Cleaned himself off
He was young
And motioned to stay to two dogs in the shade
We talked a bit and he said the Ugly on the sign
Was just an attempt at humor
I stroked the dogs and talked gently to them
They wagged their tails and leaned against me.
We left with this man saying thank you
He said, “You don’t know what it means.”
I thought,

Yes, I did.

Coming back with me

Dreams sometimes scare me
In their emotional force
The feelings I had in the dream
Are still with me when I wake up
And sometimes
Can set the pattern for all day

Last night I had such a dream
I was living in my house that I had in California
Except that it wasn’t rural anymore
There were shacks everywhere
With people cooking over fires
And old rusty cars in piles on the hill
I actually had one room and the kitchen
And I kept inside
I had fear, but didn’t know why

And then my late son knocked at the door
He was back
The happiness swept me like a storm
We held each other. We talked.
We cried.
But then he went to the store
And died in an accident again
Then he came back to my door
Then left for school
And died in an accident again

I ran out into the road
Lined with shacks
And people waved hello
Like nothing had happened

I woke up gasping
Not wanting to open any doors today.

But I did.
I drove to the gym
And walked on the treadmill
At a slow pace
Easing my silent screaming muscles into action
I lasted 20 minutes.

The fear and the dread in my heart were gone
Replaced by muscles who are telling me they
Don’t like me anymore.

Something missing

There is no wind in Georgia
Maybe some summer breezes in the morning
But if thunderstorms are not forecast in the afternoon
Then it’s still, silent and humid

Its loss reminded me of wind I loved
Wind hitting my face
And tangling my hair while I was on the back of a motorcycle
Going fast on a freeway or a mountain back road
Goggles let me see without the fear of bugs hitting my eyes
And the faster we went – the more the wind was thrilling
It made me feel alive

Wind at the top of a mountain whipping around
As you stood looking in all directions
The wind felt like a messenger
Bringing you knowledge of far-off places
If you were open to receiving it

Wind that drove those tumble weeds across the desert
And across roads of traffic
I thought of those traveling weeds as my anxieties of grief
When one was hit at a high-speed
It would break up and disappear
But most just traveled with the unseen wind off
To other places as problems for other people

Winds that scared me
Included a night hurricane I was in as a child
The power went off
The shutters banged loudly against the house
Like guns going off
My parents worried
And they wouldn’t let me near the windows
But I desperately wanted to see
It was scarier not knowing than actually seeing

Winds in New Mexico sometimes blew for
Periods of days at high-speed
The desert sand forced its way under the doors and windows
At night the wind howled like a being that wanted to be free

I always wondered why the cacti were so low to the ground
And now I know it was because its survival required a plan.

As we all do.

My reinvention


, , ,

My coat is too small

It’s so uncomfortable

I want to take it off

but it’s resisting

It likes the way it fits

and doesn’t want to make

way for a new coat

But this coat does not suit my life anymore

I want one that’s lighter

and easier to move in

so I can dance in the moonlight

run to see the fireflies

and meditate in the sunshine

instead of being smothered to death

by an outdated version of myself.

Sometimes you just shouldn’t


, ,

trying to salvage my spirit

looking at photos of people I once knew

stumbled upon a photo of my ex and his friend

who was my friend also

time had done its work with their faces

as it has with all of us

all i could see was the night i was beaten

and running toward this friend’s house

to find some sanctuary – to find some meaning

in this unpredictable trauma

upon me

huddling battered and bruised with my son on his doorstep

ringing the bell

he came to the door

shocked, he took a step back

“i can’t be involved in this.” and he shut the door

he wouldn’t let us in.  he refused us safety

to remain friends with a man who attacked me

then the door opened

his girlfriend came out and took us to her place

gave us comfort, medical attention and safety

i left the next day – never to return.

i made the right decision.  i found my spirit then.

i can find it now.  i am a survivor.

A Chance-sighting of Coyotes


, ,

I saw the first one out of the corner of my eye
The second ran into view
they were loping across the field
next to my house
I ran outside to get a better look
and was rewarded by seeing a third coyote
following the first two
His tail was out straight from his body
as he ran
and looked for humans.
He hid in a ditch before he crossed the road
into the large field across the street.

Humans around here have guns
and like to shoot coyotes
I’ve seen them pop a coyote right off the ground
with a long-range shot across a field.
In fact, a local newspaper
has a columnist who hates coyotes
and writes about what demons they are
He posts pictures of them caught in his traps
Their legs all bloody from trying to get away
I asked him not to post such horrible photos
they were offensive
He wrote back to me to not look at them
if I was such a sissy.
He runs a coyote-pest business
he says he has a license to “put them down” in a humane manner
which is probably a shot in the head at close range
after he traps them and starves them
His hate appalls me.

I wished these coyotes safe passage through the night
looking for their dinner
and wished them protection from the other humans nearby.

Over again


, ,

I packed the ornaments away today
I saw your bell you made in first grade
with a pipe cleaner for a hanger
and I wrapped up all the ornaments
I’ve bought for you over these years
you’ve been gone
I didn’t get one this year
I couldn’t face hanging another one
that meant you were not here
26 years
you’ve been dead longer than you were alive
But those 21 years you were here
were wondrous and amazing
that I could have a child like you
was the wonder of my life
You made me a better person
I could use some more of that now.