All things melancholy · Musings

In the Darkest Hour

In the darkest hours, in the cliche of right before dawn, I awake, shaken, from a night of dreams.  I cannot recall their timbre or their magical reality, only the meaning of my lonely trek in this vast wilderness.  I sit myself apart from the others, disconnected, my long talk with the Social Ceramicist like a stone cast ripple in the still waters of my soul.  Nay, I lie, like the fallen edge of an iceberg in my stormy sea.

I do not want strangers to touch my body, even in the quest for enlightenment.  I reject the woman who clings to me, needy, lonely beyond words, taken advantage of and yet demanding.  I cannot bear to stretch her body, I do not want her to stretch mine.  The preening and arrogant peacock, who makes a show of his higher self, for all to see, and in my mind looks mockingly at me, were he to touch me I would spit venom like some Jurassic lizard.  Then in a moment I understand it.  I reject the chance that what touches me may in some way be an echo of what I lost.  I reject it, I spit it out like it was venom sucked from my wound, I cast it out of me.   You will not hurt me ever again, not even through the spiritual vehicle of another body.  And this fact, this small knowledge leaves me chin resting on my hands on my knee, thoughtful.  My anger hurts me too.  My anger at you.

So when I wake from this dream, I begin to cry.  I ask aloud why I have had to endure such difficulties, when all of my life I have devoted so much to serving for the good.  I am imperfect, I lose sight of the big picture, I know, I overreact sometimes, I know, but I see the light in the eyes of my students, my daughters friends, my own friends, so dear, and I know that my big picture is that of well balanced to the right, to integrity, not virtue, but certainly to integrity.  I have done my best.  Why do you not hear me?  Why do you continue to lay such difficult obstacles in my path?  Sometimes this is far too difficult, too difficult to bear alone.  I am not as strong as you may think, I need sometimes, for someone to take my hand when I am frightened, when I am struggling.  It is not too much to ask.  I know it isn’t.

Later, I understand, it is as though the voice has reached through the cushion of the thunderclouds, through the rage of the flashing lightening, through the drenching down pour of sheets of water, through the wind that makes the trees dance as though in a trance, drugged by their own whipping, dervishes.  I must have patience, I must trust, I must see that all of this is for some purpose I cannot understand.  I have to wait and see.

And then in the day, where I think that nothing will come, and that all is surely lost, that I only imagine the love, that I am once again fooling myself into believing in something which clearly, to any damn fool does not exist, I find myself surprised.  Nay not surprised, reinforced.  Will we look like this in 40 years?  Would you rather be shooting rabbits with your friends?  Would you wrap your arms around me and kiss me, telling me you love me with your handsome sparkling eyes, yet never uttering a word.  You tease me, and I laugh as I jump on you and begin biting your neck and licking your face.  You tell me stop, and yet pull me close and kiss me.  And as we run our errands together, I feel a kind of happy peace embracing me.

I have to trust, I have to have faith.  Someone please remind me of this, in the dark hour, when I wake alone in the night, wishing someone could take my hand and just tell me, everything will be alright.


My two young women

There are things we do that at the moment have so little import, it is just another small part of another ordinary day.  The days pass to weeks and the weeks to years, homework done belly down on the living room floor, on the coffee table.   A tearful greeting, a stolen gift returned, and the open hearted loving kindness and acceptance.  There were the moments when I got to be her teacher, her shelter when she was homeless, her support when she didn’t know how to stand.  I have not been the only one, nor the best, but in the small moments, the ordinary moments, as she hands me her resume, which I will dutifully pass on, as we talk about how the men in our lives do not value us as much as we want them to, how she kisses me on the cheek and calls me Ma, I do not deserve your respect.  I am just happy to call you friend.  I look her in her eye and tell her how fortunate I am to have her in my life, how lucky I am to know her.  I have to get my masters she says, I just have to and I won’t stop until I do.  You will get it I tell her, you will, but lets leave behind those men who would hold us down.  I am sad as I say this.  Another day passes with further rejection, does he just not see me as these others do?  Why is he so blind?  I am honest with myself, she says, I know I am just a booty call, and he is one too, for me, but I want more.  Yes I say, I know, so do I.

She is crying when I come home, her disappointment and her anger are so real.  We talk and I listen without judgment, without any of my own anger or disappointment.  You must feel so awful I say.  You need to call our friend who set you up with this, I know she says, but I am embarrassed, its already happened, he already knows, but you must make your apologies for not living up to his recommendation.  As she does it her voice cracks, she fights back the tears.  You know I say, a failure fails and gives up, someone who is successful fails and learns from their mistakes, sweeps off the dust and carries on.  And then I confess to her how horrible my student teaching assignment was, how they said I should never teach to elementary kids, and yet here I am every day, and beloved.  Today a student told me she is only doing afterschool program on the days I am teaching, because she loves me, she loves art.  That is so powerful, when it happens, it is like you find a halo in your solar plexus and you can polish it on your jeans and hang it over your head and feel sparkly for a day.  You cannot candle your life with one error, one failure, you must candle your life only after a succession of events.  Then her text later on the next day, that all was not as bad as expected, and her relief, and my own.  Learn from it and move on.  You have strength, you are a strong woman.  You come from good stock.

My children, my children, that of my blood and that of my heart.  As we sit elbow to elbow sharing the same pillow, you warm my hearth.  You are my home.


Fun House Mirror



And then, just when I get comfortable with so little,
a wave of more crashes into me.
I pull away from your ardent urging.
I rest awhile in my madness,
I just want to bask in the sun as I daydream.
Fruitful, inspired, contemplative.
I really thought your desire for me had waned,
and I was trying to be good with it.
But you are like granite as you press yourself against me.
As your hands go to my tempting breast.

New Year’s and in shirt sleeves.
I think, too nice to waste it
just as you say, lets go to Clark.
I take you on my favorite paths,
and then, you lead me astray
off the beaten path,
off my place of comfortable familiarity,
on the one hand I cannot believe I never even stepped off it,
on the other, I am annoyed by the briars pulling at my jeans
poking my finger, slowing my fast advance
and then as you show me the cave
I knew was there, but never explored
I have to pee so bad,
I wait for you to walk away
and then catch you taking a picture of my bare ass

We wander through the thick bramble of buckthorn
and I am annoyed by the muddy water seeping into my boots.
I think you are judging me for being afraid of the cliff face
It is a rational fear,
slippery and brittle rock
and evidence of its tumble.
And you know nothing of the genetic fear of heights
and snakes, (spiders)
I stand on the leaf strewn and earth covered cliff face
and feel no fear at all.
I tell you, laughing at how stupid it is.
And later you seem to understand it.
As we look down into the deep rocky quarry pit.
And the rock that has sheered off

As you are taking pictures,
in my quiet mind
I am writing a story
about a man trapped on a planet
for 127 days
and his return to humanity
and another
about future people getting back to our time
by flashing into this isolated quarry pit.
it is a perfect place,

and I have seen 2 future people today alone.

I find myself pulling back
Suddenly I want less.
I am annoying myself today.
I am like a hummingbird
who wants to be a cocoon.
I am like a dragon fly
who yearns to be a moth.
I am like a cheetah
who longs to be a house cat.
I am content with the slow progress
is it because I think you will judge me,
fairly or unfairly,

but that critical eye
has seared me too many times
my flesh wants none of it
and my heart is like salted frogs legs.

I am not your perfect reflection
I am chicken I tell you,
for the first time
I am acting like a girl.
(a stupid one)
but you invite me to stay
while we both nap
in front of reruns of Bigfoot.