Category: Personal

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unvarnished and plain,
jagged edges at the end of my body.
Toenails
Unabashed sign
Of Winter.

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333"] Courtesy: Michael Corcoran[/caption]

If I never make it to Austin and, somehow, the
Longhorns and the old moviehouses get neglected, then
Let me remind you this isn’t
About the city I always wanted to see or the
Man I wanted to reminisce with.

This is about the day I stood in the
Middle of Tuesday in the place where
I now live on a patch of green weeds and it
Occured to me “I might never
See Paris again or eat Memphis barbeque or reach
Austin City Limits, or ever
Be relieved of virutal reality and halt the
Half-truth of Facebook Frances and
Sit with her again over an IKEA table
While our daughters play.”

Every live face I see
I take for granted.
Every touch is
Half-hidden inside a
Craving for more, for desire of what is
Yet to come. And yet,
For a moment, standing on my
Tuesday weeds, I saw the
Face of Facebook Him, of Mike,
Like an Icon, and He was
No one I knew or remembered.

I looked into the beautiful mystery.
The gulf between now and then.
The man who used to
Climb between the fresnels in that
Goatee and serape and
It occurred to me
I might
Just have to cruise it out
With the memories I have.

It’s just past 8 and
Summer. I am hiding on the
Bottom bunk. My daughters have
All gone downstairs. My
Son is echoing in the shower. I am a
Sliver of time away from being set
Free into the night, into their
Dreamland, after hugs and kisses
Recede and I’ve read the required
Pages of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and
Then, oh then, I’m free to let the
Twilight catch me, and hold me.

Until then I am hiding on my
Daughter’s bunk, eyes on the blonde pine
Slats, listening to my son warble
Between the soapy drops.
I’m caught by light that isn’t young anymore,
And I am sure of this day: as sure that this narrow bed will return as a gift and
My daughters too will feel this exhaustion like a weight on them
Someday.
On that same day, far flung, I know I will
Recall perfectly the toffee of her wet hair at bedtime and
The cocoon of the bottom bunk.

— from some traveling place


My moral sensibility does not
Like to be quiet and has
A pantyhose-thin filter and
I seem not to be able to
Stop the sound wave once
She latches onto an
Bullied principle or
Bloated sense of patriotism or
Some blindly ironic act of love.
She is quite loud, even in
The hair salon, and
Partial to f-bombs, because
As she tells me, people listen
When the f-bombs start
Flying. And as I hear her
Ramping up from some
“Did you hear about the so-and-so?”
I duck for cover because there
Is no stopping her
Once she starts rolling, rolling
Like a circus clown balancing
Downhill on top of a
Rubber ball. It’s often armchair
Righteousness on a Sunday afternoon
But I can see it makes her
Feel better, makes her feel
Heard, and it’s always a
Conversation others are trying not to
Have and, besides, sometimes it
Works. Sometimes people really do
Stop shopping at Walmart, stop
Buying every plastic piece of crap in their
Sleep, start timidly using the word “feminist”
To describe themselves, so
Even if she isn’t
The gentlest advocate for
Change, I am ok with it
Because loud noises often
Interrupt rapists and thieves
And wake up the living dead
And so I let her rant.


Spanish Moss by Va State Park Staff on Flickr

I am in love with my girlfriend’s husband
Because last night when
She was inverted in downward dog
Her ponytail flipped and I saw
The best of her younger self,
The girl he spotted when they first met
Her all unpacked from her worries;
And then
He, walking alone back from the
School drop-off this morning with his
Umbrella, his thoughts so loud they
Clamored over his head in a dance party yet
His body cut through the air like
A wave.

And because one warrior girlfriend has
Worn her armor of joy and generosity
To cover the bruises, and
Leaps to block the pain and the
Insistent memories, and he
Pulls her back against him like
The softest cushion, again and
Again, soothing her and
Surprising her with his
Endurance race of love.

I am in love with my girlfriend’s
Husband who is lost right now and anxious
And a beastly wonder of
Sentiment, so he
Hangs onto her like a life preserver,
Which is his gift to her.

The husband I have not met I love anyway.
Those two cheeks pressing into each other
In the Facebook photo, the freckles against the
Beard, snapped as a favor to a friend
And shared. Smiles hang on them
Like Spanish moss across one wide
Live oak. The noise in their life
Retreats behind them:
Contentment fills the frame.

I am in love with my girlfriend’s
Husband, who holds his own dreams in
His pocket, like loose change, who
Works in the hours of the day that he doesn’t
Spend with her, yet works for her.
Sends her love texts too practical to be
Mistaken;
Makes dinner. Washes the car.
Writes her a love song he
Sings out loud,
And see her the way
She wants to be seen. Takes her
In his arms and says to her–
All of her–
Yes.


Suns rays through the forest by Steve Slate on Flickr

At dinner Tati asks “Mom,
When will we get to see the REAL sun?”
And I have to clarify her meaning, and she is
Careful to explain for my slow brain
Not that plain orange ball floating
Up in the sky but the
REAL sun, with its long-reaching
Arms that stretch out, the
Yellow one with spikes that
Colors all the storybooks and is the
Truth. And I tell her the answer
I’ve gotten better at these
Years, my cotton ball “I’m not sure,
Honey” that cushions my
Shock and surprise over and
Over again. I’m driving down the
Road wearing my hands-free device,
Feeling morose and cornered and wail:
“Mom, why do we live to break our
Hearts over and over again? Why not
Just listen to our parents when they
Tell us what is good for us?” and Mom
Takes another audible drag on her
Cigarette and breathes out an
“I’m not sure,
Honey.”


My mind was a grocery list last night
Running through the pantry of
Missing items. Of those staples
Of self I do not have. If I
Take a job offered me (why bother)
I’ll just be the spoiled apple
In the crowd.
I put “good attitude” on the list.
I wanted to join the child of my
Own club, but uh oh.
Put eggs on the list.
Then there are those
Skinny jeans that need
Filling. One-by-one I try
Erasing a bad habit or
Two from the list, the
Late-night snacks, the
One cocktail that goes down like a
Sigh of relief, and then
Reluctantly I add in all awful
Caps EXERCISE, which smells odd and
Tastes plasticy and so it rots
On the shelf every time
I buy it.

After I finished the
List and slumped in
A chair, weeping, I went to put on
My pajamas. Colin, I said, it’s
Not that I hate myself. I don’t.
It’s just that to make the list
Of what I am missing,
Doing wrong, need to fix or
Do better,
I lose the will to see inside
The pantry to all that I already have.
I know what you mean, he said.