A trellis of verdant roses creeps slowly up the knobby ridges of my spine Clinging fast to empty spaces where the heart’s grandeur, like brilliant stars, would shine Every night I traverse this Rorschach devastation To die of grief in the light of day Leaving fodder for the wild roses plucked at will by all who pass this way
*One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost, and to this day I still love to recite his Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening poem every time we get the first snow of the winter. I was reading his Desert Places poem and was inspired to write something similar to his style of poetry (even though I actually dislike rhyming poems if they’re written by anyone other than Robert Frost.) I drew on my own experiences for this poem, as I’m sure Robert drew on his for his poems.
I haven’t checked in in a while and I’ve missed you. I’ve had multiple people reach out to me and ask how I am doing since I have been very touch and go with my online presence lately and I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me.
There are so many things I miss now that the pandemic has robbed me of them. Little, odd things, like the Northwest Sound Men’s choir who rented out space at the place I work to be able to gather and rehearse every Wednesday evening. I miss shutting down my office at the end of the work day and hearing them practice their songs in perfect and jovial harmony down the hall. I miss putting together my powerpoint presentations for people who would pass by and stop for a few minutes, attention snagged, to view them. Something about knowing that people are going to be present to appreciate your work makes it so fulfilling.
I could go on and on, and so could you because we have all lost something. There are days that are incredibly rough still, and others where I feel that I have made so much progress and growth as a person. Recently, I had to have a tough conversation with someone where I had to lay down my boundaries. Always such a pleasant conversation, sigh. But I resolved to myself to be fully present and not give an inch even in the inevitable face of their hurt feelings/pride. It’s always that much more tough when the offending party encroaches on your boundaries and into your personal space from a place of overeagerness and wanting to insert themselves into spaces in your life that you never asked them to. Giving advice that was never sought after, sharing too much personal information out of nowhere, unburdening themselves to you without asking if you’re even okay with it. Finally I had to tell them they were making me uncomfortable. I wrestled with all of the feelings that came along with the whole scenario, but the relief in my soul was absolutely worth it in the end. The art of saying no to people, not maliciously, but out of self care, is a powerful tool in our arsenal. Sometimes it takes years of courage to learn how to wield it properly.
There are moments that I cherish that are made even brighter in the face of all the tragedies that keep unfolding on the world stage. One of my best friends at work sent me and our other best friend (yep, at work) a Charlie’s Angels mug as a celebration of our friendship. That made our day. It’s gestures like these that keep me going when I just want to lay down and give up sometimes.
Not all has been difficult and I would be remiss if I weren’t going to touch on the parts that remain shiny, faceted gems in the caverns of my mind. Before the pandemic hit us in full force, the start of this year brought with it unexpected adventures and little surprises that were cool to experience. The University of Washington had found my blog and contacted me to see if they could interview me about it. I had agreed, of course, and had a lovely interview at a coffee shop on a rainy, February evening. I had also auditioned for and won a part in a show that I flew out to California to film. (Don’t ask what show, I will never reveal it 😉) I was also scheduled to go on a vacation to Scotland in May, but that’s when all the borders had shut down and I was never able to go. But sometimes, just remembering the track record of neat things I was on the path of experiencing this year helps me to get through the parts that are lonely and remind me of how fragile we are.
Anyway, with all of that being said, I’m going to have to wind down and head out for my massage but I can’t help but be wildly curious to know what things have you unexpectedly missed during this pandemic that you never thought you might miss? What has been helping you to stay sane and grounded when it seems that all else keeps failing?
Is this who we are, then,
choreographed echoes of moments
long since faded,
like the photographs in the stack of
albums hidden in the bottom drawer
of the china cupboard,
where we still remembered how to smile
in the way only a child can.
Before disappointment came and
leached the glittering hues of innocence
from the years wrought with failing
and flying, and the terrible sepia
that stole in with the loss of childhood.
A chorus of repetition greets the day,
where mimicry is mistaken for flattery
and empty words fall like spent
bullet casings. I string them together
and loop them around my neck,
try to remember how it felt to embrace
a kaleidoscope of living color.
Silence descends heavily in the wake of
your retreating footsteps,
cruel in its unrelenting neutrality.
My thoughts are a startled murmuration
with desperately flapping wings
resounding mournfully into the middle distance.
They settle delicately on my shoulders,
unable to bear the weight of our
We were the beginnings
of a dream,
a building crescendo,
the first strokes of a masterpiece
that fate or folly deemed never know
the fulfillment of completion.
A bitter wind sends its piercing cry
through the spaces of my ribcage.
Cold as a January frost.
It was black and endless and lined with teeth all over.
Descending like a wet blanket,
every breath you drew was a shudder.
*On a separate note, I’d like to reiterate just how much I dislike textual misunderstandings. Yesterday was the first time I got true hate comments on my blog. What I thought was carefree banter somehow caused the other person to devolve into calling me something vulgar and tell me to burn in hell. The fact that I don’t entertain phone calls from married men may have factored into this whole debacle. Why are we always so apt to screw things up so royally? It’s one thing we can always depend on to do spectacularly.
I think one of the hardest things is to climb inside of your own pain and be okay. To accept it finally so that it no longer has so much power over you. It almost feels like climbing into bed with the enemy. You want to remain mad at society, at your culture, at your parents, your pastor, at God. We’d rather lash out and seek vengeance on what hurt us. But the only way to be free is to climb inside your own pain and forgive them all.
I sharpen my teeth on all the words I keep from you,
rolling them to and fro in my mouth,
tasting every nuance,
so that even if they do escape
they are smooth as glossy pearls.
I cut my tongue when they gallop up my throat
demanding to be released
and I’ve no choice but to choke them back,
slicing my throat to ribbons on their descent, on every jagged crest and
But even in their wake,
I still bleed silver.
Like a melody that I once knew,
you sink into the buried spaces of
my mind and stain all the dull grays
a vibrant carmine.
Echoes of conversations long since past drift on a million horizons,
illusions of a mirage,
tattooing my retinas with a constellation of loss.
I weave your words from threads of
and run them across my body.
But they lose their way in the
you refused to venture near,
with the same spectacular way
I used to lose myself
at the mere thought of you.