Posts Tagged ‘loneliness

04
Apr
12

four

I don’t condone these violet ways.
Your psycho path, friend, concerns me.
Like swimming through honey- your deep malaise-
Still I don’t condone these violet ways.
Noodling with wallflowers at hip soirees;
Breathing foulness into ears so yearny.
I don’t condone these violet ways.
You’re a psychopath. Friends concern me.

07
Jun
11

grace sufficient

You were always so good at awkwardness.
Always so good at dealing with awkwardness is what I meant to say.
All those little moments-
Forgetting someone’s name
Introducing them by the wrong one
Beginning to tell an anecdote that was never to be shared
To the person who had secretly been gossiped about-
Little moments that get remembered much bigger,
That become bricks added to a wall of misunderstandings
Or planks removed from the sub-floor of a friendship.
You were so very graceful in handling these things
And I could have used your grace, could have used you
Standing beside me at the wake
Greeting the visitors, making them welcome,
Making them feel comfortable, smoothing over the awkwardness.
Because there was so much discomfort, so much awkwardness
With no one knowing what to say to me
About your death, Most of all about the way you died.
Platitudes fought for tongue-space with statements and statistics:
I’m so sorry for your loss.
Most accidents happen at home.
The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house.
Forty-two percent of those who slip in the tub hit their head, slide underwater and drown.
I soaked in the tub at the hotel the day after the service.
I showered at the gym where they hadn’t seen me in six months.
I tried to convince myself no one needs to wash more than once a week
And after all in olden times they did it less often than that and carried flowers.
Now, at last, though here I am, in the sunny yellow room we painted together years ago.
Thermostat turned up high to fight my chills;
Soap positioned just so, in the dish at the far side of the tub;
Cell phone at the ready, on the counter;
A pile of fluffy towels, on the floor at the end where my head will be.
I cross myself one way then the other.
I ask Mary, Joseph and Little Baby Jesus to watch over me.
Put one foot and the other into the water. Grabbing both sides of the tub, I sit down.
I slide a little and the water comes up
Up
But only to my chest. I’m going to be alright
And I can breathe again.

[This poem was inspired by an exercise by Maura Stanton called “The Widow”. The goal is to write in the voice of a woman whose husband has drowned. She hates the water but is forced through circumstances to confront it. I like the poem I wrote as a result. It’s dark but at the same time it isn’t.]

30
Aug
10

Cornflower Blue

When she opened the box we were her favorites-
Cornflower Blue and Indian Red.
Together we made summer skies and meadows,
Blue baby doll eyes, teddy bears, and hay-filled barns.
Other colors came along and she tried them-
Macaroni and Cheese, Tumbleweed, Tickle Me Pink-
But we were the ones she carried in her pocket
After carefully honing our points with the sharpener in the back of the box.
In ’99 old Indian Red was replaced with Chestnut.
Thistle and Maize went away; their colors and names were too dull.
I’ve hung around as long as I could
Although she peeled off the last of my label several years ago.
Today I got rolled off the table and stepped on.
My pieces were ground into the classroom rug.
Through the window I can see a patch of the sky
She used to think I was the color of.

13
Feb
10

Fate Pays The Rent (Twenty-third Installment)

“How did we go from your toe-curling love of Mr. Gomez to commands from God?” Josh said.
“All the time I try to talk with Aaron about the building and how I want him to put in a good word for Mr. Gomez and all the time he is busy with his own work. Then one night I come here late at night and his door is a little bit open. The lights are off and he always locks the door so I know he must be in there alone.”
“Weren’t you worried about going into a dark office with a slightly open door?”
“Aren’t you listening, Powell? She was in love.”
“A little bit of light was coming through the blinds and I can see Aaron lying on the floor behind the desk. I think he must have been working and decided to rest here instead of going home.”
“Did you know he suffered from migraines?”
“What?”
“Never mind. Just go on with the story.”
“I walk over to him and say, ‘I need to talk with you about Mr. Gomez and the cleaning’.”
“What did he say?” Gary asked.
“He didn’t say anything. He was looking at me because I could see the light from the window shining on his eyes.”
“Was he moving?”
“No. He was just looking at me and he didn’t move and he didn’t say anything. So I told him again. ‘I need to talk with you about Mr. Gomez and the cleaning.’ And he still didn’t say anything but he turned his head toward the window.”
“That must have been a good trick.”
“Quiet!”
“Then I heard a voice but I knew it wasn’t his. I looked around and there was just me and him in the office and I knew it must be God.”
“Because she has regular conversations with him out loud.”
Clement frowned at Josh. “What did God say?”
“He said to me, ‘If you love me and you love Mr. Gomez and you love your people, you must kill this man.’ I said, ‘Aaron, God is telling me I have to kill you to save the building for Mr. Gomez. What should I do?’”
“Did he answer that time?”
“No, he still said nothing and God said, ‘He can’t hear me because he doesn’t believe. You pray to me and I answer your prayers but this man doesn’t answer you when you are physically in the same room with him. I talk with you because I care for you but this man cares so little about you that he turns his head away when you speak to him.”
“Then what happened?”
“I said, ‘Aaron, why won’t you talk to me? I thought we knew each other but now you don’t even recognize me. Why are you looking out the window instead of at me?’”
“And?”
“And God said, ‘He doesn’t look at you because he feels you are not worth looking at. He has no respect for you or for your people. You must rise up and kill him so people like him will learn to respect you and your people and so Mr. Gomez will be safe. When you do this thing, I will give you a new name. Your name will no longer mean sadness but miracle.’ God told me he would give me the name ‘Milagra’ and I would not be Dolores anymore because I made a miracle happen for me and for Mr. Gomez and for the Mexican people.” Her eyes were shining with tears and Clement realized she wasn’t feeling any regret for what she had done.
“How did you decide on the shovel as a weapon?” Buzz asked.
Dolores looked up at the ceiling. “I knew that if God asks you to do something then you need to do it fast. I remembered how he told Abraham that a sacrifice would be provided and I knew if he wanted me to sacrifice Aaron then he would give me a weapon. I looked around and I saw the shovel shining by the door.”
“You never thought about walking out the door and just keeping going? Did you hear anyone outside?” Clement was thinking of Jeff saying he had almost gone into the building but got scared and left. If he’d actually come in, could he have saved Aaron’s life? Would Dolores have attacked him too or could he have fought her off and called the EMS to counteract the drink Mari had given him?
“God said he would give me a new name and I picked up the shovel and went over to Aaron. Maybe I ran because when he came back with the shovel he was closer to the door than I remembered. He was lying there and the shovel was shining and his face was shining and when I saw his face like that I felt the strength of God flowing through my body and through my arms and a smaller voice in my heart said, ‘Look how his face is shining. You’re going to be sending him home to God.’”
“And then you did it? After the little voice said that?”
Milagra’s face was shining too but it looked as if she was lit up by a spotlight from the inside rather than streetlights on the outside. “I saw his face shining and I felt the power of God in my body as I lifted the shovel and I brought it down with all the strength of God. Then I saw his head sitting on the blade of the shovel and he looked like John the Baptist and I knew he was with God.” She took another sip of coffee.
“That’s a good story, Milagra, but I wouldn’t count on God being too happy with you,” Josh said. “Forgiving sin is one thing but I’ve never heard of him looking kindly on failure.” Milagra’s eyes widened and Clement thought she looked upset for the first time since she’d begun relating what happened. “Yeah. You see, you didn’t do what God asked you to do. You didn’t cut off Aaron Whittaker’s head. We talked to the coroner and he told us the spine wasn’t severed. You have to slice all the way through the spine for it to count as decapitation.”
“I did what God commanded! He told me to kill Aaron and I did.”
“Whether you killed him or whether you didn’t is something a judge is going to have to decide. Aaron Whittaker wasn’t ignoring you; He was in a diabetic coma. If you’d called 911 and gotten some people in here to help him there’s a good chance we’d be celebrating you as some kind of a hero right now. You might even get a city holiday with your name on it.”
“No! I cut off his head with a shovel!”
“No. I’m not sure whether I should say ‘I’m sorry to tell you’ but the fact is you didn’t. In order to cut all the way through the spine you’d have to be a lot stronger or a lot crazier than you are and maybe both. You haven’t saved Mr. Gomez any trouble either.” Milagra threw the coffee at Josh and put her hands over her face. “We’ll be looking into whether or not he knew you planned to kill Aaron Whittaker and if he was involved in your unnecessary mission to save his job. He may not lose any contracts he already has but I’m guessing it will be hard for him to get any new ones.”
Milagra wrapped her arms around herself and started rocking on the chair. “Oh, Mr. Gomez. Mr. Gomez, I’m so sorry. Oh, Mr. Gomez.”

25
Jan
10

Lucilla’s Lament

The ancient philosopher’s wife
Said, “This is no kind of a life.
Love potion from a crone
And I’m still here alone
Since Lucretius fell on his knife.”

21
Jan
10

Promised Land Blues

I was born one Sunday morning with a Bible in my hand
I was born one Sunday morning with a Bible in my hand
I was born one Sunday morning with a Bible in my hand
And the preacher told my mama, “He’ll lead us to the Promised Land.”

Oh my daddy died one Friday with a shotgun in his hand
My daddy died one Friday with a shotgun in his hand
Yes my daddy died one Friday with a shotgun in his hand
And the preacher told my mama, “There dies a wasted man.”

When I moved North to the city, Ma was crying on the stairs
When I moved North to the city, Ma was crying on the stairs
When I moved North to the city, my ma was crying on the stairs
I said, “Mama, stop your weeping cuz there’s a better life up there.”

Since I been here in the city I’ve found sorrow, I’ve found pain
Since I been here in the city oh I cannot stop the pain
Since I been here in the city I’ve found sorrow, I’ve found pain
If I could trade my pride for dollars, I’d be in Mama’s arms again

Nearly down to one last dollar and there’s a question in my head
Nearly down to one last dollar and there’s a question in my head
I’m almost down to one last dollar and there’s a question in my head
Should I buy that silky shotgun or a moldy loaf of bread?

Mama, please forgive me for what I’m about to do
Mama, please forgive me for what I’m about to do
Mama, please forgive me for what I’m about to do
But I think I see my daddy and he’s come to lead me through.

Jesus, do you hear me? Answer if you can
Sweet Jesus, do you hear me? Answer if you can
Jesus! Do you hear me? Come on, answer if you can
How was I to lead my people when there ain’t no Promised Land?

05
Jan
10

Awkwardness

Dark-haired man in a faded coat
Stood in front of the liquor store,
Glanced up and down the sidewalk, wiped
Moist hands on the back of his jeans.
He looked in through the glass to see
Who’s working behind the counter.
He hopes it’s not Lisa; she’ll know
He’s been in three times this week so
Far and after all there’s only
So much Crunch ‘N’ Munch a man can
Eat without feeling very sick.
Finally he rolled his shoulders,
Pushed open the door and slid in.

The dark-haired man in the tan coat
So busy making sure the coast
Was clear, street around him empty
Never saw me sitting in the
Drive-thru lane at the bank, signing
The back of a check in pencil.
Dropping my card between the door
Of the car and the ATM,
Reaching for it, I bumped my head.
Sweating, I glanced round to make sure
No one had seen me. Just that odd
Man. With a firm grip on the card,
I closed the door and slid it in.