Thursday, April 19, 2012

No Luck at All

 (Picture found on Google Images)

At 17 we dated,
then we did not.
Why, when I had never loved like that?
We dated for a day at 24 or 25,
a day I did not want.
Sometimes I would get a rare visit
or call,
once a letter,
but I rebuffed again and again.
Then I married
a man from church
a man who was too attentive 
had sparkling eyes.
Ignoring what I knew in my heart and mind
until I needed something
I went to the counselor at church
in fear
I cannot remember what I told her.
She said she could not help
I needed someone with more education
more knowledge
a therapist,
Puzzled, I put that suggestion away.
He would never allow that.
More years drag me along
I was frantic
fear relentless
panic all around.
I found the therapist
and went.
She talked with me
the children
and interviewed him.
Puzzling because it was
not the kind of thing he would do
in his eyes there was 
never anything wrong
with him.
Always someone else's fault
at work
at church
the kids
but most often mine.
She talked with him for an hour
a full hour
then spoke with me the next week.
He was a sick man she said,
one who would never be well.
Diagnosis sociopath.
There was no hope for him
and frighteningly,
for me.
We could divorce
but I would never be free
she said
unless he found someone else
to victimize
or died.
What kind of luck was this?
I refused the only man I'd loved
married a man I thought was ok
because I met him at church
now trapped
till death do us part.
Trying planning
to get away
but never could work it out.
He watched so thoroughly
it was creepy and
I knew leaving was not safe
The man I loved at 17 found me.
I had been searching for him, too,
finally admitting to myself
the love had never died
He was married.
Another blow to the head and heart.
Luck? There is no such thing.
Death finally came
finding that man I'd married
lived under
been so afraid of
for more than 20 years
seated on the couch,
an empty shell.
I could not stop staring at the
gray skin
unseeing eyes
fearing he would sit up
and say
it was all a joke.
I stared through the police and paramedics
wanting medicine bottles
calling the morgue for me.
They were so kind
but did not understand.
Thinking I was in shock
they kept suggesting I go out of the room
until they were finished.
I went into the living room
where the kids were wondering what happens next
all of us finding it hard to believe
it was over.
Did my luck finally change?
No, I decided.
Luck is a myth.
My mistakes and decisions
inability to act on my own behalf,
a remnant of controlled childhood,
were the things responsible for the way
my life was.
No luck, nothing lucky.
It just was what it was.
Now, I was equipped by life
to make strong decisions.
Still fearful,
yes, terribly afraid,
learning to be free of his grip.
I am going forward

Something Under My Pillows

My bed, new, free of past pain
Cherry posts,
simple solid smooth
Black iron at head and foot
just enough of the feminine
yet simple strong
It is meant to frame art
creations in fabric and yarns
Today it is clothed in lilac sheets
lilac and cream on pillows
cream colored oh so soft blanket
Topped with a bit of art
crocheted in one huge square
colors from dark to heathers
a field of purples and lilacs
pinks and yellows hidden here and there
designed only as I worked
beginning to end.
(Sshhh! There is something
under my pillows of lilac and cream
there I save my dreams
and take them out sometimes
to look at them again
and remember how they feel.

Black and White

He is not what he seems.
sparkling eyes
that seem to smile and radiate
"It's great to see you."
No, that is not who he is
at all
not for a moment.

Honeymoon first morning
"You don't need your friends and family any more.
You have me now."

Six month anniversary
he awoke from a dream of
and punished me for it.

We walked in for our newborn son's
3 day checkup
A nurse's aide looked at my belly
rather than the newborn in my arms and asked
"When are you due?
Anger boiled over
with me for not being 107 pounds again
by the third day after delivering our child.

He came to me one night
looking puzzled
and said
"Your daughter is attracted to me."
I misunderstood.
She was 3 years old.
I explained a daughter craving
her father's love,
needing to know her value in his eyes.
That was not what he was saying.
Not really.
Had he been able to tell the truth
had he known what truth really was
he would not have dared to say
"I am sexually attracted to your baby girl."

Over the years he became more himself,
unable to hide from the family he held captive.
He watched us, criticized us, accused us
Yet in the evening
before bed
we all gathered in the living room
for Bible reading.
Here he continued to try to keep the mask up
saying to us in his commentaries
he was the godly one,
we needed his help and guidance
to keep us from hell.

In the car one day,
just the two of us on the way to the mall
he rained down curses on me,
curses he claimed came from God.
I was too afraid to cry.

His mind held two ways of living.
The lover of God
head of the family
friend to coworkers and church goers,
the dependable one
who could be trusted
called upon in times of trouble
Intelligent compassionate
but this was not him.

We knew the man who hated
twisted everyone's actions,
to show he was not the evil one
hated people of color or culture that varied from
what he knew was RIGHT.

We feared his anger
his braiding our words together
to get his own interpretation
he could see things we could not
of course.

We too then became among those who lived two lives
in an attempt to spare us punishment
for wrongs he imagined.
Mommy and happy children
while he was away at work
fooling others
until 4:00 came and our panic set in.
He would be home soon.
Clean up the toys and games
wash the dishes sweep the floor
to hide any love and happiness.
Fear begat anxiety
but the tension he came home to
comforted him.
We had the correct amount of respect
he felt he deserved.

The words of the therapist echoed in my head
and confirmed the hopelessness of our situation.
How to be rid of him?
There were only two ways.
He could find another woman with children
or he could die.

This was life with a sociopath.


I marvel at the color here.
Greens from pale to strong and dark
make this place peaceful for me.
Staghorn ferns with sturdy dark leaves
hang in baskets.
Pathos with creamy light green
almost white
swimming in a lake of cool greens.
A carpet of English ivy with its
dark green leaves
still has variations
newborn leaves with a yellow-green tinge
youngsters now shiny green
oldsters who dress in the darkest green-black robes.
I see what others don't.
This green place is a symphony of color and bearer of peace.

Christmas Gift (PAD Prompt)

I'd taken a nap in late afternoon
to escape
because you'd come in to cook your Christmas dinner.
I slept a few hours
deep dreamless sleep
When I woke I could smell chicken
cooked to long.
Not wanting to, I got out of bed
turned off the oven, looked at the clock.
You must have fallen asleep, so dinner was put away
for whenever you would wake.
There was evening,
and there was morning,
the last day.

Morning, I got up and looked in the kitchen
You'd not been in.
You must not be feeling well. I sighed.
I'd better go out and check if you need anything.
Put on shoes, go out the back door, walk through
the beautiful snow to your apartment.
Amazing snow, so heavy, peaceful, it felt good.
I saw him sitting on the couch
diet coke in hand, remote on his lap,
absent eyes staring at nothing.
Back through the fresh snow
walking in my own footprints
up the back steps
into the house.
Kids 20 and 21 looking at me.
Dad's dead.
Called 911.
Called one son staying over in the next city.
His reply,
"Well, it's over."
Yes, it's over for us
and beginning for us.
What do we do with this new life handed us
this new beginning
this life without terror?
Looking through the phone book,
I chose a funeral home.
There was evening
and there was morning,
the first day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treasures (PAD Prompt)

Under your bed I found
your treasure box.
I sat on the floor
opened the lid to this once cigar box
and for a while
just stared.
All jumbled remembrances like jewels
shone back at me.
Your Batman mask was
most obvious because it took so much room
and lay like a blanket
over other gems that could only peak out
at the light of day.
I remember when you were Batman,
running through the house with your over-sized flashlight,
the cape I made for you,
and of course
Batman Underoos.
I picked up the worn mask and saw the elastic strap
on one side had no silver-colored metal piece that once held
strap to mask.
The mask was more pliable than it should have been, but
you loved it so I was surprised it was not in shreds.
I put the mask down next to me, and reached in for
another treasure of childhood.
A popped green balloon, string still tied tightly.
It had a faded picture of Cookie Monster holding his
ever-present chocolate chip cookie, his food of choice
before they started making Cookie Monster eat broccoli.
This treasure box held jacks and a bouncy ball
of multi-colored stripes.
The jacks, there were only three.
There was a band aid, used, that said "Ouch!"
something he was given by the nurse in the ER
when he slashed open his knee
falling off his first two-wheeler.
There were pennies, twelve of them,
darkened and rough edged,
pennies he'd discovered while out on
pirate adventures looking for gold.
Last of all I picked up the button to
his Oshkosh overalls,
the metal buttons that were at the bib,
the buttons the overall straps attached to.
There is no mistaking those buttons,
the ones that say "Oshkosh B'gosh."
But now he is grown,
my only babe, and his room is empty
except for this treasure in a cigar box.
I put them all back inside and
slid it back under the bed,
where it belonged,
and got back to my dusting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doomsday (PAD Prompt)

It's coming.
I can feel it in the air.
Come quickly!
People fear, they live with terror
confusion reigns in their minds.
The L-rd gives strength to His people;
the L-rd blesses His people with peace.
Turmoil is everywhere,
everywhere, signs in
the skies
earth shaken
seas tremble
animals creep into places they should not be
many many die
Storms great and terrible storms
lightening flashes again and again
while thunder roars like a lion.
Waters dry up
they flood
are poisoned
fish float to the top
from some unknown assailant.
The L-rd is the great G-d,
the great King above all gods.
In His hands are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain tops belong to Him.
Planes crash into buildings
Cars and trucks run through walls
and stall in living rooms bedrooms
A night of drinking brings a car full of teens
to speeding crashing flying into the air
landing submerged in waters below.
Freak accident, they say,
but they know.
It's not right.
Something is wrong.
But You are a shield around me,
O L-rd;
You bestow glory upon me and lift up my head...
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the L-rd sustains me.
The world is in ruins
and most don't look up to see
the signs
that doomsday is coming
They take no thought to great salaries for themselves,
yet get rid of people who have served them for years.
It can't be helped,
they rationalize.
We need to make cutbacks
for the sake of the company.
But the people,
the people who worked and spent
can now only worry
about bills
losing their home
what they will eat.
Everything is backwards.
Destruction is coming,
it has been earned.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your Name
may rejoice in You.
The sun explodes with flares and storms
causing disruption
Things in the atmosphere are destroyed
and the sun burns through
causing searing heat
skin too hot and red
cancers spreading from skin to inner organs
causing disfigurement
Mountains throw off their peaks to release
boiling lava that melts or spreads fire to all it touches.
The earth shakes and quivers more,
stronger, and does not stop.
Pictures fall from the walls
glass breaks
splinters get in your feet.
The thief does not care to find a home that is empty
any longer.
Convinced he will never be found,
taking advantage of the fear that pervades every waking moment
he comes in and does as he wishes,
but don't blink or shiver with I am afraid,
or he will shoot you, knife you, tie you up to be tortured to death.
These words are trustworthy and true.
The L-rd, the G-d of the spirits of the prophets
sent His angel to show His servants the things that must take place soon.

Behold, I am coming soon!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
Yes, I am coming soon.

(Scripture used, in order:

Psalm 29:11
Psalm 95:3-4
Psalm 3:3-4
Psalm 5:11
Revelation 22:6
Revelation 22:12, 20


How I loved, love you both
Sand box in the dining room 
because we had no yard
Such good little ones
you never threw sand
or carelessly made a mess
sweeping up after play
took only a moment
ridding the floor of sand
that hitched a ride on your feet.

Walks to the park
where play included
a prelude
each of you walking
atop the stone wall
one teetering bravely
the other needing my hand
for courage

Then we played
pushing you in the swings
Higher, mommy!
Waiting at the bottom of the slide
sometimes catching you
hands around your waist
I grinned
you giggled and laughed
then ran around to the ladder
to go up down up down up down.

Next station, the climbing place
with platforms
becoming your lookout
a fort
a place where the wind blew at your hair
golden hair red curls
"I am on top of the world!"
each of you shouted
and the wind made your cheeks pink. 

Tanka Challenge 1

Spring flowers color
a brittle winter burned world
with colors ablaze.
Awake! The sun is calling
us: Arise with the flowers.

The Bonding

The first time I saw you
oh, you were so tiny
a petite little boy
wet hair plastered to your head
eyes closed tightly
startle response times ten.
You did not like this new
bright world where nothing held you securely.
They whisked you away
as they did then
I had not even touched you yet.

Later, in my room
clean and prettied up
she brought you to me
rolling you down the hall
around a corner
into my room
and parked you just out of my reach.
Once she left
I got out of bed
walked straight to you
my little one.
Reaching in to pick you up
I held you close
Your fussing stopped
as you felt my heartbeat
heard my voice
and felt secure in my arms.
It was then I loved you
relaxed finally
as you fell asleep. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Season of Healing (PAD Prompt)

I have come
to a place where
my threat no longer lives.
He is gone.
Forever gone,
ashes buried in the earth.

Still I find
I feel fear
washing over me
threatening to drown
waves surfers wait for
as challenge of their ability.

Depression so dark
it is impossible to see anything
in front of me
and I struggle between
living with it
accepting what he is still
doing to me
even in death
or looking up
toward the peak
seeking hand and toe holds
no matter how small
to grip on
my way back.

I decide to look up
even in the midst of a moonless night
and I reach
feeling for that small but strong
ledge to grab onto
and a toe hold
where I can dig my toes in
and push pull my way up
out of his death grip
moving slowly
with a goal in sight:
the peak of the mountain.

It is an almost impossible climb
from hell's depths
to this season of healing.
I will make it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


My mom is getting the finishing touches done--"Have you all gone to the bathroom?" "Stand still!" "Put your boots on first, then your mittens." The three of us, the sisters, tromp tromp tromp out the front door, across the porch, and out the screen door. "Don't slam the door!" shouts mom. After mom closes the door, I gaze out, my eyes gulping everything in. I love the bright sparkles the sun makes on the new snowfall. Trees are wearing coats, the car is under a thick hat. With such a wonderland, how could I feel any cold?

We tromp, tromp, tromp through the snow, lifting knees high. We work on a snow man, but can't find sticks for arms or anything for eyes. He remains faceless, and has no arms. Snowballs. Cold, cold. My cheeks feel hot. I know they are red. Mittens are soaked now. Time to go in. In the screen door. "Don't slam the door!" shouts mom. Tromp tromp tromp across the porch, stopping at the front door. We are taking off wet mittens and hats, coats and scarfs, sweaters and the loathed snow pants, boots and shoes that are never protected quite enough. We go inside and mom has made us hot cocoa. Not hot chocolate. Hot cocoa. I hate hot cocoa.

New morning, and new snow has buried the old. We stumble out of bed. "Where is the snow shovel?" dad asked. "I don't know," we all say. "Get dressed, go out in the back yard, and find it.  Now." His stern voice leads us to obey.  No questions, no resistance.  This morning the snow has no sparkles.  We walk past the snow man, and soundlessly, with dead eyes, drag, drag our feet until someone's boot bumps it, and we can go in for breakfast.


Crepe myrtles in full bloom
petals falling
bark peeling drifting to the ground
where they crunch loudly
pleasantly beneath my feet

young shoots from the foot of the trees
grow no matter the searing sun or
lack of drink


You turned my wailing into dancing; 
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
(Psalm 30:11)

There are still things that struggle within me,
battles going round, round tumbling in my head.
Reminders in places I used to go
now anxiety causing
panic inducing
until I quickly shut down and say
I will not go there again,
it is better to stay a prisoner

Holy places that should bring comfort
are good for a moment
but my mind has not forgotten terror
of what happened while I was
absent from my watch.
I leave too quickly 
still wanting to be
allowed to stay.

Music I heard in times ago still bring
sadness joy memories 
my tapping foot
turns into a nervous agitation 
too much
too much to bear
the changes I cannot get past.

But G-d said I am mighty.
Mighty strength is in me
it will not let me
succumb to the apprehension that threatens
an uprising in my heart mind soul.
I will dance in place of crying
sing rather than fear
and walk, purposefully, one foot in front of the other
slowly making my way forward.
Battle causing 
fear creating 
paralyzing monster:

I will arise.

Hurricane (PAD Prompt)

I kept watch at my bedroom window, looking for signs of wind strength.
The old trees in the park across the street
with their 100 year old
thick trunks limbs
deep roots
will not bend.
Strong winds could break them.
Please don't let them break I whispered.
They are too regal to let them break.
In front and to the side of the house is
a birch tree
with green-yellow leaves
white peeling bark
young and slender.
I watch, waiting to see how far it bends.

Thunder lightening wind rain
all splatter against my window.
It grows darker darker
clouds cannot be picked out in the sky
where everything is gray.
Electrical wires sway violently
the birch begins to bow
lower lower
branches sweep the ground
leaves fly away
dancing in the air
pushed along
sticking to my porch roof
the street below
the windows of the house next door.
The wind is angry now
beating the birch
hoping for submission
but the birch only bows,
takes a breath,
and stands up again.

Unusual (PAD Prompt)

Walking in the park one afternoon
photographing the trees
with thick branches that
raise their curving arms
appearing to dance
twirling in the sun,
worshiping the creator.
I happened to glance down
and saw something
roots long, thick, gnarled
snaking under, above, under
the ground.
These amazing roots, in places above ground
had giant knots
and hollows with rims
that held
fallen leaves.
I spend time capturing these
with my camera
and wonder
which ones will I frame
to add to my collection of
how I see beauty.