Dance Around

Dance Around

Same steps

Count 1234

Take your space across the floor

Turn back

Count 5678

Position around intake inflate

We’ve learned the choreography

Lines and turns

Cross and counter

Point and yearn

To express this mess

Contract then confess

Drag the trunk of costumes

Upstage

Away from the gaze

Of the

Why aren’t you watching me?

I didn’t spot,

I scuffed

Raked and padded

Weak arms, rebuffed

Front and back

Down and up

In and out

And we keep

Dancing

Around

Afraid to make a sound

To miss a beat

Spook the moment

Lose what we found

The flowers at curtain

don’t last long

New prima

you dream of

stretching

like new tights

Trade your shoes

but save your taps.

Sounds get better

even evaporated

Applause

Fills memories

Dancing?

Or waiting for the next one…

Question the Current

Question.

Beaten about and beset on all sides and wondering why.

Do I even remember jumping in the water?

Your choice.

You live with them.

I scream this to myself every day

I perpetually compare. Why can’t I be better. (I’m not)

Why can’t I be thinner? ( I love cake)

Why can’t I play guitar? (I don’t have enough time to practice)

Why aren’t I acting? (I don’t have enough time to act. And maybe I’m not that good.)

Why don’t I have my next book done already? ( I don’t have enough time to write)

Why don’t I have support? (I don’t have enough time for friends. And I’m an anxious wreck)

Why am I a single mom? (I’m too much and not enough and self-pitying and he left me for someone better)

Why am I unlovable? (Can anyone love a rose bush? A rose, yes, elegant. Silken. Beautiful. But not the bush. Try to hug a rose bush? You’ll end the night bleeding.)

See. I don’t just have questions. I have answers too.

Yes. Hyperbolic and exaggerated and defeatist answers. Answers that take away my agency and put blame somewhere else where it less painful. Bullshit answers.

But do I have choices?

In some sense yes. We all do.

Can we choose to murder the asshole neighbor? Sure. That choice means prison. In that scenario you can’t complain behind bars, asking why. You have the answer.

I guess I made my choices.

Would be so much easier if there was a god or a fate that called this down. Then it wouldn’t be my fault.

But it is my fault.

And I don’t know how to fix it.

Bloodied my knuckles against the wall I built

And then mourn the loss when I lose the fingers from the infected I dragged through the skin.

I’m living with choices.

Most days, I can.

Some day, just seeing some else’s choice is crushing. The luxury of going out for a beer with a friend seems so unreasonable and unreachable that I might as well be coveting drinking youth syrup from a gondola in Atlantis.

How to stop?

Let the current take you?

Fuck that. I’m not drowning.

Fight against it?

I guess that’s what’s left.

Calling Down

Stop calling down floods.

Stop comparing.

Stop can’t.

Stop never.

Stop nobody.

Stop.

Okay.

Now what?

What do I put in all those places?

I’m fresh out of fine and can and yes,

Of support and coping.

Can’t take a healing bath

with broken plumbing.

There’s that can’t again.

It must be real and

Not in my head

With the rest of

The water pouring

From the valve.

Why does everything break at once?

I don’t believe in entangled

Anymore.

I love the rain

But I can’t call down anymore.

Dig It Out

The universe gifted me a gorgeous poem from Amanda Lovelace.

Gifted is my attempt at levity and positivity.

And not being so much of a face-down mess.

I was trolling Instagram and drowning in the thick, dirty seas of jealousy and I saw her post.

I love this poet.

I love her work. And her truth. And her anger.

Mostly her anger.

This one reached out and grabbed me.

It speaks about the truth of knowing that no one else can dig out our sadness.

I was hit in the heart with the proverbial blade of that spade.

My vision of that is that no one can take away what another person left behind. That rancid trash has been heaped, and it’s staying. No new neighbor is going to help haul that away. Your mess now.

Another take, is that can the same person return to the site where they dropped hurt and heaviness and take it away.

One they’ve left it, they’ve left it. Roots are set.

Their removal tools will never be as sharp and quick as their planting rig. Your mess now.

You need to fire up your own chain saw to tear that fucker out.

Dig it out

The shit and sadness left

Let them lease the land

Tender and toiled

Turned over and

Spread with shit

To make the hardest thick.

And now I play farmer?

I kill things that depend on the ground.

I don’t cultivate them.

So what do I do with

This stony fill?

Mound it intro a gravestone,

Leave it for dead?

Play house and

Put up a foundation?

Lug it around for days

And days

And days

Until you forget

What it was like to walk around

Without the weight of a corpse

In your soul?

I can’t recommend that.

Too fucking hard.

I’m old and my joints

will not oblige.

They won’t haul it away.

And you can’t take it with you.

So leave it.

Dig it out.

Make a messy, gnarly pile.

Let the maggots and the beetles

Have their day.

Dig it out.

Leave it there.

Don’t look at it again.

But take the shovel.

Are You Okay?

It’s the pricks you aren’t expecting that slide in the deepest and hurt the most. If only we could get a 1-2-3 and a chance to close our eyes before the shock.

What is it about the tangential kindness of a friend, or in tonight’s case, a stranger daring to ask,

“Are you okay?”

that results in an absolute torrent of tears?

It’s a fucked up concept. Left alone to our thoughts we can compose and keep the dangling, rabid parts from flinging off and clinging to the nearest sticking place. But the moment a human wants to interact, sharing the core connection of that humanness, the spackle crumbles off the form and the holes beneath are exposed.

But then, I wonder about the humanity of someone who asks those questions. I’m afraid people are not that compassionate and selfless. I look inside and I know I’m not. And then I wonder about the tarnish on my own soul because I ask, am I that jaded that I assume most people are usually not okay, so asking that seems redundant and sardonic?

That’s probably not true either.

I probably do think people are okay most of the time. I see them calm in public. Or laughing at a funny, unexpected turn instead of breaking down. I covet that like there’s a tip waiting for me at the end of the night if I do it well. I wonder, how do they do it? How are they okay? What’s the fucking secret?

There is no secret.

It’s not as entry-level as sharp end/blunt end. The people I stand beside on the sidewalk when I step away in a panic, are not complete messes or totally together.

Many of us are not okay and hanging on by a thread and hearing, “Are you okay?”, is the bolt undone that unleashes the mudslide of messy, dirty feelings.

No one like to be caught covered in messy, dirty feelings. They make you cold and wet and then the car is a wreck after the drive home.

What the fix? The plastic poncho and umbrella that keep us from getting splattered? Is it honesty? As simple as, “No, I’m not okay?”, and then sharing and sitting with that icky closeness. Or should we pretend it all way?

I don’t know.

Yes, lovely girl with the fantastic hair. I was not okay last night. Yes, you are compassionate beyond what my brain can wrap around for asking. I diverted and reverted and maneuvered away from me. In a surprising turn, having to convince you I was okay, when I wasn’t, actually nudged me into the direction of okay.

No one could have been more surprised.

I’m not great with surprises.

Now, I still had to keep my routine. Practicing gratefulness. Remembering non-comparison. Trying to self-affirm. All about as useful as they ever are.

But it gave me something else to think about for a while.

And that was okay.

Would Just

Thinking a lot about not fitting.

In place.

In arms.

In hearts.

How we say we’ll be happy if we “would just” …

We lose so much light in the cave of

would

just.

Would Just

You are

You would be

So perfect

If you would just

Adjust the smallest

Turn of your phrase

And the cut of your dress

Dress not for me

It’s for them

But so that I can see

See how much you could

Accomplish

Could if you would

Just attend

To the bends of

My will

Will you be available

Asking out of

Expectation

Not anticipation

Because the answer

Is no

Taking back you

For

I

Know already what I have to do

Who I need to be

Because that’s not on

Your list

Mind

So I persist

Me

And my heart

And my dreams

Fixed on our shelf

Because yourself

And your matter

Are what matters?

Time to scatter that

Shelf to the floor

Remind

I

Eyes to see and remember

The parts of me

that would

just

Make magic and

Absolution

Fulfill and

dissolution of fears

And defenses

Cause applause and

Reverence’s if you

I

Would just

Believe that

there isn’t perfect

If you would just

But there is beauty

And awe and

Spectacular love in

I

So if you

I

Would just

Trust

In me

That

Would

Just

Be

everything.

And I

I would just

Be

Perfect.

Drops

Traveling with family is soggy business.

It can refresh like spring shower. Urge forth blossoms and such.

More likely, it saturates.

The days drench you, and by nightfall, you’re ready to be wrung our because the weight of their water is so pervasive.

That’s horrible.

Yes.

I know.

I’m lucky.

I’m…

It’s ungrateful and selfish.

But it’s as real as the rain that keeps all of you in the room.

Because the stress of urban navigation and a morning of nostalgia and stairs wasn’t bonding enough.

Backwards, down into it,

With the teen who isn’t

And the grandmother who won’t.

In front but not in charge

SO GET OFF MY BACK!

Sorry.

I’m sorry.

Just…

I’ll figure it out.

Okay.

Wrong.

Let me try again.

Why won’t it stop raining?