Damaged Goods

When winter blows in

My mind flies south

Predators got to me early

Forming my pliable brain

I apparently didn’t get herpes or HIV

Though I just as easily could have

All those naked penises were guns loaded with bullets I couldn’t see: viruses, bacteria and potential pregnancy

I am thankful for my good luck

When I rub one out

I get my rocks off from the perspective of my almost-rapists

Not my actually rapists

But the ones who backed away in time

My youth brought both lure and protection

The ideal never meets the real

Hold on to your ideals, your fantasies of how great life could be

We all hunger for more

I pick up what is left of my ravaged flesh and carry on

They left me alive so far, perhaps to feast on me again

I strengthen and heal

Yet still I feel damaged

The burnt tree stands tall despite it all

It wears its charred scar well

The wound is a part of its heart which keeps beating

In tune with the heartbeat of the earth, and the heartbeat of the past, present and future trees

I settle into the rhythm

Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.

Guys I’ve Dated

I’ve dated guys whose eyes watered from the burn of undiluted wasabi

Thinking they were Japanese cuisine purists, they were only fooling themselves

He judged others for cutting off their chi from wearing their socks too tight while his own panties were in a bunch

He took me to a restaurant where the jazz was so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves

He didn’t intend to listen to me anyway, I found out later that night

I’ve dated guys I could only wash down with an unhealthy amount of alcohol

Guys who made gourmet meals taste bland with their predatory presence

I’ve dated guys who tried to shame and control me

They must feel so ashamed and out of control themselves

I was never into that scene

I’ve dated guys who believed their suffering was unique, artists who didn’t want to feel understood

I’ve dated guys who made me feel special for a time, until I realized that they only wanted me to make them feel special

They didn’t see me as a person, but a tool to be used, an addiction to leave them unsatisfied

I’ve dated guys who drank too much and called out for me in the middle of the night like a babe to its mother

Like a mother to a babe, I gave them my teat

The narcissistic and manipulative, the accusatory and dramatic

Guys who implied suicide if I ever left their side, yet somehow they are still living

Guys who stalked me and threatened me with their bodies

I prayed for boundaries

My man isn’t like those other guys

But he wants to know how many, and why

All I can do is bask in relief and sigh

Grateful, deeply grateful

One Hungry Mama

One hungry mama searches for food to feed her llama

One hungry mama doesn’t want to stir up drama

One hungry mama is well acquainted with the inverse relationship between generosity and riches

One hungry mama provides an elite service for the rich, but without pay

Don’t they know that everyday I work without pay, I drain what I have saved?

They know that I have my first baby on the way, they comment on my belly sway

For all their learnedness, don’t they know how to treat a human decently?

For all their pretending to care, don’t they care at all?

Every lowly job I worked before this one paid me in some way, even when I was being trained

One hungry mama couldn’t help but wonder if she might get paid if she wasn’t pregnant, or if she were a man

Avoiding paying me while working just to avoid paying me while I’m on maternity leave is a double-dick move, she couldn’t help but feel

One hungry mama has needs that are real

I don’t need much, but I need something to keep my family financially afloat

My man works, but he doesn’t save or provide for his family

Money drains out of his hands faster than it comes in, that is the way it has always been- he gives hefty donations each week to the church and those who ask him for help

Yet when I ask him how our own family will survive, he simply says, ‘God will provide’

I love him anyway, as irate as it makes me to witness his lifelong commitment to impoverishing himself unnecessarily

One hungry mama doesn’t know what to do, torn between the ideal of the quality of work she wants to deliver and the real quantity of money she needs to feel respected and to survive in this modern life

One hungry mama has trouble sleeping at night

Pressure piles on her, she is fixing to pop

One hungry mama wonders when her hunger will stop

One hungry mama considers taking on another job, even though her time and energy it will rob, even though the work is taxing and without break

One hungry mama waits for the light of day

Whiskey Cowgirl

We were two whiskey cowgirls in the concrete desert

We had cowgirl hats, boots and southern drawls, but what I remember most is the whiskey

She introduced me to that now-familiar burn

I shot it back like I was born with a bottle in my hand, playing it cool as my esophagus was scalded

I later came to understand the influence of my genetics (coming from a long line of alcoholics) and my environment (growing up around drinkers- it was the norm)

We left our small towns for the big city when we were young and pretty. I was 18 and she was 19 when we met.

She put me on a first-name basis with the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Jim Beam, John Jameson, Johnnie Walker, and Jack Daniel

We were fresh as we poisoned our flesh on the brink of young adulthood

We were roommates in a poor neighborhood, clawing our way toward a better life through education as we strived to save the world along the way. We thought we were so clever.

She recognized in me what can only be known through personal experience; the effects of childhood abuse and neglect

She likely survived worse, although trauma is immeasurable

We never talked about it outright, but I reckon all that booze was our way of drowning out the pain, an ineffective anesthetic and amnesic.

I didn’t know that instead of filling the howling depths within us, we were only digging them deeper with each drink

Years passed. We used to share a bed, and now there is a continent between us.

When I speak with her, she is drinking still. She has transitioned from whiskey chased with cheap beer to fine wine, has her life in line with a successful career, loving husband and bright children, however I fear she is slowly drowning herself with the same toxic habit born of the same pain- the gaping wound of childhood

She will always be my older sister, though I walk my own path and see my own way

I wish healing for her and for all beings today

A Woman in Time

Instead of dying my hair, I changed my mind

Instead of combatting aging lines, I smiled wide

Instead of manicures, I dug in deep

Instead of pedicures, I danced with my feet

Instead of starving myself to stay slim, I gratefully ate what was given

I had more than enough love in my life without looking for a date

Instead of accessorizing, I simplified

I am one woman, trying to live right

Winter Love

In the soft glow of winter

Through the bare branches

Out of the fading sky

A vision of my love appears

The first blossom of Spring

Winter to winter, the various faces of love change

This one has a spark in their eye

This one has strong hands

This one, this one

My love changes

The trees remain frozen in their dance

Kindly yielding to me a glance

Of my love

Crime Scene

I return to the scene of the crime

Where foolishly I thought you were mine

You stole my heart, or rather, I surrendered it to you easily

Wish I knew how to take it back for me

Blame it on your James Dean looks and intoxicating pheromones

Restlessly waiting for your love, I became a rolling stone

Slowly, slowly I accepted the reality that you would never be mine

Now I see that it was all for the best

I grew tired of singing the heartbreak blues

Frozen in time, you were a perfect statue

I see the blood on my hands, and realize it is mine

I broke my own heart, and I healed it

Thank you for the role you played on my sacred healing journey

Green

May there be peace in this world as a result of peace in my heart

May the divine in you be victorious

Whatever your day was, bless it and let out a sigh

Nourish yourself first

Take off the headphones of what others are saying

No one will treat you as well as you treat yourself

You were born to heal yourself

I was not born into this life to suffer, I was born to experience bliss

While winter reigns the earth reposes but these colorless green ideas sleep furiously