Invisibility (Linda Looney)

I am an invisible person.

I’m sure you’ll disagree

But you’ve been well versed in

How to visualize me.

Maybe scorch-eye my belly

Disapprove my thickened thighs

Look down your nose at me ready

to allow me to be humanized

then possibly you’ll witness me

Become familiar and un-stigmatized

Spiritual Bath

Perfumed purification

anointed my skin

fragrant with absolution

My brethren

Blessed sisters;

Heart-bound lovers

Spirit-kin

My blood baptized

in the cistern of love

Forgiven to be human

The elation of redemption

damp against my brow

Dancing in broad circles

Breathless with abandon

the release of blissful beauty

That little girl

That little girl under the table

that little girl under the table

scratching at knees as a mosquito might

pestering annoyingly enough;

but she’s not.

that little girl under the table

she’s not grown out of it

because she never left (even though she did)

Once in anger, once bereft,

grafting failure to achieve

something withered from the roots

Blood, not her blood, embraced her

brought her Polaroids of family blessed

as blissed as deeply remembered it to be

created in Tunes of resonant harmonies

The only home she wasn’t

that little girl under the table

who begged for scraps of affection

but the dogs eat faster, less furiously,

less needy than

that little girl under the table.

Japanese Death Poems, II

Grief

One of the things I dislike about my time management skills is that I tend to attend to whatever coal is the hottest at the moment. Crisis in lane three, meltdown imminent! Wherever the smoke and mirrors of daily life are flashing the brightest, I find myself drawn to its spectacle.

And there sits the book. Judging me with not an ounce of its former tree self. I’ve caressed its pages more than the other many books on my shelves lately. It’s hard to concentrate when grief feels perpetual, even comfortable.

I experienced and mostly know what to expect with a normal bomb of grief. I understand that there is a loss of some sort, people get together and feel sad at the celebration of life, then, although time seems to stand still closest to the death/detonation, time continues to move forward whether we do or not.

I’ve been in grieving mode for what seems like decades, but lately, I’ve noticed a shift in how I deal with it. Maybe it’s because more people are experiencing the isolation, anxiety, anger, frustration, weariness, loneliness, and trauma that has punished my existence but now as more people are talking about it as the new normal, I got this.

I’m so familiar with grief’s handshake, that I, considering the pandemic, can only greet it from a social distance which means this is alien grief. This is not the grief I know. This isn’t that familiar.

Oddly, this feels like the moment I’ve been training for all my life. Because I know what it’s like to have your life ripped away because of an event beyond your control. I comprehend the feeling of “differentness” that suddenly sets you apart from everyone else by just enough to feel like an outsider. I really see the ones who think they’ve covered the gaping wounds sufficiently but the shock of life, like now, is just enough different to feel tragic. Almost like an imposition of force against one’s will.

These words aren’t meant to be analogous to any event in particular, but to demonstrate the way I’m hearing the quarantine be talked about regarding mental health. People are struggling to function by feeling the same things I feel every day. I’m hearing people feel hope slipping through their fingers like water. I know the depth of that well and yet I’ve never touched the bottom despite my efforts.

It hurts my heart to know how many that are talking about it are obfuscating the ones who won’t ever or don’t ever recognize the grief that comes from trauma, restriction of life, or the anxiety that comes from the fear that you may become ill among many others; the ones of the silent voice. I know for every voice that speaks, many tell the same stories in their hearts to their secret keepers.

I’m here. I see you. I feel you. You’re not alone. It will get better.

So, the book. I haven’t cracked it open, nor the other. I’ve been dealing with some pretty hefty events both positive and negative as well as inevitable. Things are, in my world, normal. I’m sorry. I’ll do my best. In fact, tonight I’ll bring it to bed with me and read.

Blueberry Pancakes

I love blueberry pancakes.

the ones my dad makes for me

when I get to spend the night.

They are emotions spread into 6″ rounds

with bubbly edges stained purple.

It’s how he tells me

“You mean so much to me.”

or

“I love you berry much.”

That’s not him, that’s me.

It’s the connection with a father

MY DAD that worked hard

so she wouldn’t have to.

It’s the flavor of buttered syrup

a modicum of sweet drizzled

over bruised blueberries

bubbling more

than some battered fruit

The stacks of his generous heart

tower over the platter

that he places on the table

solid, like him, dependable,

sturdy as stock he stands

I accept his gift as he tells a joke

with the punchline

strategically placed

in middle the middle

Diamond and Pearl

For only one as rare as this could be uniquely pure.

The diamond attended to the pearl

born magic in a mundane world

The truth made in error,

filled hearts with deep terror

As the sapphire dismantled the girl

The pearl cast herself before swine

which caused her to cross a line

Denying her birth

she refused her worth

She ran til she unhinged her mind

The diamond polished the pearl

comforted the horrified girl

No longer in error

soothed away terror

Returning her holy to the world.

These Are My People: Lorraine Couch

Lorraine the Warrior Queen, multi-media, canvas SOLD

Pull up a pew, step up to the pulpit

Church with Lorraine is true; no bullshit

She’ll dip you in baptismal waters

Correct our sons, respect our daughters

She a woman of God fearing faith

a warrior healer with a transcendent face

She kneels to no one and you’d better be true

Because she doesn’t care who you are

but she knows what you do.

TAMP Matthew (Seth) Fox

This young man died on January 6th of 2020. He was my "future husband" and as best friend to Matthew McBee, a true blue all the way. He was 24.
Matthew Caine (Seth) Fox

Your hair should be gray

when they lay you to rest

not dark on your brow

with a babe on your chest

What brings me awakened;

startled upright in the dark

‘Tis only the dawn becoming

on the lilt of morning larks

They promise a new day

frigid with winter’s chill

To rest you in the January earth

upon that hallowed hill