Sometimes Maybe

Sometimes I want to be a kite

Ripped and tugged by wind’s whim

Rising above spectators

Admired for my brightly colored dips

That write nonsensical whispers

Of promises made to a forever not witnessed

Sometimes I wish I were a bear

Raw with raking power paws

With heavy duty claws that help me eat

People I don’t like or those who disturb me.

Sometimes I wish I were a siren

One that rests on rocks singing sweetly

Lulling sailors to their doom upon my rocks

Jutting breasts and flirty hair calling to boys

“Beware! Beware!”

Sometimes I’m glad to be me

A chubby tubby funny woman with dimple cheeks

Cracking open frozen hearts, not of ice

But stuck in places not so nice

Places that don’t remember their worth

Burying their beings without much mirth.

Running Rampant

There is a degradation of masks piled up in the middle of society’s living room floor. The pink elephant with polka-dots has begun the erotic dance of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” It’s such a beautifully awful dance played out with vicious words typed with anger and a seemingly absolute belief that the brilliant slice taken from a “Libtard/Wingnuts” dignity will most certainly have them eating crow and begging for forgiveness.

This deeply ingrained battle to be right has caused discourse on every level from global down to the familial microcosm. It has pushed down buttons of justice, conscience, defense/attack, personal rights and freedoms for many politically minded adults.

This rhetoric presents itself as friendly fire but is subtly far more bombastic. It is meant to disrupt unity. It is created with both sides seeing the same information but with their preferred “AMEN” spin attached.  It has created a sense of terror, injustice, righteous indignation, and cries of prosecution from every participant.

When the weight of Donald’s election settled into my brain, I admit, I was convinced we’d reached the epitome of desperation. I lamented to my friend, through ugly sobs and heavy snot, that I didn’t believe I’d make it out of this administration alive. The cruelty I heard through soundbites on national news caused such a feeling of anxiety because, although my father died in March of 2016, the alt-right had just, essentially, elected my father to run the country.

How can a dead man be elected?

My sperm donor was the kind of man who took great delight in making other people uncomfortable. It was his passion to destroy anything or anyone that said they loved him. His fragile ego, narcissistic personality, abusive behavior, as well as his habit of gas-lighting others while never once taking responsibility for his actions or their consequences made Donald identical.

The rawness of that realization is so potent that two years later, I am still broken wide open with my muscles dried to jerky. I look like an anatomy book that shows nothing but muscle without skin to hide the innards. Each nerve screams in a constant high pitch because there is no relief. It hasn’t stopped. It will continue until he is no longer in power.

I can only read the news a little bit before I have to put it down and walk away. Many times I’m finding myself going for days without checking anything out that I normally would because the injury to my sense of decency is brutal, bloody, and truthfully, exhausting. With this administration, it’s been like living with an abusive relative that you can’t escape from, despite futile efforts.

The only people who do not seem to see this are, I suspect, so used to being abused that this is their normal. They’re used to everything Donald does from lying to name calling, finger pointing to shifting blame. They believe because the alternative would mean they put their faith in the hands of a psychopath which is totally unacceptable.

They honestly believe the lie that he will build the wall, that we won’t pay for it (and even if we do, Mexico will pay us back), that he is an anointed of God, that he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.

It is my further hypothesis that the people who are so vehemently protesting are people that have been in abusive relationships and have either left or minimally recognized they are in danger. They see all the red flags that have been run up the flagpole (but only to half mast because…guns). They understand that if this is allowed to continue, someone is going to end up dead, which further means it will be themselves or someone they love. Theses are the people who are taking to the streets and rampaging wrathfully for justice to be served.

I wake up each day wondering if today will be the day the world ends. I wonder if the people I love, both Veteran and not, will be able to continue the care they get through government programs. I’m deeply concerned about my brothers and sisters with more melanin and whether they are going to survive the onslaught of violence which has escalated since the induction of white supremacist Donald Trump into the White House. I worry also about the LGBTQ community with Donald Trump’s cronies running around threatening imminent bathroom attacks by trans people or conversion of youth to being gay because they were raised in loving homes with same gender parents.

The focus is completely egotistical to the point that the news cycles barely touch on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Children, women, men, entire communities are starving to death. There is nothing left to eat. The death toll is rising.

Russia is making power plays that are starting wars with their neighbors in the Ukraine. It’s a vicious game of cat and mouse that is being willfully and freely condoned by this administration.

Murdered American citizens by foreign royalty are dismissed as no big deal because there is profit to be made. What’s one life when billions of dollars could line the pockets of the ultra-rich? Life holds no value which, in turn, means none of us matters in the least to Donald. Unless we bring profit, he has no interest in keeping any of us alive.

What’s even more twisted to me, is that Donald’s “Amen corner” seem to agree. They stand behind him as if they are in awe of his boldness while they whole time their hands are held out for more money. It’s a disturbing trend which has been around probably since politics were invented. It’s shameful pandering to the deepest pockets.

I don’t have the answers to how this could possibly be solved unless we can reset the last save and start back in 2015 again before this insanity became the reality TV of real life. When I was a young child, I was proud to be an American. I was proud that this country stood for justice around the world. Now, my shame for what we’ve become as a society makes my head hang like Ol’ Glory, at half-mast. I do not know this Republic that I once loved so dearly. I truly wish she were the Land that I Love once more.

 

 

Revision

Rolling down the road before

Been there, done that, know the score

Crossed that bridge, then burned it down

Trapped myself in my hometown

Ghosts of me walk laughing by

Anger driven, cocaine high

I barely know the face of then

But I wear them as my diadem

Broken heart lay broken wide

Spilling love from what’s inside

Trains of childhood sing forlorn

Don’t chase those tracks. Don’t heed those horns.

The Tender Heart

A tender heart gives love like breath

like clinging to a mother’s breast

flowing freely falling fast

love is born to last

too last

But also is the bite of death

that cracks the shine of granted health

broken hearts are staples

for those that are truly able

to give

to love

to be

all in without fear

regret only for not having more time

but loving while remaining blind

to the inevitable end

“Be Safe”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I want to be safe in the sense that I don’t get shot in my house. I want to be safe in the sense that when I walk down my streets at night with my little dog, waiting on her to do her “business”, I’m not going to be attacked. I want to be safe enough that when I follow the road rules, I don’t get in an accident because others also want to be safe, or rather, unharmed.

But there is a part of me that doesn’t want to be safe. Being safe takes a chunk away from the loudness of life. It reduces the voices of exuberant laughter to polite chuckles. It sucks the genuine grief from our deepest fears and distills it into quiet murmuring condolences. It shatters the adventure of stepping one foot outside of your comfort zone by giving the illusion of safety.

But safety, like everything, is an illusion. It’s not real. It surprises us because we expect things to be the same. We expect to wake up, go about our day without incident, return home, eat the same meal we did last week, watch regurgitated shows with different characters but the same stories, and go to bed at the same time. It’s our expectation of safety that, pardon my french, fucks us up.

Chaos and change are the way of the world. If we could control any of it, we’d be reasonable in our expectations, but we do not. We can do our best not to contribute, by following the rules, obeying laws, keeping an eye out for ne’er-do-wells, but being safe is a lie we tell ourselves so we can live with minimal fear.

My Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Dave are driving a different route back from their vacation in Maine. It has places for them to stop that they’ve never been before which means the potential for a fantastic adventure. But in the commentary on their shared pictures, there were all the comments from a variety of people telling them to, “Be safe.” The comments are made with love and not as admonitions, mind you. They are meant with the best of intentions. But I don’t think I’ll wish them the same.

I wish them to be unharmed but in no way to be safe. I want them to have the adventure they’re hoping for on the new route. I want them to have experiences that will give them the best adventure with minimal difficulty. I want them to see things so spectacular it takes their breath away because they chose to stop somewhere they wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. I want them to experience every drop of grandness in the views, every bliss to be had floating on the breeze. I want them to taste the rain as if it were their first time. To have Ruby show them the newborn idea of life heroic in a way that brings them fits of delight. But, I do not wish them to “be safe”.

Victory at Home

I was standing on Fulton street waiting for the Number 15 to take me to the corner near my home. The wind was brisk with an occasional chill, but the lifting of the hood of my sweatshirt over my head blocked most of it. This particular stop homes three buses headed out and about town. It feels quite familiar as all three round the corner coming out of the transfer station down by Van Andel Arena. I switch feet. I look across to Veteran’s Park where I danced with wild abandon at a Thursday night drum circle held after the Jazz concert at Ah-Nab-Awen park. The Main Library is behind that. I spent hours of research in those rooms. Everything I was looking at seemed familiar, but with a dream-like quality.

I came to the conclusion that I was but a drop in the puddle in their eyes, but in mine, I was so much bigger.

When I moved away from West Michigan in 1989, I had no idea who I was; broken, discouraged, full of lamentations. I had no direction or purpose. I molded myself into the ideals that I believed I was supposed to be. I became a fair wife, a devout church goer, a preacher of God’s love, a model citizen in every way. I provided Christmas for impoverished children, took them on camping trips, advocated for their protection always seeking approval from outside sources. I was miserable.

After the loss of Jordan, I began rethinking my life and the choices that had brought me to a point where I could no longer stay. My marriage was a disaster, my friends were there but they were all much younger than I so their freedoms were different. I still had no idea who I was or what I wanted to be or do. At 25 years old, I decided to find out who that woman looking back at me in the mirror was. I left everything behind. I cut ties with family, friends, acquaintances, and moved back to a small studio apartment in Kentwood. I married again but it crumbled basically from day one. I moved around the country for about a year, using Greyhound as my means of travel.

By the time I ended up in Arizona I was a disaster. I married for a third time. I found a group of friends that, for the first time, not only saw me for who I am, but encouraged me to be everything I was meant to be. I felt like a toddler whose parents delight in the antics of the little one, but at the same time, I was an adult. I radiated humor and enthusiasm. I decided I was strong enough to move, so I did. I moved across the country again to Tennessee where I lived with my father for a brief time. He was a miserable human being that rejected me just as fast as he embraced me. It was constant mixed messages from him which led to uncertainty and instability.

I found God living in a little church tucked away behind a natural shade of trees. I was told to go there and I’m glad I obeyed. It was like coming home. It was the first group of collective people that not only appreciated my wildness, but saught me out for companionship, help, and entertainment. I imagine it’s what being a rockstar feels like. What’s even cooler is that I adored every one of them right back. I couldn’t help it. I’d waited my whole life to know what it was to be me. I learned it at their knee. It was the most difficult day when I had to say goodbye to them and return to my hometown of Grand Rapids.

Only, it wasn’t my Grand Rapids.

It wasn’t the place where the broken little girl made up ridiculous fantasies of being the President of the United States or curing cancer with a brightly colored cardboard box and a stick found on the playground. This wasn’t the city where I dealt with childhood tragedies with self destructive behaviors. Nothing was the same, including the absence of the monsters that didn’t live under my bed but were under the same roofs as me. The dark secrets were held up to the light until their power whimpered into submission.

This city doesnt know me, power in my words, body thick with laughter, hair demonstrably wild, my secrets laid open to the beauty of rainbows once forbidden from my fingertips. This city is unaware that within its limits, there is a woman with courage as deep as a wristcutters truth, but as furious as a hurricane battering abusers with education. Grand Rapids has yet to understand that I, that had all along existed but had been nearly crushed by history, rose up to find my feet.

I’m standing in the middle of Division and Fulton in my mind, screaming with laughter at the pure wickedness of possibilities to be reached. This may not be my Grand Rapids, but it is my home.

Fifty year drought

babydoll

I had a baby.

Her name didn’t/doesn’t matter.

She lay in her stroller with her arms outstretched.

I smiled down at her, cooing gentle words of love.

I swaddled her a bit tighter against the chill.

As each car passed on the nearly vacant street,

I’d sing a little louder so they’d know I was a mom.

It’s all I ever wanted to be.

INTERLUDE

The MMR wasn’t created when I was born.

When my brother came along and got his,

nobody thought to inoculate me.

At twelve years old, my throat and neck hurt so badly.

My mom gave me a dill pickle (LOVE THEM) but I couldn’t swallow.

Diagnosis: The mumps.

Aged and married: Clomid, Pergonal, temperatures, acne, painful periods,

nothing. nothing. nothing.

Failed adoption. Ectopic miscarriage, failed adoption

GUARDIANSHIP x two!

Rejected for violence. Rejected for drugs.

nothing. nothing. nothing.

PART TWO

ultrasound

You can’t possibly know how many times I’ve been gracious,

how many times I’ve oohed and aah-ed over black gray blobs

What it’s like to see beautiful mothers holding their beautiful babies

while my arms hold back my sadness, my longing, my relief.

I’m not resentful that they have my dreams wrapped in their love.

I’m not angry that their wishes came true. I’m not even upset.

PART THREE

birth-control-1

Am I less than a woman for not showing proof of fertility?

Am I less than a woman for my body’s refusal to carry life?

I feel betrayed each time blood flows from my barren womb.

All of the pain, emotions, heating pads, and carb stuffing…for what?

Another reminder that I’m not like the others. Another storm trooper miss.