The Stillness is

The stillness is 

where you were 

Intimately held;  

death and life blurred 

The wealth of years 

Fell silently 

The labor gone 

So quietly 

The stillness is 

Where you were 

The peaceful night 

Embraces you 

Mourning’s tears 

A grassy dew 

And yet, 

The stillness remains 

Where you were 

Glimpses of mortality 

An unacceptable reality 

Because the stillness is 

Where you were 

The gaping whole

It is broken into catastrophic wounds

The edges once pristine are jagged

Bitter with unspoken resentment

Abandoned on the side of the road

in unfamiliar territory

hindered by a lack of direction

or a sense of purpose

Trusting the impermeable

a mistake made of elevated tension

The chaos and confusion weep

from saturated sacred ground

sullied by panic and frustration

anxiety writhes in unworthiness

The Wisdom of Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga 

The Grandmother of angry repute, 

When she wishes to be found 

May grant three voices 

Likened to that of her same-named kin 

Each louder than the last 

Blasting as horns through the silence 

Of long disguised enigmas 

Concealed in shadowy cellars 

Her nefarious, grotesque face 

And carcass alike  

Wallows in the justice 

Of adorning her garden fence 

with the skulls of the unworthy 

She beckoned, 

granting me fortress 

At her whim, I unmasked for her 

The eyes of her distorted haven warily watching 

Her chicken-legged house  

settling noisy bones 

Baba Yaga, with her filed iron teeth  

Has devoured me  

with surges of bloody wisdom 

As ancient as she is 

from time unrecorded 

On written pages 

She ravaged me with mortar and pestle 

crushing me with catastrophe 

Sweeping up my granular remains 

Endowing newfound resolve 

To cultivate a bedrock authority 

Roots of my own power 

controlling the forces of my very nature  

and the singular destiny  

of my kaleidoscope purpose 

Trust

I learned to trust from untrustworthy people.

I based my confidence in their reckless care.

My expectation was being cherished.

I watered it with tears of faith & hope.

I gave assurance that my loyalty was a certainty.

My certitude was placed on an altar of conviction.

I gave credence to cruelty as part of my human credit.

My dependence was absolute in their disapproval of me.

My positiveness came from knowing they were right.

My reliance on the low-stock they placed on me

violated ME,

But their neglectful assurance was their gospel truth, not mine.

In the Deep

I’m fragmented by your absence.

Infinitely reformed.

I’m suffering love

the color of tears.

It is salty and dark

It is laborious to breathe.

I’m not afraid

of loving you

as I held you.

I’m conscious of the vulnerability

in which I’m submersed

from our severed physical connection.

My grief is a mere reflection

of our laughter, our conversations

distilled into our unwitting last

“I love you.”

I bring the best parts of us forward with me.

I will not betray our trust.

Your love is a part of who I am now.

No matter how deep the anguish,

There is no regret in cherishing

the you I knew.

Where I am now

Three years ago I experienced this:

Where I was.

Because of that, I became a different person, yet conversely the same. The one distinct difference is that I don’t feel lonely any more living in solitude. Well, it does and it doesn’t. It’s not the same as living with somebody who neglected me for their own comfort. It’s not the same as being in the same room with somebody and feeling invisible.

During that time three years ago, I was in a very dark place. I was told by someone I loved that I didn’t need to get help and shouldn’t have been in the hospital. I wanted to die, but my (then loved one) still discounted my experience. I was told “You don’t need to be in here, you’re fine.”

Upon my release, a couple months passed before I accepted an invitation from a friend of mine to visit my now current hometown. I spent time during the 18 day visit from the end of December through January 2020 with people who genuinely showed love and attention to me. Although hesitant, when I returned to Michigan, I decided I needed to get my shit together. I moved back to Tennessee in February 2020.

I was given unexpected catalysts to discover my own self. I did not move because of those but because of the support system that I have here.

It was confusing at first. I felt a deep sense of rejection, but again, not as bad as what I experienced in Michigan with me “loved one.” That “loved one” accused me of abandonment (ironically) with no intention of return, but I DID plan to return if conditions were met. They were not, so I began the permanent transition.

This past year has been horrific with catastrophes such as my car catching fire in February to, most recently, the death of my little dog due to malpractice. It still hasn’t been as bad as the loneliness I felt the entire time I spent in Michigan.

This year has been incredibly painful. I’ve done a lot of deep grieving. I have had legitimate reasons to do this. But, I don’t want to die like I did when I was there. I mean I don’t want to die at all. I just want to be able to live a life. My life. This doesn’t feel like the life I want to live, so I have no choice but to keep going.

My friend said, “The life you want is out there. I’m grateful you’re willing to keep going,”

I contradicted that.

The life I want is in here; in me. I am unearthing a lot of feelings of being unworthy, or a burden, or just too much. I am none of those things, but I commonly feel that way because that’s what I’ve been taught. I have been incorrectly instructed.

I started accepting these things when I woke up at 4AM. I started thinking about the incorrect messages I’ve been given for most of my life. The things I’ve been told and the way I’ve been treated by people who claim to love me. I allowed it because that’s what I knew.

My thoughts were reeling about in my head as I did dishes and swept my floors.

Then it began in earnest. Deconstruction. Revelation. Epiphanies.

It was a lot to take in at that hour of the morning but I think it had been waiting for me. Allowing me room to breathe, hear, understand, and to grieve. I came to understand that the unconditional love I have been shown here in Tennessee has been incredibly difficult to accept. It’s been difficult to even acknowledge.

I’m having complications while learning to accept that from others, but primarily from myself. I know that I am not alone. I know that solitude is completely different than loneliness. I’m not trying to fill my inadequacies with creatures that need or require my care. I’m not seeking to be accepted by others. I’m working on being accepted by myself. This is earth-shattering for me (or maybe ground-breaking) but I know it will be worth it because I am worth it.

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

For Granted

Cereal

The process of living:

retrieving the cereal from the pantry

The simple pouring of the cereal

into a bowl from the cupboard

with milk from the fridge

with a spoon from the drawer

pulling out my chair with the extra cushion

lifting my spoon from the bowl with a bite of crunch

Automatic conveyance without mindful grip

relaxing into the sensations of living, breathe in

hold and exhale gently while ingesting energy

Setting the spoon to ceramic bowl clanking glassily

DISTRACTION

lifting my spoon from the bowl with a bite of crunch

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.