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 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 

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.

A Willow’s Lament

The willow boughs in comprehension

Lose track of the wind

on the mirror surfaced lake

christening the sky

with clear intent

Where is the coffin

but sky and earth

the heavens ornaments

of universal praise

And yet, in the kitchen,

where life is rebirthed,

there gathered the women

pottery deep into breakfast

the labor of reassurance has begun

the calm center of the maelstrom;

change the only constant

There is light

Light in the darkness

Light in the chaos

So is life with death

Born when it’s time to be born;

die when it’s time to die.

It’s movement, a process

where peace with time is in repose

there is an order of things

neither joy nor sorrow may take hold

Yet, Spring, herald of rebirth

has abandoned blooming,

it feels like Winter

Like the depths of the ocean

have suddenly become thick air

Upon this fleeting dream-world

Dawn is breaking

Even though some trees are bedecked

The willow boughs in comprehension

Acknowledging the bond

and where

the direction of love is not lost

the deeper treasure of sweetened time

will reap its own reward.

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

24

Wishing you back to life
Grief holds you hostage

I wait for the dirge to play its sobbing notes of sorrow

I wish away the grief that I don’t want to swallow

And yet I’ll sit with you; your body hollow

Wishing you back to life.

I wail to the moon and stars my gypsy heart defective

My fists beat my chest; no longer your keeper protective

sending morose squalls of melancholic reflective

Wishing you back to life.

Wrong door, Right Place

The following is a possible trigger for C-PTSD, major depressive disorder with recurrent severe w/o psychotic features, generalized anxiety with panic attacks, which also happens to be my diagnosis.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours everyday

Due to a lack of a psychiatrist, I was switched off one anti-depressant which kept me stable to another one at the lowest dose. Within a week of the switch, a couple months ago, my world came to a crashing halt.

I noticed that I wasn’t calling my friends as frequently but didn’t realize that isolation is one of my first go to’s. Then I stopped painting or writing and what I did write was short, tidy, and not up to my particular liking, but oh well, publish it anyway. I started wondering why I felt so sad all the time, but still, my alarm bells never rang.

By the time I was sleeping 16-18 hours a day, I realized I was in over my head. I felt like a complete failure to not have understood how far down I was going. It wasn’t very long when I started thinking, “What is the purpose of being alive? We’re going to die and within a couple years, nobody will remember me like they don’t my best friend Bean after she died a couple years back (in my house an hour after she told me she loved me and asked to sleep for one more hour that cost her life.)

I’d chat on the phone with whomever I needed to, but I couldn’t form the words asking for help. Strong women don’t do that, only weak women and I’m definitely NOT that. I had tears pouring out of my face washing oceans across my lap. And yet, as my vision faded to black, my therapist suggested I go to an outpatient program at a hospital because it would be more intensive than she could help me with. She saved my life.

I showed up first thing in the morning and parked in front of the main doors to the hospital. I started to cry. I was so raw, the gaze of the lady at the counter seared my muscle, sinew, and bones. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and beg for help, but instead, I choked back the sobbing wail and asked the receptionist to register for the day program. She asked me to have a seat.

A pleasant looking woman offered me a chair in the assessment room. I thought, “Oh great, quizzes about where I am on a scale of 1-10.” She asked why I was there to which I became suspicious of her question.

“I came to register for the day program because my therapist said it was a good idea.” I offered.

She asked me questions about my state of mind. This is going to sound obvious, but do not tell the lady in the assessment room: “Why are we even here? What’s the point in living? I wish I was dead.” You get the picture. It was gruesome in my head, but once I started I kept going.

She said something about thanks for being honest. She left the room for a bit. I started crying again, or maybe I hadn’t stopped. I don’t remember. I already had a two tissue deep finger cast I kept dabbing my eyes with as needed (frequently).

When she returned she sat down across from me and leaned over the desk. “I don’t think you’re safe right now. You have threatened your own life. We’re going to keep you for a few days so you can get back on your feet again.” I sobbed heavily.

I wanted to hate her. I wanted to blame her for my darkness because knowing my brain was attacking me, realizing that she was right and hating myself for my weakness, I signed a ream of paperwork. She allowed me to make a couple calls while she processed the paperwork.

I called my mom and my husband and told them what was happening. I arranged for my mom to get the car to Ben. I continued sobbing. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like a crumpled piece of fish soaked newspaper. She asked me to remove my jewelry. I begged to keep the necklace with Bean’s ashes in it to which they relented.

With just the clothes on my back, I started following the first person who said “Follow me.”

Locked door, hallway, locked door, hallway, etc.

The path unclear, I dragged behind as the realization of anxiety dripped through my body, causing me to flush sweat. I started sensory soothing by rubbing my fingertips together and lengthening my breath to settle my shoulders.

Locked door, hallway, locked door, hallway, etc.

There were people there dressed in shorts, bathrobes, jeans and t-shirts, while the staff seemed human, I was screaming weakly in my over-crowded brain. There were men and women sitting randomly on the floor having various volumes of phone conversations that I couldn’t understand as I tried to keep up with the quick walking leader.

Locked door, hallway, locked door, hallway, locked door.

As she opened the door she started explaining stuff about rules of my new temporary home. I couldn’t pay attention long enough to get half of what she said. My panic level kept rising as we approached the nurses station.

Over the course of the next few hours, I was poked, prodded, gauged, tagged, and hung upside down by my rear feet. That’s not true about the tagging and rear feet. I got all processed, given a room with a fresh made bed where I struggled to sleep against the every 15 minute life-check. At bedtime, I took whatever they gave me, and slept fitfully.

The schedule is rigid and filled with groups to help give tools to be used when we got released. The age span was varied across generations. The rise and fall of their humming with sparkles of laughter seemed alien. It had been so long since I wanted to smile.

Fast forward to Saturday when I “woke up”, looked around and wondered what the hell I did this time. Some things from the fog began arriving at light-speed with the resounding shuddering groan of burdened heart. I was feeling physically better with a sidekick of humor.

The people stationed with me in the prison of lost souls finding their way home again were unbelievably kind, introspective, wise, giving, and genuinely looking out for each other. We exchanged our journey through the mental health system like trading cards spread out in an emotional three-card monte.

It wasn’t as morbid as you may think. It was soothing to know that other people have experienced horrors like mine. They made me feel “normal” again. They helped me believe in the amputations that we endured in our psyches that couldn’t touch who we were really are. They gave me hope even when they didn’t have it themselves. I needed those battle-worn veterans mingling their stories with mine, conjuring solutions through our newly refreshed communication skills.

I got released on Tuesday afternoon on the condition that I’d arrive Wednesday morning at 8AM for Outpatient Therapy classes to which I agreed. My mom came to get me and bring me home. I made her a card in art class which she loved. She brought me a hot cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer in it. I practically chugged it down. “Ah, nectar of the Gods.” (Bless you Bapa). I felt relief, excitement, loving, and most of all I felt and feel grateful to be alive.

Wednesday morning arrives and I return to the same door I went in the last time. I ask the receptionist where I could find the day program.

“You go back out the doors you came in and drive down the side of the building where you’ll see the door to get in.” She directed. I thanked her while thinking thoughts of wonder.

Sure as tooting, I drove around, parking in the back lot where the door actually was. As I parked, my favorite Bible verse: Isaiah 43:1: “…Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” appeared in my mind’s eye. It brings me deep comfort because I imagine LOVE saying that to me. It fills me to the brim.

I am very blessed to have walked into that main door instead of the Day Program I was supposed to find. I AM strong. I am not my diagnosis. It is an issue with my chemistry being out of whack. I do believe I am a miracle. I’m feeling a thousand times better than I did a week ago when dying seemed like a great idea. It wasn’t. It isn’t. Call

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours everyday

Not Old Enough

Turbulent Life

I won’t mourn you while you’re still here making choices;

choices of where you’ll breathe last when the time comes

decisions that are yours, and only yours, to make. Always.

I will, however, laugh with you until you can’t any more.

I will support your choices, defending your life at its last.

You’re not old enough to go, but I know that’s not up to us.

I won’t mourn you while you’re here, but I will love you,

my friend, brother to my sister-in-heart, brother of my brother.