I am an untended garden, riddled with forget-me-nots and weeds
My earth has not been furrowed asunder; tilling life to the topsoil
I have grown fallow, un-supporting of life, but yet, there are some
perennials that cling to a hope of return, of vibrancy dallying
But I can only roll over in my floral nightgown, whimpering in my bed
allowing the blistering son to scorch my once glorious stance
I admit, I’ve become self-watering. I needn’t wait for the gardener
My groans of grief roil the soil, creating bitter roots exposed as lies
Everyone knows that when the earth laughs, people die.
She accepts their bodies back to her world, but I could still breathe
so I am not granted respite from the overabundant fertilizer spewed
over my once lush landscape. But, I will rise, for the weeds can’t hang on
when I forbid grasping of my rooted passion for life. Here she comes
the one that removes the rot with compassionate hands.
Here he comes, the one that scratches that spot in the very middle
She tends to me while singing lightly a childhood song forgotten
He digs deep with his grip, releasing the tainted, blighted plants
She opens the earth to expose me to the warmth of attention
He plants perennial seeds to grow through the coming seasons.
I inhale deeply, knowing that my rebirth will again grow fruitful.
My cycle continues in ample countenance to their loving attention.
I await my own fruition. I will grant only the very best of myself
to create the most beautiful garden I can create. This, is why I weep.
Lemon sour with bitter bite
Promises we’re safe tonight
Overlooking violent cost
All stop signs exploded
Brother’s blood denoted
Sister’s cries devoted
Patient’s quickly bloated
The poor brown villified
The rich white justified
Lady Justice turns blind eye
that lemon sour with vomit bite
will keep their promises tonight.
“You just don’t waltz into and out of people’s lives.” I found this quote in a podcast/article by a man I respect very deeply. The entire script and podcast is found HERE.
I’ve moved all over the country. Up until I got to Oak Ridge, I’d never in my entire adult life lived in the same house for more than two years. Considering I’ll be 47, that’s not a good track record for stability or longevity but it’s also taught me a lot about change, leaving, and transitions.
Most of the time when I’ve become disgruntled, disheartened, or feeling a loss of hope are the precise times I’d pack up the bags either metaphorically or physically and set them by the door. It was not uncommon for me to check those bags periodically to see that they match my state of mind given whatever the situation I faced.
If I ended up in a relationship that I knew may end, I’d pack the bag and set it down because I knew it would fail. I knew that I couldn’t give my whole heart to anyone who wasn’t willing to love me back the way I needed. It might have been because they were violent or they were absent from the beginning, or even that they were afraid like me to give in to the commitment all the while longing for that connection. No matter the reason, there was always a pile of luggage (not baggage because that has to be lugged around), ready by the front door.
The point for me when I knew it was time to leave was the point when my heart was irreparably broken. It would happen when I knew and understood that no matter what was done or said from that moment forward “WE” could never fill that trust back up again. I’d lost hope, trust, and an ability to want to rebuild it at that point.
I try to be mindful of relationships. I struggle to maintain some that aren’t good for me. Some demand that no matter what is happening in my life that their life is far more important. It has never been about anyone else, but for them to be at that point is an astonishing progression from “I don’t matter at all”, so I try to be mindful of that. It becomes unhealthy.
I’ve tried to remain friends with people who can’t see any light, no matter how bright. They are so asleep in so many ways that the only time I’ve allowed them to re-enter my periphery is when they really are trying to make changes for the better in their lives. When they are actively seeking answers that I’d given them before, but either they weren’t ready to hear, or they needed to find without my guidance. I’m not claiming to be a guru or an expert, but I’ve messed up enough to know certain things in life.
I’ve tried to be the best I can be no matter who I’m around, but sometimes my best isn’t what someone else needs. Sometimes they need a broken person with horrible feelings of self esteem to coddle, take care of, feel needed by to make up their own value as a person. When they reject every good given, that’s when the dependent person feels lost, vulnerable, and without taking time can fall into a vicious cycle of begging to be taken back.
With each one of those, I’ve waltzed out at will and sometimes against my will, but they’ve all ended in one way or another. My packed suitcases were at the ready so the transition was easier but no less painful. I don’t like that I’ve had to, for whatever reason, walk away from various lives in my lifetime, but self-preservation has been worth it.
What I didn’t expect, after reading the article, was a glance to my door and a note that there weren’t any suitcases packed there waiting. Not a duffel bag or a backpack, not even a fanny pack laid up waiting for my itchy gypsy toes to want to hit the road. BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! And why do I feel a sudden jolt of panic?
I’m in a marriage where there is a level of reciprocity that I’ve never had despite fumbling intentions before that had all failed. I’m in a neighborhood that is distasteful, but where I find myself waving at people I like and know. People that I tell my stories to and they tell me theirs. I discovered a diamond and platinum spiritual home that has given me a stability of family that I’d been missing for eons but found on accident thanks to John Lennon and John Denver. I have friends interwoven in generational blankets of uplifting proportions that bring me to a place of stellar humbleness, gratitude, and the best teachers of compassion I’ve ever known besides my Bapa’s family.
I think it’s safe to say that sometimes that waltz from one life to the next is necessary to move into the house that will become your home. The home where suitcases are no longer necessary because it’s truly where your heart is born, grows, and can be found at any time.
Quit selling me your Jesus. Who is thick with thorns?
Don’t bleed your justification while the poor you scorn
Don’t tell me that my color is wrong, that a prison is a matter of fact
When you took away our baseball gloves and gave us baseball bats
Don’t tell me that I need to work, that I’m just a lazy bum
When you sent my job to the Philippines while calling me black scum
Don’t tell me to step up and be a father, when you took mine when I was seven
My mama couldn’t take care of me, she wept “He is watching me from heaven.”
But she believed in the Jesus you sold her that burns like a cross in my yard
She counted prayers and sang the hymns while my brothers lives are scarred
Quit telling me that I love my forty that dims the daily grind
Quit telling me I’m worthless so why should you educate my mind?
Don’t tell me that you value me just to get my vote you take away
You love me about as much as a crack baby born every day
You took away the healthcare to let my people suffer
While praising God and Jesus, filling up your coffers
You spend our money on bars and chains instead of buying books
You take away from teachers and schools, entertaining disdaining looks
Quit selling me your Jesus who is thick covered with your angry words thrown
While wearing the cross you put on your own back, you’re reaping what you’ve sewn.
Pain in the Foot
The best thing that ever happened to me was pain
I’m not a masochist if that’s what you think
(and even if I was, that’s personal preference not pain).
I worked many jobs that didn’t quite fit me.
Who needs happiness when I got bills, ya get me?
Then I learned about pain when I bare handed broke my foot
THUMP! VOMIT! “That can’t be good.”
Two days of crying while I hobbled around before I got to see
A doctor who looked at me and exclaimed, “HOW could you BE?!”
I’d collapsed my foot bones, broke them in two
By rubbing a cream on my foots that were as stressed as I was.
But that pain, that pain that, two years later remains
Is a constant reminder of how much I’ve gained.
I have time to create, to speak, to volunteer.
I have time to be, to love, to give, to cheer.
Pain has pushed me to places I’d never have learned
Pain has given me new ideas to churn.
But Pain, dear pain, has given me more of myself
Than anything I’ve done, nay, anything else.
It’s taught me courage, strength, endurance
It’s taught me to keep going even with hindrance
Pain is a wicked friend but it never lies to me
It allows me to push limits; to set up healthy boundaries
Pain is the best thing that ever happened to me
My only issue is when it won’t let me sleep.
Lady Cathy Gritter took me into her church
near her garden door that led only outward.
It had nine panes of stained glass
that guarded the treasures within the hall.
On the pristine white shelves
is where she stored centuries of art,
a sacramental archive of holiness.
I’d enter her church through the side door
withering looks from her husband William
glared resentment at my childish intrusion
I scooted sinfully through to gaze with adoration
at the hallowed scriptures
blessed gospels of
van Gogh, Picasso, de Vinci, Kahlo
offering sermons of:
Sunflowers, Girl Before a Mirror, Mona Lisa, and Weeping Coconuts.
I was allowed to peer into the eyes of holy angels
upon my confessional return of each holy grail.
I see you. You are not invisible to me. When I look at you, you wear no clothes. You wear no physical form. There is a ball around your body that lights up when you’re around people you like and dims when you’re not fond of them. The ball has colors and patterns that are spectacularly blended to me. I see you.
You’re a kaleidoscope of vivid colors that ebb and flow depending on how you move the liquid essence that you float in unwittingly. Where there is pain, I see the darkness. Where there is love, I see the light. Where you reside is usually a central color that tells me everything I need to know about you. I am a voyeur of sorts but not the creepy kind. I will not jump from your closet unexpectedly one night. I will meet you on the terms you’ve established. Because I can feel your intent.
I’m sorry if you feel I’ve invaded your privacy. I don’t know how to turn it off. I don’t really don’t want to because it’s served me so well. It’s proven invaluable to me to seek others of the light. It’s proven invaluable to me when I know I can’t trust a person because they are too consumed by material things to know they’re spiritual beings. It’s guided me effectively to incredible experiences through people with knowledge so deeply profound that I sometimes weep with gratefulness while others cause me deep caution.
It’s a feeling of authentic appreciation of identity that can only bloom with the watering of confidence when I see people that fit into their spirits; That “get it”. When I see someone working actively to grow into their spirits, I can forgive almost anything they do because I witness the evolution of color as if a perfect painting were in the works and I get to watch the brushstrokes fall on the canvas. It’s glorious to see. My gift allows me the privilege without effort.
There are also people who are not exactly dark and not exactly light. They are in a flux between worlds. The material world grabs their ankles and wrists tugging them away from their destiny. Their spirit self does a watoosie trying to find footing, trying to fill in the blanks. There are some that stand in this disarray and cry out that they don’t know who they are or that they don’t know what they’re doing. Nobody knows for sure what we’re doing. We just come up with a plan and see how it pans out. If we’re lucky, we have guides to show us the way out. I am one of those guides but I don’t know everything.
It is increasingly difficult when I feel as if I am carrying/dragging them towards the light. They start off saying, “Oh yes! I really want to do something different and I really like your ideas. Let’s go on this journey together.” I comply and we have long talks deep into the night. The kind that feels like it is the most important conversation I’ll ever have. For that moment in time that glimpse into the moonlight or the daylight it truly is. The intensity can’t be matched because it is so relevant. It is crucially real. But they fall back asleep and forget that we’d every spoken the conversation. With some, that shine so brightly but fear themselves, I keep trying to wake them up because I believe they need to be; because they said they wanted to be.
I don’t say anything to people who are dark. I don’t squeal with delight when I see them. Their wounds run far too deep for me to do anything other than shine a light at the end of their tunnel and coax them from sleep if they’re ready. There have been times when words came out of my mouth that weren’t mine but were intended for a particular person. Just like that, it’s as if a small miracle, sometimes large, happens but it isn’t mine. That’s when my light can reach into that dark place and help bring them home to the light where they belong. Those are the people that shoot past me like a rocket grinning from ear to ear on the tides of self-discovery and I cherish each one that finds that place. I do not gift them because it’s already theirs as it is yours. I may just nudge the light a tad to the right so they can see they’re really okay.
But I can’t carry them. I can’t wake them up. I can’t do that. I can’t pick someone up and force them to embrace their colors. It is ALWAYS the individual choices that color their spirits. It is ALWAYS their responsibility. I learned this and other rules of engagement when watching the masterpieces I encounter.
I can’t tell people what color they will become but I can tell them what color I see. The colors don’t have traits as much as they have emotions attached to them. When I see the colors and I really like them, I have to wait. I can’t immediately bond with them because rarely, but it does happen, they are wearing someone else’s colors. Like maybe they had a bad interaction with someone so it clouds their spirit or they’ve just received great news and are wearing that instead of their normal vestments. It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing that causes me to ease my steps.
The physical being, the way you wish people to see you comes second. When I see someone that matches their physical self with their spirit self, it’s a feeling of home. It’s a feeling of such personal integrity, I think, “YOU! You’re there!” Sometimes it surprises me so much to find an authentic person that I actually say that out loud. There are many people who come close to matching but, it’s like they choose the wrong pair of socks or the wrong shade of happy. It’s just enough off for me to recognize that they’re missing parts of themselves or aren’t aware they are. It is my experience that it’s typically the latter.
The physical being does matter. I don’t wish you to have the wrong impression. I do see it, but not until I’ve peered through the spirit. When I tell someone that they are beautiful, I see them as I’ve described to you. I wish I could paint each person so they could see their beauty too. As if, if I could create them on canvas, they might appreciate their own divinity that seems apparent to me. But instead I’ll follow the advice of my kind Uncle Les who said, “Mare, whatever you do, keep doing it. The world needs more of it.” So it is written, so it is done.
Am I my own imagination come to life or who others want to see?
Am I an earthquake that shakes the foundation of your beliefs?
Am I the whirlwind that’s met with cautious alacrity?
Am I so enigmatic I am hidden even from myself?
Am I a magician’s assistant that performs with infuriating stealth?
Who am I when there’s nobody around to witness me?
Am I just a wanderer piloting my ship on the popped blue collar sea?
I really dig that when I open up my blog reader
I find people-y readers lurking about, liking this or that.
I really dig that when I peer back through the shop window
the readers grunt, groan, lust, hug, love and hate like I do.
I really dig that when I peer through the looking glass
I don’t find my readers slumped sleeping in side-chairs.
I really dig that they poke fingers to keys while:
dancing with desires for origami people on paper they will print.
I really dig that the people I don’t know by face
stare back at me as we travel, passing on our reader’s train.
I really dig when we arrive at the same destination of personal truth.
Because that’s when the shit gets real.