Unbridled

from an early age,
I’ve had this crazy feeling,
as if I somehow came into this deep, unexplained power,
an unbridled magic it’s taking me a lifetime to embrace and hone

it compels me,
even when I don’t want it to –
it wants to bulldoze,
excavate,
to crack me wide open,
exposing all the hidden, vulnerable places,
to break me down to my simplest form

I’ve always felt the need to stay ahead of this thing,
or it might destroy me,
and everything in its path

sometimes it feels like I’m gaining ground,
sometimes it feels like I’m losing,
but the whole point has been to just keep moving

-image via Pinterest

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Lucky

Twenty-five years ago, I kissed this boy for the first time.
He looked at me, and it didn’t matter where I began or where I was.
He made it feel like we could exist in a world where every day might contain at least a tiny spark of magic.
He made truth feel like magic.

The time we spent together began to feel like helium in my veins, and his eyes were the most tangible slice of hope I’d ever seen.

He still looks at me like I’m his forever.
I still cry sometimes after he closes his eyes and falls asleep, because I feel so grateful.
Not because he loves me without reservation, but because he exists,
and I am so lucky to be a part of that existence.

-image via Pexels

Opaque

I looked at her, eyes the same as mine,
yet entirely different. Mine searched for truth, not rescue.

I couldn’t nod like I knew, couldn’t get angry, because it would make no difference. So I just listened.

Too often, my mother spoke about things I didn’t want to understand, but I knew her words needed somewhere to go, so I absorbed them through my skin, until my own breath tasted brackish.

I shelled it all in until I became little cracks, unobservable to the naked eye. A weeping window that grew opaque.

-image via Prexels

Student

last year,
I committed to continued work changing what wasn’t working in my life,
to letting go of things and ideas that no longer serve me,
to de-conditioning myself from a lifetime of culturally-imposed and self-imposed bullshit,
to questioning my personal stories, assumptions, and beliefs that made up my version of reality,
to showing up differently for myself and breaking old patterns

it hasn’t been easy,
and there have been so many unexpected challenges,
but this year has been a wonderful teacher

I learned to observe the voice in my head and not necessarily identify with it,
to work toward letting go of the idea that I’m doing this life thing alone,
to understand that I am valuable regardless of what I produce,
to become more conscious and present,
to work toward being more patient, embracing the growth process, and feeling all the feelings that arise along the way,
to reflect and express these feelings and lessons in writing when I’m so moved to do so,
to work toward continuing to listen to the central voice that is the core of who I am,
and to act more in line with that

I’d like to continue to move forward this year,
to further this journey by finding out what the hell ‘self care’ looks like to me,
to stop eating the things that are poisoning me and not missing them,
to forgiving myself more naturally and in healthy ways that move me forward,
to getting out of my own head and being a good friend to the people whom I hold so dearly,
to developing a different relationship with work,
to being less instinctively guarded and spreading love in as many ways as possible,
to including more of the things that feel expansive and less of things that feel draining or contractive,
and to loving myself through all phases of my evolution

I’m a lifelong student,
and I know this year will be a good teacher, too

Happy New Year! 💜

–image via Pexels

Elements

I have been beyond tired, beyond lonely –
simultaneously lonely and never alone,
with an emptiness settling in so deeply,
it was a stone inside of me,
hard and sharp

my past and my fears are the leaden shackles I have always felt a duty to escape;
my rest is formed by my waking life,
and my waking life has too often been formed by feelings of defeat,
sorrows I allow to permeate as I set forth in my duty

but, in the center of my core,
I have always known it is possible to break the old, rusted, fear-forged chains of the past,
to encourage elements to transition from one state into another,
transforming and casting an entirely new life

sadly, chains made of blood and memory are a million times more difficult to sever than those made of steel,
and the past has a tendency to overtake me when I am not paying enough attention,
or, when I pay too much,
and I’ll find myself making the same mistakes as those who’ve come before me,
with the same resentments set to boil

but, I have also been tired, yet content,
simultaneously fulfilled and alone, but never lonely,
hard-won self knowledge settling in so deeply,
silence and gratitude are all I need to feed the gentle stillness in my soul

because those old, rusty chains do eventually break,
even though the breaking is an endlessly tiresome business,
and when I look the fearful past in the face and call it by its name,
it loses its rigidity and strength,
becoming just another corroding element,
flaking away with time

-image via Pexels; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s prompt, The Art of Confessional in Poetry

Approval

when she started out,
she’d written for no one;
it was pure reflection,
raw, unfiltered parts of her soul,
once-hidden bits of herself,
toilsome connections and modes of understanding,
the stuff everyday life was after but hadn’t dared to admit,
and it became an outpouring,
unable to be dammed

public approval meant absolutely nothing,
until she experienced it –
now, the thought of losing her audience shamed her

what began as an irrepressible outpouring had become defining,
a definition that vanished the moment she accredited it

-image via Pexels

Rise

in this life,
there is a rising that isn’t always from death,
a flight that doesn’t always end in breaking

if we pay attention,
brilliant beams pass through us like water,
and, if we’re still enough,
we experience every imaginable light

and every now and then,
a current sweeps through us,
carrying with it our broken hearts to grieve,
as they should

then, a raging river lifts us,
floating us over the low gray hills,
up, up,
elsewhere,
to find the place where the light,
even if dimmed, never diminishes

for, we are more than breath,
alone,
more than the thickness of the air that surrounds us,
more than the rupturing into molecule and atom;
we are not fractions,
we are our own lowest common denominators,
we are primes

we experience every imaginable light,
including its absence,
and as a whole,
we rise

in this life,
there is a rising that isn’t always from death,
a flight that doesn’t always end in breaking;
there is a light that can only be known from darkness,
a journey that brings us home

-image via Pexels; shared as part of dVerse Poet Pub’s Open Link Night

Reality

the funeral goes by in a slow waltz of shiny cars,
perfectly pressed black suits,
and choreographed tears,
and I think to myself –
is it all bitter, in the end?

because, in my experience,
that’s the way smoke always speaks as it rises,
the way others’ eyes painfully prophesize,
the way the mirror constantly fogs

history has planted seeds of pain so deep,
so bitter it taints everything I savor,
but the painful truth is –
my story is stale;
I can’t let go of it,
because if I did,
I wouldn’t be a victim anymore

who would I be, then,
without the luxury of living in the past,
without the invisibility of living in my head,
without the decaying wall that so carefully keeps it all in?

I have always wanted to do something that matters,
something important,
something that leaves a precious piece of myself behind,
but I constantly deceive myself –
in order to do that,
I have to do the dirty work

but I sometimes pretend to do the work,
when, in reality,
I’m making shiny the excuses I’ve disguised as dirty work;
I’m a foggy mirror,
a faulty cog,
an enabler

tired is just an excuse;
I’m afraid,
I have always been afraid

I’m afraid I’ll never be able to stand on stage alone,
baring my fucking soul,
taking the risk of not knowing if I’ll be applauded or booed,
and the crazy thing is –
I think I’m most afraid of being applauded

the funeral goes by in a slow waltz of shiny cars,
perfectly pressed black suits,
and choreographed tears

mine among them

-image via Pexels

Priorities

not long ago,
if someone had asked me,
I’d have said my husband was the most important thing in the world to me,
but he wasn’t,
not then

what was most important to me wasn’t love or passion or trust,
but my ability to lie convincingly to myself,
to believe I was strong

and I’m not sure who I couldn’t forgive for finding out I wasn’t,
for knowing all along I wasn’t –
him or me

-image via Pexels

Seen

I often daydream of moments when I was able to speak freely,
vulnerably,
to openly share of myself without barriers or masks or pretenses,
of moments when I have allowed myself to be seen

oh, God,
nothing compares to that feeling;
it’s worth the risk

and I think –
perhaps that’s all there really is in this world:
seeing someone,
even if for a moment,
looking inside to the core of a person,
and accepting what we see

-image via Pixabay