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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Old photographs lining shelves

give me no insight

as to where I’ve been

and absolutely no indication

of where I am to be

let alone

how to get there

There was a time when it didn’t matter

days were lived

one right after another

without

a

single

thought

as to what it all meant

and dreams

were nothing more than a side effect of sleep

Only after awakening

did the dreams, not of sleep

but of soul

unfold

Where is the clarity

the still waters

the guideposts?

The tides are high

and the road tangled

with uncertainty

and doubt

when all I thought I knew once

vanished

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Immersed in the pages

of my new favorite book

I trace the perfectly placed words

 and smile

thinking of

of all I want to share with you

between laughter and loud kisses

beneath crumpled sheets

with tired eyes

and in a perfect world

I would be reading each night

with you

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Up before the sun always meant one thing, it must have been Saturday. While most of my friends stayed in their pajamas and watched cartoons, I was planning my adventure.  My day began with cleaning my room, not just “redding up” as we said in Pittsburgh for a general cleaning, but putting all my Elton John albums back in their sleeves and placed in chronological order, dusting the furniture, and vacumming the yellow shag carpet.  Being the oldest, I was also given the task of cleaning the bathroom I shared with my three younger sisters.

I would fix myself a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, eating it quickly before it became too soggy while waiting for my mother to awaken to examine  my room and bathroom before I could go out and start my day.  I rarely passed the inspection first time out.  A sock left under the bed, or the residue left by using too much Comet in the sinks were typical infractions I had to correct before heading out. A quick trip to my dad’s desk blotter where he kept his loose change, and I was ready for my day.

My walk began at the end of our dead end street, up the dirt hills we would ride our bikes down hands in the air,then through the wooden slats of Milliken’s fence hoping their horses were still in the stables while I cut through the pasture into the woods.  I always thought horses were beautiful, but after being bucked off one when I was around five at the zoo, I liked to keep a safe distance between me and them.  The Milliken’s bred Morgan horses which were bigger than any horse I’d ever seen and had their manes cut close, making them look even more menacing with their crew cuts.  Beyond this dirt pasture – peace in stillness of the woods.

Rhythmic songs of cicadas began as I approached, as if they welcomed my presence.  Could it be they knew instinctively I was born of the woods and announced my arrival?  In their pauses, I swear I could hear the trees whisper my secrets to one another.   Each soft step deeper into the forest, releasing earth’s scent beneath me was one step away from my house, one step closer to home.  I cherished these times of solitude away from the pressures of school, to swim in my own thoughts without them being criticized by a mother I could never seem to please.  Light reflected off  tiny leaves danced on my skin as I made my way past the patches of wild violets to the moss beds where I would sit, running my hands across the velvet green mounds, sometimes curling up the edges to see what insects lived in the moist soil beneath.

Still early in the morning, the Bruno  boys would be having their pancakes right about now, their mom always preparing a hot breakfast for them meant I had time to explore their fort, hidden beyond the well worn paths.  The twins, a year older than I was had entered middle  school the year before, built their shelter from old plywood sheets and roof shingles stolen from construction sites of the new homes being built in and extension of our development. Inside,lying flat on a makeshift shelf, a heavy brushed silver lighter engraved with their dad’s initials. I would flip the lid and light a quick flame.  I loved the smell of the lighter fluid burnt on the end of the frayed wick.  Always with a sly smile, I replaced the lighter standing up with the lid flipped open. Scattered on the dirt floor – carpet remnants. Underneath the brown shag patch, a stash of old Playboys taken from their older brother.  The pages slightly crumpled, their favorite pages dog eared. I would slowly flip through the magazine staring at the photographs.   The women’s bodies seemed so different than my own. More curves and softer than my lean athletic body.  I just figured they didn’t ride bikes from sun up to sunset  or know the joy of climbing to the top of the tallest pine.  The only time I let anyone see my naked body was Dr. Stengel at my annual check up each summer and even then I kept my eyes closed during the examination. I couldn’t imagine why these women wearing nothing but glossy lipstick painted on fake smiles would position themselves that way on scratchy hay bales. I wondered if I would look like that soon as I began to notice changes in my own form. I found myself envious not of their womanly shape, but their long straight windblown hair, a contrast to my short curly hair, always out of place.  After I was done looking at the newest copy, I made sure to replace it under a different carpet sample… just because.

Leaving the fort behind me, bending branches along my walk back to the path, my legs become scratched by unknown thorned weeds we simply called jagger bushes. The slow drag across my bare legs leaving little bloody perforated scratches.  Once on the path, I was able to move at a quicker pace through the woods, listening to small animals scamper in the distance while birds sang from their high perches in the trees.  Exiting the woods on Stoltz Rd, crossing the busy road carefully into the entrance to South Park.

South Park was a large wooded area with several small winding roads leading to picnic pavillions, an ice skating rink, public swimming pool. Corrigan Drive the main drag through the center of the park. Saturday mornings this strip of road  was busy with teenage boys in souped up cars with shiny paint jobs cruising the park slowing down to take a look at the pretty girls.  Those girls who were not at all awkward like myself. Girls in tube tops and hot pants whose hips and long flowing hair danced as they walked. Girls so pretty they could be found between the stuck pages of Playboy magazine.

Instead of walking the paved pathways, I opted instead to wade barefoot in the clear creek that paralleled Corrigan.  Stuffing my socks into my shoes, I would carefully place them on the banks and slowly dip my toes into the cold water.  I can still feel the blistering hot sun burning my shoulders as the cold water quickly numbed my feet, the gentle current bubbling against my calves.  My feet searching below rock to sink into the soft silt clouding the clear water with each step.

Having reached the exit to the park, I would cross the busy intersection to the strip mall that included a Baskin Robbins shop. Using the change I took from my fathers blotter, I would order a double scoop cone consisting of one dark chocolate scoop, one mint chocolate chip. The walk back home was always more leisurely exhilaration mixed with melancholy. Walking along the roadside home, just one more stop before finally reaching home. I would pass by a hidden playground, the pavillion not used due to the simple fact that there was no restroom close by. I would stop there and swing.  The hot rubber seat forming to my hips as soon as I sat down. In no time  I would be soaring through the air in no time. Pumping my legs, feeling the wind through my hair, leaning back eyes closed it felt like flying.  Swinging high my soul soared until blisters formed on my palms from the metals links I gripped tightly.  One last furious pump into the sky before jumping always wishing that miraculously I would not land, but fly higher than the tops of the highest trees I had ever climbed and to fly becoming one with the sky. That was never to be, but if i was lucky, I would land perfectly on my feet before heading home.

Traipsing through the woods on the way home, the Bruno boys could be heard laughing in their fort, the faint smell of cigarette smoke hanging in the air. I ran quickly on a distant path not to be seen, Tony often teasing me about my lanky body and calling me a tomboy. We both knew it was because I beat him in bicycle races and could pop the biggest wheelies in my pink bike with streamers than he could in his fancier boy bike.

Safe through the pasture, the horses in for the day I was back on my paved street walking slowly back to my house. My mom in the back yard, talking over the chain link fence to the neighbor meant I could enter the house and get a large glass of water without aswering questions about where  I had been.  Taking the thirteen steps back to my room two at a time, careful not to wake my napping dad, I went back to my room, shut the door pulled out my favorite Elton John album and listened to “Your Song” as fell backwards onto my bed  letting the music drift my day into a beautiful memory.

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It Was Only a Dream…

I dreamt of you last night.  I found you sleeping in my cluttered garage between where the mops and brooms hang on hooks and the stuffed deteriorating cabinets holding cans of housepaint for walls that are no longer that shade of yellow.  Surprised to see you, I helped you to your feet, wanting to wrap you in a hug, but the taste of morning breath lingered in my mouth and  I was reluctant to get too close.

I led you through the garage door into the darkened hallway, everyone asleep. A palmetto bug scurried across the tile floor. I feigned surprise and let out a small scream so you would think it was a rare occurence.  We then walked to the kitchen, I offered you something to eat and drink. You declined, yet inspected the glass closely which I was horrified to see was full of spots.  Standing so close to you, my heart was racing as I memorized the exact shade of brown your eyes were. Wanting so badly to reach out and trace your jaw with my hand, gently touch your goatee, lean in to soflty inhale your scent by nuzzling your neck. I resisted and instead tried to think of somethng to say. Wondering why you were here. How did you find me? Why?

As it  happens only  in dreams we were no longer in my current home, but in a much bigger house, still mine and full of light. I was watching you talking with a shapely woman with honey blonde hair.  I could see your eyes trace her from her painted toes, up her tanned, toned legs. You smiled as your mind wandered underneath her skirt draped softly against her thigh. I couldn’t hear your words to her. Your mouth moved as your eyes and smile danced, entranced by her beauty. I heard your poetry write itself inside my head, felt every caress of words, every desire delivered telepathically to my mind.

Only an observer now, feeling a bit sad that it was this stranger you chose to be with, yet honored to have the ablility to feel your poems move inside my mind. I wondered what it all meant, why you were here.  Where did you come from? As soon as that thought entered my head, I could see an image of a large brick home with a wrap around porch looking out on a perfectly manicured lawn landscaped with beautiful flower beds.

As soon as it began, it was over. I awoke longing for a chance to meet, to hear your voice, feel your breath warm my neck. To be the woman you chose to talk with instead of the interpreter of your mind. Did I feel that I was not good enough, not pretty enough, not worthy of you?

I dreamt of you last night. Most likely the only time we will ever meet, even in my dreams.

 

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Driving past that old cinderblock house, I only remember the happiness that bloomed there.  Our first house, the one where we grew from a couple to a family.  In an instant, I see my now grown son as a baby doing a soldier crawl on the beige tile floors. I hear music coming from the back pool, and the laughter of friends who have since moved away.

Where do the memories of the tears go? The bitter arguments. The feelings of neglect. The endless power struggle to hold on to myself while becoming immersed  in motherhood.

Do the tears I shed now, out of a clear blue mind, fall from the pain of another me in a parallel plane? One too strong willed to cry. One too weak to show her vulnerability as she slowly became invisible in her own life.

Drive by memories of what used to be and what continues to breathe

somewhere else …

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 Sky blue paint flakes at my touch revealing aged oak

as my fingers trace inside the worn deep grooves

I wonder

What lies beyond this windowless door

I rest my head against the grain

listening to wisdom of ancients spoken in foreign tongues

a language unknown to me but understood

intuitively

sharing secrets mists whisper to trees at dawn

Placing my palms flat against it’s surface

Vibrations of knowing pulse from within

begging me to open this portal

To remember light that has been forgotten

(un) known

through a busy life lived with closed eyes

My heart open

slowly, I slide my right hand down the weathered frame

reaching for the hammered iron handle

I depress the latch

to discover the gateway

of

What lies beyond the door

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how many couples find themselves

lost

after traveling a shared path

pacing floors with sleepless infants

miles driven to dance recitals and soccer practice

i felt our shared journey

disconnect

when mine began

discovering my self through writing

through strengthening of body and mind

it weakened us

without a bridge in sight

I can’t

won’t

go back into the box I lived in for years

to be

who he needs me to be

for him

and he can’t

won’t

be who I need him to be

for me

 now love lingers in silences

and so does

indifference

I struggle to focus on what’s right

when so much is wrong

how can i find words to bring us together

when I am not worth his time

his touch

I value myself enough to rise above the pain

yet not enough

to leave

and walk my path

without all I’ve ever known

becoming lost

when i found

me

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