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New Years resolution:

Say “always” and “never” less
promise absolutes only
to those you can follow through for:

The dying,
the dead,
and people you’ve made up.

I am tired of
dying on altars
crafted of words
no one meant.

“I love you”
is not a thing you say,
it is a thing you do.

And “always” and “never”
never are
not really.

Waves Kullabygden Sound Water Mountain Coast

January 20, 2017

I spent my day today surrounded
everyone around me ebbing and flowing
and me, a jetty, stoic and unmoved.

That’s how it is for me, PTSD
pushes me from one extreme to the other
so emotional I cannot be touched then
so far removed nothing can touch me.

Today I let the salt run down me
and I stood in the midst of it
eyes dry and heart still
trying to find a way to reach
out from the haze surrounding me
to touch each and every one of you.

All I want to do is enfold you
take each trembling drop of you
and press you into stillness in
each of my cracks and crevices
build a home within where you can
rest your weary bones.

You have been breaking for so long
I don’t remember a time when I
didn’t hear you, didn’t register
your cries in the night, cold fingers
of your hands grasping at me only to
slide back into the sea and recommence
your crashing melody.

Today I spent my day surrounded
wanting to reach out, to do more
but unable to shake myself from my
foundation.

All I can do at times like these is
stand. And hope my stillness gives you
something you can safely break against.

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Kintsugi

I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’.
There is, of course, the laughter. Laughter is a big part of it.
I cannot make jokes and have a person sit still and stare and blink.
Because I’m fucking hilarious. Just ask anyone. They’ll tell you.

The laughter is a big part of it. There is, also, the understanding.
The person who holds on to me in the darkness and who lets me see them.
Letting me see them is important. And, though it is difficult, having them see me.
The seeing and the being seen is paramount. Bigger than laughter.

Then there is the hard part. The part where the world sometimes tips.
The part where I sit vigil over a telephone or a hospital bed and worry.
The part where you answer the phone and I am weeping. That part.
The part where one of us cracks open and the other fills the cracks with gold.

Standing by with precious metals is the hard part. Having metals melted.
Having tongs to hold the dangerous, hot things away from yourself.
Finding a way to fill in the cracks without getting burned. Without hurting.
Without hurting more than you have to, anyway. Without adding trauma.

I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’.
I am so grateful that some people have written the same dictionary as me.
Some people, when they look for that word in their private libraries
find melted gold. Find laughter. And a telephone they always answer.

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i am not sure
this
will be the year i look back on
and say
               “that was the year everything
               changed.”
but it feels like it is
i can almost hear the narrator
feel
the         shift
great plates
               aching
               against each other
grinding out a world
beneath the surface
their movement so potent
i can already see evidence
in the set of my shoulders
and the planes of my face

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Things are looking up!

I started my new job two weeks ago. It’s been great so far. The new department is small and I’m an integral part of making everything work, which feels really good. I love feeling helpful every day at work and it’s been super good to wake up and feel energized to start my day rather than dreading going in to work every morning.

Don’t get me wrong, the old job wasn’t as terrible as a lot of places where I have worked. Not by a long shot. I had health insurance, I was able to work during the day and had a reliable schedule. There was free coffee.

But that whole department was so dysfunctional that it would have been laughable if I hadn’t been in the middle of all of it. And I was so lonely sitting up at the desk all by myself. I’m an extrovert. I need human contact to be happy.

Now I’m sitting in a cube and I’m surrounded by humans and things to do all the time. I have a bunch of pretty things in my desk already and it feels good and comfortable to come to work and sit here all day and do my job. Because I’m busy, time goes by faster and I feel satisfied at the end of every day.

And even more importantly than all of that, gentle readers, is that I am significantly less depressed than I have been. I feel more energetic. And my urge and ability to write is returning to me.

I cannot tell you how good that makes me feel. My creativity has been so stifled that I was starting to think that it would never come back. But it has. And I’m feeling more like myself all the time. And it’s wonderful.

In other news, the girl and I are preparing ourselves for our trip to Germany in the fall. All of that is coming together nicely. The budget for when we’re there as well as the supplies and things that we will need for the trip.

I published an article in The Establishment back in April, so that felt really good. I have another one coming out in the next week or two. It’s way more raw and personal. So I’m nervous about it. But I am confident that the editors wouldn’t push it through unless it was good and ready to be seen.

Summer is FULL ON here in Philly, and our plants and such are blooming nicely. I will have some updates about the Grave Gardeners project soon, as the plants over on Mary’s grave are coming along pretty well.

I’m just… I’m really getting back into a good place. It feels great. And I wanted to share that. I get really tangled in myself when I feel badly, and I’m trying to fight against all of that by sharing more good stuff when it happens.

So yea. That’s all. I think. For now.


Header image is a screen shot from Only Yesterday.

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A hundred words on the smell of you.

I close my eyes every time as I inhale the soft skin of your neck. The atmosphere of your pores rushing through me softens the inside of my mouth and shivers the deepest part of my stomach. You smell, my love, quite simply like the deepest, hottest summers of my childhood. Like ice cream melting across my hands and the rising heat of asphalt too scorched to press my naked feet against. You smell, my dearest, like endless afternoons spent lying on the couch, wrapped in each other against the winter cold outside our small apartment. You smell like home.

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A call to empathy

It’s so easy to sit in judgment of parents and children and zookeepers and strangers. People who you’ve never met.

It’s so easy.

It’s infinitely harder to person up. To pull loose your heart strings. To release the strict hold you keep on your borders and really look at another person.

Because really seeing means letting yourself be seen. Means being vulnerable. Means realizing that the things that we judge other people for are things that we do all the time.

Who hasn’t been guilty of letting our guard down for a moment? The only difference between all of us and certain mothers and zookeepers is that we weren’t the ones taking our eyes off of our child at that crucial second.

We weren’t. But we could have been.

And that fact is the thing that keeps us from true empathy with other human beings.

Because acknowledging that the only thing separating us and them is a cruel blend of circumstance and blind luck is too terrifying to handle.

So we blame. And we stand up and call for the heads of people who have made the same small mistakes that we make every day at a critical moment that ended in tragedy.

Blame is easier. Judgment is easier. Hatred is easier.

Love is hard. Empathy is hard. Compassion is hard.

Within those three things dwells the sharp knowledge that we, in all of our convictions and certainty, are as fragile and as vulnerable to harm as the people we are so quick to villainize.

Empathy is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. The easier it becomes to do the hard work of looking at another person and recognizing yourself.

Try it. You’ll see.

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The Gates of Sarnath

They found themselves within our path
these liars, standing at the gates of Sarnath.
All the truth in them, beliefs, desires,
cloaked and battle scarred and burnt on pyres
their ashes soaked up in the aftermath.

The bloodbath ended, you stood ever higher.
Face somber, body bent, but eyes much brighter
than these fiends could see from their quagmire
buried in the flotsam of your wrath.

They built themselves a road into Sarnath
these toads disguised as friends, these fiendish liars.
But our residents are clever things and set the pyres
burning long before they sought our shores.
And you, my darling, brought them to all fours
their embers glowing in the aftermath.


Header image from here.


 

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Breaking.

what’s broken now. what’s breaking.
is the silence.

what breaks are the edges
of my fingers as i bite
and tear at cuticles.

i worry my body endlessly
when i cannot see beyond
the soft grey haze of this.

first cuticles, then diet,
then the mobility that brings
my limbs to life
that moves my heart
to frantic motion
pushes me out
toward the sun.

after my body
comes my drive.
it takes me four days
to make an edit
that should take moments.
my blog lays silent
still
as any grave
entries scattered
like headstones
bare
and beckoning.

i hang
suspended
in the grey.

i spend a Saturday
still and quiet
on my couch
pouring my eyes
into screens.

a voice in my head
that my therapist
always condemns
calls me lazy
a waste
tells me
sweet lies
to confirm
it’s diagnosis
of my indolence

i know that voice is broken
but it breaks me


Photo credit for header image goes here.


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NoMo Challenge – Winding Down

This month has been a whirlwind with moving and everything. I’m pretty proud of myself that I managed to do the NoMo Challenge and write a blog entry every day. Admittedly, each one wasn’t a golden nugget of amazingness, particularly just before, during, and after the move, but at least I made my goal! Or will have made it once I do tomorrow’s entry.

I’m super happy with my success in the NoMo challenge this year. Next year I will do a few things differently. Here’s my advice for succeeding at writing a blog a day and feeling good about what you put out and also not burning out.

  1. Write and schedule posts ahead of time. When you have the time and the inspiration, doing this will mean that you can take whole days off for yourself. During November, when the holidays start kicking up, this can be especially helpful.
  2. Carve out time to write. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 2 hours, cutting out a part of your day and reserving it for writing in an atmosphere that is conducive to your process will up your chances for successfully writing things that you feel good about.
  3. Record your ideas. Whenever you think of a topic that you think would make a good blog entry or article or what have you, make a note of it. There’s nothing better than sitting down to write and leisurely looking through a list of pre-generated topics.

Those are my notes to myself and all of you for NoMo next year. I hope they’re helpful if you want to do the challenge in 2016. Here’s hoping I remember them when the time comes to buckle down!

Going forward, I would like to take the momentum that I have gained this month and put it into writing every day. Not necessarily here in the blog, but generally. I have so many little projects that I have started and not finished. And with where I am at my job, 1000 words a day would not be hard to do while sitting at my desk.

This coming month will also feature heavily a paid writing gig. And I would like to pitch for some paid articles with larger publications in the coming month. One or two a week would make me feel as though I was doing my best in that area as a new writer.

Onward and upward!