from when you died

there are missing pages in my

diary from when you died.

 

it was not a time for growing

poetry; all the words went in-

 

to the eulogy—which made every

thing else seem meaningless: even

 

music felt foreign and wrong. i

questioned every thing—my job,

 

my place in the family, my space

in the world. all my energy went

 

into finding documents, finding

pictures, trying to find you in the

 

boxes and piles of audio cassettes,

ledgers, sewing kits, coffee mugs.

 

it wasn’t until much later that the

words began to knit together; they

 

were in my head all along—but

needed to be brought to cohesion.

 

there’s a reason this time remains in

my mind: it is a hunt, a meditation, a

 

docking station for the spirit. i must

remember the things that god can do.

 

i must remember that music is for

feeling, and poetry is for eating.

 

i must remember the empty pages

from when you died, with love.

 

 

 

 

 

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arrive alive

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always driving,
always moving,

running to meet point-less
dead-lines, absurd expectations:

rushing, rushing to our graves.

this time i happen
to be headed south,

past neon signs with casualties
counted and engraved:

657 so far this year;

past the severed alligator, under
the glassy big-brother eyes,

funneling down to the edge,
straight into the heart of

gun-shaped dread. i’ll wait until
i get there to start drinking,

numbing away all the things waiting to bite,
until the laughing takes us right into the

crying. it’s all the same out-
pouring in the mind’s eye,

tucked up on that cloud
shelf in the revolving sky;

just harder to put your finger on.

pieces of memory paste themselves
together as i maneuver in and out of states:

last words, last touches, collages of conversations
from ten, twenty years ago, from count-less lives ago—

before we knew what we were be-coming;
before we knew how it would all end.

i keep looking over at my girl sleeping safely
on the seat beside me. my eyes are wide prayers.

the bittersweet dark is settling in as we
arrive alive under the last exhale of sun;

arrive to your absence, to the stomping pulse
of grief running through your girls,

to the very same places where we
once romped and rallied for joy.

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2010: your utter limits

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the thing we don’t tell

our children is that

 

life gets harder as we get older;

 

that, despite the new and amazing and

mind-blowing things we discover,

 

life will push you to your utter limits.

 

how did this design come to be?

that our offspring witness our demise, and then their own?

 

that their friends die around them;

that their hearts are shredded before they even leave home?

 

i’m not asking for answers.

so keep your books shut.

 

i’m asking the questions that have no answers,

 

the questions that need to be asked

even as they fall open to infinity.

 

the year my marriage broke apart for the last time,

a piece of me died.

 

the year my dad died,

a piece of me died.

 

incidentally, it was the same year.

 

i will never be the same –

nor do i want to be.

 

that would mean this life isn’t happening.

to me.

 

this is my life.

 

a decade earlier, the moment my daughter was born,

a piece of me burst open and expanded

 

into something more beautiful and terrifying

than i ever imagined possible.

 

now i walk around with a new fear –

of losing her, of seeing her hurt, of knowing that

 

someday she will lose me.

 

this is our life: our collective

fears, loves, hopes, tragedies, dreams.

 

this is our ride: as we hold on,

hold each other, hold life

 

in our hands.

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maybe we get stronger

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these grand moments tessellate,

become memories,

weaving latent symmetry.

 

science re-aligns:

brilliant humility;

always questioning,

 

always loving the design:

bright-brain mandala–

mazes lighting up the sky.

 

she sings to the rain;

embryo turned baby girl

turned future woman.

 

the dark day sings through the years:

while making coffee,

choosing her favorite mug;

 

the cat plays D-sharp,

the start of how great thou art,

on the white upright.

 

the glorious axioms

–love, light, shadow, breath–

shine through from the other side.

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