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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

To spite his face ...

Driven to Destruction

What drives a girl to suffer
the pain of being lied to
when she has the tools to buffer
and she knows the words are false?

If it’s evidence she’s wanting
… some handle on the facts …
there’s not too much trouble hunting
proof that leads to the last waltz

No man is quite so clever,
some are dumb, and that’s one fact,
And it’s really rarely ever
we’re not hep to all the schmaltz

But we stumble over “Mi amor”
and find we’ve fallen in
that deep hole without our armor
What’s with that shit impulse?

Those lyin’, cheatin’ scoundrels
pull the wool so carefully,
but we catch on to the hound’s, hell!
then ache as we convulse

So …

What drives a girl to suffer
the pain of being lied to
when she has the tools to buffer
and she knows the words are false?

Two years on a tightrope

Tensile strength’s a wondrous thing
when strung ‘tween heav’n and hell
and balancing upon a string
has often served me well

I’ve found a step in some directions
moves me toward a goal
(though a predilection for erections
leaves me less than whole … )

Scampering back a step or two
toward heaven? or toward hell?
and I’m remembering what I knew …
All lessons learned too well.

On one end, there’s my future
the other holds my past
but either end can injure
and both could be my last

I’ve walked the rope almost two years
between his needs and mine
broken promises and tears
unraveling the twine

Possible? It never was,
with this I learned to cope,
withstanding lies and all because
our world was hung on hope

The tensile strength is ebbing
the tightrope’s come undone
it’s loosed the complex webbing
keeping he and me as one

It’s snapped, that rope, and left me
hanging inches from the earth
my safety net has saved me;
still in tact and know my worth

There’ll someday be another
with the strands all forged anew
Yes, there will be other lovers
and, yes, someone will be true

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Anse Soleil rainbow

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning to an odd dream, not unpleasant, set in Victoria Lodge, a fab Five Star B&B in North Devon that belongs to my friend, Jacqueline. It’s a beautiful place in a lovely English village on the Bristol Channel where I passed my days walking Jac’s sweetie of a greyhound through the Valley of the Rocks as I pondered my future.

Jac’s friendship and hospitality were huge gifts, and her house was my bolt-hole, a life-saving haven, a calm harbor in a storm-tossed sea.

I awoke with a smile, although wondering why such strong images of that time and place presented today …

until …

I drifted into full consciousness and realized today’s date: 2 March.

It was on this day in 2008 my husband of 15 years informed me of his betrayal and plans to hit the ejector seat button on our life together. Nope, didn’t see that coming, and the sideswipe almost send me careening off a cliff.

Mark was the man I’d left my life behind for, my trusted partner in building a future from scratch, in parenting two children, the only person I’d ever felt completely safe with.

Shit happens.

Three years have come and gone, and although I can too vividly recall the moment life’s path forked drastically I’m still following my feet. The road’s been rocky and strewn with potholes and no few twists have needed navigating, but it is what it is.

I’m surprised to find this date so deeply burned into my psyche that a dream as profound as this morning’s presents even with no conscious connection, but it’s often my inner awareness that keeps better track than my waking mind. I’m too busy to dwell upon losses and it’s the future I must look to, not the shadows of what might have been.

I’ve taken my lumps and my lessons … and the gifts that came with. I’ve had some amazing moments that could not have happened if the path had not diverted and managed to love and be loved again. There’s been music created and named for me, some magical experiences, joy-filled pauses that required a change in circumstance to occur.

Three years ago, I could no more have predicted a moonlit proposal or a romantic wander through ancient pyramids than a visit to Mars, but those happened and wouldn’t have had the shit not happened, too.

Of course, Sam and Cj are blessings, and they alone provide all the “reason” there would ever need to be for the path to have wandered where it did.

So, there are no regrets … simply memories and the knowledge that what happens, happens, and will keep on happening. There is more life behind me than ahead, but that’s no reason to live in the past. The future won’t play out as long, but I’m still in the game, and although I have no expectation that the rest of my road will be smooth there will be reasons to smile.

Today, as I remember my losses, I look forward to gains with gratitude for the fact that it’s rarely been dull.

The last year alone provided enough not-dull to spawn a raft of words (Check out “It Gets Verse”, a book of poems that spilled out in 2010.), and continues to inspire.

So, on that note, I’ll close with a bit more wisdom gathered, more experience collected, more words strung together as life goes on …

Scoundrel

What is it with a man
who has it in his head
that no matter the hour
and the fact that I’m in bed
can’t stop his hands from dialing
my number every night
with a need to tell me often
how his life is now a fright?

I don’t want to hear his needing
or his fucking endless pleading
for the chance to maybe seeding
a new bed

He has sown those seeds to women
who have no idea he’s givin’
it about around the world from here to there
(And I wish so he’d get out my damned hair)
But me, I learned my lesson
and no longer spend time guessin’
if he’s lying or he’s truthful
cuz there’s no doubt that what’s useful
it’s the only motivation
he can bear

He’s as shallow as a puddle
and although he seems a muddle
he has all his ducks so lined up in a row
that he’s aimed upon his targets
and the women he has marks up
are too clueless in their thoughts
that he’s their beau.

He is yours if you deliver
and he’ll have you all a quiver
just as long as there’s a payoff in the end
For he goes nowhere ‘les it’s paid for
but you’re guaranteed a lay, for
he’s a horny little bugger,
(Ask his “friends”!)

So, Yo! New girls …

Never say I didn’t warn you
Give your heart and see it torn, you
should really pay attention when I say
he’s a lyin’, cheatin’ scoundrel
fewer morals than a hound, you’ll
be knowing this already in a way
But you’re probably ignoring
all the signs that you’re deploring
and pretending that I have gone away

And I have, at least I try to
but he’ll never let it lie, too
much ego in the man to let me be
Plus he loves the life that I live
and he’s hoping I might still give
him what I have, or half,
and all for free
with not even any word of
honesty, that’s just unheard of
in that world of his that’s all about “ME, ME!”

Yes … I live and learn and live some more, catch whatever stardust floats by, grasp at rainbows and ride out … and write out … the rough bits.

It is what it is, intangible and indescribable as a tint of morning.

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2010 was not a great year. It wasn’t the worst I’ve had, but certainly didn’t live up to my wish that it be a complete turnaround from the previous 365 days. Although I was extremely fortunate to get through those twelve months with no one I love dying, disappointments were rife and some great plans proved to be little but dust in the wind that often lodged in my eyes and produced prodigious tears.

Because I am who I am and I do what I do, the fallout also produced words, some of which rhymed or scanned, and in an effort to produce something to show for the year I’ve put them together in an eBook.

Some of the work included has been seen here on the blog, some hasn’t, and all in the book come with images, so even if some may have seen the words before, they’ve not seen them quite like this.

Titled, “It’s Gets Verse”, the book is dedicated to those who touched me in one way or another over the course of last year:

If you’ve made me laugh,
this book’s for you.
If you’ve caused me tears,
it’s for you, too.
Each hasn’t depth
without reversal,
and life, we know,
is no rehearsal.
For all who’ve had me
feel so much …
the good, the bad …
I’ve loved your touch.

In an effort to establish some value in my own mind for the collecting of all the bits of soot and ash from 2010’s burnt offering, I’m offering my offering for all of $5 a download. (PayPal works — sandra.splash@gmail.com — or cash through the post.)

I’ll be well pleased if I find that all the shit I went through last year was worth fifty bucks or so …

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Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
~Walter Scott

A conversation with a young writer a while back on honesty combines with an apparent lack of integrity in business and government coming across in the world news and personal experience with some who have a very casual relationship with truth and leads me to today’s post.

I make up stories. Of course I do; I’m a writer. I write about ghosts of pirates and old ladies who can fly and all sorts of other completely fictional scenarios. The fact that many of the tales I jot down never happened does not, however, make them lies. In fact, vital to each is its honesty.

My young pal is writing sci-fi, intricate stories of the seemingly impossible convoluted by circumstance outside the limits of anything but his imagination, yet my advice to him is: Keep it real; keep it honest.

How does that work? Well, the same way it does in life.

There are rules. There are always rules. Rules of action and reaction, of fairness, of balance, and through the process of creating a world, even an outrageous world of your own making, rules must be engraved in stone and followed.

For example, I just finished writing a scene in the book I’m working on now where a character is standing high on a rock contemplating the view before her. In reality, there is no woman, no rock and no view until I write it. It’s at that point it becomes substance, even if the substance is nothing but a string of words. I could easily endow her with superpowers that would allow her to leap, then fly, or I could make her as big as a cloud or as small as a gnat, but the one thing I cannot do is write what can’t be according to the rules of her world.

She feels the breeze upon her skin, so that breeze must be what a breeze is and her interpretation of it must be within the realm of what is possible for her. I can choose not to include the breeze in the tale, but it’s there and there’s no room for cheating, for glancing over what must be, what is. Her world isn’t airless, nor is she the type not to notice a warm, enveloping breath, so it must be written as it happens.

I wrote recently about my way of thinking of life as a series of books within a book, how I have a mental library I access as a meditation technique and where I store stuff in some sort of order I don’t always have access to.

Thinking in those terms, when reading news accounts of real people, I often wonder how their books play out. Not the truly evil, as there are plenty of horror tales that run according to plot, but those who bend and twist truth as if it is something bendable and twistable. It’s not, you know. It’s not. And the spiders weaving those tangled webs are very frequently left to dangle on a thread going nowhere.

It’s the same with people in the non-newsworthy world … whatever that may be at any given moment … who seem to think they’re getting along just fine by tweaking reality when it seems convenient, doing one thing, then saying they’re doing another … or nothing at all … living one lie after another as if life is nothing but a series of lily pads offering options to hop without consequence rather than a path that will be taken no matter how many times a plop in the muck happens.

The life books of those folks must be full of missing chapters and run-on sentences leading nowhere. All that doubling back must get tiresome, and since none of us gets a chance for a full rewrite, the story must grow terribly labyrinthine and cluttered with many dead ends.

The fact is many of our stories interconnect, fact and fiction, and once we’re part of another book or another’s book becomes part of ours plots mingle. Everyone is on their way to their own ending, but one influences the other and plot twists often happen in tandem. When all is based in real, in truth and honesty and integrity, scenes open, run and close in an order that makes sense, that scans, that works no matter how deep the tale, how serious the diegesis, how diabolical the outcome.

It’s cheap and easy to write bad fiction … there’s certainly a lot of that about … just as it is to live it. When the frog eats the spider and the lily pad sinks we lose interest until they’re scrambling to find something with substance to pull themselves up by. That would be truth.

There are, of course, various interpretations of truth, degrees of certitude, some flexibility in defining where accuracy and honesty go in different directions. In writing, such partings must be … well … spelled out, clearly or obliquely, or readers may feel tricked into a web that’s lost its form. Bored and frustrated, they’ll turn away, stop caring, toss the book at the wall and vow never to go THERE again, and the dishonest writer has just slit their own throat.

In life, however, a lie is a lie, and although some may appear to gain ground with the telling thinking they’re paving the way toward what they may think is a right direction, in the long run gossamer lily pads go nowhere.

Gossamer Lily Pads and Where They’ll Get You

If a frog eats a spider
and the spider’s had a fly
where’s the nutrition if
it’s all been a lie?

The spider says, “I’ve done it,
and there’s a way to go”
So a hop to a lily pad
makes sense to the toad.

When the spider can’t be trusted
and there never was a fly
and the frog knows the lily pad
is nothing but a lie,

just loosely woven spider spit,
a floating maze of fraud,
it serves them all quite rightly
to be left to swim in mud.

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Apologies for this convoluted mess of a post. I’m processing, and that’s not a tidy endeavor, so this thing is all over the place …

Being a reader and a writer, I suppose it makes sense that I often think of life in terms of books.

One of my favorite images, developed when I was a kid and honed over the years, is of internal libraries we each carry with us; volume after volume of stories lining endless shelves and constantly being added to. The history section grows as we age, as does general knowledge and reference works, and although some are better than others at retrieving info we know is there, just about everyone is aware of the fact that dusty corners hold stuff we haven’t bothered to look at in a very long time.

I use my library as an aid to meditation and often find illumination for troubling issues while wandering the stacks. There’s an entire section with nothing but numbers on the spines … all in Roman numerals. (I don’t know why, but that’s what it is.) The first is marked “I” and I can trail my finger along … V, X, XXV, XXXIII, XL, L … and stop where it feels right. Each book is a rough accounting of one year of my life, yet none are finished but have blank pages interspersed throughout since many of the yarns have yet to complete their weaving.

The library itself is inside a book inside my head, but much like reading on my iPad, I have no idea how thick this book might be. I know I’m a good way through, but just how far from The End, I can’t see. It could very well be that the next turn of the page is the last … or perhaps there are still quite a few chapters.

I might sketch notes in the corners if I could get to those pages by somehow jumping ahead — they are fairly blank, after all — but thumbing forward is futile and ends up heading back through chapters on history. That’s not a bad thing. Not at all. In fact, filling in gaps can be quite helpful even without knowing how it all ends.

One rule of fiction writing dictates everything included in a story must either reveal character or advance plot. Interestingly, reads back through my book seem to indicate that rule was followed even though at the time it seemed either nothing was happening or what happened was scripted by the William S. Burroughs school of writing. Oh, those not-so-lovely Deus ex Machina moments that make no sense at all … the shit asteroids falling from a clear, blue sky … the people popping up seemingly out of left field and tagging up … the bright, shiny objects floating into the path and compelling me to follow.

Yep, those WTF moments, the where-the-hell-did-that-come-from issues … when looking back in the Big Book of Sandra I do get the idea that all these shredded threads actually unspool from a source and following the fragments is possible. Some of it even makes sense when looking at it backwards, or if not sense at least symmetry. After all, I’m where I am now and getting here is what the story’s been about … so far.

As a new year begins, the image of blank pages ready for filling presents, but I’m not writing my life, just living it. It’s not me setting the scene but the sea and the clouds and the blue sky above, the bird chirps, the sound of the dog’s leg tapping along in time to her scratching happening with no need to be described … it all just is.

I can’t write others’ actions or reactions. I can’t build a character who loves me enough, never lets me down or saves the day. It’s not for me to calculate another’s trajectory and where it intersects mine. I can want to, but I can’t DO it. No. What is, is.

What also “is” is the part I can’t know — the part composing on its own. Are we coming toward an unexpected plot twist? A lottery win? The death of a loved one? Someone wonderful about to enter stage right? Cancer? A job offer? A heart attack?

Any or all of that could be part of the plot … well, not the lottery thing, since apparently you have to actually buy tickets and I don’t … and if I die tonight, my book is done and I’ll be filed away in the libraries of those who know me, but will continue to fill pages in others’ books … cross-references are a huge part of the life of Life books and parts of my story will continue to be included in the story of others for a while.

My volume varies in size from library to library … much thicker in my grown daughter’s than in Cj’s, for example … and there will be many different versions of my story. The version I have access to now will never be read by anyone, so no one will ever know the me of me that I know, just as I can’t know the them of any of them. Our stories are not only unique, they are forever beyond the comprehension of anyone, even ourselves; unfathomable biographies covering millions of seconds, each leading to the next until they stop doing that.

And there will be rewrites, some kind, some less so, but all tailored to fit the edition to the library hosting.

If I could write the rest of my life, I would end the book for MMX with ” … and she lived happily ever after to the end of her days”, then start on a new one with an outline for just how that would unfold making sure there were many, many pages left for all the great stories about to commence. For all I know, however, it’s already written, and perhaps that is how it goes. Maybe I do live happily ever after. Maybe all the carefully composed outlines have forged themselves in some sort of unassailable form that MUST be followed. Maybe. For now, though, all I can do is look forward to the read … and the ride.

For all who’d like to take a look,
my life is but an open book.

But please, I beg you, all my friends,
some word if you know how it ends.

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And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury –
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
~Thomas Hood

Although an arbitrary demarcation of something quantum physics says doesn’t exist, there’s no denying the impact of the turn of the year on the fragile psyche of frail humans … okay, on the fragile psyche of this frail human — new years freak me out!

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

There’s something more than unnerving in the idea that one year has just gone by in an eye-blink, that a whole bunch of stuff happened in those twelve months, much of which deserves rumination, and this morning I teeter on the cliff edge of yet another that will pass as fast and present as much … or more … I’ll have incorporated into my history this time next year.

Yikes!

I have great hopes for 2011, even some plans, and this morning a determination to make this one great year. Of course, those are precisely the thoughts I had on New Year’s Day 2010.

For the third year running, life is in tumult with so much out of my control that simply hanging on is about the best I can manage. Sure, I’ll plod along day-by-day doing the things that need doing, avoiding pitfalls I can see or sense and spend no little energy visualizing the desired path, but after the last couple of years know only too well that at any moment I could hear that brief scream that signals incoming.

I’d like to think I’ve learned enough to trust only the trustworthy, love only those who deserve my love, chose only the best options available … as Tennyson said:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Amen, Alfred. And I’ll be greeting true with open arms if I recognize the fucking thing.

If all goes well, 2011 should be a year of change … big, positive change seeing me having wrestled back some control, moved house, simplified things considerably and set up comfortable circumstances for me and the kids that will provide enough security to allow stepping back from the dance on the rim of the precipice and a chance to gather strength rather than squander it in anxiety and the depleting efforts of fighting for every fucking step.

Of course, the reality is that we only have so many of these new beginnings, and there’s always the chance the last one was the last one. That would be quite disappointing. I very much hope there’s time to reap rewards for hard work, that my last love was not my LAST love, that seeds sown come to fruition. Conversely, however, another year like the last few … well … I’m not so hot on that.

Today, there’s no way to know if it’s “a kindlier dozen” ahead, more of the same or something even more diabolical. Experience tells me thoughts of “it can’t get any worse” are utter nonsense and there is no guaranteed swing of the pendulum shifting from crap to contentment, but there is hope.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot

So, the old year is over, the new has begun … it will bring what it brings and be dealt with as it unfolds. I will do what I always do — plod and write — and January will turn to February and Cj will be six in April and Sam will be nine in November and another year will be added to the outbox. I will seek out joy, love my kids, treasure my friends, embrace adventures and hope and hope and hope.

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

My sincere wish to all that 2011 fills your book with joy, love, kindness and peace …

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Wrapping my head around the holidays … looking happy about it … dwelling is not an option … cleaning out corners is …

My dog and stuff

My dog is called Mitzy
she’s ditzy
My cat is Diego,
hasta luego
The tortoise is Helmut
… the shell, mate …
I do with my critters,
their litter,
and fritter
away many minutes
with little else in it
My kids
are Sam, Cj and Jenn
and Jaren, of course,
although he’s now a “been”
I’ve a mother,
three brothers,
Larry, Tom and …
oh … Jim …
and, very thankfully,
a whole raft of friends.
There’s Andy and Gay
who both make every day
a tolerable passing of
whatever may
come hell or high water
show up when my daughter
the grown one (I miss her)
is beyond where I aughter
while I’m with her sister.
It’s life on this rock
that keeps me in hock
always missing someone
even as I keep stock
of those coming and going
I love them all, knowing
time passes so fast
What’s it mean? I could ask
my dog who’s called Mitzy

Cambodia in Seventeen Syllables
Always conflicted,
smiling through horror
Poison on the top shelf waits

X-mas

It’s ghosts I hang
on the Christmas tree
shades of all that
couldn’t be
Another year has
come and gone,
another season
thrust upon
all tinsel, balls and
shiny fluff
and meant to be
diverting stuff
but serving only to remind
of all that has been left behind

Leftovers

How does one finish with
stuff that’s not done
like a bird in the oven
still bleeding?

Can’t very well eat things
still moving now
can we? Not while it still keeps
its beating

It has stewed, it has baked
but no matter,
stlll kicking this thing’s not
completing

the process of dying
takes time and may
nevertheless bear
repeating

Hunger can’t rush it,
wishing won’t work,
but no worries.
We’re feeding

on scraps of leftovers
savouring each
it seems we are
still needing.

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