Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tonto Strikes Again

So I haven't written in a very long time, anything worthwhile anyway, and it's strange to pick up again.  The keyboard feels like an entirely foreign machine beneath my fingertips, and the art of crafting thoughts daunts me because I feel I have nothing to say.  I never thought it would come to this:  me desperately clutching a pad of paper (metaphorically, of course) and running after a truckload of verbiage anxious to rummage through its assortment because I feel I haven't any of my own, but it has.

When I scroll down the Facebook feed (guilty as charged), read people's posts and find someone that composes good sentences, I always start a little.  This tiny jarring of emotion, the one that used to delight me "Hark, another writer!", now pricks at my soul.  I admit, I've become a tad bit jealous.  Frankly, I don't know if I can write anymore, crafting my world with the same depth and passion that I used to...

Day after day the pen sits on my desk and the computer lies untouched.  I usually forget about them even existing, caught up with life as I am, but sometimes my eyes travel to those lonely, dusty objects and I pine for what used to be.  I remember lazy afternoons spent with my journal in cozy cafe's writing about everything and nothing.  Paper, pen and the computer were familiar friends that I relied heavily on everyday to air out my universe and bring me pleasure.  Seems I was always spritzing up my sentences with new vocabulary and pathways of thought.  Moving my hand across the page was akin to eating chocolate those days; stimulating, orgasmic and very, very rewarding.

Nowadays it's different.  I feel dismembered from the very tools that used to feel like extensions of my soul.  Whereas before my writing took precedence over everything in my life, now everything in my life seems to take precedence over it.  To be fair, I have a boyfriend now, my father passed away and a plethora of other happenings have filled my plate and my emotions, but rather than taking pen to paper and airing them out, I have chosen a silent path and slowly but surely the distance has grown between us...

So where am I today?  Well, seeing as how I still can still piece sentences together (whew!) I'm not as far away as I believed from the shores of self-expression, but the joy and anticipation of crafting material still eludes me.  I once read that writing changes as one evolves and it makes sense.  Maybe that's what happened to me.  For a good while, I was smitten by the entire creative process that allowed me to make my inside world a reality.

Now, I view writing as a more mechanical act, perfunctory in nature and practical in essence.  I'm not as infatuated by the craft, though I have enormous respect for it (hey, it's hard to write well) and the urgency to self-express is not as all-consuming as it once was.  But to be honest, I can still hear writings' siren call.  It beckons and teases my soul more often than I'd like, promising riches if I will only come and I can't escape it, try as I might.  I find myself filling journals, scribbling in notebooks, writing on my hand...on everything I can!  It's like Jesus; it never leaves me, though I leave it.

I can't shake it off, writing is a part of me and I guess even though I've changed, I've stayed the same.  I am and always will be, a writer.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I never thought it would happen to me, growing older.  It did.  I look in the mirror and suddenly the smooth contours of my face, the ones I've ALWAYS relied on, my chums, my comrades, now have the audacity to entertain small etchings for all to see.  My skin is losing its elasticity and the fountain of youth from whence I thirstily drank with nary a second thought, the one I believed would never dry up, is now starting to tighten its belt.

My body is changing, too - no way around it.  At first, the differences were subtle:  not being as fast on my feet when I danced, a little bit of extra weight around my middle and other small nuances.  I blew them off as nothing worth ruffling my feathers about and continued on my merry way.  Then a few years later, it hit me:  I wouldn't be going back, not now not ever to the glory days of youth.  No, that part of my life was over.  The spry little gadabout that once graced the streets of San Francisco has gone home and closed the door behind her.

 All is not lost, however.  That same girl has now emerged a woman carrying a different kind of grace.  Not just of the physical sort, but rather one that comes from the inside and cannot fade with the passage of time - a charitable, kind, loving grace that flows from the soul, and not just the body.  Good thing.

Don't get me wrong, I still consider myself to be attractive - I like the way my face hangs together and I haven't put myself out to pasture yet (I've a long way to go, truth be told), but looking good now requires props that it once didn't and the ghost of my hard lived life taps it's long, skinny finger on my shoulder every day as I stiffly get out of bed, a reminder that I am not 24 anymore.  But even with all these considerations, it is well with my soul.  I find that I am working more in harmony with and not as viciously against the changes that the passage of time has inevitably brought and for this I am glad.

I would not be able to do this without the help of The Almighty.  It is He who lifts my head and tells me I am beautiful, worthy, loved.  He who has made it bearable to continue even when the vestiges of my youth have begun to wane and maturity settle in.  I have also found a good man who loves me, who is attracted to my inner qualities (and not just my outward self) the softer, gentler ones that have, almost imperceptibly, appeared in the interim between seasons.

So what to say?  It's not so bad reaching a new vista, a higher ground.  Sure, you have to shed skin to get there and that sometimes hurts, but the end is a glorious new beginning.  And that's all good.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Tick tock tick tock - it goes by mercilessly, relentlessly.  This metered flow of life cannot be stopped or altered.  Magnanimous, it encompasses all of the human emotions, yet is none of them.  Time, a vacuum, a space to hold life, and bury death.  A force to be reckoned with.  Seemingly imperceptible, apparently insignificant, absolutely consequential.

With the cold indifference of a serial killer, and the intuitive wisdom of a forest, this progression of moments allows for anything and then sets about in the work of healing it.  That this entity sadistically and graciously containing our lives is a neutral beast is, perhaps, the hardest pill to swallow.  There is no kind hand that buffers our existence when tragedies hit, or gives  us a pat on the back when triumphs prevail (except maybe our mother's) no, it's all grist for the mill.  Whichever way the cookie crumbles is the way the cookie crumbles; you don't get brownie points for effort or extra suffering.  Funny, isn't it?

Time is a great leveler.  It favors no one, tethering us all to the same boat and it's of no use trying to speed it up or slow it down.  Ruthless, it grinds and sifts but also, blessedly, elevates and cheers all the while meandering serenely through its set course, bringing everyone to the same destination.  And if we are patient and wait with grace, we will see the fruit of our labors.  After all, aren't oysters rewarded for their effort?

Friday, June 12, 2015


You lie there helpless and still -a baby with teeth,
a perma scowl etched on your face as sure and as deep as a woodcarving.

It’s hard to reconcile the helpless bit with the image of the man you used to be:
formidable, strong, larger than life, really.  You filled your shoes and then some.

When did it happen, where, how;
the steady progression into dementia,
and where was I?

In California, I guess-
marking time by the pull of gravity
with each visit I made.
The changes, like stills in a cartoon frame, added up over time.

You always were an ornery man,
and now, as you yell obscenities into the nursing home where you sit,
puny and grey - you have begun your dance with death.

Tomorrow they will give you morphine for the pain,
and I wonder if you will fight them off with the last of your strength.

So, what remains to be said here?
How about, I love you, how about I care.
How about your death will leave a hole in my heart the size of the moon?

I will always remember how you ate the pies we made in the kitchen when I was little,
the ones that didn’t turn out and were still goopy inside.  You eat them with a laugh while I watched in awe.  My big, tall daddy spending time with me...  I was so proud, so tickled.

Or how about that easter you gave me the pink bunny?  I held it tightly to my chest later, when we took a drive in the green impala and you turned and looked at me and smiled, squealing with delight.

And then there’s eating snow in candy dishes, yep, that was fun.  You’d go outside and collect a snowball in the blizzard bringing it home for us to eat.  You had a sense of humor alright...

You will be remembered your colorful language, generosity and the levity you added to heavy situations.  You weren’t perfect, but I loved you anyway.  How could I not?  You were the first man of my life.

Dad, with this last sentence or so, I want to wish you peace, what you never had in this life.  I firmly believe you’re going to heaven, because you said the prayer that one blessed day - so until we meet again, so long, farewell, and pet a cow or two for me up there.

We love you.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Thoughts unfolding one by one
make me want to turn and run.

They slosh and spill out of my head,
and tumble out my ears in bed.

I don't know why they come at me
like torpedoes in the sea,
and crash into my troubled brain,
replete with poison, replete with pain.

I often wonder what I'd do
 if life was offered me anew;
would I step up and it allow
or with relief just take a bow?

To see the joy on someone's face,
and feel the touch of heaven's grace...
To open up and share my soul,
 and feel myself becoming whole...

It's this I think that tethers me
to life despite it's misery.
The little things that melt my heart
that balance what tears it apart.

And so perhaps what I have learned
in this war where I am churned
is not to run from life away
but accept its grand display.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Home (a few years back...)

Home is a resting ground for my worries.  A place where I take off my hat, and the thoughts fall off

one by one onto the hardwood floor.  As I kick them aside, I crawl into bed, weary bones sinking into

the mattress that feels like a pillow cradling my limbs, and absorb the shock of another day lived in

this obstacle course of life.  

I lie, wrapped in my comforter, peacefully watching cars pass by though the lace filter of curtains that

covers the window.  My body drops into its folds, while patches of bare skin brush up against a wooly

blanket.  I think of my grandmothers big, soft bed that swallowed me up whole when I was a child,

and smile.  I hug my Hello Kitty doll to my chest in a fetal position, barely able to move, barely able

to  breath.  I'm weary from trying, weary from crying, though my shallow breath seems to sustain me.

I feel likeI am in a hospital, recovering from a malady, some past ill that has haunted me and brought

me here to this spiritual asylum.  And indeed I am.   

From bedlam to beauty, I write.  As I wake from the dream I’ve yearned so long to escape - the

dream of my days, the nightmare of my past -  I am free for the first time in my life.  The

shackles of prison surround me no more, the barbed wire has snapped and I write, a wild banshee

cutting through the fields running for my life, running for my freedom.

Now, beauty surrounds me:  flowers and sunshine and a view.  The first of my adult life.  Ever so

slowly, I take it all in, absorbing every breath, and moving like a wounded insect struggling for its

life on the windowsill.  I take nothing for granted, not even the beat of my own heart.  I am fragile,

but alive, vulnerable but safe, wounded but healing...

I wonder if you are wondering where I’ve come from?  What path I’ve taken that has consumed me

whole and then some.  Dare I delve?  I don’t know.  Dare I speak of the shadows, and the underworld,

the sewers and devils that held me fast while I struggled and strained to escape - all the while getting

more embedded - like quicksand, into the dark and miry mirk?  Do I speak of the terrors of nightfall,

that lunged for my arm, waiting to eat me alive while I struggled and strained to break free?  Or do I

just shrug and carry on?  I don't know, but sinking into this moment sure feels good.  I don’t have to

run, or hide or look back over my shoulder trying to dodge hades.  No.  Today I can smile, safe in this

open fortress that is my room, and thank heaven that my life rests safe within its confines, quiet and

sweet.  And that, God willing, I will rise to another day, another occasion to make merriment and sing


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Remember

I remember one summer day, a long time ago, when my family piled into our Impala and drove to Puyallup.   I can still see my brothers feet, too short to reach the floorboards, dangling over the seat as we sped along.  It was a hot, sunny afternoon (well, hot for Washington), the sky was a cloudless blue expanse and the country fields went on forever.  The ride took a long time, but that was OK.  It meant we got to get out of the house and tedium of the farm.

My dad was in a good mood that day, laughing and eating with his napkin tucked into the top of his shirt in the restaurant we'd met at with some friends.  Tall and strapping, with thick black hair a la` Elvis, he was belligerent and often angry, but that day was different.  That day was a "good" day.  Joking around with our friends, he was jovial and almost fun.  My mother, beautiful with her quick brown eyes and thick dark hair looked after everything.  Usually scared of my father, today she, too, seemed less afraid, more at ease.  I sat, quietly stuffing my face with the delicious roast beef, thrilled to be on a drive.  My brother, messy with food on his face, ate peas in his highchair.

That was a long time ago.  Nowadays, the situation is different.  Diagnosed with alzheimers, my father is practically housebound and shuffles from room to room with a cane, or by my mothers arm since he is often too stubborn to use one.  Gone are the heavy, thunderous strides that used to make the china rattle in the cupboard, and terrify us when I was a child.  Now, the only traces of the man he was exist solely in his words; the same hurtful and abusive spews of yore, and in his hard eyes.  Bent with the weight of age, like an old tree, he is shriveled and the vitality that once seemed to define him is gone.  The man with the formidable strength who once worked 16 hour days nonstop, overcoming both a stroke, and a heart attack, now spends his days sitting in a chair with the TV flickering in front of him.  He doesn't let anyone open the blinds, preferring to sit in darkness.

It is both difficult and painful to watch the process of aging, especially since I only go home twice a year.  The memory of him between gaps makes for a stark contrast to the present visual, you just can't help it.  The disparity between who my father was and who he has become, is creating an ever deepening chasm in my memory that both snatches my breath away and makes my soul ache.  My heart takes a snapshot of him , then I compare the pictures between gaps and cry private tears.