(You always know) post trauma

You always know

You always know
when I am afraid
when I am running
when I am hiding
how afraid I am

when I keep secrets

You always know
so far
when I am triggered and terrified
and hiding and broken
and pretending to be ok

so far
you respond
and are gentle
draw me out
offer food
and company

You always know
so far
and I am still afraid
and I am still planning
and this is what I am hiding
the plan for what I will do

What I will do
when you know
you always know
when you know
but you don’t
respond

when you don’t respond
and aren’t gentle
don’t draw me out
don’t offer food
or company

You always know
so far

But I feel safer
if I don’t
trust

11/28/21

Mourn

Thank you, Queen Elizabeth II, for choosing this time to pass, to die.

The world can use public mourning now, a formal ceremony. I tear up every time I look at the lines of people watching, standing, waiting, filing past your coffin.

Perhaps we should set up a coffin for all the dead, a field of coffins, doll coffins, hundreds, thousands, a million for the United States alone, and millions for the world, for all the dead from Covid-19.

And then we need more coffins, for those who died because care was delayed during the pandemic, screening for cancer, treatment for cancer or heart disease or lung disease. Let us set them up as well.

And then we need doll chairs, hundreds and thousands and millions of doll chairs, for the people with long haul Covid, to acknowledge that we don’t know if they will get well, will rise from their beds and chairs.

And white coats, hundreds and thousands and millions of white coats, some neatly on hangers, other bloody, others thrown on the floor, for the first responders, some dead, some quitting, some ill, some deciding that they can’t do medicine or fire fighting or policing any more, some stubbornly continuing in their jobs.

And job advertisements, on tiny doll computers, doll newspapers, doll signs in windows, saying help wanted, help, help, people are quitting, people are too sick to work, people have died, people are wondering why they should work in public, people are afraid and angry and hurt, help wanted.

I tear up when I watch the public mourning. I remember my mother, my father, my sister, all dead before the pandemic. I remember other dead, family and friends. I think of all the dead that I know, starting to outnumber the living that I know.

Thank you Queen Elizabeth II, for this formal and public mourning in this time of confusion and grief. Your last public service, for which I and many others, tear up and thank you.

___________________________

The photograph is from a friend’s dollhouse.

Dream travel

I time travel in dreams.

Two dreams last night. In one I am in a hospital and trying to finish up and go home, but there are two babies. I check and one is my daughter. I check the other and it is a boy. He has a label saying “Call police.” The story is that he is sent from a smaller hospital for some testing that I am not sure about and that the mother was supposed to pick him up. She has been discharged but has not picked him up. I feed him and my daughter, feeling anxious. Where are the nurses? Why is my daughter here? I will take her home, but I have to make provision for the boy first. I feel sorry for him, abandoned. Both babies are clean and alert and swaddled, but the nurses are not around. I wake up.

In the second dream, I am still married to my first husband/but it’s a more recent gentleman friend at the same time. We are in southeast asia. I want to go home but for some reason we have stuff, including skis. My daughter is in her 20s in this dream. We take the skis to a house. Right before we reach it, there are police nearby, having a shootout with someone. Gangsters. This worries me and my daughter/friend. My husband/the guy meet us there and he boasts that a rich friend lets him use the room in the house. “I can have it for a whole month.” I am unimpressed and don’t care. I want to go home. My daughter/or it’s a woman friend and I go back. I think that my husband/guy is getting the car, but I hear his voice. He is singing in a karaoke bar. It is a very trashy glittery place and he loves it. I do not like the lounge style of singing and I decide to get the car myself and with my daughter/friend, get out of there. I hear my husband/guy making excuses and calling after us, but I am leaving. He lies to me and he excludes me, he wants to be the center of attention with his rich friends and when he sings, he’s afraid I would take attention away from him.

My daughter/friend and I retrace towards the building where the skis are. We have to walk on the edge of a massive fountain, with a cliff on one side. We are in a city. I think that we are retracing but then we come out into an open area. There is a police car parked there. I know we are visible, with a full moon reflecting off the fountain pool, so I wave with no concern. Just tourists here. I study the edge of the fountain to see if we could go in the water and climb to the next section, but it is not safe. I can’t tell how deep it is nor how fast the current. We will have to backtrack. The city is beautiful, with a giant lion building on the skyline and buildings with the Thai curved rooftops stacked up. It is gorgeous. Suddenly the other person is my friend and I worry: where is my daughter, where is the baby? I wake up.

My daughter is in her twenties now, not a baby, but in the dream she was a baby and then later in her twenties. When I wake I think, who cares about the stupid skis? Get out of there and leave the stuff. The babies are most important.

The first dream has three people. The second has four, because I can see the policeman. All the people are aspects of myself. My husband who is my ex now/a recent gentleman friend and then a male southeast asian policeman, though the police car is one of the large blue SUV style ones that I see at home. All of these complicate elements. Both my children have been to Thailand but I have not. Dreams are definitely time travel for me.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: time travel.

hope molting and growing new feathers

A friend away a friend some day
a friend can’t stay all the day
a friend won’t pray a friend can’t play
not today is what they say
a friend they say a friend always
a friend who may return some day

in a way you might say
hope molts and regrows feathers today

I think my inner four year old wrote today’s poem. I am thinking about the song my mother taught me, very young, for when I was frustrated.

My sister and I loved this song and others, Samuel Hall and “I don’t want to play in your back yard, I don’t like you any more. You’ll be sorry when you see me, sliding down my cellar door.”

I gave a young friend a book of rhymes. He looked at me with some horror. “These are nursery rhymes.” I grin at him. “Look again. It’s a book of insulting playground rhymes, suitable for all occasions.” He looked at the book again and held on to it.

The photograph is from the National Museum of Women in the Arts again. Another fabulous painting that seems to fit my theme.

welcome home

home home welcome home
home is where you are, Beloved
and you are everywhere

not in churches, not for me
I run outdoors, long to be free
you are everywhere I see

the beauty in the world
love and grief and pearls
small child dance and twirl

I have crossed the boundary
over and over again
Beloved, let me stay, friend

I’ve searched for you so long
Beloved, you make us so strong
look everywhere that’s wrong

home home welcome home
home is where you are, Beloved
and you are everywhere

________________________________

August 31, 2022

Sing from the sea

This is another poem where I did not know where it was going when I started it. I was thinking about the sea and sirens and singing. My poems go where my heart thinks I should go, but I don’t know where that is until the poem is done. And it’s clearly a song and next I need a tune. And chords. And more practice.

I sing from the sea, from the sea, from the beautiful sea
tied to the mast, you won’t come to me

unplug your ears, unblock your heart
before it breaks and truly stops
listen to my lonely heart
we’ll make music and never part

I sing from the sea, from the sea, from the beautiful sea
hear my voice, listen to me

our hearts melt together like stone
in the depths of my volcano home
you shut your heart down, run away
lava strings like glass, all the way

I sing from the deep, from the deep, from the beautiful deep
small child calling, she still weeps

volcano boiling from ocean floor
new island built as lava roars
small child with faith as adult caves to fear
small child holds your heart dear

I sing from the land, from the land, from the new born land
don’t be afraid, take my hand

hope has feathers, a poet said
in the darkest time, hope is not dead
I morph to dragon, to kite, to bird
your resistance is so absurd

I sing from the air, from the air, from the smoke filled air
vision dark, can’t see where

circle in flight, hope you too
listen to the small child hidden deep in you
a promise is a promise, you know it’s true
I do not give up on you

I sing in the wood, in the wood, in the beautiful wood
five elements sing as all things should

In the wood in the trees
on an island in the sea
in the heart of the volcano
my heart is free

I sing from the sea, from the sea, from the beautiful see
no matter what happens, my heart is free

_____________________________________________

I took the photograph at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a painting by Shinique Smith.

Give up

Give up. You’ve failed, again. Love is not for you. Give up, turn in, write books, play music, have friends. Give up, give over, surrender. You are not loved, you are not lovable, you won’t be loved. When you show yourself they leave. Stop hoping, stop trying, stop, stop, stop. There is nothing there for you, only loss and heartbreak. Only the Beloved loves you whole, entire, who you are. Give up, give over, get down, surrender. You are not loved that way, you won’t be, ever. Get over it, write, dance, play music, fungk, it doesn’t matter one bit. Your longing is the longing to be reunited with the Beloved and that comes soon enough. Be not afraid, for you are loved, though not by men, a man, a woman, humans, whatever. Be yourself anyway, woman feeling like alien lizard, different, wrong, smart, alien. It is ok. Love the Beloved, love your friends, even those who walk away. Love them anyhow and know that the Beloved loves you. Always, always always, you are loved.

L

Parasympathy

In 2013, Catherine Hodes, director of the Safe Homes Project (a domestic-violence program), started a workshop called “Is it Conflict or Abuse?” An abusive dynamic, she argues, requires one person to have power over the other, whereas conflict involves two people struggling for power. The distinction can be confusing, and in some cases “both people feel like they’re being abused, because they’re not getting their needs met or they’re not getting their way.”

From the Atlantic Monthly article: That’s it, you’re dead to me. September 2022 p. 14.

I think this is a fascinating idea, in the article that questions the internet wisdom of getting rid of “toxic people” in one’s life. When we cut off someone we consider “toxic”, we aren’t peaceing them, are we? Peace me, peace you, how do we actively peace people instead of being afraid, on guard, at war. I think everyone is more afraid after the two years of Covid 19 pandemic and all of the deaths and the Long Haul Covid and war. Everyone has a shorter fuse, everyone is stressed.

Remember that stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight system. The body makes less thyroid and less sex hormones and makes more adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid and great for short term, but bad for long term. If we are continually stressed, cortisol messes up the immune system and we get auto-immune disorders, the body attacking its’ own cells. The adrenaline raises our heart rate and blood pressure, neither of which are good for the heart long term. When the thyroid hormone is on the low side, we feel tired. The adrenaline makes us feel wired and we have trouble sleeping. The cortisol makes us more likely to get sick and raises blood sugar too. The low sex hormones, well, women can stop menses and men start asking for viagra.

So we as a world, need to learn to downregulate the sympathetic nervous system and go back to parasympathetic. The relaxed one. The one where we have less adrenaline and less high cortisol and more thyroid and our gut works and sex works again. How do we get there?

Breathing is one way. Slow breathing: 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. Work up to 20 minutes. One of my veterans said he was not used to feeling relaxed, it felt weird. Ok, it may feel weird, but maybe we need to practice it. He did. There is circular breathing too, 5 seconds in, 5 hold, 5 out, 5 hold. Zen meditation, facing a wall for 40 minutes, works too. We try not to follow the thoughts. The thoughts pop up anyhow, but not following them down the rabbit hole is interesting and challenging. Mindful mediation and Jon Kabat Zinn’s books and tapes work as well. It takes practice. Practice peace, practice relaxing. Doesn’t that sound like a lovely practice?

Stupid cat videos work for me too. Laughter works. What makes you laugh? I like the silly animal videos, the moose playing with the wind chimes, three baby bears rescued (with care) from a dumpster, with the truck driving off to avoid momma bear. Rocking, knitting, sewing, fishing, walking the beach, cuddling a baby, dancing, listening to music, playing music. Which works for you? Silly movies. I don’t like horror movies, and I love cartoons and animation. Engage the child at heart for the parasympathetic nervous system.

In high school my daughter said that most fights were stupid. “One person says something without thinking. The other person goes off and gets upset. She stops talking to person one, who has no idea what is going on, and they often talk to their friends. So there is this big fight over some dumb comment.”

I don’t think it ends with high school, sadly enough. And before we label someone “toxic”, maybe we need to wander off and breathe, or watch a silly cat video. Whatever works for you that doesn’t hurt others.

We need more parasympathy in the world. Yep, I just made that word up. Relax and if you can’t or won’t, consider practicing.

Peace you and please peace me.

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23266-parasympathetic-nervous-system-psns

https://healthnews.com/family-health/healthy-living/how-to-activate-the-parasympathetic-nervous-system/

August 19, 2022

peace you peace me

I forgive you faster then past trauma
choose to let go of all the drama
you told me that I should let go
I am letting go of you and want you to know

I am letting go of all the past trauma
family fighting, intolerance, stupid drama
breathe in love, breathe out love
peace be with you, olive branch and dove

let the fight or flight gently fall away
breathe in peace and air all your day
breathe slowly, five out, five in
muscles relax and face in a grin

sending love whether you respond or not
forgiveness for harm and grief and loss, all rot
I am choosing peace and choosing to breathe slow
your friendship is deeply valued, I hope you know

peace you peace me peace all our friends
kindness is contagious and laughter among friends
I still have hope in the earth, breathing in and out
peace earth, moon, sun, peace within and without