new again

I get to start again

I have always seen the monsters under the bed
I have to
to survive

you don’t tell people about their monsters

I learn that early

they get angry hit punish send away
and anyhow they leave you even if they love you

when I am alone
we play
the monsters and I

they are so happy to be seen

they cry often
why doesn’t he love me?
why won’t she hold me?
why does he throw me out?
why?

I hold them
dry their tears
cuddle them
wrap them warmly

they cheer up
and play

they never forget
they alert
their person is near
they rush back

sometimes one rejected
returns with seven friends
hoping to storm the person

that doesn’t work

the monsters never lose hope
never

sometimes I see
a person see their monster
let it be conscious
the person is grown enough
to love

I am so used to the monsters
I work with them in clinic
visit after visit
the monsters weeping on my lap
while the person refuses refuses refuses
and sometimes a crack opens
like a portal light blinding
and the monster
is loved

that’s why I am here
what makes it worth staying
Beloved

now I think
I am new again
it’s hard to date
when the monsters are yanking at my skirt
crying howling distracting
and I am hopeful
but it is not my role
it’s not ok
it’s antisocial
to ask about the monsters

I am new again
I won’t date anyone with monsters
that I can see

they must love them first


light on water

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: security.

How can light on water be security? What is secure?

When I think of security, I think outdoors. The ocean will change and change and change, moment to moment and day to day. The light changes with each wave and the wind. But the ocean is still present. And water also represents the unconscious for me. All the things under the surface, all that depth, an infinite place of exploration: the water, the earth, the sky, the universe. For me, security is the internal exploration and the outdoors, which is so vast, there for me always. The poetry of nature.


mermaid

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: quest.

mermaid

when I was born, they took my skin

i had no skin
i was frightened
i wept

a witch came
she studied me
i turned my head from the spoon

“Good,” she said, “You may refuse it if you want.”

She gave me the gift of anger

it was the only defense I had

but over the years
I studied and thought
and I found my tears
and I found my fears

i made my skin of tears
this took me many years
one tear for each scale

at last it is done
my skin
is complete

i smile at the sky
as i don it

i slip into the water
and i am gone

Vital signs II

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: vital. For me, vital brings up vital signs. I wrote this poem in 2006. Pain was made the fifth vital sign in 1996. I have written about it here. In June of 2016, the American Medical Association recommended dropping pain as a vital sign. The idea that we should be “free” of pain has not died yet and the latest CDC report says that the overdose death rate for women has risen a horrifying 240% from 1999 to 2017. That report is here: Drug Overdose Deaths Among Women Aged 30–64 Years — United States, 1999–2017. My poem is still relevant and we still have to change our ideas about pain.

Vital signs II

Pain
Is now a vital sign
On a scale of 1:10
What is your pain?
The nurses document
Every shift

Why isn’t joy
a vital sign?

In the hospital
we do see joy

and pain

I want feeling cared for
to be a vital sign

My initial thought
is that it isn’t
because we can’t treat it

But that isn’t true

I have been brainwashed

We can’t treat it
with drugs

We measure pain
and are told to treat it
helpful pamphlets
sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies
have articles
from experts

Pain is under treated
by primary care
in the hospital
and there are all
these helpful medicines

I find
in my practice
that much of the pain
I see
cannot be treated
with narcotics
and responds better
to my ear

To have someone
really listen
and be curious
and be present
when the person
speaks

If feeling cared for
were a vital sign
imagine

Some people
I think
have almost never felt cared for
in their lives

They might say
I feel cared for 2 on a scale of 10

And what could the nurses do?

No pills to fix the problem

But perhaps
if that question
were followed by another

Is there anything we can do
to make you feel more cared for?

I wonder
if asking the question
is all we need

I took the photograph yesterday with my cell phone. It was so gloriously sunny that the water really was turquoise and I did no photoshop changes.

And she’s walking as if her feet hurt

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: crepitus.

I wrote this poem thinking about my sister in 2009. I was writing on everything2.com and they had a “masked poetry ball”. We put up a second identity and part of the contest was guessing who was who. My brother in law and my sister had been on the site for far longer than me. While I was masked, my brother in law sent me a message that the poem reminded him of his wife. Yes, I thought, that poem worked, because I wrote it about her.

And she’s walking as if her feet hurt

And she’s walking as if her feet hurt
Each first metatarsal hits the dirt
Each joint feels like it’s full of grit
Bone on bone and all that shit

And she’s walking as if her feet hurt
Each first metatarsal hits the dirt
It’s no surprise, in fact it grates
To know she carries all those weights

Please rest your feet sometimes my dears
Those silly joints must last for years
One of the many dark deep fears
To walk in pain for years and years

And she’s walking as if her feet hurt
Each first metatarsal hits the dirt
I wish that she could go on home
And put her feet up all alone

I took the picture, of my sister and my son, in 1993 in Portland, Oregon. My sister injured her knee fighting fires when she was 22. Her knee worked after the surgery, but with crepitus within ten years. And her feet started to hurt.

Does the world have a soul? Are we connected to it? If we don’t believe the world has a soul, are we disconnected? 

Michael Meade’s latest book is Awakening the Soul: A Deep Response to a Troubled World. He is a mythologist, author and runs Mosaic, a program for veterans. He is a storyteller, usually with a drum. He did the sermon… story… at church Sunday. I wrote this thinking about the soul of the world.

why I’m difficult

deep connection
the soul deep
ocean deep
rift and trench

Beloved
forgive my greed
that is the connection
I want

deep soul connection
to the soul of the world

____________________________________________

https://www.mosaicvoices.org/
https://www.quuf.org/
The story itself: https://www.quuf.org/services/awakening-the-light/

music by Purcell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67q18Z4QZlU

blues too

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: brilliance. The brilliance of the sky reflecting in the water.

blues

blues, Beloved

I am so blue, Beloved
about the things I can’t heal
about the people I can’t heal
about the relationships I can’t heal

I take my own advice
and walk after clinic
and the beauty of your sky, Beloved
heals me
lifts me
sensory

I am with the trees
the sky
the dirt
the clouds
the water

water water water
blue in the evening light

we only see the surface
of the water
not what is underneath
it reflects the sky
the light
the clouds

people are like water

we only see the surface
and see ourselves reflected back

my office manager came from hotels

this is so much harder, she says

and I say yes
because we see the depths

this person is behaving badly
yelling on the phone
calling crying yelling

but we both know
how much they are suffering
how much they want help
how they won’t listen or accept help

they want what they want

these people are breaking down
in the holidays stressed

I just long for rest Beloved

blues