You’ll Understand When You’re Older

When I’m bigger
I might figure
Why you let me down

You say, “Wait.”
Fate will rend the hate
And love will leave me found

You say, “This was my best.”
That life is just a test
And if I walk away, I fail

But you’re the one who lost
Made your choice at such a cost
To our history the final nail

Now that I am grown
All I see you’ve sown
Is bitter beds of rot

And all I can do
Is move to land that’s new
Find a better lot

You can try to save what’s left
Fill the gaping cleft
Writhe in the ash and black

Mourn with the bereft
Let death have its theft
But as for me I won’t look back

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Burn it

Some days
I wish the past

Was a shed out back
Falling-down shabby shack
Barn-like amnesiac
Full-blown 4-alarm panic attack

Packed full of every bad time.

I’d burn it down
Raze it to the ground
Not an ash to be found
My mind unbound

Flames call to this firebrand
Set matches to this misused land
Jump on chance and take your stand
But. On the other hand…

You’d burn with it
Forget it

Dream House

So. One Christmas. Can’t remember how old I was. Some age below puberty. I wanted a Barbie Dream Cottage. The one with the elevator.

My mom had made a dollhouse years ago out of cardboard and leftover scraps. It was amazing! It had furniture and everything. It wasn’t very big, but the time and effort she put into it was much appreciated. We wore it out and tore it up.

But now. A few years later. I wanted a big-girl Barbie Dream Cottage. The real deal. And she got it.

She put it in her closet. In plain sight. The box was so big that you could just walk in their room and see the bright-white box gleaming from the closet shelf. Even if she would have wrapped it, I would have known what I was getting. Subtlety had been
prison-stabbed a long time ago in this family.

So. I saw it. Probably a week or more before Christmas. When I saw it, I immediately started begging my mother to let me open it early.

Please, please, please. *Heavy breathing and groaning*

I just had this deep, deep anxiety, anticipation, worry, eagerness. If I didn’t get the cottage now, I will have wasted all of this Christmas vacation play time.

Kids have several days off before Christmas. Sitting at home. Waiting for Christmas to arrive. Swallowing their excitement over and over like big gulps of air until they hyperventilate on Christmas. It’s completely and totally insane.

While adults are preparing the food, and the tree, and the food, and the presents, the food and the food, and the nog, and the food. Kids are watching TV, filling their gobs with bon-bons, hopefully running in and out of the snow and shaking presents like Polaroid pictures.

What did she expect? From me? Slobberbox McWhiny-Pants?

Please. Please. Pleeeeease.

She relinquished.

I could tell she was upset and very disappointed. Frustrated. Mad. She hated my lack of self-control in that moment. I know she did.

But she left me have it. (LOL, oh boy, did she left me have it) On one condition. No, and I mean no, help in putting it together.

Crap!

I ran to the closet. I tore that box open like a box of Twinkies. Laid out all the parts and started assembling. I looked at the instructions briefly, but intuitively knew what went where. Mostly. I got to a point where something had to be screwed.

Crap!

I knew where the screwdriver was and I ran to get it. I started screwing that Barbie cottage up. Royally.

Something went wrong and I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole or screwed it too far or something. I warped the heavy plastic on the roof and it turned a lighter shade of orange. Some parts had to be taped. Scotch tape. But I put it together.

I was mildly disappointed. But at the same time thrilled and slightly proud of myself for wrestling my mother into a rarely-achieved coup, putting together a complex gift, and to be immediately playing with my new toy before Christmas. I was the only one with a gift! Ha!

That pride and newness quickly waned. When Christmas finally arrived, I had lost any thrill and was jealous of those receiving presents and I had none to open.

Crap!

I learned a hard lesson that day. One that my mother was willing to teach me. Best to wait. Wait for help. Wait for others. Enjoy each moment, with or without a gift. Wait for joy. It’s better when you wait. Or! Joy is not in receiving a gift, joy is found in obedience, patience and self-control. Restraint is its own reward.

But I had that Barbie Dream Cottage until I was 15? I hadn’t played with it for years, but I held on to it. It was the most expensive thing I owned, to that point. Ha. Then I gave it to another little girl.

Merry Christmas.

Leviathan

My monsters emerge
And prey on fears
Love is submerged
Below weight of tears

Near this wreck
Be cautious with me
Might break your neck
In this dark sea

Dangerous dive
Fathoms below
Rocks alive
With phantoms unknown

Breath will fade
As we sink slowly down
But you’ll want to stay
Once my colors abound

Die with me
In this still deep
Let these demons be
And have their sleep

Fried Chicken and Dirty Dishes

Grandma’s kitchen.
Forgotten fried chicken.
Used, cold skillet.
Shimmering in congealed bacon fat.
Brown, yellow, orange matted carpet.
Clutter. Papers. Fly swatter. Plants.
Pepsi bottles.
Hum of the dingy fridge.
Greasy haze of low-light air.
Stale-flavored ice that can’t be cracked with mere teeth.
Dish upon dish.
So much that the sink disappears and one large dinner plate/utensil mound erupts from the countertop.
Dripping faucet plinking against tin.
Sad, somber, soft.
Dark, dirty, dull.
A small photo soaking in the developer of my brain.
Your watery image takes shape and fades quick.
You existed. I remember.

Pee! The world’s on fire.

My only brother, 11 years older than me, used to sleep in late. As teens do. After being out late with his friends, he would sleep late. Also, at one point, I think he worked evenings or nights at a local gas station, so he might have been sleeping during the day for that reason.

Well, my father creeps into the hallway with an impish grin. He was in a goofy, manic phase and holds down the smoke detector test button.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Except, our alarm was louder and more terrifying. Enough to make you piss your pants.

At the same time, my dad hollers down the hallway, “Pee! The world’s on fire!” Laughing his country-ass off. (One of his favorite sayings was, “I work my country ass off!” I still say that. So does my husband. LOL My husband does a perfect impersonation of my father, even though they never met, mainly because I say it exactly the way my dad used to. Love it.)

My brother comes running out of his bedroom, his long, usually-perfect, feathered hair tousled from sleep and his eyes barely open. His eyes quickly narrow even further at the sight of my dad and the rest of the family giggling maniacally.

He did not pee. He was pissed though! I think my dad just wanted him up and out!

Good times.

Scientific Reclassification

Feelings are an assignment of blame or honor to chemicals.
Emotion is a name given to electrical pulses of energy marking time or torment.
Deconstruction of trauma is a math function. Word problem. Brain exercise.
Subtraction of pain.
Addition of love.
Multiply goodness.
Equals a whole person.
Powers to an astronomical degree.
Science is beautiful. Humans are sums.
Peace is knowable. Pain is a number. God is infinite.

Smile and Burn

Money does not buy happiness.
A smile can’t stop the rain.
But when you’ve confronted the past,
You can smile through the pain.

A smile isn’t an umbrella.
Peace isn’t purchased with cash.
Happiness is burning down hate
And rising from the ash.

So take this fire,
And beat those wings.
Fan these flames.
Embrace the change it brings.

candles

Summer on 20 acres.

Hooks and hay
Legs, arms, hair, feet
Pulleys and rope
Dangle like hope
From these loft floor cracks and old barn rafters
High on sunshine, shade and sugar
Wading through
Summertime sweetness
Ripples
Sparkles
Soft difference between water and air
Swaying, yellow grass grazing the crisscrosses on my overalled back
I won’t touch this ground again with my pink toes
Only with my mind