She, Me

It is invisible
but smothering
Cobwebs wisps
perceptible
in a wayward sunbeam
confine
like silver shackles.
They pull
in two directions
my soul
writhing in discomfort
of opposing forces.

A woman is powerful,
one says
by her sexuality
she can dominate
and control
through her skin
stapled to the billboards
painted on the magazines
written indelibly
upon the communal subconscious.
She must
match
the pictures
to be feminine
to be a woman.

A woman is powerful,
another says
through her submissiveness.
She can serve
in meekness
woven into her
floral dresses
and tinkling laughter.
She must love
crafts and pink
all things sweet.
She must be
the ideal
to be feminine
to be a woman.

Am I free?
Is freedom perception
or reality?
I appear free
but am bound.
Can I appear
unfeminine
but be free?

The struggle
like a thousand parading models
like a hundred god-fearing women
march across my body.
I gasp
for air
and I find it
briefly
and then
it is gone.
But those moments
are enough
to be feminine
to be a woman
to be myself.

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She waits

She waits

on the edges

always on the edges

feigning indifference

but eyes reveal

a muffled hope

even after a broken life

of small things and poverty

of children taken away

of days of sitting in the grimy dark

of a ramshackle house

of a husband’s violent hand

of a life petering out in its youth

even so

she waits

to be noticed

to be invited in

to be wanted

to be special

to be important.

Her prayers are simple

childlike

pouring out the pain

of her stolen children.

And yet I can see

compassion incarnate

stroking her roughened cheek

touching her greasy hair

gazing at her tentative toothless  smile

her gaudy, ill-fitting clothes

He knows what could have been

He knows what is now

and so

the Great Inviter

beckons her

into a new future.

Passion

Deep beneath

the edging of consciousness

simmers

flashes of passion

Fleetingly baring

their wondrous heads

in haunting music

in mountains’ splendid embrace

in words of poetry

that allude to the depth;

Artfully chosen

they can draw the curtain

just for a moment

and you are left

with the gasp of rapture

warm on your lips.

Passion so hidden

goes numb

in the blankness of constant noise

endless screens

the next excitement

screaming for your attention

It is only in the days of fidgety silence

that your senses are sanded down

so that their form is once more visible

in the polished marble

and they can be

what they were supposed to be

even tainted with the world’s sadness

they can hear the fiery song

the Ultimate muse

wooing his creation

back under his wings.

You

Like a stubborn shadow

you are there

My soul ducks

hides

tiptoes around

so careful not to make a sound

And still I can see

the shadowed grey

of your outline.

I stand next to a roaring train

to drown out

the feel of your steady gaze

on my back

And I feel nothing

but then the train passes

And I can feel you have not left.

To move toward you

Is to confront the hideous fears

that snap against my soul

red eyes, fangs dripping with lust

I shudder and turn away

I cannot.

But then I realize

my soul

is like a river coming to slow terms with winter

first around the edges

then creeping slowly out

until it defies even the torrent of life

rushing through the middle.

What now?

The monster or numbness?

But really

I have no choice

because still I see

that you are following me

You are saying a word to me

that makes my eyes tremble with tears

and I want to

I don’t know if I can

but

I want to

because you are You.

Junior

One cat is dying

and a new one is here.

I remember how much patience

and gentleness was needed

to restore you to life.

I remember how much God taught me

about his love for me

through my love for you.

I remember the times

when you would let your guard down

and forget to be scared

and let me love you

I try to take comfort in the fact

that you would probably already

have died on the streets

had I not taken you in.

You were such a tough little cat

despite all your fears

You made some big moves

in your life—with and without Grey.

You will always hold a special place

in my heart.

I have a new one

not a replacement

he couldn’t be more different

He’s not afraid

he’s fearless

and courageous

and loved me right away

But maybe God holds special too

the ones that have to be wooed

that are fragile and scared and uncertain

Maybe he holds those close to his heart

because they need a little more protection

a little more love

I’m so sorry you are suffering

I’m so sorry I cannot be there

the one human you trusted

at the end of your life. 

The sea shell box

I just can’t get used to

this thing

that happens in life

of losing people

animals

of things that I care about

I know new gifts come

but I’ve always had problems

with releasing the old

to make room for the new

I can’t even sell things

at a garage sale

without thinking of them

in the years that come.

I remember

the box covered in sea shells

with the red velvet lining

It was one of my first

jewelry boxes

as a girl

I treasured it

and kept my treasures

in it

So many times

I tried to downsize

and part with my treasures

But I kept that

seashell box

with the red velvet lining

But one day

I tried to be strong

go through all my possessions

be a minimalist

discard sentimentalism

be strong

determined

confident

Put away childish things

So I gave it up.

I am an adult

I am almost middle aged

So why do I still think about that little seashell box?

Does it represent the person I have in my mind

I will someday be?

Does the fact that I still think about it

indicate that I will never be that person?

 

 

I am Gypsy

What would it be like

to never have the chance

to make a good first impression

Because your impression was made hundreds of years ago?

What would it be like to never be welcomed

not in school

not in the hospital

not in the city

not in church

What would it feel like

to have people clutch their bags a little tighter

when you walk by

because your skin is dark?

What would it feel like

to be turned down for a job

because they “lost” the paperwork

you had filled out twice before?

What would it feel like

for people not to want to touch you

because they think you are dirty?

What would it feel like

to have people hate you so much

they would build a fence around your home

to keep your contamination enclosed?

To threaten you, to call you names,

to allow you to live in broken down shacks and filth

while you stay warmly comforted in your house

two streets away?

What would this feel like?

It would feel like being

the most despised people group

in Europe.

It would feel like being

gypsy.

.