Poetry 10-20-22

Playing to hope and darkness, today, I’ll be featuring poems on both.

The Difference

She ask me
what the difference was
between depression and sadness
how can you be sure 
you aren't just sad?

I looked at her, 
and out the window again
and spoke the measured truth 
forming sounds 
that escaped dry lips, 
torn by nervous teeth
falling into trickles of slow explanation

sadness was a cut finger

depression was a severed hand

cuts heal 
lost limbs are lost

sadness is a cloudy morning
that passes into a sunny afternoon

depression is a cloud living in your head
and it doesn’t burn away, no matter
how hot the sun shines outside

sadness is losing a lover

depression is losing yourself

sadness is caring enough to cry
and scream and wail

depression is giving up
not seeing the point of theatrical
chest banging
because it doesn’t really
matter
anyway

sadness is a dead bird 
on the edge of the sidewalk
struck down from its nest

depression is to have never heard 
the bird sing, or to know
that it existed at all
 
sadness is a bucket in a well, 
that can be lifted and emptied 

depression is the dank water 
in the bottom
that never dries up.

Sadness has an ebb and flow
a beginning. 
An end.

Depression is being stuck beneath the waves
a thousand miles from shore
drowning in the cold darkness.


AND the Light
The Bones are Good

It’s in the small things
micro moments
hair breadth lines

the brush of her fingers
over the back of my hand
the freckles 
each one
mapping out her constellation
a history of goddesses 
painted across her nose
coursing through her blood

It’s the crinkle of eyes
green grass
dotted with bronze
and the fire behind them
the lighted soul
one stardust mote
in a universe infinite

it is how
they save me
every day
give me reason
to fight
for better
to be 
better

These small things
are the weight-bearing pillars
of my world.

The Beautiful Writers Workshop #12: It Can’t Rain All The Time

I used to consider myself an optimist.

But if you’ve been following me lately, you’ve probably seen a shift in demeanor. Let’s face it, nothing is normal in the new ‘now’ and I am no exception. You see, I’m a creature of routine. I’m an early-rising, mile-running, kettle-ball-swinging, lunch-packing, 1,000-word-before breakfast machine. I live my life by the beat of the day and the rolling pace of a full life. I’m going to school. I started an internship. I was in the process of finishing books and starting a new blog series.

Then…well. You know.

Life stole my beat. Circumstances started to peel away the fullness of my life. Tasks dropped off like over-ripe fruit, destined to waste on the ground.

And all I could do was watch. All any of us could do was watch.

And half the world shouted to get up and do something with this opportunity but I don’t think many of us felt the drive in our heart to listen. The other half shouted to self-care ourselves into a state of zen-like enlightenment, unicorn pajamas or Netflix binges.

But the paralysis settled, a blocked river swelling the banks with murky and stagnant water.

We were not given the time to grieve the loss of the life we were building. We have no assurances that it will ever come back, only the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same.

And maybe we feel guilty that we don’t want to let go, and we feel morally responsible to accept the change, and we feel angry, and we fell regret, and we feel lethargy, and we feel our pants get tighter and our morning’s wasted with a paralyzing sense of not knowing what will come from this. Or even what we should do in the present hour.

And the voices from all around shout well-intended advice about all of our spare time and howling at the moon, but to some, spare time means no job and rent coming due. Some don’t get spare time, they get understaffed and over worked in under prepared hospitals, fighting governments that horde supplies for what purpose I don’t know (except I’m sure there’s a profit in it for those who need the profits the least). And howling together isn’t as effective at showing solidarity by voting for someone who would have actually taken care of our neighbors four years ago with better health care, or one who would have listened to science and helped to prevent the worst yet to come.

But this morning, I got up early.

I got up early, and though my gym is closed and I miss the familiar faces that I never really talked to before, I got on the Peloton and listened to some size-two Brit tell me to take back my day. And I had a quiet cup of coffee with my cat resting on my shoulders and I wrote. I listened to Hozier and sang back-up to the words

‘I came in from the outside, burned out from a joyride”

And I made my own normal in a time that is not normal.

I miss my job. I miss my routine. And though everyone touts that we’re in this together, the truth is that we are all in this alone. We all may be experiencing the tsunami, but no one else is in your life-preserver.

So, here’s my advice to you;

Grieve as long as you need. Pajama all you want. Cry and scream and be a pessimist for as long as you feel it, and get the hate and frustration off of your chest. But do, eventually, get it off your chest. Because the world will have to reemerge sometime, and we’ll need to come out with it. And when we do, rather than have a false sense of hope that someone else guilted you into feeling, come out with a heart that has been made stronger by the process of loss. One that chose to come back in its own time, and in staying true to itself, can do the work needed without a fluffy layer of guilt to drive it. One that knows the work lies in the painful changes of growth that mean fighting some big fights to protect everyone in this country, not just the shareholders.

Because right now it’s dark, and that darkness isn’t going to go away when we’re all allowed to ‘go back’ to the life left outside. We don’t need false sunshine and social-media guru’s, we need our own resilience to look at the world as a realist does. Accepting there will be clouds. Choosing to fight the man-made shade that still seeks to darken our collective sky. Knowing there is light behind it.

After all, it can’t rain all the time.