poetry

retrospect

I went because that
is what
good mother’s do.

I rarely
if ever
identify as a
“good” mother

but I do
want to read as one
to those other mothers
that decorate your hallways

I dressed more seriously
than normal
I sat on the edge
of your bed
and zipped up my serious
shoes

I even called your father
I asked if he was coming
(he was)

I even offered to pick him up

“Is this what love is,
to care about appearances
so aggressively?”
I asked him
(he didn’t respond)

we sit together
in those serious
wooden chairs
“because we love you”

we were surrounded
by serious people
I felt claustrophobic
like foreigners
nesting in over-ripe
county
elevators

we argued about
christmas presents
he talked about movies
“I wish I could take you to one”
(I didn’t respond)

we agree to disagree

you walked on to a
tiny stage
a giant heart
your backdrop
a star
your spotlight

you wore a crooked smile
and shy eyes
like gold plated halos

you opened your mouth
and sang with
accuracy and
precision

it took me by
surprise

I looked at you
I saw you

I felt the
overwhelming urge
to apologize
to beg forgiveness
to profess my love
to try again

do we only
appreciate in retrospect?

if there really is
a curse on man
then
truly
this
must
be
it.

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kids, photos

photobooth timeline, 2008-15*

Photo 53 Photo 44 Photo 19 Photo 20Photo 150 Photo 144Photo 71 Photo 126Photo 166 Photo 142 Photo 190 Photo 200 Photo 209 Photo 208Photo 7 Photo 6 Photo 27 Photo 32  Photo 28 Photo 43Photo 131 Photo 132 Photo 168 Photo 157 Photo 172 Photo 254 Photo 192 Photo 161 Photo 369 Photo 360Photo 330 Photo 357 Photo 326 Photo 331Photo 383 Photo 29Photo 340 Photo on 2013-06-07 at 10.45 #2

Photo on 2014-05-24 at 13.58 Photo on 2014-09-27 at 17.19 #6 Photo on 2014-11-29 at 16.18 Photo on 2014-11-29 at 16.17 Photo on 2015-08-08 at 19.45 Photo on 2015-08-08 at 19.50 #6    Photo on 2015-08-23 at 07.16 #2 Photo on 2015-08-23 at 07.18 #5

August 25th is my ex-anniversary. I spent the evening looking through old pictures and thinking and rethinking and adjusting and readjusting my thoughts. I realized through this process that photobooth is a treasure trove of mundane family moments. Especially for a mother. Being alone with children does not lend itself to photographs that actually have you in them. Always behind the scenes directing, adjusting, barking orders, keeping the peace. Since photobooth is tied to a computer the setting is almost always at home. The scene is almost always the living room. The actors are almost always the mother, her children. An attempt to capture a feeling. An attempt to break up long, impossibly endless days. An attempt to see a long forgotten identity reflected back at oneself for even a millisecond. And sometimes an attempt to capture a pretend scenario, characters in some badly written sitcom. The happy family. The OK family.

Seeing all of these brought back a flood of laughter and maybe a tear and definitely a deep feeling of triumph. I feel satiated. I made it though all of this. My children made it through all of this. There are seven years documented here, four houses, three neighborhoods, three cars, a college degree start to finish, a blossoming career, five lives, the birth of two humans, girls girls girls, daydreams, the rejection of motherhood, the feeling that it was too heavy a burden to bear. Heart strings cut up and buried and resurrected with blood and sweat and tears, on repeat. The inevitable collapse of a family unit, the establishment of a new partnership. The release of resentment. New feelings. Love lost, love found. New boundaries, new therapists, old friends, old faiths. New relationships. New dreams, fresh hope. The bitter moments of exhaustion and dread and panic washed away time and time again. Seasons churning and changing, new sunrises, new places, new people.

Good god. It’s all so much. So much good. So much bad. I remember every single one of these frozen pieces of time with such detail. I can taste them, I can hear them, I can smell the burning toast in the kitchen. I can see the thoughts on my face, blaring like neon. I can see when I was clinging to the edges of sanity, wading though deep depression, content, mentally stimulated, trying to be thinner, not giving a fuck. I can see it all. I remember it all. And even with the current that runs though me, connecting this me to that one, I sit here alone and OK. OK is a tangible thing after all maybe. As thick and comforting as a terry cloth bathrobe, enveloping me and them and the rest of it. Warm and sweet. Camomile, kisses, an outstretched hand in the darkness. 

We are OK. We will be OK. It’s all OK. Like she said, he said, they all said. Chest pain, deep breaths. A sigh at last.

Here’s to the mother flipping future, man. I’m excited.

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poetry

I will (bad poetry)

whatever happened to New York City

whatever happened to the Mediterranean coast

whatever happened to Holiday and holidays spent

under foreign suns

whatever happened to our tent?

whatever happened to your heart of flesh?

who replaced it?

I will

I will

I will

be the one who loves you the mostest

always and forever

amen

I will

I will

I will

repeated for emphasis

but still I wonder

whatever happened?

we moved here unexpectedly

not looking for

anything,

wanting everything

wanting each other

not wanting each other

meeting no one

clinging together

like clumsy spiderwebs

uniting, dividing,

multiplying cells

making promises

breaking promises

whatever happened?

we live here still

under smoggy skies stained with the blood of others

hopes crushed

hopes rising

like smoke streamers from the Russian men’s cigars

but still I wonder

whatever happened to those films?

whatever happened to the music on the record player,

extension cord through canvas tent windows

living off stolen power?

It’s much better this way

and I like her all the same

but still I wonder

whatever happened?

I will

I will

I will.

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poetry

stone faced killa

your mouth is an automatic

weapon a full body

assault

little lamb, lost and delicate

tender meat, your

velveteen lungs

ripe with violent intent

or maybe not?

your mouth is an

elevator stomach

drooling, wet corners of

your mouth

your mouth!

who gets thanksgiving?

who gets Christmas?

unholy mouth,

it might as well be foaming!

baby lamb I crush you, hook

you, heat you up and

cook you

keep it to yourself next time

don’t forget I

know your

mouth

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new poems, poetry, questioning

the hardest part

Sometimes I’m asked

“What’s the hardest part?”.

A funny question,

with a typical answer I suppose.

Here goes:

It’s not that he left.

It’s not that I’m alone.

It’s not that he’s having sex.

It’s not that I’m not.

It’s the house they’re compiling

(the decorations, the table, the bed).

It’s the discussions they’re having / the memories they’re unveiling / the plans they’re making.

It’s the cleanliness of childlessness… the seemingly easiness of it all.

(Although nothing is as sharp a sting as the potential for life they have at their finger tips. Amen?)

AND YET

when i really think about it, when i really s-t-r-e-t-c-h my grumpy mind around the empty space,

i twist open my clenched fists and raise my starfish-pink palms up to heaven,

and I find myself free and unwanting,

satisfied and satiated,

at the edge of a great vast blue nothing

ready to burst,

thankful for what I was able to leave behind

In tact, whole and new.

 

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questioning

night

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

I have a deep maddening desire to be creative again. It seems like I can barely get those words out of my mouth though; I have to pull each letter out one by one and they get stuck in my teeth.

Why does it hurt so much more some days? God?

Do you hear me God? It’s me, Liz.

 

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Truth Absolutely

Grief

“For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.” – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed 

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