Tag Archives: mother

Demon Lover

You were my demon
always controlling
demanding your opinions
become mine

Rewrite my script
no longer my Mother’s
dictates, my Father
following meekly behind
making her choose,
decide, direct –
didn’t she ever tire
of all the wretched decisions
in her impossible world.

Yet here I was
meekly following
with a stirring of resistance
that refused to rise
to the surface –
just let him make decisions
then he has the blame
when they fail.

I was so culpable
gullible, tortured,
yet wielding
the whip –
demanding his choice
falling on my own sword.

The pattern continued
for so long
now broken,
but so are the dreams.
I am responsible,
but I lost so much
to gain myself.

Sifting through the Ashes

So many years since my parents have died and yet they walk through my life day by day, hour by hour.  Is this so for everyone? Sifting through our ashes, seeing the truths or remolding childhood witnessing into more truthful adult understandings. . . or should they be upended?  Aren’t my life experiences as a child as equal, or more so, than their adult counterparts?

Isn’t the fact my father and I played a game where he blew his pipe smoke in my face because it  made me exclaim for him to stop but we both laughed just as valid as my understanding that it was the underpinnings of my attraction and addiction to tobacco, and later COPD and asthma?  Or my coming in drunk from some beer bash and sitting up with him for hours talking about the world, the universe, my present, later to realize he had been drinking too and it was a tactic acknowledgement of drinking as acceptable, even essential?  Just as Christmas brings misgivings driven both my the year we snuck downstairs to see an entire kitchen and bikes our size as well as the one when Dad knocked over the Tree in a fit of alcohol fumes?

As an adult, I moved back to Connecticut, staying in my mother’s room while looking for a home of my own. Within those walls, Mom and I made peace with each other.  I finally felt her life, what made her, why she was such an angry person much of the time, overwhelmingly generous at others.  I understood why she was angry with me, frustrated at my weaknesses, as she co-dependently made right my many, many mistakes. I forgave her transgressions. And felt her presence at the foot of the bed and with the Shirley Temple collection, the first dolls she ever owned.

Yet these two people gave us such treasures.  As a Minister’s family, we moved frequently, as my Mom did, from one Brooklyn apartment to another when the rent ran out.  So when Mom saw a tiny ad for a 250 year cabin on 50 acres a 17 hour trip away, she bought it sight unseen  so we would, no matter how many times we had to move.

Every summer she would take off work, bringing us up to our spiritual center for 2 months, Father joining us under his vacation. Now I look back to see how hard she worked on the cabin, making it safe and livable for us.  Understand, as a mother myself, the frustration she would sometimes feel as a single mom for such a long time.  Laugh at when she sent my wayward brother to the garden to remove rocks when he did, frequently, something outrageous.

Memories fill the furniture in my apartment.  A teacart given from a barn in exchange for a loaf of bread, now well over 150 years old. The carved, wooden screen behind it, a much beloved piece from my grandmother.  My “distressed” childhood dresser and toddler rocker. The cut glass pieces my mother so dearly collected in a beautiful collection. The painting of “Uncle Willie”, an old hermit who closed off his beautifully furnished  home, save the kitchen, when his wife died; we picked cherries from his trees, mom making pies, jams, and bringing them to him.

My adult eyes stare into the inward memories of my brain to remember. In some places there are causes for anger displaced.  In order, wry comprehension.  In others humble gratitude.  They were not perfect people but they were good ones, who moved beyond the strictures of their memories and life experiences to give us so many precious ones.

I dreamt you died

I dreamt you died last night
and a week went by before
I realized you had slipped
out of my consciousness
and into another of your choosing.
My heart bled little one,
I couldn’t imagine a life
without your shining face
reflecting back on mine.

You are the mirror of my madness,
the being who forces me
to resolve the tortured places within,
for if I don’t, yours is the life
most likely to suffer.

Parenting requires me to turn
my soul inside out,
like shaking pennies from a piggy bank,
seeing what it holds,
then stuffing them back in again,
known commodities.

Each day forces you to examine
your premises, expectations,
under a finely tuned microscope
until I am sure,
cemented in the knowledge
I am offering all that is best . . .
releasing the worst . . .
before irrevocable damage happens
to the sponge of your young mind.

Each day I awaken
to a little mourning,
a small keening of my soul,
for your encroaching lack of innocence,
the slow evolvement from purity
to detachment and
a rethinking of how life is
forced by big and little
tragedies of your days.

If I could hold you back,
heal your wounds,  I would.
In owning my responsibility to you,
my spirit must strength,
while letting go of control,
so you can be the adult meant to be,

and be free, wholly yours
so as not to not die week before I notice.

esmeralda with her hair

 

Aging with Children

Your words plunder my heart
for what I am telling you is real
but you don’t hear my reality.
How can I make up for a thousand
errors in judgement, slips of the tongue,
tears of depression . . .

You, still young, don’t understand
the ramifications of age
creaking of bones, emotional balance,
various and assorted illnesses
and traumas……

How I tried hard to be what you needed,
failed miserably and now rue the costs.

I am aging. Likely I have many years ahead.
But I want to share them with my family there,
the ones I gave birth to.

The difficulty is, should I be there
the increasing impediments aging brings
would mean you would be asked
to provide increased help when
what most excites you is the life
you live now . . . and who can blame you?

Which brings me to more pain.
If I moved back, I might only be
the person of misery there before –
neither of us want that. I’m stronger
physically and mentally, but,
I am aging. And you fail to realize
the implications.

and I don’t want to lose
those precious moments.

 

 

 

 

Mom’s Death

As I stand here today, I can’t reconcile the fact that Mom has died With the woman I knew.  She was a force to be reckoned with, a force of Nature, and the quinticential  matriarch.  I hurtled myself at her thousands of times yet she stayed strong, unwavering.  A mother.  I didn’t realize how much I would miss her until now when its too late.  The woman I saw on Monday evening was not the woman I knew in this life.  Her essence was gone and we all know how much a woman she was. She gave me many things in this life – helped me when I needed, probably more than she should have.  She encouraged me to be a strong woman.  There was no way I \could fill her shoes – One sister is much better that. Two others still follow in her wake, – I was her antithesis.  But even in this I defined myself by her measure. My sisters, aunt and I stood around her hospital bed and solemnly sweared we wouldn’t followed the same health choices she did.  We agreed we would be closer to each other. Some of that has come true, some not.  After she died, I moved to California to be close to my children.  I just didn’t realize they would feel about me Finally, I realized I had to o back to Connecticut to be where family could help me out when needed and where I was wanted.   In the course of looking for a new apartment ,I stayed in my mom’s bedroom for two months. I saw her life and the things that comprised it.  My anger dissipated and we made peace.  It was a tough one – one I couldn’t have survived.  She was a remarkable, powerful woman and I had just been too angry to see.  I miss her but I think she might be proud of me now.

Listen to your Momma

He took the boy child’s face
between strong hands,
ones rough from painting walls,
pounding fence posts . . .
man hands – nothing soft about them.

“Boy, don’t ever treat women with disrespect,
but never, ever treat your Momma
that way.  She carried you,
gave you life, bore those labor pains
so you could live . . .

Listen to your Momma, and your Sister,
so when you grow older
women will love you
because you hear what they say
and understand.

He didn’t know if he deserved those words –
for they were words that
had never crossed his father’s lips,
and couldn’t be sure he deserved.

Even yet, the boy stored the words
inside his young heart.
And though he made mistakes here and there,
he became a man of shining example.

.

No one came to remember

She died one night
without warning,
no fan fare, the one time
in a harrowed existence
when silence reigned . . .

Mother of four,
wife to a shell, she fought,
scraped, strove to win wars
against innocent bystanders –
each carrying a glimpse
of a face who had wronged
her in a disturbed past.

The funeral was brief,
lasting no more than 15 minutes.
Even her children debated
whether they could spare
the time to attend.

Now she rests, finally,
a state sought fifty odd years
by all concerned
beneath poison sumac
in a removed corner
of some country cemetery
where few would go
to visit her remains.

The quest completed,
she’s no longer restless
her tomorrows are infinite
no more worry about bills,
callous children,
an inept husband.

After so many hard years
she is at peace, under the sumac
in a country cemetery’s dark corner
where none will go to
remember her . . .

Yet, none
will ever forget her . . .

 

 

Shady Sady

Hiding away in her private
world of poetry and blankets
wrapped tight for protection
from the elements, wanting
fulfilment of desires
but unwilling to seek them . . .

Shady Sady, eyes of grey –
living in a land of half shadows
and misty images,
floating away into other hands.

Sad-eyed girl of forty,
wanting mother’s arms tight
about her – a father, loving and kind,
to make all decisions, ease
all burdens.  Wishing her daughter
the life she lacked courage to lead.

God damn it! Go for it baby!
Hold that head high!
Be haughty. Have an air
of self-contentment.
Your love won’t be found
in pages of books –
or wishful fantasies.

Seek out your desires,
reach for happiness,
even blankets get holes in them.
Nothing is perfect.

Yet you turn your head
in pensive wondering,
shy denials of insecurities
deeply penetrating.
And sit – reading words of others,
rocking back and forth,
back and forth,
back and forth . . . .

Shards

Broken crystal shattered across the floor
prisms of light blinking out – forever gone.
as darkness slips over the furniture,
refracted glitter –
so lie the pieces of my heart.

As a child, night terrors were sent scurrying
by the broad sweep of my father’s arms –
bringing back the crystal sheen of safety and warmth,
his finger gently wiping away tear’s glistening on my cheeks,
letting me know there was one person in that terrifying world
who could send monsters scurrying away from beneath the bed.

Here, an orphan of middle-age extraction,
with no Daddy to wipe my tears
I stand helpless, my fumbling fingers quivering
as I stumble upon shards of glass
raggedly thrusting into my darkness
as I look for answers to age-old questions.

Not able to strike a flint
to illuminate the deep chasm of midnight’s void,
or encourage the wisp of a kerosene flame
to thrust back the clammy darkness
of a cavern’s awesome void,
that echoes in the
space of my childhood heart.

I lost the flare –
I can move through the motions well enough,
but, my feet torn jagged
from slivers unseen in the dark,
my child staring with eyes that can’t see –
sharp edges, piercing through the deep,
to stab the tender spaces of my soul.

You never heard me,
Nor I, perhaps, you.
words were disjointed, convoluted,
twisted, obscure,
making no impression on the other.

All those many words,
a decade’s worth,
and still we couldn’t hear . . .
So now our words
are born witness
through the lips
of an interpreter
in weekly sessions.

Can you hear me now?
Or are you still
hearing me speak in tongues?

As a child I learned the rage
of a woman whose life
had been supplanted
by the needs of others.

I fearfully watched, tiptoed,
practiced walking so my footfalls
left no sound, the prints left no trace
so as not to provoke, to bring attention.

This woman whose life
held more horrors than mine,
which had twisted her soul,
corrupted her heart,
so she had no choice
save to learn the ways of men
and do them better . . .
It was her only hope.

But I find no solace
in the answers of men.
Life seems too bleak, too crushing,
when lived by their ways.

Yet those are the ones
which grew in me,
teaching harshness,
anger for anger,
pain for pain.

My children sleep in their beds,
seeking my lightness of touch,
begging for my arms to
encircle them in warmth
so they are strengthened
and approach life
with love and balance.

The richness of their potential,
of the beautiful spirits
resting within them,
cannot be wasted
on the futility of looking without.
They cannot be destroyed
by angry eyes and venomous words
which crush fragile spirits
before they are buds
meant to bloom.

Let my anger become love.
Let my pain be the understanding
inherent in their nurturing.
Let me be the softest of blankets
They can wrap themselves in
To blossom and grow
Without the burdens
Their foremothers carried within.