In my head, dreams float in brilliant color. For blessed moments, I forget
the grey expanse tinted by amber lies. As gravity pulls, I come to
realize… through the haze, the golds and reds have begun
to slowly curl and die; I see what’s been hidden right
before my eyes. Reality gets thicker; harder
to swallow with the passing of time.
Toughened skin, stiffened
muscles hinder the
turning of my
I am weak.
of what to do, there is no Absolut.
It’s kind of been my thing lately to share the inspiration behind my fiction and the meaning behind my poetry. I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Really.
Deep breath. Exhale. This one is partially in code- my inner thoughts intertwined with metaphors that make me feel like my soul isn’t splayed out on the screen. I hate what this is about, but I’m going to break it down anyway. Here goes…
I lose myself in my ideas- my fiction. For a time, when I’m writing short stories, (and working on my novel) I am distracted from things that bother me. The reference to “grey” is me stumbling over things that aren’t black and white- the things that aren’t all good, or all bad.
The “amber lies” refers to a beer bottle I found poking through a trash bag when I dumped some leaves I’d cleaned up into the bin. This bothered me because my husband knows I don’t like him drinking. When drinking, he acts like an idiot (last month, he was removed from a public place for such behavior.) So, it hurt to find that he’s drinking- just not when I’m around.
On the surface, the golds and reds dying refers to the autumn leaves – like those on my maple tree in the photo. What it really means is sometimes I wonder if this is a season; if my life will blossom again, like nature does in the spring. The next lines refer to the passing of time and the effects of age; specifically being weary from all the years of trying to save him from himself and his heredity.
The ending is me, settled in with my familiar indecision on what to do next. Do I confront him? Pretend I didn’t see it? Do I bother getting angry or just let it go? These questions are all rhetorical in my mind. If things were bad all the time, the decision would be easy. It’s the grey that makes me stay.
The reference to Absolut is a literal play on words. I found vodka and poured it out… there is no Absolut 🙂
Oh, and the shape of the poem (supposed to be a martini glass) came last. I like irony.
I hope the poem makes more sense after reading the background behind it. Writing/reading about ‘heavy’ stuff can be awkward and you may shy away from leaving a comment because you don’t know what to write. Let me help – be fun. Be humorous – I love to laugh and won’t be offended by it all. And I like comments… a lot 🙂
Have a beautiful Monday!
Gosh, your beautiful poem and picture hides the tough reality. I had taken it to be about Autumn. Now I see it is so much more. I sensed there was sadness in it and ageing. I thought the “grey” was the grey Autumn skies. We had a grey skies over the last few days which were depressing. I thought the amber lies were similar.The bright colours of the leaves belie the meaning of Autumn which is more about darkness and death. I like the structure of the poem shaped like a the martini glass now that I understand.
There is a sign of hope. When you wrote:
” the golds and reds have begun to slowly curl and die; I see what’s been hidden right before my eyes”
I thought you were referring to the leaves falling off the trees to expose the new buds lying dormant awaiting their re-awakening in Spring. I find it a comfort in Autumn to see the buds already there.
Think of the buds in relation to your marriage-lying hidden right before your eyes. Maybe there is hope of a new spring even within the grey?
I am sorry that I wasn’t able to to fun or humorous, I am appreciative.
All the Best
Thank you for reading and for your wonderful, thoughtful comment, Julia. I’m glad you shared your interpretations of the lines – you are certainly not wrong! I actually wanted this to appear like it was about the season. (I’ve never kept a diary – I depict my inner thoughts in poetry like this so if anyone were to find them, they wouldn’t have a step-by-step guide to my mind. I know… paranoid much? 🙂 ) Anyway, it’s okay that you weren’t humorous – I appreciated reading about your consideration of my poem. Thank you again 🙂
“Do I confront him? Pretend I didn’t see it? Do I bother getting angry or just let it go? These questions are all rhetorical in my mind. If things were bad all the time, the decision would be easy. It’s the grey that makes me stay.”
For what it’s worth . . .
It sounds like he drank a single beer “responsibly.” If he hadn’t, wouldn’t you have found an empty case of beer strewn around the living room or your husband passed out on the floor?
As an adult, he’s entitled to drink “responsibly” without being called on the carpet for having the occasional adult beverage. So I wouldn’t “confront” him or be “angry” . . . I would give him the freedom to indulge responsibly.
And then go grab the Haagen Daz ~> Absolut Indulgence! 😛
“Responsibly” is the key word, Nancy. It’s right there with moderation. About the one beer…. in the nineteen years I’ve known him, there’s never been just one beer… unless it’s chased with wine, vodka lemonade, or spiked tomato juice 🙂 Had I investigated further, I likely would’ve found more. But I didn’t bother because I really didn’t care to know.
I’ll skip the Haagen Daz (even though it’s really tempting.) I tried the comforting myself with food and have lost twenty pounds I gained on that misguided path… I don’t want them back!
Woo Hoo! Congrats on losing 20 pounds, Janna. That’s no mean feat.
And best of luck with this situation. Sounds like he might be a bit shy in the moderation department.
Thanks, Nancy – 6 more pounds to go before I reach my goal. Yeah, moderation is weak. Funny, while we were cooking dinner, my younger son mentioned that ‘dad took a few beers’ on the Boy Scout camping trip they went on last weekend… and he didn’t share with the other adults. Not sure how he pulled that one off.
I am sometimes ambiguous in my poetry as well. The questions you ask of yourself are only ones you can answer. The first step is open conversation. As Nancy said drinking responsibly is ok, however, there might be much more back story which is not included.
Yes, Suzi’s right about the back story.
If “promises” have been broken . . . that’s another keg of ale entirely.
Haha, well, there’s on average about two or three embarrassing episodes per year that others witness… multiply that by seventeen years of marriage… there are stories that I won’t tell. 🙂 )
There is some protection in ambiguity, Suzicate. Yep, the answers are mine to find (I was never good at hide and seek…)
There is so much back story here – too much to include in any comment. Conversation pretty much stopped after he nearly ruined our trip to Hawaii in 2012. He got so drunk on a snorkeling trip that he almost fell out of the boat and he wouldn’t have made it to the car if his friend hadn’t practically carried him. He passed out for a few hours and almost wouldn’t wake up to get ready for our dinner/theater night. I asked him not to order wine with dinner but he ordered it anyway. That told me all I need to know about his priorities. He can see the alcoholic in his father, but is blind to the similarities between them. Now it’s just a matter of coming to the point when I know I’ve had enough.
Big hugs and prayers to you as you go through this time of turmoil and decision making, Janna.
Thanks, Suzicate! Things have settled down to normal again… til next time, I guess 🙂
The poem is lovely as it is. I thought that the shape had some reference to leaves falling on the ground and settling there. Your background gives the poem and shape more meaning.
I would also be in a quandary if I were in your place. I don’t think I don’t have any useful thing/advice but I pray for guidance in your actions and that everything works out well. 🙂
Thanks for your sweet comment Imelda! I wouldn’t expect advice, but I do appreciate the prayers. Clarity would be a beautiful gift 🙂
Beautiful post with the perfect choice of words 🙂
Thanks so much for reading, Myth!
This is tough to comment on. The words you chose for this poem spoke to what you are feeling and it was shown through it. The explanation clarified a few things. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God”. Romans 8:26-27.
Just remember, Seek God, Pray fervently and let God lead you where He wants you to go. Take care
Forgot to add, watched a vidoe clip of Abbott and Costello doing math. Kind of goes along the lines of Common Care Math. It’s 7 X 13 = 28
I’m not familiar with the A/C bit or the Common Care math. I’ve made a note to check out both on the internet tonight after the Boy Scout meeting.
Just realized the typo. Should be Common Core Math. thanks
Way to bring in a light-hearted Monday, right? 🙂 Well, technically, I wrote this on Saturday.
Thanks for your comment, Sean. The not knowing what to pray for/how to pray always gets me. The ‘be careful what you wish for’ admonition comes to mind. I don’t want to ask for the “wrong” thing. I guess peace or guidance might be safe…
I find asking the Lord’s will be done is a good cover all if I’m not sure what is the right thing to pray for. Can’t go wrong with that, even if it is not what we would prefer to happen.
That’s a good idea, Knotrune. Thanks!
The shape insisted on a double take. The whole post sounds smashing -( in all that word’s various aspects and meanings…everyone is walking on broken glass here at some time or another)
Adore that first line. And the chuckle I caught at the end.
It took a little bit of editing to get the shape where I was satisfied it was close enough. Your comment made me laugh -smashing- thanks, Phil. And I’m glad you liked the humor in the last line. I was hoping it wouldn’t be lost 🙂
I always love it when you include the inspiration for your work … and especially this one, because I would have missed most of the nuance (I really suck at ‘getting’ poetry and metaphors).
It reads very differently with your explanation than my interpretation of wistfulness with the coming of winter … both literal and the metaphor with aging. I told you I really sucked at this.
I have no advice for you, my friend. We all have good and not-so-good in our lives and only you can know whether the scale tips enough in the right direction.
I suspect that this is about a breach of trust that has made a heavy withdrawal from the emotional bank account. I send you my best wishes and several hugs for good measure.
I’m with you, Joanne – I suck at interpreting poetry, too. I see the literal meaning only. Come to think of it, I think this is why I struggle with the Bible, too. It’s like some passages are coded. (I bought a Bible that explains things in the outer columns, which helps, but I sure feel like a dummy because I don’t see it!)
You are so right about the good/bad. Things are only all good in Disney movies. And the beer is more of a symbol (painful reminder) that he isn’t likely to change or consider my feelings. It doesn’t help that I’m hyper-sensitive to his actions based on his family history (and my history of dating alcoholics… ironic, considering I come from a family who doesn’t drink, and I don’t drink, either.) I keep going back to one event that happened before we were married. Silly and young… the rose colored glasses kept me from seeing the red flag 🙂
Those damn red flags are soooo obvious after the fact.
Haha, so glad I’m not the only one that misses them in the moment 🙂
I like your play on words – Absolut. (I knew I’d seen that spelling of it. Thanks for the clue.) Beautiful poem, and the martini glass from which you poured out your soul is perfect for its purpose.
Life is a puzzle we sometimes have to step away from to find the missing peace. The missing piece is your peace. Wrap up all the perplexities into one mother load and give it to the Lord. His shoulders are stronger than yours and He can fix it, too. Sometimes it takes a lifetime, but we have eternity. Step back and enjoy the journey. There is no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus. We are loved and our future is wonderful, so try not to sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small to our Lord.
I hope you don’t think I’m dismissing the fact that you are suffering. I’ve been there. I know how It hurts. I know you need relief. Blessings to you, Janna…
Ooh, I like your piece/peace play, Carol Ann. I appreciate your comment and don’t see it as dismissive at all. Another disconnect that doesn’t help is that he doesn’t believe in God (only “something bigger than him out there.”) There is so much joy to experience in the world, I’m not going to let this aspect of my life keep me down for too long 🙂
You put so much into each piece you write. Thanks for sharing the “behind the scenes” view for clarity. Alcohol is a demon several of my family members fight. I pray your husband seeks out the help he needs. There are support groups for their loved ones, too. You are not alone.
Thanks for the prayers, Patti. I don’t really see the fight right now… at least not until he recognizes there is something to fight.
One of the hardest things in situations like this is to know where and when to draw your line in the sand … Thus far, and no further.
Addicts either stop or they escalate, there’s really no middle ground there.
Ignoring the elephant in the room won’t stop you from getting trampled anyway.
Big hugs, and I have a candle on the alter for you, for clarity.
Great comment, and wise thoughts, Widdershins! I have some definite “I’m done” triggers, but he knows enough to not cross those lines. I hope for stopping, but fear the escalating (and getting trampled.) I appreciate the kind comment and support 🙂
Oh good grief, Janna. I totally understand more than you would ever know. “Do I confront him? Pretend I didn’t see it? Do I bother getting angry or just let it go?” When you find those answers please let me know because we are sisters in the same boat 😦
I had mixed emotions reading your comment, Dianne. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through this, yet in a way, it’s good that someone can relate. I really don’t know what the ‘right’ response is. I’m just too tired to deal with it, so I opted for the say nothing route this time…
Good move. There will come a time to say something, you’ve just got to figure out how to say it and when. Also, it’s very difficult to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves so you must look after yourself as number one, otherwise you’re just beating your head against a brick wall and it’s exhausting xxxxx
You’re right, Dianne. Things have settled into ‘normal’ for now, but rumor has it his family is coming for Thanksgiving, so there is likely to be another upset then. I’ll try to enjoy the peace while it lasts. Ugh.
Ah, marriage. I have a good friend who is struggling with her husband’s hidden drinking, and I lived with someone who was an alcoholic but also wouldn’t admit to it or get help. I’m so sorry to hear that’s part of your life right now, and all I can do is read and enjoy your writing. I have also been “guilty” of binge-eating candy and chocolates lately, even hiding them under my bed and other spots. All I can say is that I support you and your decisions in your struggle(s); it just so happens we readers get the benefit (I feel awful!) from your adversity. Perhaps that’s why many turn to art; to trade their adversities with others, to lighten their own burden and, in our highest hopes, the angels of our better natures, we hope their lives will become easier as well. At least, I hope the latter wish comes true for you and your husband, Janna. Best wishes to you always.
Thanks for your support, Leigh! I had to laugh at your chocolate binging… I’ve been there! My emotions are kind of like a roller coaster at times. Writing does help release it so I can level out and feel peace again. A few days have made a big difference… nothing much has changed on the outside, but I’m not feeling angsty inside today 🙂
You are always so expressive in such creative ways. I can completely relate to this entire poem and the irony at the end. It’s a tough road to follow and you have to listen to that little voice in your head. It will take you in the direction you need to go, if only you will trust it. I went through the same thing and found much peace after heeding the wisdom that came from deep within myself. Yours is there too, you just have to listen.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Susan. I suppose I will know when it is time for me to do ‘something’ – whatever that is!
Loved the poem, the clever shape. It made me think of autumn as the time to harvest grapes and make wine. ‘Amber lies’ is such a good way to express it and the whole thing had a clever use of double meaning, which I doubt I’d have seen either without the explanation, but can still appreciate the poem on the surface level. It got even better, more profound, on re-reading to see the other layer.
As for your problem, if it is just embarrassment a few times a year, it could be a lot worse. I say ‘just’ not meaning to belittle your problem at all and of course you may not have shared anything worse. But if he is not violent and still a good husband the rest of the time, a few nights off a year seems not unreasonable. Not sharing his beer at camp is not cool though.
Since you aren’t from a family which drinks at all, you might be judging him by higher standards than I would. No alcoholism in my family, but we just don’t see the occasional getting a bit merry as too bad. Or even one or two student incidents which we won’t go into… 🙂 I am not sure how one defines the line between a few drinks now and then, even to excess but not often, and alcoholism. But do consider that to many people he really might be quite normal and try not to assume he is alcoholic because his family was.
Of course, if things are a lot worse than you’ve said, then I’m sorry if my comment was insensitive!
I didn’t find your comment insensitive, Knotrune – just another way to look at the situation. Thankfully, we don’t go out much, so other people rarely see when he drinks too much. He doesn’t get physically violent- his anger is all talk (or yell). You may have a point – my judgment could very well be skewed by my own past experience. Thanks for offering your thoughts!
One of my dear, in-person friends (as opposed to dear, online friends!) is a poet, and, while I love to read her work (as I do yours), it’s just not in me to analyze what’s been written. Thank you for opening up so honestly about the meaning behind this poem. It really helps to understand the writer!
As for your dilemma, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been around people that I cared about who drank entirely too much (never violent, but still). “The creature,” as my forebears would call it, is a difficult and demanding taskmaster, one who rarely lets loose his grip without causing a plethora of problems, whether in health, relationships, or other areas. It’s the “sneaking” part that causes me concern. Nobody can make this choice for you, Janna — you must decide whether your life is richer and better with, or without. God bless you in weighing the options!
Thanks for your comment on my poem, Debbie! I think interpreting poetry is difficult, and sometimes I’m left unsure of what to comment because I don’t really understand what I’ve read. That’s the main reason I like including the explanations at the end.
You are right – no one can make any decision for me. Right now, life isn’t so bad most of the time, so I’ll just do my best to focus on the good. (It will never be perfect, after all!)
Wow, what a great way to release your inner turmoil. Sometimes writing helps us to release our inner selves and struggles and offers us a peaceful place to hide. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.
As for advice, I don’t have any, but don’t think you are really looking for that. As others have said above it is for you to decide and know what you can tolerate. I wish you well.
Yes – writing is a therapeutic process… maybe that’s my own addiction? 🙂 Seriously though, thanks for your insightful comment, Momtheobscure…. I’m glad you chose to stop by. It’s always good to ‘see’ you around!
I wasn’t really looking for advice (or sympathy, or pity) – I was just sharing a moment in my life with a poem I thought turned out pretty well. I appreciate the well-wishes.
Very powerful! I didn’t think I needed your explanation, but now I do understand. I read it through the prism of what my daughter is going through. You are correct…it is the gray that makes it easier to stay. This week marks my daughter’s 15th wedding anniversary and I know that I am overly emotional since they are on the brink of breaking up their marriage. She seems to be okay with it, almost relieved, and they are amicably dealing with co-parenting issues; but I am feeling a tremendous sense of loss. Thank you for giving me some perspective on my own emotions and also more importantly what my daughter has been dealing with.
I’m sorry to hear that, Joanne. I’m glad the explanation helped some understanding. I had to count this up just now, but we are at 17 and a half years. I still have hope that one day we’ll get to a point of peace, if not happiness. I try to remember that any marriage has tough times (well, every one that has touched my life has… even my grandparents.) I wish the best for you and your family. Especially your daughter. She might seem fine now, but loss has a funny way of being dormant until some time later… I hope she is able to deal with it when it does show itself.
Sharing is such a powerful thing especially in this space, your space.
I liked the shape of the poem and then the explanation of it. It takes much of us to open the doors and invite everyone into our minds, hearts and front parlors. I’m glad you did.
Thanks for reading, Kir! I don’t like to share too much or be too personal because the vulnerability is scary. But once in a while I do because it’s real.
It really is amazing that alcohol can be such a powerful force. I have a friend who has been through a similar battle, and I cannot quite imagine the chronic pain it involves, but your poem and explanation have given me a snap shot of this, and for that I thank you. Peace to you and yours Janna…
Thanks for reading/understanding, Allen. It would be easier, I think, if the pain were constant… but it’s not. There’s a hurtful event, then slowly, things get back to where I think, “yeah, I can do this” then another hurt comes along. For me, the getting over it takes longer and longer- cutting into the harmonious times. It’s something I’ll just have to figure out how to work through.
Thank you for the explanation. The lines. ‘Reality gets thicker; harder/ to swallow with the passing of time’ stand alone without it – ageing is a miserable process and it’s the speeding up of time I can’t cope with. I also love, ‘Toughened skin, stiffened/ muscles hinder the/ turning of my/ cheek;…’ – if this wasn’t about such a serious issue I could imagine your tongue sticking through your cheek as you wrote those lines.
Sorry not to be too humorous. I recognise the wanting and needing of change, and the disappointment of broken promises and relapse. All I can add is (and I admit this isn’t very encouraging at all, so feel free to shout at me), that the one you want to save has to want to be rescued. Sometimes you have to cut the lines in order to save yourself. So saying, the fact you stuck all this in a martini glass makes me think you have the wit, energy and resolve to get through this.
I think many of us can relate to the passing/speeding up of time. I feel no need to shout at your shared opnion, Sarah Ann 🙂 This week has been better, and I put effort into not dwelling on the disappointments. I don’t want to be bitter… bitter people have wrinkles in all the wrong places – no frowny face here! Most days, I think things will be okay. When that changes, then my course of action may have to change as well.