The Problem With Darkness

I took this photo on July 4 - the first creative photo I've taken  in several months
I took this photo on July 4 – the first creative photo I’ve taken in several months

 

Darkness settles…

a heavy burden,

a shroud over hope:

the absence of all emotion.

Darkness lies…

taunting whispers,

deafening in my ears:

misery is all there is.

Darkness defies…

disobeys rules of logic,

world turns upside down:

death rules over life.

Darkness distorts…

a faded mirage,

an alternate reality:

coercing me to believe.

The problem with darkness

is that until light streams through,

I accept counterfeit promises:

I’m blind to hope- my sustaining well of truth.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This poem came to me while cooking dinner this evening.  I’ve limited my posting for several months now.  I am generally a positive person, so this extended period of darkness has taken a toll on me.  Recently though, I’ve started to see some rays of light cutting through the pitch-black.  When not submerged in the overwhelming nothingness, I am able to have moments where I believe that what is now will not always be.  That’s what this poem is:  acknowledging how this darkness has bound me, and being able to recognize that hope is freeing.  I’m not quite “me” yet, but am finally approaching a place where I can write honestly, and yet keep this an encouraging space.

I am woefully behind on reading blogs, but am catching up a little each day.  Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to read my sporadic posts, prayed for me, and have sent ‘good thoughts’ my way.  This darkness would be a lot darker without you :)

Freedom Is A State Of Mind

It’s almost Independence Day here in the United States, but I thought I’d look at freedom in a different way. Freedom isn’t just about rights that are awarded from sources outside of us; freedom is also what we allow ourselves to make of it.

For a while I’ve been imprisoned by my own thoughts and circumstances. My mind has settled on the impossibility of what life is and I’ve been unable to comprehend a time where things could be different. This has led me into some really dark days. I haven’t written on my blog for nearly a month, mostly because the majority of what I’ve written has been so dark and depressing, I simply cannot share it.

During this time, friends have tried to lift me up because I can’t stand on my own. I know this has been exhausting for them because it’s been tiring for me as well. Waking up each day has been a chore. I’ve been caught in an endless loop of not wanting to do anything, and then feeling down because I don’t find joy in anything.

I know; it’s all in my head.

A glimmer of hope came through in my writing recently, and I thought I would share. It’s the first hint in a long time that maybe I will be right again, someday. This poem was written about a friend who has put a lot of effort into trying to get me to see hope. I’ve not been able to look beyond what I could see for today and tomorrow. But sometimes (I’m told) hope waits over the horizon, just out of sight.

Just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Hope is the light streaming in between clouds
Hope is the light streaming in between clouds

You are…

A seedling sprouting

on the charred forest floor;

the sun rising

bathing desolation in golden light;

fresh rain soaking

into parched desert soil;

the smile spreading

across a tear-streaked face.

You are the today

that makes me want to see tomorrow;

you are a gift-

a reminder of God’s amazing way.

These sentiments also apply to everyone who has offered prayers and well-wishes over the last several months. A big, heart-felt thanks to all of you! There is still so much uncertainty in my life, and most days are emotionally and physically draining, but I’m starting to believe one thing IS a certainty: I will be okay. “Okay” might not turn out to be what I thought it would be… but that’s okay :) I am so far behind in reading blogs but I am finally to the point I think I can set aside a little time most days. I always enjoyed the blog community and I think perhaps taking the step to interact again will bring some normalcy, which I’ve been lacking.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend!  If hope isn’t clearly visible, may a shift in mindset bring it out of the shadows.

Already Gone (Fiction) & Photo by Emilio Pasquale

Each month, I team up with Emilio Pasquale – he gives me a photo and I write a story inspired by it.  I barely made it for April, but what follows is the photo he chose, and then my story.  His photography is impressive, so if you haven’t checked out his site, you really should (but I hope you will read the following story too – it’s less than 500 words :) )

Photo by Emilio Pasquale (story by me)

Photo by Emilio Pasquale (story by me)

ALREADY GONE

I shift my weight to relieve the pressure throbbing in my heels. I don’t know how long I’ve been standing here because I lost all concept of time… well, I don’t know how long ago. Minutes, hours, days and weeks carry no meaning for me anymore. I hear muted voices and whispers at my back, a brush fire threatening to consume me. I lean toward the porthole window so I can’t see any metal in my peripheral vision. Had it not been for the scraping of forks on plates behind me, I could imagine being alone on a raft drifting into the ocean. As it is, I feel the shoreline pulling away.

“Has she eaten today?”

“Probably not. She’s been standing there for hours.”

I have a name. My thought doesn’t translate into words because I deem it unworthy of the effort.

I squint and focus on the clusters of palm trees. I start counting, just to prove to myself I’m not completely gone. My vision always blurs around eleven; that’s when I cease to differentiate tree trunks from sailboat masts. I begin counting again, my unblinking gaze moving across the horizon.

“I don’t think she’s right.”

A laugh. “None of ‘em are. It’s called job security.”

I’m not crazy, I’m lost. Again, my thought doesn’t earn the privilege of spoken words.

I can’t discern if I am running away from or toward something. I decide it really doesn’t matter as I lean forward until my forehead rests on the glass. The drumbeat in my chest grows to such intensity that little room remains for my breath. I take what I can get. The glass warms beneath my skin until it feels like an extension of me. I’m mesmerized by the fogging and un-fogging caused by the interplay of my breathing and evaporation.

I hear shuffling feet behind me and voices fade. Isolation envelops me, clutching my insides in a twisting grip.

“Dinner’s over.”

My muscles twitch beneath the hand resting on my shoulder. I close my eyes and inhale, although I can’t claim much air. I want so much to take in the dampness and taste salt from the ocean. Instead, I realize that hopelessness smells like meatloaf and Pine Sol. Desperation has a taste: the sour bile that creeps up my esophagus and stings the back of my throat.

I don’t resist the tug on my arm and we both stumble. My right hand knocks the picture off the wall and the glass shatters. Shards dig into my bare skin when I land on the ground. I don’t feel anything. My muscles spasm, as if separate from me. I watch, intrigued. I hear a panicked call for help. I don’t care. My eyelids grow heavy as I search for white light or shadows. I see nothing. I half-expect to feel fear or anticipation. Instead, I’m indifferent toward death and life. Commotion surrounds me and I almost pity them.

Why can’t they see the futility of saving what is already gone?

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This time Emilio almost stumped me.  I was drawn to the obvious with this photo, and if you have read my fiction before, you know I do try to avoid obvious!   It’s not exactly an uplifting story, but I thought finding out the character was lost in a picture and not out to sea may have been unexpected, although clues to the setting are there.  Thanks so much for reading :)

I Know Why They Stay

04-13 Butterfly

On the bench I sit, in the middle of the park,

frozen in time, while the world bustles around me.

I watch life happen, but don’t dare take part

for I know what many others can’t see.

I spy a young girl, no older than seven or eight,

bouncing toward her weary mother.

She squeals, “good things come to those who wait!”

I see the butterfly perched on her outstretched finger.

As the girl nears the woman sitting beside me,

The butterfly’s damaged wings capture my attention.

“She won’t fly. Doesn’t she realize there’s a world to see?”

Her brow now furrowed, she poses the question.

The mother sets an open magazine upon her lap,

“The butterfly must feel at home on the finger of my sweet girl,”

“Perhaps she’s tired, so she’s decided to take a little nap?”

The response, obvious shelter from the ways of the world.

I avert my gaze, should it betray knowledge of the disappointing truth,

I’m not a butterfly expert, but I know exactly why they stay:

It matters not whether they rest or move,

Death befalls them either way.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Here’s where I share inspiration for my poetry.  This will be short!  The thought occurred to me that sometimes no matter what I do, the outcome is the same, so why bother.  (I know, that is isn’t very hopeful of me.)  Then, I decided I wanted to write a story poem with that theme.  The butterfly was simply the captured creature of opportunity, as I had a photo that I’d taken a couple years ago during a visit to Shenandoah.

Reflection

03-23 Duck4

I felt the current pulling me under…

but then,

your words provided shelter

from the rain of discontent

pelting my battered body.

I watched life scatter my dreams asunder…

that’s when,

you strived to make me stronger,

infused me with new-found courage

that I could, indeed, grasp for a future unseen.

I mourned the innocence and hope cruelly plundered…

there again,

you offered your ear and shoulder,

and supplied words of comfort (surely, heaven-sent)-

insisting goodness and kindness resided within me.

I absorbed the encouragement, and wondered…

how then,

did my worries become like beads of water

sliding off a duck’s feathered back?

Like a mirror, I must reflect the grace extended to me.               

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Inspiration:  This poem came to mind as I was pondering reflection.  There is the kind of reflection depicted in the photo; and then there is the reflection we do when we look back at where we have been, and those who have helped us through.

On March 28, 2010, I wrote my first timid post here.  I was certain no one would read it… and not many did!  But a strange thing has happened over the years… people have found my small space on the internet.  I appreciate everyone who has taken time to read something I’ve written.

Since I likely won’t post until next week, I just wanted to acknowledge the 5-year mark of this blog and my 773rd post.  It’s happening because of you:  the readers/commenters who make this a fun place to be.  I’ve grown a lot in the last five years and bared much more here than I ever thought I would.  I thought revealing myself would be terrifying, but it’s turned out to be liberating.

For all of you who have had me in your thoughts and prayers over the last couple months – thank you.  Your kind support has truly helped more than you know.  Someday I will provide some explanation, but I simply can’t right now :)