Inspired By 6 Words And Loss

This represents what 2015 is for me thus far
Snapshot of my 2015…

Death trails behind me,

Decaying carcasses lie uncovered;

Youthful hopes and dusty memories-

Remnants of broken dreams,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Each breath reminds me,

Eternal failures rediscovered;

I’m unable to escape shortcomings-

Fragments of who I used to be,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Scattered ashes cover

Three quarters of a year-

Whether I rise remains to be seen,

But I have to accept what will be.

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I have a bad habit of explaining my poetry, and I will continue that, but first, I’ll take you on a scary ride of how my train of thought ended up here.  Hold on, it’s a twisty one 😯

This post was originally going to be to refer you to a post compiled by Eli Pacheco at Coach Daddy where he asked bloggers how they would upgrade themselves – in six words.  (If you have some time, check it out… there were some great contributions.  Mine is #46)… “accept what will be; no worries”.  Hold this thought…

In the past month, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my pets.  First, my seventeen-year-old Yorkie-Poo, Bulwinquel.  Then, a few days ago, I lost my beloved cat, Cybil.  She was fifteen years old and had been in kidney failure for over a year.

When I started writing this poem, it was to deal with the grief of loss over my pets.  Then my mind wandered a bit farther back, over the landscape of this year.  I half-joke that I’m done with 2015, but I don’t think it’s done with me.  This poem ended up being more about another loss I’ve been dealing with:  in January, I made the decision to end my 18-year marriage. Until last week, we were living in the same house which has been… well, miserable.

I won’t go into details as to what led to this because I have kids who might happen upon my ramblings here someday.  There were several factors involved, but one aspect, I wrote about last October in a poem that was particularly difficult to share.  Sharing that poem forced me to see things I chose to ignore for years.

This brings me back to my six-word contribution and this poem.  The death that trails behind me are my pets, my marriage, and the idea of what I thought my life would be eighteen years ago.  I failed.  I don’t like failing and stubbornly tried to deny this failure, but the first 3/4 of this year has been coming to terms with it.  It’s a continuing process.

I have spent a lot of time thinking (obsessing, really) about things I have no control over.  It’s a daily thing to remind myself not to worry about tomorrow and to instead, rely on faith.  I have no idea what the future holds.  I’ll find out when it gets here.

This isn’t supposed to be a depressing post. I’m okay really. I’m working on a photo-inspired story but was too busy to complete it for September as I had planned. I’m not going to jinx it by saying when I think it’ll be done. I’ll just leave it at “soon.” 🙂

Thanks for hanging on to this thought train. Now, relax and have a beautiful Thursday!

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Blurred Line – Speakeasy #151

From color to gray...
From color to gray…

Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes. 

Almost forgotten were the days when right was right and wrong was wrong; a guilty verdict the line separating the two. Sarah James had once lived in color.  She knew the precise moment when her world became defined by mottled shades of gray.

A wide-brimmed hat shaded her face from the unforgiving June sun.  Arms folded over her chest, she surveyed her home.  From the outside, it was just another blemish in a pock-marked neighborhood.  As part of a “revitalization” project, she’d lucked into it for a bargain.

“I see you’re new to the area.  I’m Margo Godfrey.”

Preferring solitude, Sarah took a deep breath before turning to find an older woman with graying, frizzed curls standing behind her.  Her gaze lingered on the woman’s clothing for a couple seconds, caught off-guard by the midday donning of a hideous floral house coat.

“Saw your Jersey plate.  ‘Lotta east coast transplants out here.”

“I suppose.  I’m Sarah James.”  Sarah turned her attention back to the stucco wall.  She ran the scraper along the cracked mustard paint.  The flakes of baked paint and worn stucco fell away, revealing a softer canary yellow.  She’d chosen Serengeti Sand as the new color to represent her home, in honor of her sister who’d dreamed of studying lions in Africa.

“This house was a gem back in the sixties.”

“It is lovely.”

“Not no more.  Been haunted for twenty years.”

“I don’t believe that stuff.”

“A teen died here.  Never found her killer, neither.”

“Tragic.”  Sarah continued chipping paint.

“Why here?”

“Huh?”

“What brings you to Arizona?  Why central Phoenix?  Why this house?”

Sarah dropped the scraper into the weeds popping out from the foundation and wiped her hands on her jeans.  She stood, towering a good six inches over the stubby woman.

She took a step back.

“I like a dry heat.  I like history. I like a challenge.”

The woman narrowed her eyes.  “You look an awful lot like Cornelia Fowler.”  She reached for Sarah’s hair.  “If your hair was brown…”

Sarah clamped her hand around the woman’s wrist.  Her blond ponytail flipped when she jerked her head toward her childhood home.  “I have to get back.”  She released her grip.

The old woman pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose.  “Of course.”

Sarah watched the woman hurry away.  The hair on the back of her neck prickled.  She shrugged it off and continued working.

She knew its history.  She’d never forget finding her partially-clothed twin sprawled on the living room floor, face down in a pool of blood.  Losing Stephanie was the pulled thread that unraveled the family.  A few months later, police recovered her father’s rigid body from a gutter near his favorite bar.  Grief took her mother exactly one year after Stephanie died.  Her official cause of death was alcohol and barbiturates.  Dr. Meyers had prescribed the medication to “get her through the tough time” and in a way, Sarah figured they worked.

Cornelia found Stephanie’s murderer before police could.  For that, Cornelia spent seventeen years in prison- almost half her life.  Three weeks ago, she’d outsmarted the guards and embraced her freedom.  She became Sarah James.

Sarah had always imagined the family reunion taking place after their home’s restoration, but she couldn’t shake the prying visit from Mrs. Godfrey.  Her comment about the police never finding Stephanie’s killer niggled at her mind.  Cornelia knew her sister’s boyfriend was guilty- they had a date that night.  She made sure Shane Godfrey died in the same spot Stephanie did.  A jury found Cornelia guilty and sentenced her to life.

Never found her killer.  Sarah had to fix the mistake.

Later that night, Sarah slipped into her neighbor’s house.  “I know it was you.”

The woman smiled.  “Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love, Cornelia.”

***

Sarah cleaned Margo Godfrey’s blood from her hands before entering her own house.  Margo had feared Stephanie would keep her son from attending college, so she removed the distraction.  Never underestimate the power of a mother’s dream.

Sarah decided the reunion had to be tonight.  Inspired by a man who’d lost everything, Job’s words came to mind.  Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  May the name of the Lord be praised.

As she pulled the trigger, she hoped her taking an eye for an eye wouldn’t be judged in black and white.

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This is my response for the Speakeasy weekly writing prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 743 words) (1) using “Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes.” as the first sentence AND (2) include some sort of reference to a photograph posted on the Speakeasy site, taken by Czintos Ödön.

Thanks to everyone who read and voted for my poem “He Said/She Said” last week.  It was voted first place and I really appreciate all the wonderful feedback I got from that piece!

The challenge is open to everyone, so if you’re interested in joining in, check out the full guidelines by clicking the badge below.  Have a beautiful Monday 🙂

speakeasy2

The Inevitable

Here I am.

Again.

Surrounded by flat-roofed buildings of stucco, I stand in front of the architectural anomaly.  Dé·jà vu, yet this time is different.  I can feel it.

The familiar embraces me, though I try to resist.  I grab a deep breath; and then gather shaky strength-and my worries- to my chest.  I burst through the red door of the quaint 2-room shack.

Bells jingle, bravery wavers.

No turning back.

I shift my eyes upward, gaze traveling past the sloped chalet roof.  A prayer seeps from my soul, tears down my cheeks.  She pulls me aside.  Jumbled words are offered- matters of fact, of little comfort.

What to expect?

Unknown.

Weight bears down on me, indecision paralyzes.  There’s not much to analyze, no past to rationalize.

I bide my time, delay goodbye.

Never easy, these decisions of death and

Life.

Josie resting on my husband's slipper.
Josie resting on my husband’s slipper.

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This piece isn’t at all uplifting, but I can’t muster uplifting today.  Sorry.  Maybe later in the week.  When we took in our Yorkie, Josie, two years ago this past Thanksgiving, we didn’t know if we’d have a week, a year, or more with her.  At ten years old, she was surrendered to the vet because of seizures.  When they asked, we ultimately couldn’t say no.  What if she had more life in her?  We cared for her and fell in love with her.  She became family.

Today, I woke up to her in the worst state I’ve seen her.  I rushed her to the vet and they are keeping her comfortable until this afternoon.  When my husband gets home from work, we’ll go see her.  We’ll have to decide if it is “time.”  We knew this day would come, but I’m still not ready for it.

UPDATE:  Josie showed no improvement by that afternoon.  We made the decision to say goodbye to her so she wouldn’t suffer.  She will be missed.

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to Trifecta’s weekly writing prompt, which is to write a piece between 33 and 333 words (mine is 142) using the following word/definition:

QUAINT (adjective): 3a : unusual or different in character or appearance :  ODD;   b : pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar <a quaint phrase> –

The challenge is open to anyone, so if you’re inspired, click on the tricycle image to view complete guidelines and submit a link to your own response!  Have a beautiful Monday 🙂