Rooms-full-of-old-toys-and-decay-at-abandoned-manor-house

My first memory

was my dog dragging a dead rat into my bedroom.

Mom walked in

I played with my limp toy.

Its polished eye watched,

she scolded the pup.

Showered, I sat on dusty carpet and listened;

the owl clock above the sink.

Her cracked hands washed green dishes

while the metal walls of our trailer

trickled into my veins drop after

drop,

after drop.

 

social-media-business-impact

 

I’m taking a short break from poetry. In fact, I should be finishing up the second book in a series that I haven’t bothered publishing yet. This afternoon, I have decided to table my “to-do” list consisting of scraping oatmeal off of the floor with an ice scraper, prying horse riding helmets out from under the backseat of the Suburban, and scrubbing marker off of the wall. Instead I will be regaling all two readers with a recent tale of woe.

Although I have a Facebook account I generally use it to post pictures of my children, keep in touch with friends from the good ol’ days, and promote my business and writing. I’m not typically one to post every meal I eat or every aspect of my day. But all of that changed one evening when I discovered a unique feature on my app that allowed me to post about the specific book I was reading or movie I was getting ready to watch. Pretty cool, huh?

In all of my excitement I let it be known that I was getting ready to settle in to my lengthy and on-going routine of rocking my two-year old to sleep. I had searched “OnDemand” and found the movie “Titanic”. I was pretty excited about this and I posted about it in a narcissistic attempt to gain ‘likes’ I thought that perhaps my friends would be as well.

All was going great until a ‘friend’ decided to announce Publicly (!) that the boat sinks at the end. Really? Can a girl just binge eat an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and watch a movie without a spoiler alert?

In the end, it was my bad for posting about it and I still haven’t finished to several hour long cinematic production.

Worry not! I don’t believe everything I read on social media.

 

th

 

 

I could still walk into that house and smell leather,

the sweet odor cracked into peach wall paper

that closed in on my body

until I vomited fields of soy beans.

Outside of the rows,

I’d pick wild berries.

An almanac cautioned

about Indian strawberries–

I feared that as the juice dripped

down my hollow mouth,

I’d surely die.

God didn’t want kids like

me.

Years passed.

I sat on a train in New York

where I read a columnist

who declared that just because

consumption of a wild berry is

not recommended,

that does not indicate that the

fruit

contains poison.

 

WalkingAway

It was right before school started. The leaves left a thin layer on the ground. For the first time since I had escaped my 7 years of hell, life was beginning to feel normal (minus the frequent flashbacks and panic attacks I endured on a regular basis). I can remember that it was right before school began because a friend and I had just returned from a shopping trip up north with my kiddos where I had (for the first time in many years) enjoyed the freedom of the simple task of purchasing back to school clothes. Making decisions by myself without being undermined felt fantastic. And my kids were elated about the brand new clothes.

I had just pulled into the driveway and had no more than put my old, bronze SUV in ‘park’ when my phone rang. Of course, I answered it, glad to talk to the family member on the other side of the line. But as soon as I hit the green “accept” button, my ribs felt as though they were caving in. The sweet taste of metal formed in my mouth and I could feel my palms begin to sweat just as quickly as my entire body shook.

“How dare you? How dare you come out here and talk about your ‘problems’ and what you ‘endured’ with your ex and upset everybody like that? You should be absolutely ashamed. The entire family is upset about this and you need to realize that all of the “abuse” was a result of your own life choices. No one else is to blame but yourself–” the voice blared over the phone loud enough for my friend to also hear while I sat in horror over the hurtful accusations. At some point during the tirade, I felt a light tug on my cell phone. My friend had pulled it out of my hand and simply hung up.

Earlier that summer, I had visited my hometown along with my children. Though many people had questions about the separation from my husband, I declined any answers as I had resolved at the beginning to keep the information limited to my amazing attorney, the local sheriff’s department, my counselors and therapists, and a few close friends who had reached out and offered me assistance that I will never be able to repay. Despite the criticism I received, (it became apparent that while I stayed silent, he had no qualms with talking), I remained steadfast in my quietness. Even now, I don’t talk about specific instances that occurred as that is why I completed years of therapy and many of the situations remain a cloud of fog hidden behind trauma.

Did my life choices truly set me up to become a victim of domestic violence? I posit that they absolutely did not. Nobody, I am not concerned at where a person is at in his or her life, deserves to be manipulated, control, and abused and the mindset that a person makes a choice to be a victim is the same type of thinking that perpetuates and allows to cycle of domestic violence to continue.

So, here is my plea to those who are enduring violent situations and those who are survivors of domestic violence: When you receive a call from a person seeking to re-victimize you by telling you that the hell you went through was your fault and that it was exactly what your deserved, and if that person is willing to perpetuate lies and misleading information that places you right back into an abusive setting– Here is EXACTLY what your do: Hang Up That Phone! Know that YOU are better than that and there is NOTHING that you did wrong. Because this time, you have a choice! Do not allow someone else to re-victimize you.

 

 

 

 

Smoke

Curiosity Doesn’t Always Sneak Around Killing Cats

 

On Friday nights

she puts on Ariats,

clouds of smoke,

clanking shot glasses.

 

She prefers to recline in a dryer chair,

pink lemonade.

At the gas station

practicing checkers,

a pitcher of sun tea. Between lips–

 

bedsheets hung out to dry

through a tiny hole in a

sturdy backyard fence. A brick

church, polished pews,

she tilts her head,

listens–

                silence.

Like already being late, as I’ve mentioned before: to get SIX KIDS out of the door and in the car, everything must work as a machine. If one tiny, teensy-weensy, miniscule, itty-bitty (Enough adjectives– you get the point) thing goes wrong, everything falls apart like those domino structures we used to make as kids, uhm, before the internet– when Nintendo cartridges would freeze up the NES and you’d have to clean them and wait forever.

So I’m herding everyone out the door, yes herding– I do not feel bad about using this word, and I thought it would be a nice gesture to turn the heat on in the Yukon. Until I put the key in to find that the engine wouldn’t turn over. As a matter of fact, nothing happened when I put the key in. As luck would have it, I know nothing about cars except that I want a blue Jeep someday. That aside, I didn’t have time to call for AAA who will offer a 30 minute wait and by the time they actually show up I am in dentures and my kids have grown and had children of their own. No Joke, anyone else struggle with that?

So I do the next best thing: I call my dear, patient husband and squawk at him to teach me, over the phone how to fix the problem. After spending about 10 minutes trying to pop the hood, it only took him about 20 more minutes to walk me through hooking the jump box up to the metal pieces.

Lucky for me, the Yukon started and it was just as I lifted the baby up to put her in her car seat that my nose caught a sharp whiff of undesirable odor leaking from her diaper.

Really?

Shot taken with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter.

This morning between the struggle to find socks that fit my kids and arguing with them about wearing shorts in 50 degree weather, I came to an important executive decision. Internally, a raging debate had commenced and I knew that soon I would need to come to a crucial decision: I chose Coke over Pepsi and while I felt a temporary relief overcome me, I faced yet another significant choice.

Over the weekend I began what I thought to be a quick exercise in voice and POV. But I fell in love, with the deliciously handsome Wesley and the juicy sarcasm of Jane. I have since condensed the series into a .doc file and am revising it; fluffing it, editing, and of course adding to it. I am excited to say that I plan on publishing an e-book which is actually kind of scary considering I have no clue how to actually do this, but then, the floors of my kids’ bedrooms are also quiet frightening. Which reassures me that, even I, can successfully figure out how to publish and e-book.

I am thinking that it would be more cohesive to read in one single form. So, this post is to serve as an apology to all 1 of you out there in the world of WordPress who was following the story. I do hereby promise to bore you with further blog posts containing poetry and rehashes of the odd occurrences of my day.

Rain_Cloud

I interrupt my regularly scheduled posts which, as of late, have indulged themselves in the Sci-Fi realm, only to bore you with the bizarre happenings of my day (no, I wasn’t up at 4:00 A.M. digging my car keys out of the dumpster, again). I am very familiar with the sketch of a little boy, navy rain boots and a matching umbrella, standing underneath ae raincloud while the rest of the world soaks up the afternoon sun. On days I have to commute to class, I am in desperate need of an “I Survived” t-shirt. For example, “I Survived Monday” or “Hug Me, I Survived Wednesday”. Particularly on Wednesdays when I have to be at the elementary school at 7:45 A.M. so that my little ones can nurture their creative side via elementary school chorus.

I realize, that to many who work 7:45 A.M. is no big deal. Yeah, add 6 children all with missing shoes at 7:30 A.M. and get back to me on that one. This morning I felt pretty good about myself: I had my wallet, a pen, and my poetry assignment. Yay me! Unfortunately, I forgot my French book. Of course, before I realized that I had forgotten it at home, I had to get out at the carpool line and dig through the sub-crustaceous layer of Mc Donald’s bags and Tae Kwon Do uniforms to ensure it wasn’t merely buried. I didn’t find my book, on the upshot I made .50. This only meant that I, with the already pressing time crunch of dropping off my preschoolers at their babysitter’s house,  had to detour back to mine. As always I looked forward to the 2.5 mile excursion down a connecting road that happens to be a residential area, yep 25 mph. I’m sure that watching a sloth cross a river probably doesn’t take as long as getting stuck behind a car going 15 mph in a 25 mph zone.

Lo and behold, if I didn’t see a splatter on my windshield. But it’s sunny, right? God, nature–call it what you will, saw it fitting to provide me with my own personal raincloud that followed me all the way back to my house.

Just sayin’