I Looked For You

 

 

I wondered and waited for you…

I wondered who would show up, I wondered who would stand.

I wondered if my words or calls for help would bring you to us. I worried my anguished voice would just fall flat.

I looked for you; I searched through the faces to see if there was someone, that one unexpected person to stand with me because they see and despise the injustices too.

I looked for someone to say, I heard you.

I looked for you to hold my hand while I cried about our babies being shot or strangled, then tossed away like litter.

I willed you to come to my side while we spoke about the broken promises and horrors that are inflicted on all my relations because we refuse to die off for the convenience of Canadian business moguls.

I silently begged you to show up for every possible reason I could think of, but mostly… mostly because you wanted to stand for and do, what’s right.

I waited for you to come to me to say you are part of our community and we are part of yours.

I watched for you to speak up and say, this isn’t my Canada. We will change a country that would treat anyone this way because we cannot, we will not, call a country that treats people like this, good enough.

I watched and waited and wondered about you.

…I looked for you…

RL

Another One Bites The Dust

Mad Hatter

Poor girl didn’t heed
Cries of the already drowned
Smothered; false kisses

Warnings lost in hard pursuits
T’was never hard to know you

………………………………

Mad-hatters shape shift
He becomes every dream
Magical threading

Weaving so under your skin
Never releasing his prey

………………………………

Permanently etched
Tied more closely than chained links
Oh, the tricks, those ploys

The spell forever changing
The whirls of madness now reign

RL

Haiku / Tanka
Street Art by @shalakattack
Photo provided by createdbyrcw.com

The Queen of Hearts said to the wee thing:

“How hard it can be for lost hearts to get it. The moment is passed and yet, some refuse to buzz-off even after their true colors have been brought to light and rejected. Such strange senses of ownership, but then new/old conquests refuse to believe hypnotic methods could fool them, no matter how much is offered in foresight. The trance in full effect – ‘he knows me like no other’…. They all do, dear. That’s their job. They stare and stare and stare at you until you give it all”.

“I wonder if we’re so different after all…perhaps that’s why they simply cannot say goodbye after, like a varicella-zoster, content to hide in the shadows forevermore”…

Turning Corners …and Tossing Blanket Excuses

Street Art, say hello to my little Haiku…

Chortles for healing Chortles for healing
Yes, another truth cliché’
Eyes wide open; cured

Chasing fiends togetherPain’s scales fully cleared
Nothing’s like smiling with you
Cleansing fiends away

createdbyrcwNice doggy...good doggy.JPGProffered disclaimer
“Stimuli response creature”
His faults “in stasis”

Ah, ha ha, behold
How sweet to laughably view…
Saps teach ogres wordsSaps and Ogres

createdbyrcwBefore the morning coffee finally kicks in.JPGSadly, pulled below
Into sulphurous kisses
Temporary bath

createdbyrcwLady of the LakeFool’s paradises
Repelled for solid grounding
Upscaled to real life

createdbyrcwGlorious colours on a dank day2.jpgElevated me
New knowledge; true tenderness
Freedom completed

An exercise in summer re-discovery. A former summer’s draft of haikus met up with a friend’s last summer street art photography. Great fun matching up those thoughts to these illustrations of chance.

Outside of that, I’m guessing at this point in the year, many of us are in a need of some seasonal change. I’m definitely hungry for more sunny experiences in sunny destinations.  I’ll bet you are too. Let’s get at ‘er, mon anges et amies!

RL

All photos – various Toronto, ON street/graffiti art and graciously leant to me by photographer and writer, Randall Willis, of  CreatedByRCW and So, What’s Your Story

String O’ Tears

puppeteerFor a friend….

A message, a song, prose of awareness to carry to your fair-weather friend

That really great one who utterly love-bombs you, repeatedly – if not ceaselessly
Bombards you hard enough to make you forget your own fugging mind
The mind that used to have instincts that automatically waved red flags
Those inner stirrings of wariness that led you right from wrong
When you weren’t the puppet you became in order to earn more ear candy
Those sweets that plump your heart and keenly sink into your under-nourished psyche

Enough sugar to make you think you are the brightest, funniest, loveliest star ever found
And he will always assert with that add-on: …“and I have known many a crispy star”
And so he enlists you to spy, cajole, and/or keep an eye out for reporting purposes
Ah, soon we learn a puppeteer’s affinity with clowns runs far more extensively than skin deep…
He uses you to mark his territory, share his dirty deeds; you’re his unique ‘love in crime’
& if reports are interesting enough, he will even step out from behind his shield of breasts
To poke his nose out gingerly, which counts as brave for this completely scar-less ‘warrior’

You do it because, sigh, someone has finally or fully seen how really special you are
And, no real harm, just a bit of fun, just messing a little with idiots & low-lifes after all
‘Cause beneath it all, he’s a nice guy, so alone & a little scared, mostly misunderstood
Your maternal instinct will fill in all the excuses he hints at to make you both feel better
In gratitude, he’ll toss you more necklaces hand-beaded with extra-honeyed accolades

He’ll gift you amusing anecdotes and witticisms du jour and you’ll both laugh and laugh
Or he’ll wax on spiritual depth, prophet-like and it’ll be like you’ve bathed in enlightenment
So many days in a year, so many appropriated lines to unveil, so many toys available for play
Oh, to be free of those strings, to dance around and around a stage, firm and stable
Where the feelings and thoughts and words fed to your soul are unfeigned

Oh, to live, only where love is real and the only strings attached are honestly heart to heart

RL


For the interested, here’s a quick review of the process these personalities engage in, in real life:  But, He’s a ‘SoulMate’  Why Narcissists Disappear  (Hint: It’s not just the silent treatment)

Friends in Low Places – Unfinished Business…

friends-in-low-places

Lusting for her fall
Your four ears in on her calls
Sharing how she bleeds

Re-tooled her story
While you bonded in secret
Winking together

Crispy grins & glee
Pleased to have gifted chagrin
A graceless friendship

Sometimes what seems like the ending is really only a middle… whole rooms of space for the plot to thicken or the potential for an especially satisfying twist, or so I’ve heard.

RL

Daily prompt, writing challenge: Unfinished
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unfinished/

With a Little Help From My Friends; Paul Curran “The Invisibles” Part 1

While I’m off batting away demons, some friends have come to bat for me by sharing some pretty amazing survival triumphs of their own. I am so happy and grateful to share them.

Think you’ve heard of some tough years? Read on for a chronicle of unbelievable, stunning setbacks and lifesaving ennui.

This is a two-part tale of an incredible trip to save one’s sanity along with body by the beloved blog-o-sphere cheering and writing champion, Paul Curran.  

paulcurran2015.-2As I lay restlessly in the hospital bed, a plan began to form. I was here for internal bleeding, one of many, many complications that had cropped up from my cancer treatment.

It was under control but I knew what it meant – I had lost my right kidney, which we all knew was happening and came as no surprise. An ultrasound had confirmed that there was but slim remnants of that organ.

This had been a rare side effect of the radiation treatment – a treatment that was really a pact with the devil. In my case it was exceedingly effective and had destroyed the cancer, but it also created a list of horrendous side effects from the destruction of my kidneys to temporary impotence and many others in-between. I was now officially a dialysis patient and would remain so forever, barring a transplant. That was hard to accept.

This was the final straw, and the worst was that I KNEW it was not the end of the side effects – which the literature says can continue to appear up to 25 years after treatment.

quotation mark 1At 45, I would pretty much be at the end of my life before I’d be done with the potential lifespan of side effectsquotation mark 2.

In the preceding year I’d spent all my savings on a degree that I finished just in time for an economic downturn; got laid off from my job because with the new degree I was overqualified; ended a 12 year relationship which meant giving up my house; was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent radiation, chemotherapy and three operations.

I’d also suffered major treatment side effects including a colostomy, temporary impotence, a fistula between my bladder and rectum and then endured the many, many issues that crop up with dialysis such as multiple operations, scopes, colonoscopies, endoscopes, too many more to list.

Along with all of that, the engine of my car blew up. I was unable to work and with no funds left, I finally had to draw welfare.  The final topper, I had to move from where I was boarding because my landlady (not much older than me) died of a blood clot in her sleep.

I started drinking too much and clearly recognized that I was suffering from severe depression – certainly a state of mind that was natural given the few years of my life.

I had seriously contemplated suicide but didn’t have sufficient desire to follow through – sigh, a failure even at that. Ha! I needed help, of this I was sure and while lying in that hospital bed I decided it was time to get some help.

As difficult as my health issues had been over the previous few years, I had gotten excellent care and anything I desired treatment-wise was readily available. For instance when I came out of the last operation and recovered, I realized that they had cut through my belly button.

This meant nothing to me, but when my surgeon presented himself and asked if all was OK, I responded with: “My belly button is gone”! I was being funny, obviously having survived the cancer and surgery, my belly button was immaterial, but he took me seriously. “I apologize”, he said, “I can arrange for a plastic surgeon to rebuild your belly button and it will be covered under OHIP [the government health plan which normally did not cover non-life threatening plastic surgery].”

Invisible Beginnings…

Expecting mental health care to be as carefully and meticulously addressed as physical health care, I requested a psych evaluation – my intention was to eventually get sessions set up so I could talk my way through the depression and get a hand up back to normal.

In physical health care the doctors were so thorough that I sometimes had to turn down tests or watch for duplication. I had never requested help that I did not enthusiastically receive.

My requests for a psych evaluation went unanswered. I knew that the hospital had a whole psychiatry floor filled with patients and psychiatrists, but try as I may, I could not get one to come to my room.

After a week of asking daily, two interns showed up – doctors in training – who were not psychiatrists or even psychiatry students, but rather were doing a rotation in their training for a few weeks in psychiatry.

These students were typically kept busy doing case histories and such. I thought perhaps this was the route to a real psychiatrist, so I was cheerful with them and we chatted for an hour or so while they took careful notes. (They were humorous at times in their naivety and when I complained about the impotence, they asked how I knew.  Of course, I pointed out that I was sequestered here in the hospital so obviously it was an inability to masturbate – at which they turned all red, stuttered and moved to another topic).

And then nothing happened…

-Paul Curran

————— You can find Part 2 here ————–

Weird Normal & Cancer Envy; Part One of Bear With Me

Friends, Ed & E called. They were concerned, curious mostly about the intensity and/or emotional topics on my recent posts, and because I’ve been missing in action.

Bear With Me 4I have been quieter in general, but to address some of their concern, I explained that I usually write about my or other’s experiences in the way they felt at the time of the occurrences. It gives the impression they all happened recently, but really they could have happened yesterday or thirty years ago.

I do mix them up because while they make the point that I want, it also protects people who may need shielding.  I also just like to indulge in a little mystery for fun.

Admittedly, the events of late are not all related to that fun; they have been more unusually taxing. So yes, I’ve been more reserved in my activities and have expressed more personal poignancy in my posts.

I manage a rare disease within my daily routine. For the most part everything about me seems pretty normal, except for when this disease bounces my world into chaos.

To explain the beast in 10 words or less – it’s an inflammation-based disease of all kinds of irritation, but mainly it unpredictably interferes with organ function and defies prognosis.  It’s a pick an organ, any organ to screw with when it’s bored or cranky, kind of bastard. I call these visits by it, the ‘big ones’.

Friends may observe it has pounced by my newly inhibited movement, or noticeable weight loss, or I might be hospitalized for months engaged in hand to hand combat with the Grim Reaper. Sometimes he’s content to just gnaw on a limb for a few weeks.

The moments in between these time-outs are the same as most – work, growing kids, growing me, up days, down days, and once in a while even surviving catastrophic days unrelated to my health.

This fall, previously written about on the loss of someone I loved, and the pain of a betrayal, played into that old myth that these sort of events come in threes.

So, in the midst of the hell, number three showed up, in the form of another scary, frustrating flare-up. It would take another post to detail it and I’d rather leave it at saying I acquired a painful syndrome that they say will take a couple of years to unwind. It also triggered a former crisis. Let the good times roll.

Of course, I’m scared. Yes it troubles me, and yes, I’ve cried. Navigating pain is tricky business & each of these events makes me feel just a little bit or a lot bit, lost at times. There is a real aura of alone because I am in some ways, the least of which is that I have never met anyone who has my disease.

Not that I wish for someone else to have it for company.  It can stir up a weird head space though.  I’ve actually envied cancer patients.  They have so much support, myriad services and immediate sympathy.  And ready understanding.

Once I walked out of a private ‘washroom for disabled’ and a woman waved her cane and loudly castigated me, “You should know this room is for the disabled!”

I’d used the privacy to deal with a temporary drainage bag attached into my belly. I only stared at her, feeling indignant embarrassment as I brushed past her. I wish I would have said something to puncture her presumptions and I still can’t believe I didn’t…

That experience was too new for me to think fast enough.  Maybe.  Probably, I was drugged. I’d later considered wearing a scarf to cover my hair – chemo hair-loss style – whenever I was struck by the big ones. I eventually got over that and earned another level of psyche strength; I definitely don’t feel obligated to always explain myself anymore.

Which leads me toward the point of this post. Well, it will somewhere down the line.

Hindsight is 20/20 when measuring growth through adversity, but when awesome reader/friends, Rebekah Ingram & Randall Willis, zinged me with some gorgeous insight, there was an intriguing moment of ‘aha’!

Their views pointed me to observing the growth & changes in me as they are occurring. Maybe we call it 10/10 forevision. This means I’m paying attention to what’s going on in my feelings, body & spirit now, during these trials, rather than surviving and processing later.

Along with mom & dad flying across the country to hug & assist me, I believe applying this new aspect could, in some ways, help me heal a little faster.

It’s another work in progress, but I look forward to seeing what’s being brought to me and through me with this new process. I’ll start in gratitude to these friends for sharing their caring hearts at just the right time.

 

Karma Knows Intentions… You Can Run, But…

MoonlightThey say Karma is a bitch and believe me, having met her face to face, I can tell you first-hand that yes, she is.   She recently decided to feed me a fresh batch of payback stew – with a pitchfork.  Don’t make her wait too long kids, atone for transgressions quickly – she gets more sour with time.

When I was in school, there was a girl I hung around almost entirely because I had an unbearable crush on her boyfriend. My crush was a one-way street and so I pretended to like his girlfriend far more than I did just to be near him whenever possible.

While I did like the girl, I was not nearly as enamored with her as I let on and so, when he left her, so did I.  We both broke her heart, and while she had some understanding about why he just wasn’t into her anymore, she had no clue as to why one of her closest confidantes had abandoned her too.  Pretty heartless, I know, I admit my selfish guilt; I simply had written it all off to the heart wants what the heart wants.

Affairs of the heart can be pretty tricky at any age, and regardless of our experience, we’ll always be in some sort of learning curve within all of our relationships.

When we want something or someone so badly that we will bend our values or morals or sense of fair play to get it, the one thing I learned from that is, the achievement will not only be shallow, it’s doomed to be short-lived anyway.

Even that much awareness, regardless of age, is still no guarantee we’ll be able to over-ride desire.  We all want to be loved,  respected,  to be heard, and sometimes to get those things,  we‘ll go so far as to convince ourselves that bending a value is the same thing as a compromise.

Compromises mean things like you’ll agree to half the salt you normally like on popcorn so you can share with your sodium conscious pal, or you’ll agree to that raucous rugby tournament on TV the whole weekend if he’ll wear the earphones.

If someone says they agree to a value like a level of trust or respect, but do so not so much in understanding and agreement as in just an effort to halt friction, that’s not compromise.   That’s deception, and not only to the party who believes they have an understanding, your own heart is eventually going to take a beating too.

Love makes people do some incredibly wonderful things, but it also, intentionally or not, makes them do some really stupid things too.  Deception is a friend when we need to sneak around a corner.

This kind of deception isn’t necessarily the deep, dark, nefarious predatory sort, but it can sure feel like it if it gets to step in your relationships, especially as broken agreements.

If we become close to someone and honestly love them, but we’re not able to truly understand a value need of theirs, intended or not, if we don’t work to resolve it, we create a chasm that only one of us knows about.  Eventually the blind one is going to fall into it.

If consensus isn’t genuinely met, but the desire for that person remains, what is the fair play in the end?  There is really only one decent option.  As painful as it may be, you’ll either need to slog it out until you both truly get honest agreement or just let go.

Let me assure that the seemingly easier route of agreement for the sake of avoiding conflict is neither easy nor painless. It’s a short term plan that always gets revealed and as I was recently reminded, it doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 50 years old, when your heart falls into that chasm it gets crushed, pretty damned badly.

You don’t have to be cruel to be kind, but know the heart taking what the heart wants while bending values means someone is going to get hurt anyway – mostly, devastatingly.

Karma takes no prisoners.

RL

There was never any RA, it was only a dream

Bad Medicine

There was a time I needed to feel safe.
So, I would just be the Italian, Eurasion or Greek.
It was better to be whatever I wasn’t
because anything was better than pain.

I didn’t have my grandmother’s arms to hold me
while she told me where we came from.
I didn’t have my grandmother’s words to tell me who
We are.

Her children went outward and got lost in the White Sea
with only glimpses of shining glory, such short moments,
but mostly they got knocked around and then down,
till the medicine could numb them, and set them free.

Some moved from drowning the sorrows, and doing what we were told,
but I learned the voices in my head weren’t the ones in my heart.
My grandmother’s voice now comes through; she’s been whispering the stories.
that the hurt of the years stood in the way of, for so long.

She’s been telling me to stand up,  to remember and learn who we are.
She’s saying use your voice to teach.
Use your voice to reach the hearts of the other lost.
Let them know they’re not alone, show them lies are not real.

Learn for them; then show them the ways through that White Sea.

It’s OK to not be only safe.

Staying hidden is another bad medicine.

Eagle on perch

RL

Photo credit: Jim Wong Photography

The Bandwidth of Pain

Whose Story Will Be the Worst?

Pain Profile 2

We all have a story to tell, I search for yours to better understand mine.

We all have a story that waits to be heard.   No matter how uplifting or how dire the tale may seem, we all have known pain and we’ve all known joy.  We like to mostly brag about the joyful things in life and to show off, a little, all the good we have.  It’s good to say my happiness in life is good, and maybe even a little special.

On the other hand, how odd and strange is it that we sometimes take great pains to take measure of the pain of others too? To judge whose suffering is worse or not, or even worthy?  Are we really special because of the ways we have been subjected to pain?

Regardless of our circumstances, richer or poorer, surrounded by many or none, we encounter the same range of emotions from various ranges of circumstances.  It is only the circumstances that cause us to judge what pain level is necessary, appropriate or even merited, as though some of us may have got away with something.

Some of us have had been abandoned as children, some only temporarily, but even so both groups will share those first moments of realization that they had been left behind on purpose.

Some of us have been told our bodies hold disease with early fatal outcomes.  Some will die, and some will have some amazing intervention that continues life, but what real difference was there in their feelings when they were first told that news?

Some of us have lost loved ones from sudden tragedies, lingering illnesses, and even family disputes.  Is the pain from these losses so significantly different?  Do we miss one more?

Whether we burn our hand on a match or a hot coffee, or lose our only key to the car, or if our laptop gets smashed, or we lose our last dollar, deeply or nor not, there isn’t any shortage of situations where life will shoot shards of feeling through us until we scramble for ways to cope and/or beg for escape.

The moments of aches and heartbreak may not rise from the exact same stories, but really there is only so much bandwidth for feelings.  How we feel them varies in degrees according to our natures and of course the circumstances, but short of incapacitation or an early death, we will all experience the range in some way in our lifetimes.

No one really, should feel like they are the only ones to feel what they have, not for the sake of comfort in a ‘misery loves company’ kind of way, but hopefully at a minimum, to share compassion that comforts.

Ideally, we would grow to focus on our commonalities and heal together. Our shared stories are guides to solutions.  It is the stories of how and how well we overcame pain that really says who we are.

Everybody’s story deserves to be heard; only some of us get that benefit, especially if we speak or write in public forums.  When we tell our stories, we think they are only our own, but I have to wonder, when we do tell them, how many of our seven billion people are we really speaking for?

 RL