Tag: loss

poem: grieving

Without warning
the words rip their way out.

“I miss my dog!”

i might have gone to him
for cuddles
to be confronted
by his absence.

Or,
i might leave the house
not having to worry
about walks,
free from fretting
over him
while i travel.
That momentary gratitude
that i can be on my way
turns into gutted grief.

By in large,
this flesh has grown numb
to the shuddering pain of tears.

Despair has given way
to emptiness.

A surreal stillness
has completely overtaken
all the loud wails of grief.

This is life now;
this is my new loneliness.

Only, i cannot see this
as movement forward –
rather,
i am an ostrich,
head firmly planted
in the sand,
choking on change
i never wanted to happen.

6 may 2016

poem: for Darwin the dog.

Darling,
it started to pour
an hour
after you died.

i could not shake
the feeling
that the Divine
had finally lost
her composure.
My tears were joined
by an ocean
of saltwater rain.

This world is poorer
without your presence.

i can already feel
my will and heart
unraveling
in the face
of this tsunami
of grief.

You will be
what i search for
in my dreams.

No doubt,
you will wind up
tucked inside
stories and poems
until i surrender
my pen
into death’s hands.

Still, i think of you
as though you remain
tethered to my soul –
i beg for forgiveness,
i give you all my love
and, sweet boy,
know that underneath
this mask of calm
and the unmistakable acceptance,
i ache with loss
and shine with gratitude.

2 may 2016

a month

13411862_10208363446235263_2117676587360267764_oIt has been a just over four weeks since everything changed.

Honestly the transformation started nearly eighteen months ago, sped up considerably this time last year, but the past four weeks have accelerated the process to the speed of light.

As i write, i have a job, one that requires 40 hours a week and will pay me regularly, and for that i am on my knees with gratitude. The stress of trying to make it solely through art, alone, with my health suffering for so long, was intolerable. i was breaking down.  It made my art – especially my writing – suffer.

For most of this job search, i was afraid on so many different levels.  i am an artist, an acquired taste, a round ball of strange.  To find a place that can tolerate all that – and the terrible staggering awkwardness that my body often adopts instead of graceful movement – is fantastic.

But this is a blog about the business of art.  And, thankfully, that business continues.  In one month, i have written (and typed in) a notebook full of poetry, done more drawings that i can remember, finished writing a novel, and begun working on a short story that amuses me more than i can express.  i have never written from the POV of a planet before.

Today, as i gallery sit in Southwest Harbor, i feel more centered in my calling than i have since Darwin the dog died.  Going into my studio has been hard, and something for which i have had very little time.  13483087_10208363947087784_3077929633202552197_oAs soon as i could throw again after surgery, my kiln died, so the pottery side of everything has been stalled rather horribly.  i await a paycheck or art sales to get new elements and relays, and then, i will be back up and running after this year and a half long stream of catastrophe.

i imagine i will release a deep sigh as that first kiln begins to click and heat up.  This will be the physical proof of my breaking out of this confining suffering and into a new, (glorious!) stage of life.

Indeed, it gets even better: sometime in early August, i will be teaming up with another artist and potter. He is phenomenally gifted and i am truly honored he wants to work with me. This is an endless source of personal delight, but will alter the flow of my life (and creativity) again.  This change could not be more welcome; it will be wonderful to have the studio being used more frequently. i cannot wait to see what art pours out of its doors.

Honestly, i have begun to realize that this recent journey through the darkness has given me wonderful gifts.  Somewhere underneath all the poetry and daydreams, there lies a core of tempered steel.  It can flex and move without breaking. As long as i remember that this resilience resides inside my core, especially during moments of overwhelm and despair, i think i will be able to survive.13490800_10208368963573193_3510292570587586590_o

Also, i needed to prove to myself, and maybe to the source from which my art flows, that i can actually do the hard work of life.  i have been scared and anxious for so long – to have fate force me up into a standing position, to demand such sacrifice from me, was deeply uncomfortable. Yet, i am standing.  i am slowly, haltingly, moving forward as an artist and as a woman.

Running this business for so long, alone, had left my confidence gutted.  i did not have all the skills that i needed to be successful.  This is not a whine, this is simple truth. i have grown too tired of self-recrimination to give myself a hard time over this anymore.  We all have our abilities, our talents, and i cannot keep hating the fact that there are aspects to running a business – especially finances and marketing – to which i am not equal.

Also, perhaps, i have grown a bit wiser – not many people can survive flawlessly alone.  Why would i think that i am any different?  The condition of lonely solitude had gone on for so long, i forgot that i could reach out and ask for help.  Now, i know i can.  There will be hands to catch me.

So, today, i am simply grateful. i had a wonderful dog, i have had all these years where i was married to making art.  My body is tired but functioning; my mind, likewise.  And here i am, once more, handing poetry and art to you in my open hands.

 

 

poem: how many times

How many times
have i prayed,
a monster of need,
tiny hands grasping,
flabby arms flapping,
begging,
disconsolate,
stewing in hopelessness.

Such desperation
is exhausting,
and it did me no good.

My worst nightmares
have begun to come true
and i cannot rise
to the occasion
higher
than i already stand.

The worst
has begun
coming to pass,
but such losses
dance
with contentment.

The dog’s last breaths
taught me
about gratitude,
about finding
loving kindness
even in agony.

With a teacher like that,
what could i do?

Suddenly,
all my praying stopped.

For if i can find
peace,
calm,
stillness
and joy
coexisting
with this pain,
grief
and failure,
then who am i
to pretend
i know
what i need?

7 may 2016

roo

sorrow on four paws

a very short story inspired by a dog’s loss

###

i tried to tell her. i did. My whole body was wild with the horror of knowledge. Something was WRONG. Every time she came home, the smell of her mortality was stronger. i tried to piss it out, shit it out, bark at the cruelty of fate until it relented to my will, cry until my tears washed me clean of this dreadful certainty. None of it worked. None of it. She kept moving away from me. i kept asking her for time to run by her side, begged for her to stay with me. My need for her love escaped me in long thin cries of despair.

She did not listen; she left me howling.

Grief beyond all measure poured from my throat until i could no longer make sound. The sunshine cannot reach me anymore. There is no will in my legs to run and jump. Why can’t i remember her face or scent as clearly as i used to? How could it start to fade so fast? i roosearch the house for evidence of her and bury myself in it. i beg the universe for her to walk through the door. Huddled in a ball, i silently bargain: i will never, ever, misbehave again – even if the rules make no sense to me – just to get her back.

Oh, i would love to hear her yell “Bad Dog” at me, just to prove to myself that she is still lives.

But, she is gone. My ears cling to the memory of her voice, willing it to stay. i bury my nose in her clothes, trying to forget what has happened.

So many humans are talking about my person – but none of them matter. i remain utterly alone. None are her. Some try to comfort me, they rub me and talk to me, but i am without solace. i slump on the floor, shuddering with each breath, exhausted by my mourning. There is no joy within me, no energy left to lift my head or wag my tail.

‘If only she had listened to me!’ i would whimper it out again, if i had any strength, ‘if only she had understood!’ In my heart, i just wanted her here, safe, with me. Oh, how i wanted to run beside her my whole life. i did everything i could to keep what i smelled from becoming real. With each cry, i was begging her not to change, not to move away from me, all while knowing that i would accept any transformation over her death.

With everything i had, i tried to let her know, but i failed. She did not hear me.

And, now, i am alone.

i am no longer a dog – good or bad – but devastation and sorrow on four paws.

poem: on love

The poems lie pressed onto the page,
like leaves,
thin, translucent reminders
of loves
that flowed in my heart,
as deep as the ocean.

i love too easily.IMG_2898

i crave connection so much
that i fling my heart open
to whomever walks by.

The joke used to be
five kind words,
and i would be yours.
As i aged,
my standards got higher,
it took at least seven.

It is a fault, i know,
a dangerous one,
but i cannot seem to change
no matter how badly i am hurt.

The love continues on,
long after self-protection
mandates separation.
It might grow quieter,
its tides combining with new loves
that i have stumbled upon,
but the ache of attachment persists.
The pain of loss can be gutting.

Like an irrepressible optimist
or just a fool,
i keep crawling into my cave,
licking my wounds for awhile,
to reemerge eager,
unable to stop myself from falling.

If i am honest,
i will tell you how exhausted i am,
how i have put my heart back together
so many times
after it was broken to pieces,
that i can do it automatically now,
like a jigsaw puzzle
done one too many times.

The pieces slide back into place
with my eyes closed.

Still, i look across all those poems,
the stillbirths of my affection,
and i wonder if they meant anything
to anyone –
other than providing proof
that my spirit has not died
in this wrenching solitude.

24 july 2014