Rebuilding Becomes Impossible: When the Love of Your Life Becomes ‘Loved’

Heavy snowbanks sweat summer sad
Eroding time melted down
From what was once solid, unsoiled promise.
Upcoming birthdays, international travel,
Good health,
Everything is very “fine”
Except for the sludge of thin hairs
Breaking under comb’s teeth
Clogging up perception, and vision of
A possible, melded union between us.

I’m told I don’t value myself quite enough,
That I struggle with verbal articulation of
And advocacy for what I feel
Are reasonable expectations
And then consequently simmer down
To decrepit despair
Flailing in tornado self blame gales
To wilt in mimed silence
While mimicking real life
When I feel disappointed and frustrated
That my needs aren’t getting met or if
The behavior of another is askew.

There is truth in this.

“I care about you and so it’s hard
To watch you continue to suffer like this,”
Someone remarks as she hugs me
With the tender care
Found only among old friends as we
Sit and chat over lukewarm mochas.

“How long will you let this go on?
You seem so stuck. Life is so short.
You need to live!”

Yes. Maybe, there comes a point
Where after so much buckling pain,
Pointed talks circling, going brick wall
Nowhere that there is nothing
Constructive left to say to someone else
About how things worn and frayed
Might be newly redesigned and stitched up
To rebuild a stable, peaceful life together,
Chasms feel and thus become unbridgeable.
I reach across the blackness
Only to feel cold air rush,
A bleak nothing void.

Soft, small emotional turning away
Become sharper, larger moves
Accompanied by an,
“Oh, Well, I truly tried my best,” shrug
Shrouded by exhausted, sleepless,
Knuckle cracking nights.

Desire fades a colorless death because
I know in my heart,
I truly gave you my best shot.
I loved way beyond what I ever knew
To be in tune with your emotions
To please
To inspire
To share and
To fully trust you (until I didn’t)
And yet was unsuccessful anyway.

The will to forge ahead
Down molded hallways
An interest in us executing a
“Clean” break created by separate traveling
Grows within me,
Makes some rational sense.

Even so, this ending
Isn’t going to feature
Parking lot yelling tear-downs or
Wicked, raised voiced arguments
(That I learned you rather
Excel in from ample, prior practice)
Lacerated by bowls thrown,
Shattering into irreparable shards,
Domestic violence,
The police arriving and a subsequent arrest,
Or anything remotely close or in between.

You’ve already starred in those ugly roles
In past lives
And I have no interest or intention
In stretching up that canvas
To flourish a piece that evokes any of
Those confrontational, bridge burning hues,
No, not for me, not with me.

Instead, my wish is for us both
To, in fact, go gently into that good night
Of our relationship–
To appreciate the masterpiece in progress
We were making but
Couldn’t quite finish
And love the memories adding up the total
Of a true love we did accomplish.

Not everyone even gets a glint
Of the bright, shiny experience we had.

Not everyone does
Not everyone can.

I plan only to smile with gratitude
When I think of you–
Holding me while
Encouraging and challenging me
To be my best, most healthy
Strong self.
You were a kind of supreme,
Dented super hero to me
Who comprised my world, once
And I loved you so much, scars and all,
The feeling almost hurt.
I was going to be with and take care of you
Until you died.
Yes, I was.

Armed with crystal recall,
I will always love you, actually,
Even with drastically diminished
Or nonexistent contact
Because I don’t easily let go of people
In my mind
Who I’ve let into my skittish heart
And have been special to me.

Like it or not,
You will never be totally rid of me
Because a part of me will remain
Forever tied to you.

What do you think of that?


Smooth Transitions into Full Fledged Adulthood

A positive, flip side exists
In most life situations and outcomes
If we can just breathe
With a soft focus to be able to
Hear that gentle optimistic ring
Amid self doubt din
Amplified by the cacophony
Inspired by others.

“Why would you ever buy
A 2 bedroom duplex?
A single family house is
Much more desirable and
Retains way more resale value,”

Certain members of my family
Pronounced to us,
Still in our 20s back then
And to the contrary,

Feeling very lucky for
Having found a way to
Just barely wriggle into
A historic 1925
Beautiful brick dwelling a
Block and a half away from
The city’s premier park
Complete with a pool inside
A vibrant rec center surrounded by
A 2.5 mile dirt running path
Shaded by stately trees.

Public transportation to places
Where I, a non-driver, needed to go
Was also strong there
In a city with
Varying service levels.

Residential housing prices
Skyrocketing through a
Ridiculous dollar roof,
I found that yes, in retrospect,
Our duplex has not, in fact
Appreciated at quite the rate
That 3 bedroom, 2 bath (and larger)
Single family homes around us have.

So there has been truth in
What people said 17 years ago,
But they have not been
Wholly correct either.

Charming and now equipped with
A renovated, high end kitchen,
New windows, a patio (and more)
And located in what is
One of the most
Sought after neighborhoods,
The house still has astronomical
Projected resale value
For its mere 1100 square feet.

More meaningful than its high
Dollar resale value, however,
The house is significant
Because this is where
The children grew up in
Relatives peace and safety.

My son was born there.
We blew bubbles on the uneven
Old sidewalks, walked strollers,
Then rode bikes and skateboards
To the park’s playgrounds,
Took swim and tumbling at
The Rec center, which we could
Easily walk to
As well as learned to play
Basketball and the beginnings
Of lacrosse through city programs.

Because of our location, the kids
Were able to attend one of
The best public elementary schools
Two blocks away
Which I could bring them to on foot.
We lacked any need
To ask for help with rides
To and from school, at least.

Then later, the park became the
Central point for half marathon and
Multi sport training with
Considerable run and swim mileage
Possible there, which the kids,
As older teens, have done with me,
At least partly.

From a real estate perspective,
Could we have enjoyed life any more?

Additional closets, another bedroom,
One more bath and more space
To hang out with friends
Would have been more comfortable,

But careers didn’t necessarily
Take the starlit,
Smooth trajectory expected for
Graduates of certain
World-renowned institutions.

Wringing my hands for years
Over this matter
While eating candy bar
After junky sugar sweet
After another during solitary
Late evening hours,
I changed.
I had to.

The topic has become dead to me
And does not need further
Examination here.
What was and is, is.
I gave up on hitching
My dreams to anyone else’s
Future potential.

We had bought this small place
To be strapped down with only
The mortgage we could afford
At the time.
Good thing.

Anyway, no amount of
Fledging careers or family comments
Laced with negative estimations,
Real financial snags or
Marital difficulties encountered
Along the house’s arc in our lives
Can take away from the

Magic of children
Celebrating birthdays and
Milestones here,
Of personal achievements and
Evolution, of cooking and
Sharing food and wine
With friends and family,
Of making the best of,
Though stained and dented,
What was solid and good
About this place,
About my life.

Purpose and Meaning—The Evolving Nature of Parenting

Sitting alone in a house
Overflowing with quiet emptiness
And muted music of
Prolonged busy schedules of
People coming and going,

I hold my favorite wine glass
Containing what could only be
Described as a “mocktail” and
Ponder meaning in my life
Now that the kids,
Older teens now
Are so grown up.

I didn’t used to wonder much.
When the kids pattered into my bed
5:30 am on Saturday,
I got up with the sun,
Made blueberry pancakes and
Mixed together a flour and water goop
To serve as glue for collage making
With recycled buttons, yarn,
Magazines, tin foil and whatever else
I had on hand and had saved

Later that day, we’d head to
The Children’s Museum or
Public library to attend
A seasonal program complete with
Story time, light snacks and
A craft to make and take home.
Captivated by puppet show characters
And music, or by a clown
Demonstrating how she put on
Her makeup,
Sometimes I wasn’t sure
Who had more fun, me or them!

After a crock pot dinner
Noteworthy for its bland
But nutritious fare
The kids might get a bath
Before I read and sang to them
While tucking them into bed.

While I lived a rather stark,
Spartan existence
Brimming with long days
Ending in mismatched adult solitude,
I knew what my purpose
On the planet was—
To try to give my children
The most enriching,
Interesting experiences I could,
Every day, with me
Heavily involved in their lives
With enthusiastic focus
And high energy joy.

A master at searching and finding
Free artistic and cultural
Kid-friendly activities,
I believe I accomplished those goals
Most of the time and
Feel satisfied with and
Fulfilled by my parenting
Of younger kids.

I would not trade
Those lonely, financially strapped
Days filled with giggles,
So many firsts and
A few tears along the way
For the world!

Now, as the kids tower over me
At 16 and 18,
I smile inside at a job well done
Though perhaps never quite finished
While contemplating my next moves…

Playful: Continuing to Write Without the Daily Word Prompt

Shelby's Starlit Crossing

Here and now, naked
without the Daily Word Prompt
To spur me on,
I twist in the wind—
Lost after I became found
In a writing discipline
Implemented only 2 years ago

A process that ended up
Watering my parched soul
With long overdue expression
By providing avenues for
Long held, vivid memory
And impression to take root
And live on
In written wisps of dreams,

Feeding my malnourished brain with
Succulent nutrients contained in
Mental, personal flexing
To the max.

Initially, participating
In outlining my insides
Felt intimidating.
I procrastinated and had difficulty
Writing my first post.
To get myself started at all,
I pushed myself to pen
100 word scribblings,
No more, no less
About just about anything—
A playful experiment
That seemed doable.
Just try.
Quit, by all means,
If you hate the process,
After awhile, I told myself.

Not so.

In doing this, I found

View original post 347 more words

Playful: Continuing to Write Without the Daily Word Prompt

Here and now, naked
without the Daily Word Prompt
To spur me on,
I twist in the wind—
Lost after I became found
In a writing discipline
Implemented only 2 years ago

A process that ended up
Watering my parched soul
With long overdue expression
By providing avenues for
Long held, vivid memory
And impression to take root
And live on
In written wisps of dreams,

Feeding my malnourished brain with
Succulent nutrients contained in
Mental, personal flexing
To the max.

Initially, participating
In outlining my insides
Felt intimidating.
I procrastinated and had difficulty
Writing my first post.
To get myself started at all,
I pushed myself to pen
100 word scribblings,
No more, no less
About just about anything—
A playful experiment
That seemed doable.
Just try.
Quit, by all means,
If you hate the process,
After awhile, I told myself.

Not so.

In doing this, I found
And harnessed an ability
To capture snippets of observation
And commentary to expose life
In crafted pieces that were
Meaningful to me and even to
A small group of unexpected others.

As early morning and later evening
Thought corralling
Became part of my lifestyle,
My pieces (for better or worse)
Morphed into longer stretches.
They become a mental tool
To name and streamline
The tangle of emotions wadded up
In nests of jumbled angst
But also vehicles through which
To express joy and gratitude.

Hashing through writing prompts
Became a way for me
To clarify,
And organize
My emotional and analytical weather
Which also encouraged me to goal set
For short and long term outcomes
And ways of being.

Establishing a wide readership
Was never a priority
Or even a desire of mine.
Even so, the implied audience that
Linking my work into the
Community Pool provided
Had appeal.

This public aspect
(Different from solitary journal
Keeping where you know
What you say will never see daylight)

Challenged me to hone
And pare down my word choice,
To construct the most precise,
Illustrative imagery and
To develop and bring emotional tenor
Up to the fullest hilt I could
To an intentioned degree
I would not otherwise have done
Without the notion of readership.

Writing prompts and their
Corresponding links defunct,
What now…
Mourn their death and
Emotionally whither inside
As I become blotted out,
Erased in undefined voiceless
Silence once again?

I don’t think so.

Somehow, this writing process
Has snowball rolled and
Has become too much a part of
My life’s topography to stop now.

Where will I find an audience
Willing and patient enough
To slough through brambled roads
With me?

I admit, I don’t know.
I’m unable to see a solution
At this moment.

Nevertheless, I’m going to
Continue my momentum
Even if the pace and inspiration
Feel like a sprained, three-legged
Hobble right now, because I figure
Something will come of this.

After all,
Writing within a dilapidated void
Is better than not writing at all
While feeling muted and
Sorry for myself.

Broken Promises—A Revamp Of Life Plans…

Fingers of aging
Sidle up on all of us
Bone by bone,
Wrinkle by wrinkle,
Ache by ache
While we are busy
Making other plans—
Working, working out,
Applauding our children’s
Accomplishments as well as
Developing our own personal goals,
Enjoying food and drink,
A ripening of perspective, hopefully,
And also inevitably, of body.

Along the way, I’ve seen
Many facets and methods people employ
To age with varying degrees
Of beauty and grace.
There’s no telling, health-wise,
What fortune awaits any of us.

Even so,
Part of getting through this all
Is how we deal with declining
Physical and mental capabilities.

Some people’s maturity unfolds
Like a hand painted paper fan,
Slowly revealing wonder and
A quiet splendor to others
As they maintain active engagement
In their community events, culture
And their own hobbies.

Even while illness
Wracks their internal organs
Leaving them impaired, feeling poorly
And experiencing pain,
They are able to uphold inspiring,
Almost ridiculous optimism
And interest in life.

Some of these folks turn out to be
Role models you very much admire, and
Want to emulate as you age.
These are the people you
End up missing the most
When they leave this world.

Others may have lived
Healthfully and have had a life
Filled with success and lavishness
But somehow still manage to
Dry up into sour, frowning prunes
Who become even more rigid
Within their small Grinch hearts
As they complain that no one
Wants to visit them,
Blame others for their troubles
And proceed in sickness and in
Amazing physical health
Without an ounce of gratitude and
Self reflection or evolution.

You may be obligated to and
Truly do love some of these folks
The most, but find that
The reality of their thorny presence
And negative proclivities can be
A serious emotional drag downwards
Making you feel guilty in your desire
To get away from them
As fast as possible but
More importantly, make you aware of
The drawbacks of continuing to
Practice key, less constructive
Habits in ways of being
That you yourself
Also tend to espouse.

Others, still, appear to
Take their mortality “hard”
Because of their own high
Expectations for themselves to
Look and feel forever young.

Even though so blessed with a
Leisurely existence filled with
Ample time and money for
Extensive travel,
A life free of any dicey
Professional politics and angling,
They falter.

There is a crumpling,
A flailing about due to
An insistence to stay afloat
Within the exact same mode of
Active lifestyle they once had
When that may no longer be possible—
Disappointment that is
Painful to observe
Impossible for someone else
To curtail.

They cling to the idea that their
Bodies must stay the same
Though they are weaker, less virile
And losing passion as they grow
Increasingly fragile and prone to
Body injury, fatigue and to
Catching and keeping colds and
Infections that persist for months.

Disheartened and focusing on
What’s broken,
They emotionally curl up into
A fetal position
To almost start dying…(?)
Instead of still (gingerly)
Grabbing life by the horns
In a modified, more age
And health accommodating fashion.

I admit.
I understand these choices the least
And have resolve to live out
Aging and even sickness
Differently, if I’m so lucky.

Easy for me to say I realize—
Caught up in spellbinding
Physical twists to sport excellent,
Robust physiology to be in
The best shape of my life
(As far as I currently know—a
Status that could instantly change
With an upcoming test result)

Though not part of my own upbringing,
I feel gratitude every day
That my body remains ready and
Willing to undertake new challenges.

Stay on consistent physical track
Regardless of your emotional state.
Keep safe, well and
Avoid injury at all costs

Are my mottos
Even if that requires dropping
Expectations down several notches,
Adjusting intensity, speed,
Length or distance—

Make good health happen
As much as I can control.
I will have to figure out
How to make my mottos still hold true
Even if devastation turns out that
I am, in fact, no longer healthy.


Infected Relationships in Life—Power and Intention to Parent Differently

May 29, Tuesday.
Visiting family almost a week now—
Yes, we are a close one—
Yet, I also can’t get away
Fast enough.

The sun—
Life bringing, intoxicating
Also has a brutality
In its range, reach and strength
Within desert landscapes.
Too much causes hurtful consequences,
Sickness, a weakening.

I have to remove myself
From that force
To protect myself
To be able to grow
In my own right.

The negativity and bad habits
Within families can be
Such a drag to be around
So much so that I could die,
Wither away into nothing
Like I feel (irrationally)
They want me to do, at times,
But nah, I don’t think so!

Trying to become well and
Move away and beyond
The most potently poisoned and
Infected relationships in life,
I find I have a lot less tolerance
For rotten behaviors and
Unnecessarily rude comments,
No matter where they originate.

This does, in fact, represent
A positive personal change.
They just don’t know it and
Even if they did,
They wouldn’t understand or agree.
So be the way of things.

I want different for my own kids.
As a parent, I strive every day
To provide a very different
Home environment for the kids.
For the most part,
I believe I’ve been
Largely successful even if
I may be weaker in other areas
Than my own parents.
I’d rather have happy,
Well adjusted children than
Financially successful ones,
If I had to choose.

So although of course I will be back,
I’ve had my fill of family
For the time being.

Wheels take me home
12 hours time
Back to Colorado where I belong,
Not here.


Guilty—Family Dynamics: Sustenance and Wither

Prime rib sliced from
A carving station flanked by
Ramekins of steaming aus jus,
Baskets of fluffy white rolls,
Creamy butter, mashed potatoes,
Field greens, crispy salmon
And plump, icy shrimp
Washed down with sparkling Pellegrino
Fill my plate and cup
During this special, end of the month
All you can eat dinner
At the club tonight.

Early, we get one of the best tables
In the dining room which
Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Architectural company designed,
Along with a marvelous view.

Visiting parents during their
50th wedding anniversary weekend,
This should be a happy,
Celebratory meal, right?

Somehow the dynamic my parents create
Doesn’t quite pan out so jolly
And instead, leaves me feeling
A starving and withered
Emptiness inside.

“Fifty years is a long, long time
To be with the same man or woman,”
My mother says
In a way that feels more acidic
Than contemplative or grateful
For the accomplishment.

“So what are you trying to express—
That you’re tired of me and
That the years haven’t been good?”,
My dad prods and provokes
When really, my mother’s comment
Should be left unattended
To die a quick, anonymous death.

Drinking a bit,
Now unusual (thank goodness)
My mother’s response reveals
The uglier half-turn underside
Of alcohol’s influence.

“Some of it good, some not,”
She says without smiling or
An ounce of warm kindness,
At least as far as
My second generation self
Can discern.

A heavy silence descends
As me and my kids squirm at the table
For the awkward brutality
This meanness engenders.

Recovering, my dad then continues
To perpetuate this arc
Now tinged with asshole ugly notes
By mentioning how positive it is
That nonalcoholic sparkling water
Satisfies my taste for
A special drink (very much so)
Since like my mother,
I have difficulty controlling
My drinking and have gotten
So drunk before.

“I’ve seen it,” he says,
Smiling to collude and consort
With my older teen kids,
Who glance uncomfortably, first
At each other and then at me,
Their own mother, for
Clues and cues.

Determined to be undefensive,
I shrug, say nothing and
Remain calm inside since
This is actually true,
When I was about 16, that’s it.
Seems ridiculous to bring
That one-time event up now.
Anyway, I know I can clarify
This fact to the kids later.

One never knows how much time
Exists with people on this planet.

One day, my parents—
Essential key links my heritage—
Won’t be available
To reinforce me, soothe me,
Hold me up and help me
Get through this life with
A sense of identity, a
Healthy sense of entitlement
And self advocacy backed by
Their living practices that
Many things are possible
If you work hard enough—
A central vein running through
So many successful, first generation
Immigrant narratives.

One day I will be lost
And lacking this way.
I know this.

So, while I eagerly await
For this trip’s end
So I can get home to begin
Fostering my own weak wellness,

I try to appreciate
The depth of their goodness
As parents to me and as people
(For this is true also)
And feel guilty
When, within fragments, I falter
And really, really don’t.


Bucking Assumptions that Therapy Is A Waste of Time

Mornings away from home
My body grows stiff
Hours spent sitting the car
A tailbone crunch.

Away, in a new environment,
In this paused state of mind
Where decision stands still,
I wonder how to keep going
Brandishing middle age now
Within a life that is
Inspired, safe and filled
With people I care about.

I plan to keep those
Who are good for me, close,
And those who offer
Less positive influences
At a distance, or banished,
If necessary, for my mental health

And me, I plan to know and be able to
Determine the difference…

Momentary paralysis
Ends need meeting.
Time quality needs altering,
A revamping.
I’ll always be me, I suppose,
Weaker with distrust,
Strong with judgement, determination
And feelings of sheer terror
That the sky is indeed falling—
Feelings most potent at night.

But still.
Maybe the time has come
To hoist myself up into
A new realm of wellness
A fairy tale revision—
Quick, strike while the iron is hot,

Maybe I can finally start to
Let down my heavily armed
Personal and cultural guard
Which leans towards the
Assumption that therapy
Is for “undesirable, deranged people”
To open my arms to cognitive
Behavioral therapy—
Something I’ve been utterly
Closed off to using, previously.

Maybe there is something good
Waiting for me inside those sessions—

Structured strategies that
Hone in on how
To be the best person I can be,
Regardless of whether
Key romance pans out,
Language alterations to shift
Internal dialogue towards
Focusing on forging ahead by
Creating a life I want—

Maybe working with someone
Can help me foster a life
Filled with stronger,
More consistent ability
To fashion constructive solutions
For what lies ahead—
Things I can influence
Versus relentless rumination
Inside what is long over
And done with and thus is
An unchangeable past.

Life long ingrained habits
Encourage me to so often
Allocate endless useless energy
To recreating and reinforcing
Deep, directionless fury.

I want to harness the strengths
I do have to enable my days
and nights, in particular,
To look and feel vastly different
And I may need professional
Nudging to get me there.

Maybe not…

Maybe sessions will prove
Pointless (again) with me struggling
To gain anything from hour
Appointments except a wonder
As to why I even
Made the “effort”.

Any meager past attempts
Involved me dodging the person’s
Questions while playing mental games
To predetermine a result
Filled with pure nothing.

My frame of mind may be
More ripe now to be able to
Accept counseling help.
Wanting a change in
My ways of being,
I feel more motivated to try
To consider and then communicate
What I am seeking from
A trained person.

Hopefully I can find the
Right person who can reach me.

All of this—I won’t know for sure
Unless I finally
Make an appointment and
Embark on a journey to
Finally, truly try…


Disappear—Ocean Waves of Emotion Cresting and Foaming

The sun shines
On episodes of my life
That include travel,
True love and superb health
Backed by strong family ties,
Lifelong privilege reinforced
By continuing access
To opportunity.

And yet
Nights remain my enemy
During which I find ways
To allow sorrow’s tendrils
To creep up and through me
Twisting memory into
Anguished pulp
Demolished hope
And anger, yes,
Jagged shards with
Razor sharp interpretations
That slash through perception
Spanning time and place.

I want to have a simple,
Straight forward, clean plate
That is without too many
Rushed minutes gulped down
In nervous haste
Rippling denial, and other
Ruins of emotion I feel would
Fail to serve any useful purpose
By unpacking here and now.

Instead, I want to let this
Mental excoriation pass
For the ephemeral tsunami
Drowning that this is.

I will successfully manage this by
Knowing about ends, by
Letting the gaping hole close
On its own to
Disappear into insignificance.

Pampered with enough luxury
Of space in my life and
Feeling entitled to
Seek and find happiness,
I want more for myself.

I know I need to get back to
A more wondrous position of
Looking forward to and
Appreciating light lifts
Life offers by
Inhaling and internalizing gratitude
So available and cost-free
Yet so elusive and distracted by
Product placements,
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Sessions, excessive eating
And drinking experiences,
Expensive vacations—
As if those things
Will force gratitude
And soft new insight
To worm its way inside
The paucity of our souls.

They won’t.

I want to feel thankful
to be alive and whole again.
I’ve touched that exuberance before—
To glimpse well adjusted euphoria.
And, having so much in life,
I know I ought to already be there

But I’m not.

Ocean waves cresting and
Then foaming up
On relentless shores.