To The Orbs by Jacqueline Cioffa

 

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Duty, responsibility, obligation and drudge

I run around making false promises lying to myself

I must end this cycle of debt, hush-hush niceties and learn to live it

 

This life

 

Starring me

The oddity full of venom and regret

Regret for harsh words hurled in the face of others living in the continuum

The vortex seasonal cycle of disgust and disappointment

Passing judgment upon judgment and hanging no mirrors in my house

I am unable to see the pretty person’s reflection in glass

Wake up child and move on

Go, get, get on and get the hell out from under

The relentless abuse you swallow the misbegotten forgotten soul

The core is damaged from unwanted vocabulary, an unpleasant learned space and skin scratch uncomfortable place

Molestations and accusations what are these words?

I am innocence tossed in the trash long discarded

I have no choice but to make amends

To say, I’m sorry

Simple, two simple impossible words do not roll off the tongue

I’m sorry for so much wasted time

I’m sorry for doubting my perfectly imperfect being

I’m sorry for forever cursing and cussing the bright light burnt stars

I am after all worthy of love

A life filled with some resemblance of happy

I’m not asking for false pretenses or avoidance

Gut punch sharp zinger pain is necessary for growth

A second act?

To right a whole bunch of fall in formation wrongs

I shudder at the possibility of abundance where olfactory senses delight and grandiose dreams are free from jagged edge worries and boundaries

If I can’t be this plain and simple unruly self, who then?

Some other pleasing needing false misrepresentation?

And so, I make amends

And so, I choose to forgive my horrendously ugly fuckups, mishaps and misfortunes

And so, I will learn from the past and the present

Goodbye, old friend

I’ll meet you in the heavens where the orbs are light dancing and colliding transparent

A buoyancy and freedom of physical weight your human form has never known

The torrential, unrelenting downpours of distraught

The hell you experienced?

Dissipated, forgiven and forgotten in less than an instant

Time is not measured in increments

A myriad of wondrous, cheery, crazy beautiful light bright color streams encapsulate and flash brilliant

Hues and the most superfluous elegant words paint the world you left behind

In the orbs there is only purity and lightness of being

You can’t possibly see it, dream it or feel it 

Human

The weight disappears and floats upwards 

Hope floats forever unbound

 

 

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Do I know with complete certainty there is an afterlife waiting for me?

Of course, I don’t. This I cannot say.

 I want my bubble to be filled with words floating by in a lighthearted stream of consciousness in no particular order.

Being human is hard and excruciating at times, I expel the pain onto the page and wait for cathartic transparency to come back around my way.

To the orbs, I place words with meaning in no varying array. My black and white truths become a grey concept and fade away. The dark cannot shine without the light.

 Family, love, rape, anguish, hope, faith, purpose, death, life, home, heartbreak, birth, joy

The words lose their hold and I am set free

Hands Off

*Trigger Warning*

Hands Off by Jacqueline Cioffa

I am not a patient person, no I am not. I bide my time, and busy myself with stuff. I should be writing, working, playing, struggling, worrying, and I am. I’m also waiting which is never good for an over active mind.

Yet here I am, hurtling forward going nowhere. Jumping ahead to anticipate the future. The past sneaks in, memories I cannot escape. They stick to me like a parasite drawing blood all around and everywhere I turn.

Can a five-year-old understand the meaning of true love?

I believed magic lived inside my daddy’s big, round, jovial belly instead of plain old spaghetti and meatballs. The sparkling lights on the Christmas tree, snowflakes stuck to the window, felt warm and fuzzy. Childlike wonder, tossing and turning the night excitedly awaiting the dawn and Santa. The yellow kick and go with the humongous red bow sat under the tree, brought raised electric hair of emotion. Spring couldn’t come fast enough, I’d be seven by then. A big girl, big enough to hit the streets. The alarm clock with the FM radio and ice cream cake at thirteen made me feel special. I believed that was L.O.V.E.

Seventeen came with an attitude, and a too expensive, fancy pink and white crepe silk al la ‘Dynasty’ dress complete with 80’s shoulder pads.

On to the first, real honest-to-God date. He was ‘hot-shit’ about town a decade older and he liked me. I had to beg, cry and cajole my parents to give in. They caved, eventually. High school was miserable. I left slivers of happy go star dust lucky  behind, the lights flickered and dimmed. When the date with the man-boy got too steamy, I was the scared little girl way out of her comfort zone. I panicked, jumped, slithered, smoothed out the bougie fuchsia floral wrinkles and called home. My daddy was there in minutes, at 2:00 a.m. to scoop me up. No questions asked. It was easy to leave another piece behind.

By twenty I was a smart mouth grownup living on my own. I met a guy who said all the right things, bought roses, sweet treats and diamond rings. He promised to take care of me. I shrugged my shoulders, and believed the hype.

Until he punched me in the ribs full fist, split my lip and blackened my eye. Yeah it was real easy to let go of love, for good. Again. And again.

To discard myself like some frivolous afterthought, no good soiled trash. To give away yet another piece of my damaged soul. To give in, to give up, to give way.

What did I do instead?

I married the tick infested nuisance, to silence the noise despising every single thing about him. Stupid girl, you can’t wiggle your way out of white orchid floral arrangements, church bells, and silk crepe clouded visions against the skin. Too late to turn back.

The only good, kind, sweet, solid, funny man who never judged me walked down the aisle squeezing my trembling hand in his steadied way and whispered, “I love you.”

I let go.

How? Why? When?

I simply let go of his hand. I let go of his hand shaking and unsteady. I let go of his hand and mine entwined, for all the wrong reasons.

I plain forgot. I shut down, shut off leaving a trail of stale rice dreams behind. Crummy crummy, unholy crumbs for the birds. I let go of love, and walked towards compromise. The capacity, belief and desire to give away the sparkly pixie dust parts died with each passing step.

Thirty came and went, the dizzying panicked blur of regret. Poof. Dissipated, time wasted, more and more wasted time. Eyes closed, heart closed, mind closed, brick walls crushing down heavy on my iron clad lung and cement filled suffocation.

Of course I made feeble, wobbly attempts to come and go.

Weak, strong, strong, weak, nauseating and top spinning heartbroken. Time clouded by shrouded veil, dense fog illusion, and stowed away dollhouse dreams. Denial, muddied, muddled, shredded eight foot faded ivory train-wreck and vows long forgotten.

Pummel my face as hard as you can, I don’t care. The wet, warm blood feels warm and soothing dribbling down my chin and tastes oh so sweet, so much better than numb nothing.

I am alive and bleeding crimson red.

 

I can no longer want, ask, believe nor care about little girl dreams. I must pull up my big girl boy shorts and act like a man. The five dollar frivolous, white horse prince saviors, and romantic cowboy brass buckles, burr boot straps dead and buried inside little house on the prairie garish fantasies.

Ride along, move along, mosey along this is my dime store fantasy flick. I have no idle minutes left for regret, I’m riding shotgun.

Who needs some hot-shot, horseshoe, horse-shit, five o’clock stubble smooth talker on a Harley to whisk you away? Take the keys, turn the ignition, and drive. Don’t look back, don’t look over you shoulder, don’t ask and don’t give yourself away. Keep self-esteem in check, and your holy womanhood held high. Little girls, do not give your heart away. Keep it, share it, love it, dance around and around in twirly girly pretty sparkly shimmery circles. Your heart is not a bargain basement sale, it’s gold glitter and swirls of magic. The key to your heart should be kept close and cherished inside your tiny, innocent, girlie hands and extended, graceful feminine forever curious fingers. The lines and maps etched on your palms are forever yours to reach further, hold tighter and aim higher. The hands, funny face little one are yours to reach for the heavens, feel the tickle from a blade of grass, and massage away the rough, coarse granite experiences and, to understand.

To love with your fingers outstretched and wipe the tears from your eyes.

Your fragile, pretty girl pink hands were never meant to cover your face and hide, in shame.

There is something else, something better, something bigger, something precious.
There is something tangible to hold onto when you close your eyes and dare to dream.
There is something mysterious pulsating inside, that never lies.

Do not ever forget how safe the world felt holding the right, kind gentleman’s hand. And do not ever let go of the love.

Don’t forget to love the hands attached to the arms and a direct line to your heart. Love comes in many beguiling and bewitching forms, unloved is something different, something not whole.

Sometimes love is a jovial round belly filled with spaghetti and meatballs. Others, it’s quieting, stoic, stubborn, and unwavering. A mother’s illogical love that does not give up on you, and your trembling hands. Maybe, it lives inside the gasp of an unexpected hiccup or giggle, or the perfect timing of a handwritten note from a friend in the post with three simple words imbibed, thinking of you.

Sometimes, it’s finding your way home.

Sometimes it’s finding your way back home.

And sometimes it’s finding your own way back home.

To love.

That five-year old was wise.

She understood she held the key in her hands, never too tight and always close to her heart.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” – Oscar Wilde

Drowning Above Water

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Turbulent waters soothe the gypsy, calming and evoking blue myth mystery. The maudlin, tumultuous sea, her wishing wells of fragile glass trinkets, forgotten treasure, and pools of sunken love, long discarded. The ocean and her black ink mystery whisper in tongue, tales only I can decipher. The beach house perched precariously on a bluff, is blurred and out of focus. Drifting farther and farther from reach, I am flailing and kicking. I scream sea bubbles trying desperately not to be pulled under. My weary eyes close, muscles go limp, as I surrender to the serene beauty. I am weightless. Drowning, I am finally free to listen to the sounds of quiet. Chimes dance and sway in the wind, calling me home. I know this place; I have been here before. She beckons. I am not unready, the flesh is not willing. I know I cannot stay here in the darkest, sublime solitude corners of the mind. With sea legs unsteady, I kick hard, resolute. I must embrace the riptides of imagination inside the forbidden, profound Mariana Trench depths of the mind I cannot fully comprehend. The sea is bound blue, white and grey urchin green, hauntingly transparent, and overly persistent.

I must stay, here, for now. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Drowning above water.

 

 

True gray with primary colors whirling all around

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I wasn’t going to write a sappy. I wasn’t. But, I jumped. 

My father was and always will be the great love of my life. It’s been seven years, the 5th of May. I know the date I was there beside him. My mom, too. I can’t speak for my brothers, nieces or anyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He taught me everything I know about kindness, loyalty, humor, respect, family and faith. His faith was unnerving, never wavering for one second. I was a hellion, a wild child and my dad never judged. He watched and waited to pick up the pieces. There are too many stories. One I remember vividly. I was 18, spoiled brat, came home drunk, puking my guts out. I don’t even drink anymore. My father cleaned me up, put me to bed and slept on the floor beside me. I can still feel him near, even if I can’t see him.

“Take care of your mother, be a good girl. I love you with my whole heart.”

Okay dad, I’ll try. Although I’m not sure I’m doing a bang up job. Her and I, we fight. Argue. A lot. Rarely agree on anything. I’d like to wring her neck. This woman, the person I call mom I aim to please. She wanted a cordless vacuum for Mother’s Day, not a fancy car, Dior or diamonds. Something useful with a purpose. That’s all. I’d be so lucky and well-adjusted to be more like her. The original, fearless warrior.

I’ve experienced the love of a father like mine, and a mother. Together, they made our family complete. Wherever you are Choff, I hope you’re winning and smirking that devilish grin. The heavens and the orbs are in your favor. It’s your time.

I have to go right on living. It’s rudimentary. Five-year old mathematics, numbers you live a whole life by.

I think they stink. Crap odds. I have to stay anyway, a while longer. I guess. The canvas resets to a stark sterile dove white, a color choice off a paint swatch. The happy, unhappy complicated family colors muted and wiped clean with the stroke of a paint brush. Obliterated by a sixty dollar gallon of paint.

I close my eyes and trust I will see them, the shade memories. I trust they were indeed real, trust they will remain to guide and comfort the remaining journey.

Putrid acid green, Pepto-Bismol pink, sherbet orange and garish gold marble swirls alive in the brain.

Life lived in increments and numbers. The numbers they never lie.

I hang crystal prisms in the bedroom window to capture the sunbeams washing over my face, remembering the weight and light of a kind of pure and selfless love.

It wasn’t perfect, I’m not deluded I know that.

Life was solid, a true gray with primary colors whirling all around.

And that, you can build upon.

Six feet of dock stretches out over a flat, refreshing cool body of water with no threat of jagged rocks, seaweed, or prey absolutely nothing that could hurt you.

With each breath we count, constantly weighing the risks, odds and numbers.

Me, I love to swim. I need to remember that more often.

Inside every jump right before you hit the water lives the dream and infinite possibility.

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Sunburst Orange Safety

                                 photo 1                                             Right here I’ve been. Five years, or six? I lost track. From this chair. In this room. I recover, over and over. I type days and days, novelties. My view, the intimate, safe space where I am free. To be. The color I am. Black circular with the pinpoint hole starving for the light. Sick, oh yeah. I have been that. Not today. Today I am less unwell. I am sunburst orange,  slightly out of focus. The sun is out. Time to teak the lounge chairs. Put away summer season. This room I love, this space can wait.