Pruning Mad

I thought the words and thoughts escaped me, but the mind is perpetual movement and the physical change of space a welcome opportunity. Granted it’s a backwards return to an old familiar. A place filled with deep sorrow, craziness and rerun memories. It’s a half empty house that holds a far away happy and lost together times and sparse family. I’ll take it. It suits me better than isolation and the sad exhausted faces in the big city.

We are a people in search of a nation. We lost our tribe, our values, and our rhythm. I don’t want to be reminded of the labels stamped on our backs. I don’t care about the tube and the lies, the affairs and the misguided wannabe celebrity. I want authentic personality. I want Chagall and his torture and color and art. I want to be moved and inspired by individuality. Call me crazy. He makes me to want to walk away from the glamourous life. I am convinced I will not find my way out of the dark if I am not prepared to live for a time in the empty. I’ll squirm and slither, giving in to a forgotten town where nothing happens. It’s a stand still place where nature is your best bet for entertainment.

I say bring it on motherfuckers. Throw me more shit to swallow, give me the pills, I’ll take the drugs, hand me the rage and I’ll run with it. I’ll make a goddamn mish mashed masterpiece. I will not hurl things, I will shout through my fingers. This place, this twirling planet is unfit. Burn it, drown us, and wipe it out. Eradicate the greed, me included, the ego-driven and self-obsessed. Forgo the fast and over processed. It’s a bullshit new millennium.

I am going simple until something shifts.

I bury my distaste in the physical task of cutting back the hedges. Every whack of the saw loosens my muscles and frees my thinking. I trim the grass until the sordid is no longer. I work determined and with purpose, like my ancestors.

I want to dirty my knees and bury the hatchet. I will plant flowers and feel the dead working beside me. Today I will shed no tears, I will not cry out in despair. I will grit my teeth. I will find projects that need doing and complete them. I will listen to the wind and wait. I will thank the sun that I’m still here. There must be a bigger reason.

The repetition and tradition quiets the squalls and rough seas rolling around in my head. What is my purpose? Will I lead a life with meaning? Why doesn’t God hear me? Where are the motherfucking signs? What am I supposed to do? Will I survive these worst of times? Do I even want to?

I sit outside on this unusually balmy November afternoon shrugging my shoulders. I wonder if anyone out there feels this pain and doubt with me? I worry where have my dead gone and question why can’t I go to with them? Was there ever a point to the borrowed minutes and sweet nothings?

Turning the corner is a matter of opinion. I never made that choice. Everyone leave me the fuck alone please until I find what’s waiting. I want no part of this fast paced, over stimulating, hole- hollow, simply filling the borrowed time mad existence.

excerpt from THE RED BENCH

Spin Cycle

 

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I am forced to sit in the unpleasant, unfamiliar silence and hear myself calling. “Lady, so pleased to meet you. Take a load off. You’ve been running so long. Have the patience and fortitude to be still and walk away from an outdated life. Have the courage to know better. It has been such a long while since you’ve been home.

Passo dopo Passo

Passo dopo Passo

A photo by Andrew Branch. unsplash.com/photos/Wlm53j4te78

 

I cut the grass. Big whoop dee do. To some this might seem trivial, like why the hell is grass between her toes so important? Grass between my toes, in my teeth is of the outmost importance because it means I cared enough to push myself, and get off my ass. Out of my comfort zone. Some would say shake it off, the depression, but you can’t shake off a sadness that sits inside you making it hard to pull on your sneaks, and simply walk outdoors. To push when you mostly want to hide, tricking yourself into believing you might be getting better. And, you just might. Maybe, with the right combination of meds which is tricky business. Just maybe it’s because those blades of grass inside your sneaks, clinging to your socks and tickling your toes feels like an accomplishment. You get out of your head, and look up at the clear, baby blue powder puff sky noticing the clematis and smelling the intoxicating aroma of peonies in full bloom, planted lovingly seasons past. Someone asked if I was bed ridden? Should’ve I have been? I could have, but I didn’t. I’m moving slower than usual, writing much slower than usual, thinking at a snail slow pace. How can I be the same me but so different? No matter how bad my muscles ache or my shoulders tense, I keep moving. I’m wondering too, how much time do others spend doing things they don’t want because it hurts, is trivial, or seems menial? Like when not just your muscles ache but your skull and heartbeat hurt heavy too. Fresh cut grass smells like clean, green living, cool and inviting, not sad. No, not sad at all. I’m not sad for a beat, and that beat means mulched grass will grow back stronger, healthier with each passo dopo passo. That freshly cut grass smells just like heaven. Maybe I’m growing stronger too, standing taller and more resolute. The joyful, satisfactory memory of a job well done and sunburst yellow sunshine’s warmth, buried deep inside the muscle. I plop down grass stains and all. I lie on my back and look up at the wide-open ceiling, cracking the slightest smile. Hope lives. Hope is alive and well, grasshopper.

Fashion is Fickle

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FASHION IS FICKLE

When did we become a society of images scrolling past on someone’s smartphone? It’s nonsensical, comical and yet. Modeling was my life for two decades. I never felt entitled, prettier, skinnier or better than the next girl. In fact, I always felt a little less than. Maybe if I was thinner, smarter, or a skilled marketer I’d be a smarter brand, book better caliber jobs even though at the height of my career I was working for Vogue. I never let myself enjoy modeling. I took the lifestyles of the rich and famous for granted. Wait, before you crucify or criticize me. I understood the privileges, perks, and dollars being thrown my way. I understand how truly lucky I was.

I come from everyday middle class parents, nothing more than average but oh so much more beautiful than any pretty face I’ve known. Love, honor and respect mean more than some fucking photograph that would eventually crinkle and fade. My BFF who was a model too, said to me the other day, “I wish we had made more money.” Yeah, me too sometimes. Although money won’t solve any of my problems today. It’s all such a cliché. Small town girl leaves for the big city and makes it big. Well, you tell me what the fuck is big? How about doing something that requires brains, or better yet compassion? You’re not supposed to regret the past, or even look back, but I have a trunk full of old images staring back at me. I was a child who had no idea how lucky she was, traveling the globe, working one day a week making the same money it took others months and months to earn. A young girl who got caught up in the fickle that is fashion. It’s funny, I never thought it would end, and like most things that end abruptly and ruthlessly, I would find myself job-less and less, going through my savings in lightning speed. When you live in New York, and have to pay hefty rent money goes fast and furious. I always find it sad and a bit curious, when I post a modeling picture from a hundred years ago and they get way more likes than my serious writing pieces.

Maybe the world wants and needs to be entertained by unavoidable celebrities and Reality TV, to see pretty things because it is in fact, so brutally unfair and fucked up. Maybe. I loved modeling for a couple reasons, despite the plastic ones. My BFFs are the same beautiful women and ex-models I met when I was 19. They are, like me, normal and no longer immersed in the world of fashion. I got to visit, and actually live in cities I only dreamed of seeing, or watched on The Travel Channel. That was cool; to immerse yourself in a culture that was completely different than anything you’d ever known or called home. To eat cuisines you could barely pronounce. To try and decipher languages that sounded like gobbly gook. I discovered something along the way; people are pretty much the same. There are cool cats, interesting characters and funny humans across the globe. There are also beautiful assholes all over the world. Maybe I was an asshole sometimes too, entitled for sure. Not these days, no not anymore. I sort of cringe when I post an old picture from my modeling years, and then watch in wonder as the likes come flooding in. Not exactly flooding, more like a slow dribble. Fashion is fleeting, one must adapt to the superficial world we live in and move on. It’s high tide time to embrace the past, and hope the insides match the perceived beauty on the outside.

 

 

Washboard Abs

                                                   Washboard Abs   Jacqueline Cioffa13697256_1766800850265997_1962974636646376700_n

I want to dance alone in the dark. I want to hear the underlying music through the deafening mundane silence that is everyday life. I want to make snow angels in a Speedo. I want to smile again without feeling forced. I am going to free myself from the limitations wrapped tightly around my neck. I’m going to discard the heavy and not give it a second thought. I’m going to dance on paper and move mountains with thoughts clear in black and white.

The limbo of my life will become a discarded thing of the past. There will be happy, chocolate chip minutes and inviting, familiar scents wafting through stale air.
It will be comfortable.

There will be easy chores, taking out the garbage, doing the jumble, raking fall from the yard.
I will bask in delight. I want to live simple. I want orange and red leaves and high school football and small town life. I want to erase the days lived in the hollow and free my mind and body from the trickery of a fast life. I am throwing out the Gucci shoes and Prada bags and the heavy burden and the in crowd.

I will wash away big city, lonely isolation and surround myself with real life. I will turn my back on the superficial and freeze all my assets. I will gladly hand over my stuff and lose pounds in an instant.

I am violently thrashing about. Gently, I am closing a door and cracking open a window. – THE RED BENCH, Jacqueline Cioffa ‪

 

She and I were star stuff symbiotic… Jacqueline Cioffa

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She and I were star stuff symbiotic, dear, precious friends, old lovers who finished each other’s sentences. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“Her salt mine seas pacified the storms dwelling harmonious in one body. We’d spend a decade exploring, feeling the heat of the sun, flinching in the biting winter freeze, experiencing the mesmerizing, transitory alive moments in color and traversing the vast corners of the earth, boldly as one.

We’d chase big dreams, and conquer cracked filled pavements. I was happy. I was almost always happy, and happier than I’d been before. I smiled tears of sadness, and cried tidal pool oceans of joy. I was a beautiful contained palate of emotion, no longer insane, paranoid, turned-out, hallucinating, running, or screaming mad. I was okay. I was fine. I was in love. I was more me with her, than without. I never, ever, ever wanted to say good-bye.

Like a jilted, jealous lover quietly, methodically, slowly over time and all at once, growing spiteful and angry, Lithium began poisoning my exploding cells destroying my insides. Belly swollen, eye sockets burning, jaws clenched, muscles pinched, bones ached, feverish and ill. I was tail spinning, spiraling and insane. Even the holy, pure sacred womanly parts ignited.

The element lithium burns vivid crimson red.

Lithium crimson red flames imploding, screaming and demanding the quickest exit strategy. How could she break my vulnerable, trembling shattered heart, and peace of mind?

Did she grow tired of me, or did I?” – Jacqueline Cioffa

 *****************************

– #excerpt from   

Lithium, My Toxic Love Affair by Jacqueline Cioffa

Courtesy of Feminine Collective on Bleeding Ink with Jacqueline Cioffa

SUBLIME FRAMEABLE ARTWORK: By the Haiku Queen, Witticisms Master, and pensive, and poignant writer, Ms. Dori Owen aka Diary of an Arizona Girl with Feminine Collective

– @jacquelinecioffa on Instagram

***DISCLAIMER: I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT encouraging ANYONE to go off of their prescribed psychiatric medicine. This is my story, my journey and trust me it was hell. Please remember that while enjoying these creative words.

 

Harnessing the Madness – Jacqueline Cioffa

Harnessing the Madness is Proudly Featured under ‘Poets’ under The Lithium Chronicles

 

Harnessing the Madness

By Jacqueline Cioffa

Don’t worry Hush, little mama

Dry your acrid, bittersweet, woeful tears

Don’t you cry, pretty mama

Your darling, happy, freckle-face baby is struggling, fevered, and

deliriously HOT

Oh, okay, go on then

Go ahead and cry, little mama

Cry those real, big-old-salty tears

Enough to fill an ocean

Squash the fire under mountains of regret, and molten lava erupting

Don’t worry, hush lullaby mama

Your baby girl is a strong, solid swimmer

You taught her that

You and her, submersed

Her JOY full love of water

Bouncy, giggly, freedom submerged while cemented together hand in

hand

She was fearless in your arms

Unafraid of stormy seas, tsunamis and heavenly floods

Little girl’s flapping her arms now, mama

Crazed, and kicking hard to swim to the top

Oh hush now, pretty mama,

don’t worry your fraught, exhausted mind or fret

Water trumps fire, and this girl

Your darling baby

She

Is

Harnessing the madness

Submersed, safe and sound in the Marianas Trench

Her screaming, gurgling lungs breathe better

In utero

Go on now, mama, gather your salty tear filled buckets and buckets and buckets

Pour them right over her head

Fire burns out, smoldering wet

The melody is haunting and heartbeat sweet, familiar

And sigh so lovely, lovely, lovely

Your baby feels all the feels, smells in color and vibrates clickety-clack

sounds underwater

Hush, now child, don’t you cry, too

Together in tandem

Your mama is there, she’s right there

Feet firmly rooted by rocks, wood and earth on solid ground

Smiling down

Harnessing the madness with her bleeding, thumping, overflowing

bursting heart

In two-time rhythm

Same heart, hers and yours

Keeping time together

She tosses a life jacket attached to an unbreakable umbilical cord, made

from solid oak, and knotty pine twine

The rope plays shadow games on the surface, as the water sways to

and fro

Under the prettiest, blinding white sunlight

Bubbles of air and H2O

Oxygen

Hush now, mama, keep pouring those frozen buckets of ice-cold-doubt

Over your girl’s scorching, sizzling brain on fire head

Hush mama, your little dolly is just a girl, and not a funny fish

She’s going to be A-OK, alright?

Hush mama, her head’s on fire, and lungs are all wet

But, she’s paddling hard and fast towards the surface

Flailing and searching for your firm grip, and steady resolve

Inside her shaky, trembling fingers

Oh, sweet heartbeat

The birds chip, and an indigo blue, clear sky, sunshine lights up the dark,

murky, clouded depths

Blue is the loveliest color

Pretty, strong, and powerful

Little mama is calling her name

Right there, oh, there she is

Mama’s shadow, bounce-back light and love reflection

Makes circle formations, bubble distress calls, and H2O air

Oxygen

Right above the surface,

Mama stands tall, barefoot on the green grass

Beside her baby girl, all along

Mama, your dolphin lung baby is gasping for air underwater, squashing the flames, and surrendering

Floating freely, buoyant, as the salt tides push her to the surface, and the scorching sun’s beautiful, intoxicating light feels warm and inviting

She sees her mama’s pretty face for the first time, smiling and kind

Aged

Bound forever by love, and heaven on earth

Little girl remembers, hope floats

Her one and only, mama’s fierce motherly love waits, prays and watches

Her all-grown-up girl

The gyspy, free-flying, Mustang wild spirit, good, mad woman

Grow roots, and quiet her wings

Thank you, dear mama

Yours, and only yours

L.o.V.e.

Anchors the soul

 

 

 

FORTITUDE – Jacqueline Cioffa

FORTITUDE

FORTITUDE. @jacquelinecioffa

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. – Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa