Opinionated

It seems there’s a whole lot of hate, shame and blame going around along with a whole lot of judgment.

Here’s the thing, I only care about what side you’re on politically because I care deeply about all human beings. Shocker, I know. I try not to care, not to get involved, to go about my day oblivious.

I can’t help myself; I can’t avoid the man literally standing on the corner waiting at the food bank, who won’t make eye contact because he’s embarrassed. He’s embarrassed, can you imagine?

Well, I can. I am not homeless, I have a very comfortable roof over my head but I am middle class, and perhaps even what’s considered below the poverty line. Because that is my current situation and that’s all right. I have been rich, and trust me life is not much different. The only true commodity that has changed is time. I have more of it now, go figure. I have more time to think about the atrocities that are happening in the world.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t, but then perhaps I would walk right past that man completely indifferent. Can you imagine?

I wonder, would Trump see him? No, he would tell him in a tweet to ‘get a job’. I’m not worried about the red state or the blue state; I am terrified of the ugliness, immoral man and his cronies leading our country. My country, my parents’ country, and my grandparents who were indeed proud immigrant dreamers. Your country.

This is our country. The United States of America. How did we become so divided, heading backwards in time? We don’t have to look so far back when America was a proud, envied nation, Camelot. A time when we were not a global farce, an embarrassment. I can’t explain the logistics or the inner workings of politics; it’s way over my head.

But people, yeah I know people. After traveling the world immersed in other cultures, I developed impeccable bullshit instincts. I am a serious, first-rate bullshit meter reader.

And Trump is the ultimate bullshitter, con artist and grifter. He doesn’t care that women are being sexually assaulted, he doesn’t care about the dreamers, the mass shootings, he doesn’t care about the mentally ill, homeless, elderly, or that all lives really matter, black, gay, poor, female. He doesn’t care about the environment. (Global warming isn’t real, remember).

He doesn’t care, plain and simple. I call bullshit. He cares about money and power. He cares about narcissism and taking as much as he can with his opportunistic, dirty little fingers. He cares about divide and conquer. He wants to tear us apart, make us hate each other. We are so much better than hate. We are so much better than judgment, pointing fingers.

Aren’t we?

When you tell me you don’t care about politics, you’re telling me you’re indifferent, that you don’t care about everyone’s right to life. When you tell me your stocks are ‘the highest they’ve ever been,” I say how about that recent nosedive? Did you lose precious dollars?

How about pride? What about honor? Decency?

I ask myself every day, even though I can be selfish and wrapped up, did I do one good thing, something kind? Did I show respect, because that is how I was raised. Did I help others without showboating and broadcasting, puffing up my chest? I’m not famous, powerful or important. I’m just a girl, a grown up woman who’s been around the block and seen some horrible things. Some not so nice, but some positively mind blowing beautiful things too.

Trust me I have a big enough mouth, with my very own well-informed opinion.

I hope that Trump never finds himself outside a soup kitchen, head bowed in shame, penniless and broken. (Actually, I kinda do). Humility is the ultimate life-lesson, as well as sacrifice and service. I know in my heart that some good, decent human will be on the other side with a hot meal and a smile, nodding and happy to serve him.

That’s grace.

Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am a liberal. I have never been prouder to be a liberal who believes everyone deserves the same respect, decency and empathy. That is my God-given right, freedom and my choice.

Let’s cast politics aside.

Rebel Rouser

When they zapped my brain, I did not recognize the nurse who had been there all along.
I recalled my mother’s face, worry lines and all.
Too familiar.
I forget sometimes with all these cells coarsing through veins, tripping up emotions that things came easier once.
Life was uncomplicated, and I took it for granted.
It was the little moments I shrugged off, the nothing less than important.
Vital lessons of joy and exhilaration.
With no electronic distractions and tortoise shell healing, I ventured out.
Creating fairytale landminds of imagination.
Words, oberservations, storytime coffeebook tales and me.
Those were the happiest, carefree minutes I can recall.
Where did the feisty, rebel rouser go?
One bad-seed simple cell becomes a life so jaded, so messy complicated.
Most days I am angry, sad, inconsolable, regretful longing.
Ambivalent.
Most days I’d rather be dead than carry the weight.
Most days I wish to hurry them along.
Stupid, stupid wild child be quiet and let me think.
Other days I long for a reboot, sunshine and a fresh start.
Palm Springs, majestic mountains and course sandy beaches.
The bloody burden of living.
To hell and back.
Am I allowed to say this?
Surely you’ve felt out of sorts.
No, no, no sour grapes please.
The vines are frozen solid anyway.
To choose life even when it stings.
To follow love.
To take a naked selfie.
And a big, big, big long look in the mirror.
Self-love requires discipline, conviction and a healthy dose of rebellion.
Post it notes are positively lovely.
Dreamy reminders that stick.
Even when all roads feel exhausted.
To choose the smallest room for living and sit in stillness.
That is torture and pain.
That takes courage.
That is patience.
Self-awareness and empathy are no small feat.
One red cell quantifies a fate.
I am not mean-spirited or selfish.
I am too damn honest.
Scribbling words you may not wish to hear.
Screw it.
Few have traveled where I visit.
You have not embodied this small room.
Overcrowded.
Egocentric, over-eccentric, paranoid, panicked, depressed, suicidal, and manic at times.
So what.
It’s all mixed-up.
The ugliest parts housed right alongside the beautiful.
So be it, mind of mine.
Some cells went haywire.
Others did not.
Shock me back to your absurd reality.
Fucking crazy, isn’t it?
To think we are all dying differently.
Silly.
Call me a rebel rouser.
Insanity feels perfectly normal to me.

Enough

Believe that you are better than
Money
Power
Greed
Hate
Terrorists
Trump
NRA
Bullies
Shady Politicians
Believe that if you haven’t lost someone you love
To Mass Shootings
You are blessed, the lucky one
Pretend it won’t ever happen
Pretend it’s impossible
Pretend doesn’t work much these days
It can’t happen?
Not today, not in your town, not in your house
The one safe space 
And then indulge me
Close your eyes
Feel for a baby’s hand
A small child, maybe your child 
So innocent and pure
The hand feels wet and cold and you cannot stop the chaos
The screams are all around you
You hear them as if locked in
Stuck in a nightmare
You cannot wipe the blood from your hands soiling your jeans
Pretend is only one day away
Reality states there’s a dark tomorrow
Believe you care enough to make a difference
Believe you can make a difference
Citizens of this great nation
Believe you have the right to say
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE GREED TURNING A BLIND EYE
I pray, I do but my prayers seem futile and nobody hears them
Until I remember
To be beholden
To believe in the toil and dreams fulfilled by our forefathers
Believe in your legacy
The past is our great teacher
And the present needs a new healer
Believe in the peaceful resisters who are protesting the ugly regime
The reign of terror
Believe in your gut
Believe in your voice
Believe in your heart
And stand up
Do the right thing
Let your conscience be clean when you lay your head down
at night

Believe your life matters more than an AK-47, hatred, or idiotic, ignorant opinions
How you live is up to you
How you die well that is the disturbing, frightening question of the times
Believe that humans are inherently good
Be a good human
And stand together for everyone’s right to an honest, purposeful life

The Rafters

I must not forget, never ever forgo this one shot at an honest life. A well-played beginning, the hold on tight middle, and a serene, admired, beloved end. I have been given this offset jewel of a life for a reason.
Loosening my grip on the serrated edge, I grab tight to the rafters overhead. 

Precious Air

Someday when I leave this place, I hope to be remembered as honest and kind through all the bullshit and blessings. I will miss the sun and her stars most, but not the moon. The dark night, backlit moon and I will meet again floating on waves of a different space and time carried by the winds of perpetual motion, emotion and love. To be well-loved even while selfish, childlike and out of one’s mind is the messy middle, and best breath one can hope for.

Indian Red

Hate has no place in the home, on the mean streets, or the man-made war zones.
Of this ugly 21st century that is so unkind.
United as one, we are not.
We are not even close in these chaotic, heartbreaking times of epic, earth shattering cosmic shifts and distorted evil proportions.
Terrorists, murderers and violent, you are most assuredly unwelcome.
The time has come to become one voice united against all that has come undone.
You are your mothers and mothers and fathers and fathers only daughters and sons.
There is no do over.
Become something better, something way better than this bloodshed battle red.
Strong, confident, educated, kind and able.
Human.
Unclench those fists and do the work.
Peacekeepers with Statue of Liberty steel spines.
Gatekeepers of a new and improved united nation.
Dump the bad man and his arrogant posse of abhorrent greedy bastards
Stirring violence and divide.
Funny how fast we forget
Green is flimsy paper and cannot till the seedlings of a good, honest life.
One voice united will not be silenced or denied.
Lead with purpose, with love, with brothers and sisters on your mind.
Hearts wide open like our ancestors.
Indian red, backbone straight, oh so pretty, honorable and dignified. 

A Bag is a Bag, or Not 

A Bag is a Bag, or Not

When your fifteen-year-old knock off ‘Balenziaga’ bites the dust, you cry a little. (Canal Street, NYC score, I had two of them. One orange, and the green). I love, love, loved them. When the bag’s ‘leather’ literally starts peeling at the START of your fancy vacation, and your friends relentlessly make fun of you…what they didn’t understand is how loyal and practical that bag had been. How many gazillion trips it got you through, and how it was the PERFECT travel accessory for years, literally irreplaceable. I didn’t care that it was an imitation at all, un phased by their giggles, and teasing. I am mostly non-materialistic, but when your bff delivers a gorgeous black leather replacement to your hotel room (her hotel), you’re grateful for the stunning, kind gesture and surprise. She has in fact gifted you with many, many irreplaceable, gorgeous designer bags over the years that you will never, ever part with. So, green ‘Balenziaga’ knock-off reluctantly it was time to go, bye-bye, see ya for good.

Our international travels, memories, trains, planes, buses, automobile, subway rides and adventures together will remain fondly forever in my heart.

I was NEVER embarrassed by you, okay slightly annoyed when you were literally loosing your pleather skin.

I don’t need fancy, material stuff…but all the cherished fond memories, those I’ll keep. And the friendships, well they are priceless and irreplaceable.

 

If I Was Your Child

If I Was Your Child

Would you cover me in a coat of armor
So my blood didn’t weep
If I was your child
Would you shield me from the dark
The boogeyman man that wiggled my doorknob whilst I sleep
If I was your child would you smother me with sweet scented well-meaning kisses
If I was your child would you teach me all the adventurous things I needed to be
Brave, bold, fierce, fearless and kind
If I was your child would you grant me an open-hearted curiosity and gypsy spirit
If I was your child would you fill my belly when it gurgled and hiccupped with hunger
Everyday ups and downs
Life’s Pains
If I was your child would you discover the planet with me and all her beauty with purpose
If I was your brave child that got broken with bruises
Would you share your coat of kindness and mesmerizing colors
If I was your child, but not yours to hold onto
Not for too long, too tight or for a million kisses
If I was your child would you prepare me for a cold, greed filled world where other children were not born into luck
Or Love
If I wasn’t your child would you even bother to look at me
To open your eyes and be braver than your peacock feathered roots
Mother Earth and Father Time
Do not desire any cloak or dagger swagger
They carry the keys to infinity
Where words like kindness, grace, beauty and bounty succeed
Where all children are born
Brave
Surviving and thriving free from lock and key
Smiling in prosperity
A new sweet smelling earth
I shall believe because
If I was your child or another’s
I dared to dream

 

Highfalutin Sequins & Glitter

I must get moving I suppose haunted by a past and future, overly cautious and wickedly sentimental. I must walk in the present decked out in sequins and glitter in honor of the brazen one. There is magic brewing in these parts and honest living in the routine. Small town life is fine, filtering the air with H2O, and hyperbaric clean, 100% pure, brain oxygen.

Just when I think I am no more. I’m proven wrong. Just when I think I have absolutely nothing, to give, to fight, and to live. Not one piece worth living. Just when there is not one breath inside and my veins have dried up and turned purple. Just when there is nothing except black hole, bottomless tar pits and green-eyed pond scum monsters, my dreams shake me from a trance. My spirit guides dust me with just the right amount of determination while I sleep. I awake shaken, yet refreshed from the pretty rainbow, mirror ball glow of sequins dancing across my ceiling. Pinching myself, the night fairies are the miracle enough to keep on living. I get on with the daunting task of getting up, out of bed, dressed, and greeting the new day.

Is it all a dream? Did I imagine this? Which piece is the reality to hold onto? Was I ever really here? Am I living? Who can say?

My dead don’t speak to me now, so I can’t be sure of anything. The where I came from or the direction I am heading. I can only sprinkle the earth with kindness, fondness, and graceful living, learned over time and with age. The talking parrots fly above me now in bouts of beautiful memory and happy colors, the life reminders that unexplained, mystical beauty remains.

Maybe, some God gave me this curse on my head so that I would be forced to stop, slow down and listen, taking in all the enchantment around me. I would not be this kind, sensitive, flawed, gorgeously imperfect or caring without the slight touch of insanity. I would have stayed the small-minded selfish, ignorant young girl never bothering to look up to take in her surroundings. That is the only way I can justify the horrific pain and suffering running through this broken brain and body.

And the joy in knowing, that one day I will no longer be bound by the minutes, the blue planet a faded memory. I will no longer be labeled the lunatic or crazy, but will be ananta happy, safe and sound.

I won’t have to fight the spinning, dizzying head, the out of nowhere panic attacks leaving me doped up exhausted, or the unbearable despair pulsating my blood and my veins. I will no longer silently scream inside from pain and anxiety, the spinner top raring to explode.

I will be free to roam unencumbered by the weight of time and space. 

I thought if I went way back in time to the glimpse of a young, healthy, happy, carefree young woman floating effortlessly on the waters, you might take pity on me. One never knows which murky waters they will find themselves thrashing about, life spares no one the suffering. The ripples shift and shape as they see fit, taking us all on our own personal journey of hardship, joy and grace. My struggles came a bit sooner than anticipated, leaving me grappling with a sickness I was ill prepared for.

Still I swim float and sink, always fighting my way back to the surface for breath and a bit of fresh air.

Clearing the cobwebs out of the way, I brace myself for the walk. I make room for smooth take off and safe landing.

 

excerpt from THE RED BENCH

Paper Dreams

To never forget the page. The page carries me when I cannot stand, crouched in fetal position on the bathroom floor. The page dreams the big dreams when I see nothing through misty eyes. The page promises hope when I have exhausted all roads and left dreaming behind. The page holds my hand and guides me towards the words that are a wee bit brighter. The snow has lost interest in this corner of the land and gone off to find glaciers and ice hills, more appropriate temperatures to visit.

The earth is damp and sloppy. It is the perfect, moist soil rich for spring planting. I choose perennials in fantastic rainbow colors, planting them with love and reassurance. I cure these plants with care and attention, with the humanistic, egotistical hope they will return many years after I have gone. There is sad, sweet unbearable love in the choices made over the course of a lifetime. My choice to continue the cycle is highly personal, in spite of all the uncertainty that lies ahead.

 I love the sweet smelling purples, the sultry inviting reds, and the tropical fuschia buds rising from the earth. I cultivate my garden with deep love for spring and the seasons that follow. In my magical garden, I am not too sick to plant, to feel young and giddy with shock and awe each time spring bores hope in glorious color. It reminds me of all that has come before, the gorgeous, carefree, happy, healthier time, the easy existence and the odd, kooky characters that make up a life. The real, unimaginary ones that I have loved far too much, way beyond any possible earthly explanation. Those responsible for cultivating all the sappy, sweet, fun flowering pieces of my heart, curing them with care and healing devotion.

The page finds my robin her perfect nesting ground, granting sunshine, cloudless days and warmth, where round, warm eggs grow healthy babies. She is pleased; I am pleased as I watch from a chair by the window, dreaming of a world I once lived in.

The May snow magically disappears, melting away all worry into wet earth. I leave anxiety on the page and get on with the day, planting and tending my garden in rebirth. The thunder roars and the rain trickles down never reaching planet earth.

The seasons however unpredictable are funny like that. The sun shines from behind the thick cloud cover, mixing up the day with emotion. I laugh at the impermanence and the three-second mishmash storm from the heavens, a reminder of how fickle and fast it is.

We are ordinary beings, meager matter at a small percent.

Another storm looms overhead, I don’t fret about the daunting black cloud cover. I welcome the cool, fresh breeze instead.

excerpt, THE RED BENCH