Pet Friendly on Bleeding Ink with Feminine Collective

“Pet Friendly” on Bleeding Ink with  Feminine Collective

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Pet Friendly

I am not a patient person and yet, somehow I find the patience, for her.
Maybe it’s because she needs no words to show me what she wants, just a tilt of the head to the left or the right. Her gold and grey swirls of fur glisten when she sees me, a smile lights her face accompanied by the back and forth velocity of her wagging tail. I understand she gets all the colors of me, the sliding scale blacks, blinding whites, kaleidoscope greens, envious purples, indigo blues, muddy yellow, envious green, sherbet pop orange and the griege in between.

Some days I don’t want to make the trek in the heat, the rain, the bitter freeze, walk the same block after block, be pulled and yanked in this direction or that chasing some unfortunate cat across the way. Some days I’d rather not walk at all, too tired of the monotone. I do it anyway, in spite of myself. In sub-freezing temperatures, sweltering unbearable heat, in all climates because she is my responsibility.

I’m grateful I didn’t have kids. I fear I would’ve been an inadequate parent and grave disappointment, too quick to lose my temper, too consumed with worry, too selfish probably.

Truth be told I don’t particularly get most humans, but she does.
They expect too much, disappoint too much, ask too much, or maybe it’s me. Maybe I do. We are the rare breed of misfits and misunderstood.

My girl, my spirit animal loves everyone. She does not discriminate, so I let her stop and say hello. Sometimes, I surprise myself with a smile and hello; the corners of my lips curling upwards like an emoji before I realize it. Sometimes the smile turns upside down when she sees a cat pulling my arm out of the socket. Sometimes I’d like to strangle her, she can be stubborn and doesn’t always listen, come to think of it neither do I.
She knows I’m not always 100 percent, and she couldn’t care less. She loves me anyway. Maybe that’s the beauty of mutual pet-friendly understanding.

If only people were so kind.
When she snuggles in between the crook of my legs for an afternoon nap, and I feel my breathing slow I understand what selfless love means. Her heartbeat calms the storms, the anxiety, and my forever-impatient soul. I’m a better person in that singular moment when she’s sound asleep without a care in the world.

The house is too quiet when she is not around. I missed the pitter-patter of paws the umpteenth days I did not see her. She could not visit. All the days I was committed, locked in a hospital ward with no air. I’d press my forehead to the glass trying to teleport myself the two blocks between her, me and my family. Two impossible tiny blocks from home, and later sixty miles farther away, but it would not matter. No matter how hard I tried, I could not escape the locked windows and doors. Walking out wasn’t an option.
At the least, the night sky still sang for me, and the stars shined brilliant the same for her and I. Lighting the way back to my humans, the ones who love me unconditionally, waiting on the other side of pane. The precious ones, who made sure she was fed, cuddled and loved while I was absent. I drew a map with a sharpie on the window in my room, so I wouldn’t forget my way or lose my mind deep inside the blacks and greys come morning. I wasn’t supposed to; I couldn’t give two shits. Eventually, they took all my pens away, my weapon of choice. Talk about writer’s block and cold, cruel punishment. Someone handed me colored pencils as if I was a five-year-old playing outside on the sidewalk. Give me a break, life is complicated and chaos lives outside the lines in a coloring book.

So what if I’d gone a little insane? I missed her warmth inside the cold, cruel sterile environment. The scratchy sheets inside the empty room where she was not allowed to visit. Too bad, she would’ve brightened everyone’s day. It was not a warm place, dog-friendly or inviting. It was indifferent. Twenty plus days is a really, really long time to miss being outdoors, oxygen, and the daily routine of a quiet life.
The simple task of walking the dog.

I’m home now, passing the grotesque, uninviting, terrifying inhospitable building, pausing short of breath questioning was it real or was it all a bad dream? I steady my footing, let out an amen and a great big “FUCK YOU, fuck the whole lot of you” under my breath while speeding up my gait.

My girl, pet-friendly crooks her neck way back, and her eyes tell me all that I need to know. I am less selfish, less mad, and more me than yesterday.

 

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.

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen by Jacqueline Cioffa

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I’ve devoured endless books, “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” “The Tao of Health,” “Sex & Longevity,” the Wilde’s, the Beckett’s and the Eliot’s searching. I’ve gazed at the stars to align my planets. I’ve burned white sage along the perimeters of my house to keep out the dark and unwanted. I’ve slept with amethyst under my pillow, seeking calm and center. I’ve grasped tight to pink quartz holding out for love. I’ve picked up a rune to map out my path. I’ve called on the dead to feel better in spirit. I’ve suffered the fool. I’ve been one. I’ve been all wrapped up in it, crazed, sane, rich, poor and famished in an instant.

But, I’ve never stayed the course. I’m resolute. I’m firm like desert dirt. No excuses, I want well living.

-excerpt from THE RED BENCH

These Modern Ties

These Modern Ties

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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You know what I despise sometimes?

Visualize your best life,’ social media posts. If only you meditated longer, dreamt bigger, brighter and better… a gulf stream, rolls royce and diamond solitaire would magically appear via Amazon. All your grandiose desires, jubilee shrieks and pixie dust sparkle whims before you and not behind. If I were a blonde, bombshell genie in a magic bottle… I’d obliterate global warming, nukes, little girls with shredded self- esteem, cancer, homelessness, poverty. Name it. Go ahead…make your wish. I’d stomp out every single injustice; I’d balance the scales.

Christ I hate when someone writes, living their best life.’

It’s preposterous, deluded, and downright denial.

At times.

We are granted breadcrumbs of serenity; uncatchable, unmatchable, untouchable moments when life feels happy and snug. Calm and wonder overflow, and JOY is easily accessible. Perhaps. Yes, a few lucky upturned frowns sounds about right.  

Time is spent de-cluterizing, looking back and leaping ahead. Humans are predictable. They prefer to skip past the hard questions. Me? I can’t seem to stop the verbal diarrhea, pondering, squirming and searching. Why don’t the scales even out? Why does the too young, too beautiful, sticky sweet new mother die? Her babes left to fend for themselves. Why do gray cover clouds mask the sun? Why is it mother knows best not to ask unanswerable, stupid, preposterous philosophical questions?

It’ll make you go bonkers, Crackle Barrel, cuckoo clock nuts.

I bet she that mom visualized her perfect baby bump life in pastel hues, fluffy white lambs and nursery rhymes. Dead dreams don’t exist, silly me.

Why? I sure as hell don’t know, but I’d like to. There are no answers when newborns know their mothers in passing, through birth canals, photographs and hand me downs. Someone’s misplaced, jumbled, embellished memories reminisced in haste.

Do not post some inspirational, bullshit quote without asking first.

Am I aware of the planetary spins, people hovering and circling around me? Did I attempt one kind thing today; did I go out of my way for a stranger? Did I do something good, something considerate without telling a soul? Did I do something for the JOY or the pain without running to boast on Facebook, Instagram, and the Twitter? Did I live behind a screen, inside the screen, was I that blind? Did I venture out to inhale the oxygen, to forget what felt safe and comfortable? Did I take risks beyond the pre-determined edges, color outside the lines, feel the rain and the sun on the inside? Well, did I? 

Well, have you?

Have I been lucky? Damn straight. Have I been unlucky? That too. Do not say think positive; I might punch you. I fight to breath, to stay, to be alive. It’s hysterical; a dramedy. This life is not about me, and yet I take it personal. I’m a blip, a speck obliterated before the wind blows. I’m not complaining, but wait…  hell yes I am. I not a Debbie Downer most of the time or even full fledged pessimist. I’m a realist, I’d surmise.

Close your eyes and listen if you’d really like to know about me.

To understand how excruciating and uncomfortable it feels to bleed under the skin. To smile through tears and forget the bad times…To declutter, debunk, and destroy the pain that comes from a chaotic, misfiring, and free-floating mind. 

Do not suggest I try harder, or swallow my pride. Hey you, over there…look at the sunny side. What the fuck do you know? Tiny moments of happy are best lived inside the heart and eyes open wide.

The scales?

I’m tossing them out the attic window. Since the beginning of time until tomorrow they’ll be teetering, tottering, balancing and unbalancing. 

That’s life.

That’s pain. That’s JOY. That’s the high cost and the low maintenance.

And this is my honest-to-God get out of my face, in your face, best potluck shot.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a cheery, colorful, feel good quote.

Perhaps, maybe not. 

One never knows. 

How high the highs and low the lows.

These unfashionable, sufferable modern ties.

Disconnected

Still, it’s nice to see pretty colors and happy faces sometimes.

 

 

 

To Sleep, but Not to Slumber ~ A Christmas Wish for the Brokenhearted

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Someone asked me the other day when exactly did I begin to hate Christmas?

I couldn’t quite place the precise date when the cheery, bubbly, naive child stopped believing in the magic

Five, seven, ten?

Who’s to say?

It happened all at once, the snow globe blown out of proportion and super-sized colored lightbulbs scorch and burn

I try but the sadness, maudlin and sorrow I am born
Lives in these bones, where marrow sits and blood oxygen flows

The neighborhood streets I stroll at night twinkle warmly while vanilla, clove and chocolate aroma fills the lungs I breathe deep

Are they happy I wonder? Are they okay? Are they loved?

Am I?

I am at times
It’s not all Maloja Snake dense grey mist and menacing cloud banks creeping and winding under the skin
I know this to be true beyond the sleigh bells and frivolous gifts I’ll tuck away in some drawer for a later date soon forgotten 
Later dates rarely come or never right on time
The sadness and tears well up in my eyes before I can manage a pretend smile
Half my heart belongs on the other side you see, and that I cannot fix
Time is moving too rapidly, I want to smash the clock

I greedily want to hurry past Christmas Day and the sad memories missing the magic pieces I can’t reclaim even seconds gone by

I am not afraid of death, not really
I welcome the quieting freedom and serenity of my orbs, the peace she’ll bring
Living with a serious mental illness there is no room for false niceties, unrealistic dreams, Santa Claus frosted cookies and cold milk in a crystal glass left on an end table
Who drinks the milk anyway, does it get tossed?

I die each time I lose my mind, bits and pieces gone forever, and missing memories I shan’t recover

The spirit gets discouraged, wants to quit, to scream fuck it

What exactly are you hoping for when the future is not a guarantee?

Being alive scares the shit out of me, it’s the goiter in my throat and sugar overload tummy ache

I am terrified of being alone

I am terrified of losing my Christmas people and the only ones I have needed

I am terrified peering through the white light wreathes, red ribbon bow glass panes filled with pretty, fresh linen tablecloth settings, red poinsettias, little ones smiling and dancing in plaid flannel PJs
I am terrified of shiny new-new families while I grow old

I hate Christmas

There, I said it

I hate Christmas because it’s the in your face reminder of the incredible luck I have been blessed with and the over-abundant love and over-bearing souls

A mother who cannot stay here forever, with me, a brother who challenges my every word and makes me fight hard, harder

For them, I am more than nobody

I am worthy

I’ve always been worth it no matter the mad hatter, nuttier than a fruit-bread, fruit-loaf, fruitcake (gross), or some idiot’s ignorant punchline I bear
 
There’s a tiny, rundown white house up the street where an elderly man lives.
 
His name is Ed, he doesn’t have any lights or decorations, or any visitors cars parked outside his door
 
Ed fell last winter, it was 10 degrees and I stayed with him, helped get him back into his car and to safety
 
He stopped me recently
I’d forgotten all about it and said, “hey, are you that Cioffa girl who helped last winter?”

I nodded and smiled, “no big deal.”

I am that Cioffa girl I thought to myself smiling proud 

“I’m Ed.”
“Hi Ed.”
I don’t think Ed has anyone, and he really is HOME ALONE on Christmas.
 
When I’m presented with difficult, challenging, scary and uncomfortable situations which is often,
I always ask what would my father do?
 
I didn’t try to fight or hold back the river of tears because missing him and the crucial piece of my heart he holds, is misery.

I hate Christmas because nothing stays the same, and life moves forward exactly as it should

I cry, weep and let it spill onto the pillowcase as I close my weary eyes

I can see his beautiful smile, feel his goodness and understand he is here with me despite my doubts

Encompassing me in a safety bubble of the most spectacular pretty, plentiful colorful Christmas magic

“Go on you silly girl, you have everything
You do
Bring Ed some cookies, your mother might get mad
But, it’s only pretend mad”
 
And that’s what we do in my home on the Eve of Christmas

We pretend smile and suddenly a baby’s giggles are infectious, and tiny flannel feet pitter-patter makes life less heavy and more manageable

Makes the magic real

I love the twinkle and sparkle of the lights, I will keep the starlight and the afterglow 

As the reminder the magic lives in the light-hearted
 
 
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To believe in the memories because they are timeless
No one can take away or live the miracles, they are yours good and bad
The miracle of Christmas is the the star stuff dust you are already

 

Christmas, I hate you a little more and a little less

 

This is my Christmas wish to the brokenhearted

I hope your slumber is serene and the day’s beating heart comes tender, sweet and steady

I hope the joy finds its way inside your heart, hearth and home

Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle.

I’m tired.

Wiped, discouraged, caput, worn down, exhausted.

I am not winning this mammoth battle with the mind. I can no longer distinguish between mania and anxiety, thoughts race ahead anyway without definition. Oxygen depleted and unrelenting physical pain does not let up.

No, no, no, no way. There’s no way I can keep up with this living thing. I am not strong enough.

Am I?

Just when I think I have used and abused every single resource left with no reserve, a timely reminder appears.

It’s not about me, it never was. This life is not mine to begin with. I am circular memories, sand granules stolen backwards in time.

Precious quartz that most assuredly slips through my fingers returning to earth how it began.

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

“Your time stamp is 2:22 which in angel numerology means, “Don’t quit before your miracle occurs!” 

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“Newly planted ideas are beginning to grow into reality. Keep watering and nurturing them, and soon they will push through the soil.”

I believe in angels, pixie dust, numbers, crystals, and dark/ light matters we cannot see or comprehend.

To dream wearing a featherweight light suit of armor while speckles of  gold, violet, teal, fuchsia and indigo angel dust flutters abound.

Project SemiColon

Project Semicolon ;

YOUR STORY ISN’T OVER YET
Project Semicolon is a global faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire.

MISSION STATEMENT

PROJECT SEMICOLON IS A FAITH-BASED MOVEMENT DEDICATED TO PRESENTING HOPE AND LOVE FOR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, ADDICTION AND SELF-INJURY. PROJECT SEMICOLON EXISTS TO ENCOURAGE, LOVE AND INSPIRE.

STAY STRONG; LOVE ENDLESSLY; CHANGE LIVES

 

Drowning by Mouse

Woke up to a flooded basement (only a little), and a head that feels like it’s in a vice-grip. I have taken half a Benadryl, Alka-Seltzer and Flonase with only marginal relief.

Not matter what’s happening or how shitty I feel, my personal summer goal is to swim every single day.

And, it only counts if I get my head wet. Duh, everybody knows that.

Don’t they?

Went to the gym and for a dunk even the asshole mouse floating past, more like sunken did not stop me.

It would have thwarted my goal day three, if I had seen it. I might have passed out.

Can you pass out in water? Huh, I’ll have to google that.

Mouse??? I DON’T DO MICE. Let me be clear, reiterate, I DO NOT DO MICE.

“MOOOOM!!!!” 

I’ll spare you the yuck factor and unpleasant bloated, furry black pink tail imagery. Squeak. Eek.

Yeah, no. I will not go down that easy.

Drowning by mouse.

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