mid-air mumbles

pause. sigh. go. hi.

before, I was 
the zodiac’s precocious 
bubbles.  glints in 
the eyes of five year olds watching 
summer skies, once upon 
a somewhere.  parents 
told their children to reach
for me when darkness 
came.  i made dreams come 
true.  i was 
eager, sure fingers; held 
breath; and weight lifted 
off shoulders.  i was morning 
rain in the desert and the 
long-awaited exhale.  i was 
everything the world sometimes 
isn’t.  

i was the gooey 
center and the purple pez 
dispenser and the red clay 
under the swingset in 
Westwood.  a messy miracle 
of skinned knees and a brave 
cry to stand the Hell back 
up—the hope Mama had 
for redemption—the light she 
followed as she rose out 
of the ash.  a reminder—a bullet’s graze 
next to her left temple.  she 
was still here.  after two 
babies gasped back
into twilight—slipped through 
scorching metal back 
into the abyss of not quite 
here.  that’s where she found 
me.  i was a push to keep 
climbing—the little voice saying
“jump” and “harder” and “no—not yet.”  
i whispered sweet 
nothings of the 
saved—the lies 
of her childhood –that love is 
worth it—that it exists 
here in the wrinkles 
of age.  here—in this 
smithereen heart.  dig.

i am here, 
still.  I live 
on a graveyard and pay 
homage to your reflection—in my face.  I am 
your blue eyes and your gritted teeth.  I am 
failure.  I am good intentions and one last 
try and the only one left
standing.  here.  i am 
your daughter.  i get 
the Hell back up.  i dig.

and I find 
you everywhere.  i am 
gasping, and i am 
waiting.  and i need 
you, still, in this 
shrapnel world.  i am 
breathing inside held breath, 
and I am chasing 
hailstorms.  i am the phoenix 
in the gooey center—dispensing 
my heart and flinging 
it at Daddy—as he bowls
with God in Heaven.  i am 
reaching, still, because 
you can’t.

—AIM, 4/29/11

Posted at 11:11pm and tagged with: full width, poetry, poem, mama, photo, photography, denver, westwood, huston park, tree, spring,.

before, I was the zodiac’s precocious bubbles.  glints in the eyes of five year olds watching summer skies, once upon a somewhere.  parents told their children to reachfor me when darkness came.  i made dreams come true.  i was eager, sure fingers; held breath; and weight lifted off shoulders.  i was morning rain in the desert and the long-awaited exhale.  i was everything the world sometimes isn’t.  
i was the gooey center and the purple pez dispenser and the red clay under the swingset in Westwood.  a messy miracle of skinned knees and a brave cry to stand the Hell back up—the hope Mama had for redemption—the light she followed as she rose out of the ash.  a reminder—a bullet’s graze next to her left temple.  she was still here.  after two babies gasped backinto twilight—slipped through scorching metal back into the abyss of not quite here.  that’s where she found me.  i was a push to keep climbing—the little voice saying“jump” and “harder” and “no—not yet.”  i whispered sweet nothings of the saved—the lies of her childhood –that love is worth it—that it exists here in the wrinkles of age.  here—in this smithereen heart.  dig.
i am here, still.  I live on a graveyard and pay homage to your reflection—in my face.  I am your blue eyes and your gritted teeth.  I am failure.  I am good intentions and one last try and the only one leftstanding.  here.  i am your daughter.  i get the Hell back up.  i dig.
and I find you everywhere.  i am gasping, and i am waiting.  and i need you, still, in this shrapnel world.  i am breathing inside held breath, and I am chasing hailstorms.  i am the phoenix in the gooey center—dispensing my heart and flinging it at Daddy—as he bowlswith God in Heaven.  i am reaching, still, because you can’t.
—AIM, 4/29/11

She loved gaudy, red lipstick and called my makeup “warpaint.”  She’s the reason I hardly ever wear any.  She never ever stopped moving.  She’s the reason I like to lounge.  She always had the television on, so I decided it best to read in front of it.  Her head came up to my boobs, and she said I was a giant.  She loved to read mysteries and romance novels—but she was losing her sight.  She loved country music and oldies—anything with a melody—and she would occasionally belt out Patsy Cline.  Her favorite was Randy Travis—who I called Randy Shithead.  She asked too many questions—ridiculous, crazy, totally inappropriate questions—but she said I was “nosy in the book.”  

She liked things clean, and that’s why I’m a crumb Nazi.  She hated going more than one place in a day, standing in lines, and people who tried to get something for nothing.  She was honest—bold and blunt and abrasive.  She never joked about anything, but she was incredibly funny.  Sometimes, she would just start laughing to herself—and no one would know why.  She liked to take pictures and was good at finding perfect moments.  She taught me the fine art of bathing and 7-11 picnics.  She loved all animals, but especially kitties.  She treated them like children.

Children flocked to her, and she was a natural mother.  She was protective, but she was the best listener ever—always saying what she would do…not telling you what to do.  She worried to the point of insanity.  She made peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with margarine and didn’t tell me what pork rinds were.  She loved liver sausage sandwiches and broccoli soup.  She made the worst food imaginable—something called hotdish—with burnt onions and acidic tin can tomato sauce and Velveeta.  She could bake anything.  She’s the reason I love ice cream cones.

She loved to take me to the library.  She loved Swiss Cake Rolls and candy.  Whole milk was the only way to go.  She grew up on a farm in North Dakota and got pregnant when she was 13.  She was the baby of the family, but her Mama wasn’t really her Mama.  Her real Mama died in childbirth.  She was born in a barn.  She thought she killed a cow.  She cut off all her sister’s hair.  She would wear fifty snowsuits when her Mama spanked her.  Her sister pushed her from the hayloft, breaking both her legs.  She worked for several years as a made.  She lost two children before me.  I was her miracle.  She loved my father till the day she died.  She wore a Kerry pin, even after he didn’t win the election.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her she lost.  If she had a crush on a man, she called him her honeylamb.

She carried a shopping bag—not a purse—and a gauzy scarf everywhere she went.  She felt naked without her wedding ring and her watch.  She liked glitzy jewelry.  She hated long pants and cut off things rather than tailoring them.  She still wore her clothes from the 70s.  She put on her nightgown at 4:30 pm and didn’t care if it was falling apart.  She loved slippers so much.  She was easy to please, and I loved to make her happy.

She was my sous chef—cutting up all the vegetables before I went in and made them taste good.  She liked to throw things when she was mad.  She forgave easily.  She could look at you and rip you apart.  She had the bluest eyes, brown-red hair that turned the most beautiful shade of silver, and olive skin.  She liked green and red best.  She loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She loved snow and hated ice.  She walked everywhere.  She couldn’t reach light bulbs.  She could corner you with one look.  She was naive and gullible.  She was often immature.  She loved movies and soap operas.  And Taco Bell.  And lasagna.  She was proud of “her girl” and took every opportunity to brag.  She loved her Mama and her Daddy and her siblings.  She always turned the other cheek.  She believed in God, but didn’t stuff it in anyone’s face.  She didn’t know many things, but she’d always admit it.  She thought she was stupid.  She smoked Misty Menthols.  She told great stories about her childhood and my father.  She combed my hair on the porch, in the dark.  She sang to me and read to me and let me watch late-night television on the weekends.  She was always, always there.

She fought for me, but she never coddled me.  She drove me crazy.  She was an alcoholic in recovery.  She laughed around men—a little too loud.  She was stubborn to the point of insanity.  Almost everyone liked her, but God help you if she didn’t like you.  But, at least, you knew it.  She hated needles.  She died too soon.

Her name was Ruth.  I called her Mama.  And I loved her.  And I miss her.  And today is her birthday.

Posted at 1:34pm and tagged with: full width, mama, birthday, photography,.

She loved gaudy, red lipstick and called my makeup “warpaint.”  She’s the  reason I hardly ever wear any.  She never ever stopped moving.  She’s the reason  I like to lounge.  She always had the television on, so I decided it best to  read in front of it.  Her head came up to my boobs, and she said I was a giant.   She loved to read mysteries and romance novels—but she was losing her sight.   She loved country music and oldies—anything with a melody—and she would  occasionally belt out Patsy Cline.  Her favorite was Randy Travis—who I called  Randy Shithead.  She asked too many questions—ridiculous, crazy, totally  inappropriate questions—but she said I was “nosy in the book.”  
She liked things clean, and that’s why I’m a crumb Nazi.  She hated going  more than one place in a day, standing in lines, and people who tried to get  something for nothing.  She was honest—bold and blunt and abrasive.  She never  joked about anything, but she was incredibly funny.  Sometimes, she would just  start laughing to herself—and no one would know why.  She liked to take  pictures and was good at finding perfect moments.  She taught me the fine art of  bathing and 7-11 picnics.  She loved all animals, but especially kitties.  She  treated them like children.
Children flocked to her, and she was a natural mother.  She was protective,  but she was the best listener ever—always saying what she would do…not  telling you what to do.  She worried to the point of insanity.  She made peanut  butter & jelly sandwiches with margarine and didn’t tell me what pork rinds  were.  She loved liver sausage sandwiches and broccoli soup.  She made the worst  food imaginable—something called hotdish—with burnt onions and acidic tin can  tomato sauce and Velveeta.  She could bake anything.  She’s the reason I love  ice cream cones.
She loved to take me to the library.  She loved Swiss Cake Rolls and candy.   Whole milk was the only way to go.  She grew up on a farm in North Dakota and  got pregnant when she was 13.  She was the baby of the family, but her Mama  wasn’t really her Mama.  Her real Mama died in childbirth.  She was born in a  barn.  She thought she killed a cow.  She cut off all her sister’s hair.  She  would wear fifty snowsuits when her Mama spanked her.  Her sister pushed her  from the hayloft, breaking both her legs.  She worked for several years as a  made.  She lost two children before me.  I was her miracle.  She loved my father  till the day she died.  She wore a Kerry pin, even after he didn’t win the  election.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her she lost.  If she had a crush on  a man, she called him her honeylamb.
She carried a shopping bag—not a purse—and a gauzy scarf everywhere she  went.  She felt naked without her wedding ring and her watch.  She liked glitzy  jewelry.  She hated long pants and cut off things rather than tailoring them.   She still wore her clothes from the 70s.  She put on her nightgown at 4:30 pm  and didn’t care if it was falling apart.  She loved slippers so much.  She was  easy to please, and I loved to make her happy.
She was my sous chef—cutting up all the vegetables before I went in and made  them taste good.  She liked to throw things when she was mad.  She forgave  easily.  She could look at you and rip you apart.  She had the bluest eyes,  brown-red hair that turned the most beautiful shade of silver, and olive skin.   She liked green and red best.  She loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She loved  snow and hated ice.  She walked everywhere.  She couldn’t reach light bulbs.   She could corner you with one look.  She was naive and gullible.  She was often  immature.  She loved movies and soap operas.  And Taco Bell.  And lasagna.  She  was proud of “her girl” and took every opportunity to brag.  She loved her Mama  and her Daddy and her siblings.  She always turned the other cheek.  She  believed in God, but didn’t stuff it in anyone’s face.  She didn’t know many  things, but she’d always admit it.  She thought she was stupid.  She smoked  Misty Menthols.  She told great stories about her childhood and my father.  She  combed my hair on the porch, in the dark.  She sang to me and read to me and let  me watch late-night television on the weekends.  She was always, always there.
She fought for me, but she never coddled me.  She drove me crazy.  She was an  alcoholic in recovery.  She laughed around men—a little too loud.  She was  stubborn to the point of insanity.  Almost everyone liked her, but God help you  if she didn’t like you.  But, at least, you knew it.  She hated needles.  She  died too soon.
Her name was Ruth.  I called her Mama.  And I loved her.  And I miss her.   And today is her birthday.