“I really thought I’d lost my grip on you Lm!” Rock doesn’t sweat; he has kept a solid eye on Lm. “You’ve been out cold; this was your first setback in years.” Lm scoots close to Rock, leaning her weak frame against his rawness, his realness and stares blankly. Lm was triggered by chronic pain, severe non-stop agony, her attempts to keep herself together crumbled. She ran away from herself which is when the hauntings of BaDDaD and a feeling of distrust take control of her persona. She is edgy, frightened by her own meltdown. Rock pulls her up the dank stairwell and let’s fresh air in through the doorway to her soul. She inhales and shivers with small tears of disappointment. “I’ve been doing so well Rock, you are supposed to keep me safe! It’s your fault you asshole. You are an ugly piece of old cement, all dried up into the most pathetic piece of whatever. Who cares? Not me. Why do you scowl at me? Why can’t I lose you or better yet throw you into the sea where you belong. Stupid Rock! “I am part of you Lm, in fact I am you.” “Holy crap, now I’ve heard everything, you are me?” Rock is still and listens as Lm curses, throws handfuls of small pebbles at him and she pushes him down the stairwell. Rock is not hurt. He lies there in the dark while she rants and raves about what a fool he is. Finally she slams the door shut and bolts it herself then one step at a time she carefully goes to the dark, sad place where Rock is lying patiently. She lifts him up and stares at him. It’s a lonely place without him, the all knowing piece of her, the one that takes over the helm when she is wrought with pain, physical, mental or emotional. She wants to thank him but chews on her fingers instead. Her hair is a tangled mess, just like her heart. Under her breath she whispers, “I love you Rock.”
Wander wander wanderer
She began looking as soon as she could see for Buses Full of Kids just like littleme Unloading Children Black as the night sea Eyes lookin' down at the dry cracked dirt white kids peeked from behind teacher's skirts Desks rearranged RULES Changed No Playdates, Same food, different plates Separate for lunches Same Lines Different Bunches Too small to understand? Naw WE KNEW Madness was made by ole men who wore red, white and blue They told white people lies while we watched the news Vietnam live, TV trays asn' little pot pies Little children listen to whispers and cries On the playground we mingled, We met on the swings, we touched hands, skin and learned to sing "You pretty, your hair is the colour of sand, you're so nice little "ma'am" "Don't say that, never again! I am like you, always your friend!" Wander Wander, Wanderer Still Life's a climb Up a downward hill Where are you girls, from the merry-go-round, where are the people who let us all down? Across the room I was pulled away, told to wait inside as you parted that day End of school, Nashville sun full I'd never see you again We were puppets of fools who built the scam DE-Segregation, a word we could not spell YOU 'RE still fighting your daily hell I live in a faraway life; I'd still risk anything to be by your side. Causes now, were causes then, oh my what I'd give to bring this to an end Shootings Shouting Dying Alone Black America is still my HOME. My skin doesn't match but I was there when we hugged one another, "we best friends" we touched each other's hair and shared from the start, pulled off the labels 'cause we were smart It was supposed to be better! Will it ever be that we can find each other and write long letters? Stupid southern haters, baiters that catered to leaders, make believers, nothing was real then or now we were not IN-TE-GRATED we were used, smoked and baited put together like N'awlean's blues Ole mammy, mammy blue little us, little you in grade three, cutting out snowflakes for the Christmas tree It was a sham, just like pot pies an' Vietnam I say your names in case you find me, Antonnette, Joyce and tiny Teena May where you are be good to you My little friends, I still love you
EVERY SINGLE THOUGHT
Each word in your brain has rolled through someone else’s also; mathematically it all adds up to who decides to believe in their own thoughts or who dismisses them not deeming their ideas worthy of following through with. Issaac Newton, Alfred Einstein, even THE Ben and Jerry who gave us our first taste of Chunky Monkey weren’t all knowing. What they were is quite simple, they were determined. None of them were afraid of being wrong or failing. There is still room for enlightenment as Marcus Aurelius would argue, God is all knowing, and we can’t possibly meet that Fantasia like phenomenon without having Faith. Faith is basically, hope. Hope is what we have when we are lost and need to be found, tired and need a hand, and Belief is when we truly think that Ben and Jerry, Newton, Einstein and God have one thing we lack. What is that thing? The dark and unanswered thoughts that rumble through our brains before bed, the tears we shed in silence, the fear of being dead or living fully as we are meant to live? What makes people need to hear from another repetition of old adages, religious philosophies, scientific explorations uncovered and more on phenomenal happenings? No two snowflakes are alike, but each snowflake has one thing in common, it’s a snowflake! No two brains or humans are alike, yet we are all part of an extraordinary experiment called life. Share your thoughts, the ego can fear rejection however the soul needs exceptions, the brain needs to question and solve. Our hands need to be held as we go through the same yucky crud that thousands upon hundreds of thousands have also gone through. Roll out those emotions through ArT, through words, through meanderings in the desert or forests, talk to your neighbour, run what’s in your head by another and there will be the likelihood of finding someone who believes in you just as much as I believe in Ben and Jerry’s.
Casper ‘s Image DALL·E 2
Curled around a group of birches, Casper’s tail sparkled in the morning sun. His thick, weathered skin was like brass gone green, he needed a good cleaning, his spikes were tipped with bits of the forests depths it had swept through for months. Leafy remnants, spider’s webs, dried clumps of mud and more. Casper needed a bath. In his heart he longed for his mother who had taught him to fly when small; together they’d play in a hidden lake in another forest, diving while making thunderous splashes, refreshing their moods along with cleansing themselves all at once. He’d lost his desire to travel after his mother died, often losing days to grieving. At night he would find some solace in the gaiety of the forest fairies zipping about in whirls of colour, the plump trolls who were busying themselves with dutiful quests to prepare for winter amused him, especially when they strapped themselves upon gangly beetles like cowboys off for a rodeo. Often the fairies would light upon his long-arched nose causing him to smile, even if only for a very little bit. Their fanciful colours brightened the darkness within the forest as well as his heavy heart, quieting his sadness. As the beetles marched one by one back to their nooks in dead oak trees, the trolls who had dismantled quickly carried on with their purpose. With tiny mounds of moss gathered for insulation, bound twigs hoisted up on their shoulders like seasoned lumberjacks, they were diligently focused on strengthening the walls in their miniscule cosy cottage as the frosty winds would soon be upon them all. Casper yawned letting out a steamy sigh; this warmed the trolls who had snuggled up to sleep away the new day rising and could already be heard snoring. Casper stood, breaking tree limbs with his large body, causing creatures to scurry quickly before he took a step. He was not up for a roar nor a test of his powers. He was hungry and had a very picky diet for a dragon of his size. He snacked on nuts, berries and occasional bird’s eggs which had hatched but still had some gooey insides and crunch to them. He never was able to kill the critters around him. He was, as much as a dragon could be, gentle. His one hankering however was fish. With his mother he would swoop down in the fresh lake, open his jaws wide like a giant whale at sea then let the water into his mouth, using his clenched teeth as a filter the small fish swam straight into his belly. His mother said that small fish were good for his health. Today he would try and lift his wings, fly to the hidden lake and revive his thirst again. In a meadow, he sprang into the sky, flocks of geese screeched and redirected their course as he flapped his velvety wings. He circled the lake slowly and was just about to make a heavy dive when he saw a small, yet taller than normal looking troll. He knew that the aftermath of his landing would hit the being like a tsunami so he settled carefully in a just big enough opening on the ground where he could have a closer look. This troll had water running from its eyes and curly rust coloured hair.
Casper had never seen such a smooth skinned troll. The trolls he knew had warts and thick red noses, wore rabbit fur robes and boots made of birch bark. This troll was spotted like a poisonous mushroom, had dark blue cloth from his waist down to his bare feet. Casper had not seen a troll’s feet or toes nor cared to. On his upper body was a red as a cherry cloth that covered the troll’s arms and neck. In his hand he held a stick with a string attached. Casper was quite impressed, being cautious not to make the sighing sound that made new creatures run away. He watched until the troll began to shiver as the sun was now lowering behind the tall firs around them. Why did the troll not run to his cottage, seek warmth and comfort like the other trolls from his forest? Casper carefully moved toward the water, still on the other side of the lake from this spotted creature. He quietly lapped up some water, or so he thought, and it caused a rather noticeable wave on the opposite shore. The troll jumped up, then leapt backwards and looked up and saw Casper’s big emerald eyes and made a sound that was like nothing he’d ever heard. It was so high pitched it made his senses heighten and he felt a bit frightened. “Mooooom!”, a sound came out of the mouth that reminded him of a baby dragon’s cry when left in the nest alone. Casper lowered his body and remained still intending to show that he meant no harm. Neither moved. The troll inched backwards and hid behind some brush, regularly peering out and having another peak at Casper. Night was coming fast; would this troll be okay in the darkness alone? Casper always slept in his own forest where all the creatures knew him, and he felt welcomed. Suddenly the troll threw a stone across the water, and it skipped and bounced like magic. Casper turned to see the troll do it again and again. Casper picked up a stone and tried but it just sunk to the bottom quickly. The troll made loud noises again, “Mooooom! It’s a dragon, a real dragon!” Casper waited to see another troll, but no one came. The troll was obviously beginning to shake more either in fear or due to having no birch boots like most trolls on his small white feet. Casper decided to let out a warming sigh which would roll across the lake and perhaps comfort him. A steam rose above the darkening lake and the troll felt the sensation, his shivering stopped, and his mouth opened wide without a sound. Then it yelled, “Are you a good dragon?” Casper couldn’t speak this being’s tongue and blew warm sighs of air again. “Thank you for warming me up, I mean unless you are about to eat me for dinner!” The troll jumped behind the bush again and called out, “Moooom!” Casper decided he should swim to the same side to have a better look. He rose carefully from the lake and laid his head upon the rocky edge. The troll looked out at him and threw a stone bigger than the others and it hit Casper in the eye. Casper made an “Ouch” sound that dragons make when hurt. “Oh. I hurt you?”; the strange troll emerged once again and began to babble on with so much speed that Casper wished he could shut down his sensitive hearing. Instead, he chose to move carefully down the stony shore onto softer ground and lay on his side to feign sleep. Perhaps the troll would stop making so much nonsensical noise now, however he kept one eye slightly open to be sure this weird little troll wasn’t going to throw more rocks at him. Darkness had come and the moon was not full. Casper’s eyes saw easily in the darkness, but not the trolls. He continued to pretend to sleep and felt the troll tug on his tail then rub his wings gently. The bothersome troll crawled up on his back and crept up his long neck then looked down at Casper’s eyelids. He felt the troll touch the place where the rock had hit him and in a low tone say, “Poor dragon, poor me, poor us.” Casper tried to be still, yet the trolls little cold feet tickled tremendously. He opened his eyes and there was the troll hanging upside down peering into his giant emerald eye. “Please don’t sleep, I’m scared!” Gibberish again. Water fell from the troll’s eyes and landed into Casper’s. A warm, faintly familiar magical moment happened right then and there. In that very second Casper understood. This troll missed his mother, too. Once more he let out a sigh to warm the air and the troll ran down his arched-nose and stood as close as he could in front of Casper’s good eye. Casper could see the troll’s face very well and sensed his desperation and stared wearily back at him. His thoughts were both kind and grouchy. “I never had my dinner because of you, so can you please get off my nose, close your eyes and sleep now?” Since dragon’s can’t speak his own irritation was unnoticed, quickly he softened and felt the tingling of sadness for his new, seemingly unshakable companion. “Please stay awake dragon!” Casper doubted he could make any sound so complicated but gave it a try with just one wish upon the twinkling stars above, “Make this most unusual, loud small toad of a troll disappear.” To his surprise the troll crawled on top of his head, slid down his neck then nestled in the softness of his left wing. Casper worked up the courage and sighed, feeling love rise from his heart and flow out easily. Without much effort he simply cared. No noise came from the troll. He turned his big head down and made out the wee one in his wing. He was fast asleep. Casper thanked the stars for granting him peace and carefully closed his eyes to rest. It was the first time in a very long, long time that Casper felt a sense of comfort inside and together they slept in peace. Dawn woke Casper and he looked down to check on the troll. What? He wasn’t there? Suddenly he heard a new sound, a windy sound that was quite jolly. He looked about and there at the lake’s edge was the little one with the stick he’d had when he first noticed him. He had a long string dangling into the water; he saw the stick jerk downwards then in one swift move the troll yanked the stick out of the water and there, flopping on the end was a small fish. The troll made more giddy sounds and put the fish on a large flat stone. Casper was ravenous by now and knew that one small fish might feed the troll but never him. He let out his morning soft roar and the little troll ran toward him. “I have to eat, and I can’t give up on my mom finding me.” He screamed loudly, “Moooom!” several times and then the water in his eyes began to fall. Casper so wanted to help the pathetic, lanky troll. Casper nudged with his nose as carefully as a giant dragon could for the troll to move away from the lake. He kept nudging him until he was safely away from the flood he was about to create. The troll understood Casper had good reason and obliged. Casper immersed his head under the water, opened his mouth allowing the fish to swim in, and for the first time he didn’t swallow them rather he spat them all out onto the shoreline and there were hundreds of them flapping about. He went down again and took a big belly full for himself then sighed with smelly warm fish breath toward the hungry troll. When the troll saw all the fish, he was exuberant, yet instead of eating them he began picking up downed tree limbs, pushing them into a pile, and striking two stones together. Casper must have seemed curious as the troll looked up and tried to explain fire by gesticulating the shape of flames and making noises that came out like POOF! Casper nudged a fish that had stopped flopping toward him. The troll shook his head and kept on with his task. Casper decided if he ate the fish then maybe the troll would eat the others brought up for him. In one quick lick the fish was gone. The stubborn troll kept at his strange task when suddenly a small spark appeared. Casper now realised that the troll wanted fire, like the ones in his forests made when they stayed up on special nights and played their wooden flutes and danced. Casper nudged the troll to move back, he was more assertive now and the troll understood to run. Casper took in a deep breath then with all his might he roared, fire shot out of his nostrils and the fish, well, they were without a doubt baked. He then watched as the small, thin and obviously starving troll munch on them spitting out the bones which Casper licked up and found quite tasty. There were far too many fish for one small troll. Casper knew the feeling of hunger, of missing a mother and yet, he could not stay in this forest for long as he recalled his mother always coaching him to look about for strange creatures who did not like dragons. As much as he wanted to help the small waif, he knew he had to return to his own forest. He tried as much as a dragon can to communicate with the little eyes as green as his own, with rusty curls falling over his forehead, tiny brown spots on his nose and cheeks, with the cold bare feet and teeny toes. Troll studied Casper. He was clearly trying, too. Just in that second of what one might call friendship, one full of caring and tenderness, trust and newness a loud clanging noise came from the far side of the lake. Casper had never been that far, and his tail thumped shaking the ground beneath them. The troll looked up and with his high-pitched scream called out to the noise. “I’m here! Next, they heard a sound that echoed with a deep stern voice, “Benny? Stay put boy and we will come to you”. The troll had water in his eyes and rubbed Casper’s nose, “You must go, they will hurt you.” Casper did not move. Then the boy pushed Casper as hard as he could repeatedly. Casper realised the small troll was nudging him for good reason, urging him to go. “No one will believe me when I try to say you are gentle.” The sounds from the troll were more like a plea now and Casper recalled once again his mother’s instructions. “This is not our forest; creatures here don’t like dragons.” Casper’s emerald eyes were full of water, too; his tears were like buckets of rain forming small ponds. He stood and was much higher than the treeline, there he could see a group of taller creatures like his wee troll coming fast. He bent down and let his friend kiss his eyelids then sprung up from the opening from where he had his first glimpse of this new, quite loveable strange new creature. Benny waved with both sadness and joy, for he had made a memory no one would ever believe and soon he, unlike Casper, would be reunited with his mother. Casper’s heart still felt warm for this special troll had given him reason to care again. The late morning sun shone beautifully upon his wings reflecting a deep purple hue. Good things can still happen and just for fun he roared as loud as he could in a very long time. Although nearing his own forest, the lost troll could hear Casper and jumped into his mother’s arms and said, “I really was saved by a dragon!”; the mother smiled at her sweet son’s vivid imagination and held him tight. Casper vowed to return to the lake now, perhaps the spotted troll would, too. As he lay gently down in his usual spot in his own forest, fairies circled around him, delighted he was back. The small trolls in their rabbit fur coats and birch boots looked at him with relief. They too needed his warm sighs to lull them to sleep. Benny promised his mother to never run off from camp on his own to fish again without telling a grown-up. However, he knew, without a doubt he would return one day and so would Casper.
Cold Moon Sight
Moon Light, Cold Eye of Eternal, Emerging Goddess, Aware of Me, a Coyote’s howl under Frosty Pines; Moon Light, Cold Eye of Universal Goddess, Aware of You, too. She Shines on Gray Wolverines, Bones from Wings, Buried Beneath Barren Aspen Who Sleep. Moon Light Still, Our Oasis! Mighty Universe Releases Tiny Drops of Mystery Moon Light Glow, Embossing the Frozen Creek, Jagged Brightness Decorates the Peaks. Moon Light Dusts the flightless, hooved tracks with brightness. Moon Light, Cold Eye of Goddess, Aware of All Beneath This Hard Dirt Who Lay Quietly, Stolen or Willingly. Do You Still Seek Love? Do you Hear Midnight Yelps of Hyper Furry Runts Leaping Above? Listen, do you hear the Hungry Deer, Moose Meandering Above You in the Moon Light? Can You Smell the Love of the Almighty Breath of Eternal Life; Are You Aware of the Moon Light Dusting Your Grave, Touching Your Shrine Bouncing and Playing in Your Spirit? Lyrical Lunar Moon, Night Light Cold Tunes Of Old Songs Sung by the REnewed Oasis in the Night Goddess of Our Deeper Sight.
At night I close my eyes yet am wide awake wanting a miracle to make you happy, to be whole and live the life you want to live. To unlock the chains of stigmatism, of bigotry and divisiveness I would slay fiercely. I want to wake to see you smiling, holding the hand of another, laughing and having plans that don’t include me. I want you to be loved as I love you, your heart to feel cosy and warm; I want this life to begin for you with acceptance and commitment. Will the barriers which bind you to unhappiness release you soon; will the sun shine and your warm brown eyes have no tears? I lay solemn, my pledge to see you through your journey unwaivering. I would be lying to myself and to the grand altruism deemed LOVE if I said it will all be okay. I don’t know if it will be okay, that you will thrive or that this world will give you what you need. My heart is heavy, my mind restless; I never stop thinking about you becoming who you are without more pain. I would pray, yet my beckoning turns sour when each day I see your soft eyes vulnerable. The God I once knew would not cast such pain on you. Goodnight my love. May you sleep and dream of rainbows and all the things that keep you strong; I close my eyes yet my heart is open for you every hour, every breath and will never be calm until I know you are satisfied.
On the street lives a man, a cardboard box his shroud, amidst the musty smells, a lonesome moan in a passing crowd. Ties, white shirts, most briefcase clad, hot dogs on the go, fifty cents for a drink is very cheap you know. Wrapped in plastic, his form emerges and satirizes the bunch. Some give him five or ten cents then hurry off to lunch. He stuffs his profits in his coat and straightens up his boxes. He crawls back inside, covers up like a wolf among the foxes. Night falls once again, his belly cries and intensifies his urges. The flag blows haphazardly in the midnight breeze, the US Capital illuminated casts shadows on the trees. Lover's laugh, walk briskly through the winding streets; the man watches carefully everyone he meets. Five cents, ten cents it adds up in the end, tomorrow is Memorial Day, he'll have a buck by then. A soldier once in Vietnam, his friends and faith were killed, he returned to his country another being, his hopes unfulfilled. No hometown parade or pretty blonde waited, his fantasies were abated. His mind full of gun shots fired, men bleeding in the trenches, his heart felt numb his soul was seized, abandoned in death's clenches. Lonely, dehumanized, questioning his life, ne'r was he ever graced from his fear or strife. Old, now sick, he slithers down beside a fancy car, college kids laugh as they leave a Georgetown bar. Shameless now, bloodshot tears he stumbles to his haven, rolls up in bubble wrap, a treasure he's been saving. Underneath this cardboard hut lies a wounded heart indeed, a US soldier who fought in 'Nam whose soul was left to bleed.
Sitting with my Grandma, “Shhhh! Now listen”. Her smile is remembered. Loretta Lynn singing on the small television, being interviewed and my admiring her long dark hair. My cousins were restless and sent outside with sweet tea, moon pies and I stayed beside her. The Grand Ole Opry! Being poor and working one’s way to the top is an achievement many country music fans, or mindful humans can appreciate. I didn’t feel poor or that life was a struggle; Grandma came from a very well-mannered family and kept us close, often saying,”not our people”, when I asked questions about others I was all in a quandary with. “Mind your business; we have enough with each other.” I always wondered how Loretta Lynn knew anything about coalminers; all dolled up with ribbons in her hair, long braids and frilly, detailed dresses she did not seem to me to be simple or wanting in anyway. It’s dark tonight on Sweden’s west coast and my days in Nashville seem light years away; I want to believe that Loretta is soaring above us, having a look at Mars, smiling and humming in peace. Women become strong through experience, fighting for their words to be heard and sung. I feel a warmth, a sense of peace knowing she had such a good life by just being herself. What if we all could just be humble, gracious, kind and appreciate of our lives? Wouldn’t that be something? I can’t play a guitar. If I could I would take my hidden wings, stuff banana and chocolate moon pies, RC cola and warm grits with butter and salt into my backpack, strap my Fender over my shoulder and rise amongst the stars. There I’d see Mrs. Loretta waiting and she’d pat the ground beside her, invite me to sit down and we’d sing with her long dark hair flowing in sync with eternity. Actually, I think she wouldn’t care whether I could play guitar. I can carry a tune. She may be our best example of “the salt of the earth”, now an iconic memory that changed music and hearts forever. Maybe Grandma would be there, too and I’d surprise her with all my southern goodies. We wouldn’t be tired, or sick or old. Just three strong women, free from adversity and strife sipping our cola, eating warm grits and unwrapping moon pies on Mars.
Look up above into the sky, look to the Sun close your eyes, turn, feel the warmth of glorious time. Beauty we breathe, hear and smell, embrace Autumn, and take time to dwell. Forest Firs, Aspen’s golden, apples red for harvest’s showdown. Behold the brilliant colors pure! Gaze upon Nature’s finest grandeur. Each year we split from our inner season greeting with hope, our chest of reasons; to embody life we let go of hillsides green to white winter’s scheme. Nature is our steady guide, see the moonbeams by our side? If we should live one more day, please hold close to Nature’s way. Without the Earth, the moon or sky, how doeth heaven’s angels fly? Hold out your hand and give much more, our planet knows how to score. If humans step without good meaning Mother knows as her vessel’s are bleeding. It’s not too late to welcome change, stand up and shout we must refrain. No more garbage in our seas, clear the sky and save the trees. Humans are given the brain to think, resolve our quandaries before we sink. Come now and join the tide, Nature needs us by her side.
Four a.m. rain, nine celsius; usually perfect sleeping time for this weathered woman. Sipping ginger tea, disturbed by my relentless coughing, I avoid my bed and waking my husband who needs to work in two hours. From my soft sofa, a burgundy wine red, drowsiness sets in. Plumped up with pillows under an old cosy quilt I stare out a window into the black where the opposite panes behind me are lit with led lights and reflect before me. I want to be small, a Christmas Eve long ago and my mother to be sneaking around, making my morning perfect. She eats the cookies and downs the eggnog, maybe wonders if she’s got it right. Is she enough? Would this have been her little girl dream? Her’s weren’t doused in decor, perfection and excitement leading up to morning fun. My dog with her red bow, the pancake batter, fruit before stockings, albums pre-stacked, ready to drop one after the other, Bing Crosby always first. She has pretty cards on my bonus Dad’s plate and mine. She knows I will wake early and probably puts the coffee maker’s little paper bag in and pours the water, only needing to wake, push the button and join me under the tree. I too, tried to get it right year after year. People pleasing I learned from Mom. It never felt right except when I finally became a mother. I had a doggie too, a red bow, pancakes and coffee. The first year, so perfect. A four month old, the first husband smiling while opening his new sweater as our baby made sweet sounds on a soft blanket in front of the crackling fire. No hoopla. Just a new bone for our dog, the gift of motherhood and dreams were full, all good, with smiles; it would be perfect. That first Christmas as a mother I held my cherub and we watched, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Each sleepless night was a dream come true then with the long awaited child. Life in the world could be imperfect yet I would forge on, recreating reasons to be joyful, to see good and not look at the late night reflections. It was another morning, at forty years old, a Christmas of struggles and loss; my five year old watching “The Snowman” and cuddling with our doggie, sippy cup with apple juice in hand and already asking for peppermint sticks. I was a woman, staring at the deep Vermont snow with more coming down. This had been all I wanted. Why was I feeling it was impossible to make my husband learn to love through adversity, not resent the world for turning us upside down. Couldn’t we right it again? He’d lost his job the previous autumn and being post 9/11, despite his impeccable skills as an electrical engineer finding work was a dead end; he was Arabic. We’d met in a university town, he a foreign student working on his master’s and a brilliant graduate teaching fellow. He also was in charge of the cartography library and was a quiet, gentle soul. Being from north Africa he was working toward success, his culture beautiful in so many ways we learned to incorporate it easily into our life via cuisine. To this day my young adult’s comfort food is cous-cous with cinnamon and butter. That Christmas it all changed. He sat angry, not hiding his feelings as our child opened presents he resented my buying. I had worked as a writer for two local papers, taken care of those in palative care in their homes and even cleaned someone’s house each week. The bills became monster’s and no matter the music, or the lights on the tree softly lighting each evening he fell into a place that had no room for my dreams or his own. I had pleased and pleaded to keep hope alive and soon I no longer knew how to set the table just right, smile in the wake of tears, cheer up anyone at all. I had failed. Did my mother feel she had failed, too? Did she wish she knew all the answers? I had left home at sixteen and broke her heart. How could I ever fix that? I knew I had to change my own approach. My husband found a job in another state and I stayed behind, afraid to follow I took a small apartment in an old Victorian house in a new town. On weekends he would drive to see us and for awhile I thought maybe it could work. I looked for work and nothing was available with a child and no one reliable to help me out. The story is one of those that many know, you are somewhere, uncertain and just taking baby steps and holding out for an epiphany. Mine came about in a very long and loaded journey, a new country, messy Christmases that I couldn’t fix, clashes of cultures, always bending, trying, pleasing and believing in miracles. Now I feel much older than I am, often in poor health, I dread everything, every holiday as I know it can’t be like it was when I ran from my room, hugged my mother and bonus dad and let my doggie open her present first. I look at the sky now, it’s beginning to show a deep yet slowly lighting blue. The led lights on a timer will click off and I will make coffee. My second husband of fifteen years will wake and ask how I am feeling and then he will work. I will worry about my NOW. Not yesterday or tomorrow. I hope for nothing much but for my young adult to find their path, to be okay and content like that very first Christmas cooing with baby toes high in the air. I want this family, despite the buried knowing of what this “wonderful life” can do to each and everyone of us, to recognize our love is NOW. I stopped wanting it all, however I do keep believing that pancakes and coffee can turn things around. Good morning! Lm and Rock are cheering all of you on. May you stumble into something good, just right and feel the way you need.