If I Could

If I could…

If there was a genie, and a wish,

a portal, a god

who didn’t let angels like her

die,

before they were ready

or done,

before they could shower their 13 great grandchildren with love.

If I could

I’d show her the tiny leaf

of the orchid I just found peeking out

from under the rock

where I thought it had died.

I’d make her a cup of coffee

and her favorite snickerdoodle cookie to dip in it.

I’d hold her hands and marvel

at the grace, love and softness

still in them,

after a lifetime of hard work and undeserved heartache.

If I could

I’d put my now white-haired head

next to hers,

and laugh at their likeness.

If I could

I’d share all the things

I know would make her smile.

I’d say all the things

I didn’t know I should have,

before I couldn’t.

If I could.

CRR

1-23-23

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Just Breathe

I’ve been working on this recently, when I haven’t been overwhelmed with anxiety about not writing and a hundred other things. I know I’m not alone and I know it both IS and IS’NT this simple, but we have to start somewhere. I figure the best place to start is where it all begins and ends. With the breath.

Sitting alone at the beach on this cloudy day,

so many emotions, some flowing, some stay.

On the way here, a hospital, where today someone will die,

but alive and well at this moment, I can exclaim with a sigh-

Life is pain and joy and we each feel it all,

rich or poor, young, old, short or tall.

Waves crash and a tiny shorebird pecks for his meal,

this moment of peace and plenty, past or future cannot steal.

That’s it, all we have is our little slice of now,

in it lies everything, the answer to how,

we’ll get to and through, the next steps on our walk,

one breath at a time, with the fierceness of the hawk.

CRR

1-2-23

  • PS- Please check out my archive. I’ve been writing here for almost 12 years, some years prolifically, others not as much, but I’d like to think there’s something here for everyone.
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Why Bother?

Because right now, there is someone
out there with
a wound in the exact shape
of your words.

Sean Thomas Doughtery

I’ve spent the last week sick with bronchitis and a nasty sinus infection. It follows that I’ve spent much of that time in bed, although not nearly enough time sleeping, due to the persistent coughing. My lack of physical activity appears to have transmuted itself into a flood of frenetic mental activity in the middle of the night. My autonomic nervous system has shown absolutely no respect for “normal” brain rest and renew hours.

During this period, I’ve managed to solve exactly zero world problems, nor even any of my own, but the down time did allow some of the emotional baggage I’ve stuffed away (pushed way down into the salt of my soul) to begin cathartically bubbling up from the ebony places I’d thought I’d so expertly hidden them in, deep within the crypts* of my gut. Over the years and through much practice, I’ve become quite adept at stowing a myriad of unbidden, untimely, unpleasant, and uncomfortable thoughts, events and memories into those crypts.

Whether we are aided by enzymes secreted deep within our digestive system, or we engage in an emotional reconciliation process to deal with our issues/emotions fully, the sciences of gastroenterology and psychiatry tell us that what we take in, what we ingest, both literally and figuratively, either gets digested there or becomes immobilized there, embedding itself in the mitochondria, like stow-away hazardous material, inflaming its surroundings and interrupting potentially peaceful days and nights.

I’ve struggled in the last 6 months of so with the discipline required to be fully engaged in my writing practice. My stubbornness and unwillingness to “appropriately alter/package” my work in order to have it deemed “marketable”, has seemingly slammed the door to my creativity and opened another to the “why bother” section of my ever so handy rationalization storeroom.

In the haunting 3am hour of this morning, I came upon Doughtery’s poem and rose to get a pen and a journal, his words inserting themselves ever so gently into one of my wounds and opening the bulging suitcase of a crypt I’ve been attempting to keep zipped up. Apparently my body has been trying to tell me I’ve exceeded the poundage limit for flight and therefore must empty some things out to lighten my load, which I’m feeling like I finally have the energy to do.

So dear reader, if you’re currently plagued by thoughts of “why bother”, whatever the context may be, although it may not immediately be clear, Rumi and I are here to remind you that there IS a reason you should.

“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
Rumi

Peace and Love

*Crypts of Lieberkuhn -intestinal glands named after German physician and founder, Jonathan Nathanel Lieberkuhn 1711-1756

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A Family I Wasn’t Born Into

Has a refrigerator full of tasty things

and my tiny stomach is never empty.

There’s an actual table with chairs to eat at and 

the air around my little head 

buzzes with plenty and comfort and 

love and laughter floats through their rooms

like a feather on a warm, summer wind.

A family I wasn’t born into

has a bed for everyone, with a soft puffy pillow,

and the sheets smell like honeysuckle and sunshine

and not like the laundromat costs too much.

Someone helps me make mine and

place my stuffed animal friends just so, every day and 

I never find my mommy there unwakeable.

A family I wasn’t born into

takes their children to school every day

and sings silly songs on the way and

never wakes me in the middle of the night 

with yelling or crying or to make me go 

somewhere dark and scary

to get something that mommy needs 

so she’ll stop shaking and throwing up.

A family I wasn’t born into

has children that never have to wonder 

if they’ll be sleeping in their car that night,

mosquito bitten, scared and sweating or freezing.

They take bubble baths in big clean tubs

with toy ducks and play boats and 

 they have freshly washed pajamas that fit them and

 that never leave too-tight marks on their skin.

A family I wasn’t born into 

knows where they’ll be next week or next month

and has routines that make me feel safe and warm

and plans for things they all look forward to and 

those things will actually happen for them.

Like the sun that rises every morning and 

for a while, makes me remember how to smile.

CRR 

12-23-21

This one is for all of the innocent children. The ones waiting and longing for a childhood untainted by chaos and neglect. The ones who’ve never known what it means to be carefree, to not be hungry or ill-clothed. The ones who’ve seen and experienced far too much, and yet not enough good, not enough love.

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Christmas Memories

The smell of applesauce cake and coffee

wafting through the “Christmas Spotless” house.

Multicolored lights

dancing on the silver tinseled tree.

The sound of Momma’s magic hands

curling ribbon 

for the very last of the presents

she’d stayed up half the night wrapping.

A bright orange tangerine

placed into each of our red felt stockings.

Little Man’s small fry fingers

tapping on my shoulder.

The heat of his four-year-old breath

whispering in my ear,

“Sissy, has he come yet?”

Tiptoeing hand in hand 

into moments glimmering with magic.

Our wide-eyed dreams fulfilled.

CRR 

12-5-21

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Deja Vu Night Moves

I stealthily rise so as not to awaken my dear C-PAP masked husband.

No matter how hard I try to be quiet, 100% of the time, my right knee will crack

and inevitably signal that I am up,

having once again succumbed to the vagabond words and ideas

that held a clandestine meeting

during which they organized a 3AM flash mob in my brain.

As they dance across the neural highways between my ears,

I try in vain to memorize the motions, already having lain awake for an hour,

silently willing myself to release them en masse

into the cool blackness that fills the room.

With each exhale, I imagine them flitting like Monarchs

into a journal I’ll open in a just a few hours and read with surprise.

The big ones, problems I have absolutely no power to solve,

(yet encyclopedic in weight as they press on my chest),

I release for the ten thousandth time with a 12 step admission.

The heart doesn’t listen.

Stepping softly and gently closing the bedroom door,

I make my way to my office, bypassing the kitchen and coffee,

because it’s just too early yet.

I grab one of my journals and a pen and stare

at the mammoth emptiness of the page,

knowing I’ve been in this moment before and

will without doubt, be here again.

CRR

9-23-21

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Luck

As luck would have it I’m up at 3:15 AM this Friday the 13th, pondering the concept of luck because it’s today’s writing prompt. Do I believe it exists? Have I experienced it? When have I had it? What kind have I had? Can we humans actually create our own luck? Why does it seem that some people have nothing but bad luck? Or do they actually? Is there a hidden message or meaning in bad luck? Can something good come from bad luck? Why do some individuals seem to have all the luck? Or do they? Do we misuse the term? Is “luck” just a filler word we plug in to a sentence when there’s no perceived reason or logical explanation for an event occurring? Some say there’s no such thing as luck and that everything happens for a reason. I’d argue with some of the “reasons”. “Of course you would” says my husband, who claims I should have been a lawyer instead of a teacher given my irrepressible urge to argue about everything.)

This semi- neurotic stream of consciousness and the fact that I forgot to take my nighttime allergy pill are two of the reasons I’m up in the middle of this particular night. Secondary are voter suppression, injustice, inequality, COVID-19, stress, hormones and the fact that I tend to overthink everything. Because I’m me, I had to look up the definition:

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

-the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

-a force that brings good fortune or adversity

I found a gold chain on a beach once. Was that good fortune or was I simply more observant than the other folks who I saw walk right by it?  

I won a wedding dress once and went on to marry an exploitative monster. (1st husband, not the 2nd, there are other nouns and adjectives for him). Was that an omen or luck? And for those keeping count and while we’re on the subject, my 3rd husband is the absolute love of my life and one of the 7 best things that ever happened to me, (the other 6 are my kids and grandkids). 

Is luck simply the result of hard work or diligence? Is it just being in the right or wrong place at a certain moment in time? Do the stars control it? Do the direct or indirect actions of ourselves, our ancestors, or others determine  or contribute to it? In the U.K. they use the term “hard luck”. I like the connotation involved with that. Tough times and unfavorable circumstances are certainly hard/difficult.

If you’re still reading and wondering where I’m going with this, welcome to my world. At a minimum, I’ve given you something to ponder today when you run out of things to worry and wonder about. Just make sure you’re not daydreaming so much that you forget about staying safe and paying attention to your surroundings. Wouldn’t want you to incur any bad luck. On the other hand you just might get lucky and have some kind of epiphanic eureka moment. Let me know if you do and I might ponder that tomorrow when I’m up in the middle of the night!

Peace and Love

*Originally written on Friday Oct. 13th, 2020. Discovered again on Friday the 13th of August, 2021 at 3:30 am. What luck! 

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New Year’s Manifesto

What a year! Those three words have a different context each year for all of us. We say them with a multitude of tones, volumes, and emotions. The last two years have certainly shared some adjectives.

2021 was ______________.

You can Mad Lib your own choice of words in the blank, but it definitely wasn’t one thing. It never is. For me it was “all the things”, but not limited to: exciting, trying, wonderful, exasperating, dissappointing, fulfilling, enjoyable, stressful, sad, blissful, frustrating, enthralling, surprising and predictable, forgettable and memorable.

I live near the ocean, so that is “my place”. That’s where I’ve always gone to recenter, to let it all go, to get it back together, to feel a part of something bigger when I feel all alone, to call on my angels and drown my demons. You have your own places, so after you read my poem, I invite you to go there and write your own, inserting your own sounds, sights, and feelings.

One thing is for sure. We’ll all be in the same place at 11:59PM on this last day of 2021. Whether asleep or awake, we’ll all be looking forward with hope. Hope that next year will be better for us, maybe even that it will be “our year”. The one in which we’ll finally get to take that trip, get that promotion, reach that goal, fulfill that promise, welcome those loved ones home, or enjoy the fruit of our efforts and experience the joy we were made for.

I’d like to propose that we add one more wish to our personal lists. That 2022 be the GOAT. The greatest of all times for each and every one of us. That we meditate for just a moment and dedicate our brain energy to that encompassing wish. The wish that all of us can come together to make our world, the one we all share, the only one we have, a better place for ALL OF US, whatever our situation might be. Because joy doesn’t just belong to some of us. It was meant for us all..

You might be thnking,” How can I do anything to insure that?” “What can I do?”

Laura McBride- We Are Called To Rise

That’s the message that the last 2 years has given us. We are called to rise. For the benefit of us all, not just a few. Do the things that make the world a better place for all of us, not just for ourselves. It’s pretty damn simple. We could do it. I’ll go first. Please follow.

Peace and Love

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“I Think I Was Enchanted”

Today on The Carol and Emily Project…

The Carol and Emily Project

Emily Dickinson’s poem #593 is a complex and deep ode to poetry and all that it encompasses. It’s one of those that you have to read numerous times before you even begin to understand all of the mystical references, imagery, and connotations. There are references to nature, witchcraft, another female writer and many metaphors about the light that rises from the darkness. Each time I reread it I get something deeper from it.

My alteration of #593 is much simpler. It’s one of those tales as old as time that I’d guess the majority of us humans have either experienced or can relate to. You know the story, girl meets boy or vice-versa, but one is hiding something. One kind of senses, but doesn’t want to. The whole play eventually comes to an end, and one could regret it or be mad, but it was still such a really good…

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Just Another Day (a writing prompt)

This Pedestrian Life

But it doesn’t have to be.

And it isn’t.

Believe me when I tell you I know that “same old, same old” feeling.

It infects me too. LOTS of times.

But the thing is, we have to fight it, because love IS the answer most of the time, but fighting that particular virus like a mo-fo (I can’t use the real term since I’m a teacher and my right to free speech doesn’t exist) is the answer at other times.

Sure, we can love “what is”.

But if “what is” is killing us softly, slowly, one tic-tock at a time, that’s a mind battle we need to engage in.

Speaking of mind battles and what is…

Self discipline is not my middle name.

We tussle like siblings over the “whatever there is to tussle about at that current moment in time”.

I say I’m going to write every day at…

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House + Love = Home

This Pedestrian Life

Yesterday marked 13 years that hubs and I have lived in this house. Although he’s been far less mobile than me, it’s the longest time period that either of us have lived at one address. Despite the fact that we’ve had multiple marriages and been around the block, (subdivision, trailer park, town, state, country) more than a few times, it’s one of the many wonderful things we’ve never experienced with anyone else.

Hubby’s numbers are in the low single digits while my list includes 13 schools attended and 33 houses/places lived in. And I wasn’t a foster kid or a military brat, so go figure. My mobile life seems to be the result of hunter-gatherer, gypsy tendencies, or a “hey the grass is greener over there” type of thing. Being the hard headed, “I’ll find my own truths” rebel I am, it took me a long time to recognize that…

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Autumn

Reblogging this because it’s Autumn again, and it turns out I got distracted by a lot of other books and well, life in general. It happens, and I’d guess most of you can relate to being drawn down other paths on this walk of life. I never read the 3 other seasons books this author, so I just ordered them all a minute ago. My dear friend Becky is coming to visit in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see her and discuss Knausgaard’s seasons!

This Pedestrian Life

My dear friend Becky and I often share books we’ve discovered and loved. Most recently she shared “Autumn”, the first of four anticipated, seasonal titled volumes of reflections by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, in which he describes the material and natural world to his unborn daughter with such immersive depth and detail that it moved me (once again) to reflect on how much goes unnoticed as we race from point A to Point B and down our “to do” lists each day. Between arising each morning and collapsing each evening, we’re often blessed to find a moment here or there to take notice, but oh the marvels, the layers, the connections, the joys, and the beauties we must miss.

But just how interesting could reading about a thermos be? As much as war, twilight, mouths, willows, loneliness and rubber boots? My answer is yes, so this is part book…

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