The Fallout

Frayed rope breaking

 

I wrote this haiku sonnet, based on this quotation: “Mental illness leaves a huge legacy, not just for the person suffering it but for those around them.” -Lysette Anthony

 

the fallout

another day starts,
bones heavy with night’s trauma,
her blank face breaks hearts

not always easy
to love someone so distant
strength; the cross to bare

hate-filled words hurtle
through air thick with silence and
insults which batter

always fearful of
losing her forever, this
half-lived life kills

shroud of loneliness numbs mind
relationship frays

happy families

I was given this picture prompt back in December and let my brain wander to dark pastures.

Evil Snowman

 

happy families

childhood’s fingers claw at
my brain
taking hold of that part of me which
survived
dragging my thoughts into winter

the screams
brittle as ice
that battled inside of me
force their way
into the air
they slash and scratch
at my face and arms

a loop of festive tunes
plays like a dirge
snowmen snarl and hiss
child catchers in action

breaking this
little girl
taking this
little girl
killing this
little girl

winter
for all your false beauty
i know the depth of your
evil
i’ve witnessed it
tasted its bitterness
recoiled at the
rotting stench of
happy families
and i need you no more

the shade in which i live
is bearable
and there are moments
i feel the sun
warming my shoulders
touching my skin with
fresh beginnings
and in those moments my
barren dreamscapes
become fruitful and
full of life

Courage Tableau

My prompt for today is to write a tableau poem. I’d never heard of this form before, so it certainly presented a challenge. However, when I read the rules and thought about it, it kind of wrote itself. I’m not sure it’s a strictly traditional tableau, but I don’t mind. It feels like an important poem, for me.

courage-dear-heart-c-s-lewis-quote

 

Courage Tableau

Beaten down from hate,

the weight of judgement

hunches her shoulders;

lowered head and eyes . . .

Ball of fire inside

screams the words, “Me too!”

 

If you’re interested, this is the criteria I found for writing a tableau: “The Tableau, a poetry form created by Emily Romano in October of 2008, consists of one or more verses, each having six lines. Each line should have five beats. There is no set rhyme scheme, although rhyme may be present. The title should contain the word tableau.

Since the dictionary states the word tableau means picture or representation, the poem should reflect this. A picture should come to mind as the poem is read.”

Christmas Songs ~ Day Seven

Ahh, I’m at the last day of sharing my favourite Christmas songs. My two all-time favourites are contained in this post. Both of them make me smile so much. Both of them are a little unconventional. The first one, in particular.

From the first time I heard this song, I fell in love. It’s funny, catchy, singy-alongy (sorry, but how else do you say it?). I’ve Karaoke’d this song more than once with my my besties. It’s different to other Christmas songs. It’s unique. And I love Kirsty McColl’s voice.

So, here it is. ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl. (Check out the video for a cameo by a young Matt Dillon.)

 

My number one song for the holidays is one that always makes me sing and dance and feel happy. It’s a song that always reminds me of Mum. She loved it, and as soon as Christmas came to within touching distance, she would play this and we’d both sing along. Mum had severe rheumatoid arthritis from the age of twenty-six, so she never danced, but she took great delight in watching me float around the living room, full of Christmas excitement. Such happy memories. It’s hard when you know you will never feel that way again.

But I don’t want to bring the mood down. So, here is my favourite ever Christmas song: ‘Happy Holiday’ by Andy Williams.

 

So, there we have it. My Christmas through music. It’s been great to watch all these videos. I feel a little more Christmassy now. Tonight, I will see my two best friends. We all meet up every Christmas Eve; it’s tradition. I have a feeling we’ll end up having a few drinks and watching ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol.’ (Oh yeah, we know how to roll!).

I won’t blog over the next few days because it’s family time. But, I will be back.

Happy Christmas and a blogging New Year!

Christmas Songs ~ Day Six

So, Christmas is almost upon us. Only two full days of preparation left. Which kind of freaks me out because I have so much to do. You know, those everyday-dull-as-dishwater things like cleaning and tidying. I wish I’d been more organised. But I’ve spent all my time writing and blogging. Those are—surely—more important than cleaning and tidying?

Finding the right videos for each of my favourite Christmas songs has been time-consuming, as well. But in a good way. My husband is the actual Grinch (except, he’s not green), so listening to festive tunes is usually something I do through my headphones. But this week, I’ve had the excuse that I’m researching for my blog. It’s important. 

So, the first song I want to share is ‘Carol Of The Bells.’ This song is truly beautiful. Last Christmas, it seemed to be all over the TV. In 2015, ‘Downton Abbey’ used it on the trailers for their last ever series. It was hugely popular, so last year it seems to get used on every TV ad going. But, anyway. It is beautiful.

 

 

My third favourite Christmas song of all time is ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.’ Many versions of this song have been recorded. I almost shared the Frank Sinatra version.His voice is so rich and warm and it’s easy to get lost inside it. But, in the end, I had to go with the version that grips my heart: Judy Garland. This version, taken from the film ‘Meet Me In St. Louis,’ just breaks me a little each time I hear it. Okay, I know that’s me being over-dramatic. But, her voice . . . oh, her voice. It aches. She’s so young in this film, but her voice belies a whole world of pain. Then, we have the lyrics. Even as a small child, I found them moving. Each verse has at least one killer line. The one that gets to me—above all others—is, “Through the years we all will be together.” I don’t know why I find this so emotional. I think I always knew that the times we were all together were limited. I think I already felt nostalgia for a time that had been lost. Maybe, a time that never existed.

Well, I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent. So, I’ll leave you with my number three song:

Missing Mum

 

IMG_0274

It was the annual Christmas Party on my Mum’s side of the family yesterday. Mum was one of ten children (eleven in total, but one died age three months), so I have a lot of cousins. Consequently, each year, we have a Christmas Party and a Summer BBQ. It’s a lovely tradition, and one I have always looked forward to.

This year, I found myself feeling sad, though. The older I get, the more of Mum’s siblings are no longer here. Only five remain, and one of those lives in Australia. My cousins are all married with grown up children, and a lot of them have moved away.

Yesterday, only sixteen people came to the party. In one way, it was nice because I hate being amongst too many people. The smaller number meant it was easier to talk to people. But Mum’s loss felt huge. It always does. She died in April 2012, so it’s not my first Christmas without her. I should be used to her loss. I think, maybe, I was already feeling sad before I went yesterday. Something inside made me sad, and I felt old and like my life is going nowhere, and like all the good bits have gone forever. Old feelings, for me. But I wished they had stayed away yesterday.

After losing Uncle Rob in August this year, I’ve felt like Mum’s family (and my connection to her) is disappearing. Which, I know, isn’t true. I worry about my Auntie Beryl. She’s always been my favourite. She and Mum were next to each other in line of birth, and they spoke two or three times every day on the phone and saw each other once a week. Plus, she is the kindest, most generous person you could ever meet. She’s seventy-four and has a better social life than me! She’s always on the go. But I worry about her. She’s had two heart attacks in the past.

I didn’t intend to write this post today. I had a story all ready to paste into here, but my fingers had another idea. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, don’t take those you love for granted. Love them and hug them and laugh with each other. Spend precious times like Christmas together. The company of loved ones is so much more important than presents and Christmas lunch. Enjoy the time together, make memories you can fall back on when you have the mean reds.

I will share this poem with you, though, in an attempt to brighten the mood a little:

 

The Silver Trousers

The moment I dreaded was finally here,
My auntie’s house, full of festive cheer,
With twinkling eyes, she gave me my gift,
Uncomfortably, on the spot I did shift
“Open it now,” she said with a grin,
“Show everyone what you find within,”
Smiling back I carefully unpeeled
the paper, saw the present, I reeled,
Silver trousers, shining bright
I had to shield my eyes from their light,
“How festive,” my dear husband said
“You should try them on, go ahead,”
Grimacing, I climbed the stairs,
Into the bedroom, I sat on the chair,
One leg first, then the other,
They fit perfectly, “Oh bother!”
In trepidation, I rejoined the crowd,
My husband actually laughed out loud,
I shot him a look that plainly said,
When we get home, my love, you are dead.

Sliver Trousers

Broken Heart

This is another poem I wrote in response to a prompt. This time, it was to write about the sad moments in life. Needless to say, I could relate to this one.

Broken Heart

It doesn’t matter how long you’re waiting for

the inevitable to crash through your life,

when it does, you aren’t prepared—

how can you be?—

how can anyone steady their resolve enough

to be ready to lose their loved one’s love

forever?

The thing nobody ever admits is

when parents say they will always be there for you,

they lie,

one day (maybe not so far away)

they will die and you

will crumple and watch—helpless—as

parts of you break off and float away,

and you won’t know how to put yourself

together again,

and you question if you even want to.

The world—always scary—

becomes a place in which you inhabit the periphery,

perching as far away from others as possible,

waiting to fall into the depths,

from where there is no going back.

But who cares?

The well-meaning people

(who have so much wisdom you want to

scream at them to

stop!)

tell you time heals,

and to remember the good times,

but don’t they know it’s the good times that are killing you?

Without the laughter and love and memories of

that video your Dad searched everywhere to find

when you were ill and he just wanted you to smile,

getting over it would be so much easier.

I’m not sure about the “loved and lost” theory,

I never could figure why pain is better than

nothing.

Still, I love,

and with all my heart.

How fracked up is that?

In Dreams

grief1

In Dreams

Dreams of Mum,
of insignificant moments,
playing out as though
real,
and in those moments
she walks and laughs and
sparkles,
her eyes—light blue—
smile as she listens to
conversations between Dad and
me.

The three of us,
alive,
together,
and it feels so natural,
so safe,
and then I wake,
and my dream fades to
dust
I’m left with an ache that
twists my insides,
it’s like losing them
all over again,
my mind can’t compute how
they were just here,
so real,
and now they’re gone,
leaving only a faded cine-film reel,
spluttering in my head
flashes of love,
unpindownable.

A lone tear
escapes
my heart . . .
what I wouldn’t give
for one more
insignificant
moment.

Killer Queen

 

Portia glanced at her diamond-encrusted Cartier watch. He’s late. Five more minutes, and he can forget it. Sipping from her glass of Moet, she scanned the room for a third time.

“Ms P?” The deep voice came from behind her and made her jump. Looking the speaker up and down, she narrowed her eyes.

“You’re late. I don’t care for tardiness. Two more minutes, and I would have left.”

“I’m sorry. There’s been a pile up on the ring road. I got stuck in tra—“

“I didn’t ask for your life history. I don’t care why you were late. Only know, it cannot happen again.”

She smiled as she watched him bow his head in shame; her thin, red lips stretching across her face. “All right. Enough with the dramatics. Pay for my drink, and we’ll be off.”

When he pulled his wallet from his back pocket, a photograph of two children fluttered to the floor. Scooping it up, he shoved it back in its home.

“Children?” She arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. “They look young.”

Her client’s cheeks coloured and he fanned himself with his wallet. “Oh, yeah. Six and eight. But I’m getting a divorce, so I’m not cheating on anyone.” His words tripped over one another in his hurry to absolve himself.

Climbing down from the bar stool, she leaned in close and said, “Not here. We don’t want the whole world to know our story, do we?” An auburn hair fell across her face when she spun around to leave. Immediately, she tucked it behind her ear.

With the drinks paid for, she led the way to the elevator, brushing off a couple of men who pawed at her as she passed. “My time is occupied right now,” she breezed and continued walking. “Call and leave a message on my phone. You have my number.”

Once inside, she hit the button for the twentieth floor. On the way up to her room, things became a little crowded as everyone seemed to be heading up to the roof. Backing herself into a corner, she recoiled as the intoxicated, sweaty people invaded her space. Human touch was something she allowed only in the confines of her own room; where she could be in control.

She didn’t occupy the penthouse suite. Her money didn’t stretch quite that far. Nonetheless, she had managed to sweet talk the manager into renting her the next best room. With a window that wrapped around the entire suite, the views of the city were breathtaking. Lights twinkled in the dark night sky. In the living area, the walls were off-white with rose gold flowers.

The first time she saw this space, she had gasped. She had always known she would make something of her life and have all the luxuries she had been denied as a child. But to see this beautifully decorated living room—that was bigger than her entire apartment back home—well, it made her proud. She was someone.

“Okay. As you were late, we’ll skip the foreplay and head straight to the bedroom.” The moment she said it, she felt guilty. She had no right to take out her bad mood on a client. That’s not how you made money. Softening her tone, she added, “You may pour yourself a drink from the mini bar first. If you like.”

The man, who she guessed must have been around forty, ripped open the refrigerator door. “Vodka. Is that okay?” When he turned to face her, his pale blue eyes watered. As he poured the drink, his hands shook.

“This is your first time, isn’t it?” she said, sitting on the bed and crossing her long, stockinged legs.

After swigging almost all the drink in one, he licked his lips. “Yes.” He stared straight ahead, unable to meet her eyes.

Her heart sank. This guy didn’t want to have sex with her. He wanted to talk. Oh, how she hated that. Such familiarities pushed her closer to vulnerability. “So, what made you call me? How did you hear about me?”

Draining the liquid from his glass, he paused before speaking. “My mate Buster uses—ugh, no, has called upon your services before. He said you’re the real deal. You know, like, you’re sophisticated, and all that. You come recommended at the price you charge. I liked the sound of you because my wife, my Claire, she’s sophisticated, as well. Likes all the best things in life, you know. God knows what she’d say if she knew—”

“Woahh. I don’t need to hear about your wife. You can keep that to yourself.” Opening the refrigerator, she poured him another vodka. Eyeing him as he took another long draw of the alcohol, she said, “So what would you like from this evening? From our encounter? What are you hoping for?”

A smile crept across his face, and he chuckled. “I would have thought that’s obvious, isn’t it? You’re a call girl, and I’m a red-blooded man. I want to try your goods.” Placing his glass on the side, he grabbed her head with two rough hands and suckered his lips to hers.

A couple of drinks usually brought them out of themselves. Pulling herself away, she stood and took his hand. “I think you’re ready for the bedroom now.”

 

***********************************

 

Alone again. The soapy bathwater masked the real Portia. It covered up the dirt-poor neighbourhood in which she was raised. It wiped out all traces of her drunk mother and way-too-friendly stepdad. As she lay back, feeling the bubbles caress her skin, she thought about the success story that was her life. She had made it. Not only did she have so much money she didn’t know how to spend it, but the things she did want to buy, guys tripped over themselves to get for her. She wanted for nothing.

Pulling back the rose gold covers on her king size bed, she climbed in. If only she could tell someone about her successes. Sharing would feel good. Grabbing her phone, she flicked through her contacts. She had over a hundred names in there. She could call any of them, and they would invite her over or out for drinks. But none of them would listen to her. None of them cared.

She rested her head on the pillow and pulled the covers over her. The black hole in the pit of her stomach expanded, filling her body. Closing her eyes, she drifted off to sleep.