Serenity (of The Smug)


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Serenity of The Smug

the breezy manner

that accompanies

Good Fortune

The knowing smile,

shared,

that says, “We have it all.”

(and you don’t.)

Untouchable

No surprises

Dark deeds

easily erased

Oh, it’s good to be us.

Such security

of the mind

Protection

of the body

Absence

of heart

We don’t abide

The have-nots

It’s their fault, anyway.

They didn’t work hard

enough

They are lazy

They don’t come from

good stock

We deserve everything

we have

God has smiled upon us

We are blessed

And you are f**ked

 

Shadow Self


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It’s all the bright I cannot see

when it’s right in front of me

Shadow Self

Bursts of light make it through

in spite of themselves

like a fragile shoot birthing through

the crack of a New York City sidewalk

The will to live

Remains

only altered, and strange

beautiful in a different way

Shadow Self

The Leftovers


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Running does not help

They will still be gone

We will still remain

the lost

as much as they

My hope is that

they watch over us,

guide and protect us

let us know, gently

when we are

going further astray

Keep us from hurting

ourselves more

And rather, feel

their love

every day

September

So this widow thing has not been easy. The almost two year mark is fast approaching: September 29, 2016. Permanently etched in my heart, mind, body and soul. Sometimes I feel insane, like I might break into a primal scream at my workplace, but I try my best to keep the rage and insanity at bay.

August 30th is our wedding anniversary. I try not to think about it, but I do. It would have been ten years.

September 26th is my birthday, which feels like a permanent wash. I do not know if I will ever enjoy having a birthday again. Lorin said he wanted to celebrate my birthday after we arrived in Savannah, September 29, 2016. The new chapter of our lives that never was.

He told me he had purchased special jewelry for the occasion. It was never found at the scene of the car accident.

Not that it meant much at the time. More salt in the already-tired wounds.

I am full of rage at the injustice of Lorin’s death. He was not ill; he is not “in a better place.” I am a lapsed Catholic. I was a very pious child—wanted to be a nun for all of third grade. I believed in a “better place.” But I don’t believe in heaven anymore, so there’s that.

There is no way to “spin” the rage or the sadness when it comes. I don’t make apologies for it.

I am ordering some Jahrzeit candles from amazon to mark the second anniversary of Lorin’s death. They don’t sell them at Kroger or Publix. In New York City, they are easy to find.

From Wikapedia: A yahrzeit candle, also spelled yahrtzeit candle or called a memorial candle, (Hebrew: ‫נר נשמה‎, ner neshama,[1][2] meaning “soul candle”; Yiddish: ‫יאָרצײַט ליכט‎ yortsayt likht, meaning “anniversary candle”) is a type of candle that is lit in memory of the dead in Judaism.[3] A yahrzeit candle, also spelled yahrtzeit candle or called a memorial candle, (Hebrew: ‫נר נשמה‎, ner neshama,[1][2] meaning “soul candle”; Yiddish: ‫יאָרצײַט ליכט‎ yortsayt likht, meaning “anniversary candle”) is a type of candle that is lit in memory of the dead in Judaism.[3]

I am terrified. I don’t know if I can make it through these next seven weeks, without . . . but I will try.

 

Inglorious Rage


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Nobody likes an angry woman

she’s unbecoming in the worst way

a primal scream can’t cure

an uncontrollable rage

it frightens me

how deep it is

rooted in me

like an ancient tree

I want it to go away

but somehow, I don’t

It lets me know I am still

alive

and that you matter so much,

and that you will never go away

20 Months

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Today is the 20-month anniversary of Lorin’s death. I think about him every day, and light a candle for him every night. The passage of time has not altered my love for him or the depth of my sadness, and anger, that he has left this earth.

Lorin and I loved our many road trips together. He used to say he was “Driving Miss Sweetie” — Miss Sweetie being me.

We planned our music, audio books, snacks and drinks ahead of time. It was always an adventure.

On the drive home from Orlando after a long weekend, there was a delay on I-4 East due to a car accident. A fatal car accident.

In the past, I might have been annoyed at such a delay, but yesterday I felt differently.

I imagined how annoyed motorists must have been after our car accident on September 29, 2016. How they might have been complaining how they would be late for work or to  take their kids to school that morning. I used to be one of those people.

Yesterday I felt profound sadness.  Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of the life or lives that were lost on I-4. As we passed the mangled red SUV, I said a brief prayer for the deceased and his / her family.

Another lost soul on the American highway.

Another family, grief-stricken and traumatized.

I will never forget the beautiful person I lost on September 29, 2016. I am forever altered and still struggle to understand why only my cat Samson and I survived.

Perhaps someday it will all come clear. Until that day, I will do the best I can to make sense of it all and live another day.

April Showers

It’s April.

Time of spring, Easter, resurrection, rejoicing or . . . not.

I’m not finding it very cheery thus far.
Perhaps it’s due to the gloomy weather we’ve been having in the low country.

At the risk of waxing too melancholy, I will invoke the spirit of writers past who conveyed it in ways quite sublime, albeit tragic/sad.

A Well-Worn Story (Dorothy Parker)

In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.

His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.

Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.

In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.

Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes? 

The Waste Land  (T.S. Eliot) (an excerpt)

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Survived Christmas

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No Christmas movies on TV this year
Caught “Bad Santa” on Netflix, though.
Enforced jubilation wears on the soul
inside I’m screaming, “No more!”

Wish I had a new brain
free of the pain
no trauma
to re-live
helpless, out of control

I sincerely wish you all “Merry Christmas”
and  a “Happy New Year”
though I can’t wait for it
to go

Don’t expect me to smile
though I know how to laugh
Surviving the Ghosts of Christmas
Present and Past

 

 

I Carry His Heart

Halloween was Lorin’s favorite holiday. He loved getting dressed up and greeting the neighborhood kids.

If Halloween fell on a weekend, we would get more inventive with our costumes since we weren’t getting home late from work.

On one such Halloween, Lorin dressed up as a hillbilly zombie or was it a “redneck” zombie? He was excellent with makeup from his years studying and working in the theater. He wore a torn flannel shirt, suspenders, old pants, hiking boots and carried a mixing bowl with blood (red food dye colored water) and eyeballs (fake, of course). He stirred the bowl with a wooden spoon while sitting on the stoop. He scared some kids, but one actually asked for an eyeball, much to his mother’s chagrin.

I dressed up as the “joker’s wife” (Heath Ledger’s Joker) in a housedress, torn knee-high stockings, big slippers, matted hair in a hairnet with rubber spiders in it, and white face paint with a jagged red smile.

We were quite the pair.

A neighbor took a photo of us, but I can’t find it.

I will miss Lorin at Halloween, as I do every holiday, and every day.

This poem is dedicated to him. I almost had my best friend read it at his memorial service, but I changed my mind. I would have preferred to have read it myself, but I wasn’t fit to do so.

i carry your heart with me
(by e.e. cummings)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, fast approaches. It begins sundown September 29 and ends the evening of September 30.

More importantly, September 29 is the anniversary of Lorin’s death.

If you are a believer, this is the day that God will forgive you, purify you and cleanse you of all your sins.

I am hoping that God or whatever Life Force there is will help me get through this day.

I fear the day. It will mark the end of all “firsts”: the first Thanksgiving without Lorin, the first Christmas without Lorin, the first Valentine’s Day, the first wedding anniversary, the first birthday, and so on.

This Day may bring a measure of closure, but of this, like everything else, I cannot be certain. I have learned there is no certainty and no security in life. I am accepting this without self-pity or a sense of hopelessness. It is my truth. I am living it.

My life is forever changed, having lost my “Lost One.” That’s what Lorin used to call me, referring to the short story “The Lost Ones” by Samuel Beckett. On September 29, I lost the love of my life, my favorite person in the world, my writing partner, and the one who understood me better than anyone ever has, and possibly ever will.  I will try to be happy and continue to write and pursue the dreams we had forged as “Team Sweetie,” but I am forever changed.

Do not pity me.

Love more.