Unmuted

my love
has always been
quiet

paw prints
left new
on freshly fallen
snow
shadowed cutouts
upon
the gauzy glittered mat

the chill waft
of the 
incoming storm-soaked wind
cooling the beads
of summer sweat
on the shoulders
of the worn

the sizzle of the
kindling
feeding the 
small fire
constant and
dependable
the gift
subtle
yet generous

perhaps
this is why
i am flummoxed

peace 
meets peace...
and the world
turns upside 
down

the passion ensuing
the blizzard 
brilliant and dangerous
phenomenally blanketing
all in crystalline 
splendor
paw prints lost
tenderly forgotten
during kisses
long
urgent 
and soft

the warmth of hearts colliding
thunderous crackles
the branches shaking 
to keep from roots
dislodging
as torrents
pelt
the peasant ground
we splash in muddied puddles
laughing
in hysterics
because
why not

your hand in mine
flames flickering
upward and 
outward
silver slivers
tinted white
golden blue sparks
splintering the darkness

there 
is
a blaze

and we are 
the old
the dying
curling into
smoke
burning to ash
ultimately
rising 
anew

my love
has always
been quiet

until with you

July 3rd and I can’t sleep

I miss them all

despite the tears
broken words spilling out 
into the vacuum of indifference
guttural cries
in the dark
alone

the cat dismayed
at such overly dramatic displays
of the 
Once Again
coupled with the
I'll Never Learn

i do miss them

not with the longing
of what is lost forever
nor the sentimentality
of all the previous love's 
hazy rosy eyed gazes

i miss the moments
that were brand new
sparkling
gleaming like chrome
before familiarity
before we disappointed
one another
when we were
unreal
not of this realm
this mortal plane
no
we were
celestial beings
odd outsiders
crazy puzzle pieces
fitting in a way
quite unlike
the others
i miss the stars
in our smiles
i miss the way
a small touch could set
our skin on fire
i miss the quiet breathing
of sleep
next to my awake
the songs we hummed to
the conversations 
during
long rainy afternoons
i miss
the hops in our laughter
every day being a better day
because we were in it

together

i find i miss them most
during the quiet nights
my solitude,
my haven
the silence
reminds me
that i am alone

so
i miss them
those who took my time,
my space, 
my love,
and nurtured it
until it was no longer
worth the effort
yet
i am made only that 
much more aware

i miss the Me
i always was
in the beginning
the most

Don’t Forget

"Don’t forget where you came from"
I haven’t
I won’t.
Every time my boys cry
I remember
My little brother 
Not even 7 
Quickly wiping away tears
Because he was being called a faggot
A sissy boy.
A “little girl”
Those last two words hurled with a sneer
Because we all knew, having feelings was relegated to the card carrying vagina members
And that was shameful
Pathetic.
Uncles and his own mother
MY mother
Drug addled and bitter
Insults as poisonous darts
Piercing my gentle younger sibling’s soul.
No.
I don’t forget where I came from
When I call them to me
My weeping children
Upset
Bothered
Sad
Angry
Feelings are everything and sometimes can only be expressed through tears.
I hold them close. 
I ask them to use their words.
Sometimes I am just as frustrated as they are.
But I’ll not shame them.
Ever.

"Don’t forget where you came from."
I fucking remember.
I learned how to swallow the torrents of pain which threatened to
Break through the dam of my lids
I’m tough
I’m untouchable
Crying is for the weak
You’ll never break me.
I am Stronger Than All Of You.
When my mother called me a whore after I had been raped at 12.
When my grandmother told me I “shouldn’t have been out that late” after being assaulted and almost gang raped at 16.
When anyone I had ever put trust in proved to be unworthy of that privilege.
Yes. I remember where I came from.

I came from The Vicious Cycle.
I came from the Women Who Accepted The Very Least And Counted It As The Best,
I came from the Long Line of Toxic Masculinity Disguised As The Norm
I came from the Over and Over and Over 
And Over AGAIN
Because That’s JUST HOW IT IS.

I remember where I came from.
My great-grandmother doing her best to shield me from the Bad Touch Uncles. Failing. Begging me to not anger my grandmother because she could not stand to hear her beat me. Shamed because it was a mirror of her past behaviors.
My grandmother crying in silence when she got the news her mother had passed. Becoming stoic in less than a second of being noticed. After all, she had to be “strong”. More guilt than grief for she hadn’t been kind to her ailing mother. 
My mother nursing wounds in private which occurred decades ago because trust wasn’t her strong suit. Self-medicating in the worst way; escapism was easier than the thorny shit reality left to face. Homeless, drug addict, write off.

I remember where I came from.
I came from a great great grandmother who was married to a 27 year old man at the age of 12. A woman who had her first living child of a dozen at the age of 14. A woman married to a man who liked his little girls a little too much, which did not exclude his own daughters. A woman who never knew an easy day the way we know easy days.
I came from a great grandmother who took her 3 little girls, left her husband and the boxcar they were living in to search for something better. A woman who started fresh in Chicago, working several jobs, never taking a husband until her girls had married on their own for fear of what they would suffer at the hands of a strange man. A woman who worked hard her entire life to leave something of substance for her girls. A woman who failed at being kind to her daughters, whose love and desire to protect became unyielding suffocation and unnecessarily harsh discipline.
I came from a grandmother dedicated to never being as cruel in punishment as her own mother was, yet failing because she unfortunately had her mother's temper. A woman who decided that after all the heartbreak, she would rather spend the rest of her days alone. No one could hurt her if she didn't allow them into her life. A woman who raised her grandchildren in hopes to fix the past mistakes she made with her own. A woman who was sorry, but had not any inkling on how to apologize.
I came from a mother with a heart so huge and compassionate, you’d never see it past her stony exterior. A woman with enough demons to stock a second hell. A woman who has not yet forgiven herself for things everyone else has already forgotten. A woman who could have been a good mother, had anyone ever given her the chance and  belief. 

"Don’t Forget Where You Came From."
People toss that around like it means money. Stature. Material Bullshit.
I remember where I came from.
A long line of women
Who could have been 
EVERYTHING.
Were they not women.
Women
Who were weak when they should have been strong, mistaking what it was to be either.
Women
Who loved and were never loved back
Women 
Who woke up every day… wondering… Is This Fucking It.
Women who tried. 
Who stopped trying because it just didn't seem worth it.
Women fierce and soft
kind and cruel
quiet and loud
Women who have taught me
albeit inadvertently
just how important it is
to live life with
compassion and forgiveness.
How important it is
to know my worth.


I carry a piece of each
In random memories of their grimaces, frown lines creasing foreheads.
Black & white photos of forced smiles.
Candid polaroids of true joy.
Spontaneous thoughts and ideas of how to be better.
Song lyrics out of the blue which they would hum during the 
few moments when they were happy
(a character trait of which I am happy has been passed down through the generations)

I'll never forget.
I am well aware 
of
Who I am.
Where I came from.

Untrue/True

if you believe the stories
i am the breaker of hearts
the stealer of souls
the crusher of the dreams
carefully crafted in their deluded minds

i am the cruel
cold
indifferent
heartless
lilith
draining all livelihood
and joy
leaving a trail of
emotionally annihilated husks
in my wake

if they ever took a minute
to examine their reflection
perhaps they would see the truth of things

but i suppose
one cannot
look into a mirror
when they spend their time
sitting in the dark

i am not the one
to illuminate their surroundings

my light is my own

Speculating Cost

i met someone
with a quiet intensity
so very
excellent at small talk
with dry
hidden humor
much loved
by the neighborhood locals

no fault
could seemingly be found

so
much like a discriminating buyer
at a curio shop
i have been inspecting
dissecting
in the hopes of
protecting
any investment
i decide to put forth

i do not like
being this way
but i have
been subject to
so many instances of
Buyer’s Remorse

my heart’s wallet
cannot afford
another loss.

Solitude

when the damage has been done
and the tears
simply stop
words of remorse
fall flat
scattered atop the debris
of the aftermath
always sorry
always making promises
with no ability
to follow through

forgiveness
loses all meaning

i find
being alone
saves me the time
the energy
the wrenching
anxiety ridden
emotional
and mental upheavals
of having to absolve
or be absolved

it is suitable

the Universe speaking – a true short story

there’s a lot of people who come through the corner bar. the neighborhood middle class regulars needing a break from the kids. labor guys covered in dirt and dust, always ordering domestic. the ones who NEED the drink, hands jittery, searching for the crumpled up twenty borrowed from a friend.
and then there’s the one offs.
the ones who stop in and you never see again.
the random passers-by who had a good day, a bad day, need to pass some time for an hour or so – i am always amicable and of service, but reticent. it’s my nature.
such is the way of the local watering hole…
i think as i clock in for my shift.
another slow night. more of the same banal small talk, random chit chat with the same people, repeating the same stories, retelling the same jokes.
and…
he walks in. a one off. older, 60’s maybe, quiet at first. kind eyes. i can always see the truest intent of someone in their eyes. i am comfortably friendly.
the night goes on.
he talks.
he likes to talk, he explains to me that he’s a first generation italian and an extrovert. i respond that i am neither.
“well, that’s a shame aaaand you’re in the wrong business, hon.”
don’t i know it.
i am tired.
the constant conversations with the crowd are draining me.
even the one off.
though we’re keeping it to a basic back and forth.
nothing too personal.
hobbies, dislikes, pet peeves…
and now the bar is emptying.
he asks to close out.
i hand him his check, he signs the slip, but before he goes – he grabs my hand.
“listen. i’m an empath.”
i am visibly cynical. there is no hiding the defenses going up.
he laughs.
“oh you.” he pats my hand with the other not holding it.
“listen, i’m an empath and i’m not telling you this for any other reason that i’ve known this about myself since i was a kid. and i can feel your hesitancy right now, but hear me out. as an empath, we can always tell when there’s another one of us. you, my dear, are an empath.”
i begin to disagree, but i am cut short.
“you can call it highly intuitive if you want. i get the feeling you don’t like labels. but i bet you probably know what someone is feeling before THEY even do.”
i am silent. he’s not wrong.
“the only reason i’m bringing any of this up is because i can tell you been through some things yet still remain a KIND soul. you have a good heart. and i just want to say that i think it’s wonderful that you haven’t let those things make you hard. your kindness, your goodness – are beautiful qualities to have. and to have kept them this long… *pause*… just be careful. there are people who will take advantage of that. know when to walk away.”
i think i mumbled thank you. i was a bit taken aback.
he stood up, fit his winter hat about his head, gave the smallest smile tinged with the tiniest speck of rue, and left.
were it not for the credit card slip, i’d say he wasn’t even real.
but.
he was. and his words landed.

lately, i’ve been second guessing decisions i’ve made… this was a needed jolt to the senses.
and i know i don’t always listen to the Universe. 90% never.

so.
okay, love. i hear you. loud and clear.

*paying attention… paying attention to the Universe when it is talking to me.*