It might be the Lexapro

Before I had cancer
I knew I wouldn’t live forever, but thought maybe I might
I cared what other people thought
and daily
thanked my feet for carrying me
my kidneys for doing their job

and almost always ate my vegetables.

When I had cancer
I feared I might not live at all
and my eyes cried for days,
and I realized I didn’t really care even what
I thought
much less anyone else

and my body felt like a time bomb (traitor) that only I could hear.

After I had cancer
I stopped living all of my unlived lives
and realized that having always done my best
was, actually, having done enough
and I ran into something I didn’t recognize,
but It felt a little like joy

of course, it might be the Lexapro.

But sometimes it seems I’m crying still
in dreams I don’t remember.

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nOtes from a burned journal

no
thing
not
hing
noth
ing
nothi
ng
nothin
g
nothing
takes as much space as 

nothing

     n O thing

you say I don’t hear you
but that’s because I’m
listening so hard to all the 
things
you don’t say

***

like that maybe we both realize that you don’t need it as much as I do

you made me a promise once
and now you don’t keep it —
not because you can’t
but because it doesn’t occur to you

   ***

I will not take up only the amount of space
you have apportioned for me
I will not lower my voice, nor
my expectations
I will not trade “let’s do this” for “it can’t be done.”
I will
not.

   ***

I read back over seven years of a journal
and I sound like such a child.

I should just burn the whole thing. 
In fact, I think I will.

***

Sometimes I’d like to start
everything over

***

They were having some silly argument, he couldn’t even tell you what it was about, but then he asked, “but you tell me everything, don’t you?” and she laughed. And he said “don’t you?” And she said “no” And she laughed again. And then he said “half?” And she laughed again and shook her head, just slightly, and he said, “25%?” And she said “10. Maybe. Probably. Yeah, 10.” And he said “but why don’t you tell me everything?” and she said “you couldn’t handle it.” He remembered that part.

***

You make the past mean something different
by what you make of what comes after.

***

The clouds billowed toward me,
tumultuously, lugubrious, if such a thing is possible,
like the roil of boiling water
viewed in slow motion.

I pedalled determinedly,
the bag of blueberies
knocking against my knee
marking the seconds
between strobe flash and resultant
thunder.

When I returned
dry and winded
we leaned in the landing window
shoulder to shoulder hip to hip
and felt the house exhale
as drops of rain
rattled like stones on the driveway.

***

by Constance Merritt

Lying

awake at 4 a.m.
whatever the space beside you holds
you are yourself alone

and whatever there is of truth
turning in crevices light can’t touch
it must be that which wakes you
*
in a quiet room a woman works
arranging words, a world
where she might live

it changes little day to day
but the mind is changed
as light changes, as the leaves turn

and whatever holds that space inside her
it is so much harder, vaster, colder
than this near mortal, however breathing,
however loved.

A few of my favorites, from RedamancyLit*

Calmness is power. It doesn’t have to be stoic, but it is not reactive. You are in control of how you respond, no matter what.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

You will be successful if you show up to your life and live with calm confidence. If you show up, you will suffer and change and have to be honest and you will experience so much beauty around you and in you. And if you show up with calm confidence, realizing that most things don’t need your opinion, that your reaction to anything is your most useful power, and that most things that hurt you have nothing to do with who you are, you will find your freedom

Secrets rarely help. Say your truth out loud. You owe the people who love you that much.

You are good, worthy of grace, and have nothing to prove.

And finally:

I believe
in forgiveness
in putting all my eggs in one basket
in travel
in blood and promises
and knowing when neither is enough
in scars
in stories
in letting go
and not letting go
in rearranging furniture
in ascribing the best intentions
in tomatoes
in being a good audience
and especially
in you.

*redamancylit.wordpress.com

 

all that, and a bag of chips

I spend my life traveling (careening?) between point A and point B
of various cognitive dissonances
With the not-good-enough voice trying to
shout down the “am so” one,
having traveled four thousand
seven hundred
and sixty-two point nine
miles to do what I’ve been
wanting to do
trying to do
qualified to do
for twenty years.

And this pervasive feeling of joy
hopeloveallthoseotherfeelgoodwords
teetering like a plate on a stick atop the awareness
that it’s only ever as good as my
rollercoasteringmenopausing
hormones will allow it to be,
plus that soupçon of fear
that rides, always, just behind my right ear,
and the awareness that we are all,
still,
in some way,
alone.

So Far Still To Go

The moon rose last night,
shimmering,
intransigent,
as it has throughout all of our galaxy’s
history.
Over the rise and fall
of the Roman empire,
over the slaughters of innocents
in Viet Nam
and Phnom Penh
the murder of journalists or those
who dared to speak their minds
Communist Russia,
Syria, come to mind;
the Holocaust,
alas
the list is too long.

See, the thing is,
the world does not
care
that we are here;
perhaps might even wish
we were
not.

But we do.
We care.
And it is clear that we
still
have so much to do.

why worry?

DSC_0009I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing; even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
and I gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning
and sang.

~Mary Oliver