Tag Archives: Love

At My Mother’s Knee: Unlearning The Lessons Of Childhood

In the ongoing pursuit of a better life and spiritual growth, I sat down to watch Oprah’s Life Class today. I have been recording them on my DVR since things have been too hectic to watch them as they air. The one I chose featured Toni Morrison and James Cameron. They were discussing validation and how it is especially important for a child’s self-esteem. It broadens and strengthens your relationships. Oprah said that in all her years of interviewing, the one thing common to all beings is the need to be seen.

Funny, because I just wrote a similar line saying the very same thing for my novel. “Everywhere I go, I draw looks but only you¬†have ever really seen me..” Damn thing woke me up out of my sleep. Right.

I watched the first few minutes and nodded my head in agreement. They flashed back to 2000 and Toni Morrison said that she makes a conscious effort to always greet and acknowledge her children with a loving face. She had an aha moment when she realized that she tended to greet them and look them over to see if they were mussed or messy. At some point in time, she realized that was not what they needed. She came to understand that she had unconsciously presented them with the “face” of criticism erroneously believing that they knew the deep love she felt for them in her heart. Wrong.

It was then that the leaking began.

I’m used getting teary when watching Oprah as she always manages to touch me but the more I watched the more uncomfortable I became until I was full out crying.

I did not want to think about why it affected me so but I am too old not to know that it is precisely those things that we don’t want to think about that require our most intense focus.

They were reminding me of my childhood and wounds that I always like to think are healed but every so often, no matter how old I get, I realize that they lie dormant woven into the fabric of my existence. No matter how I try to shirk them off or outrun them, they always manage to rear their head at unexpected moments.

The rush of thoughts running through my brain sounded like this:

“Do parents really do that? Validate their children by greeting them with a loving demeanor and focus?”

“Bullshit.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice though? Imagine what that would have meant to you.”

“How often have you been guilty of barely acknowledging your SO’s presence because you’re working on something? Pretty often. He understands… Does he?”

“That critical face…you do that too.”

“No, I don’t.”

“You know you do and you know where you learned it from…”

My mother had me at 19. My father took no responsibility for me and went off into the service to do his thing. My mother was devastated and quite honestly, ill equipped. From her, I inherited my complexion, my eyes, my hands and feet, my quick wit, temper, silliness and sharp intelligence. At her knee, I learned what it is to be mostly angry at life because most of the people who love you will disappoint you and just how unfair the world is. I learned to be strong because it is necessary, to despise my emotionalism because it was a sign of weakness in her eyes and to criticize.

As I peeled back the layers of this onion, I heard at least two men from past say that I have a tendency to nag. Imagine that? lol I dismissed that at the time because most men say that about women and it is mostly a cop out for their failures or a refusal to examine themselves. Yet, at this moment I finally understood what they meant and it went deeper than what they said.

Like Toni Morrison, I am prone to hone in on whatever is wrong or needs fixing. I am completely comfortable breaking it down for you if you don’t understand as most Sisters are. I turn this harsh critical light on myself as well. I am absolutely comfortable expressing my love in the written word but like my mother, emotional displays from loved ones often make me uncomfortable and I find it incredibly hard to lean on people because I am terrified that they will disappoint me and so, the voice of the harridan comes easily because it is my first line of defense. I will have to work on stopping that voice or at least minimizing it and make a more concerted effort to be loving.

It disturbs me that it took me all this time to recognize and understand this chain of behavior and motivation. It disturbs me even more because I understand that need for validation very well since I was often ridiculed or ignored. Self-awareness…..How could I not sift through the threads of what people said about my behavior to get at the true meaning? I can only say that I wasn’t ready.

Damn it, I was minding my own business and along comes another flaw.

I am angry for the little girl who will always live inside me. I am still trying to teach her how to run and overlook the scars on her knees… Another day, another lesson.

Without Guise

I don’t know. It’s a strange little poem and she will not behave. She changes cadence, discards alliteration, embraces rhyme and then rejects it. She spills over stanzas and pushes at the boundary of my imagination even as she beckons me onwards. Like the protective parent of a wayward child, I see her promise and love her anyway. Enjoy ūüôā ¬†________________________________________________________________________________________

I want to feel the gentle insistence of your lips,

moist, damp,

swollen and seductive.

Get lost in the sweetness of your breath,

engorging me,

sighing deliriously

in my ear,

against my thighs,

emitting happiness.

Crave the wondrous sensation

of your caress,

sliding, gliding, outlining.

from my cheeks to my neck.

Over my shoulders,

down the curved highway of my back,

glorifying gluteus

and the treasure of unclaimed caverns.

Seized in passion.

Butterfly touches.

Lazy, languorous licks.

Tweaks and tickles.

Our feast of tactile madness.

I am totally caught up in

the shelter of your arms

and the me

who reigns supreme

in the mirror of your eyes.

When you touch me

with your mind,

our thoughts,

weightless,

synthesize.

Your touch transcends lust.

It resonates with inquisitiveness

as you marvel at the uniqueness of our forms

and the pulsating silence of that which cannot be touched.

Or can it?

You reside in every sunbeam,

live in the delicious ripples of water,

roar in the majesty of the nighttime skies.

My love for you is limitless,

also known as infinite.

It is¬†woven into the very weft of my existence –

Without guise.

Eviscerated Dreams – A Short

Love lie lorn on a floor that was once solid. I felt the warm, impenetrable face of the wood beneath my cheek. I breathed in dust, vapors du wax and the spent dreams of the faceless which lie forgotten around me. I could not move. I could not move. The weight of an unfathomable sadness bore down on my being. My eyes were shut, squinched tight, as if shutting out reality could help me find the truth which had evaded me. Truth had departed. 

Why when we seek happiness do we so often find in its place a collapsing emptiness that folds in on itself?

They say to live is to dream, take chances, swallow the brew of life whole… They said. They never said how it feels when terra firma disappears and dreams are eviscerated by disappointment.

In my dreams, Vivienne is flying northwards, a pinpoint on the horizon that winks like diamonds. The sound of her beating wings are tinkling chimes that beckon me to follow, or be left in their wake. I run to keep up but am kept from my goal by the weight of memories.

Ruthless memories, which play unceasingly across my inner eye, the one I cannot shut. I feel her hand, lovingly graze my cheek on our first date. I smell the bewitching scent that is her pheromone signature wafting upwards to tease my nose just like she used to, leaning in at any given moment, to whisper in my ear. I see her smile, brilliant like gold in undiscovered mines, flash at me as we drove across the stark, arid beauty of the moon drenched Sahara. I hear her deliciously infectious laugh, infused with child like wonder, as we soared on swings, or spent a day careening skywards, then earthward and hit repeat, on stomach dropping rides at Great Adventure.

I see us, Vivienne and me, drunk on an art filled day at the Metropolitan lying in the sun. We stared up at the great blank windows on the East side of the museum, drinking wine and nibbling gourmet treats. I remember the way the grass cradled our forms and how with each turn her cotton dress caressed her thighs and ass until I was jealous and bloated with a passion that begged release. A release that I would take anywhere she would give it to me.

We were a living, breathing sculpture of skin, teeth, sinew, bone, tongue and liquid fluidity. Our mingled breaths a gale that swept through deserted offices, sumptuous hotel rooms, public bathrooms, or wide open spaces where nature was our happy voyeur. The consummation of our desires reaching a crescendo when she emitted long, slow, piercing, jazzy moans. My deeper pitch adding the bottom required to make an unforgettable trio whose alchemy was forever imprinted upon my inner ear.

She said it was the same for her… That way madness lay. To think of all the things she said and their truth, or untruth, would surely drive me careening over some interior edge. Ah, but I was already there.

My instinct was to run from the pain but a final, unwelcome memory waited it’s turn in the line-up. This time, she was quietly vivid. Her wild spirit tamped down, hair slicked back, in an emerald velvet dress drinking Veuve,¬†and making her rounds at my gallery opening. I smiled to see the mask of adultness and not the wandering, bewitching, adventurous, girl child whom became my lover, that lived within. She was all grown up – the day before she left me. My mind stalled on this memory and my eye went dark.

A brief respite, only to be followed by tears which came, one by one by one, to fill the saucer of my lids begging release. Sweet surcease, as I gave in and opened my eyes to a watery world. It was here that she had left me with the memory of her kisses beginning and dying on my lips. I knew her body now as well as I knew my own, the mole behind her ear, the imperfect beauty of a cloud shaped birth mark that adorned her lower back, I knew the honey-tan-chocolate landscape that was her breasts, the valley in between and the whorl of her fingertips that memory had engraved upon the skin of my lips.

The world felt wrong, I was wronged, bereft, lonely, and empty like a husk with all the tears that had spewed forth in the time since she left. She left me for greater things, a better job, a richer lover, another continent and I could not compete.

And so I lie upon the floor for untold hours listening to our favorite CD’s on repeat. The phone rang, the neighbors banged till they grew tired, the alarm went off and I registered it all from a great distance. Myself shut down until all I became was distilled to a curled up embryo left behind on someone’s floor, plagued by memories, tears and loss.

Who would save me from me?

I was not up to the task of rediscovery as my splintered selves, the one whom had left with her, and the wretched soul that she had left behind, struggled to merge. A whole day passed before I could move to the sheltering arms of our bed. There I slept and woke consumed by dreams of running on an endless empty beach. I woke only to eat, call in sick and fall in bed again. The dreams returned. No matter where I ran I ended up in the same beautiful, pain filled place.

It was Giselle that woke me. Three days of uncharacteristic silence bought her to my door with flowers, chicken soup and books by Nin, Morrison and Maya in tow. She opened the door with her key, held me in her arms, and listened to the disjointed ramblings of how my fairytale ended. There was relief in that to expel the nightmare in my head to another human being. There was relief in finding compassionate solitude in the arms of my friend. She dried my tears, fed me, read me books, washed my hair and held me as I cried myself to sleep. She took off work and stayed with me for four days until I was a former semblance of myself, divided but standing, once again.

Life would not stop. A week passed and I found myself on the sidewalk, blinking in the sunlight. I had emerged. Changed, missing a piece, haunted, more somber, less trusting and more cynical but at least I was out of the apartment. I learned to live with the most silent and pervasive of enemies, grief.

Time taught me a new trick, it divided. Internally, I now measured my life in segments, the time before and after Vivienne…

INSPIRED BY WASTED TIME by Me’Shell¬†Ndegeocello

The Ocean’s Floor…

From the first tiny droplet….

 which blossoms

 into the musical twinkling of a waterfall.

 

A sweet murmuring that becomes

 the gently urgent sound

 of water flowing over rocks.

 

Rainbows caught in their mirrored perfection

Sssshh………

Hear that sound?

Again.

 

First familiar,

            then strange

and ever changing.

 

Like the sound

of the wind

in the trees.

Stacattos,

glissandos   

 and

 the symphonic harmony

 of words…

 

Our words.

 

Intertwining

 like the joining paths of two rivers

 At this juncture…

 

Your cadence,

             and timbre,

 ringing delightfully       

            in my ears

 and swirling through my cranium.

 

Sometimes yet

 striking the core of my heart.

 

Time goes…

             and all we know

 is it’s unceasing pace.

Never anticipating,

 while pontificating.

Only knowing

            how sweet

and sexy

or deep

            and raw with laughter

the flow can become…

And come.

 

          Moving onwards

  to disperse yet again.

 

Always hoping to move upwards

like waves

from the Ocean’s floor…

Jive

Sugar coated kisses,

reeking of wine and misses,

Sing my Soul to Sleep.

Nighttime comes,

and I pray for release.

Just a little ‚Äď Peace.

Laughter,

cloaking words,

stroke my doubts until

the art of erasure is all I know.

The feel of your arms,

around me,

leave me

all aglow.

A temporary lull

that dissipates like falling snow.

And in it’s place

a band of discontent

that binds my Heart like steel.

Stealing my Joy.

Forgotten what is Real.

I would go now,

but to where would I go?

All I now know

is the dissonant echoes

that have replaced my Essence

with turmoil.

A sluggish oil,

that seeps into every interior crack

leaving me polluted and soiled.

When I reach for you,

for what was,

all is emptiness and ghastly black stars.

Jive.

Falls from your lips,

till all I hear is the puffs of air leaving

your mouth,

entering my ear,

Bisecting the sphere

of what was once

РLove…

The Angels…

I have fallen in love with many a Blog here on WordPress. By far, one of my favorites is The Hindsight Letters which features posts about your geeky, pimply, hormonally insane, ever-shifting, teenage days and what lessons you may have gleaned during days gone by. I never failed to be moved or tickled by the their posts and hopefully you will too.

Today, is definitely a red letter day¬†because they have featured¬†one of my letters, “The Angels” which¬†talks about all things 80’s¬†and¬†the magic of¬†friendship.¬†Leave¬†a little love ;).

Copy of blog post:

Dear me at 14,

You will remember all the mistakes of your youth with a cringing sense of horror and embarrassment as time marches relentlessly on. The few things you did right will become  beacons in the dark and the only thing that saves you, in the lurid and unforgiving light of reflection, is the knowledge that mistakes are a part of growing up.

The eighties arrived with a crash and a bang and you were catapulted into J.H.S. You will remember being terrified and thinking you would never make new friends. You will be wrong. There you learned untold lessons and discovered nine girls, one by one, who became The Angels.

You will never forget our obsession with all things adult: boys, sex, drugs and our first, halting steps into womanhood. It was our time of first kisses, make-out sessions, first loves and shades of heartaches on the road to becoming.

We preened in the Yard after school, congregated, flirted and gyrated. You will always remember the goofy wonder that you all felt at halting any sports activity, if only momentarily, with whatever crazy antics you psyched each other in to doing. You will come to understand that it was our first taste of the power that women wield over men. Stop!!! You didn’t have to be so blatant and throw caution to the winds but driven by hormones we remained blissfully unaware.

You will delight at how we teetered on the edge of adulthood, shared Judy Blume¬†and gorged on pizza. We shared clothes and makeup, passed¬†notes in class, giggled in the bathroom and spent untold minutes putting on Starlight Magic makeup. It was wasted time trying to make ourselves gorgeous, as if we already weren’t. Accepting your body is an art that will take you at least another twenty years to learn.

We became artists at cutting school and finding places to hang out. We did our thing at Games, Games, Games, when Video first reigned supreme, amidst the cacophony of blinking and flashing machines. John Jay and Central Park were our favorite haunts or anyone’s house where parents were absent or present but tolerant. It is only three years later that you will realize that cutting is NOT your friend.

Together, we would become obsessed with The Warriors and Flashdance. Flashdance which we saw nine, yes nine, times in an attempt to memorize Jennifer Beals, her every move and ingest the yummy Michael Nouri. We
worked out which was our healthiest obsession.

The Angels were cool. Cool like the unspoken characters from We Jazz June. Cool like Jennifer Beals¬†in Flashdance. We were so cool that we wanted to make love on a real train, like Tom Cruise and be sexy like Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business. Because cool meant everything and you were cool as long as you were part of a group. Cool was who you hung out with, who would stand up for you and what you wore. We were so cool that we broke down barriers in our connection although we didn’t know it then. You will remember how efficient we were at eliminating outsiders because, God help us, that made us even cooler. Thank God we discovered as adults that we didn’t have to work so hard to be cool.

No other decade will ever be as memorable as the 80’s to you. You will discover Rock and fell in love with AC DC, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Police, Van Halen¬†(OMG David Lee Roth), Phil Collins, the B-52’s¬†and Rap before it became Hip-Hop. It will forever be tight shirts, ripped jeans, rock t-shirts, Izod Lacoste, Le Tigre, Kangols, Name Belts, Gold Jewelry, Lee Jeans, Nikes, Adidas and the inevitable jean jacket (collar turned up, of course). Even now, I can hear my mom raving at me because I insisted on ¬†bleaching and cutting up perfectly good pairs of jeans. It will also be the period you recall fondly as “the time before the D cup.”

You will be transfixed¬†with laughter at the recollection of¬†our first experience with alcohol. It defined drunken headiness¬†which is all mixed up with snow, idiocy, freedom and cold. We guzzled Blackberry Brandy, of all things, made angels in the snow and rolled down the hill in Central Park. The Alice in Wonderland statue was still too cool because we related, you see. Nothing could douse our sense of glee except the sight of Dawn’s vomit and her parent’s disapproving faces when we brought her home. Hmm, maybe getting completely shit-faced wasn’t as good as we thought it would be.

You will meet your second mother, Heather. She opened her heart, her home and her shoulder to you. You will never forget the hours spent in her kitchen eating every kind of cheese known to man, hanging with Liana and Sharon, listening to classical music, ogling her incredible collection of books and devouring Oodles of Noodles because you swore you were fat, even though you were thin. She will hold pride of place in your heart for seeing past your skin color, rejecting socio-economic stereotypes and recognizing your spirit, heart and fledgling intellect. Not until you are much older will you know how unique that is.

All those wasted hours whining and moaning about our dysfunctional families, unified in our hate of adults. Only now, as we lose them, one by one, are we haunted by our lack of understanding. Finally, as grown-ups, we understand that love for our children is the greatest of all loves and “get” just where our parents were coming from.

It is these girls that will listen to you with utter fascination and stand up for you. These girls, turned women, that you will fight for, and with, through the years against boyfriends, husbands and life. They will teach you loyalty and compassion, laugh with you at the ridiculous, cry with you at the heartbreaking and even run away with you when it is all too much to bear. Most importantly, the Angels will teach you about the enduring nature of friendship, love and connection. They will become the women whose faces you will look into thirty-some years later and recognize that, only this, our friendship, has remained untarnished and true. This then, amidst a sea of regrets, is the thing you will carry with you.

When Love Is Born – Poetic

Dancing eyes,

sweep down

the gorgeous curve

of your neck,

and caress you optically

as they work their way

back up

to the twin seats of your soul.

 

Fiery,

entrancing,

fathomless.

 

My vocabulary

dries up

defenseless

as the articulation of your being

encompasses all my senses.

 

Glinting,

squinting,

probing.

Stroking.

I stroke you with my mind,

as you always seem just out of reach.

 

My fall is sudden,

unprecedented

and peerless.

 

I catch my breath

treading oceans,

lost within velvet chasms.

 

I am the Gordian knot,

wound in a ball of contradiction.

Lost,

maddened,

happy,

dreaming.

 

If only this were my reality,

I would lie happily

in blissful slumber.

Your name

the softest whisper  

of sweet, forgotten consciousness,

expelled upon the breath of my love.

 

Not today.

 

Today,

I am left splintered,

adoring,

yearning,

tremors roiling

through my dermis.

 

Our joining,

the mile marker

of conjoined creation.

 

Your hand,

conscious and unconscious,

of it’s devastating effects,

seizes my nape

and trails gently down my blades,

leaving goosebumps

blooming in their wake.

Our breath,

mirrors of desire,

suddenly short.

 

Our lips,

vibrating slightly,

part.

 

Perchance to meet,

perchance to moan,

perchance to dream

of the day when love is born…

Contagion: A Poem

Blanketed beneath the many ways,

beneath the weight of many days.

Time,

my sorrow, my enemy,

my friend.

Holding me

and molding me

into this pliable,

quivering mass.

 

Alas,

I have become gum,

gummy with desires,

filled with fluorescent fire

dreams thrown upon the pyre.

 

A mire of conflicting wishes and hopes.

Seeking,

Weeping,

Sleeping,

Waiting and waking.

My past waits for me around every corner.

 

Cornered,

Clobbered,

Covered,

I smother and take deep gulps of air hoping to find you there.

Need this release.

Need the happy contagion you bring me which I call Peace.

Please…

Tides – A poem

TIDES

Tides of emotion,

well and swell

Swallowing my interior,

washing through me

tremor-like,

changing my trajectory

and dulling my vision

to all things exterior.

My Self

sits mother like-she,

arms crossed,

legs poised

for defensive reaction

against anyone who would question

this extra-ordinary rush of love

Which blooms

Like desert flowers

Pure, radiant….coloricious

amidst hot howling wind and arid viciousness.

I will not bend,

I give in

only to the feelings

growing within.

I tune my ear

to the beauty of evolving interior song

which began as an insistent tapping,

beating in my heart,

stealing my thoughts away,

from pursuits that could wait

for another day.

I listened – still,

as the tapping turned into a hum,

reverberating sweetness,

wide and deep as the

Moon‚Äôs craters ‚Äď moving my soul.

My heart changed,

rainbow colors

radiating within the cavern of my chest.

I could feel it flash

from red to pink to lavender and gold

then back again.

It changed the cadence of my steps,

single, double, tripled taps

which graduated to skipping,

keeping time with the cresting wave

of our combined harmony.

Harmonies which sing my soul to sleep.

Sweet, warm and ooooh so deep.

My eyes open on this world

but my focus

with laser beam intensity

is attuned to the feel of honey in the rock,

the haunting smell of cinnamon and molasses,

the seductive mélange of vanilla musk Рwafting

And the sight of lush meadows

bejeweled and dazzling after summer rains.

All you,

My harmony,

My melody,

My drumbeat

And personal score,

‚Äst¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The beauty of every Word that is

Familiar and as yet Unknown.

What is Love? Heartbreak and Loss…

It is impossible to love without experiencing heartbreak. We’ve all felt it and in order to reach happier times, you must weather¬†it. Sometimes, we give our love and end up with ashes. Like many things in life, love is a gamble. There is nothing more profound to say than that. I was inspired¬†to write the piece below by Meshell’s song, Fool of Me which is haunting, oh so true¬†and beautiful….

EVISCERATED DREAMS

Love lie lorn on a floor that was once solid. I felt the warm, impenetrable face of the wood beneath my cheek. I breathed in dust, vapors du wax and the spent dreams of the faceless which lie forgotten around me. I could not move. I could not move. The weight of an unfathomable sadness bore down on my being. My eyes were shut, squinched tight, as if shutting out reality could help me find the truth which evaded me. Truth had departed. Why when we seek happiness do we so often find in its place a collapsing emptiness that folds in on itself? They say to live is to dream, to drink, to eat and partake of our desires and take chances. They said. They never say how it felt when terra firma disappears and dreams are eviscerated by disappointment.

In my dreams, Vivienne was flying northwards, a pinpoint on the horizon that winked like diamonds. The sound of her beating wings were tinkling chimes that beckoned me to follow or be left in their wake. I ran to keep up but was kept from my goal by the weight of my burden.

Memories, ruthless memories, played unceasingly across my inner eye, the one I could not shut. I felt her hand, lovingly graze my cheek on our first date. I smelt the bewitching scent that was her pheromone signature wafting upwards to tease my nose as she leaned in to whisper private things that only we shared. I saw her smile, brilliant with the light of a thousand suns, flash at me as we drove across the stark, arid beauty of the moon drenched Sahara. I heard her deliciously infectious laugh, infused with child like wonder, as we soared on swings or spent a day careening skywards then earthwards, hit repeat, on the many labyrinthine rides at Great Adventure. I saw us, Vivienne and me, drunk on an art filled day at the Metropolitan lying in the sun. We stared up at the great blank windows on the East side of the museum, drinking wine and nibbling at gourmet treats. I remembered the way the grass cradled our forms and how with each turn her cotton dress caressed her thighs and ass then lovingly slid its sweet hand between her thighs until I was jealous and bloated with passion that begged release.  In my mind, we were all skin and teeth, sinew, tongue, bone and liquid fluidity. The consummation of my oral desires reaching a crescendo as she emitted long, slow, piercing, jazzy moans. Then, my mind became quiet and in this memory she was quiet too, her wild spirit tamped down, hair slicked back, in an emerald velvet dress drinking Veuve and making her rounds at my gallery opening. I smiled to see the mask of adultness and not the wandering, bewitching, adventurous girl child whom became my lover, that lived within.

Tears came then, one by one by one, to fill the saucer of my lids begging release. Sweet surcease, as I gave in and opened my eyes to a watery world. A watery world. It was here that she had left me with the memory of her kisses beginning and dying on my lips. I knew her body now as well as I knew my own, the mole behind her ear, the imperfect beauty of a cloud shaped birth mark that adorned her lower back, I knew the honey-tan-chocolate landscape that was her breasts, the valley in between and the whorl of her fingertips that memory had engraved upon the skin of my lips.

The world felt wrong, I was wronged, bereft, lonely and empty like a husk with all the tears that had spewed forth in the 162 hours since she left. She left me for greater things, a better job, a richer lover, another continent and I could not compete. And so I lie upon the floor for untold hours listening to our favorite CD’s on repeat. The phone rang, the neighbors banged till they grew tired, the alarm went off and I registered all this in the most distant parts of mind. Myself shut down until all I became was distilled to a curled up embryo left behind on someone’s floor plagued by memories, tears and loss. Who would save me from me? I was not up to the task of rediscovery as my splintered selves, the one whom had left with her and the wretched soul that she had left behind struggled to merge. A whole day passed before I could move to the sheltering arms of our bed. There I slept and woke consumed by dreams of running on an endless empty beach. No matter where I ran I ended up in the same beautiful pain filled place.

It was Giselle that woke me. Seven days of uncharacteristic silence bought her to my door with flowers, chicken soup and books by Nin, Morrison and Maya in tow. She opened the door with her key and held me in her arms and listened to the disjointed ramblings of how my fairytale ended. There was relief in that to expel the nightmare in my head to another human being. There was relief in finding compassionate solitude in the arms of my friend. She dried my tears, fed me, read me books, washed my hair and held me as I cried myself to sleep. She took off work and stayed with me for four days until I was a former semblance of myself, divided but standing, once again.

Life would not stop. Twelve days later, I emerged changed, missing a piece, haunted, more somber, less trusting, more cynical and I learned to live with the most silent and pervasive of enemies, grief. Ever after my life was divided into before and after Vivienne…

What is Love? The Joy of Friendship…

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My heart has many rooms and¬†every so often I am amazed¬†by¬†it’s limitless capacity. ¬†The subject on my mind today is friends because my friends are da bomb lol! Seriously, friendship has always played a big role in my life, ever a source of happiness, joy and comfort.¬† Well, most days anyway ūüôā

Consider that the love of your parents is a given.¬† Supposedly, it is a biological necessity to love and care for one’s young.¬† When it comes to¬†romantic love, we are programmed from an early age,¬†“_ _ _ _ and _ _ _ _ _ sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage…”¬† because it is¬†one¬†of life’s most desirable experiences¬†and it is,¬†when we get it right. Don’t forget¬†that we are¬†held captive by our brains and the chemicals which flood it,¬†ensuring our need for¬†intimacy and companionship.

Friends are a completely different matter, not dependent upon¬†biological ties, or¬†required for the succession of¬†our race, or even our need for intimacy and the¬†fulfillment of¬†sexual urges.¬† Yet,¬†we all need friends.¬† I feel so bad for people when they tell me they have no friends. I mean, who has their back? Who talks them down from the edge when it is all too much to bear? Who shares in and dries their tears? Who does mad things with them that they can laugh about like idiots, over and over and over again?¬†Who finishes their sentences because they just know what they are going to say?¬†I mean, even House, a professed misanthropist, has one friend.¬†Friendship, with all of life’s capriciousness, is one of the supreme gifts and pleasures that we are guaranteed and all we have to do to cement it¬†is – open our hearts.

I have been blessed¬†with friendships that have run the span of my lifetime and believe that such¬†relationships¬†carry their own¬†specialness because¬†you’ve shared¬†in each other’s history.¬† This knowledge¬†gives¬†you a deep understanding of a person,¬†regardless of who they become.¬†¬†People at their core remain pretty much stay the same.¬† No other type of friendship has the strength, or perspective of the ones formed in childhood.¬† Childhood is¬†a groovy¬†time because¬†you are untainted,¬†able to be open and trusting, not saddled by fear, disappointments or¬†caution.¬†

True friendship endures,¬†standing the test of time, regardless of the many changes that life brings and those are the best kinds, don’t you find?¬† I have had the joy of reconnecting with childhood friends after decades of absence, thanks to Facebook or¬†reunions, and it’s so cool that we mesh¬†seamlessly – still.¬†¬†We¬†like each other, even all grown up.¬†

Here is my verbal montage, a tribute to my friends:

Thank you for the many times that you have been my strength when I was ready to give up.¬† Thank you for being my Brothers and my Sisters, regardless of what race, or class, or sex, you hail from.¬† Thank you for running away with me when we were kids – I still can’t believe so many of you did that.¬† Thank you for our forays to the beach and laying in the shore with me as the waves took us over.¬† Thank you for bearing up under my obsession with lipstick and running around with my lip print on your¬†faces – I dig it¬†it¬†that you never complain.¬† Thank you for cursing me out and snapping me back to reality when I needed it.¬† Thank you for pointing out the silver lining in the clouds and waiting for rainbows to come because they always do. ¬†Thank you so much for¬†being – You.¬† Thank you for getting shit faced with me and running through the streets yelling and not caring that¬†people were staring. ¬†Thank you for defending me against all enemies – foreign, domestic and¬†interior.¬† Thank you for laughing at¬†my crazy jokes, putting up with my occasional withdrawals and ongoing fight against technological seduction.¬† Thank you for listening to me bitch and moan about everyday PITA’s like my boss, men,¬†women,¬†my height, my cats, my hair¬†and the¬†dysfunctional clan that is my blood family.¬† Thank you, thank you, thank you¬†for the¬†many times that you held me, literally or figuratively, when it was all too much and I finally broke down and cried.¬† Thank you for the trips to Vegas, St. Louis, almost Paris, Strip clubs, Dance clubs, Bars,¬†Diners, Pizza Parlors¬†and Off-broadway¬†plays.¬† Thank you for seeing me, no matter what mask I¬†wear.¬† Thank you for the Lobster dinners, Oodles of Noodles, vats of wine, girl’s nights out, exposure to other cultures, Absinthe, when it was still illegal, and for giving me empathy¬†and compassion, it has carried me a long, long way.¬† Most of all, thank you¬†for your love, willingness to¬†dive alongside me into the thoughts that swirl in my¬†cranium and supporting me on my search for the marvelous, on any given day.¬†

I will love you¬†– always…

What is Self-Love? A Celebration in Words…

All too often when people talk about love, they focus on romantic¬†love. That’s kind of backwards though because self-love is the most important thing in my book. If you are lucky, your¬†parents teach you how to love yourself, leading by example. Since many of us come from dysfunctional families and because societal expectations are often so shallow we are often left to find this out for ourselves.¬†

It takes a lifetime to learn to love and accept yourself. Yet, it is the foundation upon which all others are built. If you fail to take the time to love yourself then you will never truly be able to love another. Why? Because people can compliment you but only you can fill you. This is why so many people search desperately for relationships to make them happy and yet when they arrive they are still empty and confused. They made the classic mistake Рthey looked outside.

Self-love brings with it the benefit of¬†self-acceptance,¬†balance¬†and inner peace.¬†Mastering self-acceptance¬†allows you to extend the gift to others. Your expectations become more realistic and by extension you learn the art of forgiveness. It also lets kindness in which¬†we need in a world that all too often seems quite mad and indifferent.¬†When we love ourselves, we understand the dividing line that exists¬†between us and others, so we are not¬†quite so needy, or dependent and demanding, because our happiness¬†resides¬†within and everything else is just gravy.¬†Personally, I am a big fan of gravy lol. So why do we expect some magic person to come along and¬†make us happy? Haven’t you found quite often that they do not? They might want to but guess what we all come with baggage and¬†scars.¬†When they want the same thing from you, it becomes a perpetuating cycle of dysfunction.¬†I suppose this is why I hate the phrase, “You complete me.”¬†¬†I want to be complete in myself, thank you very much.¬†

It took me many heart breaks¬†before I learned this¬†lesson and I am still learning it, still practicing it.¬†It is all too¬†easy to turn your focus outward when¬†all¬†you can ever truly be sure of in life is your self.¬†So you better be sure that you’ve got yourself on lock. And guess what? Self-love¬†can never be taken from you under any circumstance. How many things can you say that about?

The following poem is my¬†ode to Me ūüôā

Beautiful But Not Perfect

I look at myself

and I know

I am beautiful.

All chocolot brown

and gorgeous hues.

I look at the slope of my collar bones.

See the richness of my lips.

Hear the articulate smoky sound

that is my Voice.

I touch the softness of my skin

and run my hands

along the curves of my too full thighs.

I see all things below me

and know more truly

the majesty of my height.

This is the Me that everyone sees.

I know my spiritual imperfections,

invisible to the naked eye.

A long litany of complaints,

that make me sigh.

I wear them on my sleeve,

Yet manage to hold my head high.

I look at myself

and know that I am

Beautiful but not perfect.

I know my soul quivers

at fear of the unknown,

But I know too

that my heart has withstood

many a tumultuous storm.

I see my tears falling

and only I understand

the complex web of emotions

which spurn their creation.

An external embodiment of pain

which despite my best efforts

I cannot contain.

I look at my life

and littering the landscape

are all the dragons I have slain.

My past looms behind me

and with its greedy grasp

it tries all too often

to drag me… back.

The lessons I have learned

and selves I have shed

in a seeming eternity of seconds

which have elapsed

as I pressed on….Unaware,

are friends, yet enemies

of my future selves –

Seeking to unfurl.

I look at myself

and know that I am

beautiful but not perfect.

I carry my spiritual badges of honor

where ever I go

and in my imperfections

always know that I am Here for Me

which is more

than I could ever ask for.

I struggle on this journey,

hoping that the incandescent light

of my imperfect spirit

will grow and swell

with all the beauty

that Life contains

and one day it will not matter

that I am

Beautiful….but not perfect.

What is Love: A Celebration in Words

It is officially one week to¬†Valentine’s day. Ssssh, I am a die hard¬†romantic and no matter what they say about the commercialism of the V-day, the emotion and¬†joy it brings us is¬†a cause for¬†celebration.¬†In honor of V-day, all¬†this week’s posts will be about love. Ummm¬†no, not just the romantic kind¬†but¬†love in all it’s myriad¬†forms, romantic,¬†spiritual, sexual¬†etc. Kicking it off¬†with my favorite biblical verse…

1 Corinthians 13:4‚Äď8a
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …

Iridescent Memories

The world just kept moving

when everything should’ve stopped.

Still,

silent,

all things in their place.

Caught in the movement

of unrelieved grace

which we call life.

Seconds of dreamlike haze,

we move,

we wander

and cavort through the maze.

Some of us crawl through

it’s hollows and nook-like crannies.

Some of us move about

in a frenzied, unrelenting gait.

Never ceasing to allow

the knowledge that comes with a slowing of pace…

Children still laughed,

Lovers still played.

Mothers still watched,

whilst you walked away.

In that millisecond,

my love stretched out like an intangible line,

connecting us.

Your love anchoring us

through time.

Feeding me from a distance.

Leaving me with a yearning,

subtle, yet deeply woven

in the fabric of my reality.

While you were not,

A part of me was not.

Tied up in knots and waiting,

waiting to wake to your kiss.

Praying for the color

to bleed Black into my world.

You taught me about

the infinitesimal, gradations of gray

and the violet, jazzy passion of purple

that is your presence blending into my days.

Yet the world moved on,

without us.

I grew up

without us.

I grew outward,

onward,

but always looking backwards.

The silhouette of my heart

pining for yours,

as aging with wisdom and grace,

new, yet unknown joys came my way.

Life, tumbling me in it’s grip

and love for you mesmerizing me,

in a kaleidoscope of iridescent memories…

Ephipany

I’m older, wiser
grown up and tired
of relationship stews
and bittersweet brews.

Y’all know the shifting multitudes
who go from plain to plane
and place to face
with a long litany of excuses
about their failure to sustain
they know all to well how to complain
and cause pain
agitate and inflame

I’d like just once to meet
a soul that’s equal to me
who knows how to maintain
and thrive
grow and survive
without bitterness and greed
who speaks and believes
in a soul given creed
not meant to self-inflate
but elate
and is able to give love in an unending spate
meant to envelop the receiver

Do you know how to give joy
instead of steal it?
Do you know how to live life
and drink in draughts the greatness which God has wrought?
Do you know what progress is?
What longevity means?
Do you know the pleasure that selflessness can glean
as it unfolds on itself
and gives birth to richer dreams?

I’m on the other end of the line
and I wait
wait
wait
to hear truth
for once
wait to get joy
in trumps
I wait for love to blossom outside my heavenly gates
a love that will not die or
wither away
and leave me ashes
that dissipate
in the stormy winds of life
or the all revealing mirror that is the face of time

I wonder what I’m doing wrong
or how I’m wrong
or how much pain I have to swallow
and wallow in
before I meet my end

I wonder if I’m just Dreamin
Dreamin with Smokey, Ella and Jill
of times that will be better still
with an undying hope

Is hope a rope that will choke me in the end?

And how many lies I will have to tell
myself to feel a sense of completion
and rightness
To sleep with peace
and not feel self-righteous and empty
to have no more questions about trust
and feel a love that binds
Us
through the travails of life
instead of ghosts
that haunt me round unexpected bends
wondering what might have been
or what could be

I wonder when I will find the equal of Me

I care no more
if it’s a Him or a She
just as long as it’s a soul
who understands Epiphany.

You are Dat Nigga

8,000 miles away
and I miss you like crazy.
Our connection,
an injection
of volcanic expressiveness.

It’s all about the numbers.

Those who made it
and those who didn’t.

Those who basked in my interior lights
or drowned in their presence
because most times
it’s unpleasant to be a witness
to unfolding greatness.

You are Dat Nigga.
One who is unafraid
to make a statement,
or draw attention
to the falsity of conclusions.

You are the one who
demands truth
and will use caustic measures
to reach the root
of any equation.

Light is always better than darkness
and honesty is always harder to bear
than sophistry.

It’s all about the numbers.

You are my 7,300…
Days of truth.
Moments when I set my soul loose
from the gilded cage of realistic constructions
to gambol through the fields of imagination.

You force on me the most uncomfortable of states
– self-examination.

Yet you give me love..
Unconditional and 100 proof.
Truth.
So now I stand
unabashedly cloaked in the gauzy veil of my imperfections
and the scarlet cape of my Spirit-self.

I revel yet
in the balance of our Love equation.
This then, is Love given without censure,
a love that knows no measure.

Warrior Spirit meets Kindred Goddess
and basks in the sunshine of
Revelation.

You are Dat Nigga…

Drawn

¬†You didn‚Äôt believe so you came my way. ¬†Slowly, Inexorably. Inevitably. Through time. ¬†A wearied traveler, drawn from the distance. ¬†Beseeched by my rhythms. In gradations, in stages and glimpses. ¬†Swishing gently, like butterfly‚Äôs wings. An intimate dance. Vibrato. Two. With the grace, beauty and passion of a sinuous panther. ¬†You. So lyrical, so deep. ¬†Like water flowing through a valley of rippled indentations and…peaks. Not to be believed.

Making me fire, I yearned for you in my arms. With the brilliance of¬†silver, you struck my glance and left me¬† raw with need. It seemed so long… the twining of us, with the pureness of a raging. Charm, wit, humor, warmth. A real yet diaphanous depth. Your sides. Mentally and physically taking me to places beyond. Thought I never would go. Such a Breadth of vision. A zest for life. Plentitudes of love – for me‚Ķ. Mine‚Ķ.All Mine. Love just to look at you. Compelled by you‚Ķ.Drawn in to you and this delicious wetness. Cities of the Interior.¬† Your curves‚ĶYour hues. Your round, soft roughness. Your fragrant, creamy sweetness. ¬†Ripe, like fruit. ¬†Mute. Bound. Supplicant. Succulent. Lush. Longing. Yielding. Open. Glistening. Attuned. Enraptured. Captured. Pinned and Pining.

Want me? Want you. Greed, can feel it everywhere, pounding, pulsing, thrumming, through me. Heat. Brushing and pressing against you. Oceanic maps. The imprint of you forever impressed upon the memory of my fingertips. The point of my tongue. In my throat. Now  encircled. Ensorcelled. True.

***For Anais

 © Coco Rivers 2000

Chocolate & Cocoa

The sun turns the water a molten silver,

a riotous body suffused with power.

I contemplate it tirelessly,

for hours.

I am awake

to its vastness,

its many moods

and the effect of sun and moon…

¬†I want you to make love to me in the indefinable way that I‚Äôve missed. I miss the unexpected. I miss your kiss and the soft sharp roughness that is your lips. Washing through me – over me – under me. Insidious‚Ķ I miss your tongue drumming upon the roof of my mouth. Lapping at me. Sucking at me. Nibbling. Moaning. Biting. Just like a playful Lion. Big strong hands, Holding me still. Moving me beyond madness to gladness. I miss the completely animal way that you sweat. Hot, stinging salty drops mingling with my muskiness. I miss the thoroughness with which you plumb¬†my depths. Wet, oh so wet. Warm, seeking only to climb higher and higher in your arms. Encircled by the unyielding steel and strength of you. Cocoa muscles. My Chocolate sin. I miss your feet like plows, firm and steady steps smacking my earth, making it yield to your every wish. I miss watching the expressions on your face as¬† you fill me. Fill me. The utterly sweet way that I make you groan. Do you remember? What splendor. The lushness… It‚Äôs not rushed, or hurried ever, this pace. In this place – where you and I are one – your armor is dropped, and you succumb to all the feelings I arouse in you. Incite you to. You talk to me. Whisper in my ear and at the pinnacle shout with me. Deeply. You are – oh – so – freaky. I am at odds to maintain any semblance of rationality. I give in to these feelings. I lose my masks. Give up all my bows and become The Quiver. Shivering and taut and wide open. Shoot me‚Ķ. I miss our special song that is made¬†up of sighs, groans, exultations and the sweet slapping sound of flesh upon flesh. Bodies melting. Minds melded. Chocolate and Cocoa¬† flowing down a mountainside.‚Ķ‚Ķ..

***For ALC

 © Coco Rivers 2000

Herstory

You wafted in

on summer breezes,

scented like

dissolution of lily.

Eyes dimmed

by untruths

yet uttered.

 

Soft to my sight,

like fallen petals.

Languid lashes,

wet with dew.

Skin invisibly scarred

with the evidence of battles

waged and lost.

 

Your tattoo,

etched for eternity

proclaimed “Tame Me”,

a silent taunt.

Was it then,

vixen-victim,

that you laid claim to my heart?

 

I took my time

and lapped

at the edges

of your consciousness.

That which you would let me see.

 

I gorged myself upon your syllables

until they gave forth their essence,

forgotten melodies.

 

I flogged myself

for my weakness,

but you danced

a pas de deux

in my dreams.

 

Why resist a call so insidious,

as it filled the spaces

between blood and heartbeat?

 

You leapt with laughter

at my silliness.

Convulsed mindlessly,

around my center

and formed a moue

at once so gentle,

and sensual

that I wished to sculpt it,

immortal forever.

 

We walked

as nights gave way to dawns

and drank till drunkeness

knew no more.

Twining silhouettes of tenderness,

lost and found,

love so instantaneous

it ran aground,

whispering secrets

as it slapped my face.

 

Unseen and tangible,

we communicated,

postulated,

hypothesized

and pontificated

that which defies examination,

stoking the soul’s imagination.

 

 

I vowed never to forget you

and you,

you vowed

to ingest me,

so that what we’d found

would ever remain

in the spaces between

love and pain.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (via You Will Know Elasticity)

I have read this multiple times and like it more each time. I believe that a truly great piece of work is timeless, instructive, relatable and revelatory. This passes the test. It encompasses my philosophy and I can only pay it the highest compliment, “I wish I wrote it”.

Love is a temporary madness, It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a Decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so Entwined together That it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, It is not excitement, It is not the promulgations of eternal passion. That is just being ‚Äúin love‚ÄĚ which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left o ‚Ķ Read More

via You Will Know Elasticity