a song for stars

Into darkness again
I was here long ago
found a way out
I was younger then
many people needed me
I pulled myself from the black
I survived for them
It left its mark on me
Remembers me

Behind this mask is truth
Exhaustion
Pain
The struggle is over
I am ready
My mind drifts
My heart crumbles
My soul slips from this flesh

And yet

There is a piece
who grieves
one last day
the sun on my skin
the wind in the trees
the birds overhead
they call me

to sit in solitude
enjoy my lung’s rhythmic breaths
in and out
in and out
to sing one last song

the sun sets
the moon comes out
darkness calls
a lover’s caress
I shrug this body from me
fly away into starlight
become part of the universe

again

Advertisements

Home, Re-visited

Back home. It’s hard being here and even though the open space and clear skies should give me a sense of freedom, I feel like I’m suffocating. Even the stars feel oppressive…the passage of time is killing me. As I grow older and change, home grows older and changes. More importantly, so do the people who make this town my own. The threads that tie me here are breaking…I’ve only a few strings left and I wonder, what will happen to me then? Once everyone is gone, will I have a home to return to? Will I ever want to return?

There’s a lonely sound outside of my bedroom window, the hum of traffic going by on the freeway. It’s late and the town is quiet, so the whine of tires on pavement echo across the fields, invading my sleep. When I was little, the sound was an idea of escape. An escape from pain, shame, loneliness… I wondered where these people were going so late at night and if maybe they had room for one little girl’s quest for adventure.

Late night stops for bathroom breaks and coffee, someone smoking a cigarette or two…the smell of diesel and dirt, that first cold gulp of air after exiting the warmth of the car, cheese sandwiches and potato chips, boots covered in the melting, dirty snow of winter. Passing towns lit by eerie orange street lamps and the occasional window of someone still awake (Were they imagining places far away?). Making up the lyrics to Neil Diamond songs and humming along with the melody (love on the rocks, throw me a beer, stay for a while and I’ll whisper in your ear…mmmmm, mmmmmm). Puffing hot breath close to the window and watching the fogginess fade away (sometimes drawing a flower in it first), resting my forehead on the cold glass and pretending it was a giant ice-cube. My face sticking to the vinyl seats and the sleep that comes from feeling the car’s tires beating a rhythm on the road…bump, bump, skip, bump, over and over again.

It’s odd that I never imagined reaching a destination. My fantasy only went as far as the travelling. I’ve been re-visiting the idea again, only now as a grown up; running away from this place, from my life, and heading out on an epic road trip across the desert and over the mountains and through the plains…to end up where? The Mississippi and beyond? Maybe I would just keep going. Drive to the end of the continent and hop on a slow boat to anywhere. I’d never stop. And that’s a scary thought.

Sometimes late at night (like now), when the creeping subconscious thoughts pull their way out of deep, dark caves in my mind, I think about running away. But I never do it. It’s just one of those deep, dark thoughts that are better left inside of caves. And so, I turn over and fall back to sleep (eventually), waking up without really remembering any scary ideas…until the next peculiar night when my imaginings resurface and then I wonder, when will I stop doing this to myself? I can’t pretend to run away, I can’t hide from my problems. It’s better in the long run to face them, right?

But it’s hard for me now, being here, back home…knowing that my mom is so sick and not knowing how much time is left and whether she’s going to survive…she’s the only one who really knows me and loves me despite my irrational ideas and strange life choices. Coming to grips with finality is difficult. So, my little girl thoughts of adventures on the road are giving me comfort tonight. And maybe once all the threads have been cut in this tiny high-desert town, I won’t come back. Maybe I will get in the car and keep driving and won’t stop…until I’ve eaten the cheese sandwich, figured out all the lyrics to “Love on the Rocks”, and drawn flowers on a foggy window.

A Letter to Paper

dear copy paper
your sharp edge, I dread
slicing my skin open
your surface, now red

hiding the blood
is rather tricky
white out won’t cover
the blood is too sticky

using a sharpie
is the only solution
the black marker covers
the bloody pollution

though it’s not
proper for me to present
ink blotted papers
to my high-end client

there isn’t time to re-do them
i’m sorry to say
we must move forward
and sign them today

this very instant
let’s sign them right now
they’ve got their pens ready
I can’t stop saying, “ow!”

you’ve had your fun
and i’ve a promise for you
if you hurt me again
i’ll rip you in two

so, dear copy paper
for the future I plead
please stop cutting my fingers…
and making me bleed

A Commerical I’d Watch, Rather than Fast-Forward

I’m not a fan of the commercials where models in swimsuits eat messy burgers…right, because that’s so realistic. Where’s the creativity?

If I’m going to be sold on something, at least make it interesting. Instead of a bikini-clad model, why not show a zombie turning away from a fresh kill in favour of a messy burger which then reverts him/her back to being a human?

“Generic Burger Place; Curing the Zombie Apocolypse.”

I’d watch that commerical and I would like it.

An Open Letter to Woman in the 3rd Stall

Dear Fellow Restroom User,

What are you doing with all of those wet paper towels? The dripping water marks the path to the stall you occupy, leaving a trail in which I slip and slide into my own stall. I wonder if you are cleaning the toilet before you sit or if you are using the towels to “wash” yourself when you are done. Perhaps one day I will ask you…or just hand you a travel size package of sanitary wipes.

Signed,

Other Woman in Restroom

Gratitude in Three Walks

As part of a writing class assignment, I was told to go on three 20-minute walks and then blog about the experience. As per the instructor’s instructions, each walk was to be a bit different…one was located in a place known, one was located in a place unknown, and one walk was to be taken in nature.

I live my life to observe. It’s a singular activity that allows me to find beauty in the world and teaches me to be grateful. A dragonfly resting on my screen door gives me joy. I appreciate its stillness. An old woman pushing a shopping cart, alone in Safeway makes me sad. Her loneliness inspires me to greet her with a smile. Being stuck behind slow walkers causes irritation. Their leisurely stroll teaches me patience. It’s with this mind-set that I set out on a walking adventure – an opportunity to observe, learn more of life’s lessons, and reflect.

Downtown is filled with older buildings that tell the story of an old railroad town. Walking on First Street, the rusty brick buildings and little shops transport me to a time of dirt roads and long dresses. I imagine a sunny street filled with dusty horses and people running to make the San Francisco train. I hear the engine’s whistle and conductor’s shout, “All Aboard!” in the distance. I feel at home here, even when surrounded by the slow moving dinner crowd, which is why I chose my familiar walk for class to be on First Street.

There’s an old Victorian house on the corner of 2nd Street and McLeod that has some of the old-fashioned charm found in Livermore. Steps lead up to a small porch with chairs meant for relaxing on a warm summer day. A large picture window overlooks the yard, filled with rose bushes. The gabled trim around the windows remind me of my grandmother’s doily covered kitchen table. It’s everything I would like in a house. Passing by here on my walk, I am filled with longing for a place to call my own. The two dogs playing in the grass make it feel like home.

Walking through town, I notice the unique qualities it has to offer. Independent shops selling wooden furniture, Western wear, and musical instruments co-exist with more established chains selling pizza, ice cream, and sandwiches. Fountains located at the intersection of North and First Street offer a cool mist when the wind blows in the right direction, which is what I craved on this hot afternoon. People are busy walking to restaurants and yelling at friends across the street, “Hey Tony, order me a pint of Pale Ale,” I heard as I walked by the First Street Ale House. There’s a relaxed feeling in the air.

I thought of summer nights in town with the evening market on Thursdays and live bands on The Bankhead lawn on Fridays. There is always an activity available for willing participants, from evening wine tastings at Blacksmith Square to tango dancing at It’s All About Dancing. Our little town is not pretentious like other towns in the area, with high end shops, valet parking, and expensive restaurants. It’s a unique place where one can sip a locally made glass of wine and stroll through town, listening to salsa music without feeling underdressed. It has an authentic quality lacking in other suburban areas. Perhaps its authenticity comes from the bones of the buildings which survived the depression and welcomed the age of the atom. This place has changed over the years, but still claims the unique charms of small town America. I have great respect for its adaptability and retaining sense of individuality.

While my walk in in downtown had an air of authenticity, my walk in the unfamiliar neighboring city felt generic and uncomfortable – at first. Walking there, I found myself in hell, alone in the heat, heading down a tree lined street with cars whizzing by. I could have been walking in any suburban area with high brick walls and a multitude of office buildings. I felt a growing sense of unease. Was I walking in the right direction?

While heading toward my destination, the grocery store, I encountered a fuzzy brown squirrel. It hopped across the sidewalk and scampered up a tree, chattering noisily at me, attempting to shoo me away from its home. I looked up, feeling its beady eyes glaring at me from its green leafed perch and stuck out my tongue. Take that, squirrel!

I passed a colony of small, grey birds with fuzzy feathers, jumping in-between the branches of a purple flowered rosemary shrub, chirping and flapping their wings. For a moment I imagined being a bird, soaring above the town, feeling the wind on my face. I smiled. I relaxed. The spicy, woody scent of rosemary was soothing. The sound of whirring cars became white noise – I climbed inside its rhythm, walking along until I reached my destination. My generic walk transformed into meditation. I was happy.

Being in nature is where I feel most at ease. For my nature walk, I travelled on a makeshift trail in a lonely field by my house with my two dogs, Chance (a Black Lab) and Ipo (a Golden Retriever). They love visiting the field, off their leashes, where they have an opportunity to stretch their legs, chase rabbits, and sniff the smells not found in their backyard domain.

There’s a gentle stream that meanders through the field, and where the water pools, it creates a lagoon of sorts. As I walked closer to the lagoon, I observed ducks and geese competing for prime nesting spots among the tall grass. The earthy scent of the stream and the plants that grow there took me back to being a girl in Utah, running in the rain with shoes off and hair whipping in the wind.

I began to feel sentimental, remembering my childhood dreams and adventures, so far away from the grown up monotony I now live. Being outside brings me closer to the unexpected, happy explorations I had as a child, with a taste of freedom and secret treasures.

The sun set a few minutes prior to our walk, leaving the horizon a mix of orange-red and fading pink that trailed out into the purple-blue sky. I felt my heart catch in its beauty. Dusk is my favorite time of day. It feels magical, like all of the universe’s mysteries are unfolding with each star’s appearance.

Walking along the trail, hearing the crunch of hard dirt and rocks under my feet, I wondered if this uninhabited place looked the same two hundred years ago. With my back to civilization, I gazed into the past. I imagined living back in the days without technology and modern medicine, securing a homestead. My imagination had come alive. The inspiration behind my childhood adventures resurfaced. I felt free.

I watched Chance chase Ipo through the field. They ran further and further away from me. I saw him stop, tongue hanging out, with his chest heaving deep breaths. “Hey Bud, come on back,” I called to him. He trotted over slowly, stopping to sniff and then urinate on a scrubby bush. He gave me a sniff, while Ipo circled around us (the chase given up, she followed behind him). I bent down to give him a kiss on his head. “Love you, buddy,” I whispered. The sky grew dark. Our adventure was done. The day was gone.

Heading home I thought that each of these walks contained their own individual lessons. I found uniqueness in an overlooked, familiar place. I learned to respect its identity. I found peace in an unfamiliar area. I learned that smells and sounds have the power to eliminate my fear of the unknown. I reclaimed childhood adventures in nature. I learned that inspiration and freedom are always with me. Taking the time to quietly observe the world reveals the lessons I need to reach contentment. Each of these walks offered opportunities to learn and to be grateful for life. I am happy that I took the time to notice.

Sometimes Interpretive Dance is a Bad Thing – Day 16 of Zero to Hero

In 3rd Grade, I invented a dance specifically for show-and-tell. It was called the Charlie Horse Dance, created after a sleepless night of ridiculous leg cramping, teeth clenching growing pains. After some deep thoughts over a bowl of Lucky Charms, I decided that the painful experience must be shared with my classmates, interactively. A wicked laugh escaped me.

I hatched a plan while hiking eight snowy blocks, on my way to school. It was TOP SECRET and had to be executed quickly. I giggled to myself while walking across the schoolyard, dodging the boy’s snowball fight. I giggled a little more, while climbing the winding staircase to our 2nd floor classroom. I giggled with an increased, bubbling exhilaration while taking off my coat, hat, scarf, and gloves in preparation for the day’s lessons. I ignored the quizzing side glances from my fellow classmates. Quieting my giggle to a sometime chuckle, I settled into my seat.

Our classroom was a big square with windows along one side that faced East. Our teacher, Miss J., closed the blinds in the morning so that the sun’s rays wouldn’t blind us. She was a new teacher (our class was her first class since graduating from college) and she had different ideas on seating charts. Instead of placing our desks in rows, she moved our desks into a large U-shape, in which the desks faced the center of the room. This placement gave us a big open space in the middle of the class, where we could: a. stretch out during quiet reading time; or b. play games when it was too cold to go outside. Miss J.’s desk created a dash in the top of our U-shape, with space on both sides creating two entrances/exits.

The morning bell rang, and Miss J. asked for us to quiet down. She called attendance (to which we all shouted “HERE!” upon being recognized) and then requested volunteers for show-and-tell. Percy raised his freckled arm first. “Yes, Percy. Do you have something to share with the class this morning?”

“Yes, Miss J.,” he gulped, “I do have something to share for show-and-tell.”

“Come up here then, dear.” She patted her desk, inviting him to stand at the top of the U-shape. Rising from his seat, I watched him shuffle around the desks and then enter the show-and-tell zone. His red hair stood out in stark contrast with his green and white striped shirt.

“For show-and-tell today, I would like to tell you about my favorite actor, John Wayne,” he began. “I just watched the movie True Grit with my dad, and it’s the greatest movie, ever!” He went on and on about the movie plot and then talked about how John Wayne filmed movies in Southern Utah back in the 1950’s…I hardly paid attention, instead, I focused on bouncing my leg up and down and thrummed my fingers on my desk in anticipation of being called up next to share.

Finally he was done and we clapped our hands, applauding his effort. I watched him walk back to his seat, a smile plastered to his face. “Nice job, Percy,” Miss J. commented, “Anyone else ready to share?”

My arm shot up in the air with a force so strong, it compelled me to rise from my seat. I stood, nerves twitching, ready for my demonstration. “Sarah, do you have something to share with the class?” she asked me.

“Yes, Miss J.” I replied. “I have a very special dance that I would like to share with everyone…well maybe not everyone. Maybe just the boys…for now.”

“Okay…” she responded. A look of concern crossed her face, which I ignored in my hustle to get to the show-and-tale zone.

Oh boy, this is it, I thought to myself. Whew, take a deep breath. I looked out into the faces of my classmates. Gerald and Davey were whispering to each other and glancing at me.

I cleared my throat. “Hello everyone, I made up a new dance this morning and I wanted to share it with the class.” I bounced on my feet, nervous energy escaping me. “It’s called the Charlie Horse Dance and I will need to have the boys stand up in order to show you what it looks like.” I looked Miss J. “Is that okay?” I asked her.

Miss J. glanced around the room and back to me. “Yes,” she replied, “It’s okay with me.” And then turning her attention to the class, she called out, “Boys, please stand for Sarah’s demonstration of the Charlie Horse Dance.” One by one, the boys stood up. I smiled at each and every one of them.

“Please come around, into the center of the floor,” I commanded them, using my stern voice. They followed one another in a line, trailing each other, to the center of the room, stopping in front of their desks. From my left, a U-shaping of boys materialized. There was Gino, Bobby R., Bobby G., Daryl, Gerald, and Davey. Chad, Toby, and Jason circled around the bottom of the U-shape. Richie, Chris, Percy, Marcus, Jesse, and Stevie ended the line on my right.

“Ok, so this is the Charlie Horse Dance.” I moved toward Gino on the left, stopping once I was directly in front of him. I sidestepped to the right, then did a little hop to the left. I took a step back, raised my right leg and kicked out, hitting Gino right in his left shin. “You have a Charlie Horse!” I yelled, jumping up and down, laughter escaping me.

“Ow, Sarah!” Gino yelped while grabbing his shin and hopping on his good foot.

“You’re doing the Charlie Horse Dance, now!” I giggled and then moved onto Bobby R., who stood staring in disbelief at Gino’s predicament. The other boys were making a lot of noise. I heard comments of, “No way I’m letting her kick me.” and “That’s rude, Sarah…freak.” I ignored all the comments except one…from Miss J.

“Sarah, that’s enough,” she sighed. “Boys, please sit down.” I hung my head in shame. “Sarah, I’m not sure what you were thinking when you came up here today, but no one deserves to be kicked. Please apologize to Gino.”

Gino and the other boys walked back to their desks. He sat, watching me with a hurt look on his face. “I’m sorry for kicking you, Gino.” I whispered, staring into his brown eyes (he had curly eyelashes which I’d never noticed before). He nodded at me and then shook his head, looking away as though wondering what he had done to deserve my kick in his shin.

Thank you, Sarah. Please take your seat. We will have a talk at recess.” Head down, I walked back to my desk. Turning to the class, Miss J. said, “Show-and-tell is over. We will begin again tomorrow.” She opened up a text book and turned to the chalk board to begin the day’s spelling lesson.

Sitting in my chair, I looked at Gino across the room. He stared at his desk, obviously in thought. I was ashamed of my behavior. Honestly, I didn’t mean to hurt him or any of the other boys – I was trying to be funny. Tears sprang to my eyes as I wondered about my choice of show-and-tale entertainment.

It was the last time I did a show-and-tale presentation.

From that day forward, I had the reputation of being a jerk (on top of already having a reputation of being weird), which followed me until my family left Utah, three years later. Though I apologized to Gino, but it was too late to undo my action. We never became friends. I suppose it was warranted. Kicking someone for entertainment is kind of a jerky thing to do to someone. Lesson learned.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/daily-prompt-you/

A post about lack of confidence that somehow ended with Pop Rocks

So, I’ve been following along with the Zero to Hero assignments, but am facing difficulties…again. I keep telling myself to grow a backbone, but it’s not helping. Perhaps it’s my sense of privacy or shining lack of self-confidence that prohibits me from following through with yesterday (comment on 3 blogs) and today’s (write a post about one of your comments)assignments, but I can’t seem to find comfortable space where it’s okay for me to leave posts on other blogs…yet. I did try to leave a post, I promise! I’m not sure if it worked or not (my work computer was acting up while I attempted to eat lunch and respond to blogs at the same time, which may have resulted in me leaving several responses to one poor soul’s post…oh the horror!) and my hands were all sweaty the whole time I was typing. This necessitated the use of a paper towel and then several hand washings in the lunch room, just to calm myself down. Oh nerves, GO AWAY!

At any rate, I did enjoy a piece regarding confidence in blogging (which I’m attempting to absorb by the truck load) and another where advice was given on how to keep writing despite feeling like an idiot (damn good advice). Had I responded to those posts, it would have gone something like this:

Hello!

Thank you for writing about finding confidence in blogging despite feeling like an idiot (like me). I suffer from the same issue (duh). I hope you will continue writing, because I need to read your blog in order to keep going with my own blog.

Thank you, so much!

Perhaps that sounded desperate. I wasn’t trying to sound needy, though my neediness comes from an honest place. Maybe if all of us (who need a motivating push) banded together, we could beat this lack of confidence – once and for all (insert inspirational music here)!

My desperate attempt in finding blogs to respond to led me to some really great writing. I am thrilled that I started a blog just for the reading privilege here on WordPress. I loved discovering posts about Robin Hobb, Twilight, and Pop Rocks…the latter which inspired me to write a poem:

An Ode to Pop Rocks

Oh, Pop Rocks
Pop, pop, pop

Sizzle on my tongue
Snap against my teeth

Bubble and fuzz, bubble and fuzz, bubble and fuzz
Crunch, crunch, crunch

Oh, Pop Rocks
Pop, pop, pop

Echo in my ears
Rattle in my brain

Crackle and simmer, crackle and simmer, crackle and simmer
Chomp, chomp, chomp

Slither down deep, into my belly
Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing…

Yeah, this is where I should probably end today’s post. Enough nonsense for one evening.

Happy Trails, to all.

Ramblings from Crazy

IPO

Not sleeping has its downfalls – exhaustion, grumpiness, and a wiggly feeling carried around in my stomach all day, but it also has some good points – more time to read and ponder the mysteries of the universe, more time to analyze strange dreams, and more time for silly photos with my snuggle pup, Ipo Dog (see above).

I had a horrific nightmare last night about being buried alive…well, my mind was alive but my body was frozen in a corpse-like position…from all outside appearances it would seem like death was an accurate analysis. Trapped in a coffin with no chance of escape, my nightmare then dissipated to one of floating far away from the earth, deep into outer space. I drifted past the moon and Jupiter (skipping by Mars for some reason)…no one around to hear my screams (in fact, no sound came out of my open mouth) or offer assistance. I was wearing a nice nightgown, however, made of old-fashioned lace and ruffles, which was quite lovely.

Upon waking, my first thought was, “My God, what was I reading before I fell asleep?” So, I sat in bed for several moments, thinking back to hours earlier…and came up with nothing. I didn’t read anything prior to falling asleep. How sad.

After scrutinizing my nightmare thoroughly (with help from my sweet Ipo Dog) I’ve come to the conclusion that my brain needs a vacation. Hey, at least I’ve spun that wacky nightmare into something useful; my blog entry for today’s Zero to Hero challenge (inserting media of some sort). Take that, you crazy brained, weirdo nightmare! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

Here’s to, hopefully, a night of better sleep!

ZZZZzzzzzz….