My Inner Child is a Stubborn Little Bitch

Well, she’s not really a little bitch, but she is pretty damn stubborn.  Most days, I adore that little girl with her you-have-to-wash-them-out-cause-you-can’t-brush-them-out curls.  But, she led me down a treacherous trail to a marriage to an abusive and narcissistic psychopath because he made it okay for me to be angry and she needed that.  She now leads me around to date after date looking only to realize her little girl fantasies because she needs them to live outside my mind.  It isn’t her fault completely.  She’s just a little girl whose unmet needs and unresolved anger shaped me and nearly allowed my assured ruin.

She missed out on the family life she wanted, the one she felt she had a claim to.  Maybe, she did have a right to an expectation of a healthy and intact family life, but she didn’t get it.  Certainly, not in the package she wanted.  So, there it is…she missed out and someone was going to get her what she wants – that someone became me.

As a consequence of my unsettled anger, I made choices and sometimes fell into situations I do not believe I would have if my extreme emotions had been explored and set free.  But, no one was watching my downward spiral.  No one understood or even saw the effects of their actions on me.  So, I coped as most children did in the 70s and 80s before therapy was commonplace, alone and on my own – just being and not progressing through the damage and grief ensuing from my real and perceived abandonment due to my parents’ divorce.

Not being shown how to work through my pain in a safe and honest place, I became ripe prey for someone who knew how to influence a person tethered to her daddy issues.  He made it acceptable for me to have anger.  He did not help me through it of course.  That wasn’t his game plan.  Instead, he acknowledged it, which is all I ever wanted, but then he used it to exploit and manipulate me into believing he was all I would ever have and at least he wasn’t leaving so take what I could get.  He used my unreconciled past, among other things, to fence in the best of me.  And I existed and endured in that psychological prison for 21 years.

Since I put my freedom back on several years ago, the little one inside has brought up those unfulfilled desires.  She says, “Here’s my chance.  That maniac is gone.  Now, I can get what I’ve been waiting for all this time.  Let’s do it!”

But, she only looks out for herself.  I’m a means to an end for her.  She has all the gritty strength of mind and floods with optimism at the end of a select few of these dates while I get all the sorrow and disenchantment when things do not go according to her plans.  She’s – well, she’s a child.

I’m not angry at her, though.  I love her.  I really love her.  I know her pain.  I feel her pain.  Her pain is mine.  But, it’s in the past.  It’s not part of my present.  For me, it’s done.  For her, that’s all there is.

So, tonight, I will let her climb into the lap of my mind and I’ll hold her and stroke those stubborn curls as I try to persuade her though I may never be able to give her that which she believes she needs to be whole, she will never – not ever – be alone again.  And, maybe – just maybe – we can be whole together.



The Slip and the Groove

Sometimes I slip and slide into the

grooves of well-worn static patterns

Canned speeches

slip from lips to sustain you…

 Smothering under the rote emotions

that slip and slide into me

I slip on the tune and beg you

to slide with me

but the melody hurts so you don’t

I try to hold you with arms

slipped into the sleeves of another time…

why do you slip me into that outdated dress…

I clutch and claw at you till we both

slip on the tick of time…

My slip…

Your trip

Together we could rip



from where we are

to where we were

and reality’s grip would loosen

and leave us in the

static groove…

The tear


wetting the groove

 letting us slip out of the static…

The best dance ever to be danced

slips in and out of silver shade

tripping the light so fantastic

free of the swirling ball

expecting  us to catch a swivel

and demand it for ourselves

dance it with each other

dance it for each other

because we like it

because it’s pretty

because we look dashing doing it

because it stirs us


NOW is the best groove


So LONG…So Long

Once upon a forever ago

in a far, faraway land,

I loved you with a

pure and innocent love.

You didn’t want it,

but you kept it

for a score and one…

far, so far past

the point of my wanting to give it.

Now I give my love…

still pure,

still innocent….

to the truly chosen one.

He wants it

and I will never be past

the point of wanting to give it.

Today is our last goodbye…

these words

are my last to you…

my last about you.

The last puzzling piece

has made its way to the whole,

filled the hole…

your crime has been declared

and your time begins in a land

far and far away.



Cast Away

I am a castaway

drowning like a bubble never born

under a tepid tub of confusion

coming up for

air and answers

finding none


I will cast away

my worry

cast it all on you

you promised to take it

please just take it


I am a castaway

tossing like an atmospheric question

in a springtime lake of olid tears

still coming up for

air and answers

despite the underwater terrors

belted around my calves

coming up

and finding none


I will cast away

my fears

cast it all on you

you promised to take it

won’t you just take it


I am a castaway

losing like I’ve never known a win

wrecked by a man-made river

still coming up for

air and answers


the murk that blinds me

the sludge that chokes me

the pointed rocks that split me

still coming up

and finding none

I’m still coming up

A Daddy, Too

Just a regular day at the bank with JG until the bank lady traveled down a seemingly innocuous road of questions.

Upon hearing that JG was the only girl of the family and the youngest, the bank teller asked, “Do you like being the only girl?”

JG replied softly, “No, I always want a sister…and a Daddy, too.”

My first instinct was to shush her. But is that really my first instinct? Or is it my conditioned response after a lifetime of accepting that feelings are to be kept quietly hidden, neatly tucked away?

She, in that moment, simply stated what was in her heart. Her heaviest desire came spilling out of her with ease from a mind not yet conditioned to be embarrassed by what the heart feels. Would I rather her share it or stuff it? Perhaps in the sharing, it lost some of its sting in her mind. Perhaps in the sharing, it lost some of its grip around her sweet heart. Perhaps in the stuffing, I am blocking coolness from touching the hot spot of need that sometimes scorches many parts of who she is.

I, in that moment, wanted her to stuff it. But, why? Because of what the bank lady would think? No, that’s not it. I wanted her to stuff it because I could do nothing about it. I don’t want her to have needs and desires I cannot find a way to fulfill. I don’t want her to have pains and hurts I cannot find a way to fix. I wanted her to stuff it because that is what I had always done. Stuffing is familiar and gives me a false sense of wellness. I think I wanted that false sense of wellness for her, too.

I, in this moment, recognize that to want her to pretend to feel something she doesn’t for the sake of my own comfort is one of the most selfish emotions I have ever dipped into and wallowed around in. I love the simplicity with which she stated her most painful, unmet desire… the desire for the authentic love of and relationship with a man she can call Daddy. I applaud her for still being in that free place where life is what it is and she is not afraid to say so. I hope I never help to condition her mind that she is wrong in her freedom to speak what is in her heart to speak.

I hope one day she reads this and sees what a brave little girl she was and how much she helped me to grow into a mother that she can rely on, trust in…one that will only help her be who she is and not warp her into someone neither of us will recognize.

So, if she needs to share, I won’t force her to stuff it. If her desire overflows out of her grieving heart and she needs to speak it, I won’t teach her to feel embarrassed. If she feels the freedom to give voice to her lack, I will not force her to wear a cloak of false wellness. Today, and hopefully every day, I will shush the part of me that wants to shush her.

What Makes You Smile

Yes, what breaks your heart

crushes mine

your groans make me ache

your tears make my face wet

miles and fears apart

and yes…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud


Yes, your grief cuts my breath in quarters

shiny, spinning quarters

black, unmoving quarters

your unanswered questions make me want to

swallow the knowledge of the ages

so I can give it to you in my breath

and yes…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud


Because you are my gift out of what can be

a cold and lonely world…

you make my world warm

you lighten my steps

you free me and put fire in my eyes


what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud


Not because I’m an extension of you…

I am all me…

Not because you are my other half…

you aren’t…

not because you are my better half…

you could never be…

it’s because…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud


I know you wonder

when my words will

rouse from

rapturous yearnings

to roses are red yawns

like you know they will…

I know they won’t…

the best poem

I have ever written

is found in every

present moment with you

and I revel and slink

only the way I can

along every line

because life has taught

me what it means…

so I join my wholeness

to your wholeness

and together we are more




than when alone…

now do what you do…


so I can laugh out loud



She Stands

She stood atop a hill

heels spearing their way

into the forgiving earth

sliding the circle off

gray concrete in her eyes

calling every broke day

reaching out to each

weighted night there had ever been

letting all of it rinse through her

even as the breeze toyed

with the hem of her blackness


She sat atop a hill

back married to

scratchy bark

sliding the circle on

green life pitching above

calling every rich moment

reaching out to each

point of light there had ever been

letting all of it wash over her

even as the hem of her blackness

created a border not to be crossed

by the even trail of sugar ants


She lied atop a hill

arms stretched to her sides

hair stretched across the earth

releasing the circle

golden light stretched along her

salty dampness

turning to watch it







freeing every broke day

bidding goodbye to every rich moment

letting all of it roll

to the bottom of the hill

even as the breeze toyed

with the hem of her blackness



She Replied

Forever is a


long time,

he said.


Yes, it is,

she replied.


Are you sure

you want to give

your forever to me,

he asked.


Yes, I am,

she replied.


There is so much

about me that’s

not good enough,

he said.


Yes, me too,

she replied.


Are you sure

you really want to give

your forever to me,

he asked.


Yes, I am,

she replied.


I could try to

talk you out of it,

out of me,

he said.


Yes, you could,

she replied.


But it

wouldn’t work,

would it,

he asked.


No, it wouldn’t,

she replied.

Two Photographs Kept

42 days

crossing far

crossing long

through 25 years…

a photograph

no, 2



liquid love lines

dress the flip side





not understood

by one

or the other…

friendships come

and some sail on…

but connection…

connection throws

out the anchor

so that it sets

deeply in the

sands of time

even with only

42 days


over 25 years…

2 photographs


Joseph and His Grace

You asked

and she answered

as you hoped she would

as you probably knew she would

You were a catch

she was a prize

unlike any other

and together you made beautiful sense

all your own


She was as fiery

as her favorite-colored pepper

you, ever cucumber cool

you were her rock

she was the ledge

you hung your hope on

and together you made beautiful colors

all your own


On your 75th year

you and I

we danced together

you whispered in my ear

beneath the music

“I miss her so much”

my eyes stung with

just enough understanding

I whispered back to you

beneath the music

“She’s here…she’s here”

and together you made beautiful steps

all your own


You breathed your last

surrounded by love

I held onto your arm

praying aloud over you

with a strength foreign to me

I told you to go to her

I said she was waiting

and you did

because together you make beautiful sense

never again to be alone