Tag Archives: family

Conscripted

who made first choice

unknown to me

was joy in attendance

not mine to imagine

here we are

discretion owned

lament for freedom

gifted purposely

easing into lukewarm

like a wet sponge

ignoring the scent

empty containers

that hide contents

senselessly collected

nourishing faux abstinence

steeped in cursing tirades

wrapped with thankless demands

 


Happy Birthday Justin

Today is my middle son’s birthday. He would have been 27 years old. Living with loss is a funny state of being – we fight it at every turn, always dimly aware that it is inescapable. We create habits to keep us from losing our keys, our place in a book, lists so that we don’t forget one of life’s latest ingredients, we play puzzles to keep from losing our memories and thus, our minds. All this effort to avoid the ultimate equalizer of death. Justin died of SIDS the week before he would have been 6 months old.

Like anyone, I did not want a tremendous loss to be part of my reality. Not me, I don’t belong in this club. A good mom, a great mom…she’s not the mother of a dead child. It’s odd how I let the words of other people sometimes reinforce this falsity. I have to remind myself, they just don’t get it. All of us, regardless of your beliefs, we are human and must investigate our surroundings, our relationships, our relationship to everything through our unique perceptions and abilities. We are not meant to be perfect. If we are lucky we maintain the ability to shift and learn through the lifetime process. If we are luckier still, we have love in our life that is not lost but transformed and weaved into our story. Is it always joyful? No. An easy road? No. Is it worth the risk? Yes.

In past years I’ve often marked anniversary dates with poems to record my feelings regarding the death of Justin. I’ve never wanted to proclaim myself any more knowledgeable than another person on how separation by death feels. I felt that poetry was vague enough to easily be molded to others’ perceptions so that they could decide if there was benefit in my words. I still believe that to be true. Today is different. Today I want to risk being more direct about my feelings regarding Justin. I want you to know about him and the importance he plays in my life and who I am…and who I am becoming. Yes, he is sometimes seen as that tear you want to hide from – sometimes that silly smile as I sing along with an old song – he is part of me…every day. I want you to know so that you can understand why I am celebrating today. Like my other sons and all the important people in my life, Justin is worth celebration.

Please do me a favor as I honor his memory and place in my life and take time today to celebrate those that matter to you. Celebrate them if they are standing next to you, across the country, across the world, in a different belief system, a confusing time in their life, a confusing time in your life, in a difference of opinion, or simply in your memory. Allow me today to be bold enough to proclaim the importance of loving, deeply, with your entire self, even at the risk of losing it all.


Family Values

lying in wait was more tolerable than lying in worry

watching for her to peer around the corner

sprinkling sparkling remnants to be crafted into

something, anything

pretending that words could matter on a screen to

someone, anyone

but the visits became more sparse

returning me to words that drift on air from

one ear, another ear

leaving me wondering if ownership exists

when attitudes are hurled like a storm

nobody recording the cold temperature of rejections

or the burn of a verbal punch landed on another

denial the likely outcome of useless confrontation

and the mantra, buzzing in my head

“what other people think of me is none of my business”

so less so should their shenanigans towards one another be mine

or is that true

do you ever stop mothering, do they cease to be your child

I am old enough to know that ridicule is a beast

in the pocket of the unleasher

how do I convey that to a young man

that is trying to trust, trying to love

in a world where even those closest to you

disappoint


The New Sentinel

memories are singing

through me, from me

louder than canyon echoes 

i watch us

tinting our expressions

with borrowed confidence

we are the parents now

the aunts, the uncles

wanting to pass along

the tribal rites

link arms in communion

surrounding the young

providing a haven

of knowing, of being

with each other

integral to the clan

remaining elders

test the strength

of our bond and purpose

while relaying again

the lyrics of our song 

reluctantly i submit

to the changing of the guard


Fallen Timber

Driving past forgotten houses
I remember from tree roots when
Life was bursting with family
Mariachi songs filled our bellies

Abuelita didn’t come to visit us 
Wisdom simply resided upstairs
Leaves whispering across the breeze
Decoding the immigrant speech

Then Grandma was sent away
She could only swear in Spanish
Sure that we had hidden her baby boy
Though the bough had broken long ago

Captured by an American disease
That called an institution home
Swinging from severed limbs
While screaming for her lost son


Family Baton


what a joy
to relive the past
without the ghosts
catching the scent
of past meals then
tasting them from
new hands of
next generation

sneaking into
a quiet corner
watching laughter
chase shadows
into the last
note of the song
sad to see coats
calling it a night


Multitasking

sometimes multitasking means
centering in on the moment
allowing yourself to enjoy it
while you are still feeling
aftershocks on your heart