Halloween at age seven…

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I remember

the dampness under the plastic mask,

and the grey elastic

string that caught my hair,

the diagonal crossings of lawns

not usually trod upon in my well-mannered

childhood,

waiting for friends in their long skirts

and uncontrolled laughter

to catch up,

the rumbling sound of candy-filled paper bags

bumping against our sides as we scamper,

the smell of hot cider with cinnamon

when we get home

and hurry to sit at the kitchen table to sort our candy

into huge aluminum bowls,

make sure there are no razor blades in apples

or opened wrappers,

trading juice-filled wax bottles

for bubble gum

and savoring the annual caramel popcorn balls

from our neighbor

who had small circular oil spots on her ceiling

where the popcorn popped

once or twice

or so she said

when we visited and stood gazing,

hoping for a Mary Jane or a chocolate-chip cookie

and noticing how her cat-eye glasses

and bright coral lipstick

would be perfect for Halloween,

next year,

without a mask.

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Raise your spirits…

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Happy Halloween!

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[click here if you’ve not read this poem: What will you be for Halloween?]

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Hey, I know that under that costume,

and no matter which brave face

you present to the world–

you are sensitive, thoughtful, caring,

wonderful.

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Wishing you a happy day!

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~ Lily

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Weather the storm…

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We’re having a storm,

Wind and water

Everywhere.

Loud, dark,

I hope the windows

hold

I hope the power

stays on

but I

and hundreds of thousands

of others all on the same day

stocked up on water

and I have apples and almonds

flashlights

and lots of books to read

by candlelight,

many blankets,

and friends, kind friends,

who say

come on over

if you need

but what I need

is not to weather

Life’s storms

alone;

they come so

frequently these days.

Relax, breathe,

with wind whipping

lights flickering…

weather the storm,

weather the storm.

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May you and your loved ones be safe, wherever you and they are.  ~ Lily


What will you be for Halloween?

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What will you be for Halloween,

as the air acquires a chill

and seeps in among your aching bones,

as leaves brittle and brown

circle in gusts of wind around you?

As you walk along the sidewalks

with your hands, your cold hands,

in your coat pockets

as you crush and kick the accumulation

of crispness along the paths?

What will you be for Halloween

as you wonder if

snow flakes will fly

with the dark clouds

racing across the orange sky?

As you smile at the carved jack-o-lanterns

arranged on neighbors’ porches

amid dried stalks of corn

election signs

and the glow of lights from windows

within the houses you pass?

What will you be for Halloween,

walker upon this earth

dim so dim I cannot see you

in the dusk of early sunset?

What will you be for Halloween

as the treaters scamper and laugh

from door to door

as the bags of candy

accumulate as in years before

as the costumes trip and obscure,

what will you be?

What will you be for Halloween?

I think this year I will be

happy.

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Rain.

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Rain

as in English novels

on moors, on cobblestones,

soaking and unyielding,

a character more

than a consideration,

calling to mind

black-and-white movies

and trench coats

collars up

umbrellas

pushed into service

dashing

leaping, tiptoeing

all hesitance

puddles aside

drops running down windows

chasing each other

down

pour

unrelenting

sound amid fury

whoosh of wheels

ink of streets

all

dark

all

symbiotic in saturation

obscuring

faces so

the best thing

is

you cannot see

her tears.

.

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Essay on Love: Of Ice and Men…

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Several Sundays ago:

I sat in church today and nearly cried during a song, song more than hymn. The lyrics were something about how we live through our times of sorrow, we live through our times of pain and we live though our times of fear. Theoretically, that is. We live through everything, until we die. Lately I feel hit over the head with philosophical sorts of thoughts. One is that hours go so quickly now, as if age has sped-up life and I am closer to death though in some ways I feel as though I have just begun to live.

Another thought is that both online and in real life, friends have said that they used to feel so small and lacking in confidence but perchance, karma, or complement, they married men who were strong and daring and thus these beautiful talented women became stronger and more self assured. I said to one such friend, over tea, that love gives us confidence. She knows that her husband ‘has her back’ and loves her unconditionally, so there is less to fear. We all want to love and to be loved, I said. She smiled and nodded.

And then we both paused, because of course no man has my back, loves or is loved by me. So she said, to break the sad little silence: “Someday when you find someone…” and I didn’t even hear what came next because I was so happy to hear that I Would (optimistically speaking) find someone, someday. And, that does not mean that I am not happy now, busy now, or am lonely and friendless. Well alright, sometimes I am lonely, but it’s because I know what love is. Of course I would choose to be in love!

When in love, there is someone around to share a laugh, someone you’ll freely tell the stupid things you’ve done, so stupid as to be funny when shared–with him.

It’s going to sleep or waking with the knowledge that there in the dark, there is someone who cares. And when you snuggle and spoon, drowsy and weary, it feels right, because you are where you belong.

The one you love is someone you can be yourself around, no matter how your self is.

You are special to him because he is better with you, just like you are better for being with him. Stronger, confident, more at ease. Not bionic, but your best self.

He even thinks you are worth one Sunday–just one–away from the TV during football season… unlike the man whom I dated and who proclaimed his Love for me yet could not spare missing even one game in four months though considering himself a fan, not a fanatic. It’s like saying: “You are not worth it. WE are not worth it. Football is more important…”

Do you notice that Saying you love someone is not nearly the same as Showing it?

The thought of this denouement makes me feel used and stupid. I guess his feelings for me weren’t really love then, were they?  I still feel bruised over that little gem of a conversation. And, bruised over the selfless giving of love that could not be reciprocated. Love that picked him up at airports, attended funerals, toured his old haunts, sat holding his hand in the hospital… and yet, I could not ask for one afternoon for something we (or I) had wanted to do but that we had not gotten around to (I wonder why??) for two summer seasons.

One of my friends had said that expecting a man (a person? this man?) to clue-in to be giving or to reciprocate was expecting a mind reader, so I had better ask. Be specific, she said. Ask and you shall receive, ask and it shall be clarified, to him. Following her advice, I asked. I asked for one afternoon to go somewhere. He answered with scorn and scoff, as if I asked too much, as if it was my place to give but not his. Ouch, the pain doesn’t want to take its leave. It is all so clear now, so obvious. Obviously his wasn’t true love if it melted like ice when football season began…

sigh.

May you know love. May we all know love, eventually.

~ Lily


Life’s seasons: Fall

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The air is crisp

the leaves are fire

tread amidst

their cumulative insistence

and desire

I feel

I pray

I hope

someday

my Spring my Autumn

and summerlight

all come together

before Winter’s night.

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