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
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,
without a mask.
[click here if you’ve not read this poem: What will you be for Halloween?]
Hey, I know that under that costume,
and no matter which brave face
you present to the world–
you are sensitive, thoughtful, caring,
Wishing you a happy day!
We’re having a storm,
Wind and water
I hope the windows
I hope the power
and hundreds of thousands
of others all on the same day
stocked up on water
and I have apples and almonds
and lots of books to read
and friends, kind friends,
come on over
if you need
but what I need
is not to weather
they come so
frequently these days.
with wind whipping
weather the storm,
weather the storm.
May you and your loved ones be safe, wherever you and they are. ~ Lily
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
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
as in English novels
on moors, on cobblestones,
soaking and unyielding,
a character more
than a consideration,
calling to mind
and trench coats
pushed into service
drops running down windows
chasing each other
sound amid fury
whoosh of wheels
ink of streets
symbiotic in saturation
the best thing
you cannot see
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…
May you know love. May we all know love, eventually.
The air is crisp
the leaves are fire
their cumulative insistence
my Spring my Autumn
all come together
before Winter’s night.