Looking Back

Everyone has regrets and

I’m sure if asked

They could rank them

By the pain of their recollection.

My mind insists I could have

Done things differently.

That my choices were childish

 Foolish, ignorant or self destructive.

The therapist says that’s not so.

That what was, had to be.

That I did what I had to do to survive.

Even if I didn’t know it.

But if I could have claimed my reality

How different it would have been?

Now so far removed, what remains is simply wonder

And regret for what might have been.

The fact remains, I don’t know the answer,

Nor will I ever know the answer.

To what might have been.

If I had chosen differently.

Dream Words

I wrote a letter in my dream last night

The truth be told it was a farewell

To someone I couldn’t leave without explanation

The words eloquent and flowing

Spoke to my tightrope walk

Between present and eternity

Hopefulness and hopelessness

It was such a wonderful composition

Whose life was measured in

The length of a dream

If only I would recall the words

When the time finally comes.

Another day another dream

A practical exercise in wrapping

Up a life that has lost

It’s desire, it’s purpose

It seems like it should have taken hours

To “put my affairs in order”

Yet with so little to arrange

It should have taken but minutes.

There’s enough in the bank to

Put me in the ground or

Reduce me to ashes.

With a bit left for dinner and a few drinks.

A few possessions, an antique or two and my words.

Give away the artwork

Clear away the mementos gathered

On the bulletin board

Find a relative or two to give shelter

To the few bits of family history remaining.

Give the rest away

or throw it away and call it a day.

So little to show for a lifetime

But what about the words

Curated and saved so carefully,

Would they mean anything

To anyone but me?

Add them to the funeral pyre

And declare the job complete.

Tap Tap Tap

Eyes clamp down squeezing pain

into a stream of ragged tears.

My mind races to find the source.

To find the why.

Tap Tap Tap

Tap a steady rhythm

First one leg then the other

Invisibly retracing a lifetime

Reliving a million events in between heartbeats

Tap Tap Tap

Tap a rhythm with eyes open but unseeing

Steady and distracting they touch something.

She asks that I remember the best memory

The million memories pass by

But not a good one among them.

How can that be

Not one in a million?

Tap tap tap

but not one stands out.

Why would my mind do that?

Tap, tap, tap,

stuck so tight in pain.

If go to my journals

Will I remember?

Tap, tap, tap

but will I recognize myself

In the words?

Or is it simply a story of someone

else’s good fortune?

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

There’s a novel called the Heart is a Lonely Hunter

A great title for a great novel.

I’ve decided that mine should be called

My Heart is an oblivious jaywalker

Always stepping off the curb unaware

yet always surprised when hit by a truck.

This ongoing dilemma calls for some self-reflection

And a plan of action.

That would probably include a locked room

With a dark corner.

While the mantra “what were you thinking?”

Rolls over and over in my mind.

The empty place in my heart cries out

Again, and again and again to be filled

But without any rational hope of fulfillment

It must go on alone is the obvious answer

But in truth that is not the case.

Been Writing Lately ?

Have you been writing lately she asked?

Mostly staring blankly, pen in hand I reply

The writing prompts running through my mind

follow one after another

To the cliff edge and throw themselves into the void

Each brilliant idea dismissed with a

No that’s too 

This or that

The hope of distraction from this sour mood

rapidly being shown to be wishful thinking

I began the day lost, wandering aimlessly

And time has not been a friend

Adding guilt to the sense of waste

Waste of a commodity in short supply.

The passage of time is relentless

Yet invisible,

Belonging

Belonging       

The cry to belong reaches out to my heart

Shouting and smiling they compare face shapes and color

As they lay out a family tree that goes back generations

Never old enough to create memories of the stories

Vague recollections insufficient to create a vision.

Enough simply to create a longing

A desire to know their stories, to appear in their stories

To recognize them on the street or in a photograph.

But those that knew the faces, knew the stories are gone

A few cousins remain but we are strangers

Have always been strangers, their stories kept as if secret

Now gone.

Dreaming again

I wrote a letter in my dream last night 

The truth be told it was a farewell 

To someone I couldn’t leave without explanation 

The words eloquent and flowing 

Spoke to my tightrope walk

Between present and eternity 

Hopefulness and hopelessness

It was such a wonderful composition 

Whose life was measured in

The length of a dream

If only I would recall the words 

When the time finally comes.

Another day another dream

A practical exercise in wrapping 

Up a life that has lost

It’s desire, it’s purpose 

It seems like it should have taken hours 

To “put my affairs in order”

Yet with so little to arrange 

It should have taken but minutes. 

There’s enough in the bank to 

Put me in the ground or

Reduce me to ashes. 

With enough left for dinner and a few drinks. 

A few possessions, an antique or two and my words. 

Give away the artwork 

Clear away the mementos gathered

On the bulletin board 

Find a relative or two to give shelter

To the few bits of family history remaining. 

Give the rest away

or throw it away and call it a day. 

So little to show for a lifetime 

But what about the words 

Curated and saved so carefully,

Would they mean anything 

To anyone but me?

Add them to the funeral pyre

And declare the job complete. 

Legacy

I hope that I am remembered kindly
It seems such a silly thing
As I won’t be there to know
My thoughts on suicide
Used to imagine looking down
At a funeral and thinking they all
Looked so sorry for the way they treated me.
But I have been dead now
And have erased such useless thoughts from my thinking
I won’t see and I won’t care
If I haven’t lived a life of kindness
I deserve to be forgotten.
At this point the die has been cast
I’ve tried so hard to be worthy
Of a gentle smile
At an unexpected remembrance
But what will be, will be.

Another morning with Tears and Sunshine

Another morning with tears and sunshine, reads the day’s journal entry,
along with a quiet warning to keep my feelings close to the vest.
The propensity to over share about my mental fragility
can always be counted on to come back to haunt me.
The threat from my youth of a “mark on your permanent record”
Seems to have followed me into adulthood.

I know that they have the best of intentions
All those that would save me in spite of myself.
Their unbidden appearance, not in response to any cry for help
reminds me they are always watching.

My writing, when not paralyzed by depression is a way of coping,
But honesty on line or to the therapist is likely to end badly
If you read the news, a wellness check by the local police
Is as likely to get you shot, as earn you a trip to the hospital

Even Facebook is watching, eager to help
and put you on a list for future scrutiny.
So, I write in my journal where it’s safe to say
I really don’t understand why I want to be alive anymore

And in the real world I drop subtle hints about where
My mind is really dwelling.
So, if I don’t survive they can go back a read
The truth about it.

I Recognize This Place

I recognize this place, I’ve been here before

More than once.

As usual I describe it as being in a funk or occasionally a deep funk.

Which is simply a self-protective way of disguising what is actually mental illness.

So I’m not in a funk, nor just feeling sad or feeling down.

I’m in the throes of a major depressive episode.

So… having been here before I know how this goes.

The first thing is to stop the slide.

Call the therapist,

Explain I need help, it’s bad, it’s getting worse, I’m scared.

Her list of objectives is pretty simple.

Keep me alive, keep me out of the hospital.

Sounds simple, straight forward. Just wish it was.

Discuss the options, make her promises for one more day, one more night.

Even though the point of it all eludes me.

So the battle goes on

In a war that promises to go on forever.