Concrete walls with spiraling wire
High perimeters guarding her
Fortress of strength
A woman’s defense
Encasing the shards
Protecting a fragmented heart
Burned tissue with eroded holes
Scars covering a wounded soul
Slowing beating wanting more
But the jailor remembers
Whispering in the night
Her jailor tells her to guard
Covet and protect us
In the darkness voices are heard
Remember the dreams we had?
Remember the plans we made?
Plans of girlish fantasy
Girlish dreams of dresses and dances
Flighty love and long romances
Once her heart longed for them all
But age and heartache came
After each of those losses
Walls were built
After every failure
Another wing was added
Sharp glistening metal
Encasing her heart
The loud thunder that once was
Has been muffled to a soft echo
The thrum of beating has slowed
Lights have dimmed
The guard at the door has left
Until a loud knock was heard
Sounds bellowed through the tomb
The heart began to beat once more
A slow steady thud of a hopeful heart
Written for me by me. Copyright. Phoenix Rises.
His callous hands that are the product of hard work and diligence dig into the soil. He has just unearthed a giant chunk with his pitchfork and placed it to the side. He delicately frees the wiggling captives from the soil and places them into a bucket. The rocks that he sees go into a neighboring bucket. The rest of the soil is heaved onto a makeshift window frame that has been adorned with mesh wire and placed on a wheelbarrow. He uses the prow to carefully separate the soil and slowly sifts it free and clear of any blemishes. This is a tedious and careful affair but every year he preforms this ceremony.
The garden that blooms every year is one of his hobbies, but more than that it has become a living symbol of the person he is. The leaves he carefully collected during the fall will be placed in the giant hole he has created and then with a toss the worms join in. He will place the fine sifted soil on top and turn it over several times. The garden always yields a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are always two rows of tomatoes, two pepper rows one red and one green, squash, and green and wax beans. The strawberries are always designated a row, the blackberries line the outside of the fence next to the raspberries. The chives are always close to the gate, as a final afterthought for any salad maker.
The two apple trees always provide shelter for hot summer days, but the peach, and plum tree are nothing to sneeze at. The two walnut trees in the front yard do yield a good deal of nuts, but the competition with the squirrels is fierce. He has added several rose bushes next to the front yard fence, and the honeysuckle bush has attracted quite a few little visitors over the years.
The garden was always a fascination for any visitor but most especially to me. The garden was a perfect showcase of his talents. He was always dutiful and consistent, two qualities that allowed for his garden to flourish year after year. These qualities were not the only ones he was gifted with. He was always patient, loving, gentle and kind. Anything he found lost or foundling he tried to mend. My mom always said this is how she ended up with their lamb Eddy. Eddy was going to be put down, when my grandpa heard this he decided to adopt the lamb. There were other animals along the way a couple of dogs, a cat, and some bunnies.
It should be no surprise to anyone that he came to mend me. I was only six when my parents got divorced and I was 11 when my father passed. Grandpa had already raised five children he certainly had earned a chance to rest. But, I was a foundling and he saw in me troubles that he thought he could fix. He was careful like always with his first sprouted seeds. Protecting them from the harsh sun and providing them with nutrients and care. He would keep a quiet eye on their progress but never quite left them alone. He was always a constant warmth even on the coldest of days. I miss him always but especially as the spring weather arrives and the flowers start to bloom. I want to thank you Grandpa for being my faithful gardener. I am sure I would not be half the person I am without your loving care. Happy birthday grandpa.
She was an image of beauty
The singing bird
A freshly bloomed flower
Her eyes full of earnest
Her heart pure
Everything she should be
When opening the envelope
Peeling back the skin
She is a broken one
A wounded soul
Full of festering disappointments
She feels rotten inside
A bit of highlights here
A contour of color there
Shadows and lines
An ever changing disguise
She is a constant chameleon
Her foe is a shiny surface
It mocks her with its presence
Stalking her at every turn
Blue eyes and her enemy meet
Truth is hard to digest
She quickly glances away fearful
Barely knowing herself
Silently she whispers
Who am I supposed to be?
Telepathically her twin answers
You are undone
Just a sketch
Of the portrait you could be.
Written by me and for me.
Copyright. Phoenix Rises.
Even though living in the northeast has made me skeptical of spring I was happy to see the sun this past weekend. Easter is usually when we see more sun and warmer weather but this year it has been slow coming. This time of year has always been a time of renewal for me. The chance to get my flower beds in order and clean up the yard. The frequent cold weather and dreary days have put a damper on my spirits.
Perhaps it is only circumstantial but my health hasn’t been the best either. I have been battling for a little over two years now an auto immune disorder. When I get flare ups it takes several days sometimes weeks for me to feel like myself again. My health was always something I took pride in. I was always working out and living a health lifestyle. The strict regime and diet they have me on often makes me so exhausted that the idea of working out seems impossible. It is a hard thing to have to relearn how to be yourself again. I am in mourning for my old self, that’s the only way I can describe it. I keep thinking I am going to wake up one day and things will be the way they once were.
Only a few things besides sleep have helped make me feel better. I was lucky this past holiday weekend to experience those elements that make the days bearable. Family has always been one of the elements that allows me some comfort especially when I get to go out and enjoy their company. Another, is my cats. I live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets so my cats live with my mom. When I go home and see them it helps me feel alive again. They always come and sit with me, purr in my lap, and look at me with their beautiful gold eyes. Sometimes the look they give me is a knowing one, their eyes say “mom we know you don’t feel well.” It is these times that they help me the most. They follow me around and watch me anxiously waiting for me to go sit so they can come sit next to me. The minute I sit on the couch they are there laying near me trying to say in their own way “things will get better.”
The last and final thing that has helped me is the beach. I can think of thousands of times I have gone to the beach for one reason or another and all of them have been because I needed time to regroup. This weekend I was able to get out and go to the beach. I stood on the jetty and let the wind blow through me. The constant and never changing water that leaves and returns from the shore. The water that splashes and sends spray into the air always leaves me mystified. The air smells and feels different at the beach a pure untainted smell. It has been these things that have helped me get by. I long for the day when I can be more like myself again, my resurrection. Until that day comes I’m going to hold on to my trinity and try and get through the day.
I have been writing since I was young. A hobby which was encouraged by my grandma. If time had allowed her I believe she would have gone to college to become a teacher. As a consolation prize however, she became my early tutor. I learned to read at three years old, mind you this wasn’t an easy task. She would set the timer and read to me easy books and then when the timer was up I would have to read the book back to her. I fumbled a lot, I remember it being really frustrating. She had a way with words, a flare if you will that made listening easy. She was probably one of the best story tellers I have ever met. She had a natural talent for writing and poetry and she encouraged me to write my own. I can boastfully say I grew up with homemade children stories read to me. She proceeded J.K. Rowling but a few decades. The stories varied between animals, fairies, people or whatever she decided to write about. She always wrote everything with such imagery that you felt you could touch the scene or the character.
I went on to write stories, poetry and taking creative writing courses all through school. I think there was no one more excited than her about this. When I would enter my poems into contests she would always support me and make me feel like I could write anything. So of course in the off chance they were published or won it was just an added bonus. It didn’t matter what she wrote about, sad times or happy ones she managed to give of herself to the page. This was a skill I wanted more than anything. I would always have her read them, and she would offer her advice for which I was always thankful for.
Then my poetry muse and matriarch started to get ill. She started to forget things, events, and people. Small things at first of course like the toast in the oven and the glass of milk in the cabinet. But, it began to progress in a cruel tortuous dance. The poems that she would write during the afternoons while bored started to lose clarity. I found myself offering advice, which was a precarious place for me. I had become the “teachers aid” to her writing. She would drift through a forest of confusing thought and just like life she would stumble on a clearing in her mind. Then she was just as before, talking about past days, and trips to the beach. But, the clearing would soon fill with fog and her vantage point would be lost once again, and me with it.
One of the last times I visited her while she was in hospice care she asked about her writing. It was as if she finally realized her life was finite and she wanted a piece of her genius to remain. I told her that she had given me all of her writing awhile back and I had it in safe keeping. She laid back and closed her eyes and seemed to relax. I watched the tension that had temporarily been placed there removed. I knew at this moment that I would try my best to maintain her work and if I could I would find a way to keep her writing going. I would write for the both of us, and for awhile I did. I had under estimated one thing though, not being able to show her my writing would become the hardest thing of all. Overwhelmed I decided to take a sabbatical.
Years later while searching through copious magazines on a magazine rack. I came across a magazine cover that sparked my interest. I was no stranger to this particular bookstore but I had never seen this publication before. It was for writers and poets and on the cover stated ” Over 115 Writing Contests with Upcoming Deadlines!” This was perhaps the jolt I had been searching for. I had been annoyed with my writing and coming across the magazine cover had given me renewal. The feeling reminded me of times lost. When I would fuss over my poem or my short story and my grandma would tell me it’s great. After much deliberation I have decided to enter one of the poetry contests. My only hope is wherever my grandma is she can send me her reassuring energy one more time. ❤️