April 26. Poetry Challenge. Interior Landscapes

If you never have anything
you don’t know what there was to lose…

my children know, though
they do as they most surely knew

love and warm dinners and cracked smiles
and laughter as long as the days grown wild

these things have gone missing
in their wholes still there in their parts
my parts, their father’s.

It wasn’t supposed to get this bitter,
or this intense. To slip silently out
of someone’s life once you realize

they never had any intention of
fully being in yours. These decades length strangers.

They’re not old enough for real explanations
the narrative is cheap, incomplete and flimsy and

out of my hands.

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April 18 Poetry Challenge The Daughter Land Map

The Daughter Land Map

It shows everything and nothing
the terrain steep–so much to climb through
in hardly enough space to breathe
there are rocks and cliffs
and a river somewhere on
a distant valley floor.

Did I bring the wrong map?
forget where north is?

I would today gladly find
that village here in DaughterLand
high above the tree tops
where we sat together
and laughed and waited happily
for her father to get home
for her brother to wake from a nap
for the two of us
so much alike, so much different
to be in that one location
forever

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April 17 Poetry Challenge Requiem for an Ending

We meet in my office alone
not too long, just long enough

there are children to discuss
and the taxi-ing of children
to various places to various things

i do not hate him

if i can look at him, his face
and not remember any of the nights
i felt lonely when he was a few inches
away from me on the other side of a
king side bed with an ocean of differences
in between–back and forth–back and forth
lulled for a decade or so.

I promised when we met I wouldn’t write about him
and for the most part I’ve kept that promise.

he has his narrative
i have mine
they are not anywhere near each other
each still on the other end of a too large bed

one kid estranged from him
one estranged from me

we held on so very long before sinking

tomorrow we will be divorced.

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April 12-14 Poetry Challenge (Notes from the Journal)

April 12

April 12
Daughterland Drugs
I want to keep her off
the northern californian crutch
as long as possible
I keep thinking it’s a green leafy battle
but she’s thinking it something else
I’m already losing the argument
and we haven’t even started.

April 13
We tell each other the
deepest dark in the dark hours
before dawn. We say what we know
has been hushed and stiffled
screaming like a vein against
the skin–it’s what love and only
love can do.

April 14 More from the Daughterland
She watches her father and I
sit on his front porch
share a brief laugh
holding fast to whatever it is
we still have in common
as we navigate away from each other
It pisses her off.
That we could get along and smile
while she’s playing the misery record
of divorced children

If you laugh, she says, you are leading him on
If you don’t laugh, I think, you wind up inhumane

I can’t tell her she’ll understand
when she’s older
I can’t tell her the reasons we
can’t be together
they are not 13 year old reasons
they are hard fought dragged out years reasons

We cancel our plans for the day
they don’t fit into her rage
and I drive off without her.

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April 11 Poetry Challenge Daughter Land, Part 3

We are all lied to, my love
mostly by ourselves
we tell ourselves stories
in which to wallow
in which to cave
in which to concede

that is how we found ourselves today
you with an unfinished assignment
me with a clock ticking and an ego’s rage
we wanting both of us to be perfect
when neither of us could be

I want so much to tell you the truth
but I know this is the age where you find
your own truths amid the lies of culture
you shed your own skin and mine as well
every word spoken an indictment
of whatever it was we tried to do
to raise you.

I tell myself it is all natural
the normal course of things
that at the end of this time
we all come back together again.

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April 10 Poetry Challenge Daughterland, Part 2

” We have been wounded by it (giving)” –Alberto Rios

Giving: What it Takes

My car door slammer,
my you-don’t-get-it-you’re-too-old,
my you-should-be-home-making-cookies
my you-promised-me-you-guys-wouldn’t-split-till-i-was-out-of-the-house

My Daughter.

Full of intensity and scowl
Full of cat eyes and hoop earrings
Looking for that fight
In a red dress too tight
and sneakers to run

Looking just like me.

You never wanted me, she says.
The words leave her lips and
I watch as they fly through the air
hip pistol air
shot through to my heart if she could aim
I duck and swerve, duck and swerve
Still a couple of those shots always get through

I tell her her mama was about choices
Plenty of potential went unbirthed
A mother of choices, a mother of invention
A mother of not needing to be a mother at all
A mother not born of social conditioning.

I chose you. I choose you.
I did not have to and I gave you life.
The way one goddess births another.

She’s quiet for a moment
Looks for wisdom outside the passenger window
The rocks and the river below us
pushing and shaping the landscape.
The wildness reminding so much can change
in an moment of weakness, of inexperience.
You can slip and lose your footing.
You can wash away.

She reaches over to me. Touches my hand
with hers.
In this moment, this is all we have.

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April 9 Poetry Challenge Poetry Is

Poetry is Possibility:
Memoir-izing the day and
Dwelling in the senses
of the aftermath of living
this moment to the next.

This idea that words mean
something new
when arranged differently
specifically on a page.

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April 8 Poetry Challenge Daughter Land

Daughter Land

She reaches over and
touches my hand tells me
with her fake nailed manicured hand
that she loves me–

The year has taught me that words are fraught
as any hand that could slap and scream
I duck and cover within and wait
for what I think is the opposition

The fear that love is followed
by disdain and mockery
she is thirteen after all and the world
hers not mine

to be continued…

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April 5-7 Poetry Challenge Poems from the Notebook in the Purse

I had a few in my notebook this week that I never got out to the pages here:

April 5 A Love Poem

It is becoming real
this comfortable sync into his eyes
sync into his skin —
You are as familiar as a century
and new as yesterday–

April 6 The Wind and the Rain
Each time I think
perhaps it is this time
I remember the rain storms
and how the boulder went down
too fast to watch for falling rocks
too big to be expected
to swerve and miss.
One story. One accident years ago now.
And it’s all I think of when I drive.

April 7 The Old Friends

I remember them
playing side by side apart
from each other
for what seemed like years
only months
and now they gather at the table
without us having to
orchestrate
They talk into the nights
of what became
and what’s to come

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April 4 Poetry Challenge Holding on to Joy

Holding on to Joy

No, no, no–
Nuh-uh. In this moment.
This singular moment when
my heart is singing when
my mind is made up of everything
I can give—
When my voice has found an ear and
my ear has found his voice
I will hold on to this joy.
This peace of something
in a piece of something real.
That all the rest
cannot destroy.

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