Monday, August 30, 2010


Fear is a funny thing. Some days, you think you have it mastered. After all, you've talked about these things with your friends and your lawyer and various advocates. Talked about them until they've achieved a sense of order in your mind. You know the things that are in your control and the things that are not. And you try to be philosophical about the latter. You begin to relax. You begin to plan.

But of course there is always something to throw you off balance – a phone call, a cautionary email from a friend that starts out, “I don't mean to alarm you but...”

And everything is blown to shit again.

But what can you do, really? You go about the business of your day--the money-earning, the care-taking--and all that is well and good as it serves as a distraction, though all the while there is that undercurrent that keeps you from really focusing on the task at hand. At some point you look up and realize it's closing in on 4:00 pm and you haven't eaten, it hasn't even occurred to you to eat.

It's starting to cool off now in the evenings and you should probably take the kids outside to play but you don't. Walking up to the track at the nearby school is out of the question. So you spend another evening indoors turning a shoe box into a makeshift castle and cutting miniature people out of scraps of newspaper.

After the kids are tucked in their beds you retire to your own room to read, interrupted when your daughter comes in for another hug, which is sweet because you can't focus on your book anyway because you're too busy wondering how your life came to this. I mean seriously, how the fuck did this happen? Then you get up and check the locks again, take a Unisom and go back to bed.

* * * * * *

Fear is insidious. You don't see it coming.
It sneaks in the back while you are standing guard out front.

It suggests to you that perhaps you should have thought things through more clearly
A long time ago
That you trusted unwisely, too freely

Fear lies down with you at night and sighs against the back of your neck
It wakes you at 1:15, 2:38 and 4:00. Just because.

For some fear is an illusionist that distorts reality and conjures demons where there are none
But for others, fear unveils the hard truths that remained unseen for too long.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to receive a large envelope in the mail that had traveled all the way from Australia.  It was a care package from four of my beautiful bloggy friends, Lori, Brenda, Veronica and Kim.  Look what they sent me.

Some candles, slippers, adorable little worry dolls (!), a bank in which I've been instructed to start saving for a trip to Australia (okay, but I think my lawyer is next in line) and chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate (so much chocolate that not all of it is pictured, some of it had to be stored in my office at work).

Wow, those are some pretty amazing friends.  I'm feeling quite lucky right now.

And as if that weren't enough, I came home to find yet another post from Australia.  This one was from Sawhole.  Look what she sent me.

Post-it notes!

Hmmm... I wonder what the postman will bring me tomorrow?

Thank you my lovely friends.

I also want to thank everyone who has written to express concern during my silence the last few weeks.  I feel fortunate to have such a warm and caring circle of cyber friends. 

I imagine posting will continue to be light in the weeks to come.  Bear with me while I find my voice again. 

But today I'm feeling grateful for the support and comraderie of my friends around the world.


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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Woman, a history

A woman climbs the steep escarpment, picks her steps with practiced care
a chill wind blows across the water, blows tangled hair into her eyes
she feels the winter coming on the wind.
It's been two years and still she comes, though she hardly hopes to see him now
two ships set sail two years ago
but still she takes the long way home that looks out across the sea.
At night she holds the child close and tries to conjure up his face
trace the jawline in her mind, downset eyes and temple scar
how is it she'd forget a face?
They're out of food
there's no more food.
Outside the night advances fast across the empty sea the cold North Sea.

And in a world across the ocean, women bending, planting seed
women in a field of mud, pausing, smiling, trading whispers, midday sun bears down upon them.

Woman in a covered wagon, sweat soaks through her milk-stained blouse
passing hills like sleeping children, passing but not seeing them.
Eighteen days since Fort McPherson, another month before the pass
two sisters back in Philadelphia writing letters with no address.
Six days since they laid him down and wrapped him in a child-sized quilt
no rites, no clergy, not a witness, just an unmarked grave off the Northern Platte.

Woman under weight of stone sinking down through gray blue water
reaches up towards the Mother, save me mother
All is dark.

Tell us Man, what can we give you? Tell us how to ease your pain.
Can we offer you redemption, lips, our youth, a softer fall?
Would you go to war for our protection, lay your lives down for our gain
guard our virtue with your caution, extract our pleasure with your knife?
Do you trust us with your truth, you've lain your hearts down at our feet.
We can feel your pain within us
here reach inside and take a piece of beating pulsing pound of flesh
a piece of soul it is a gift, we do not need it you can have it
we cannot stand to feel your pain.

Cross equator, cross a desert
a gentle wind plays through the grass that sighs through miles of gold savanna.
Twenty miles west of Gabiro the grass grows tall like your eldest daughter
except in years of drought it doesn't
and there's been three longs years of drought.
But the women in their huts don't think of drought at times like this
as they are crouched beside their beds
mothers' hands across the mouths of babes
don't make a sound my lovely child.
But of course what does it matter, they will know that we are here
and the women say their prayers
they pray
they pull their children tight as they listen to the footsteps
coming closer coming closer
and their prayers are not for salvation
but only that the darkness takes the children first.

And many miles away where the forest meets the grassland
a dozen heads rise up in tandem
twelve sets of ears turn to the east.
A herd of tiny bushbuck catch the muffled sound of gunfire
muscles quiver in their necks, they wait, they listen
then go back about their grazing
as the wind plays through the miles of gold savanna
and silence falls across the warm Rwandan plains.

Children, children, do not weep
Lay your troubles at my feet
Take my breast and settle darling
I would trade my fondest dreams
There now did I see a smile?

And in a veldt beneath a tree a woman grunts
her breathing shallow short and quick like hungry jackals
sweat pools in the dirt beneath her
rocking moaning rush of blood a child slips fresh into the world.

Listen women, gather round.
Don't you know that I still see you, feel your breath move through my body,
sense the quickening of your veteran disquiet?
In my sleep I feel the crush of all the dreams that slipped away beneath the steady beat of time
as you sought to bide your time.
When I look into the faces of my son and of my daughter
I see the hopes of all your children
they are one and the same.

And can you see me now my friends standing here on the precipice of time?
Do you see the closing arc?
Can you hear me raise me voice in hot dissent or righteous anger, open laughter, celebration?
Do you see me turn away from All they worship, say no thank you I choose not to,
stand abreast with kings and beggars, slip this ring from off my finger, walk alone into the night?
Do you see me drinking deeply from this cup of freedom always just outside your reach?

I see you smile for me and I wonder where you find your strength, considering.
Not in fist or gold or clever intellect or down the barrel of a gun
or whatever weary cliché.
You say this wryly then you laugh and I see time hasn't robbed you of your humor.

Come beautiful women, come and shuffle off the years
and the coats of many lifetimes lived in terror want and grief
come and drink this cup of freedom
bring your children, bring your men, there's enough for all to savor
for the heart is like a marvel, multiplies when split asunder
doesn't die when ripped asunder but regenerates afresh
unfurls in endless ribbons like the wind across the plains
like the miles of silver ocean
and returns to you the dreams that you once whispered in the night.
Come call back your lonely sentries
oh you queens of errant fortune
don't you see
don't you see
that we are free.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Battle weary

I have been laying low. I know I haven't been around to your blogs lately. I'm sorry. I haven't even gotten to the links in the Blog Carnival, which I now coordinate. Life has been weighing heavy on me. But you've been so kind, checking in, warming me with your comments. I appreciate your thoughtfullness.

I feel as if I've been in a race for a very, very long time, pacing myself and holding my reserves for the distance. And here I was finally in the home stretch and starting to feel that lift of elation, knowing that just around the corner was the finishing line, but when I turned the corner I was met instead with another large hurdle. And I'm not sure I can muster the strength to meet this hurdle. I'm bone-weary and just so ready to be done.

But of course someone would throw a spanner in the works. Fool I was to think otherwise.

What do you do when caught up in a game, the rules of which you don't wish to play by or for that matter even understand? A crazy-making game where truth is slipped beneath a shell and scuttled about between others. Did you see where it landed? Or did you look away and miss it? Come over here little lady says the man patting his pockets. He leans in conspiratorially. I'll show you were truth is.

I don't want to play this game anymore. I don't want to play any games. I want to take my children out of this chaos and make a home for us.  I don't want to sleep another night in this silent battleground.

Tonight I lay down with Anna as she didn't want me to leave after I tucked her in. Stay with me Momma she asked and it was so quiet and simple a request that I did. She placed a blanket over both of us,cuddled up close to me then put her head down and closed her eyes. I watched her sleep and noticed she was sucking her thumb. She's never sucked her thumb before, ever, even when she was a baby. I stroked her cheeks and brushed the hair back out of her eyes. Of course I would keep going. Just look at her. We've been on this path for so long now, a year almost. I've stayed strong through all of it. So why now, when we're so close to the end, do I suddenly feel like I'm going to break? 

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

AMB Blog Carnival - August

August is here and that means it's time for the second AMB Blog Carnival which will highlight 35 AMB members' best posts from July.  It's being hosted by the beautiful, brilliant, uber-sexy and jellybeany Lori of Random Ramblings of a SAHM.  She even snuck one of my posts in there because she loves me so (or something like that).  So what are ya waiting for?  Go over there and check it out!

Oh, and AMB = Aussie Mummy Bloggers.

And shhhh... they still haven't figured out I'm not Aussie.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hands off

Me: Hey Anna, over here, give me a smile!

Her:  I want to take it.

Me: You can't take your own picture, silly.  Now give me a smile!

Her:  You took your own picture yesterday.

Me:  That's different.  Mommy's phone isn't a toy.  Come on, you look so cute in those pigtails!

Her:  No.

Me:  C'mon....

Her:  I want to take it.

Me:  Alright, let me take one picture, then I'll let you take one.  Okay?

Her:  Okay.

Me:  What?  You're not going to smile?

Me: Okay, here you go, but be careful, and just take... wait... don't touch the...!

My phone makes her happy.  Dammit.


You may have noticed that my blog has been heavy on pictures and light on writing of late.  Do I need to go over my excuses again?  Or have you memorized them by now?  Divorce, stress, migraines, stress.  Some of which might be related.  Bear with me.  One of these days writing will again appear on my blog.

In fact yesterday I escaped to one of my favorite haunts where I rendezvoused with three of my favorite addictions:

Something blogworthy may come of this.

Me:  Hey!  Give me that!  You little...

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