The Unliving

We are the unliving
Unliving our lives
Not wanting the life we live
Doing nothing to change it
Doing nothing to break the cycle
Dragging ourselves through the day
Afraid to ask for help
Afraid to tell the truth
Fear is our constant companion
Small most days, but constant
It dictates our every word
It dictates our every decision
This small worm, an infection making us the unliving
We have to take the medicine to cure this infection
We have to take the medicine that will make us brave
That medicine is called love
It’s a powerful medicine
But it’s hard for us to swallow
We don’t think that we deserve it
We fear it’s not true
We fear
Take your medicine
Share your medicine
Receive the medicine you are given
There is an abundant supply in every breath
Encourage others to take their medicine We can not live this life in fear
This world can not live this life in fear
Love is not sex
Sex is not love
We get those confused
Love comes from the heart
Love is received by the heart
It’s time to stop this unliving
It’s time just stop this unloving
For all of us
It’s time for all of us to live our lives
It’s  time for all of us to love our lives

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contemplation

Don’t let people that don’t matter, matter too much.

Are you ever disappointed in yourself and you get down and just feel like crap, like mush, and like a loser. do you ever feel like whenever you seem to get one step ahead, you get pushed back about ten steps and then you have to start climbing again.  How about those thoughts in your head, the voices saying you’re not enough, you don’t compare to other people, what you’re doing is sub-par, you’re not making an impact, you’re wasting your time and your talents. Do you ever lie in bed at night, tossing and turning wondering what tomorrow will bring.  Will you be disappointed or will you be elated, will you be singing praises or melancholy.  This life is so unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it all, you are quickly washed away and taken out to sea, amongst the rubble, the waves, and the storms.  There is never a break.  There is never a moment that is 100% stillness and rest.  The world keeps on moving, keeps on keeping on, and it doesn’t get easier.  It is a hard realization that life is not a piece of cake.  That is why you have to savor the good moments and know or hope that the sad moments won’t last forever. You have to find the good in yourself and others and not become too bitter about the idiotic people around you.  You have to know that you’re doing the best that you can and give yourself credit for all that you are going through and all that you have been through, and where you are in this moment.  I guess it’s never to late to make a comeback, or to find yourself smiling for no reason.  The best moments are when you’re laughing, the real type of laughing that makes your belly hurt, and then you ask yourself why was I laughing in the first place.  It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love, and people that love you.  It’s about finding solace and inner peace.  It’s about losing yourself in the moment and then coming up for air and saying today isn’t so bad after all.  It’s about being grateful and thankful, finding time to be generous with yourself and giving yourself a break to just breathe.  Today might be dark, rainy, and dreary, but the sun still shines overhead and will one day come out to light up the world and your inner soul.

Saint Margaret

That year was the year
I fought my way
out of a dragon.

Let me start:
I grew up banished to strangers
outside Antioch.

When I had to,
I chose purity
over expediency.

That explains the dungeon.

But not the tiny exquisite pain
in my fingertip
nipped by the green devil,
emerald-eyed, ashimmer.

That was my own story.

That year was the year
I let the devil swallow my body
into darkness.

That I gave my own breath
for the dragon’s flame.

That year was the year
that let me
sense light
through the belly.

A year
that faith
made sharp
my cross.

That year was the year
that I fought my way
out of a dragon.

That I sliced
through the
thick skin
severing scales
that fell away
like tossed coins
and crawled out
one toe at a time.

By the time I breathed
my own breath again,
and drew my soul
back in,
the dragon
was split
and wilted
at my feet,
temptless,
but for the
glitter
of white teeth.

– Copyright Kay Winter
written New Year’s Day, 2016

The gods, Six Women and a Wedding

The gods pinged me again. They had no sense of decency, coming in right there on the outside steps of the Rotunda just before my son walked me down the aisle at his wedding. I turned and saw the reflection of us standing there in the glass door. I saw us clearly. I saw us from where the gods saw us from way out there somewhere. That’s me, in the long elegant black dress, hair all done up around my head, one hand holding my son’s arm and the other dangling a black shawl, like a child holds a blanket. We look alike. Both tall, both slim. Then the ping. It suddenly seemed strange that the cells of this 6’2” man spun off and popped out of my body and ended up standing next to me as a full grown man, irreversibly tied to me, no matter what.

They’ve been after me all my life, those gods. I don’t know what I did, but it must have been something big. They are determined I must go through life backwards. Maybe they thought I had it too easy. Maybe they thought I had too much life, that I saw too much good in the world. Or maybe they just thought I was shallow and needed to learn a lesson or two.

But I’m here, at this wedding and I’m smiling while this man, this man the gods forced through my body at 18 and out into the world, before either of us were ready, is saying his vows today. In spite of the gods watching us.
And I see his hands, the pigment gone white, in irregular lines, that look like drawings of continents against the darker skin. And now the nails, warping at the base. His tux is a little too big now, with the weight loss, the tiny incision holes over the kidneys hidden. But he looks fine. He is fine, still.

Even the grand matriarch on the bride’s side, the grandmother, caught me in the bathroom and said “We just love Calvin and are glad to have him come into the family.”

I said, “He’s only on loan.” She didn’t know what I meant with those words.

And they look fine, he and his radiant bride, later at the head table, smiling and laughing, so beautiful, so full of promise, so ready to do the marriage and children scene, all the way till. . . . I can’t say the word.

He found the right one. I feel a mother’s love toward that.
I said my speech. “You want so much for your children, you want things to go right, to be easier for them. And with these two, I think they are they lucky ones who have it all.” Or something like that. Tears well up in my voice and I stop. People clap for me and I sit down. I should be feeling wildly ecstatic right now, that they married their best friend and it’s going to be a good marriage, but that just makes it worse. Bastard gods! I’m mad and getting more mad by the minute.

I mean, what were the gods thinking? They dropped that boy on me before I even had a chance to get out there in the world. They stole that from me, my youth, my choices. But I got over it. And now, when I’m getting older, they’ve come to steal him back before I’m gone? I mean what the hell? What’s the point? For god’s sake, can someone please tell me what.they.were.thinking?

I must have been mouthing some pretty good swear words, in the middle of this beautiful reception because soon Mae, tall Mae with black braids and feathers at the end trailing down her back, came up to me and grabbed my arm.

“Come on Maggie,” she said and pulled me toward the door. I quietly let her lead me. As we passed tables, Janice stood up and joined us. Then Linda, and Maria and Sookie. We stepped out of the glass room, into the darkness and headed down to the amphitheater in the small lake.

All six of us, in our beautiful dresses and high-heeled shoes, wine glasses in our hands, crossed the bridge and stepped onto the circle of grass where hours before the vows were spoken. We lined up in a row. Six beautiful women, aged 36 to 56, strong women. Each of us had been pinged by the gods, as a mother or sister or wife, all of us angry at the gods at one time or other. We stood facing the lake under clouds tinged pink from the huge lights coming out of the glass building behind us.

Our heels sunk deep into the earth.

Then we gathered a strong breathe, and howled. We howled, again and again, more and more, at the top of our lungs, the sound skimming across the lake, shaking up into the trees. Six she wolves, snarling and snapping back. And as we sunk deeper into the earth, howls of women past rose up through our feet, filling our bodes and shaking our chests, their voices joining ours in our throats. And with one final voice, we pinged those gods back with a howl from every woman past, present and future.

Then we were quiet.

We waited as our howl released into the sky and out of sight and the lake became just a lake and the trees just trees.

Mae looked at me. She was talking to me without words, but I could hear her say “you all right now Maggie.”
I drop my head into one accepting nod, our cue to pulled our heels out of ground and make our way back to the glass building.

(c) Copyright Shelley Maasch, All Rights Reserved