When In Winter. (Prosery)

Such good heat in summer. I have a co-worker, skin over bones she is, who goes out into the mid-day oven wearing a sweater, to warm up from the chill of the AC. She returns flushed and rosy and happy to be warm for a little while.

Let’s remember this, shall we? When we’re complaining of heating oil costs while adoring favorite sweaters, and hosting guests at holiday time, and, if we’re lucky, quietly cuddling with those we like best.

Let’s remember sleeping without a top sheet, screened windows and the sound of cicadas and crickets and distant concerts or carnivals. And the grilling and freshly grown gems, and the farm stand colors palettes, and cityscapes undulating in grossly hot afternoons. And any other summer experience you hold dear (or annoying). Let’s remember them all well.

Love the fresh fruit, and the gawdawful heat, and the surf, and the garden, and the skin you expose – as daring as that makes you feel regardless of your size or shape, and the sudden rolling thunderstorms.

Love it all. It’s why we’re here.

DJ Dawson

First published July 19, 2014.

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Once, When the Tide Was Low. [Personal essay.]

Full disclosure:
I’ve been there.
on the serrated edge of the coin
one side stay
the other, go.

Several of you have,
too.

Whatever Divinity changed our course
steadied us to remain,
I am, now, grateful for it
(though was angry and frustrated, then.)

On the bathroom floor (it’s almost always there, isn’t it? Those personal tar black come-to-Jesus low-points on tile or shag pale sky throw rug, in the dark regardless of time of day)
pills and booze
or
booze and more booze
(“recreational” my ass)
hollow hopelessness in
unimaginable quantities
unfamous uncelebrity (who’d miss me? who cared) unsure unspecial
unexcused unnoticeable unneeded unnecessary unattached un-everything
un-craptogether.

Until the Divine or fear of angering my Mother(s) or what if or _________ whatever reason people decide not to go…I cannot remember anything other than not being as fearless as when I came into the bathroom. In my 20s before marriage before child before God and everyone, it was just misery and me and something else that needed to come through.

I’m glad it did.

My decision to share this odd prosery is not for comment nor criticism nor praise. But if sharing my imperfections and humanity, my vulnerability, with someone who thinks we think they have their shit together (when they think they actually don’t), and that person needs someone to talk to or just somebody to sit next to. I’d like to be that lighthouse for them.

You’re not alone even when you believe with every cell that you are.

STAY.
Thank you.

DJD 08 June 1018

On This Day: 2 April 2016. {journal entry}

It has been several months – including the winter holiday season – since my house has given me any remote sense of joy. I really (really) like this house. It’s quirky enough to satisfy my disdain of cookie-cuttery and “normal” enough to reassure my faint desire to conform.

Inanimate – how could it give anything let alone joy?

But this evening, a weird coldsnappping on the wind and the dog impatiently yanking me down the driveway for a night walk I am beginning to enjoy, I turn to look back at our house, from the corner.

 

66Mill4.2.16

Fuzzy image of our house, dog walk. 4.2.2016

 

Two paper star lanterns hang side by side, glowing in concert with a single strand of un-twinkling twinkle/fairy lights.

She is in there, with six then seven then six of her girlfriends. Playing games and laughing wildly, howling at each other’s uncensored teenage humors and running commentary.

Junk food, juice, real soda, pizza and eventual ice cream cake hopefully burned off before bed so no middle-night stomach issues result. They sang to her, and she commented with genuine thrill, “I haven’t had an ice cream cake since I was like seven or eight!!” and blew out the 19 candles – an extra for luck – in one noiseless whistle. She was happy, IS happy, and that is something I have not witnessed in a long time.  She moved out abruptly, in January, after I drew my final line in the sand about her disrespectful behavior and backtalk.  I was done and that time, unlike previous others, there was to be no discussion, no bargaining.  She moved out the very next day, her father ‘rescuing’ her from me, her awful mother, her personal target, and blame-source.  He showed up, hours after he first promised, and hauled most of her things away, leaving a mess in her room and a giant, painful hole in our home.

Down to the final four, the sleepover will be sweet and sacred, as most of these things are. In the morning, I will prepare crepes and bacon and tea or juice, and cinnamon buns. They’ll be gone before 10:30 AM. And, then, so will she, until the next visit.  She does not come around often at all; I am ignored or shunned or too embarrassing.  It would be the same if she still lived here.  However, it was her behavior – not my lack of love or mothering – that led to the ultimatum:  change how you treat me or take your show on the road and play a few acts at your father’s.  She could not change for us – she needs to “individuate”, my friends all tell me.  “She’ll come back, better than before”, they all say.  But that is not now; the future remains a blank canvas.  We can only love what is right now.  So, tonight, I love this and the following moments of her being home.

Tomorrow night the house will be darker, less full, less lively and certainly less noisy. I wish it were like this more often: alive, glowing and sighing with joy.  Unbridled and happy. But, for now, it is really quite perfect. ❤

cake 4.2.16

Clemency + Dispensation {Poem / Poetry}

Up before the sun (with good intentions)
Back to sleep (with no intentions)
Rise, shine, quadruped shuffle
ground beans and hot water
 
sleepy-eyed talk of dance, and creativity
what it means to be good at something
to own what you put into the world
without guilt or fear of being singled out
 
she asks
when did I know I had something
how old was I
who got lost along the way
 
how do you know friends
–where is the line between supportive loyalty
and praise cloaking a blade
 
I tell her:
I thank the blade
here, run a finger over scars of insincerity gouging sarcasm
words that whittled away my arias to murmurs
 
but murmur I owned
10 years at a time
stumbling along small
until enough love filled my lungs
full and lofty
raising above the myopic fog
to the light of now
 
40 years, a long time to hum a lifesong and
not cry out infinite joys
 
17 years, a brief lesson in wearing confident skin and deflecting the subtle dismantling of peers
 
Leave them be, wish them well, love your song.
DJD 2015

Date Damsel. (Prosery)

January,
the transitional girlfriend of the calendar.

Not like the other months. Her personality a mix of closing a door and lighting a bonfire; bittersweet memory and new imaginings. You meet her and instantly you’re comfortable–she’s a bit of extended December.

She is the palate cleanser, the slate-cleaner
she looks the other way and has regard for but no connection to your past. January only looks forward with you.

Halfway through you’re cozy, in love, comfortable hibernating from the rest of the year. You picture yourself being together another 11 and a half months.

When the birds start singing their wake-up call outside the window in those last few days, you realize it’s not forever. You need more. More than January can offer, and you miss the predictable familiarity of other months.

Like any bridge relationship, she helps us out of the used, the stale,
the old and into the full-of-potential, bold new year.

As much as you are grateful for her constancy and loyalty
you leave her
for another,
more turbulent, less kind and
marginally forgiving time. A time you already know.

February waits

with open arms

to welcome you back to the calendar.

Eventually, January will do what she does best: begin anew.

DJD 2015

Give In, Not Give Up.

And they tell me the only thing I can do is pray.

It’s so powerful, so mighty, so positive.

So why do I feel so powerless, so scrawny, so angry?
(This is far from my usual mode of positivity and optimism.)

One of you has been betrayed.
It is clear from your posts that your heart is leaking pain everywhere you go
like an old car leaves an oil trail down the street.

Some of you are ill.
I do not say “sick” but ill. Your body is fighting a fight while you are held hostage by those ravages and maneuvers.

Some of you will have surgery soon.
I know you are afraid.

A few of you are having parenting issues — whether you are the parent or the child.
A lot of frustration and needless back-and-forth of not listening to each other and power plays. (This you can handle yourselves, but I pray about it anyway because it couldn’t hurt.)

Many of you are healing or lonely or hopeful Love will come through the door…
that your own prayers will literally be answered.
Honestly, I want to answer every single one.

Gratitude is everything, I know this.
(Where is that magic wand we had as kids? We could just wave it around and *poof!* everything was magically
better
solved
time for supper and then a bath and story and bed.)

So many of us just want the very best for those we know and Love
and for those we hardly know but Love anyway.
I ask for better
I ask to be given opportunities to be a better person, mother, friend.
And they are provided hand over fist.

We mend what we can, as best we can.
After that, the only thing left to do is give in and pray.

DJD 2014

Ladle. [Poem]

Pre-dawn crickets telling tales of the evening’s revelry 

Ghoulish parties in the wood

Mocking, the Jay banters and catcalls the Titmouse

Rough coffee, home-smoked bacon
Frittata in the oven

A walk through the trees
Wizards and witches finishing touches on

tomorrow’s hallow’d garments

with little more than chocolate and striped corn

we bid adieu to October, all Saints are we.

Happy, Haunted, Sunday.
DJDawson