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

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On Not Coupling: An Essay on How Not to Fall in Love. Maybe.

If you asked me five years ago, on a regular Saturday morning such as this, anything having to do with dating or coupling (outside of business or creatively contributing to something) or, God forbid, Love and such, I would have quickly changed the subject to you, your life and goings–on; or my daughter or our home or my employment (or my employer) or a movie we should see at the Cinema Arts Center (because likely, I had already seen it, alone, and will always tell someone when something is really worth the price of the ticket.)

What we would *not* have talked about was
“r e l a t i o n s h i p.”

Strung out letter-by-letter because after divorce – those of us once-married (remove the ‘i’ and you’re “marred”, if you didn’t already notice) are somewhat loathe to jump back into the dating pool, let alone broach the subject at all. So, we literally d r a g it out (or avoid the word and idea altogether.)

Five years ago, single-mothering my then-14-and three-quarter-year old offspring, in a too-big (and cold) old house with indoor/outdoor cats and a puppy with the worst case of PTSD – ever – we would NOT have talked about Match.com or Plentyoffish or speed-dating or blind dates or group dinners or meetup.com or meeting someone in church or taking a class or doing another show or volunteering (I was already doing that) or how involving myself with yet another oddball-people-project adult male who needed more help and more ego-massage than anyone in their right mind would ever take on would be really stupid (but oh so familiar. And easy.) I would have to be NUTS to get involved with anyone again – be they near or hundreds of miles away. I was done and comfortable knowing I would be my nephew’s ‘crazy Ant Jaye’ until the title aged-out as he aged-up.

And, yet…here we are.

We do not use the word “r e l a t i o n s h i p”. We use “partnership”.

We do not talk about getting married, though people who don’t know us refer to the other partner as “your wife” and “your husband”. It’s funny.

We do not cling to each other the way we might have, earlier, younger, when one might believe the more time you have together the better things get and nothing could possibly go wrong if you lost yourself in another person losing themselves, too.

We do not lose any part of our Self from being part of something together. And that is the very biggest treasure: I get to be me, He gets to be He, and we get to be we, how ever we see fit.

Oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.

And how delighted I was to have that realization strike, just about five years ago, dead center in my chest, when meeting you for the first time, as adults, in the middle of Penn Station in the middle of New York City in the middle of our lives. It was very different than when we met, briefly, at 13 and 15; fish in the pond.

Hello, it’s you.
Happy Five, this Friday.
ox

27 January 2018

How a Toy Bunny Changed My Outlook.

VR Passage

This passage was read at my wedding.  Yet, it holds only the significance of being part of a tender, beloved children’s story. A story not familiar to me until I needed something warm, intelligent and well-written about real love — because *what in the world did I know about that?!* — at the time, early October 1995, I knew very little.  A male, life-long friend suggested the passage and I chose it without knowing the entire story.

Months after I left wasband (was-my-husband eight years), I sat on the thinly carpeted floor of the local Barnes & Noble one night and read, finally, the whole little book. (In a nutshell, it’s about a toy bunny who longs to be a real bunny.)  At the time of my marriage, the ‘be real’ aspect spoke directly to the disenfranchised, pained part of my heart; the part that felt “un-real” for reasons I would only fully understand a few years later when my baby made herself known. Before her, I went through life constantly afraid someone would discover I was a knock-off, a poor substitute for the real thing:  not real.

To cultivate and nurture Love in whatever forms it lives is part of the definition of parenting, I think. Maybe it is also an important element of everything else we hold close and important. Yes, I believe it is.

I still seek real love but no longer doubt my real’ness or place in the world.  I am willing to love the right partner and have every last strand of my red-silvering hair loved off by the right heart.

DJD

Loose Ends, Tied.

This final week of 2017 I have unplugged from Facebook to the extent that I am, in three day’s time, remarkably happier and more unburdened than I have been in five years.  Maybe more.  The planet continues to have hope and disaster hand-in-hand, but I don’t have to read or know about every single detail worldwide, nor do I feel the overwhelm of responsibility and obligation that “social” media, literally, feeds.  I am fed up with “social” media, which becomes more and more anti-social and numbing every day.  I am better, more useful, in real life with real people and immediate, local problems to salve and solve.  Not that I am any great heroine, but I do my best work right here:  at home.

The Messenger still pings but now I take comfortable time responding, not jumping to reply as though every message were on fire and my life depended upon immediacy.  It’s nice.  It’s at MY pace and convenience.  And, it’s real.

Running through the months, April stands out as when we purchased our Together home after almost four years of long-distance partnering and challenges inherent in such an endeavor.  I must have been crazy, frankly.  So must have he.  And yet, our crazy (and weird) seems to get along with the other’s and that doesn’t happen every day.  In August, the book cover became a reality and in October, the finished product was in-hand.  I am still beaming and high on gratitude.  More projects are in the pipeline.  I can feel them approaching and am very excited for the opportunities to grow and show my work.

 

Two years ago this evening, I penned the following and am grateful for a brain that thought to save the words.  Now seems a good time to share.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours.  Thanks for reading along. ox

31 December 2015

Long silver hair streaked with the last moonlight
she gently steps from her celestial footwear
Barefoot she exhales and lets her heavy
calendared gown 364 days
ago as light as gossamer
fall around strong tired feet

Quietly peaceful soul and countenance wise
she walks waters
rhythm to the turning of the ancient wheel

A shooting star, one hundred million simultaneous wishes
she dips beneath the surface one final time
Can you hear – off in the distance? Small but mighty
bold uninhibited wail the wordless arrival of baby New Year

Pick her up, nurture her well
Love her wide full and without reservation
Go big this year…and leave your own dressing at the shore in a year.

DJDawson 2015

 

 

Portrait of a Family.

Christmas 2015, New York.

I shot this with my big camera on an average setting. No flash, no filter and no intent, other than to, hopefully, capture a couple of moments decently, in sequence, in my pajamas, with coffee somewhere to my left.  Before I moved to Virginia to be with my partner, the camera was a lovely distraction and companion.  In short, this photo was not supposed to be special or landmark.

2015_25_12 HFR

And yet, this image sums up 60+ Christmases for my parents, 50-or-so for me and my sister, and just a handful for the children seated in front of the tree.  A tree ever placed at the front living room window, almost scraping the ceiling (several years’ worth of treetop marks are in the paint above.)  The ritual of opening our stockings – left for Santa outside our bedroom doors to deter and distract younger versions of ourselves from descending to the main floor; joining our parents on their very big bed to display and review our sock loot as they washed off the night and opened their own stockings.  Once socked, we went down for the annual, prerequisite breakfast – and trying not to rush through that breakfast.  Our father accordion-folding back the large, red silk Oriental screen to reveal the living room – more importantly – the tree, dazzling and lit with presents underneath.  Some years there were a great many gifts, other years our mother started her apologies for “a thin” or “lean” Christmas weeks in advance.  It never mattered.  It was the rites and tradition that made the day.  On many Christmas mornings, someone, an adult, would slip into the den and turn on the stereo/record player for Andy Williams or the King Family Singers or Mitch Miller.  My favorite was, and still is, Herb Albert and the Tiajuana Brass Christmas album.

That album is the only familiar thing about Christmas since moving to Virginia…at least for the last two years.  Most of the ornaments that would go on a tree are meaningful to me, not my partner nor his son, so I don’t put them up because then it would be “my” tree. This year, for color and whim, colorful and varied ribbons draped the tree.  They were, for the most part, emotionally neutral and not particularly significant but at least it was decorated.

When I snapped this photograph, aching bittersweet lump in the back of my throat, “This will be the last time we’re here.”  Holding that thought, unsure whether my intuition or inner hall monitor (who so often calamatizes and splinters my confidence and creativity) was the source.  Probably both.

It was, in fact, the last time we had Christmas in that house.  We did not know it then.  We hoped not.

While we have yet to rejoin for Christmas since this photo was taken, we have visited and held each others company, and celebrated birthdays and anniversaries.  Some of the waters ahead are unknown, uncharted, and I have no idea what they should look like despite having some knowledge of how things like this go.

Onward.

 

DJD
2019

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