Archive for depression

Close Enough To Hold On

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by 1writegirl

He is drowning

I wade in as far as I can
As far as he will let me
Stay back, he yells
I do as he says

Pulling branches from the shore
Extending them in his direction
Grab on, I call
But his arms barely move

I watch his head go under
I am frozen with fear
Then he resurfaces
Eyes wild
Choking on black water

Just leave, he says
Get away while you can
Don’t try and save me

Don’t be a fool

But something rises inside me
I dare not give it a name
And this time I don’t listen
To what he tells me to do

Instead I reach into my soul

And look around for something to throw
For something that floats
For anything

Then I begin to toss them
In his direction
One by one

The flotsam and jetsam
Of a disappointed life
Tattered and battered
But alive still with hope

It’s all I’ve got
Hoping they might land

Close enough to touch him
Close enough to move him
Close enough he can reach them

Close enough to hold on

Cover

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by 1writegirl

angels

Curl up in my wings
For as long
As you need

I’ll cover you

I’ll make not a sound
I’ll guard against trespass
Surround you with downy embrace

I’ll block out the light
Tend to your wounds

With my body I’ll take on
The driving wind
With my soul the demons
Relentless

I’ll fight for your reprieve

In the shadows of possibility
I’ll sway to the beat of your heart
Bearing only the weight of
A silver snake

Bartered for the price of
An unfettered moment
Guileless, ghostless and free

And when the inevitable happens
When fate takes me aside
Ordaining without preamble
My turn to come undone

When my fears slide greedily
Over the transom
In wraiths of
Perpetual motion

When I’m battered
Bruised, too weary
And you
Are the only place
Safe left for me

Curl me up in your wings
For as long
As I need

Curl me up and

Cover me

I Will

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by 1writegirl

I will

Tell you if you have green stuff stuck in your teeth

Never ask you to live in a house
With a white picket fence

Respect your need for solitude

Dance for you…

I will

Be flexible

Speak from brain to mouth
Without filtration

Massage your tired body

Not pretend
Neither shape
Nor expect…

I will

Always love Mamita
Even when she’s old and sick

Care what you think
Feel
Want

Cover you

Trust you…

I will

Help you when I can

Remain your biggest fan

Look you in the eye

Hold what you can give and
Give what you can hold…

I will

Always be on your side

Passage

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by 1writegirl

Psyche swoops
Low to the ground
Cloaked in anonymity
In the pitch black of night

Quiet, barely breathing
Hanging
In the balance

Nothing to give
Nothing to take

Passing through dark alleys
And stench-ridden stairwells
Littered with days-old detritus
And the glow of eyes

Half alive

Half tethered to
Another world

Where laughter, mad and demonic
Is the only kind you hear

Searching for hope
Escape from chains
And finding nothing
But past-due depravity

The most insidious kind

And rock bottom sadness
Lurking below
Borne of the notion
Pervasive potential

That every step means
Nothing more
Than passage into the

Abyss

One Severed Heart

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by 1writegirl

I may need to leave here
He tells her
It’s not about you

Okay, she says.

What else can she possibly say?

For three months they have been inseparable
Like conjoined twins
Or one severed heart
Beating together that both may survive

He has been her champion
Her secret-sharer
Her one true friend
Her hope

It is her tendency to take the blame
Yet she knows in a moment of truth
That what he needs does not seem to be
Within her power to give

Her intellect tells her not to fret
But her heart knows better:
What am I lacking
What didn’t I do
What could I change

So you would want to stay.

Lost Time

Posted in Prose with tags , , , on February 2, 2009 by 1writegirl

They met on the side of the street, at the door of a cab, to be exact, that they had both hailed, and ended up sharing for a two hour ride to the train station. They were inseparable from that moment on. Six months later they married.

Friends and relatives asked them what was responsible for their passion, their instant attraction, and their powerful bond. “All I know,” said Helen, “is that he’s the only man I’ve ever met who gets me.” Eyebrows were raised, as if to say, That’s it? “That’s everything,” Helen replied, and there was such genuine fervor, such awestruck conviction in her tone that they looked away, every one of them, as if embarrassed that they hadn’t known this. Joe offered no explanation, except to say that everything in his life that had come before Helen was a step toward her, a means to an end, which he recognized the first time he kissed her, as they prepared to part ways at the train station where the cab let them out. Suddenly, she was irresistible to him in her leather jacket and black sunglasses, her long reddish blond hair caught in the straps of her shoulder bag. Impulsively he leaned down and kissed her. The moment he realized she was kissing him back was the moment he knew. Ten minutes later they were still locked in each other’s embrace, as if for dear life, while the meter continued to run.

That night and every night afterward before going to sleep, Helen asked Joe, “Do I get to keep you for one more day?” Most of the time, he said yes. Occasionally, following one of his darker days, he would respond with maybe. Sometimes his dark days would stretch into dark weeks, and once in awhile, even dark months. “There’s medication he could take,” solicitous friends would say. “Is that right?” Helen would respond, as if this were news to her. They were, after all, well-intentioned. If they persisted, she would lay it on the line for them. “We know the options,” she’d say. “But medication has side effects. To the last one, they steal away his creativity, which means he can’t write music. And if Joe can’t write music, he doesn’t want to live. It’s who he is.”

Over the years, Helen learned how to keep her own sanity close and intact while Joe danced wildly to the edge and back with his, again and again. If she ever thought to leave him; if it ever dawned on her that a better life awaited her without him; if she ever contemplated giving him an ultimatum that involved “getting fixed or getting out;” she never gave voice to it, to anyone. To her son, she said, “Life isn’t easy most of the time. What’s worth having is worth fighting for, and you’re going to bleed in the process. But you’ll laugh more too, and harder, and you won’t jump with joy, you’ll soar; and when you have to be apart from what it is you truly love, you’ll feel like nothing else matters except closing that gap. Nothing. And when you do there’s calm again. That’s how you know what’s worth keeping.

Once, well into their marriage of forty years, Helen posed her ritual question to Joe and he responded with a maybe that turned out to be a no. On that night, Helen tossed and turned, sleeping fitfully and only in short, dreamless bursts. When she awoke from one of these toward dawn, Joe’s side of the bed was empty. Instinctively she knew he was gone, not just from the bed or even the house, but from her life. She jumped out of bed as if there were something to be done, as if some expedient action was called for, and would change the circumstance of his absence.

He had taken nothing – no clothes, no books, none of his personal belongings – with one exception; the small gilt-framed photograph of her that he kept always on the nightstand next to his pillow, the one taken shortly after they first met all those years ago. He had taken her picture: he wasn’t coming back.

Helen did her best to project an atmosphere of normalcy, of routine. She walked the dog, she showered, she went to work. She prepared meals as usual, only she didn’t eat them. She opened books and stared at the pages, and she went to bed at ten sharp as always, and rose at six, looking a little more gaunt and spent each successive morning. She was vague when asked where Joe was, waving away the questions with questions, redirected, of her own. All the while — her skin was on fire, her pulse raced, and her breath came short –running a marathon, her blood churning through her veins in a mad, blind dash to take her away from there, to him.

On the third morning, she began to cry. She cried in the car on the way to work, throughout the day in her office, and while driving home. She cried into the frying pan, over the sink, and down the shower drain. Upon awakening on the fourth day, she stripped the bed, carrying dripping sheets to the laundry. On the fifth day, her boss sent her home early, adding, “Take a sick day tomorrow.”

On the sixth day, Joe returned. He walked straight up to Helen and took her in his arms. “I wanted to be alone,” he confessed. “I thought it would be better that way, for both of us. But I couldn’t do it. Everything is worse when I’m not with you.” He began to cry. “All these years,” he sobbed. “How can you continue to live with me and not hate me? How do you stand it?”

Helen squeezed her eyes shut and placed her hand gently over his heart. “You’ve been gone less than a week,” she said. “And in that time, I’ve cried more than I ever did in all the years of you being here. I’ve stopped laughing, stopped wise-cracking, and stopped reading, the one thing I like to do most of all. I’ve barely been able to breathe. The question is not how I can continue to live with you. The question is how I can continue to live without you.”

My Fur Coat

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2008 by 1writegirl

I love you so differently than I have ever loved before, I confess to him. I am thinking, I want to give and give and give to you. It’s because this is the first time you are really loved back, he says.

I think of the other relationships I’ve been in, of Ken and Jake and Tom and Ben, and I wonder about each man in turn, and his level of devotion. Joe loved me, I am sure of it, however briefly, in a desperate, all or nothing kind of way, that went, not surprisingly, from all to nothing almost overnight. Ken probably didn’t, but that was my doing; I never gave him the chance, sabotaging any possibility of real intimacy from the beginning, in the way a very young and fearful girl will do in the face of doubt she could stay with any one person, when life is secretly beckoning her to run like the wind and not look back. Tom never loved me and frankly I didn’t care anymore at some point; I gave up wanting his affection and in doing so gave up the act of loving him as well. By that time I had a child to care for, a son to exchange love with in a forever, unconditional sort of way that prior to his birth was the stuff of fairy tales; now, understood without reservation or fear.

And Ben? I loved Ben a great deal, and in spite of the fact that he withheld his love from me in the steely way a miser will guard his stash of gold, I convinced myself that he really did love me. I could feel it, in spite of his desire to keep it confined, invisible, and unspoken. Whether it was his, or my own feelings reflected back onto me with the force of sunlight in a rearview mirror at sunset, I can’t say. I allowed it to blind me for four years until he told me he didn’t want me anymore and then the question of love or don’t love became a moot point.

Now, this new man – this wonder who has swept into my life with the force of a tornado and shaken my very foundations – is offering me the chance to love and be loved with all the redemptive powers of a presidential pardon or a Catholic confession: freedom to be accepted in all my torn humanness with everything showing that has come before, yet none of it mattering.

He is not an optimist, a glass half-full kind of man. On the contrary, he finds very little in life to wonder at, marvel over, or worship. The dark side of human nature is the bane of his existence, the weight of it great enough to usurp what is beautiful and eclipse what is light. It is not a resistance to joy that he sports, though it may seem that way at times, but a continual struggle to keep his head above the ugliness. What remains at the end of the day is not so much acceptance as it is tolerance. Once in a great while something moves him and he lets go, he gives everything while expecting nothing, yet wanting just enough to stave off what torments him a while longer.

How I chanced to wander into his path is a mystery, and how I could possibly be enough, I may never know. He wears his passion for me like a favorite old t-shirt, as if it’s the most natural and comfortable fit he has ever found. I wear it like a silk lined sable coat, reveling in its protective warmth, amazed by its softness, determined to keep it clean, supple and free of stain. Bewildered by the fact that something so beautiful is touching me, each time, as if for the very first time, and suffused with the desire to remain enough.