football season

he is like lucy
with the football
assuring me
he is totally
one hundred percent
here for me
everything
will be okay
so i trust him
i run forward
& the earth falls away
& the wind is knocked out of me
& i am flattened…again
as he lets me know
it’s my own fault
while he places the football in place
again
& tells me
i should believe in him.

i am so hoping that i have broken the pattern. that i am no longer going to run up & try to kick that football. that i am able to walk away and keep on walking.
the man is not my friend.
he is not my family.
i cannot pretend otherwise, or i will get the air knocked out of me
again.

no, you’re emo….

my heart is cold
& smells 
of rotting flesh
the turkey vultures
circle
sensing
my surrender
my heart is cold
& black
with defeat
it feels like a stone
in my chest
pulling me 
down
as i 
fall.

how was your mother’s day? 
why the fuck can’t i not sink into a terrible place on this day of mothers?
let’s not think too hard about it. let’s just have a drink and wait for the day to end.
i know it’s a hallmark holiday. i know it’s petty…but i can’t help but want to set fire to the father of my children and watch the burnt flesh fall off of him when i think about all he had to do was help the kids make me something/buy me something…some token…some little fucking whisper to say i am valued.
but no. impossible. totally impossible. even in this day & age where he likes to pretend he was baptized by dr. phil.
i know that on father’s day i will buy a rosemary plant (because he loves rosemary plants & killed the last one he stole from me) & put a ribbon on it & have the kids make cards & give it to him as if it were their idea….
and i imagine again the warmth that would come off of his flaming body….

i really don’t know if my kids value me or not. i really don’t. and maybe that’s another one of my shortcomings. another one of my flaws. maybe i fucked it all up. i mean, the two oldest are sixteen & fourteen and they can’t even be bothered to bring me something to plant? even after i told them where to go for it?

but i do like to pretend one day they will grow me a pot of marigolds and maybe bake a chocolate cake and say, “hey, thanks for being a good mom. thanks for sacrificing everything for us. we value you.”

ps. my kids did go & get me flowers to plant on the day after mother’s day…of course by then my mental collapse was complete.
my poor children.

of course i was spinning out on mother’s day

sometimes 
you have to dip your toe
back into that
pool of pain
sometimes
you have to take a sip
of your sweet misery
sometimes
you have to
dive in
wallow
swallow
drown yourself
baptize yourself
rise again
& face another day
forgiving 
yourself
but never 
quite
forgetting
who you were then
who you are now
so you never
have to do it
again.

on this seventeenth mother’s day, i obsess about mother’s day number ten. on that day we returned home from a trip to manitowoc after visiting a friend, the dad hurried ahead of me to our apartment. i was unloading the car, herding our four minions, oblivious.
however, once in our apartment, i happened to look out the window to see the dad throwing something into the dumpster. this struck me as odd because the dad never took out the trash. 
so, being in the midst of a fucked up relationship where things were constantly being done behind my back, i went out & looked in the dumpster.
there i found a bouquet of beautiful flowers and a letter from the dad’s crazy stalker girlfriend. but instead of being addressed to him, they were addressed to me. 
would he have thrown them out if they were for him?
the dad had never gotten me flowers (or anything else) for mother’s day because “she’s not my mother.” i was actually touched that his crazy stalker girlfriend had gotten me flowers. beautiful flowers. despite the betrayal involved in her fucking the dad as we tried (again) to be a family.
he could have let me have the goddamned flowers. 
i would have liked any flowers on mother’s day.
but once again my mother’s day was in a dumpster….

gonna buy me a dog…

who held the door open
for him to walk
through
who was supposed to
keep me
safe
who can i blame
when i run towards him
instead of
away?

the dad is bringing my minions back to me tomorrow…with intent to stay & hunt mushrooms. i don’t want him here, but it is hard for me to turn him away.
so begins the inner turmoil that comes with every interaction with him. that weird mix of wanting to see him, being almost excited to see him, but also wanting to scream at him until my head explodes & then bury him in a shallow grave.
so i turned to my dog today and began berating her for not biting my ex. she adores him. it’s embarrassing how much she throws herself at him. so i lectured her until i was in tears.
then i began to wonder who i really was angry at. who taught the dog that my ex is not a threat?
and i wrote this.
it sounded so familiar i looked back to january where i first wrote this thought.
in january i attributed this open door policy for assholes to my inner child who feels the need to rescue others due to her own need to be rescued.
but on second thought, i don’t blame her for this reoccurring theme in my life.
someone should have protected her.
someone should have taught her to protect herself.
my birth mother did not.
now it falls on me to do it. i need to be the fierce beast here. i need growl, to bark at intruders. bare my teeth and threaten their security. i need to protect me from those who would destroy me rather than wanting to be with them.
it is embarrassing that i have to learn that…that it isn’t just instinct.

breaking waves

the ocean of me
is trapped
in a bottle
kept on a dusty
shelf
i am the crashing
waves
the storm soaked sea
i am a siren
who has been
silenced
i long to shatter
the glass
of that bottle
escaping his hold
but
he has made me
afraid
of making a mess
he has taken
my boat rocking nature
& left me
feeling
helpless.

contemplations on why i am unable to break the bind that my ex holds me with. i don’t want to be with him, and i wish for a world where i never had to see him again…. but as the father of my children, i have to try to be tame towards him.
but it’s more than that. i feel like he has somehow silenced me. it’s one of the reasons i left him. i am muted when i am with him. i am not allowed to be mean…to be my feral self. he is able to turn me into someone i am not.
but why do i let him do that to me?
that’s the million dollar question.
if i can tame the chaos of my life to meditate on this, i will.
i truly believe, that if i can break the bind he has on me, i will be a better mother & a more confident person.
it’s been almost twenty years of this. such a big part of my life ensnared. it was better for awhile, when i only had to see him on drop offs & pick ups…but since he has been unemployed, he is insinuating himself into my life more than ever…& i let him? why do i let him?
why am i afraid to tell him “no”? why am i afraid to stand up for myself?
i just want to be free again. why can’t i figure out how?

dove soup II

i am being haunted
by single doves
one stood on the curvy road today
making me swerve to go around it
another
crashed into my window
at dusk
while i tried to relax
with my family
and there is always that one
always watching
perched on that telephone wire
always watching
these singletons
who have either lost
or not yet found
a mate
they have become an infestation
a taunting
making my cold heart
colder
provoking my contrary nature to say
“you know what?
i can stay single forever.
just watch me.”

doves mate for life.
a redneck ex of mine told me that in the context that now when he shoots one dove, he makes sure to kill its mate as well. that was the sort of kind-hearted soul he was. that was the kind of fucked up logic he wielded in life & in our relationship.
he also told me that no one should get married before they dated for two years. he then proposed to me after we had dated for two years, at the same time, confessing that he had cheated on me with five other women. god told him to tell me.
oh hey! this is a good easter story as i ended up meeting this jewel on an easter sunday when i left my sister’s house to avoid hanging out with my parents. i went out to a bar and two years later got proposed to by an asshole.
maybe he is the reason why i married the very next guy i dated after a month of dating….

totally sucks that whenever i see a lonely dove i think of him. totally sucks that i am constantly seeing lonely doves these days.
time for some dove soup.

one thousand cuts

just because what he does
isn’t the worst thing
he could do
just because it isn’t
completely
wrong
doesn’t make it
right
is death by a thousand cuts
any better
than being destroyed
all at
once?

more thoughts on the “little crimes” done by past boyfriends & not-my-boyfriends. i got some texts from mr. 2-to-tango (who apparently reads my blog) after each of the last two posts…but i did not read them. so!
my dreams have moved from oceans to smaller bodies of moving water. i am taking this as a good sign. like maybe i am getting some direction? direction would be nice.

a sort of madness

my core is a wet
soggy
mess
a newspaper forgotten
in the rain
as
dreams bring me echoes
of a time when i could have
clung
to him
as if he were my port
in the storm
a time when i was still
capable
of adoration
when this man
could invoke
a sort of madness in me
that felt
so
so fucking
good.

isn’t it a mindfuck that dreams can do this? pull you back in time to a different reality that you hoped would never end? and yet it did
so you wake up with such a heavy sad heart….
dreams of dusty…but it could also be dreams of the one before him who had my heart. just two men really who can claim that “prize” despite my having been with
so many more than just two….
so i wonder…will i ever feel that sort of madness again?
& if i don’t…is that a bad thing…or a good one?

a fool’s game

i’m already ready
to jump
it would be a bad idea
to push me
don’t bet on me
the odds are
astronomical
i’m already ready
to run
don’t open any doors
i live comfortably with one foot
out
already
faith in me
is a fool’s
game.

art journal pages as i try to determine what stays in my hot air balloon & what to chuck out so i don’t crash. yesterday i was a ship…today i am blowing in the wind. fragile and full of hot air.
i can’t guess–day to day–what is going to happen in my head.
i’m okay with that…but how can i expect someone else to be?

up & down

in order to not lose myself
in the needs of others
i have to prioritize…
being the captain of my ship
i have to prioritize
my ship
& crew
& me
the captain
if i want to weather the storms
that blow through
if someone who is not
me
or mine
needs attention…
well
there are times
stormy times
when i just can’t give it
&
i refuse to apologize
for that.

something i am working through. that up & down of trying to have a social life without compromising my home life & inner life.
it’s a balancing act
and sometimes i just have to shut my door & put up the sign reading, “go away; mental health break in progress”
on the bright side, i get a lot more art done when i’m in my hidey hole!

up top: “heart song”
bottom left: “less than amazing”
bottom center: “lost”
bottom right: “my funny valentine”

9X12 inkings on watercolor paper…$45 each

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