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When You Know You’re Not In Someone’s League

Young Woman With Ibis- Edgar Degas 1860-1862

There’s a league,
some know it, some are
bound to stay in their place,
but I am stubborn.
I know no league of my own,
however, I wouldn’t dare cross yours.

The door is padlocked,
no one has a key.
I’ll never be that lucky.
With all my rights, my wrongs
take over and they tell me that
I am not worthy,
I cannot open you.

I can sit and listen to
the ailments that come from
a broken heart, can lend a kind word,
send a tight hug, but I
deny you from my dreams.
You are sacred territory,
I am not fit to clean
the grounds
or roam them freely.

I know this.
The knowing introduces itself
at night, it comes cloaked as
an angel, but I know the Devil
even when in disguise.
I shake the hinges and chain
my heart.

There’s no room for me,
not now.
There’s no way for me,
not now.
I observe every league and count
the beings who are diamonds to
my gold.

My love,
I am not fit to shine
in your direction. I am a
hollowed wall, crumbling in
your midst.
You are what I fear.

savoir-faire

An Audio Poem

After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself|Edgar Degas

I think it was your knowledge
of everything grim yet hopeful
and all things political that
lured me to you.
I could be even more honest and
say that your poetry captivated me
from the moment I saw you
among a host of others, those who
did not strike the first blow.

You–you had an air about you
that said, “I bite, but gently,” and
I am stubborn and attracted to
what can both harm and love me
at the same time.
Is it any wonder that I’d fall
for such an enigma?
For such a mysterious creature
not yet sure of herself either?

But your savoir-faire precedes you,
I shook hands with it,
before I laid eyes on you.

Worn

Worn Out|Vincent van Gogh – 1881

beaten into defeat,
worn and torn, his
body cannot go on.
he leans into himself,
gathers the strength to
breathe out a sigh, and
tucks his sullen demeanor
into his pockets.

two more shifts before
night’s end.
will he make it?
can he make it?
he doesn’t know, but
he will try.

that’s all that’s left 
of him.

spread

Nude Woman Holding a Cup|Léon Spilliaert – 1910

yesterday, right before the moon
began to smile,
I left you.
I gathered our memories,
tossed them into an old
file box, and neatly placed it
on the top shelf of my
coat closet.

I won’t think of the way
you would spread your
legs wide, an invitation for
an eager grin and two
busy hands–those days are
long gone now.

how you hovered over
me, breath–the scent of lilac
and clover, plus fresh mint.
you were my sunshine,
a bright light that lit up
my heart for seventeen years.

today, I remember yesterday
and all of the yesterdays before
it, and I light a match,
flick it into the box where
our sacred past resides,
and watch it
burn.

I spread the ashes
over my feet
and walk away changed.

The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

Cairn, Bakersville, NC — In front of Crooked Little Flower’s studio|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part III: Listening To My Surroundings

On my birthday, April 17, 2019, I had the opportunity to meet, spend time with, and enjoy the company of Crooked Little Flower in her neck of the woods. About two hours and thirty minutes away from me, but only about an hour from where I mini-vacationed, meeting Connie is sure to be one of the best things that has happened to me this year. Here is a woman I have known and loved for over three years on this platform and we have been close in proximity and had not met, but to scratch that one thing off of the to-do-list has filled my happy box with its much-needed ammunition. I basked in the beauty of nature near the place that she calls home and took in as much as I could of the sights, sounds, and tastes of the mountains.

Studios at High Cove, Bakersville, NC|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I toured the studio where she creates her art and also shares it with the community. This place, not only is it the homestead of amazing artwork, it is a tranquil space where upon entering it, all that broke me down previously, faded from view. I could hear the voices of artists whispering to me, asking me to tread lightly and look at a space where thoughts, ideas, and heartwork come to life. I felt the presence of artistry and all that makes up a creative and what we have to do in order to maintain the abilities to continue to create. Not only was Connie welcoming to me, but she also opened up her door to my Little Monster too, Jernee, and she gave her sniff of approval of the studio and of Crooked Little Flower too.

Jernee, posing for a “studio shot.”|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Watching this little one romp about the space, learning her new surroundings, and trying to lay claim to every nook and cranny moved me to no end. Jernee does not know a stranger. Any place that we may visit, tour, or plan a brief stay seems as if it is mentally logged into her doggy brain and becomes one with her forever. She remembers every place we have been and it shows when we return as she gets excited, plops her tongue out, and races around those spaces and places with undeniable joy. I am taking cues from her as I watch her listen to these places. I am still in the learning process — it is taking time, but it is proving to be beneficial.

I could hear my therapist saying to me, “have fun, create new memories, and take what you need and leave the rest.” I did exactly that. I could feel the pressure in my chest breaking down a bit and suddenly, smiling felt natural again.

“Wide Open Spaces,” Bakersville, NC. How can you see this and not be moved?|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

While listening and attempting to take in what I needed and leave what I did not, I could not stray away from the questions that have been plaguing me:

Why be overly sensitive?
What are you lacking?
What can you gain?

How can you be in a place so beautiful and still sense the ugliness of you?

And by ugliness, I mean — in my soul, in my heart. “We all have our demons” and how we deal with, struggle with, or overcome them is our personal testimony. There are a lot of things that I know I need to change and I also know that changing these things will take time. Taking the time that I needed away from my normal hustle and bustle was exactly what “the doctor ordered,” but in this case — what my therapist highly recommended. There will be shedding and as I continue to shed, I know there will also be more pain and tears and feelings of inadequacy and a bit of loneliness mixed in too and how I handle these emotions and various feelings as they come will dictate what I have learned.

For the next few weeks, I am making myself understand that although I am human and mistakes will be made, dwelling in the dark places does not have to be my end all, be all. I have more memories now to pull from and smile at on my down days. I have to thank nature, Connie, living to see another year, Jernee, and a few other remedies for that.

And, my therapist too.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.


Part I

Part II