Insanity – a poem

I wrote this poem almost two years ago, but was thinking about it because of multiple things happening now. …

Insanity

That night, when the curtains danced with grace, the full moon high above the pine tree in the backyard, your face full and on fire in front of mine, accusatory and loud, me, wound tight in a ball, while the cat sat motionless behind the curtains.

That night, when we first met, me: smoking a cigarette, you: in your dry-cleaned shirt, forgetting my name the next day, using the car registration to write it down.

That night, when the email appeared, from somewhere. I saw you, in one of your shirts, your hair frazzled, the cat somewhere, the actions being taken. A plan, the steps in motion, like baking bread, assembling the ingredients in a methodical way. What music would be played? What lights would be left on? Are the keys in the tray? Is the car unlocked?

Then, later, the night you went away, and me, left alone in the bedroom every night with the doors and the windows open to the fog horns moaning, the ambulances and police cars roaring by outside, the raccoons coming inside, eating the cat food, leaving their large grainy paw prints on the tile floor, and me, scrubbing the floor clean every day, throwing out the garbage, chasing off the coons with a broom at night, running into the back yard like a crazy woman with a broom handle, and finally locking the doors and windows each night.

One night, I drove and picked you up from the place. You sat beside me in the car, quiet as a stone. It felt like the calm part of water before the waves begin, calm at first, then with more intensity with each ripple, one after the other.

One night, you made a joke that we should get married and you laughed after saying it. I didn’t think it was funny, and looked at the floor instead.

One night, I found a bottle, hidden and almost empty, in the bottom drawer. I left for a walk and when I came back, you were gone.

One night, you didn’t come home at all. I closed the bedroom door, and locked all the windows and went to bed.

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The Hole poem

A few months ago, I drove up north for a few days and had a much needed break — part of what came out of that experience was the following insight and poem.


The hole

 

The Hole
c) Christine Lias

 

Floating above a great hole

Suspended

If I close my eyes I forget that the hole is there

There are moments

When I cannot breathe

The air

It goes I do not know where

I close my eyes

I forget that the hole is there

I do not know

when the hole will go

Or

how long I will be above the hole

Or

if I will fall from the hole

I cannot think about falling or I will fall

This is when I feel as if I cannot breathe

My lip starts to quiver

I put my arms out on either side of my body

For balance

My arms that have been a part of me for my whole life

My arms are strength

My arms have pushed me forward

They have held me up

I have fallen before

I breathe healing air

I know that I can breathe

The oxygen floods my brain

I am drunk with oxygen

My eyelids flutter

I do not have a plan how to move forward

away from the hole

But

I cannot think about the hole, or I will fall

I look down at my feet, one foot, and then the other foot

My square-shaped toes that have carried me forward to this point

My toes, my strong feet

They have walked hundreds of miles, and will walk hundreds more

I look down at my body, at my breasts, my hips

I feel tired

A woman’s body used by others

Left shamelessly on the side of the road

Tossed out the window like a cigarette

Without a goodbye

Or an apology.

Because all I really wanted was an apology.

 

Too trusting of the word love

As it slipped from their lips, the moment her bra strap slipped off her shoulders

She mixed the two words into a cocktail — love and sex

Feeling comforted on the cold nights

It don’t matter, she kept telling herself

Those demons come back to haunt you

Running away from the past

Getting into her car and driving away

She ends up driving with herself.

Calabash

This is a poem that I wrote for my poetry class at Berkeley City College, and it received good feedback in workshop. It was based on several dreams I had. “Calabash” is a gourd. I have no idea why I was dreaming of a gourd, or where I heard that word. Dreams are strange.

Calabash

By Christine Lias, c) 2015

 

You hold me close

In the moment and

I feel your hands gripping my waist

Both tough and tender

I look down and there are flower petals on the floor

But then suddenly the floor melts into a pool of water

The flower petals become water drops

I lean down and touch the ground, now a pool of water

I dive toward the bottom of the pool

Diving fast, like a bullet, or a train

Toward the concrete bottom —

A hard, flat, rough edge at the bottom

I’m on my own in the water here

There is no one to hold me anymore

No hands gripping my waist

No one to protect me.

I protect myself now.

 

There is a storm drain on the street

Running toward the Bay

And there is a pool of blood

Flowing down the gutter toward

The drain.

The flies are gathering on the

Blood that is headed toward the drain.

The blood is sticky in spots

Where it is not moving.

The flies are relentless.

 

I hear the word “Calabash”

And the word “Calabash-ish”

From someone saying the words repeatedly

I wake up in a panic and

Tip over the table by my bed.

The little drawer falls out and my heart beats fast from the sound.

I have not been able to sleep through the night

Since last year.

I wake up every night in the middle of the night

Hearing a sound from somewhere in the building and

I cannot fall asleep again until the light falls through

the flowered curtains hanging at the window.

Coincidence

Coincidence
c. 2015, Christine Lias

I saw her in the crowd and she looked so familiar.
From another time, another place in my life.
Her cut bangs, her cuffed jeans.
Her hair dyed punk rock pink
Wearing dark red lipstick
She scanned the room, looking for someone she knew
But saw no one.
Staying cheerful, with her phone, instead.
I knew her from someplace.
And while I sat back and listened to the music
My brain was transported back several years.
To another time, a cheerful time
A packed room, just like this
Music playing from a live band, just like this
Wine flowing freely
Laughter echoing in different pitches
Along with the music.
She was an artist at the party.
Hustling the crowd, looking for someone she knew.
A packed room
Full of possibilities
Strangers there for free booze and food.
She stood out because of her hair, cut a certain way
Cheerful to everyone, including me
Stressed, tired, looking for you.

A packed crowd of hustlers asking questions about her art.
They wouldn’t stop with the questions.
Now, years later, time circles back and
Allows us to see how far we’ve come.
Allows us to see how little we’ve strayed.
Putting down roots where sand blew them away
Breaking through the cement along the way
Finding who we are in the process
Wading through the muck, the debris to find clear water to navigate off shore.

Life is not a coincidence.
These meetings are not coincidences.
These actions, these people who drift in and out of our lives, like the foamy laps at the end of a wave, knocking against the shoreline.
They are not coincidences.
The natural order is interrupted by chaos and change, if even for a brief second of questioning and doubt.
Something has evolved.
The natural order of sameness cannot remain the same.
Can it ever remain the same.

randomness

Place Poem

A few weeks ago, I went on an amazing retreat up to Spirit Rock. It was my first time up there, I went to an all-day writers workshop. No phones, no Facebook. Heavenly. Absolutely heavenly. We all did a lot of meditation and group work. I’ve had my handwritten notes on my dining table since then … and my takeaway was that I need to cleanup this old, forgotten blog and use it more. So, here goes, and here’s a very personal share, out in the e-universe. …

The Ocean, c. 2015, by Christine Lias

I am perched atop the hill
Here, this place where no one knows where I am
The ocean is below me
Roaring like a lion
The waves, a never-ending machine, cranking out
The blue is so deep and pure I want to cry — and I do
The tears finally finding their rightful place to fall
The beauty of this place is so pure
I know you will never see this place
And it makes me cry even more.

The endlessness of the horizon
The feeling that I am safe here
That nothing will harm me here
That no decisions need to be made
No judgments
No rules
No words
Just silence, the silence, and the waves, crashing one into the other.

My hands beat down
Beat down on the packed, bone dry earth
A mournful sound
Boom, boom, bah, bah, boom
A sound of the dead
On this summer’s peak day
Life will go on, I know
But for now, this solitude, the serenity is here
To calm me
To calm the torment inside
The chaos inside, my ocean, my soul.

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Halloween

I found a poem I wrote from 2007 when I lived in San Francisco. Since blogs are a better forum for poetry.

Beggar’s Night
c. 2007, Christine Lias

The silence is maddening
Alone with the thoughts in my head
The blood pumping through my brain
Footsteps echo on cold concrete
My eyes focus on crunchy leaves and cigarette butts
The October wind blows strands of my hair
As it pushes along another thought out into the fog
Beggar’s Night, my grandmother would call it
Halloween observed
A night the neighborhood children make their rounds
Knocking on doors, looking for candy
The city has its adults instead dressed as hookers
Women looking for their own male candy
My hips are similarly wrapped tight
The party has now dispersed
The liquor bottles are empty
The couples have left to go home and fuck
I am alone, walking solo on an empty street
The fog creeps along beside me
Accompanying each step
The carved faces of pumpkins jeer and wonder if she’ll ever find another
This grown woman – beautiful, they say – but alone, yes, now
With herself and her thoughts
It is middle of the night
Moon high in the sky night
She’s walking to her car night
She’s checking behind her shoulder night
She thinks she hears something approach night
She walks a little faster, a little faster, night
She’s craving a cigarette oh so badly night
But are these things really happening?
Or are they just in my head
I have to wonder.
What is real and what is exaggeration –

Beggar’s Night
Halloween observed
A funny smell hangs in the air
The scent of leaves burning
Twigs and branches afire
Patchouli and eucalyptus
Overflowing garbage bags
Cider and beer and red wine
(I have drunken too much red wine.)
The leaves are stirring around tonight.
The gods are creating their brew
Change is all around tonight
We must move forward, me and you.

Shake the leaves of old
And bury the past
This Beggar’s Night
It will not last.