When Midnight Comes
(a nonet form poem…for you dad.)
I thought we’d have more time together
but the minutes felt like seconds
as they slipped from my fingers
stealing your presence from
with each bitter
Whoever said blood is thicker than water
obviously didn’t know my dad.
I was only three months old when he cast genes aside
and chose to be my father
It was love at first sight he used to say
Not with the 20-year-old divorcee he found dining alone
the woman I call mom
but with the infant bound and sleeping silently beside her
unaware of the father she didn’t know or the one she was about to.
My dad fell in love that day with a child that wasn’t his
He fell in love with me
And even when a sister came later who shared his DNA
our bond ran fathoms deep
His fatherly ocean seeping into every crack and fissure of my life
in a way blood never could.
My veins bleed the crystal clarity of his love
Rivers of calm, sparkling pride I now pour into my own daughter
A daughter I too chose
it was love at first sight
Life in Winter
I’m late to the NaPoWriMo party due to a bad fibro/depression double whammy that hit last week. Finally crawling out of it no so here’s my first poem for this’ year’s event. I gave the Blitz form a try (50 lines with strict rules about repeating words) and was quite blown away by both the simplicity and the depth. I haven’t checked any of the prompts, so this one is all me. tomorrow, maybe I’ll follow the prompt…maybe.
Life in Winter
Purpose lost at sea
Sea of waves
Sea like storms
Storm battered ships
Storm easing sleep
Sleep like babies
Sleep like thunder
Thunder shaking souls
Thunder calling heaven
Heaven accepts you
You, in queue
You still waiting
Waiting on dreams
Waiting for the camper
Camper bought, then sold
Camper never used
Prayers for a miracle
Goodbye too soon
Dad fought, lost
Dad now flying
Flying the coastline
Kites with strings
Kites tied to fingers
Fingers touching yours
Finger growing cold
Cold seeping in
Cold like winter
Winter claims the dead
Winter freezing hearts
And Death Derailed Her
When I decided to create this website almost a year ago I didn’t realize the amount of work it would be to bring my wild vision to life. What I thought would take only days quickly became weeks then months of research and educating myself on how to build a professional-ish WordPress website.
I ignored much of the worn advice that literally everyone with a writer’s blog seemed hellbent to regurgitate ad nauseum in posts like “The Holy Mother Effing Grail of Creating a Freelance Writer’s Website – Niche up!” Instead I threw caution to wind declaring “screw the mandatory niche, all you blogging Karens!” and dove in head first.
After months of blood, sweat and tears I finally launched in early August. And for a short while, I was excited. Beyond excited actually because, for the first time ever, I had a purpose and a plan!
If only I had known all that hard work would be so easily derailed thanks to a pulled back muscle, a trip to the ER, and a single phone call that haunts me still.
“Pooh, they found something in my xray…”
I lost interest in writing after that call. Everything just felt pointless and trivial once my dad had been given an expiration date thanks to stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his liver.
He died December 6th, 2021. Part of me died that day as well.
I now know that the cancer wasn’t just suddenly there overnight, but had probably always been there, living twisted and hidden in dad’s DNA like a ticking time bomb, watching, waiting for that perfect moment to show itself when the emotional fallout would have the greatest impact on all of us. It waited quietly through his early years serving as a Navy Frogman. It sat silent through his knee replacements and countless dermatological skin lesion removals and even waited through a quintuple heart bypass surgery in the 2008.
It waited patiently through covid and the entire year he and my stepmom lived in hyper isolation from the world to stay safe and healthy.
What it ultimately waited for was the camper – the one purchased in May to celebrate receiving their 2nd vaccine doses and their all clear to start living again. The camper they finally stopped dreaming about and made a reality to fulfill their lifelong dream of travelling the country together during their twilight years.
They never got to use that camper.
You might think I’d be angry at the disease for taking dad from us. But truthfully, jokes on the cancer. It finally chose to pounce when people all over the world weren’t just getting sick. They were dying en masse and they were doing it alone – separated from family, forced to spend their final days in isolation with nothing but the hiss of a ventilator to keep them company until the world dimmed and they could no longer hear its voice.
No, I’m not angry at cancer. How could I be?! That malignant beast, with all its putrid intentions, was a blessing in disguise and the war it waged against my family became the greatest gift we never knew we would someday need…
…the gift of knowing that every moment spent together would be the last of its kind.
And the gift of goodbye.
I feel like I still have so much to say about my father. I’ve been mourning for almost 4 months, but I still hurt like the loss was yesterday. I cry every day and still have moments where it doesn’t seem real. I feel like I’ve been drowning for months and I’ve grown so tired trying to reach the surface.
My dad’s last words to me were “You’ll be a success, Pooh. Just keep writing.”
And so I will.
I read yesterday about NaPoWriMo and thought this might be a good way to not only jump back in, but do it with a focused theme. I need to purge before I can heal so for 30 days I’m going to try and write poetry for dad. I hope I can do it. For him. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Wish me luck.
The ageism of Romance Novels – 40 is not too old to love
It happened again.
I opened the pages of a new paranormal romance novel and was attacked by my old foe – the uncomfortable “1” as the first digit of the heroine’s age.
A freakin’ ONE and it wasn’t even a YA or NA novel.
I only recently started reading romance (less than 5 years now) but I’ve read enough to know there’s a problem with the genre. Of the hundreds of books I’ve read, I can count using one hand the number of books that had a leading lady over 30 and only one finger the number over 40.
I’m not saying they don’t exist. But the number drops off drastically when that first digit is a “3”. And if it a “4”? Well hell, you can just forget about it.
Don’t get me wrong. The age thing doesn’t stop me from loving the genre but it sure makes it hard to like it from time to time. What I’ve learned is 40’s are too old to sell books but 20’s are too young for the mental acuity required for the female leads, so the authors compromise. They write them like they’re 40 then compress all that wisdom into the more marketable body of a nubile 20-year-old.
Nothing ruins a book faster than a 21-year-old heroine with the deep introspection, personal awareness, and advanced sexual skills of a woman twice her age. I’m sorry, but only those of us who’ve been around the block a few decades can think, love, and fuck the way many of these books describe.
We’ve got to normalize the sexiness of middle age. We don’t turn to dust at 35. We still have a swing in our hips (though we might ache more now) and a swagger in our step (that might require lower heels) but we still got it!