Tag Archives: Poetry

A Song For the Broken Hearted

I have a heart.
It is bigger than most.
It’s been broken and stepped on,
But was still full of hope.
Now I’ll keep it with me,
I’ve left it before,
I’ve lent it to others
But I won’t anymore

I think it’s the last time
this has to be it.
I swore I’d be careful —
be more careful with it.
But I never saw you coming
You surprised me with this
And although I knew better
I let go of it

I let go of it, and
I gave it to you,
And now I am holding
A heart broken in two
I’ve fixed it before
And I’ll do it again.
I love you so much
But this is the end.

You can say that I pushed you
But you know that’s a lie
I was doing just fine
And was willing to try.
To try loving and waiting
And giving you time
I don’t understand
How I misread the signs.

But I’ll mend my sweet heart
Put it back in my chest
I should’ve known better–
known better than this
And I’ll lock it away
This big heart of mine
Cuz I know I can’t take it
I can’t take one more time.

Still, make no mistake
I’ll take longer to mend
Because coming from you
This feels like the end–
The end of me trying
The end of my hope
You didn’t really kill it,
But you handed me the rope.

So life will go on
Like it always has before
And I will forget you
And forget you some more.
Remember I loved you
And remember I tried
I gave you my big heart
And you pushed it aside.

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A Poem About My Car

My car is the hugest mess.
coffee filters
cracker crumbs
underwear and old dingdongs
cigarettes and soda cans
a feather bed
a chinese fan
cotton candy
a pair of socks
the three bears, and
Goldilocks
mashed up french fries
a broken fish
an old cd
my neighbor’s dish

You’d think some day I’d clean it up.
You’d think some day I’d be enough.
Enough of me to work.
to write.
Then some left over
to change that light.
Enough of me to sing to you.
To do your hair,
Then do mine too.
to wash our clothes
and still have time
to read to you some nursery rhymes.

–written 8/24/1998

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Handling Negative Nancys (and Nathans)

I was asked today in incredulous and almost mocking tones, “Why on Earth are you doing all this?”

I answered, “Because I want to.”

And in reply, “What you really need to be doing…”

I have been shocked at the gamut of reactions the people around me have had to my project. There are really five categories of reactions I’ve come face-to-face with: 1) Supportive; 2) Eeyore; 3) Unsolicited advice; 4) Bizarre personal attacks; 5) Personal attacks disguised as exaggerated relief; and 6) Don’t forget, but you also suck because…

1) Supportive
Most of my friends and family have been so great! I have friends who visit with me while I sort, friends who go with me to raw food restaurants, “buddies” to hold me accountable, and siblings to cheer me on. Thank you so much. I hope to return the favor someday.

2) Eeyore
This reaction sounds like, “There are only so many salads I can eat.” or, “No one would want any of my stuff.” and, “what if you gain weight again?” And so on. It’s funny because it’s so non-sequential. But it’s also not funny because the wet blanket approach often feels like passive aggression disguised as self deprecation. I take comfort in that Eeyore reactions have nothing to do with me.

3) Unsolicited Advice
“You just need to be more organized.” Or, “You just need to leave the (noun) in the same place…” Or, “You should never start running in winter.” Or, “Moderation in all things.” Or, “You shouldn’t get rid of your (nouns).” And no one can help themselves NOT to say, “If you just (cleaned out/picked up/made) the (garbage/the living room/the bed) every day, your (car/home/bedroom) would stay (trash free/so much cleaner/freshened up).”

Speaking for the scatter-brained-fried-from-external-input-barely-keeping-our-heads-above-water crowd, let me just say this: “We KNOW. We’ve tried implementing all that for years! We’re trying right now! Now help us find our keys!”

4) Bizarre Personal Attacks
Bizarre personal attacks are funny to me. Luckily, what the neighbors or casual acquaintances think of me is of little concern, and they are usually the go-to source if you’re shy on Bizarre Personal Attacks.  Mature and well thought-out attacks like, “You aren’t any fun anymore,” or “What good to me are you now?” rarely elicit the response from me I think the attacker was hoping for. In parenting we call the appropriate reaction to illogical behavior the “neutral face.” The neutral face works great on adults, too.

5) Personal attacks disguised as exaggerated relief
“I am sooooooooooo glad to hear that! Your (fill in the blank) has always been terrible!” Personal attacks disguised as exaggerated relief make me want to never discuss anything personal again. I obviously wouldn’t be making changes unless I KNEW my (fill in the blank) was terrible. Finding out that someone else has shared the disdain and has made a note of my undesirable state triggers my retreat response and an old script of mine which demands I withhold all inner thoughts. This is the trickiest response for me to rise above. In this case, the “attacker” usually means no offense. They might even be trying to be validating. Sometimes I think response 5 and 6 both come from the same thinking error.

6) Don’t forget, you also suck because…
It’s a strange and common thinking error to infer that because a person is taking a hard look at their lifetime of choices that their entire life is now fair game to pick apart. When faced with those who want to “help” me remember ALL the things on which I “should” be working on, I want to shout, “You get the lighter fluid! I’ll get the matches! Let’s just burn this bitch to the ground!”

Instead, I hate to say it, but I’ve caught myself shouting at the well meaning, “Stop pointing out ways I fall short!”

In the end, I know that just as my overall motivations have very little to do with most people, I also know that the reactions people give back to me have very little to do with me. It is a human frailty that we personalize what other people say and do, when in reality, we all have scripts with subroutines that overwrite our clarity and objectivity every day.

I can never actually know another’s motivation or intent.  And I further suggest that I can never truly know my own.

SO! As of today, I resolve to let both those who I barely know AND those who I hold dear, react to what I’m trying to do in any way they want, without it affecting me. I know that their reality is their’s alone, as is mine. I will not use their reactions as evidence that I should pull away. Nor will I let any of their negativity infect me.

And as to the question I was asked today, that brought ALL of these feelings to the surface, I have an answer for you, dear friend. You asked me why on earth I was doing all of this?

This is why:

O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; 
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; 
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
 Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
 Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
 Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; 
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity; 
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

–Walt Whitman

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It Couldn’t Be Done

When I was in the seventh grade, Mrs. Sorenson taught me to never end a sentence with a preposition and made me memorize the following poem.

I still think of it when I’m stuck. It also reminds me of my dad.

It Couldn’t Be Done
by Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said it couldn’t be done.
But he with a chuckle replied,
That maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so ’till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done. And he did.

Somebody scoffed, “Oh, you’ll never do that
At least no one ever has done it.”
But he took off his coat, and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we know, he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or “quit-it”.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t done. And he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done.
There are thousands to prophesy failure.
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you
But just buckle in, with a bit of a grin;
Just take off your coat and go to it.
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That cannot be done–and you’ll do it!

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How do I detatch?

Hannah in 2009

I have a daughter whose spirit looks like a big, pink rose. She is so kind and creative. She embodies beauty, loyalty, conviction and love.

I am a ruiner. If something needs to be ruined, I can help you out with that. In general, I am a stomper, a thorn in your side and a walking catalyst for change — good or bad. I have the ability to enter a seemingly swell situation and accidentally turn it on its ear. I don’t mean to cause a ruckus. But once the ruiner in me comes out, it feels like I am a runaway train of destruction.

Tonight I managed to basically communicate to my daughter that she isn’t good enough, doesn’t try hard enough and is generally deficient in her ability to love and be loved. I promise you that that was not my intention.

What I was trying to do was let her know that I know who she is. I was TRYING to say that if she feels like she doesn’t finish stuff, she should remember that kid who always finished stuff. I was TRYING to remind her of that 7th grader who put her whole heart into a scrapbook-style history report. I was TRYING to help her remember how creative and industrious she is.

What I actually did, I think, was let her know that she should edit herself more when she’s around me.

Hannah and I are an unconventional duo. We have had a ton of fun. We’ve had some great adventures. And she’s had a rough couple of years. But I am now starting to see that me trying to be or do anything beyond being an available sounding board is counter-productive. My attachment to her clouds our interactions. She needs a rational adult to skillfully guide her and I am more like Lennie, accidentally smothering the puppy with his giant, clumsy hands.

A big part of my road to Excess Emancipation is to sort through my feelings about losing my little girl. If I’m really honest with myself, the “cloudiness” comes from that. I am devastated that she has grown up and her idea of a good time is no longer snuggling in bed with a movie or having me paint her nails. I knew this day was coming. I knew she wasn’t “mine” to begin with — but its still a bitter pill.

My hope for now is to come to terms with my obsolescence. I am seeking out a new plane from which to be her best mom. I can’t keep scooping her up every time she scrapes a knee. I am, at this point, hurting her by not allowing her to clean herself up. Or at the very least, allowing her to choose whether she would like my help or not.

My friend, Sonya, advised me the other day to “visualize myself sending her light and love” each time my worry wheel started whirring. I like the idea. What I know for sure is that this knot in my stomach doesn’t help anyone.

This week I am committed to listening more; keeping my mouth shut more; staying calm; and replacing the angst inside with light and love. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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