When a True Friend is Needed

when a true friend

From my poetry notebook…This Ain’t Shakespeare.

She’s beautiful, popular and proud.

Her friends are kids, from just the right crowd.

 

Look how she laughs, talks and smiles.

Her admirers swarm, as they walk the school tiles.

 

She looks in the mirror and winks at the image.

Knowing her beauty will win, in any boyfriend scrimmage.

 

Her clothing is perfect, ensuring that name brand labels appear.

Then tossing them carelessly, when there’s a rip or a tear.

 

I dare to walk up to her and say, “hello.”

My knees are shaky, trembling out of control.

 

She looks at me with scorn and contempt.

I feel as though I’ve fallen, and there’s no safety net.

 

Eyebrow arched, her words like a sword.

I’m not the kind of friend that she’s looking for.

 

Her laughter rings true, behind my back.

I hide in my locker to stop the tears in their tracks.

 

But at the end of the day, once her crowd is all gone.

She sits silent and lonely on the bus ride towards home.

 

Her slender shoulders sag, her head hangs down.

The bus stops at her house, her face wears a frown.

 

Framed in the doorway is a well-dressed man.

An angry expression on his face, a drink in his hand.

 

She pauses, walking slowly to the house.

Visibly shrinking into her expensive new blouse.

 

His loud, angry voice carries to the bus.

She cringes and cowers, afraid of his touch.

 

I flinch when I see his hand connect with her face.

A flaw upon her beauty that even make-up can’t erase.

 

I realize I was wrong about the person I thought she was.

How she hides behind an image because of circumstance and cause.

 

How she likely needs a friend who’ll hold her hand as she cries.

A friend who’ll look past her persona and pride.

 

A friend who’ll see the terrified child within.

Screaming to move away from those hidden sins.

 

I may not be the friend that she’s looking for.

But I can be the friend that she needs, so much more.

 

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The Love Gift

kid playing video game

Excerpt from my book: Mom’s Eye View

The price of love does have a dollar amount.

The holiday season is upon us and so are the vultures. As their unsuspecting victims, they always seem to swoop down when we’re at our most vulnerable. They come at us at the time of year when we worry about how we’re going to find the money to pay for fuel, fill the cupboards with food, make the car payment, as well as buy Christmas presents.

This is when the vultures tempt us with the allure of an easily acquired, high interest rate credit card, which seems like the answer to our prayers.

Resist! Resist I say! But the pull is strong and the process so simple. Approval is almost guaranteed as long as you have a job and have been paying your bills on time. When the card arrives, just days before Christmas, it seems so beautiful; its shiny exterior lulling us into a false sense of financial security.

We tell ourselves, “it’s only a few thousand dollars, I can double up on payments and have it paid off in no time.” Or, “no problem, I’ll just pay it off after Christmas.”

Yeh right, that never really happens…most of us will only make the minimum payment and then bitch about the outrageous interest rates and how we’re getting shafted by the credit card companies. This is our punishment for being sucked into the world’s biggest scam in the first place. It’s the trade-off we make in order to indulge our expectant offspring.

As parents, we hate to disappoint our children. They’re the proof that our time here on earth hasn’t been wasted. They’re the ones who will carry on our family name, hopefully make it mean something in the future. They’re the ones who’ll make our family tree grow bigger and fill it with more apples. So, the last thing we want to do is piss them off.

They tell us they’re worthy of these gifts that they so desperately need. That to shower them with these gifts shows them the depth of our love. And if refused these wondrous commercial trinkets, the words, “you don’t love me!” will bounce off the walls of the house for days.

So, we grit our teeth and choke on the bile that rises in our throats as we agree to the credit card’s horrific and unrealistic terms of service and then reluctantly hand over a good portion of our paychecks to their out-stretched, greedy hands.

Then next Christmas when we again hear the cry, “if you loved me, then you’d get that for me!”

We’ll hand our blessed, darling children the bill from last year’s love-fest and say, “remember last Christmas when you had to have that gaming system and headset and the games to go with it? Here’s the love bill for that.”

A Vision of Peace

From my poetry notebook…This Ain’t Shakespeare.

vision of peace

My brother comes to me in a dream

And speaks to my heart

 

The silence penetrates the stillness

A mist-like fog swallows my body.

 

My arms outstretched

But I touch nothing

 

A feathery lightness grazes my shoulder

Then is gone.

 

A quiet whisper and a playful breeze

Gently lifts my hair

But I see nothing.

 

A soft caress trails across my arm

Giving me the sense of something known

But forgotten.

 

A feeling of trust overwhelms

A shadowy face appears

 

A well-loved smile shines

Through the haze.

 

The voice

Tells me my worries

Can be put aside

 

His soul is at peace.

His diseased body

Now left behind

 

His mind is at ease

 

My worries fade away

My brother is finally free.

Final Reflection

From my poetry notebook….This Ain’t Shakespeare.

final reflection

The darkened window, lit only from behind.

Shows a sharp-angled face, etched with anguish-filled lines.

 

As she stares, long suffocated tears begin to flow.

A life built on trust has been crushed in a single, selfish blow.

 

How did she let this happen? Allow her family to be snatched away?

Now all is gone. Even hope that fate would return them one day.

 

She stands, looking unseeingly at the face reflected back.

Her mind sees a young woman whose life was on the right track.

 

The man of her dreams had swept her off her feet.

Promising to love, honor and cherish til’ death they do meet.

 

A child was born, a sweet little boy.

Endless smiles and bliss at this wonderful joy.

 

A home was provided through a business that soared.

A husband who loved her, a child she adored.

 

Another arrived, from out of the blue.

Claiming friendship that was accepted as true.

 

Manipulating and coveting what belonged to another.

That the bond being built was simply a cover.

 

The true motivation was meant to seduce.

Not caring that lives would be shattered, and true love reduced.

 

The other used emotions to bait its catch.

Listening and offering kindness through a rough patch.

 

The catch had been easily tricked by the bait.

More stroking of an ego made it worth the wait.

 

Reeled and then eaten by a prey too fierce.

Unconcerned how the wounds would hurt and pierce.

 

Guilt overcomes, and a confession needs to be made.

Begging forgiveness, making promises, in order to stay.

 

Eyes blink and she sees once again.

The reflection of a woman cast aside for her sins.

Temptation

From my poetry notebook…This Ain’t Shakespeare.

temptation

https://dorinacostras.com/paintings/

Long lashes lowered.

Full lips over a knowing smile.

Flowing tresses that tease with their softness.

Curves that entice with her every move.

Open and willing, flaunting her needs.

Encouraging, suggesting, ignoring his ring.

****

No one will miss it.

It’s just a few dollars.

They have so much.

She has so little.

The children need shoes.

There’s no food in the cupboards and the rent is due.

So easy to slip the money,

From the cash drawer into her pocket.

****

The doctor says no.

Anymore and he’ll die.

But the need is so strong.

The struggle so fierce.

The addiction controls his every move.

****

Temptation is thrown at us from everywhere.

How we respond to it is our choice.

Lost / The Bottle

Excerpt from my book…I Heard You

Like I said…nobody gets out of this life unscathed.

drug addiction

http://www.artnet.com/artists/hu-jundi/

 

Lost

“C’mon Dad, let’s go! I’m gonna be late if you don’t get it in gear!” Kyle yells at his father.

“I’m coming, I’m coming! Just one sip of this coffee and I’ll be ready.”

“There’s no time. I gotta be at the school at nine sharp. The coach will kick me off the team if I’m late by a minute.” Kyle says.

“Fine, fine. Let’s go then. Get your gear and go get in the car.”

“My gear is already in the car. I’ve just been waiting on you,” Kyle casts a scowl in his father’s direction and slams the door of the house on his way out.

Chris mumbles to himself, “jeez-us H Christ, that kid is always in a frigging hurry.”

He gulps down the last of his coffee, burning his tongue in the process.  “Goddamnit.”

He kicks off his slippers and bends to tie up his sneakers. He shrugs on his Red Sox hoodie and then pulls on his Patriots cap in order to cover his unruly hair. He snatches his car keys off the key holder beside the door. Within minutes they’re speeding down the road to the high school.

Kyle is still visibly upset. “Oh my gawd, Dad, you always do this. You frig and fart around each time there’s a game and we always have to rush around. I hate that! I can’t wait to get my license and my own car, then I won’t have to wait for you to drive me around!”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry. I thought we had plenty of time.”

“You waited until the last minute again to even get going. I told you I had to be there by nine. Now we’ve only got ten minutes to get there! The bus is going to leave without me!”

“The bus isn’t going to leave without you, you’re the quarterback. Can’t have a game without the quarterback.”

Kyle crosses his arms and they ride the rest of the way to the school in silence.

Chris can feel his son’s anger hanging in the air between them.“C’mon, Kyle. Don’t be like that. A pissy attitude isn’t going to help you guys win this game. And you need this win, right?”

Kyle looks at his father and breaks his stony silence. “You know we do. We have to win in order to get to the playoffs.”

“You know I wanted to come to this game didn’t you?”

“But you’re not, ” Kyle says.

“I can’t,” his father hangs his head.

“So you say,” Kyle turns his head away from his father.

Chris glances in his son’s direction. “I’ve got to be at the hospital.”

Kyle snaps his head in his father’s direction. “I don’t even know why you still bother. She put herself there. She’s the one who put herself in a coma. She didn’t think about anybody else but herself when she took that shit and decided it was a good idea to go for a drive. All she’s ever thought about is herself. She can rot away in that hospital bed for all I care!”

Chris lays his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Kyle, don’t. You know that’s not true. She loved you. Still loves you and you’ll see that when she wakes up.”

Kyle shrugs off his father’s hand. “Give it up Dad, the doctor’s said she’s not going to wake up. She fried her brains and the car crash scrambled them even more. She can’t even breathe without the machines. She’s not coming back! I lost my mother a long time ago.”

Kyle feels the tears start to well up again, but bats them away with his fist.

Chris knows there’s no trying to explain things to his son. He’s been trying and trying to make him understand for the past month, but his son can’t see beyond his own anger. And Chris doesn’t blame him. He’s angry as well. At himself, for not seeing how far gone Mary was. He blames himself for not being more insistent, for accepting her excuses, for believing in her when she told him she was going to get better. He loved her too damn much to believe otherwise.

They pull into the school and Chris parks behind the bus. Kyle bursts out of the car and then opens the back door to grab his gear. He slams the back door shut and ignores his father’s shout of, “good luck!”

Chris watches Kyle get on the bus, high-fiving his buddies as he passes by them. He sees Kyle laugh at something one of his teammates say and then watches as Kyle places himself in one of the high-backed bus seats.Chris waves even though Kyle refuses to look at him through the window.

Chris watches the school bus leave the driveway and head down the road.After the bus is long gone, Chris puts his car in gear and sighs. He begins his journey to the hospital where his wife lies in a coma. A coma that was induced by the car crash his wife was in while she was high.Chris feels dread and hope at the same time. Dread that his wife hasn’t come out of her coma and the decision he may have to make on whether or not to take her off life support. And hope that she has awakened and they can begin the process of healing.

But then dread fills him once again, because if she has awakened and survived this latest ordeal, he worries that her addiction will consume her yet again and he and Kyle will again suffer through the pain of seeing a loved one battle a drug addiction that they have no control over.Chris sighs again, there is no happy ending for him or his son.

Either way Mary is lost to them..

****

The Bottle

The distance grows
The time apart seems like death

Knowing that the space will spread
Until the gap becomes a black hole

Feeling as though the tunnel is too long
Too far
To reach you

Yelling out your name
An echo my only answer
Throwing out a lifeline
Filled only with love
And hope

Begging you to grab it
In order to save you from
Your lonely solitude of depression and despair

​But the bottle
Battles me each day
Taking you further and further into the blackness

I don’t know how long I can hold on
Without eventually following you into the abyss
In order to be with you
If it’s the only way to hold you

That’s Not Me

depression

I rarely write in depth about my personal life. What I have to say is generally through the words of a poem and the meaning is fairly obvious to those who read it. I don’t mince words and I don’t beat around the bush…I say what the hell is on my mind and the consequences be damn. But I have been struggling for years with a sort of depression that comes from things not having worked out the way I had envisioned. And I know I’m not alone in these kinds of feelings. I truly believe, everyone, at one point or another has suffered through these kinds of feelings. It’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.

When I divorced my second husband, I had in mind that my life would somehow be different, that I would be better off on my own. I didn’t want or need anyone telling me how I should or shouldn’t live my life…to insinuate that my thoughts and feelings were secondary to his. At age 46, I had had enough of that and after fifteen years of marriage to this man, I left my marriage.

I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do, how I would afford to take care of myself or if love would ever find me again. I fell into what the doctor’s told me was “low-grade” depression. I was prescribed anti-depressants and although they may have worked, I was uncomfortable taking drugs, so I stopped…which probably wasn’t the smartest move because whatever depression I had been feeling quickly escalated. I moped around, felt like a sloth, drank way too much wine and slept and slept and slept. I was motivated only to go to work (bills still had to paid) and would put on my happy face for my children when they visited (can’t let the kids know what a basket-case Mom was).

stronger

This went on for over two years. Even though I began dating again, I wasn’t able to give myself to the notion of a “true romance.” I fought it and felt undeserving of any sort of kindness he showed me. We never became the sort of relationship I felt I was meant for and we soon broke things off. I fell into an even deeper depression and found myself almost unable to climb out of it. I had failed at my marriage, failed at a potential relationship, I was unable to keep my finances in order, I had cut off most of my family,  and my children  were getting older and didn’t need to rely on me. Who was I, if I wasn’t a mother? A wife? Not even a girlfriend? I was nobody.

I turned inward. I filled journal after journal with crazy scribblings, rants, injustices done to me. Page after page of anger, resentment, built-up words that had gone unsaid. It poured out of me like a mad, raging thunderstorm. Cutting and slicing, the rain beating me down into a drenched mess of emotion.

And it was weird, but writing, for me, was the answer. To write the words, that had for years rolled around inside my head, seemed to give me a sense of relief, of freedom.

I never shared any of this with anyone. Those journals were for me and me only. In fact, I no longer even have them, they were ripped up and thrown into the trash years ago. I no longer needed them, I had said what I needed. Nobody else needed to read it. I doubt they would even understand the torture of feeling useless, unworthy and unneeded.

Depression is real, it makes us forget everything that’s good and beautiful in our lives. It weighs so heavily that at times we feel as though we are being smothered by the sheer enormity of it. Thoughts of suicide constantly flicker and seems like the only answer to find the relief from the black and dark places that fill our minds. It is a heavy weight that begs us to follow it into a murky cesspool.

I cannot say that my dark thoughts have disappeared, they have not, it’s not that simple. What keeps me in the light, is my children and my grandson. How completely selfish would it be of me to forget what I mean to THEM? What kind of suffering would they go through because I had decided that ending my life was the only possible solution?

But, No! I am stronger than that! I want to see my son fall in love and give his heart to another! I want to see my daughter and son-in-law, grow old together! I want to see my grandson grow into a man! These are the things that life is about.

So, I pull myself out of the cesspool and just get on with things.

happyagain