She Makes Me Tea

She asks me
Would you like some tea?
As I read,
Lounging,
The expanse of
Microfiber couch
Between us
Shrinking
Her voice
Tender,
She doesn’t drink
Tea
Or vodka,
Her consideration
So difficult to believe
How do I accept
Unconditional love?

She rises,
Traverses a menagerie
Boils water
Scoops dried leaves
Into my favourite
French kitten cup
(The one for tea,
She knows coffee
Goes in the green
Starbucks mug)
Steeps,
Long enough
And places beside me
Smiling,
“Drink it,
Before it gets cold,”

My heart quickens,
Remembering her soft lips
Heart bursting
Three years
I still don’t quite
Believe
Are real,

But she is action,
And her everyday kindness
Is its own indelible
Poetry
Etched forever
Into the hollows
The dents and cracks,
Of our mutual
Crazy
Love story.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

still life

see this
curving teak
bowl,
brown as whole wheat toast,
handcrafted, fair-traded,
all smooth and concave
tiny droplets of water glistening within,
not from the yellow mangoes,
over-ripe,
waiting to liquify;
the bowl is weeping,
forgotten,
useless as rotting fruit,
wishing to return
to the tree,
wondering why
she has been forsaken
here, on a blue-tiled counter,
with only fruit flies
to whisper
stories of home

1SageFemme  All Rights Reserved 2017

Charlie

one spring day,
not this one,
i took sweet Charlie to the vet
for the last time;
a small thing
we all do,
eventually,

she was special,
my Charlie,
who arrived to a Bad Marriage
and was Love incarnate,
letting toddlers pull her lips
and try to ride her…
so loved we got a second dog,
her younger sister…
running away in her older years
because she was deaf
and my voice no longer
penetrated her obsession
with food,

and then,
then…
old, and sick,
she was caught in the middle
of The End,

a marriage marinated in alcohol
battles for custody
manipulations grand and microscopic
and one little dog,
rheumy-eyed and stinking,
slowly dying,

until that day,
four-year-old crying
“mama kicks Charlie”
the usual denials,
the lack of proof,
my heart,
shattered,

i remembered all the times
in denial,
i had heard X muttering drunkenly
in the kitchen,
“i hate these damn dogs”
Charlie, as ever,
underfoot when food was at hand,

Charlie’s sister died of cancer;
a long process
of peeing blood and incontinence
doggy diapers
specialist visits
iv’s and needle aspirations
painful and, in the end
for nothing,

then, one year later,
in the middle of a war zone
Charlie started peeing blood
she became incontinent
“mama kicks Charlie,”
a small voice telling
a big truth,

when my week came
i took my little boys in my arms
and told them Charlie was sick
and soon would go to see her sister
they cried
they accepted
as children do,

i split my heart in two
one half strong and capable,
taking my sweet Charlie one last time
to the park,
the other half climbing a high tower
in an unfamiliar castle,
searching for a way
to survive,

i found a homing pigeon,
waiting atop the tower,
head cocked in perpetual question,
eye blinking at me

i had never sent a message
by pigeon,
but this pigeon seemed capable enough
so i pulled a red crayon from my pocket
and drew half a heart
on a bit of gum wrapper,
rolled it into a tiny scroll,
and placed it on the castle wall,

the pigeon took my burden
and spoke to me,
which also did not seem strange,
“i will find you in the future,
and bring your message home”

with the relief of feeling only half the pain,
Charlie and i made the final journey
where i dropped her off at the door
and did not accompany her
just a quick kiss,
and “see you later my little love,”
knowing i would not,

time passed
the divorce was finalized
life moved on
became more stable
the kids became happier,
and by some miracle
i found love,

perhaps it is five years to the day
but my mind won’t remember it
so i couldn’t say for sure
but last night,
i awoke to the sound of tapping,
and there was the pigeon,
head cocked,
waiting at my window,

she had come home to roost
bearing my broken heart
across time,
writ in crayon
on old gum wrapper
precious only to me,
i took the message in shaking hands
and cried,
feeling the full weight of guilt
and regret,
why had i not gone with Charlie,
to the end?

i understood at last
that survival sometimes requires
imperfect solutions;
Charlie, stoic as she was,
would forgive me,
and at some point,
soon,
i will forgive myself.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

anxiety

do you feel the ticking?
time bomb in chest
egg timer clicking down
seconds to detonation
never exploding
just tic tic ticking
anticipating something
but what?
can’t think
brain muddled and,
anyway,
it’s too hard to know
what future to hope for
so breathe so breathe
the only sign
that little flicking
of the fingers

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

shame

i yearn to carve
silence
into subjugation,
stretch skin over bone
drum beat truth
from the dark,
name it
art

but these lips
they don’t speak
so they’ll
sing you a song,
full bodied
raw
’til i’m done

i buried
pain in the back yard
except the bits i flushed
with the goldfish
even now
hard to
admit

shame coils
serpents
at my feet
now i am
a snake charmer…
come shame,
dance me
poetry
hum me
worthy

shame sticks
to skin
stings the eyes
tar and chlorine
if i were feathered
i could fly
away

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Ruptured

Her water didn’t break,
It exploded
A river overflowing barriers
Uncontained by sandbags
Or military intervention
She awoke

She,
Swollen,
Oozed and dripped
As tsunami subsided
Into stream
Creek
Puddle

w
a
t
e
r

Life

Earth surged, quaked
Rended
Relinquished
Control
Rendered life
Pushing
Fuzzy head
Through cervix

Primal screaming
Mother and baby
Separate
Unite
Quiet
Eyes
Wet bodies
Rest in wonder

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

apocalyptic dreaming

i am apocalyptic
dreaming
hospital green corridors
(always hospitals in nightmares)
why are women so bitchy?
not all women, sure,
but so many
eating each other
not joyfully,
but
“who put raisins in this?”
sour-faced

the humid, claustrophobic
march
left, right,
no exit because this is
a goddamn
victorian hospital
might as well be
daedalus’s labyrinth
and ariadne won’t share
her thread
with the competition

i am screaming now
not fear
rage
fucking ariadne
how lost we are
i see you
i see you
give me your hand
just this once
and we will all be free
no need to slay the minotaur
after all

1SageFemme All Rights Reserve 2017

hidden

back to the secret spot
wind on face
whipping tears and mascara
into horizontal
fault lines
no use, sunglasses
inadequate to shield,
huge hipster frames,
screaming
“absurd!”
in this secret place,
she hugs herself
against the coming storm
back to tree
face to sea
watching stripes of rain on the horizon
the salty smell
seaweed and dead fish
wet dog shaking
gull crying
she knows something is about to happen
but, as always, her vision
is impaired
heart pounds
breath comes ragged and choked
sensing,
but not
grasping meaning
until only hazy memory
remains

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

dear child

i had hoped to keep you
innocent
so much longer
told teachers to leave you be
told you to explore and run and play
you, who loves to dance
and sing
you, who i knew
would be bored
in school

yet,
here we are
you have been found out
not by your family,
because of course we knew,
but by that grade three test
and then the other ones that followed,
to make sure…
and how proud grandma will be
and how terrified i am
for with genius
comes a curse

dear child,
you are more that your big brain
you do not have to be the smartest
to be loved

i love your terrible temper,
and hope to help you master it,
though for now you are so young
and a reliably sore loser

i love your too-loud
off-key singing,
the way even as a baby
you swayed to music

i love the way you love yourself,
parading in front of the mirror,
styling your hair and checking out
your own wiggling bum

i love your stubborn refusal to pee
before the cottage drive,
and the inevitable
highway-side pit-stop

i love your sense of humour
creeping into my room
at 5 am
in vampire teeth

i love your refusal to go to bed
always “scared”, or “hungry,”
thinking of any excuse
to prolong the day

i love your cuddliness
always leaning in,
climbing on,
draping over…

i love your honesty
earnestly confessing a misdemeanor
and your attempts to lie,
red-faced and guilty

and yes,
i love your too-big brain,
but don’t let it define you,
my child, my love

i am afraid
of the peaks and caverns
of your over-charged mind;
afraid for you

the line between genius
and mania is blurry
too many ideas
competing for ascension

the clamour
can become dark
and dangerous;
depression

you have inherited a gift
and a curse
that not all your ancestors
have survived

but i hope
fervently, feverishly,
that you will remain
innocent

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Third Date: The Bartender (wherein I prove that I really am that easy)

I decided to add a chapter to my online dating saga on my mostly forsaken other blog, if you’d like to check it out.

talesfromthequeerside

Looking back from the lofty vantage point of hindsight, this date was doomed from the start. First of all, Syd was everything I find hot in a woman. Although she wasn’t taller than me (and really, that was an unrealistic goal), she was strong, chiseled, had perfect post-Beiber hair, exquisite fashion sense, and was pretty close to my age.

We met at a romantic restaurant of her choosing after speaking on the phone a couple of times. She told me, with no small degree of machismo, that she wanted to be in charge of planning the evening, and treat me “like a lady should be treated.” I know, I know, but that’s what you get when you’re into forty-something masculine identified women! Anyway, I thought it was sexy at the time.

Fast forward to a Friday night in winter. I was on-call. My kids were with their other mom that…

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