Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Regina Reprise 8/23/1967-11/12/2011

Back when I drank like I would never die,
I had a friend, Regina.
Cookeville she Smithville I
We dreamed together
In the lazy space before
Adulthood captured us
Bridges to Babylon with the wind
In Vandy Stadium
We said goodby as I left
With my husband  
For Nashville in the brown Ford
Over the years we gained and lost
[Regina]….I always thought that
I'd see you again.
Internet came with a
News story two years old
The only picture
I can recall of her face
Hardscrabble Pinnacle with the leaves
Down she slid in a space without me
Someday soon I will go to that rock
And light a fire in my rain

Monday, June 18, 2018

Suicide on My Mind

I hesitate to write this, as a part of me wants to make a good impression. I'm on the mission to be positive, uplifting, inspiring, motivating, fun, happy. The truth is that that is a great mission, but the truth is what matters in life. The truth is what is inspiring, motivating, life-changing, and what we really want deep down inside our human souls. At least that is how my belief system works. 

Yesterday, it was Father's Day. A friend of mine recently lost a friend to suicide and the service was yesterday. We've been losing lots of lives to suicide. We've been losing famous people, people we know, people we love. I was searching for a photo of my dad and I together to make a post on social media to shout out for Father's Day. I am very lucky my dad is still around to answer my texts or my calls; I plan to see him next week. 

While searching, I came across the photo below. The photo struck me, as the stories of recent suicides are fresh in my mind. That girl looks happy, right; she's wearing a big smile and holding a cute, happy, fat baby. She is at a company picnic with an unbelievable company that took her and her spouse to a vacation of a lifetime to Atlanta 2 times! 

The photo is me 13 years ago, holding my infant son. I desperately wanted to be and appear happy. I was working so hard at being happy. But the truth is, this is about 8 months before I relapsed into darkness because I felt so guilty about being so depressed while having so much for which to be grateful. Just a few pages and the summer before, you could feel the joy pouring out of me! In this photo, I see the struggle of forcing myself to BE HAPPY. I mean, it is a choice right? Maybe I just had a weak and sub-par attitude. Where was my ability to muster an attitude of gratitude? Why couldn't I just start my day over with prayer? I was trying so hard, and I just felt worse. Thank God for tears and a car with windows where I could scream without anyone hearing me. Thank God for that baby, that I could collect after work and nurse for hours to soothe the ache.

Finally, I found a job at a bar, and drank again, because I was afraid of the visions of suicide that would fly past my eyes when I was driving on that long drive to the job where I couldn't sell anymore and couldn't bring home a paycheck. I felt horrid and selfish for failing at being joyful, because my kids were young, innocent, and well behaved; my home was safe and warm. I had a husband who picked up the kids each night, got the baby's bottle ready, fixed dinner, and gave the kids baths before I got home. I had friends who truly loved me, and for some reason I did not want to let them know what was going on in my head, because on the outside it all looked good, so maybe the inside was not real. 

When I look at this picture, I realize how important it is to be honest with myself, with others, with life. I'm not afraid of suicide, or drinking, or being depressed today. I don't own a usable gun. I don't have alcohol in my house. There are people I keep at a distance, and I know what work is not for me. I journal and meditate and ask myself what is really going on. I have a boundary list of my limits. But I don't know how to help anyone else. I wish I knew what to look for, what to say. I only can tell the truth of my simple story. Today I am grateful that my kids still have a mother. No one wants to leave their people behind. This picture gives me gratitude, but also makes my heart ache. No one gets the past back, but Today is here. Today I am alive. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pieces of Mine-Chapter 2

Mom told me Grandma died

I was 8 

I went downstairs

Danced around the pole

In the unfinished basement 

The pole was always cold

It always felt different than me

Leaning my cheek against it

Many times, for solace

During hours in my make-believe world 

I ran around that pole

Many times, until I cried 

I don't know if I was sad

Or just crying because

I thought it the best thing to do 

I went to my room

Laid on my back

When Jennifer died. 

Mom was sitting on the floor

Reading about it in the paper. 

When my other grandma died,

I don't remember crying. 

I was older, numb to her,

Since her stroke

The natural course of things. 

Stage in my life

Only vaguely aware

What my feelings were,

What their names were

That they were mine. 

Guilt not seeing her

More than one time

Over 10 years ago.   

Unfulfilled imposed obligation

Or sadness. 

Once in a bookstore

In a mall

She bought me Snoopy the Flying Ace

I told her

Mom called her senile. 

I didn't know

What that word meant,

Doomed, I shouldn't have mentioned it. 

My own young children

With mouths and minds.

Pieces of Mine-Chapter 1

The wind is a troupe of spiders

Hang gliding on dazzling strands of hair

Like they do

Single web strands tree to tree

Reminding fall year after year 

Standing stiff, shy, awkward

Young legs bare

Folded anklet socks. 

Hands like mine

Under white gloves

Picking at nail beds

For comfort and alive 

The smile revealed

Glee had won!

They leaned against

A new car

Prop a top a hill

The Perfect day

Fall crisp aired North Dakota. 

An engagement captured 

Not a hint of the usual

Smart aleck sarcasm

In his happy Mickey Rooney eyes

Much before my time

No story of mine

Where did the coldness start

walls clang to a locked steel garage 

A word, an opinion, judgement, a look

The fridge door, or the creak of a stair 

Would they like my hair

They hate my hair

Whispering about the butchered man

Above me in the kitchen

as though I stand deaf on the stairwell

Fresh from a flight with pheasant hunters 

Grandma sat silent

Wet eyes and sad frown

Blue and shorn close

Aphasia blocking the tones 

This trip was very hard 

Sobriety was three fresh

I creeped to the basement corner

Clinging to the corded phone

Coming out of the wall

Absorbing the wisdom of a friend

Leaving the table to

Cry in the powder room

“Don’t cry over pinochle.”

The mirror answered

All You Are is Work

Job job get a job
Make the money
Pay the bills

Job job get the job
Be somebody
Win some thrills

Forget your dreams
They are in the dirt
No one wants your skills

Take your pills
Today you are 
All your money is worth

Do you hear the lies
Play your drums louder
Keep from losing your face

Take a kayak off the shelf 
You can float instead
Into inner space

Mechanics Are Angels

Don’t look for it in the rain
As you are driving
Your mind is making a movie

Don’t imagine you see someone 
Hanging from the bridge
Or a car off the road down the hill

Find the taste of a ripe strawberry
Bursting red in your mouth
Erase Prussian Blue

The car people
My best saviors
When I was an orphan

The water pump broke
When the drums were so bad
You fixed me for free

At the red light 
I lost the exhaust
Under the truck on the road

You welded a new one
I nursed in the dark
In your office

So Kitsch

A person with depression

On occasion

Might not want a gun

They are all the rage today
Women buy pink ones
Covered in camouflage

I know myself
It is much better 
To keep walking

Those trees never disappoint
Crunch crunch the leaves
Remind me to breathe

I know I have no reason
To simply disappear
Open the door and come home