In Real Time
So it’s been a couple of years since I publicly admitted my struggle with bulimia. Good days, bad days—-all I know is that there’s less days. The point isn’t me, or a bane, but rather, for you to admit publicly what is your fear? What is your secret? What is the thing that makes you think that the anonymous, the stranger, or the familiar won’t approve? What will shatter the mirror you’ve presented to the world?
I will tell you.
It’s you. That is the thing. And what of it, yeah? What is secret that is exposed? What has power once it’s in the light? Where is the darkness then, the fear? You hold on to it because the real fear is that without it, you won’t BE you.
But it’s all an illusion. A vapor. A mirage. Need more metaphors, more analogies?
IT’S A LIE.
For my mother, Lynda Bell Wooden, 2012
When you gave me a name, Mother,
It was a word I’d never know,
A word, that with time, hardly
Justifies the blue of your eyes,
The ice of a January you spent
Telling me that I wasn’t what I was.
And the name I don’t know, hidden
Behind the noise of my inheritance—
An whir of machinery, a folded fade of
One more borrowed shirt, a secret
Only us girls would know—the currency of
Growing older on borrowed time.
And then the names changes—mother to mother,
You haven’t taught them to say
Anything more than you haven’t, and yet
Their tiny hands reach, their mouths nurse
At breasts, their tiny hands reach—
And saying nothing, you borrow
Their youth, and I have become teacher—
Another name a soul can’t say, but can ask
All the questions you already answered with
Your tears inside the yellow rose,
And a thorn in your side—
Sleep in the day, so the nights
You kept by me would call me
By any other name but rose;
So they would call me Maker of Life,
Night of Memory, and Never Forget
The Rose—but never be the rose,
And always carry the thorns.
I am called Wife by the arms of
The man you told me would come,
Not by decree, fairytale or dream—but
In the way the October rain fell the year
I was twelve, the year I thought I was lost
And you were found, and we were both blind.
How can everyone lose and win in love?
And how can love cause pain? The unlovely
And unloved have never answered those
Questions in so many hospital rooms,
But the rose that made your hands bleed
Grew seventeen inches that year.
And what does it mean, when the voice
That was the song of my youth becomes
The anthem of their days; an oiled reach
Of my hand comforts broken machinery;
And my voice is the January wind of whirrs
And the word you said, the word you said—
Isn’t the one they hear, it is the
Other word—Mother—that they know,
The name that melts ice and freezes tears;
And far away, a piano sings October rains
And in January fills the cup, fills it,
And the early frost comes.
The best, most terrible, incredible people I know…my loves.