Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Don't tell Blogger... but I've moved! Come see me at http://darkmadness.thetornpages.com/

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2001

can't be
movie clip

from planes
from clouds
no clouds
no net
no chance



a miracle
just one
don't care

done now


Thursday, July 13, 2006


She’s gone
He whispers to himself
The fear a tight ball in his stomach
The chill erasing his senses

He calls
She doesn’t answer
She always answers

He waits
Hoping she’ll call back
Did he forget?
Did she tell him?

Where can she be?
Panic rising in his throat
Heart racing to its own beat
Cold sweat breaking out

Can this be?
Must it be?
Is it happening?

Ghostly memories
Eleven years has passed
It seems like yesterday

She was here
She was fine
So he thought
He was wrong

She’s gone
He whispers
She’s gone

The phone rings…

Monday, January 09, 2006

i hate like love me

a friend reminded me today of what a leap in time i have made over the past twenty-five years. a leap between hating myself to liking myself to loving myself. i give the biggest share of the credit for this to my loving husband. he saw a goodness and a beauty and a spirit in me from the beginning that i could never see and nurtured it into the woman i am today.

in the beginning, a compliment would send me spinning into a beet-red tunnel of confusion. i would shake my head and think "what? are you nuts?" and words slid into my mind from voices long ago "stupid" "liar" "ugly". how could anyone think otherwise?

as time went on i began to see that i wasn't as bad as they said i was, but a compliment was still difficult to handle. i would begin to think that they wouldn't be saying those things if they really knew me. i was an imposter. they would find out soon enough and be gone. it happened enough times i could believe it.

finally, my husband convinced me that it wasn't me, but them. i wasn't the problem, they were. they were the ones with the misconceptions. they were the ones that beat me down day after day, year after year, word after word. whoever said "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" was never a verbally abused kid. the pain from the beating with a fist always lasted less time than the carefully aimed word.

it's been a long time coming, but i'm almost there. i can value myself as a human being from the viewpoint of my husband, my children, and even my animals. i hope in time my friend will feel that value, too. she should. she truly is a beautiful human being.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

the boy

he's small. he's sweet. he's too smart for his own good.
he tries to act tough.
his friends in the school yard find a birds' nest.
they take it from the tree.
they smash it into bits.
they kill whatever life there was.
he yells at them.
he cries.
they laugh.
he runs.
they let him.

he gets older, but no bigger.
he is handsome. he is witty. he is charming.
he has friends.
good friends.
guy friends. girl friends.
he pretends in plays. he plays in sports. he wishes he was better in both.
he gets hurt in football.
he promised not to touch the ball.
he touched it.

he gets angry.
i look in his deep brown eyes and see the pain he hides there.
he tries to be stoic.
he tries not to cry.
my heart breaks for him.
his father has closed the door.
no reason.
no call.

he gets angrier.
he hates life.
he hates me.
he sneaks out to hang with friends.
he sneaks out to have a life.
he sneaks out to laugh.
laughter disguising the pain.

i'm helpless.
i try to tell him what has happened to me.
i see the stone mask his face becomes.
he doesn't want to know.
it doesn't concern him.
that's my problem.
he has his own.
what happened to my sweet boy?

he's gone.
he's on his own.
he's fine.
ask him, he'll tell you.
he's fine.
he's fine.
he's fine.

i look into his deep brown eyes and see the pain he hides there.
i can't touch it.
i can't move it.
i can't take it from him.
all i can do is wait...
...and tell him i love him more than he'll ever know.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


the air is just cold enough to make her nose run. the jeans and flannel shirt she ran out of the house in is not enough to keep the shiver from coming up her spine. she runs past the neighborhood houses with their warm lights and the dinner tables full of food. their fireplaces leave a smoky trail in the night sky that blows down into the streets where she can smell them. the wood smoke has always smelled inviting. it isn't inviting to her. not now. not at this moment.
the tears that won't stop drip onto her chin. she wipes at them with her sleeve, ignoring the mascara smear they leave. her throat closes with the lump of pain she can't scream out. she slows to a walk. she stops. she stands on the sidewalk in the shadow between streetlamps. frozen in place by indecision.

her mind spins. she is alone. she is afraid. she can't go to her parents. they haven't spoken since she left. her friends don't know her. they don't know the truth. they don't know what her life is really like. she can't go home. he is there. he is angry. he is waiting.

fall used to be her favorite.
he used to be her love.
everthing changes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


he is a good man, the husband. back before he was the husband she was cautious. she was skittish. she hadn't learned to trust. she felt something different with him, but wasn't sure it was real. she couldn't believe something so good could come her way.

he asked her to come live with him, back then. he asked her to bring her two children and leave the man she was married to. he asked her to be safe. with him. she was scared. hopeful, but scared. she wanted to protect her children. she needed to be sure.

she asked the man she was married to if he could keep the children. for a little while. just until she could get settled in the new town. get a job. find a place to live. for her. for the children. he agreed.

she moved to the new town. she lived with the man. he had a house. he had space. she began to trust. he had waited a long time. this was new. this was good. he began to believe this was really going to happen.

he took her out. she met his friends. they were curious. who was this woman who had come into his life so suddenly? where had she come from. he told them. they listened. they heard the part "she has two kids". they heard the part "she's going through a divorce". they knew he'd been alone a long time. they knew he was kind. they knew he was good. they thought him naive. they feared for him.

she and the man had been together a month. they went to the fair with his friends. they went to the beer tent. it was dark. it was crowded. they were separated. he was talking with friends. she was trying to be inconspicuous. one of his friends came up to her. said hi. started talking about where she was from. who she was. how she'd met the man. she was honest. she spoke from her heart. he leaned toward her. he spoke softly. she had to strain to hear.

he said "where are your kids".
he said "what kind of a mom leaves her kids".
he said "why aren't your kids with you".
he said "you are a horrible mom".

her head spins. the tears flow unchecked. she can't see him. she only hears him. she hears his voice. getting louder. harsher. meaner. the words spit out at her. she can't get away. there are people all around. she can't see her man. where is he now? is he near? can he hear this? if he can, why isn't he saying something. anything. stop this evil spewing all over her. flowing like icy rain. nothing but pain. no end in sight.

he says "don't hurt my friend".
he says "he doesn't know what he's doing".
he says "he doesn't know what you're like".
he says "he doesn't know you".
he says "don't take him away from us".

she says he's wrong. he's wrong. he's wrong. he doesn't know. he has no idea. she thinks it is love. she knows it is love. she loves. she loves him. she knows she does. she loves him. she loves her kids. she does. she does. more than life itself. she does.

she turns and somehow stumbles away. she hides in a dark corner. an hour. two. her man finally finds her. the others have gone. the night is ending. the nightmare continues.

a few months later the divorce is final. the custody battle has been resolved. she has her kids. the man is her new husband. there is peace. a tentative peace. peace on the outside.

the friend is on his second marriage. he has two children. he has been traveling. a hobby, not a job. he leaves his wife home. with the children. he hangs with the boys. he drinks. he cheats. he drinks more. he cheats more. now his wife cheats. again. and again. model family.

she wants to see him. she wants to hurt him. five years later he apologizes. five years too late. he still lives in a lie. she lives in a loving relationship. a caring man. a man who kicks himself for not knowing what was happening all those years ago in a tent at the fair. she accepts his apology, but she'll never forgive. it touched the guilt she already felt. he tore out her heart and stomped it to pulp. he, who was better than her. she. the bad mother.

him. the bad friend.

Friday, October 28, 2005

the good mother

she is patient. she is kind.
she praises.
she comforts.
she knows how to give 'the look' and knows it will be obeyed.
she is fun.
she is smart.
she laughs. she cries.
she hugs.
she says 'it'll be okay' and it is.
she keeps promises
she trusts.
she is a good mother.
from her mother
she knows what hurt is.
she knows anger.
she knows fear.
she knows frustration.
she knows lonliness
she knows tears.
she knows screaming
she knows sleeplessness.
she knows pain.
she is my daughter
i am her mother
i held the legacy
she broke the cycle
she is the good mother
i am learning
from her
This is dedicated to my oldest daughter who is a very good mother.

friday flashback

Originally post May 22, 2004


my mother died when i was a child. i was three. i only have one true memory of my mother. she had polio and was in an iron lung and i was taken to see her in the hospital. i remember riding on my father's shoulders and laughing at the nurses. my father is very tall, so i had to duck not to hit the lights. i remember standing on a stool next to my mother's face. she asked the nurses to adjust the mirror above her head so she could see me better. she was beautiful.

at some point after my mother went into the hospital, i was sent to live with my father's family. i remember his older brother - my uncle - driving me many miles to my grandmother's house. i liked living at my grandparents'. he was a manager of a supermarket who loved to fish and she was a lovely woman with a quick laugh who had raised four children and still had the youngest in high school. i remember the wedding photo of my mother in my grandmother's bedroom setting on the cedar chest where i could go in and look at it. i remember one day it was gone and we never spoke of her again.

my father would come to my grandmother's and visit me. one time he brought a lady with him who would become my stepmother. i was five. every year on memorial day we would make the two-hour drive to where my mother was buried. we'd take flowers and clean up the gravesite, but nothing was ever said about her. i'd learned early that to bring her up was to get scolded - i learned not to bring it up.

most families have photographs of their children around the house or at least in an album where they are produced for family events and memories are thoughtfully revisited. i never saw a picture of myself until my maternal grandmother gave me some photos when i was thirteen. i finally saw myself and my mother and a picture of a little girl standing on a stool next to a woman in an iron lung with a lovely smile.

in my thirties my husband had some deep conversations with my father. things i think he'd been waiting to say but couldn't bring himself to say directly to me. knowing my husband would be the conduit. one of the most shocking things i was to find out was that my mother didn't die of polio. she'd actually been getting better and had been in rehab and was going to be able to come home when she contracted pneumonia. it was the pneumonia that killed her. it explained a lot.

in my twenties i had pneumonia and was in the hospital for a week. my parents didn't come. my parents didn't call. they didn't send flowers. they ignored me. this was highly unusual. when i finally got ahold of my father to let him know i was better and was going home from the hospital, his comment was, "i guess i won't have to sent the flowers to the funeral home, then". at the time i was shocked. even for my cynical father the comment seemed exceptionally cruel. it would not be clear to me what was going on for another ten years.

my grandmother always said i looked exactly like my mother. my maternal aunt who hadn't seen me for many years finally saw me and told my grandmother that she couldn't get over all the mannerisms i had that were just like my mother. i guess my father couldn't handle it. i wish he had.

the denial hurt.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


she is a good student. the best. always there. always on time. no sass. attentive. good grades. maybe a little too quiet. a little too shy. hidden in the back of the class. answers on the tip of her tongue, but not volunteered. nothing ever volunteered. things must be dragged out of her. she knows the answer. she aces the test. she writes in her journal. in her lonliness. in her sleep. she writes to escape. the teachers never suspect something is wrong. she's a good girl. she never acts out. they are disturbing stories. she has a good imagination. they're wrong. it's not imagination. it's real.

she has few friends. no enemies. not at school, anyway.

her parents put on a good show. middle class. middle age. middle of the road. dad works. never late. never weekends. never nights. always home on time.family vacations. together time.mom stays home. someone needs to be there when the girl gets home. it's the right thing to do. the best for the girl. watches the clock. makes sure the girl is on time. she's not on time. wait until your father gets home. you bad girl. you bad, bad girl. mom bakes cookies. goes to coffee with the neighbors. works in the garden. smiles. a lot. takes the valium the doctor gave her because the girl is such a problem. mom and dad. liquor in hand. every night. sometimes mom forgets to eat. too many martinis. she's tired. she's in the bathroom. leave your mother alone. he laughs. evil laugh. mean laugh. he's not a nice drunk.

weekends start with alcohol. bloody marys. chores. house must be cleaned. the girl will clean. the parents will go. look at them. aren't they sweet. neighbors smile. they are such a close couple. they do everything together. grocery shopping. laundry. cooking. errands. they leave her at home. to study. to clean. she runs. screaming. throwing herself down carpeted staircases. she hurts, but no bruises appear that can't be covered. why? why? why? she screams over and over. she tries to make a phone call. a hotline. she can't. her parents will call home. if the line is busy they will wonder why. she cries. she cries more. she washes her face and calms herself before they come home. she's fine. she's fine. she's fine. she's fine. a mantra she repeats in her head until she can make herself believe it. a little while.

the parents go to the school. go to the concerts. go to the conferences. they talk to the teachers. they bring home the report cards. they throw it on the table. they pick it up again. they wave it in her face. bitter words leave spittle on her face.

"you've got them faked out. they don't know you at all."

maybe not... maybe not.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


most of us live in a black and white world. we believe in what our parents believed in. or not. we were dressed up in our sunday best and hustled to church to be precluded by sunday school and followed by fellowship. a fancy way of saying coffee and cookies and gossip. we were paraded out for christmas pagents and midnight mass and sunrise services. we sang hallalujah in a choir or rang bells in a balcony. we knelt. or not. we ate unleavened bread and drank grape juice. the body. the blood.

we confessed on saturday. went to church on sunday. stabbed our neighbor in the back doing business on monday and fucked our best friends' wife on friday night. saturday we confessed and all was clean and holy again.

you were with 'em or against 'em. friend or foe. take 'em or leave 'em. one for all and all for... what? black and white.

they were different. they were niggers. nobody wants them in our neighborhood. oh... they're the new minister. that's different. we want to be friends. we'll show them how we can all get along. we want the daughter to be our best friend. we like niggers.

we don't drink in this county. this here is a dry county. you have to go across the state line iffin you're going to get liquor. we don't believe it to be a proper thing. here's $20. bring me back some whisky.

black and white. as long as it suits us. right and wrong. do as i say, not as i do.

she lives in shadows. her world revolves in layers of gray. she sees things that aren't exactly there. things that aren't black. aren't white. things that lay in the spaces between. things that aren't supposed to be seen. she knows they are there. she sees them out of the corner of her eye. she senses them on the nape of her neck. her animals react with confirmation. she would like it to go now. it won't. insanity or just another shade of gray?