grabs me by my big toe
pulls me down slowslowslow
slithers me off the easy chair
through rug’s woolen sheepish hair
cannot fight this downward pass
eyes are foggy ruby glass
cried so long they’re swollen large
gremlindeep is now in charge
© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Depression does have a face, and not only the one you see in the mirror. It has claws and a gravity surpassing that of earth. Peace, Amy
LEST WE ARE FOOLED INTO FORGETTING
The sheer weight of it
leadens my gait
Each breath less caught
Rooted to my roost
My throne of self-indictment
Too groggy to blog
Too depleted to give a damn
Too depressed to feel blessed
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where LaTonya Baldwin and I had our collaboration posted HERE, and where the challenge today was to write essentially, write with direct treatment of the subject, in the style of William Carlos Williams. I hope I have fulfilled that prompt, using a subject I know too well, one I would not wish on anyone.
I’ll get past this. I always do. But Lex is at the family reunion, (I opted not to go), with a sick cat, a sore molar, and now with the president rattling war sabres once again (probably the only thing Congress WILL push through this year), this time no doubt to drone the crap out of Syria… well, let’s say I’ve had better days.
Thank God for a call from an old friend and for little Diva, who lays on my stomach and rubs her face against mine. Even when she’s under the weather, she’s such good company. And SHE doesn’t drop bombs, except in the litter box. Amy
This is really happening. To me. No pity party, please, just listen and understand. It will get better, I know that. More words after the poem.
Now I lay me down to weep
A labyrinth, a maze without cheese
Words fail the bruised heart,
the mind made of chalk
Cry. Weep. Moan. Mourn. Keen. Wail.
These words pale. I am breaking down
into actual, definable pieces of self
Synapses unsnapping, flying free but
trapped within my brain
Kneeling facedown across the bed,
arms spread wide, inside outside
The religious lie prone, oblate before God
So I humble myself, keening aloud abstract pleas:
Why? Where are you?
How will I make it through?
What is happening to me and
what’s to come? When? How?
But these phrases do not come all apiece
They are fragmented by disturbing sounds
Eyes red tired sore, cried to dry and then,
having found the source, tears well up again
as my gut contracts (sounds like a business deal)
My face is chapped by The Waterworks
Forcing fluids to keep up with the gushers
A fracked earthquake of emotion, unnatural
Worrying meds, from table to bowl,
Weaning off shame to another Sheol
Chemical soup has ruled my life for years
Maybe The Dark One, sensing instability,
Delights in trumping God at my disability
There’s little more pitiful
than a 55-year-old woman crying clean through
her yoga routine
falling over and wiping her nose on
her sleeve between heaves
and retches between stretches
Now another bout is brewing
so I’ll put this aside
Take off my bifocals so the salt
won’t be dried on the lenses
Cling to the teddy bear
my daughter used to hold fast
Roll over in the dark to sip water
from a cobalt blue glass
It’s coming again… the creek, the river,
the waterfall, the tsunami, the flood
And FEMA cannot help this disaster
The global disconnect in my head
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
I have not been on the computer for days, let alone write. Mary Kling, your Imaginary Garden With Real Toads prompt for poems about “connections” led me to rework an old poem into a more coherent form, written as it was during a dark period. I am in an even darker place now, so please forgive my not responding to comments. But if you have even felt something this deep, please leave a comment and let me know, if only so I’ll have company. If you have never felt this way, I ask that you offer a prayer for all of us who live with depression. Don’t worry about me… I’ve dealt with clinical depression for years, and on my mom’s side, the condition drips down the family tree like bitter molasses. It’s been days since I have written anything at all, so I offer these words in the hope that someone else will recognize it, or perhaps understand more fully what their neighbor, their niece, their spouse may be going through. And please, don’t try to cheer us up with JOKES, cuz it makes us cry! (A little gallows humor for y’all.)
Also for ABC Wednesday, where the letter is T… for Time, Turbulence, Trying, Teddy bear, and Trust. And it’s on the rolling scroll to the right on Poets United, my safe haven in times of turbulence. Peace to all, and love, Amy
THE TRAIN CONDUCTOR
“End of the line,” called out the conductor, roaming car to car
Rail-thin and rangy, dignified in the spotless black uniform,
his timepiece gleamed at the end of a long gold chain.
Will was a good conductor, one of the best on the line.
He knew precisely the timeline, all destinations
His resonant voice calmed riders during bumps, holdups
and especially during inclement weather
He had a way with children; could recognize kids on their first ride,
fear and fascination dancing in their eyes
Will treated all workers with the same respect.
Never saw the color of their skin, only the quality of their service.
The last of a dying breed in the 1950s, both Will and the Rock Island Line,
as autos took to the highways and trains fell by the wayside,
rusting gravestones, remnants of the past.
He kept to himself, rarely shared stories about family.
Seemed troubled, standing off in a corner by himself on breaks.
But when tapped on the shoulder, came down to earth, immediately engaged.
The porters worried about Will, and the maids
saw his uneasiness; they prayed for him in church.
No one was surprised when, one foggy night
the man who knew the clockwork of each train, the routes of every line
was felled on the tracks and died.
“Accident,” read the report, thus ensuring widow’s benefits
for the wife he never talked about.
But she knew in her heart that for Will,
it was simply the end of the long, sad, lonely line.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Magpie Tales asked for poems about our ancestors. My great-great grandfather was a train conductor, amateur astronomer, introverted, extremely depressed man who help out my mother’s family during the Midwest Depression of the 1930s. I figured out the puzzle of his death, which the rest of the family never discussed.