When You Can’t Write; Sing. Cover of Ani DiFranco “Both Hands”

When you can’t write; sing… or at least try.

 

-cdk

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What Are You Thankful For?

Last year, I spent around 1/3 – 1/2 of the year in the hospital. I missed a lot of holidays.. Thanksgiving included. While I don’t like the history of Thanksgiving, I really like the idea of gratitude and thankfulness. I want to make a list of things for which I am grateful, 22 things, one for each Thanksgiving I have had. Here goes:

  1. Family (special s/o to my Gram)
  2. Friends (and friends that are family)
  3. My support team (therapists n stuff)
  4. The ability to earn an education
  5. Technology (phones and cameras and things)
  6. music
  7. Jello Cake (a family recipe)
  8. Pierogies (the best food in the land)
  9. Kraft Mac n Cheese (the other best food in the land)
  10. Books
  11. House plants
  12. warm, cozy blankets
  13. Gilmore Girls
  14. Kate McKinnon <333333
  15. Eucalyptus Mint things
  16. candles
  17. The ability to work
  18. voices (the good and the ‘bad’)
  19. Puppies and kitties
  20. Nice weather
  21. Bodies of water
  22. YOU.

 

What are you thankful for?

Hand on the Horn

My dad always drove
With his hand on the horn
Of the steering wheel
Prepared and on edge.

And so when I started to drive,
I did the same.
Anxious of other drivers
I sat on the horn

And he questioned me,
Why do you do that?
So, I guess he never realized
That I learned from him.

To be guarded
And scared
And always prepare
For the worst.

To never trust
In myself
And to never trust
In others.

I have lived my life
With my hand hovering
Over the horn
Fearful.

I neglect to listen
To people
Who scare me
Even if they may help me

I shy away from events
Because
It’s more dangerous
To risk getting hurt.

But if I drive
With both hands on the wheel,
And relax into my chair,
I can trust.

And with that,
I can take in the cars around me
And the breeze blowing
Through the cracked windows.

I don’t have to hover
Over the horn
And lean into the wheel
Preparing for something
That might not happen.

Instead I can drive.
And enjoy the ride.
And not fear what may happen
Rather enable the best to occur.

-cdk

But Here I’m Alive: My Imaginary Place

I’m sitting on my bed
Writing thank you letters to clients
And holiday cards too.
All the while Ani sings in the background,
“The sky is grey,
The sand is grey,
And the ocean is grey.”
And I hear the chatter of people in my brain.
And I look at my technicolor
Tye dye backpack
The tye dye sheet on my door
And it all seems to dim
And Ani questions,
“What kind of paradise am I looking for?”

I need to find an imaginary escape,
I can go anywhere.
Anywhere but…
The moment right before death.
The place right after death.
It can be anywhere.
Anywhere.
Anywhere.
But there.

So I squint,
And the grey
It darkens,
So I open my eyes so wide
And color revives
And I am alive.
I am alive.
Alive
Alive.

I rock myself
The music has stopped
But I move to the beat of my heart
And I sway back and forth
To stories I hear
The memories that haunt me
That cause me such fear

Since when do I rhyme?
This poem is weird
I’m writing my thoughts
As they have appeared.
I’m fighting to stay
I won’t live this way.
I won’t
Live
This way.

I won’t die this way,
No matter how hard
Because I know people care –
In more ways than
Peace and a postcard.
They care with their words,
They fight here with me
They are on my side
They help me to see
The parts won’t defeat me,
They’ll help me to win
I just have to stop
And let them in.
I just have to stop
And let
Them in.

I have people on my side.
I am not alone.
Every week I see one,
Every week I am shone,
I am not alone
I am not alone
I am not alone.

And here in this month,
With the spirit of thanks
I am grateful for her
I am grateful for them
I am grateful for family
And friends and friends
I am grateful for music
I float to its sound
My safe imaginary space
I have now found

I float in the sky
With kaleidoscope eyes
My name is not Lucy
But here I’m alive.

-cdk

img_20161120_234345

 

Your Last Day

Apparently all I had to do to become inspired was to write a short poem about how uninspired I was… and be sad.

If today was your last day
What would you do?
Would you jump from a plane?
Or spend all of your money?

I guess I’m half way there.
Pennies and dimes
That’s what I got.
But it doesn’t matter on your last day.

If today was your last day,
Would you throw a fit at work?
Would you smoke an entire pack of cigarettes?
Or would you just end it before it ends you?

Would you ‘forget’ to pull your parachute,
And crash into trees full force?
Let the pine puncture you
As the wind is knocked out of you.
As the wind pushes you closer to the ground.

As it pushes you closer to Hell,
You crash through the ground,
Only to find heaven
Because you were living in hell.

If today was your last day,
Would you speed so fast,
Regardless of tickets?
Doesn’t matter once you hit that tree.

But you wouldn’t hit a tree,
Because no tree deserves that,
And you can’t drive into the sea
Because the deeper you go
The more life you see.

And you don’t want to see life
On your last day.
You just want to end it.
So that’s what you do.

-cdk

November

November used to be one of my favorite months. I suppose it still is, but when I think of it; many more memories resonate. As I reflect on these memories, and of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), I realize that November is my favorite holiday because it directly reminds me to appreciate what I have. It reminds me of the importance and strength of gratitude even in bad times.

 

November is a confusing time.
It is a time of beauty
And a time of defeat.
And a time of fight.
And a time of triumph.

Leaves fade to brown
They fall from trees.
Children delight,
As they stomp
And crunch.

My favorite sound
Has always been
The crisp crush of a leaf
Under my sneaker.

The leaves face their defeat
As the days become cooler
And winter creeps in.

And oddly enough
during this time too,
We celebrate
My favorite holiday:
Thanksgiving.

A time where the idea
Of gratefulness
Is encouraged.
Differences and anger
Are set aside.
Love is exuded.

Six years ago,
Around this time:
My brother experienced several seizures –
Leading to brain surgery –
And eventually a stroke.

He did not face defeat,
In spite of a deficit,
He worked and rose up.
Unlike the leaves,
he did not crunch under
the shoes of children.
And he regained what he had lost.

My brother is my November hero.
He is my always hero.

It was just November last year,
That I entered the hospital.
And for the first time,
I spent Thanksgiving without my family
Instead with other patients
In a place hours from where I lived.

We could not watch the parade,
The same parade I went to
With my father and brother just two years earlier.
We sat around the common room table
And we all tried to enjoy our hospital thanksgiving.

The weekend following I was discharged,
And I got to see my family –
But the usual gratefulness and love
Was replaced with hesitance and uncertainty.
I did not heal in the same way my brother had.

I look back on over 20 Novembers
I have experienced.
And I see that I am lucky,
Because in all of my years –
I have only had two sad Novembers
And many more happy, loving ones.

And even the sad Novembers,
Are not that sad –
Because they have led to happy progress.
For my brother’s strength,
For my strength
And for the strength of my family.

As I plan for this coming Thanksgiving,
And I talk with my family about the potluck
We have planned.
I know that even if I did not have immediate triumph
Last November.
I eventually found my way.

And this November,
I can reflect on the seven months
That I have spent out of the hospital
Since my last stay.
I can reflect upon the two and a half months
Of outpatient therapy since my last IOP session
And I can be grateful.

And while my stomach churns,
For fear of hospitals,
For fear of relapse,
For the confusion with which November brings.

I can carry the spirit of Thanksgiving
To appreciate and express gratitude
For the beauty.
And even for the defeat, because
It never truly was defeat.
It was fight
And it is triumph.

-cdk

Water Bottle

I woke up late,
Got dressed in a hurry
And ran out the door.

When I got to my car,
I put my waterbottle on the roof.
And threw away the garbage in the front seat.

I febreezed the inside of my car,
To mask the smell of cigarettes,
And sat down.

I switched the heat,
Creed automatically switched on.
I closed my eyes
And took a breath.

With my foot on the brake,
I put the car in reverse,
Slowly making my way out of the lot.

I heard a bang,
Confused –
I looked around.
I saw nothing.

I reached for my bottle,
In the cup holder
And then realized what I heard.

I looked at the clock,
And in a rush,
I turned around.

To find my bottle
Spilled out on the concrete
The cap shattered.
The body intact mostly..

And I thought,
That’s me..
I have fallen.
I am broken.
My brain is shattered
And my body is somehow still surviving..
But everything inside is spilling out.

And just like that water bottle
I’m useless.
I can’t function anymore.
Not even as a cup.
So I’ll recycle my bottle.
And I’ll find a way to recycle myself.

-cdk

A Mother’s First Thoughts After Giving Birth

I pushed and I pushed
And I cried
She’s hurting me
She’s been hurting me
Since the moment the stick said she was there.

But I wanted to remember this moment
So I put it on camera
And cried in anguish
And a little in joy.

I brought this life to the world.
No return, no refund.
I didn’t sign up for this.
She didn’t sign up for this.
It’s her fault,
She shouldn’t have come.

I don’t want another burden –
I can’t take care of another life.
But I’m holding her now,
And I see her blue eyes
And she coos,
And part of me falls in love
Most of me falls in hate.

I can’t raise another
I’m tired.
She’s hurting me,
Why couldn’t the cord stay wrapped
Around her neck?
She came into the world with cord around her neck
She’ll leave the same way.

I can’t protect her.
It was bad from the beginning.
It will be bad her entire life
Because I can’t protect her,
Nor do I want to.
And it will be bad her entire life.
Until the end.

-cdk

The First Time I Rode in a Real Cop Car

The first time I rode in a real cop car
The officer took my backpack
Held my head to the car
My arms behind my back
And shoved me into the backseat.

Having never done it before
I unexpectedly fell
On the harshly cold
Uncushioned
Backseat.

I shivered in the winter’s cold
I shivered because I was afraid.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I was sick.
I was sick.
I was sick.

The first time I rode in a real cop car
The PO driving turned around
He glanced at me and smiled
He chuckled
And he asked,
“So what’s wrong with you?”

“I have Bipolar Disorder,” I said
And he turned back to the wheel..
“Guess those meds aren’t workin’ for you, huh?”
And I thought,
Why the fuck is he talking to me.
He has no fucking etiquette.

I felt shame and anger
And fear.
Because these were not kind,
Caring cops.
I swear they exist,
But these were not them.

So we rode silently to the hospital,
Where, again, he held me to the car
And this time uncuffed me.
We walked into the ER
And he left me there standing
Alone and scared.

-cdk