Feathers

I was at an open mic a few days ago, and I encountered three people sitting behind me having a conversation that drew me like a magnet. Because the conversation made me smile, I decided to get up,say hello and give them hugs. I told them that, as silly and simple as it seemed, I was drawn to their conversation about feathers. The older woman, a mid-aged lady that I’ll call Lisa, for the sake of protecting her identity, finds feathers everywhere she goes. She doesn’t know why she keeps finding them, but she said that she’d heard that they come from a loved one who passed on, to show that they’re with you. Personally, I think it’s just Papa God sayin’, “(I love you, Lisa!” Anyway, I had this really fun conversation with Lisa, Michelle, and Caleb, which meandered all over the place. They even inspired me to take part of my set at the open mic and just sing something totally spontaneous, which I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts. The word “Feathers!” became a code word between the four of us, meaning anything from “Cheers!”, to “Go, girl!” When my ride came, Michelle walked me out, and as we were standing outside, she said to me, “You don’t know how much you just blessed my mom.” Until then, I had no clue that Lisa was her mom. Michelle said that Lisa had been discouraged of late, and that somehow I’d encouraged her. I still don’t know how that happened, but little moments like that, as simple as they are, make me smile and remind me why I’m here. So, here! Have a poem, sent with truckasloads of love. Feathers!

Feathers

I find them everywhere I go,
be it metropolis or wilderness path.
They come in every shape and size,
in every hue from white to black.
I’ve collected them like memorials,
each one with their own story,
each one reminding me of you.

My life is a book, each day a page,
blank and plain and white.
Each day you gently brush with new patterns,
your love brings color, light and life.
With every breath, with every move,
you make every page unique,
till not one is the same as the other,
like my collection of feathers.

My heart could be sunken to the floor,
like a ship with far too heavy a load,
weighed down with more weight than man is meant to carry.
Yet in an instant, just like winter snow,
the whole world melts and disappears.
With one glimpse of your smile and your reassuring eyes,
I’m suddenly featherlight.

You hold me close to your heart and study me,
like I do each feather.
In the warmth of your arms, beneath your loving gaze,
I know that I am treasured.
Your strong hands will never let me go.
Such security, yet such freedom
As, like a feather, I fly,
blown by your wind.

I listen to the songbirds
as they sing their melody.
It’s knowing and being loved by you
that brings song to them and me.
Oh, love, if I’m your resting place,
if I’m the pillow for your head,
then you are the feathers.

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Fruitful Memories

I thought, as I sank my teeth
deep into its flesh,
that if I could, I’d
hold it in my mouth a
little
longer
and chew
slowly,
savoring it,
as if it were
filet
mignon.
I resisted the urge and ate hurriedly,
as my face was being painted
red by its juices,
and so were my hands,
and my shirt,
and my memory.
Nowadays, I wonder if I had only
dreamed such succulent pleasures,
because no matter where I go,
I’ve never found any fruit
as fresh or as juicy,
as sweet or as bright,
as big or as shapely
as the strawberries we picked on the farm
when I was only old enough to climb a tree.

A Spot of Light-hearted Sarcasm For Ya

So, my brother-in-law’s GF bought a Christmas gift for all of the family: a nice, spendy week’s vacation at the beach. I always said that I wanted to see the Atlantic Coast before I ever leave this area. Well, I get my chance. This poem is my attempt to tell a big whopper of a lie, and hopefully make you laugh in the process.

Please, Mr. Custer

Please, Mr. Custer,
I don’t wanna go
A greeting from sun, sand, and sea
is not a fond hello.
I never liked the feeling
of sand between my toes,
or the fragrance of the ocean.
It’s painful to my nose.
I’d rather have chihuahuas
treat my ankles as roast beef
than to stand there as the ocean waves
kiss my legs and feet.
And how I hate the sound of those waves,
like unruly children screaming.
I’d rather stay at the beach house,
all tucked in bed and dreaming.
No, I don’t want a suntan.
I like my shade of pale.
No, I don’t wanna walk in the sunshine,
seeking pretty rocks and shells.
I don’t want to romance you
or hold your hand all day.
And I certainly don’t wanna just sit
and hear the children play.
I’ll have nothing to do with those little shops
that sell taffy and fudge.
Don’t dare try to feed me seafood.
My mouth will not budge.
No, a greeting of sand, sun and sea
is not a fond hello.
O, please, Mr. Custer,
I don’t wanna go.
And, if you believe me, the beach house
is mine to sell to you,
along with the whole town of Kill Devil Hills
and a free BMW.

Dancing Back From the Silence

Hi, stranger! How are ya? It’s been too long since I’ve popped my little head out to see you. I decided, after having been going through a lot of changing, learning, soul-serching, getting to know myself in some ways, feeling like I know myself less in other ways, that it was time for me to start writing again. I’ve decided to once again, attempt to break this pattern of writing, stopping, writing, stopping, etc. For starters, a piece about a very recent change in my life, one that I pray will continue as I get older. As I send this, I pray for you, that you will be completely free to dance, uninhibited by what it’s supposed to look like or by your own opinions of who you are. Love you. Don’t forget to love you, too.

One Memorable Dance

“Come dance with me!”
Her little mouth can’t say it,
but her actions say it all.
How could I resist her heart-melting “Hi!”,
or say no to her innocence?
Slowly, I’m starting to become like her:
too young to know or care about what she looks like,
Just dancing, because
it’s what her heart draws her to do.
She wouldn’t even notice the judging eyes of a stranger
or the well-meaning words of a loved one
telling her she can’t really dance well.

I once heard those words,
and I thoroughly believed them,
but now, I dance
with all of my body,
because I’ve decided that it’s time for me
to grow up
and become like a child.
And now, I dance,
surrendered to the rhythm of the music,
but surrendered even more
to the rhythm of the heart that beats in my chest.

A little boy,
barely two years her senior,
joins me,
making me the tunnel through which he plays,
dancing on all fours in between my feet,
first one way,
then the other,
then back again minutes later.
And now, I dance,
laughter welling up through my chest,
adding an extra dose of release
to the river of freedom that has begun to build up inside me.

This newfound freedom
is why I’ll never stop dancing again.

“Come dance with me!”,
He whispers,
pulling me up into His big, strong arms,
pulling me close,
so close
that I feel myself being pulled INTO His very frame.
Suddenly, I can no longer stand
beneath the flood that was rushing quickly at me.
I surrender to these rushing waters calling me to rest.
And, yet, I dance,
this time from the inside,
as I feel myself dancing inside of Him,
and Him dancing in me.

This never-ending dance of intimacy
is why I’ll never stop dancing again.

Play Ball

Tonight, I go to Newbridge Bank Park to sing the National Anthem for our local minor league baseball team, as I did last year. (Check out ) I’ve always had a love for baseball since the days I used to go with Mom and Dad to watch my brother and stepbrother play in the Little League. Being born blind, I didn’t ever actually SEE a game, but I didn’t miss as much as one would think. Many nights were spent in the backseat, with the windows down, eating a Charleston chew, listening to the radio, which broadcasted the games without fail. Between the radio and the sounds that came from the ballpark, I had a pretty good idea what was going on. Even now, on those rare occasions when I get to attend a ballgame, I take a radio and listen with one ear covered by the headphones, and one ear out, so I can hear my surroundings. During the summer, I will often have a game on in the house. Sometimes I’m interested in the game, and sometimes, it’s just background noise, but baseball is a sport full of legendary broadcasters whose voices, stories, humor, and overall style add loads of color to every game. Baseball is one of those sounds that makes spring and summer my favorite time of year. So, below, I will attempt to make my words my camera, to take a picture of what I hear.

Before I do, I have a challenge for all of you. I have a friend who has always given me titles to write on whenever we talked. Sometimes I’d come up with something good, and sometimes I wouldn’t, but I came to enjoy taking on the challenge. So, as I thought about things, I said to myself, “Self, why leave the challenge to Hilary alone?” With that in mind, I pass the challenge to all of you. I can’t wait to hear what fun, crazy, thought-provoking, creative titles will come out of all of you. and now, let’s “Play Ball!”

“Play ball!
“hey, batta, batta… Hey, batta, batta, batta… Swing!”
“Aaaawk!”
Oh, the funny noises some of these umpires make.
Clink! “Yaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!”
“Nice, solid hit!”
That “clink” becomes more of a solid thud in the Majors.
“Keep your eye on the ball son.”
“Nice curveball!”
“Mommy, I want some ice cweam!”
“Hurry and eat that ice cream, son, before it melts. It’s hot out here.” Crunch, as the bat is broken.
“Beer here!”
“popcorn, popcoooooooorn, Come get some!”
Oh, the crazy things people do to sell their wears.
Clink as the ball hits the fence.
“go go go go go!!!”
“take me out to the ballgame…”
Ring, ring…
“We never heard that when I was in the Little Leagues.”
Thud! as the ball lands in the catcher’s mitt.
Bababoom! Boom! Boom! Fireworks…
“Mommy, I gotta go to the bathwoom!”
“Hurry! Get the ball, Chris! Hurry!”
“Omigod! I got it!”
Bababoom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Final fireworks…
“We’re number one! We’re number One!”
“You did good!”
“I’m so proud of you.”
“It’s okay, son. You still played a good game.”

I miss…

the way you would stand on your hind legs
and reach as far as you could with your front paws,
to pull me down to your level,
like a small child trying to grab something just out of reach.

the way you would perch on the boxes of CD’s in the hallway
and call me to come see you
when I’d come home from my daily doings,
and how you would give me tiny kisses
and smell me, as if trying to see where my day had taken me.

the way you would call to me if ever I was running water in the kitchen sink, like, “Mewwwwwwwwwwwwmmy, is that for me?”,
and the way you would just about trip me walking in front of me, because you were so anxious to drink a fresh flow of water.

The way you acted when I wore a dress.
I rarely wore them, so apparently,
you thought I was wearing some toy built especially for you, so you would try to catch it as I would walk about the house.

your playful personality:
When you were mellow, you were really mellow,
but when you wanted to play, you were as spastic
as a kid on a major sugar high.
When you ran, you looked like you could have had wings,
although wings would have looked so funny on you.
And when you knew you were in trouble,
you really gave yourself away.
Yes, baby girl, you always knew how to make me laugh.
That’s why I miss that ball of silk with a tiny face and wet nose, and that cute meow that’ll sound like a kitten when you’re an old cat.
You have headbutted a little groove in my heart that will never be filled in by another.

[tags poetry, NaPoWriMo, cats, pets, memories

Reason 508 Why I Love That Man

I missed the last three days, which is a habit I don’t want to get into. This weekend had its memorable moments. Got to see some legendary jazz and blues singers on Saturday, got to know good-quality new friends on both days. Again, I have taken this week and dedicated it to little changes I want to make, like drinking more water. And now, I continue to keep my little writing goal afloat with a simple poem about my husband of ten years.

Reason 508 why I love that man:
Much like me, he
Laughs at the simplest things,
like when Ellen Degeneres almost slipped and called the famous actress “Diane Kitten,”
instead of Diane Keaton.
Or like the way I say the word,
“coolade.”

Dark — Lovely

I wrote this for someone in particular, who will remain unnamed, yet I also write this knowing that she is one of many just like this. Know that you are sooooooo loved. You were meant to live unguarded.

How many walls have you built around you,
to protect your broken heart?
How many barbed wire fences have you built,
that love can only come so far?
Your anger runs wild and free like rivers,
and you think it’s justified.
Still you fight so hard and you wrestle so long,
and it only leaves you dry.
Your so-called self-esteem is a veil
that covers all the fear
that has grown unattended like wild shrubbery
for years and years and years.
Still, all that anger and all that fear,
that prickly shell, so ugly,
that jaded tongue and attitude
screams, “Love me! Love me! Love me!”

Did noone ever tell you
that you are royalty?
that you are not rejected?
that you were meant to be?
Did noone ever tell you
that you were beautiful,
without a single mask or veil,
no flaw in you at all?
There’s a light in you like a robin chick,
pecking relentlessly,
aching, yearning, anxious, yet patient,
attempting to break free.
Let that light crush the darkness in you;
let love diffuse your fears.
Let anger be squelched by His blanket of peace,
And Heaven’s lips kiss away your tears.
Let Love and Light reveal to you
what He made you to be.
Oh, rest like a babe in Daddy’s arms.
For once, just breathe and be,
as Love speaks truth to every lie
you were once so quick to believe:
no longer forsaken, outcast, or unclean.
A new name you’ve received.
Oh, did nobody tell you
that you’re a diamond of great price,
that a dowry has been paid for you?
You were meant to be a wife.
Forget the names you had before.
They don’t represent you rightly.
Your innocence has been restored,
and your new name is Lovely.

Town of my Youth

I was beginning to wonder if this day would close before an inspiration jumped out and said hello. I was listening to American Idol, however, and a song came up that always evokes memories for me. I was raised in a town much like the one Jason Aldean sang about when he sang “Tattoos On This Town.” The closest larger town to it on either side was about an hour and a half/two hours away. The population has fluctuated from between 2500 and 2800 for years. I can’t see the many marks we left on that town, but I know there were many to speak of, marks that enhance the marks this town has left on our minds. Here, a few of my own memories of the town in which I grew up.

It’s the kind of town countless country singers have sung about: A town where strangers are rare
where everyone knows everyone, and everyone’s got a story to tell about everyone, and each story is made of a different concoction of truth and fiction. I couldn’t wait to get out of that town.
I never want to live there again.
Still, I wouldn’t trade the memories of my childhood
for the keys to the cities I’ve loved most.

No, I wouldn’t trade those memories,
like riding horseback with family on Grandma and Grandpa’s ranch, going fishing,
falling in the Chewaucan river and
feeling the fish beside me
years before one ever bit my fishing line,
Standing with my brother in the alfalfa fields, waiting for the irrigation pivot to sprinkle our way, then running through it, riding on the three-wheeler through those same fields,
Dad attempting to teach me to drive said 3-wheeler, and both of us going airborne,
countless summer afternoons walking from Mom and Dad’s deli to the swimming pool, then splashing the afternoon away,
countless winter days playing in the snow, sledding, intertubing, rolling down the snow hills, hiking with friends up Black Cap hill,
standing underneath the L and watching as everyone else views the whole town from the hill top, Hunter’s Hot Springs Resort, with its ever-changing restaurant,
the pond we latchkey kids used to go to, the one that was full of algae, which grossed me out, going out to the desert to hunt for arrowheads,
muzzleloader shoots,
hanging in the library with Helen,
the gym shared by both the junior and senior high school, which housed every sport, every assembly, plus band and choir concerts, Friday night dances in the basement of the Presbyterian church, the block I walked around countless times a day, six days a week, the county courthouse where I had my first job,
playing and singing outside Mom and Dad’s deli during some of their merchants’ events,
the annual county roundup, which was even more about rounding up people than it was about rounding up livestock,
the road I walked on once, which led me from our home ten miles out clear into town, the panick I unintentionally caused my mom and dad when they finally found me, the shock I felt when they told me how far I’d gone,
the daily noon whistle,
the whistles coming from the sawmills, calling workers to work and back home,
the radio station that went from playing just about everything, to solely country music, eating ice cream at the Polar Bear,
the bittersweet feeling of knowing that soon you’d be, for the first time, no longer going to school with the same people you started school with.

It’s the kind of town countless country singers have sung about: A town where strangers are rare
where everyone knows everyone, and everyone’s got a story to tell about everyone, and each story is made of a different concoction of truth and fiction. I couldn’t wait to get out of that town.
I never want to live there again.
Still, I wouldn’t trade the memories of my childhood
for the keys to the cities I’ve loved most.