Thursday, October 21, 2010

KISS

Time slows
Rodin's "The Kiss"
Your essence engulfs
My knees buckle

Moth to your flame
I cannot escape

Your embrace shelters
I am home

I inhale your fragrance
It gives me life

Digits dance over
Glistening skin
Trailing light

Our lips meet
We are electrified

Your breath is my breath
Synchronized pulses
Play a beautiful symphony

We are one

Monday, May 17, 2010

FAMILY REUNION

I love a happy ending. Being a child of divorce, and a romantic at heart, draws me to others reuniting with long lost relatives. For me there is nothing like children of adoption finding their birth parents or estranged friends and relatives finding their way back to each other. Que the water works because I am going to let the tears flow.

It was only as an adult, with children of my own, did I begin to realize that some of these people were saved from detrimental situations. Realistically it is highly unlikely that two stable and financially secure people (read I am a secret princess) would place their children for adoption. The idea of “I am from greatness” is part of the many fantasies and fairytales that fuel the imaginations of our society, a kind of "Snow White Syndrome."

It was eye opening to discover, on subsequent follow up shows, that the endings weren’t always happily ever after. These shows struck a chord within me as a younger person. I also dreamed that one day I would be restored to my previous status as “daddy’s girl.” One day I would receive the acceptance and love that all children need and many crave. There would be the symbolic open arm embrace, an apology for the sporadic relationship, and an ocean of cleansing tears. One day there would be healing and my father would step into the place he belonged, if not deserved.

One year I had my very own “follow up show” revelation. I was newly married, with a new baby, and my father resurfaced after a three year absence. Armed with some college and an understanding, or so I thought, of dysfunction. I vowed I would be accepting and forgiving. I still had questions. Especially watching my husband parent our little baby and feeling an overwhelming love for them both. I really didn’t understand how anyone could walk away from their own flesh and blood.

During that year rather than growing closer I realized that I would NEVER have a functioning healthy relationship with my father. And that was OK. For years I resented the fact that my father’s actions caused me to become a stereotype, little Black girl from a broken home. I let it go. I decided I would be content with the blessing of the funny imperfect intact family I had been a part of for 19 years, my strong mother, my step-father (best grandpa ever), and my sisters. They loved me, my child, and my husband. That was enough and the true happy ending.
Searching For on OWN

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Age Outing!

When I returned to college full-time 3 years ago to complete the degree I’d started 20 years before, it didn’t occur to me to mask my age.
I spoke freely about my children, husband, and my experiences. In context not obnoxiously so. Young adults do not appreciate hearing “in my day stories.” Or to be given uninvited advice. Who does?
I opted for a small college and there weren’t many older students in the day program. I soon realized that my age was a distraction. So I didn’t speak as freely. Not because my age bothered me. But my decision to go into the traditional program made me equal, in the learning process, with people who were only a few years older than my oldest child. I wanted to get the most of my new college experience without leveraging my life experience and overshadowing my peers. Nor did I want to become the obnoxious know-it-all old lady.
This strategy was effective. Nobody thought I was a young college student. However, the ambiguity was enough for most people to relax around me and be themselves. This also allowed group projects to work well. I was not the default leader. I was only referred to as a mother figure a handful of times.
Completing an internship was a requirement for graduating in my major. When I arrived for the interview I noticed that everyone was in their early 20’s. I was very aware of being overdressed in the super laid back environment. I really didn’t think I would get the internship as the interviewer was also college age. I didn’t think I would be a good fit. Much to my surprise I did get the internship. Other than the owner, who was still a decade younger than I, I was the oldest person there.
And my age became a closely guarded secret.
This atmosphere, established by the owner, was far more casual and raw. The F-bomb was dropped enthusiastically and often. No topic or joke was really of limits. Unlike the bubble of respectability at the small Christian college I’d just left.
One of the interns who felt as if she was an elder intern befriended me. Deciding we were in the same age group she confided that she had graduated college in 2004 and would be turning 28. That was such a sweet compliment.
I was often asked leading questions in the epic quest to find out my exact age. Like, “How old were you when you got married and what year was it?” It was pretty amusing. My spirited rejoinder was usually along the lines of “Do you think I am stupid?”
Two other members of the group and I made it to senior staff after the internship was over. Sometimes the age thing came up, and I wouldn’t cooperate. They were baffled by the fact that I wouldn’t fess up. Out of the 6 of us 4 were 23, 1 was 31, and then there was me. It wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have, not without back-up.
So with no preamble one cold gray Chicago winter day one of my co-workers “outed” me (thanks Bethany). She gave my full birth year during one of our frequent staff lunches. I, who am usually never at a loss, was stunned to silence. She denied it had anything to do with the W-2 form I recently turned in. And swore I volunteered the information. I did NOT.
Truthfully, I never thought I would be one of those women who would care about their age. After all I am a proud child of the 70’s and 80’s. I am proud of the fact that my mother took me with her to hear Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967, when he came to Cleveland. Sure I was only a few months old and can’t remember, but heard his mellifluous voice. I was a fan of Michael Jackson when he hit the scene with his brothers, the Jackson 5, at age 11. Not one of those mid career fans.
I was in elementary school when the world mourned the death of Elvis and was just as sad for his daughter Lisa Marie who is a year younger than me. I was there when the pre-teen disco debuted “Rappers Delight.” It was the revolutionary song that heralded the dawn of hip-hop, a genre that was predicted to be a fad.
Madonna crashed onto the scene making slutty and trashy cool. As cool as she was we were pretty sure her weak vocals wouldn’t sustain a career longer than a few catchy songs. "Aging shock addict" she was once called.
Fluff chicks ruled. They were girls who wore big hair high and their bangs higher. Frozen in place thanks to cans of hairspray, generously applied and reapplied. I am sure the ozone layer thanks them. Mullets were called shags or just layered hairstyles. Decades before Paris Hilton flashed her goodies. Prince, through Vanity 6, and Madonna had our generation convinced that it was ok to wear underwear as clothing. It was so disappointing that our school dress codes did not agree.
I am not ashamed of my generation or what we experienced together. I just don’t have the desire to explain it to people who don’t understand.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

UNDONE

Infrequently
Your eyes soften
Into shimmering liquid
When our gaze meets
Briefly your impassive
Countenance slips

I am flower
To your sun
Seeking the warmth
That allows my photosynthesis
My body buzzes like a hive
Tending its queen

There you are
There I am

I contemplate being lost in
The sensual plumpness
of your lips

My thoughts wander to
Painfully pleasurable delights
That would make Dante blush

I
am
tripp
ing

I gather my thoughts
Vowing to ponder no more
Then there is
That infrequent look
And I become undone…

Saturday, January 9, 2010

HOLE

Darkness surrounds
Eyes lifted heavenward
Reveal no light
They remain downcast

Relief is elusive
Multiple platitudinous clich├ęs
Swirl about
Irritating buzz
Lacking magical egress

Seeking womb like comfort
Body fetally
Absorbing expected blows
Though only mental

Sharp critical voice
Of self
Recites a litany
Of magnified missteps
Measuring against
Impossible perfection

Reality exists beyond
the shadowy edge
In the eggshell walk
Of the others

Who extend but
Cannot reach
And must be content
To wait