You Don’t Need to Apologize

“I knew I would hate my best memory because it would prove that people could fake love or that love could end or worst of all, love was not powerful enough to change a life.” — Mona Simpson

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately. And usually I can’t remember the dreams, not like I once used to. Now, I just wake with this feeling of loss, loss of the dreams, loss of someone important in the dreams, and I don’t know what else, just loss.

They are just dreams, though. In my waking hours, I hardly give them much thought. And, though they seem to weigh so heavily upon me when I wake up, when I grab hold to the pieces of remembered scenes or images from the night before, they all seem so silly. Like the dream I had of Cameron, my six-year-old, walking around asking about paper clips. When none of us would tell him where the paper clips were, he walked Downtown looking for some. I couldn’t find him. And, I don’t know if he ever found the paper clips. Then last night I was trying to buy something in a store in another city. I was on vacation with this man I’ve never seen before. He was standing outside the store. He was hungry. That’s all I remember. Silly, right? Yeah, I think so too.

So, I don’t know if it’s my dreams ( I have been having a lot lately, and remembering none of them) or if my muse just wanted to communicate with me, but the following poem came to me today as I was driving. I got down as much as I could remember, though I still feel like I missed something. Kinda like those dreams I’ve been having lately. It’s there, but out of my grasp. So, I just have to let it go until it comes back.

An ex-lover brushed
past me today, our eyes
locked and she touched
my arm, held me close once
more with her words. She
told me she was sorry. And I
shook her free once more. Her words
haunted me though, for I
wondered why she apologized.
Was it for the many nights we
sat up talking till we could see the sun
rise? Or the coming nights that we
wouldn’t spend together anymore?
Or
did she apologize for the many promises
she’d made to love me forever or
for that one time she told me she loved me
no more? I
should have told her she didn’t need
to feel bad and there was no need to
apologize cause I learned that love is
a flimsy apparition hiding under children’s
beds, a monster to be ignored…when long ago
my daddy shook the mud off his boots and
used those muddy-less boots to walk away from
me. Whenever I’d see him out somewhere, he
never did apologize to me or never said he was
sorry. In fact, he never said a thing. So, she
didn’t have to say it either. The evaporation of
love has never surprised me. Sometimes you
look under the bed and it’s just not there.
And you just have to go on, knowing one day
it might return. So, no disappearing love
doesn’t surprise me anymore. Now, if she’d
stayed here beside me that would have
surprised me. And maybe then I’d be the one
saying, “Sorry.”

Happy writing, reading, and creating.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

 

Snoopy 9

 

 

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A Room of My Own

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”   —-C. Joy Bell

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” –Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code 

When I was pregnant with my oldest son James, I’d read a number of articles that warned expectant mothers that cesarean section surgeries were being used by doctors at an alarming rate. And, most times, the writers of these articles pointed out, the operations proved to be entirely unnecessary.

On the day that I went into labor with James all the warnings from those articles snowballed in my mind, becoming a full-fledged panic attack. As my then-husband wheeled me into the delivery room, I steadfastly declared that I no longer wanted to have a baby. “I changed my mind. Take me home,” I demanded. Fear had taken my heart in its grasp and left me suddenly trying to run away from the desire of my heart: to have my baby.

Of course he could not take me home. That decision had come exactly nine months too late. And I’m glad it did. For, had I made it earlier, fear would have kept me from becoming a mother to one of the most absolutely wonderful young men ever.

Years later, after enduring one abusive episode after another with my now-ex-husband, I knew that I had to end my marriage. There was no way I could go on living the way that I was. If not for myself, then for my children. I’d been raised in a home where children’s needs were not placed above adult desires and I would not do that to my children. The problem was, I’d never held a job for very long. You know how the mother on Everybody Hates Chris, always quits a job while declaring she didn’t need the job because her husband had two jobs? Well, yeah, that was me. Something or other would always come up to cause me to quit what I saw as dead-end jobs. I hated working those jobs. I’d had short stints at Captain D’s, MegaMarket, Piggly Wiggly, and a few other places.

I had three children though. How would I ever be able to provide for three children? Alone. And then there was the small little issue of me enjoying being part of what my skewed vision portrayed as a partnership. Translated: I liked being married. I liked the idea of having a partner, a friend on which I could always depend. I liked the idea that the person I’d married would always remain by my side. Forever.

Only I couldn’t always depend on him. And then there were those nights when I thought I’d never live to see morning. If he kills me, forever is nothing more than an impossible ideal, I’d find myself thinking. But, then, perhaps forever, for us, was an impossible ideal.

I stepped outside of my fear and made the move to divorce my husband. I had to. And today, my children and I are doing fine. Some would say better than fine. And there’s a sense of peace that was missing before.

Fast forward to this past weekend. These were among my thoughts as I drove for nearly five hours to get to A Garden of Dreams, a bed and breakfast located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Leading up to the day when I was supposed to go away, I’d had dreams that involved snakes falling from the rafters, being attacked by animals, and just a heart-numbing fear of being so far away from my home. Alone. What if something happened? I really wanted to go so that I could have some uninterrupted time to read, write, and relax. There’s some stories I wanted to work on. I also wanted to polish a couple of query letters and research a few markets for my work. More than anything I just wanted some peace.

But what if…And what if…A million what ifs tumbled through my mind. Bottom line I had a fear of leaving my children alone to fend for themselves. And I was afraid to go and be alone. I operate under the illusion that as long as I’m around nothing too terribly bad can go wrong. That illusion of control was shattered, though, as I crossed the stateline and realized the strings of motherhood are illusory. My children, and I, are always in the hands of a higher power. There’s lots that is out of our control. On the same token, there’s plenty that we do control. And conquering my fears, well, that is within my control.

When I arrived at the bed and breakfast, I was in awe. I was awe-struck, not by the quiet, but by the sense of peace. Of course, being in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, the surroundings were not completely quiet. But the chirping of the birds, the chatter of the insects, and the running water from the Serenity pond, all created a peaceful environment where I not only was able to read lots, write lots, and relax but I also got a chance to be more in-tune with and to listen to my thoughts. Virginia Woolf wrote about the importance of a woman having a space of her own in which to write and create. It is equally important to have a space where you are able to slow down and just listen to your own thoughts. I spend so much time trying to fill up my time with all the things that just must get done that I don’t really have much time to listen to my own thoughts.

I just got back home yesterday and I am happy to report that I got plenty of writing done. In fact, I plan to make this an annual event. I may not go back to Eureka Springs, but I will make sure to find a place of my own where I can slow down, listen to my thoughts, and just read and write.

I hope you have a room of your own where you can be alone with your thoughts and that those thoughts can have a positive impact on your creativity.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

 

 

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Lost in Myself

Today’s haiku was inspired by the elderly man I saw this afternoon. I was taking my son to the barbershop and it was raining out. I saw this elderly man wearing shorts, pushing a walker and crossing the street. He just seemed out of place. I knew that he shouldn’t be out there. I took my son on to the shop because we were so close and turned around and went back. When I got to the spot where I’d seen the elderly man, his family was there loading him into the back of their truck.

This haiku is for him. Because he’s been on my mind since I saw him:

They think I’m lost, but

I know where I am, trying

to find my past life.

 

Read lots and write lots this weekend. And trust your instincts because more than likely they know better than we do. My instincts knew that man did not belong out there in the rain and they were right.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Too High to Fly

Today’s Haiku: 

Burned flesh tickled her

nose. Tightened the noose on her

addiction to life. 

 

This is the fourth in a weeklong installment of haiku poems. It’s been a great exercise to step outside of what I’m used to doing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a style that is recognizable as my own, but I like to challenge myself as a writer to see how far I can stretch. As the saying goes, a sailor doesn’t become skilled by sailing on calm seas. It’s the challenges and obstacles he must overcome that makes him skilled. 

Peace & Love, 

Rosalind 

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Daddy

Today’s haiku: 

 

Daddy! Stop. Daddy. 

You said it wouldn’t hurt,

oh Daddy, it does. 

 

Peace & Love, 

Rosalind 

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My Angel

Today’s haiku is titled My Angel. Enjoy.

He placed her in my

arms. Took her away in one stroke.

From Heaven she watches.

 

 

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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A Haiku A Day

Today starts my weeklong dedication to the haiku. When I’m stumped or experiencing writer’s block, I try to write a haiku or two or three. It’s just one strategy I use for dealing with writer’s block. I’ll think of something, anything, like the moon, tears, ghosts, anything. And then I write about it. My haiku poems follow the general format: three lines, five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. Unlike traditional haiku poems that generally are about nature, my haiku poems can be about any topic I want to explore. 

I like the haiku because, with it being so compact, each word must carry so much weight. So few words to say so much. 

Poets already attempt to tell stories, to reveal profound truths through poems that generally range from one to four stanzas; the haiku is a more concentrated effort to say so much in so little space. 

I have several pages of haiku poems and think I will create many more over the next couple of days, so this week I will post a haiku a day. Feel free to comment with your own haiku poem or to comment on the ones I post. 

Today’s haiku is titled: Moon Dies From Broken Heart

Blood drips from the moon.

A stab wound thru the heart.

He loved too soon. 

 

Peace & Love, 

Rosalind 

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I wonder as I wander, but I’m not really wandering, just wondering

One of my most productive days is when I am sitting in a quiet classroom watching students take standardized tests. Something about that non-creative environment stokes the fires of my creativity. Like wild horses who have broken through an unstable wooden fence, my thoughts take off at some point during the testing period and I run chasing after them, just trying to get everything down on paper.

I didn’t know I’d be giving a test today. It’s summer school. Standardized testing in summer school? Yep.

So today, I was in a hot, stuffy gym watching a group of students sweating over comma splices, similes, metaphors, and point-of-view questions and…Nothing.

Nothing.

No thing.

No.

Nothing was coming to me. And I freaked out. Why wasn’t anything coming to me? My gaze continually traveled over the desks, the faces of the students, the walls, the windows, the graffiti, and…nothing.

Only God can judge me. My eyes read the tattoo on his arm over and over again. For some reason, there was a stack of copy paper on the table next to me. I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote those words down. Then I wrote down a few other lines to go with that line. And, suddenly, the gush of words flowed to me. Someone stepped off the water hose and the words broke free.

By the end, I had finished the short story that I’ve been working on. And I had a poem written. That poem was crap. But crap has the potential to be polished later on and sparkle on the page. Right? Right. So, I’ll add that to my creative writing journal, but I won’t be sharing that one.

After the students had finished testing, I continued to doodle and the doodles became words that became lines, that became stanzas and, voila, I had composed a poem:

If hope were dope, I’d
get high off you. I’d
smoke your dreams and
send them back to you
with wings and a small
flame to set those
dreams on fire.

 

If love were a flame, it
would burn my insides,
consume my inner being,
set me on fire, keep my
desires and your dreams
from going up in smoke.

 

If peace were clouds
in the sky, I’d seek them out
always. Want to rest in
the shade of the magical
days of us, days where I
can luxuriate in your
presence. Us 2 alone.

 

If smiles were the sun,
the warmth of your
smile would dry up my
tears, decrease the sum
of my fears. Basking in
the rays of the sun of
your smile, I won’t need
protection. SPF 2, will do
just fine. Just me and you.

I don’t have a title yet, but today was productive. And I just love productive days. One thing a day until my dreams have finally come true. Happy reading, writing, music making, poem writing, story writing, gourmet meal cooking…whatever you spend today doing!

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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My Son

It’s nearly one in the morning and I should be asleep. In fact, I was asleep about an hour ago. My son woke me up. Constantly. He kept asking questions about what he was seeing on television. Since he’s out of school for summer vacation, he sometimes stays up beyond his regular bed time. Tonight was one of those nights.

He ended up on a channel with bull riding and he kept waking me up to ask me a million questions. The last question he asked before he finally fell asleep was about the ditch we’re going to create tomorrow for his Thomas the Tank trains to ride into. We’re going to create one like he saw on YouTube so that when they reach the end of the track, they can fall in. I told him that if he didn’t go to sleep, he’d be too tired to make the ditch for the trains. Shortly after that, it got real silent.

But then, I couldn’t just go back to sleep. I lay there thinking about how different my youngest son is from my other children. He’s much more energetic (can race through the house playing an imaginary football game all day long and never get tired), has a phenomenal memory (he tells us about things that happened two years ago, things we’d all long ago forgotten), can re-enact full half hour television shows from memory, can have full conversations about anything that interests him with intelligence and insight, and he’s full of quirks that are quite peculiar. And, he’s the one who has a different daddy, that he’s never seen. None of that matters to me though; I love this little boy.

I have only one regret where my youngest son is concerned, that his father chose not to be a part of his life and that there’s nothing I can do about that. Thinking about that, I composed the following poem:

My son thinks
he has no Dad
because
he’s never seen
his. He announces
this fact – to him,
it is – as though
talking about the sun
that hangs in the sky,
a gaseous ball of heat
supported by nothing and
yet everything. At night, I
kiss my son,
send
a telepathic message
“I never knew,” but
even if I had…
my life would not be
complete without you.
Who else could I
race down the street,
share a midday sweet
treat with, answer
millions of questions
for, roll around cars
on the floor with, build
sheet forts with, who
else could be the love
of my life, but you
my son? So, yeah,
even if I’d known
he would not stick
around and love you like
I love you, I’d still
want you to be
my son.

*As always, this is the first draft and this could change later.

Have a happy Sunday peeps!

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Mixed Messages

There’s a cartoon going around the Web, that, at first glance, I almost agreed with. A black family is depicted, with a man walking toward the door. The comic is demonizing the woman for sending the message that she doesn’t need a man. It’s a comic, though, and I don’t care about most of the things that get passed around on the Web because it’s just someone’s opinion. And an opinion, like my mother used to tell me, is like a butt hole: everyone has one.

Then, yesterday, I overheard a black man talking to a teenage black girl who was saying that she didn’t need a man (boy) because she was only interested in “doing her.” In other words, she was her focus. This man told her that there was something wrong with her view. She would not be able to achieve the epitome of happiness, he told her, if she remained alone. Me, being me, I need to process information before I speak on it. So, today while I was cutting the grass (yes, I love cutting the grass), I started to wonder if he’d tell a young black male the same thing. Because if you’re not telling the males the same thing as the females, you’re sending mixed messages.
As I was doing yard work, I wondered what that meant for my single self? Am I not happy? I know I wasn’t happy in the last few relationships I was in, not even my marriage. Is there something wrong with me? Was I supposed to try and make these relationships work, with people I clearly didn’t need to be with, so that I can try to achieve this epitome of happiness? Do I have to stop smiling because I’m single? Am I supposed to be crying myself to sleep every night?

With 72 percent of black households being led by black women, it seems to me someone didn’t send the message to men. In that comic, that man is choosing to leave. And, quite possibly, it’s not because she said she didn’t need a man. More than likely, she decided she didn’t need a man after she got tired of dealing with men and their shit. I mean, how much time should a woman waste on men who don’t mean well, men who take her heart and play with it like it’s a yo-yo because she learned how to be strong in his absence? I will never say that a person should stay in a relationship when he or she realizes the relationship is clearly a bad one for him or her. I don’t think it’s the epitome of happiness to be with someone who abuses you, someone who uses you, someone who manipulates you, someone who only wants you for their needs and desires, etc. Hell, I don’t need a man. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t want a man. I do. But there is a hell of a big difference between wanting and needing.

I have been told numerous times that I am a strong black woman. Yet, when I love, I do so will my whole heart as well as my words and actions. I don’t’ go into relationships wanting anything but mutual love and respect and friendship and a chance to grow together. So, why is it wrong to say you don’t want or need a man? There’s so much more to life, so many things that can be done. So, don’t tell my daughters that they need a man to achieve the epitome of happiness. I tell my daughters, if you can find a good man, one who doesn’t play with your heart and life, then maybe you can be happy together. If you don’t, don’t let that stop you from being happy. Find ways to nurture and love yourself. Enjoy spending time with yourself.

Mixed Messages

“You’re the strongest woman I know.”
I guess ur right, I did come from
women who bore the lash, had their bodies
slashed open violently so master could plant
his seeds in her body. Slave women were viewed
with the same disgust as men cause of their strength.
Amazon blood runs through my body, courses
through me, makes me strong. Sister Sara stood
there, watched without a word as master tore flesh
on John’s back, then that night in the shack she
rubbed his back down and tried to make him forget,
at least temporarily, the lash. She opened her
body, received him in a way she would
never receive master. Love-making and rape
are not interchangeable. I thought you knew that.

Like master, you penalize me for my strength
walk out on me and my kids, and my strength
grows, so you tell me I’m not good enuff to be
a woman. Because the memory of lashes lives in
me, you treat me like a mule. How many times
we got to tell you, “I’m a woman too.” Give me
equality but give me sensitivity too. For centuries,
we’ve been rubbing ur back and having ur
back. So stop penalizing us for that. I’m tired of
telling you that a strng blk woman isn’t a man.

I can lean on you and let u coax out need, bt
will you b there when I really need you? Or
will you keep choosing to walk away? And, if
you walk away, am I supposed to stay down
looking around for someone to take ur place or
can I use my strng woman genes to move on up
without you? If u decide 2 come bk I’ll be
waiting. If nt, I’ll keep being a strng blk woman.

I will not apologize 4 learning 2 live w/out u
n my corner & I also will nt stop wanting u.

So, no, I don’t need a man to take advantage of me. I don’t need a man who doesn’t really want to be with me. I don’t need my heart broken again. I want a man who loves me and who I love. That’s it. So, there. Happy Independence Day for me!!!! Now, I’m off to go ride bikes with my kids. And I will be smiling. Thank you very much!

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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