Monsters on your side

A giant monster came into my room
She had big fangs for teeth
And shaggy hair on her face and arms
Huge claws in her front paws and feet

I was scared of her, I’ll admit it now
Especially when she roared
Her mouth got so big it split her face
And drool from her teeth, it poured

I thought she was going to eat me
Or at least bite off my arm
But it turned out she would do neither
She’d come to protect me from harm

The monster and I are now best friends
We love to walk down the street
Holding each other, hand-in-paw,
And scaring the people we meet

For it’s not every day you meet a monster
And not every day she deflects
All of your ideas about monsters
By showing up to protect

All I can say is with fangs like those
And claws of such giant size
To meet a monster like the one she is
I’m just glad she’s on my side

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Love, Rainbow Heart, Eyes

I never thought I could look so long
Into someone else’s eyes
But one day we climbed into a tree
And it felt like love and photosynthesis
The sun shining down on our leaves
Sending its love from afar
Creating rainbows in our watery hearts

And I looked into your deep brown eyes
As you looked into my green-brown eyes
It was as if the earth was centered around our tree
And even when we closed our eyes
It seemed we could still see

But staring into your eyes, without a hint of threat
Was perhaps the most amazing of all that happened yet
I didn’t feel I needed to run and hide
I just wanted you to see who I was inside
And I wanted to see you just the same
We were so different yet always we came back to this

Back to looking into each other’s eyes
Back to holding hands
(The world, of course, revolved around our hands)
Back to lying on top of each other
Making deep low-pitched noises to vibrate
Underneath the other person’s skin
A way of getting in

I remember being told the amazing part about sex
Was being able to be inside another person
Or have someone inside of you
That this kind of connection was beautiful beyond words

I was disappointed when I found out
These things would never be for me
Those body parts are too painful for me
To allow anyone in

But there’s in and there is in
There are ways underneath the skin
You can use sound waves to penetrate
A whole abdomen at once

When people ask if I’m a virgin
I never know what to say
If it’s tab-A and slot-B then sure
I’ve never had sex that way

But how can you call it anything but sex
When you press your bodies tight
And experiment with different sounds
To make the other person feel them inside

We repeated each other’s names
Like a mantra, like a gentle chant
And the world fell away
And we found ourselves
In a place made just for us

It looked like an intricate geometric lattice
Made of delicate shimmering silver
And where the pieces of the lattice met up
There were glowing jewels of every color
And the love in that place
Eclipsed our identities

No longer did we feel our bodies
No longer did we hear each other saying our names
All we could perceive, in fact
Was the rainbow lattice inside our hearts
Because that’s what this place really was
It was the place where two hearts touched

Everyone has these pathways somewhere
Sometimes they’re harder to find
People tend to assume
That the only way to express their sexuality
Is through erogenous zones and groins

But for every single person
There are many different routes
To the love and communion we found
Some are lazy day hikes down the road
Some are backpacking treks lasting several days
Some require mountain-climbing gear
But if both of you want this
And both of you look hard
You’re bound to find a different trail
To get there every day

Our hearts beat out the same rhythm
We could feel it through our shirts
And we went outside to watch the ocean
And the rainbows in our hearts
Were mirrored in the clouds
And the soap bubbles blown
By children on the beach

And sitting together on a rock near the shore
We looked into each other’s eyes
And soon we were lost in each other again
Rainbows in our hearts
Starlight on our hands
Magic in our eyes

[This is another poem where someone else provided the title, and I had to write the poem.  The story is, more or less, true, with a few poetic embellishments.]

My, sie’s really let hirself go…

My foot is cracked and bleeding from the cold
Yet there is beauty in the lines and cracks
My hands are gnarly, wrinkled, leathered, old
Yet every wrinkle hails unnumbered acts
They tell me to be pretty, to want more
“And more of what?” is always my reply
I’ve had a good long life, though I am poor
And poverty has been my shield and sky
I look into the mirror and I see
The greying hair, the laugh and worry lines
That come with living long and living free
For I have no consent to be confined
     They look at me and feel I’ve disengaged
     I celebrate surviving to old age


 

 

 

 

 

[By way of explanation:  I find myself fiercely, desperately, wanting wrinkles and grey hair and all the other signs that I have outlived every prognosis I’ve been given.  Other people fear those things, wanting to look young.  When I am old, every wrinkle and grey hair will be a badge of pride saying “I made it.” I have only recently, since diagnosis and treatment for adrenal insufficiency, begun to allow myself to dream of old age again, and what a beautiful dream it is.]

The Rock In My Hand (circa 2005)

Hand holding a rock

Hand holding a rock

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand sings an avalanche song
To the rocks in the ground all around
It sings fearful power and boldest delight
And of death and of sand and of love

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That the world has a place I belong

Hand holding a rock

Hand holding a rock

My Secret Name

Everything has a secret name
That it broadcasts with all of its might
While people walk by
Not seeing a thing

If you wonder why I’m happier
With my body, my face, my life
I can see my secret name
And nothing else matters

You will find my secret name
In the hairs upon my chin
In my unibrow and the hair
That grows on my upper lip

You will find my secret name
In my double chin and the rest
Of the fat that covers my body
Especially my big belly

You will find my secret name
In my feeding tube and my Interstim
In the “artificial” implants
That keep me alive

You will find my secret name
In the bile and blood that drains
From my g-tube every day
Into cups and bags and toilets

You will find my secret name
In the fluttering of my hands
When they help me understand
What goes on around me

You will find my secret name
In the pain that fills my body
That puts me in bed some days
When I would otherwise be up

You will find my secret name
In the way my body moves
Both too slowly and too fast
At the exact same time

You will find my secret name
In the way my arms don’t swing
When I walk around
Even without a cane

You will find my secret name
In my joints that move too far
In the leg that goes behind my head
And my thumbs that bend to my wrists

You will find my secret name
In the twisting body and hand motions
That mean I’m trying to absorb
My surroundings into my body

You will find my secret name
In the words my mouth utters
When nobody is around to hear
And they don’t match up to my thoughts

You will find my secret name
In the sounds that come out of my mouth
Without any intention —
The meowing, the squealing, the strange sounds

You will find my secret name
Every time you look at me
For my every single action
Is a way of uttering it

Some people may not see it
Because they’re just not wired up that way
And that’s fine
You don’t have to see it to be my friend

And some people may not see it
Because they come to me with malice
And malice can’t see anything
On the level of depth of a secret name

My secret name can’t be spoken
It can’t be translated
It can’t be written down
It is only what it is

But if you ever look at someone
And suddenly a light clicks on
And everything about them
Suddenly makes sense

There’s a chance you’ve found their secret name
Now guard it with care
Because even they may not know
That they have it

Don’t just walk up to someone
And say “I know your secret name”
They’ll probably think you’re stoned
Or up to no good

If you must use their secret name
Use it to make interactions with them better
Use it to show them you care about them
Use it to show them you understand them

Never treat it like a piece of property
Never treat it like a prize you have won
A secret name can only be treated delicately
Because it shows you a window to their soul

And if I seem happier lately
It’s because I know my secret name
And I see it written all over my body
Especially the parts that others say are ugly

When people tease me about my double chin
Or the hair growing on it, or my unibrow
Those things are beautiful, right, and perfect
The way they are right now

Everything I used to be ashamed of
Is now beautiful to me
Because it’s part of my secret name
And that runs deeper than you can imagine

My secret name gives me permission
To be all of who I am
Even the parts people hate
Without shame, without apology

There’s a light beneath everything
And it illuminates each person from the inside
You can see it better in someone
When you know their secret name

And I’ve seen this in people
I’ve seen it in cats, trees, and rocks
But until recently
Until recently
I’d never been able to see it
In myself

Peas in a Pod

They flitted around the room
Like moths
Each one’s hands dancing
In rhythm with the other
Though never once
Did the mother look upon her daughter
Nor the daughter look upon her mother

They danced, weaving in and out of the crowd
Their arms made the same motions
Their hands twisted in unison
Their bodies danced as if
They’d been dancing all their lives

They looked more like a mother and daughter
Than any mother and daughter I’ve ever seen
No man was evident
And no man should have been
Given how the pregnancy happened
They looked alike
So alike they could have been
Twin sisters with a 19-year age difference

Their love was so palpable
That everyone I knew
Looked their way
There was no way to avoid it
They bled love into the air
The way some people bleed anger or fear
And everyone in the room
Was better for their presence

I think about them now
I worry
Is the daughter still alive?
Is the mother coping with what life throws her way?
But they have resilience enough
To meet most situations head-on

I will always remember
When the mother circled around my table
To acknowledge my presence
Without saying a word
And without saying a word
My pattern of rocking altered
All on its own
To acknowledge her presence
And that was enough
For both of us
Without a verbal ‘hello’
That neither of us could muster

The mother is one of those people I love
Whose functioning is cobbled together by pieces
Who always surprises people
Either with what she is capable of
Or what she is incapable of

The reason I love people like this
Is I am one of them
And it takes one to know one
It takes one to see the giant gaps
Between what is expected and what is there

They would call us low-functioning
And they would say it was amazing
That we could do the things we do
Just because we climb the cliffs every day
And cobble together functioning
From the wreckage of the previous day
Our fingers bleed
But we do it because we have
No other choice

I love people like us because
This is my people
This is the people who understand
When I collapse in the middle of a presentation
This is the people who understand
When I can’t say hello
When I can’t type at all
This is the people who understand
That sometimes not typing is not a malfunction
Sometimes it’s a return to our roots
Where words never grew on their own
And thoughts were mere shadows in the distance