Depression in 5 Acts

I float above the earth
untethered in the rain
like a hesitant balloon from yesterday’s party
low in helium
and alone.

I lay on the earth
like an uncooperative corpse
trying to wriggle free of the undergrowth
that sprouts over my rotting limbs
gravity pulling my dissolving flesh
into the ground.

I walk along the River Styx
beside the Angel of Death
with a spinning compass
in my hand.

I am the doppelganger
the real me is away
with no planned return
in her stead
I wear this mask
move my jaws
utter sound
but my eyes do not smile.

I’ve gone to mush
like the caterpillar in her cocoon
flesh in transformation
I carry my Body around like an accessory
this century
is so
rough on me
I think I took a wrong turn somewhere
I stand facing mirrors
infinite reflections in fractals
I lie down in their midst
allowing the ivy and crab grass
to cover and consume me
I will be a Tree instead
and break the glass
so I can see
the sun.

© S. Rinderle, January 2017

Sunflower

I wish I were a sunflower
face always turned
towards the sun
back always turned
on the shadows

I’d grow eager and hearty
in weak soil
unplanned
uncomplaining

I’d thrive on unexpected street corners
unnoticed by passersby
unadmired
uncaring
spirit undampened

My perky summer mane
of auburn golden petals
would seduce bumblebees
velvet sable upon amber
delicious reciprocity

Although my looks eventually desiccate
their colors would linger vivid
gilded finches feeding
from my smiling autumn face
satisfying generosity

No need to over-rely
on my bright disposition
to get by
No need to talk myself
into acceptance or trust
No thoughts of “must”
No need to convince myself
of the wisdom of seasons
the rightness and reason of Will
beyond mine

When the harvest sun waned
I’d nod off and droop
letting go my final seeds
with a contented sigh
ready to sleep til spring
when my neck stretches again
jaw yawns
and face turns
towards the sun

back always turned
on the shadows.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Susana Rinderle

photo (c) Susana Rinderle, 2015

Intolerance

I have become allergic to my life
habitual thoughts now blur my mind
cover my eyes with sticky film
convert my zest to lethargy
coerce focus into distracted myopia

habitual tropes and memes
invade my throat and nostrils
tender mucous membranes
mount an attack to expel
offending foreigners
mundane reports of murder
meanness, bigotry
celebrated stupidity
provoke nausea
my deepest bowels
roil in toxic discomfort
unable to digest the daily feed
of meaninglessness

habitual people
poison my skin
I break out in boils at their touch
sleep-less for the obsessive itching
this thin barrier
between me and you
crawls with tiny parasites
I want to run
so the wind resistance
knocks their stabbing, sucking mouthparts
away from my blood

habitual places
enter my lungs like noxious smoke
obnoxious smog
polluting where grief resides
once pure fresh
and cobalt blue
memories follow me like clouds
loss and regret
I can’t see through
can’t breathe true
despite my coughing

I have become allergic to my life
What was habitual is now intolerable
the accumulation overwhelms
I have become antibody to my own flesh
all passageways to the outside world
clogged, constricted
sore, irritated
depleted

Perhaps I need a thorough cleanse
stronger meds
stricter rules
further tests

Maybe I need to migrate
to a more suitable climate
like thousands of misunderstood infirm
misfit fledglings
midlife metamorphing
heeding an internal beacon
navigating the uncharted
before me.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Lonely Hollow

I know you, emptiness
I’ve tried to fill you with distraction
denial
and bad habit
still you appear
unexpected and uninvited
at the most inconvenient hour

You show up even when I’m strong
stomach well-fed, limbs well-rested
mind stimulated by discovery
heart nourished by laughter and confession
my friends are many and dear
I enjoy my solitude

You show up anyway
a hollow in my torso
that crowds my heart
an uneasy absence
a misplacing of something
I can’t remember
an unanchoring in my timeline
I float
unaware I’ve drifted

Loneliness

A most particular yearning
an easy smile to come home to
or greet in my doorway
that accepting gaze to relax, unravel in
that does not look away
reliable shoulders to share this yoke
of grinding minutia and terror of change
eager arms to welcome, contain
like yin and yang
curl up silent and safe
when all goes dark
that kind voice
to bring welcome surprise to my monologue
needed stability to my see-saw

Loneliness
I will leave a light on
invite you in
I will prop this hollow open
with stray beams and intention
lest I fill you with too many meditations
too much activity and resilience
I will hold your space
lest I allow you to collapse
under too-tight agendas
despair, or common apathy

I will allow you to be
so he has a place to enter
a space to fill
I will allow you to ache
so my stories don’t turn
into lies
I will allow your emptiness
so my gratitude has a place to reside
leaving room for abundance and joy
when he
finally arrives.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Addict

I thought it was you
but you’re not
the only one
my lonely drug
you’re just the latest addition
to my pantheon
of addiction
an assortment of stimulants
external stimuli
that regulate my nervous system
through a series
of temporary distractions
and temporary highs
as judgment-free as
networking mixers
heart pounding workouts
adrenalized action movies
fatty treats, sugary sweets
mutual orgasms and
shared laughter
similar in their intensity
and the eventual low
at their eventual end
I find my torso sliding backwards again
into a familiar pit
my long arms scrambling
at the unreliable gravel
and unstable sand
that ring its hostile maw
tightening around me
panicky
looking frantically back to see
what’s pulling me down
and once again
it’s the weight of my
own two feet.

You mistake my toughness
for enoughness
and the embarrassing truth is
I feel neither
and even doubt the courage I pride
as mere recklessness
or stubborn denial
so
it’s not just you
and yet still I sink
flailing but resigned
since neither staying
nor leaving
will save
or solve
nor fill
the yawning pit
inside.

© S. Rinderle, 2013

Silence

I don’t know if I should tell you more
of my story
much less how
I don’t know if you care enough to be safe
I don’t know what I fear most right now
your contempt, indifference, empathy
or silence.

How to describe this plague?
This looking out on a perfect, shiny, flowering spring
through a windowpane
drenched in rain
and tears on the inside
This trying to swim in a sparkling river
upstream, in a wool bodysuit
sopping, weighted, drowning.
Whether to convey the other shapes of me?
You see
confident, strong, smart, sexy
yes, yes, yes, yes
and to the wild furry beast
pacing in my ribcage
wide paws
scissor claws
and hungry, yellow eyes
unreasoning
also yes.
I forget that my skin is not translucent
and you can’t see her there
I forget you don’t have x-ray vision
and you can’t see through the thickened lead walls
that contain the detonated atom bomb
that is my life.

They say that doing the same thing over and over
expecting a different result
is insanity
but maybe it’s also faith
the one constant variable
Do I risk again?
Inviting a kind new stranger in
revealing I’m not only wide and clear and resilient
like the mirrored surface of a resting lake
but also small and blurred, prickly, asymmetrical
bouncing unpredictable
doing a courageous job of calm
wringing out all the water from my tear ducts
so that my eyes can smile.

It’s fear and love that motivate me
the fear of what I might do to others
with my claws and ionizing radiation
but also the terror of what they might do to me
the world is not kind
to honesty, difference, or awkward attempts
and you
this almost-love-not-really-never-maybe-quite
growing presence
glowing essence
I don’t need you to fix it
or solve me
I don’t even know if I want you to see
but to gently lift my chin and cradle my neck
in your capable hands
and get two breaths in
before I bob back under the current
is enough.
To slowly wipe a path
for my gaze
on this windowpane
and kiss my forehead
as it leans on the glass
will soothe.
To not recoil horrified at the sight/site
of ground zero
if I crack open this lead door
is all.

If you could lead this caged beast
out of the darkness
she’d follow you
but no one can
Only
if you would light a candle
so she can sleep a while comforted
warmed and free of hallucination
that
would be better
than silence.

© S. Rinderle, 2013