Freedom and Regret

The price I pay
for clarity and conviction
is waking up alone
to breakfast in an empty kitchen
marveling at the loneliness
of the sunrise.

I paid the toll eagerly
at the turnpike
gaining entrance
to an unknown stretch
of road.
I would not rewrite history
even now
as I stand on the shoulder
wistfully watching my younger self
pull a coin from her purse
enthusiastically toss it
into the toll chute
saying yes to what’s next
blissfully cavalier
with her
power.
My eyes well with pride
and grief
at her tender ignorance.

We can only regret
futures that died on the vine
unviable embryos
never brought to term.
We can only know
what we chose.

I must trust in the kindness
of the Divine,
believe in her wisdom –
all else is futility
and dank regret.

But would that there were
a way to enjoy such
unprecedented choice
without the persistent gnaw
of loneliness.

Alas, I am born
too soon.

© S. Rinderle, 2018

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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

To the Woman Who Came After Me:

Do not forget your lineage
where you fall in the chronology
I am the one who prepared your way
cleared a path in the tangled thicket
of his heart
filled and smoothed over potholes
in his healing
cleared ragged cobwebs
from his mind
my body was a bridge
between his pain
and your happiness

If you breathe deep
you’ll detect my scent
on everything he touches
it was his broken words to me
he picked up
and handed to you
whatever pleasures you share
we practiced first
we rehearsed
the scripts and lines
he utters now
he called me Love
long before you

Remember your place
He only beat me to the end
I only regret my patience
He is a garment
a not-fit
I do not miss
but first washed, mended, folded
and put away
If I pine it’s only
for loneliness
not for him

I neither want nor need
your pity or sympathy
just your acknowledgement
I had as much to do
with your life today
as he does
that I called you sister
before you called him lover
that I washed
the dirty laundry and
weeded the garden before leaving
that my heart bled
into the sacrificial chalice yours drinks from
that my very flesh
served you
warming your nights
cooling your anxiety
that I
perfumed your entrance.

It was I
You will never be able
to repay your debt to me
so pay it forward to she
who comes
after you.

© S. Rinderle, 4/2016

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