Now There Are Five

Now There Are Five

One departed on a Sunday

Scott on a Monday

He always did have Monday-itis

“Peace out suckers” I can hear him say…

Football season filled with Sunday games

Sweats and slippers, fire glowing in the fireplace

Scott made Sunday football huge

He had some pipes and rage!

His blue eyes always twinkling

Stubborn as a mule

He cared for me, my tough brother

Captain Crunch cereal in the middle of the night

In Jericho when his blood sugar dipped too low

We ate dry cereal in fistfuls

Four wheeling, whoop-de-doos, high signs and alcohol

Big brother time was always an adventure

Chevy truck over 25 years old…Scott was consistent

He’d snicker at hidden secrets and jokes

Always made silly, crazy faces

Loved the term, “Oh my hell”…

Horrible dancer, but so much fun to watch

His grilled steaks and chicken were the best

Always a bottle of Jack in one hand

Hardest worker I’ve ever known

Super blunt, a little too raw for most

He loved his boys

He’d do anything for you

Didn’t matter how much time passed…

He was always there and we never skipped a beat

He fought his type I Diabetes like a champion his entire life

But in the end…at age 52.. it fought back and won.

I had seven brothers… now there are five.

Stay

Please let me stay

I don’t want to go

Over there

Finger pointing

To the dark window

On the second floor

Orange blanket

Blows outside the 

Window

Please don’t leave me

Small hand gripping

In panic

Belly growls

Hungry

Curled up on the 

Washer machine

Covered in a military blanket

Shhhhhhh

Don’t tell them 

I’m here, ok?

Please feed me

I need love

I can’t say if I’ve ever

Known true love

Unconditionally

Please let me stay

Just for a minute

Where it’s safe

And I feel loved

Not alone

Ten years old

I shouldn’t 

Feel so all alone

Please let me shower

And borrow 

Your clothes

I don’t know how to wash 

Can you help me?

Do you see me?

I’m ten years old

And I’ve never known

Safety 

Never known 

A warm bed &

Soft pillows 

A full belly

Three hot meals a day

Unknown to me

Please let me stay

I don’t want to go

Over there

Finger point to the dark window 

On the second floor 

Burns

It burns

This heartache

My lungs burn

I can’t breathe

I’m wanting to flee

But my breath

Is torn from me

It burns

The closer you get

To me

The harder I fall

She can’t support me

I can’t help myself

It burns

And blisters

This fear

Invades my nostrils

And everything

Stinks

Those eyes

So sad

Burn an image

In my brain

That won’t leave me

I can’t run

I don’t want to 

But I must

This legacy burns

A panic in my heart

That can’t 

Be shaken off me

That smile 

Sad smile

Good-bye

Burns my heart

I want to stop 

Spinning in circles

What is my new normal? 

It burns

I can’t

Breathe

This road goes on

Forever

As I flee 

This heartache burns 

Casualties of War

Casualties of War

Father screams for his son

Lying limp in his arms

Needing help, desperate for it

As bombs explode overhead

Casualties of War

Chaos 

Burned flesh

Their scent blowing in the air

Little boy with eyes missing

Can you hear him weeping?

For his children?

Both sides, all his

Casualties of War

Tears, wailing, all wanting quiet

A little peace

A little joy

A chance to be free

Faces silent, mourning

Still living

Eyes staring darkly into photo lenses

Hostility growing

Mothers wailing the loss of their children

Food delivered

Running for safety

Casualties of War

Sirens blaring

Civilians trying to get food

Suddenly are on the ground

Praying they are not next

Casualties of War

Death

Alone 

Dying, both sides

Bloody babies cradled 

In weeping mothers’ arms

Casualties of War

Can you hear him weeping?

Just Stop

Keep stepping

The mantra

Keep moving

Don’t look back

But we do

Over & over again

Regret nothing

Oh so many regrets

So many battles

Too much grief

Too many things

Left unsaid

But stepping

Feels right

Except the walls

Chunk up

A little taller

A little higher- day-over-day

Survival mode

This stepping

Looking at the future

One day when

Fear creeps in

Fear of failure

Angst

Never enough time

For anyone

Including for yourself

Dark circles under eyes

blood shot eyes- lack of sleep

Just stop

You must stop the stepping

Take them out

one-by-one

To deal with the hurt

The baggage

The pain

It sucks

It hurts

It is hard

All the feelings

Could be better off

Left alone

But not for you

Your growth

To be a better

Human

To appreciate those you love

To find courage

In your now

You can do this

You are more than enough

So just stop

And deal

With it all

And watch yourself

Grow

Bloom

Shine

Brighter

Than you’ve ever

Shined before

You can

You must

Just stop… stepping

And deal

With each battle

Each death

Each regret

Each wound

Each love lost

Each unfulfilled expectation

Each hurt

Each breech to your heart, mind & body

Scrub them clean

No more stepping

Just stop

you

will

when

you’re

ready

So… Just stop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s Dancing Again

She introduced them- my parents

She met me when I was 8 months old

The oopsie baby who rolled over on her living room floor

I was 4 years old when she became Mom #2

At age 6- I spilled blackberry brandy in her purse

What a sticky mess

Beautiful blue eyes with a dark ring around the edges

She was sassy, smart, articulate, and feisty

5’ 2” who didn’t take crap

From anybody

Watching Dad and her dance was a thing of beauty

They loved to dance, they loved to laugh

They were always touching- connected in a way I’ve never seen

Every Sunday I woke to coffee & chocolate chip cookies

She was foxy, those hips in her turquoise bikini turned heads

Cherry Monte Carlo with a T-top- our hair blowing in the wind

We would sing like pop stars to Barry Manilow & Neil Diamond

She gave wise council

Shared life experiences

Had more energy than my Puerto Rican friends

She was fierce, she was fun

She let me drink wine on special and not so special occasions

Taylor Pink Catawba

Oh the parties, the friendships, the jokes

Laughter, always laughter

Everyone loved Hal & Ardena

They never judged

They always would lend a hand

An ear, a hug, a drink

They worked hard, they played hard, and they loved hard

Embraced all

Their home was a place of calm, freedom, honesty

She was an amazing cook- her Italian- AYYYYY

Her idea of fast food was a bucket of KFC

Pool parties

Cherry chocolate chip ice-cream out of the bucket- two spoons

She built her own home, yelled at contractors

Stomped her feet and gave them hell

She had three sons; Army Ranger, still born in Scotland, diabetic Scott who is gone

Now with her

She gave her time, her heart, her continuous support

Without pause

Her life experiences helped her to see angles no one else did

Her perspective was unique and different

No one else saw it until she did

Many times she was misunderstood

Her battle, her passions

But EVERYONE admired her grit, her moxy

Her fierce ability to never let go

I loved her, I will miss her, and I will mourn her

I’m grateful she’s pain free

And with the man she truly loved

She’s dancing again

Cutting up a rug- once again, reunited

In each other’s arms

 For Ardena B. Taylor (11/17/1939 – 4/20/2018)

 

Who Told You To Be Strong?

Born a fighter

A survivor

A stranger, head tilted

Eyes perplexed asked,

“Who told you

Since you were little

You had to be strong?”

Everyone

Seven brothers

Tackle football, concussions

Shake-it off, be strong

Twelve years old…decided to leave home

For a boarding school

Early decisions, strong decisions

Graduated high school at sixteen

Wonder woman?

Super girl?

Dedicated, focused

Enough was never enough

Stay strong

Be self-sufficient

Rely on yourself

Be strong, live strong

Here I am

Breakable

Back burner…everything

Must keep stepping

Stepping shows strength

No tears, shake it off

But some days I wilt

Tired of the grind

Of the stepping

I’m different

Unique

Purposeful

When do I stop being strong?

I can’t breathe

I just want to breathe…

A loner? A fighter? A survivor?

I use to view life as ‘One day when’, ‘I’ll be good when’…

Not anymore

In my now

Right here

So let’s stop stepping

And deal with the mess

Embrace the now & all it comes with

Cry, write, discuss, pray, breathe

Repeat

Now

Not one day when

He asked the question… a stranger

“Who told you since

you were little you

had to be strong?”

Everyone

But not

Right NOW