There Lives a Wish in Anguish

The New York Times published a bit last month about languishing. How so many of us are stuck in an odd limbo, a languishing, a time in which we are not necessarily thrilled about anything, or not much anyway. And a time in which we are not quite in that state of panic or surprise, the one that grew so familiar last year. Yes, I said. I am, officially, a languisher.

Yet, I cannot hear the word languish without also hearing the word anguish. And as it would happen during this past April, the month that provides a playground for clouds, a trampoline for raindrops, a pegboarded earth where small stems can climb, I saw more anguish and witnessed more heavy, dark and sad days for too many of my most dear of dear friends. So many facing trauma and anguish in this almost post-Covid year as they watch their own loved ones, their children or spouses, suffer at the hands of addiction. Addiction leading to detox, divorce, job loss, hospitalization, and more. For too many of my besties, all that blossomed this April was anguish.

Can we languish in anguish? Stay put in tragedy? Create a limbo blanket to wrap our blues tightly. I say, no. I say, no. Let’s instead see the wish in anguish, and in languish. Let us find hope in these times of limbo or tragedy. Let’s find hope. Let’s wish. Not in the red slipper three click way. Though that’s been known to work. Let’s wish with follow up. Languish in love, wish our loved ones well. Recovery. Certainty. New days. Brighter smiles. Poetry.

April, Just a Playground for Clouds
a journal poem

I like the way the word of you looks
when written, I like the way you sound
when spoken in English, and Spanish, too
Abril April Aprillis Latin
a bit of mountain in every direction
the clouds are breaking up
the playground of sunrise

She didn’t like the spinning
enough to make her want to puke
a little bit, trapped or sad or distrustful
or dismissed, he steps away and life happens
while he dallies in self loathing
he put that sad song on like a new jacket
living off serotonin, new drug of choice
addicted to watching for secrets

We spoke of genetic sorrow
what that addict was using
or that one, the compassion needed
to tamper the rage, needed to
monitor the pity, the owner of
that ping sound is alive somewhere

Dogs have the patience of geology
fear writes into my skin
more deeply than any tattoo
play the ‘pleased as punch’ game
Kid. Kiddo. Kidding.

Discomfort and shame and stupidity
were palpable, washed my windows
planted some annuals, oh, heartbreak
if I could replace it with big fluffy
blueberry muffins and a bouquet of lilacs
just kidding

This dress is dross it is ripped
and raw, I would wear it on that boat
I saw, shoddy and shanty and sugar
strewn, a canoe made of red
roses in bloom

Tiny and perhaps insignificant
my confidence swirls clockwise
like water in the toilet going
down, wet, cold into never
never land

So much never never land
in our lives, return to the marital
slop, a quick rush around the house
her bidding is done, all for her glory
taken up by her sadness

There is no catharsis in kindness
forgiveness is so unforgiving
slow and dull and beige or blood
red, a comfort found in her own paradigms
or pajamas, less compelling
than violence, not like the feeling
of bashing his wing mirrors

Knowing full well that the undulating damage
is smaller than a dot inside a uterus
far less time to curl up and sob
in a pile on a dusty patio full of goatheads

Holding on to sanctity and sanity
my mouth is blistered by the words I said
a bit bruised by the ones I held back
my tongue chewed, cheeks raw
working inside my head
he was hiding his truths
trying to distinguish a hard knock
from destruction, at least she
does not have her hands
in someone else’s pantry
ignore all that
be a nice little girl

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