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retrospect

If people could save all of the time in a bottle that they spend in retrospect . . . clinging to what was or what could have been instead of looking forward to life, moving on . . . they would probably have time for all of the things they're too busy to do now.  Or maybe, like me, they're just plain too busy.  I am by nature a progressive person — thinking ahead, optimistic, endeavoring to get somewhere.  Quite often I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, frequently checking the time and muttering about lateness.  Yes, that is me except for the ears.  My days are filled with never enough time.  And worse, I tend to write as if I have all day to select each word, which I do not.  It's like being in one of those dreams where everything moves at snail's pace when you're trying to do the opposite.  Such is life.  Mine, at any rate.

But in retrospect, well, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Sure, I've lost time over the years.  I could have done things sooner or better.  I could have been smarter, less distracted or obstructed, so on and so forth.  Yet despite all of my sidetracks and flubs and incredible slowness, I am no longer letting my dreams be blocked or put on hold.  My current distractions involve being wrapped up in characters and plots, poems and illustrations; in creative pursuits and plans and dreams coming true.  I may be preoccupied with time as I descend Alice-like down the rabbit-hole, my head in the cloudy depths of some fantastic adventure, but I am loving every minute of the exhilarating plunge into the fertile ground of my imagination.

In years past I seemed to spend a lot of time falling down other holes.  Many of them dark unpleasant ones that were not so much fun.  Events hone us in ways we cannot imagine and we are left, the remnants and shards of that process, pondering what transpired.  Squandering the here and now on futile regrets.  Debating the "what ifs" . . .  Yet if we had changed one element, if we did something differently, the ripple created could bring untold consequences.  Repercussions that echo in the present until we are no longer the same and everything around us, everyone, might disappear.

As in a story or drawing, the details matter.  They are vital to the enrichment of heart and spirit, nourishing the flesh of our existence with intricate connections writhing through us, the vines of cause-and-effect conclusions often stemming from disaster, blossoming in renewal and rebirth.  We may lament some moves, several or many of our lunkiest actions.  But dare we tinker with the result of this science experiment, this form of individual evolution?  Durst we tamper with the seal on the formula that led us to be standing figuratively or otherwise in our shoes?

I wonder.  Boy oh boy do I wonder.  Because, you see, some idiot genius probably will invent a time machine that takes us back to who we were.  In which case, would we wish to lead a thousand lives of variations on a theme?  Should we modify yesterday until we get today right?  This is the dilemma — or would be could we travel back in the direction of our retrospections.  Perhaps by the time you read this, it will already have happened and that would explain my frequent vivid flashes of déjà vu.  If not, don't worry.  It is inevitable, and then nothing can be certain, nothing permanent.  Like writing in pencil, History can be erased.

Luckily, I know who I am.  I'm the lady in the looking-glass.  Though I am not without flaws, I can face myself in the mirror and feel proud.  This visage I see has known its share of pain, sorrow and stress.  But it is an honest face, sometimes too honest, that has not always made the wisest choices and has been prone to moods of anger, jealousy, insecurity.  Like anyone.  Yet it has shone with compassion, courage, and wisdom more times than not.  And for the trace of my mother in it, I wouldn't trade it for a younger more beautiful reflection.  Keep your time machines and regrets.  I have tried to be the best I can under the circumstances and despite them.

Would I change my life if I could go back?  I couldn't if I could, for I wouldn't wish to lose what I have gained.  And heartache often yields its own rewards.  I always look for the good out of bad — a brighter side when Life turns cruel or insane — and try to appreciate the progress made, keep advancing step by step.  I've been doing that since I was born.  My strides have gotten bigger, even after my legs stopped growing.

I've accomplished some of my goals, some things that amaze me, yet doubt I will ever be completely satisfied.  There's so much more to achieve.  One of my future goals is to find more time for other things, in addition to writing.  Which I expect will make me even busier.  Whatever I finish, however I move ahead, I may never get beyond the feeling that I'm too behind.  Too busy, too slow, too distracted . . . but that's just me.

(And the White Rabbit.)

 

 

    retrospect

 

A lantern's radiance gilds the soul's perspective

In the grayling shadows of an inner view

Like the windowpanes of a plain stone cottage

Against twilight's breath of rue

 

Thoughts tiptoe down an endless staircase

Dread tappings match a cadent heart

Regrets spill empty, born of sadness

That can rip one's mood apart

 

Seated alone in the silent fortress

And deep reflection of a tomblike shell

No outside noise can penetrate

My reverie down a wishing well

 

Its spiral path lending dank descent

With the chill of a moment quietly betrayed

That inspires a shudder to escape the tension

Of a body's keyboard played

 

Fraught by nerves wired splitfully taut

On the screechent edge of a fiddle's note

That screams through the mind from ear to ear

The shriek of my constricted throat

 

Where I had felt the strum of moonlight

Bathed by gloom on a lane with no lamp

Grimfire lurking, wearing pearls of raindrops

Cloaked in a funeral cold and damp

 

The dreary haunts of a solitary poet

With no tread beside me in the bleakest hour

But wistful comfort, I danced with despair

Nocturnal and reckless, secure in my power

 

I could not be restrained by caution or rule

My spirit was bold, so sure of my path

And ignored every warning the senses bestowed

Yet I am not she in the aftermath

 

Now memory shards slip between my fingers

While some are engraved with a well-honed blade

Etched deeply like wrinkles in permanent folds

As vivid as the time they were made

 

Within the depths of my lowest fathoms

Beneath the distress I anticipate

In the frost-laden cough of my laboring lungs

A heart lies forsaken, still lying in wait

 

And who am I as another day bleeds

Into the dusk of an endless dream?

How much is real and how much confusion

Caught in a redundant meme?

 

When pulling the nightshade, planting the root

Of a protective mandrake under my bed

I cannot remember what I'm trying to forget

As the wind whistles in my head

 

Gazing through glass stained by tears

Falling from the shattered eyes of grief

Where does the day go when darkness appears?

I am shrouded in disbelief

 

I've no inkling of light in this grave depression

There's no aura above when I lift my gaze

Submerged in shadow, a black-water ocean

Swallowed by a brumeous haze

 

Coming face to face with rock-bottom horror

The discarded torments and accumulant woes

That were never graced by the touch of dawn

Yet linger beyond sleep's throes

 

Stark is the specter of the isolation

That surrounds me somberly as I reflect

Neath a nimbus of sorrow for the time misspent

Barren with naught to resurrect

 

I cradled a child once hale and wholesome

Then buried her delicate form like a seed

To sprout a new lady from the ashes of fear

In retrospect her soul was freed

 

Now she hears a scritch-scratch on every pane

As the eve howls in mourning for the day

That darkness crept like a midnight thief

And stole her breath away

 

I've regained some footing lost in the past

Of a woman broken by too many lines

But reality stitches the fragments uneven

Giving birth to Frankensteins

 

We question the water reflecting the sky

For illusions are just another view

Clinging to the vision of a life unlived

With the changing of tide comes the dew

 

Don't neglect to look behind your back

Down whatever road your steps should take

Every journey is another lesson learned

Every life and soul at stake

 

Even owls may feel a shiver when

They fly too far from the shelter of light

Though my nature sought peace, the embrace of dimness

I am giving up the night.

 

 

    truth lies

 

Without peace

The world is a target range

A stifled breath

A bleak sky with the hollow threat of thunder

Ominous and empty without rain

Thinking back to the sound

The pure rhythm, soothing and honest

Therein lies truth

Without trust there is no peace

Without truth there can be no trust

In the past is planted the future

And born the present

Perhaps without conception

Or love

A thoughtless transaction

The progression of time

Invisible at the present

Yet so evident in the future

Gentle, exquisite, then destructive

Heartbreaking in the end

An unbroken flow like water

Spills from a mountain

We are swept along with the current

Head over heels

Learning to swim after we learn to walk

To stay afloat in the rush

Of life's moments

Where truth lies

In a closed mind

Like an unread book

But trust flourishes in the open

Like raising a sash

To smell and feel the rain.

 

 

    a tangled tale

 

My long hair can be so easily untamed

There must be gremlins who delight in such treats

For the knots I wake with are really quite vexing

Untying them next-to-impossible feats

I can picture the devils at a slumber party

Gabbing and gulping as they toy with my mane

Spilling sodas and snacks while trussing up tresses —

Why, it's enough to drive a madwoman sane!

 

Long hair is a curse if it won't stay in its place

People stare at the bulges like you've developed a horn

Whether gremlin or windspun, it can be disconcerting

To be regarded as weirder than a unicorn

Yes, I appear quite crazy with hair sticking up

Protruding in clumps from my unkinked strands

The look goes rather well with a nice strait-jacket

I am often asked for my list of demands!

 

Their last bash created the piece-de-resistance

An undisciplined mess like a woolly afro

The supertangle snarled into a single huge knot

And that sucker wouldn't let go

Unless you have been there you can't sympathize

How awful it was to have deadlocked hair

Thinking back, it was a lot like dreadlocks, in fact

And until they were gone I couldn't go anywhere!

 

It seemed hopeless to unravel the matted mop

So I appealed to an expert at undoing a do

To patiently toil on my hair emergency

Taking week after week for the frizzies to unglue

Sorting and sifting through an over-fluffed fringe

Until my thatched roof was at length ironed out

Resolving the unnatural hair disaster

Just in time for the next gremlin bout!

 

 

    the rooster crow

 

Have you ever heard a rooster crow

Or seen the oddity with your eyes?

I believe I glimpsed one long ago

To my terribly small surprise

Scarcely larger than the average songbird

And making a most raucous call

It caw-cadoodled right at me

Which isn't strange at all

But then the funny little black bird

With a red crest risen from its brow

Squawking like a ruffled goose

Made me utter "Wow!"

Keening like a cracked teapot

At a fruitcake party for a mixed bag of nuts

In pointy hats of foil, giggling inanely —

The dark-quilled rooster crow morphed to a futz

 

It had orange fur and yellow stripes

A bushy tail with polka-dots

Ears that flopped, a spiral snout

And could even change its spots

Tiny black wings, the red comb above

Chicken legs with knobby knees

Strutting audaciously nevertheless

It woke the dead at dawn by a sneeze

For crows are heralds of the nether reaches

Like morbid sentinels from the other side

That part of it wasn't lost in translation

Though the rooster crow had a turkey's pride

And loved to gobble potato chips

While juggling butterflies without a net

It joined a zoo for awkward creatures

And was the owner's pet

 

Hybrid and scrambled in peculiar ways

Like a turtle cow, a cat canary, a dragon fly

The bird beast rolled its peepers like marbles

And paced because it couldn't fly

The zookeeper kept it in a cage

But the futz could squeeze between the bars

And roam dusty lanes in search of roots

Wondering if it came from Mars

As with most riddles, the uncommon critter

Did not find answers upon the street

At last it met a fortuneteller

Who revealed it had a pair of crow's feet

The fowl thing's quest led to a ship

Where once it was hatched in the lookout's nest

The mascot had been a bird of feather

And a comet shower did the rest.

 

 

    mush

 

The word a dog-team waits to hear

With bottled energy, yearning to run

The state you are reduced to

By a few words or a look

A bowl of sustenance

For a belly aching

A cold sloppy condition

After rain or sleet

My thoughts

When my brain is overwhelmed

Saturated by hours, stress or knowledge

What I couldn't imagine never knowing

What I wish I didn't

When there's no more room

Or I have no strength

My head is turned to mush.

Authors: 
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Lori R. Lopez

Rafael Lopez

Noel Lopez