Audience Of One

Redux

Pictures and scenery from years gone by flash before my eyes as I’m lying here on my deathbed. I’m simultaneously smiling and crying, wishing to be back in those memories as a more willing participant rather than just as a casual observer.

Who would have ever thought that the desire to experience those times again would creep into my psyche? Weren’t those experiences hard the first time? Now lying here, I realize accepting this unfulfilled life is much harder to endure than all the things I had to go through while I was still young or even middle-aged.

Before withering away to my end, I had only watched the days go by without me really participating in them or enjoying sharing good times with others. Now, it’s an even lonelier existence. A hospital bed and my dreams give me my only real comfort now; closing my eyes makes me an audience of one to my past.

I experience a rare joy when nurses or doctors come to call. I can smile a bit with them and forget the sadness I feel. Then they leave, and once again, I am by myself, alone with my physical pain and my emotional sorrow. The tears flow silently, streaking my face like tiny little rivers through the cracks of my aged appearance.

Looking up, the ceiling offers no hope for some sort of release. I find the only way to escape this dreary loneliness is to sleep and join those characters that brought me what was, in hindsight, the most joy throughout my life. Experiences that I didn’t really know how to appreciate or even understand at the time. Simple pleasures like just being with someone I cared about and truly enjoying the time spent together. Looking at the sunset and its beautiful shades of color as it dipped down below the tree line. Feeling the wind blowing and licking my skin with its light, feathery touch. The little tingles of love and appreciation I should have felt when my children looked at me adoringly. If only I had taken the time to really let all those good things resonate in me deeply. If only I had been an active participant in my life while I had the chance, then maybe the sadness now wouldn’t be so profoundly devastating.

I built a lifetime of feeling alone and preoccupied. Connecting to my existence, fully engulfing my experiences could have – oh, they would have – made for a richer takeaway than what I chose to be left with at that time. So now I’ll exit this world with only memories, their impact and meaning only now being revealed; a lesson of life learned much too late.

**Originally published on PhiloSusi 4/16/2014. Reposted with minor revisions.

Progeny

Inspired by Moonwashed Weekly Prompt – Nonsensical & Reena’s Exploration Challenge #259

their precious faces
and nonsensical babbles
sheer joy in their eyes
ah, the memories of those days
bring a smile to my face

the poopy diapers
siblings fighting
snot-filled noses
hours upon hours of crying
not so much

each year brought new challenges
as milestones were reached and lessons were learned
and just when my last nerve was plucked
growth occurred
i uttered a sigh of relief

they are grown now
having flown the coop
to fashion their lives as they see fit
it’s satisfying to know
i got two things right

Marisela Brazfield

Urban Spring

April short but mighty
we have no peach flowers
only ads promising youth
Spring in the city
without much ado
we wait

Urban Summer

August heavy like old carpet
we have nothing to say
watching her burn in
metaphor of history
our skin dry like sand

Urban Winter

December mild like tea
lights on palm trees
snow on Hallmark cards
Christ on Broadway
no wisemen found
nights are longer
like our hunger 

One Good Man

When I ran, I would run to MacArthur Park. At the foot of Downtown split into two by Wilshire Boulevard. When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to take me to MacArthur Park. And after we were done walking around feeding ducks, he would take me to Langer’s for a pastrami sandwich on rye with a kosher pickle. We did not talk much. In between searching his pockets for our bus transfers back home, Opa would pause, smile at the sky, pull the transfers from his coat pocket, and cup my chin with his left hand comforting me.  

Kitchen Table

Chipped China cup with rubbed-off pale pink, lilac rosettes, and red hearts. Thin, tender green leaves on stems support the bouquet. Inside black coffee with molasses, lukewarm on the edge of cold. I relished flipping radio stations while blanking out my mind. Looking for a message from the great beyond, periodically a cricket or bird chirp would break the spell. Mattresses on sale, car insurance, KPFK Patty Hearst soundbites. The hardened rye toast on the table smelled familiar and a thick sadness overwhelmed me. No tears from downcast eyes. In the soul an increasing yearning for my mother’s voice.

~~~

Born and raised in Los Angeles, mb writes about the downtown urban life experience. Inspired by personal events, mental illness, and working with vulnerable communities. mb has been published by Indie Blu(e) Publishing, 2020 and 2021; The Short of It, 2020; Newington Blue Press, 2021; Prolific Pulse Press, 2021. Marisela’s piece, Fulfillment, featured in the first anthology – was selected for the Pushcart Prize.

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The Competition Is Over

Redux

I want to thank my friend Chuck for reblogging some of my much earlier thoughts from my old blog – PhiloSusi. This piece from 2015 highlighted how far I’ve come since those years of my childhood but also what followed in the lessons I learned. I’m glad I went back and reread it. It reminds me how much my world has gotten better. With slight revisions, I hope you enjoy it.

~~~

When I look in the mirror now, I see the beauty within and on the surface of the creation, which was initially out of my hands.

It wasn’t always that way.

“You’re so fat.”
“Can’t you be smarter?”
“Just stop, I’ll do it. You’re doing it wrong!”
“You’re not good enough!”
“Why can’t you do better?”
“Only angry people are crazy!”
“No one will want to date you.”
“You’re so stupid!”
“Can’t you do anything right?”

The words were repeated often enough and fell easily into my psyche, stuck there for a long time.

I never realized when I was younger it was a sick and twisted game initiated by someone who was supposed to just love me. I didn’t know how to maneuver a win against someone I looked up to. The person who made me feel low and afraid to achieve had an agenda which my tender years didn’t understand. I was competition, which elevated her every time she uttered one of those statements. She, being the winner every time. Me, the loser.

Or so I thought.

Today I’m filled with confidence in my being, a fierce determination to exist exactly the way I want to be, have an appreciation for myself that was non-existent before, and hold the firm position that I am just right. My body image was extremely poor, and to this day, I don’t think I see what others do, but I’m probably three-quarters of the way there to loving my body exactly as it is.

I don’t need to compete with the ghost anymore. Who I am and how I look was already winning.

Wounds

Redux

Revised from the original posted on I Write Her:

deep scars embedded in our psyche
we were marred by loved ones we should call traitors

we feel the need to hide the frayed nerve endings deep inside
the repeated shocks to our system and sensibilities can make us mute

but let’s not go quietly

our enemies expect silence from us
but we deserve better than remaining restrained

not screaming to the rafters calling out their crimes
buys them a better life than they are due

the one we were owed

be strong, be loud, and let your wounds heal

Perpetual Pain

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #190 – Insanity
&
Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Unforgotten

no one told me
the days of mourning
linger for years

those unforgotten bring us
more bitter than sweet memories
unexpectedly and forcefully

it rises up within us
tears well and overflow incessantly
this insanity of grief, tortuous

when you love hard
you hurt more
death really kills two people


Frozen

she was incapable
of doing what was right
wasn’t moved
to undo the damage her actions left behind

no remorse
no empathy
no compassion
no connection

narcissists can’t be what we need
nor do what we deserve
nor heal themselves enough
to give us a desired remedy

it’s like time stood still
in the formation of their soul
solid and impenetrable
never truly warming to us