Sued51's Blog











{February 7, 2018}   Screwed Up Love

It seems I am often not patient enough to let poems percolate. Sometimes I just feel like I want to move on to something that is more relevant to my present time; after all I just keep writing more and more, and there is just so much paper!! I have been desperately trying to go through them all and put all the versions of the same poems into file folders. Another step in my never-ending efforts to consolidate and simplify.

As part of this process, I have donated a lot of clothes, books, household items, even jewelry — but not these, never these — my screw in, screwed-up love earrings.

Spiral Earrings

Lots of Screwed up Love

I was your rebound girl,
the quick intermission in the drawn-out drama
of your epic love for her.
But I couldn’t see that then.

You were that guy
across the room,
my dark handsome romance hero.
I was drawn to you
like I was to rocks when I was a child:
I loved holding them
because they felt solid,
yet could contain crystals
or layers of color
if broken open.

You soon went back to her,
and instead I had to break
my all-encompassing love for you
into manageable pieces:
I buried the jealousy and resentment,
safeguarded the memories
and held onto our friendship
dear as a first stuffed toy.

Ten years later
I let go;
I married someone
who forced me to deny
my need for you,
grow up, leave you behind.

Thirty years later, minus the husband,
I wish I could glue it all back together,
embrace the whole.
I pull out the Christmas card
you gave me when we were still
an open possibility, a hollow geode.

You had signed the card, “Lots of screwed up love.”
Back then I had clung desperately to the word, “love”
not connecting it to the gift that came with it —
a pair of unusual earrings –
crazy spirals that wound
into my earlobes,
impossible to lose without
being ripped out;
just as the shards of your smile and laugh
twisted themselves into my heart,
and embedded there.
Now I know “love”
was not the important word:
“screwed up” was.

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{January 4, 2018}   Skating on Thin Ice

Ice Skating

Ice Skating

 

SKATING ON THIN ICE

Too many indoor days bundled
together drew me out into the record chill.
At the pond in my old hometown
a few hardy souls I didn’t know
were skating in ski masks
in the early winter dusk.
With my camera I froze
their silhouettes against the shimmering ice
like pinned starfish.

I could be crazy,
a crazy craving headlines,
at any cost,
so I tried to be subtle
with my snaps,
keep my zoom lens distance,
not alarm the nervous parents
in parkas on the dock
waving their children in.

I stood on the treed shore,
remembering solid-color snowsuits
and Wonder bread bags in boots,
hand-knitted mittens, and laughing
slides across the same ice
without skates.
Back before fake news and Facebook
our parents shooed us outside;
they trusted our judgment
and the good will of others,
and we trusted the winter ice
to stay solid
and unchanging
beneath us.



{December 21, 2017}   Quiet Christmas

Tree ornament

Decorated tree

As a child, Christmas was the highlight of my year! My mother was happy for the help when I wanted to decorate the tree or wrap my brothers’ gifts. When I grew up I still loved Christmas, and most often my souvenir from places I visited was a Christmas ornament. I loved that my tree told the story of my life, including gifts from friends and places I had visited. One special year I gleefully decorated my whole big house because my house was on the town Christmas tour.

Then came the death of my father right before Christmas and my broken marriage. I never had children of my own, and after my father’s death, my birth-family splintered. I began living in a tiny apartment; my precious ornaments packed away in storage.

Now I dread it; I endure it. I listen to everyone giddy with their plans; I struggle to buy presents without joy.

 

I know I am not alone in my struggles this time of year so I thought I’d share this poem I wrote just before Christmas became my enemy. It’s the first time I have shared anything in the wake of the loss of my marriage, but after four years I think I am ready.

 

 

Quiet Christmas

It’s a quiet Christmas,

maybe the last.

My husband sleeps in,

as does the sun.

The gray light shuffles

over the cold ground, then sits.

Observing this year’s sparse

offering of snow,

ragged dust tossed over

shivering boney branches

like dull tinsel,

I wonder:

do the trees ache and groan

like my arthritic hands

as I write this,

desiring still comfort

but compelled to move

by an invisible force

that is life.

The cat, content on the couch arm,

the lamplight her sun,

breaths little sighs in rhythm,

my carol for this quiet Christmas.



{November 30, 2017}   The Things We Do For Friends

This is a difficult time of year for some of us. I have trouble with the darkness but this is also my birthday season when I inevitably reevaluate where I am in life. I’m thinking next year I should spend more time here and less time on Facebook…and get back to writing. Of course that means I have to get to know my community all over again and make new friends.

This morning I was thinking back as I often do, about my longtime friend Jane; a time we never talk about when we went to the amusement park near us that no longer exists, though remnants are still there like the merry-go-round and this old teacup.

Amusement Park Teacup

The Last Teacup

Paragon (The things we do for our Friends)

Back then,
no brick apartment buildings
crowded the shore,
only the old roller coaster
towered over the beach.

We went there at dusk
with our boyfriends;
nips beforehand in the car
made us giddy.

I loved the rides
that sped in circles,
even the teacups,
where I muscled us around
pulling as hard as I could
on the metal wheel
in the center,
while you laughed
in the corner,
begging me to stop.
Afterwards you got sick
and I felt bad.

Bad enough to ride
the old wooden coaster
that I secretly feared.
We separated to sit with our dates.
The frame creaked and groaned
as we rose to the top.
The dark ocean stretched
into the sky, a beautiful view
for a moment,
but I squeezed my eyes shut
all the way down.

 

Susan Merrifield Desrocher



{October 9, 2017}   Holiday Quiet

It isn’t a holiday for me, I have to go to work, but others in my building sleep in. I don’t force myself to do my normal morning chores, not wanting to disturb my silent community. And so I enjoy the company of my cats and write.

I absorb the silence,
the peace of the cat’s purr.
My tea is simply warm,
no longer hot,
but my tongue lounges silent
in the gold sun of the honey
swirled with the soft clouds of milk.
Perfection
seems so close
I could reach out
and caress it with my hand,
but I know better.
Just as I sometimes
have to let my eyes alone
revel in the swirling softness
of color in my calico cat’s fur,
knowing if I touch her,
she will slip away
and find another place
to sleep.
Susan Merrifield Desrocher

Fur Painting



{September 21, 2017}   Obsession

First of all, thank you to those loyal readers who have visited in the last year even though I have posted very little: Ana Linden, G.P. Cox, Janna Hill, Tyler4Turtles, and Hands on Bowie (among others). I have been obsessed with all my photo groups on Facebook and virtually ignoring my blogging community. I will try to do better from now on! One day a week is better than once in a blue moon.

I had been working on this poem for a while and decided to match it up with this old photo I had posted many years ago. I hope you like it.

Dead Swan

A dock for a headstone…

The Obsession

Half my life ago
I was drawn to you
like a swan to a pond.
I thought I could make
my home in the depth of your eyes:
the warm brown of cattails
with lashes like the tassels
of tall grasses,
a perfect place
for nesting.

Initially my wings were fueled
by desire, but when I landed,
it was the smoothness
of your being,
the clear bubbling joy
of your laughter
in the quiet moments
that locked me into love.

But I soon found that
another laid claim
to your deepest heart —
my comfort was marred
by the fierce hiss
of possessiveness.
I should have known
something so beautiful
could not be unclaimed.

I flew off, but not away,
thinking I could keep
to the fringes,
find a connected waterway,
a secret way in.
I circled and circled
around and around
until I became a wisp
of a cloud,
like the fabled tiger
turned to butter.
In the end,
unsure of who I was
or why I did it,
I crashed hard
into a wooden dock,
wings splayed,
my stretched neck
broken.

 

Copyright Susan Desrocher



{March 28, 2017}   Scenic Overlook

view

Scenic Overlook

For some reason I have never been able to find a writing partner, someone who is not too much better than me or no worse than me, someone who writes in my style, who instinctively understands me, or at least wants to understand me. So when I have a bad day, I either put on the fake cheer on Facebook, which is acceptable to most people, or write in a vacuum to get my thoughts and feelings out, producing yet another poem to stick in a bulging notebook of unread, unpublished efforts.

So yesterday was one of those days for me and this is the result. I am taking the leap of sharing my poem here with whatever readers I have left (considering that I haven’t made my blog a priority for a long time or kept up with the people I used to follow faithfully).

SCENIC OVERLOOK

Some would say life has brought me backward.

I grew up poor in a rich town

where I had to hide my dark hair

beneath a golden hat, which only

made me feel hot and awkward.

Now I live poor in a poor town,

a place most of my old classmates

wouldn’t get caught dead in,

but at least I blend in:

another gray wisp of a cloud

on a sunless day,

another brown leaf on the ground

of a winter wood full of leafless trees

in muddy March

when spring’s new hope

feels like a crazy dream…

But I digress.

 

Yesterday I drove through some rich towns —

just looking —

not like an open-mouthed tourist

but like a coroner searching for clues to a death.

I examined the details as I saw them:

the handsome man with the perfect haircut

jogging on my side of the road

wearing clothes that I recognized

cost more than two week’s of my groceries,

(he forced me to the wrong side on a curve).

Then I pulled over to gaze at a view,

and to avoid the impatient BMW surging

at my back bumper, like the rough waves

against at the rocks at the beach

with the “No Trespassing” signs, whose beauty

I had to observe from afar.

 

But I will keep my scientist stance

because I don’t like the flavor

of bitterness.

I theorize the owners of these million dollar mansions

with empty yards would naturally

look like the jogging man because their parents

looked the same, and because beauty and wealth

go together like cut glass and cognac.

Why would hothouse plants live among weeds

that may choke them

to death?

 




An old friend of mine passed away suddenly in a car accident in March. Friends and acquaintances continue to post things on his Facebook page; he is truly missed. Though you, my readers, don’t know him, I feel that everyone should, so this is my attempt to spread word of this wonderful man.

Richard was inspiring, one of those rare and unique individuals that come along so infrequently, but touch the lives of so many. Here is his obituary, but that is just part of his story.

Richard was a gentle soul who loved to laugh, forever curious about the world. He was a much-loved teacher. Right before his death he had accepted a teaching position in Shanghai and was learning to speak the language. He loved to travel and was a master storyteller when sharing his travel experiences.

After some tough years of suffering from a rare form of cancer, he sacrificed his leg for his life, but he didn’t give up his spirit to live life to the fullest.

Because of him, I made a decision I can’t share yet, but I hope to share it soon. In the meantime, here is a poem I wrote right after he left us.

For Richard

One sudden death can produce ripples
as big as surfable waves;
some will ride their shock on
to greater things; they will heave a board
to the top of their dreams,
enjoying their own breathless ride
to its end with gratitude
and dedication, like you.

For others, the ripples will be bigger, scarier,
like tidal waves that gather their fears into a fury
that sweeps away all that they thought they had,
leaving them clinging to whatever has roots
enough to survive the disaster.

I want to be the surfer.
Let me hear the ripples of sorrow
with an attentive ear
toward my own future.
I can’t be you,
but I can choose to be like you.
Tell me, Richard —
where to get the board —
I’m listening.

Susan Desrocher

 



{January 4, 2016}   The Leaf and the Feather

leaf and feather

Uncommon Fellows

I took this picture recently — it was not one of my best, but it inspired me to write a little “children’s poem.”

 

A leaf and a feather

awoke together

On a balmy Christmas Day.

Their conversation

Was their situation

this balmy Christmas Day.

“Something’s not right,”

Claimed the leaf–

Thinking the sweep of the wind

Blew him south in his sleep.

“My friend,” he said, “if I may be so bold,

I’d really much rather

I sleep in the cold

Huddled close with my fellows

As I grow old.”

The feather  agreed

That things were not right,

He was used to the feeling

Of being in flight,

More feathers around him

Raising him up

and up like a kite.

But others like them

Were nowhere in sight,

no one else cared for

what they thought

was their “plight.”

The blacktop around them

Was dark and rough,

And the leaf and the feather saw

Their world as tough.

They knew they must see

themselves as enough.

They must accept change, just be–

Share this space,

find safety and grace,

in each other’s company.

Their talk made them realize

They both felt the same,

And learning to love this,

Was the name of the game.

So that was the way

that balmy Christmas Day

they bonded together,

The leaf and the feather.

 



{December 17, 2015}   Photographing Time

tall grass, shadows, morning sun

Sun hiding behind grass

I race to catch the golden hour

as if I were catching a life-saving ride,

escaping disaster, fire or flood;

I’m trying to catch time

by the second.

 As the light moves thru the leaves

and shadows cross stillness,

I think I can see it, oh, so briefly.

Quick, there’s one,

catch it before it races away,

laughing at mortal me,

using mirrors in a fancy case

to try to catch joy.

Copyright 2015 Susan Merrifield Desrocher



et cetera
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