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Dorothy A Jul 2010
Humpty Dumpty
was never steady
on his legs
Almost round as a ball
he was a fat, little egg

One day he was struck by the beauty
of a seductive fork
So silvery, shiny, and slim
she desired to whisk him into shape
to make him completely fit and trim

But Humpty Dumpty, in love,
was falling way too hard
I mean he literally fell
in his crazy crush
cracking his delicate shell!

His mother, the hen
was beside herself
"Come to your senses", she begged
"Stay away from that wicked fork
before you become scrambled eggs!"

Humpty Dumpty was fading fast,
fearful that he was mortally wounded
Oozing some white and yolk and
suddenly he was feeling
the pain of being broken!

But the doctor refused
to hand him over to the chef
Patched him up though it was hard.
"Another fall like that", he warned
"And you will end up in shards!"

So Humpty Dumpty was
never ever the same
Everyone was taken aback
They all knew to keep their distance
for Humpty Dumpty was cracked!
2.1k · Dec 2009
Dorothy A Dec 2009
Caterpillars are simply butterflies
who have not learned to fly the skies
Creatures who are temporarily earth bound
without the means to leave the ground

I saw one by circumstance
It died before it had a chance
To transform and spread its wings
So sad to me, this lifeless thing

It reminds me how our wings must spread,
If not, we are found left for dead
We were never meant to crawl in the mire
We were meant to fly higher and higher
Dorothy A Jan 2014
It cannot put pen to paper
But all a flower has to do
Is open up its delicate petals
Unfolding like a noble lady's fan
Broadening to blossom into a lovely jewel
Poetry without any word

A spider weaves its web
Like an author spins tales
It's intentions upon its survival, but
Its intricate home of threads and strings
Like a gossamer harp
Is enchanting to perceive
A make and design of fragile strength

The oceans and seas
Mighty and commanding
They roar and display their majesty
With crashing waves and splashy bravado
They spare few prisoners
And graveyards of sunken ships
Whisper of stories untold

Birds chirp and warble
With songs that humans long to know
For they travel through the air
In simplistic freedom
Their chorus of communication
Is a poetic symphony just as entertaining
As any band of musicians or artists

The winds blow and whistle
Though they have no mouths
If you listen close enough
You can hear their secrets
Their breath of life in the
Ever flowing
Breezes that enfold us

You'd swear the mountains
Were painted that way
Brawny and broad, peaked high above
Against the grand canvas we call the sky
Yes, paintings are poems, too
For a picture speaks a thousand words
But no mere man can make a mountain

You see
We are merely students
Taught by God's natural, creative genius
We are merely imitators
Of what nature displays
We are not originals
For we are not the first poets
Nor the first storytellers
1.9k · Sep 2011
Rose Colored Glasses
Dorothy A Sep 2011
My eyes used to see faded colors
Everywhere I looked, I saw shades of grey
But now I got on my rose colored glasses
And everything is going to be Ok


To hell with a pair of rosy lenses!
I don't need to wear those pastel shades!
Who was it who said that life should be easy?
And that everyone should have it made?
1.9k · Jan 2014
Always Chasing Happiness
Dorothy A Jan 2014
Always chasing happiness
Seldom to stick around
Summer--it's too hot
Winter--it's too cold
Childhood--it's too long
Adulthood--it's too short and hectic
My aching brain can go in feverish circles
Longing, trying to find if happiness really exists
Or it just gives up in complacent surrender
Growing numb with doubt that it ever was real
After all, I belong to a society
That thinks we are forever entitled to happiness
Every minute of every day

But happiness isn't over there somewhere
Nor is it this or that thing that can be gone tomorrow
Too often becoming what really did not make us happy anyhow
Surely, happiness was never designed to heed all our demands
Never to be controlled or schemed  
No, happiness is a journey of the soul  
The ability to receive and to give love and kindness
It's discovery when you think you have nothing else to learn
It's letting go of the stones to throw
Not an easy road, for sure...but worth it
It's discovering what you can do verses what you cannot
It's connecting to a sloppy, messy world
And not expecting its perfection in order to live in it
It's the Divine touch beyond your limited comprehension
It's connecting and reconnecting with yourself
And being at peace with the being that you are
Dorothy A Jan 2014
A lifelong Michigander
I've endured my share of brutal winters
The ones that seem to thoroughly freeze you
Right into the cracks of your armor
You know, the toughness that you show the world
Deeper experiences than your skin, reaching past and
Down right to your bones

A woman seemingly designed for melancholy
I struggle and have to beware of making it my identity
For I am much more than that sorrow which has shaped me
I've endured my share of hardship and pain
You know, the kind that bandages cannot reach
And pain can feel like a gnawing within
Like the winters that penetrate you
Ones that reach your bones
And bone crushing, they do feel

But I'm no fool
And I use the pain
For in vain I won't let it become
For spring could not be so glorious, it seems
Without the show of its flip-side...a frozen reality

Joy would be meaningless to me
Without understanding the truth of
Disappointment, sorrow, hurt, loneliness...
gut-wrenching misery that all must face
At least once in their lives

Maybe it sounds cliche but....
The rain might seem dismal and unpleasant
But surely you bask in the green of its fulfillment
A birth might be agonizing for the mother
But surely the life brought into the world is the beautiful result

These are some of my thoughts, lately
The conceiving and jotting down of them
Help me to hold on when life doesn't seem right
Help me to grow beyond my comforts to reach up and beyond
Challenging me to stretch my faith into a bigger dimension  
While getting through the tempests of life
Dorothy A Jan 2016
Rob's father came up to him on his eighteenth birthday, and tossed a *** of cash at him. "Time to be a man", he said in his usual gruff manner, "Get yourself a hot one".  His grinning face seemed more like a sneer, but Rob wasn't all that surprised. Throughout his adult life, he was thankful and glad that his mother kept him fairly grounded, did the best that she could, molded him into the man that he was, and he marveled at how she put up with such an *******.

Her name was Kat, but there were no introductions, not while he was soliciting her for ***. She was a few years older than he, but Rob never asked for any details.  He just wanted to get on with it, for he felt not only awkwardly nervous and ill-prepared, but halfhearted in his approach to buy some time, to hook up with a stranger in the shadows of the street lamps.  

Sure, if his old man wanted to give him some money—free cash—why the hell not? Instead of finding a "hot one", Rob was face-to-face with a burned-out and vulnerable, young woman who tried to hide behind her ****, seductive exterior. She was equally as halfhearted as he was about getting it on, for business-as usual seemed to weigh her down like a heavy chain wrapped about her ankles

So Rob opted out of this whole thing. He asked if he could buy her a cup of coffee. Why not? It was a chilly night, and they wanted to warm up—in  a legitimate way.

They found a small, late-night diner. It wasn't long before Kat admitted she made a huge mistake, and would do anything to get another start. Her regret was leaving Nebraska, leaving her hometown—her mom, her little sister and brother left behind. Her father was the dearest man she ever knew, but he died when she was eleven-years-old. If only he could see her now. She would be so ashamed to face him, and glad he wasn't around to witness this sordid path she regretfully chose.

Once, Nebraska seemed like an insignificant blot on the map of the world, but now it was inviting to her. She longed to make amends to her family and to get back to the basics.  She wasn't sure what she would do with her life, but what she had right now wasn't what dreams were all about. It was a world of unscrupulous pimps and men who lurked around, wanting their fill, their lusts exposed discretely, yet so ****** upon her to be met.

She had enough. Rob was the first guy that came along in a long time that really cared to listen to her, though he seemed more a boy than a man. Yet she's been with his kind before. She has seen all kinds—white and blue collar, old and young, married and single, the well-experienced and the sexually inept, the *** addicts and first-timers, the boring, the daring, the *****—yet safe ones—as well the creepy kind that a street-smart lady needed to have eyes in the back of her head for.  

When they went to the bus station, together, Rob admitted, "I got to tell you, straight. I'm still thinking you could be scamming me for drug money...and I'm maybe a complete *****... but I want to take this chance." Kat smiled, a tender sort of a smile, and gave him a soft peck on the cheek, along with a big bear hug. "You're an angel", she declared. She really was beautiful, with big, lovely eyes surrounded by big, fake lashes.  Seen through eyes of his inexperience—his innocence—she really felt beautiful, something she hasn't felt in a long while.

Kat wanted to pay Rob back for giving her the needed, extra money to buy her ticket. She offered to do that in the best way she knew how and made him an offer. Having a night of free *** wasn't what Rob ever wanted. No, there were no strings attached. So she jotted down her mother's address in Nebraska, and told him to be in touch. "I want to prove to you that I'm turning my life around. I'm going to do it, too. I promise", she said, sincerely. She had no trouble looking him in the eye, tears beginning to well up, and she began to choke up while saying, ”I just can't thank you enough".

Whether he did the right thing or not, Rob would wonder. He would never forget her—even if he wanted to forget. Only a brief couple of hours with her, but she made an impact in his mind, like a branding iron that would sear the hell out of his brain. Later, he lied to his dad, and pretended to be thrilled that he got the chance to have such an awesome night—just rocking! It was the best birthday present so far!  For a moment, he thought of telling him the truth, but he pictured his dad saying, "You *****! You wasted your chance and my money!"

Rob decided that he wasn't going to write her. He just didn't want to know, instead wanting to assume she made it out okay. He decided to keep the paper with her address, anyway. It took him several months, after mulling it over in his mind, to actually write her a brief note to ask how she was managing. Did she really go back home? Was she doing alright? Did she put her ****** life behind her?

It was only a week when he received a letter back from Nebraska. Rob kept that letter to himself, never telling a soul about Kat. She was back with an old boyfriend from high school, staying with her mom and working part-time as a cashier in a supermarket. She was so eager to write him back, thrilled that he finally contacted her, and wondered why on earth it took him so long.  Rob believed her, like he first did about her story, and it was a relief to hear from her.  He was glad he took the chance. It seemed to pay off.

He heard nothing back from her until over a year later. This time she sent a picture in her letter. Kat and her boyfriend broke up, for the second time, but she was now married to her good friend's cousin, Nolan. She was glad it didn't work out with the first guy, because now she was pretty happy and couldn't imagine her life any other way. Rob smiled as he saw the picture of the couple, and she was holding her little girl in her arms. He name was Willow, a cute, little girl with strawberry blonde hair.

Thanks, again, Rob! It is all because of you! You’re a sweetheart. My hero!!!

He didn't want to take the credit. He was no hero. It was bound to happen, with or without him.  Rob was quite sure now that he would not write her another letter, but did pick up a card to congratulate her, to acknowledge he got the good news and was glad for her.

He still had that picture of her, and the last news he found out about Kat is that she moved to Colorado with her husband, and now had a son, Nolan Rob. Her husband got a better paying job, and she felt at home near the mountains. A picture of the kids came with it, and her two smiling children conveyed the innocence that she once had and cherished.

Wanted you to see my boy. His middle name, Rob, is after you! I figured you'd know this, but I want to tell you, anyway! :D Much love from us to you, Robbie!

Time has passed, and during that back-and-forth.  Rob's parents split up, sold the house, and he had graduated from college and was on his own. Contact with Kat waned down to nothing at all, and it probably was just as well. Were things still going good in her life? Rob still wondered and hoped so.

Now he was married, with a nice house and boy and girl of his own, thinking of Kat, now and then. He envisioned her doing well, a far cry from the young woman in a scene that replayed in his head, a night when he helped an unhappy and desperate lady get a chance to find her life, again. If ever his day ******, such thoughts could pick him back up.

He'd never cease to wonder about her, but what he did for Kat belonged in the past.  If it wasn't happily-ever-after for her, he'd rather not know.  He did his part, was glad that he had enough maturity and integrity to do the right thing, but no way was he a knight in shining armor.  Still, he was a hero in her eyes, a reluctant hero of sorts. He could live with that.
Dorothy A Nov 2012
I surely love to talk
And am seldom lost for words
I even talk in my sleep

But I want to listen more
With my two ears
Outnumbering my one mouth

I want to get the fullness of
What one is saying
And regard those words as just as important

As mine

And most of all
I want to hear God's voice
In the stillness of my life

Turning off the music more
The computer and television
The constant distractions

For God speaks to our hearts
Often in the silence of the day
And I don't want to miss

Those moments
1.7k · Jun 2012
Green Grass (haiku)
Dorothy A Jun 2012
Winter makes it sleep
Summer sun, power to parch
Spring, victorious
Dorothy A Oct 2013
I'm hopelessly lost without you, Lord
For I know that my life has been an utter mess
And, with You, it can always have new beginnings
New life breathed into the lifelessness that I've felt
Dorothy A Apr 2015
Are you wounded?
There are endless ways that life can mar your heart
I need not read off the written list
For it would wind around the world
Again and again and again
Resembling a paper mache ball

Are you wounded?
Feeling beyond repair?
Oh, I hear you
And I don't know
Your persistent, internal struggles
Nor you truly mine
But I'm writing to testify now
That I'm still here

Though words can often seem empty
I'm proclaiming today: Never give up
When you think you've felt too much
Know that the sun rises every day without fail
And like its beacon of light
A glorious, universal flame
Take heed of its returning presence
And do likewise

For there is always someone else
Who is just as hurting as you
Or even worse
Who needs your light
To shine his or her way  
And banish the suffocating darkness
So share your torch
It just might initiate a spreading trend  

Don't let your pain be in vain
Dorothy A Nov 2010
Snakes strike with venom
Scorpions can be killers
Human stings are worse
1.6k · Aug 2012
Call it Quits
Dorothy A Aug 2012
I am bruised
I am bleeding
I am broken
Most cannot see it as they go about
It is not a physical thing
Except for the anger, sorrow and shame
Reflected on my face

The heaviness weighing me down

I engage in a fight, continually
One that I desperately want to call it quits  
Want to be rid of
If not for once and for good
I want to at least stop
And get a different perspective
To give it a rest for now
But how can I do that

When I am the true foe?

For I am the sole opponent
My own worst enemy
And the constant fight is
Within and not without
There is no referee
Who can declare a fair fight
There is no audience to cheer me on
To be the victorious champion
But only quiet desperation,
Wishful thinking and

Good intentions gone bad

For in this continual,
Almost daily match
Between me and myself
In the boxing arena of my thoughts,
This ugly, viscous cycle goes on 
Of self-inflicted pain and suffering
Quite intense, at times
Sometimes, at a low level battle,
But no winners are ever declared

Only defeat and indignity

So wrapped up in myself
Much of the time
When I want to be angry,
At the way my life is going,
Or mad at the often turbulent world,
For containing me inside it,
I turn around and
Attack who else?

Myself, again and again

Not able to get it together
The clutter in my mind
The clutter in my life
The fully needless
The utterly useless
The completely worthless
Things that seem to stick like glue
And do absolutely nothing for me

Soul consuming as quicksand

Standing so alone
In this battered state
I cannot point the finger at another
For any sort of blame
Not another person
Not at God

I willingly take the blame

And often disgusted
At who I am
I truly don't want to
Live this life
With little hope

For relief or redemption

The continual yearning
For faith, hope and love,
That seems to slip
Out of my hands so easily,
I desperately want to grasp
With an ironclad fist
And never let go of

But they often evade me

Maybe letting go
Is truly my problem,
And the key to my solution,
In equal proportions
Yet I desperately fear
That in letting go of all the junk
That I'll be left
With nothing that seems familiar
Virtually nothing at all

But empty hands

Even as a writer
I know I could do more
A talent I wonder
Why I deserve
And am amazed that
Someone like me
Could capture someone else's attention

In any way, shape or form  

In my mind
I am the worst of the worst
A title that I don't even deserve
For disappointment,
Disillusionment and disgust
Define many a soul

Do they not?

And I only kid myself
That I do not share a common thread
With humankind
With many, many others
Who knows exactly what I mean
Who, like convicted criminals,
Feel imprisoned,
But without any visible bars
That prevent their freedom

I am way overdue in calling it quits
Dorothy A Jul 2010
Two hearts
box it out
They're off!
Hard Heart
puts up a good fight!
Sweet Heart
dodges the blows
Oh! Looks like Hard Heart
is gaining momentum
Look at him go!

Sweet Heart
pounds in place
Sweet Heart
is down on the floor!
She's back!
And throws a sucker punch!
Hard Heart
is thrown for a loop!

Look at him rebound!
Back up!
And fiercer than ever!
Sweet Heart
is wearing thin!

A couple more rounds...
Sweet Heart
gets a pep talk...
Go for the center!
Aim hard!

Sweet Heart
is back
to the challenge!
But try as she may
Hard Heart
is extra cold
His belly tough as steel!

A few more punches,
and Referee calls it
Hard Heart wins!!!

Sweet Heart,
tired and panting,
acknowledges her defeat
and walks away
Hard Heart
raises himself up
to a thunderous crowd!!!!!!!!!

But the look on his face!
Is he wearing soft?
Suddenly, he feels dejected
and somehow
he find the trophy
of loneliness
isn't that sweet
after all
Dedicated to my father (1929-2005) who really turned into a sweet hearted man eventually
1.6k · Jan 2015
Saying "I Love You"
Dorothy A Jan 2015
Some people say it with ease. I hear it when people talk to, let's say,  a child or a parent on phone after conversation—or in person.  I wished it were that easy for me.

I am quite sure my parents did not hear it as children. That is why I never heard it growing up. My parents were not affection-less people, though. It was just that the words were foreign to them.

When my grandma was dying of heart disease in 1985—my mom's mom—my mom told her on the phone that she loved her. I think my grandmother said it first, and my mom echoed it. But it was such an unusual three-word saying that my mom choked up and got quite emotional. I think it was more the words spoken, than the realization that her mom would die, that tore my mom up.

Well, my grandmother probably never heard it from her parents. Her father was supposed to be a very compassionate man, but her mother was a funny one. Her dad kept my maternal grandparents afloat. They had thirteen children—my mom being the oldest— and he gave his daughter his old house when he moved out. My mom also remembers him coming over the house with vegetables from his garden to help feed her big family.

My grandma's mom, on the other hand, was unforgiving. Her mother died back in Alsace—in Germany— in an air attack back in World War I. From then on, she despised Italians--even her own Italian son-in-law and the children she would avoid. She remained angry at my grandma for marrying my grandpa—because it must have seemed a foolish move—and from then on my grandma didn't see much of her.

My dad didn't get to hear, "I love you", either, from his folks. I'd bet the farm on that.  One of his female cousins had a tale about my grandmother's mom. The cousin's mother was the youngest surviving sibling that my grandmother had. This sister, the cousin's mother,  had a friend who came from a very loving and demonstrative family. They said they loved each other all the time, so my great aunt said it to her mother one day. My great grandmother was told to have given her such a look—not  saying it back—that this aunt never said it, again. So when her children probably wanted her to say it, saying it wasn't easy.

In 1998, when my brother died of suicide, I was having a hard time with it afterwards. My dad told me I was dwelling on too much. Probably not even a month later, that was news to me. I let him have it.

"You never even told me that you loved me!"

Well, for a while we said it to each other. It was weird, and it didn't last too long, but we said it. It is a shame I had to demand it, though.

Well, saying, "I love you" is still not easy. I say it, but it still doesn't seem natural. I'm all for it, because many people don't hear it enough. It is a foreign language that just needs to be learned.

After all, don't we all crave it? Don't we all need it? No, not the contrived stuff—but we all need to know that we matter and we deserve to be here.
1.5k · Oct 2010
Dorothy A Oct 2010
They came from Germany
They came from France
They came from Switzerland
They came from Poland
They came from Lithuania
And God knows where else

What I thought I once was
I now am not
Discovering so much more
while shedding some of the mystery
But the irony is
that opens up a need
for new questions
I may never have the answers for

There is much more German
And barely any French
No Scottish, after all
Perhaps some Russian
Who knows for sure?
Most shocking of all
a touch of African blood
from a German/French
2nd great grandmother
It shows up in her face
of the only photo I have of her
It shows up in my DNA

I am the sum of all of them
To imagine
it took so many of them
to make who I am today
All of us, actually
owe our lives to these people
who came before us

It always has intruiged me
I wish to know more
To know where my origins began
doesn't need to define me
or make me who I am today
But it satisfies a burning curiosity
To look at old photos and see
bits of my relatives
bits of myself
Dorothy A Mar 2017
Aubrey was confronted by her mom in the kitchen as she was making her lunch for school the next day. "Two sandwiches?" her mom questioned. "What's up with that, Aubrey? Since when do you eat more than one sandwich?" Actually Aubrey ate well. It was always a healthy lunch for her, perhaps a sandwich with some lettuce and tomato on it, or something cooked and leftover. She rarely indulged in sweet snacks, like her brother and sister did, never going without a couple pieces of fruit in her bag.  

Audrey was a freshman in high school, and she was a forthright girl. There was no need to hide anything, so  she replied nonchalantly, "It's not for me. It is for Wade Hodak. He doesn't have a sandwich in his lunch".

With her hands on her hips, Audrey's mom smelled something fishy. Was Wade taking advantage of her? She replied, "And why not? Since when is it up to you to look after him?"

"Mom!" Aubrey protested. "He is lucky his mom even gets any child support from his dad! Her paycheck doesn't come til the end of the week. Sometimes, he eats okay, but sometimes they just don't have the money! You know how it is with bills and stuff! It is usually just a bag of chips and whatever else he can find"

Aubrey's mom only vaguely knew of Wade Hodak. What little she knew of his mother, his mom seemed on the up-and-up. She remembered that the woman had to pull her daughter out of  dance class because she couldn't afford it, the same class her younger daughter was in.

Aubrey's mom smiled and gave her a kiss and a hug, "Peanut butter and jelly?" Well, don't lay it on too thin.", she advised.  Aubrey smiled big, a sweet smile with those braces on her teeth, and she was becoming a beautiful, young woman, both inside and out.

"That's what I was hoping you would say", Aubrey said and added, gratefully. "Thanks mom".  Peanut butter and jelly it was.
1.5k · Dec 2014
Dorothy A Dec 2014
I was just remembering today about one of the hardest times in my life. It brought me to tears.  My estranged brother—the second brother—had committed suicide, shot himself in the head out in SeaTac, Washington. He was pretty isolated from my family, angry for a long time about his upbringing and was also hiding a secret about his sexuality. As I see it, my brother always tried to act macho, and gay was not macho. It was obvious he was very depressed, and I think he was running out of money due to being out of work.

I recall my father calling me on the phone, and asking, “Dottie, are you sitting down?” Then he told me my brother killed himself. “I expected that”, I think I replied, as if I could ward off the shock, the fear, the pain and the guilt. The tidal wave was yet to come.  

I never tried, made no attempt, to **** myself. I was far too fearful of what was beyond that decision.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to do it. I surely thought of it as a way out, a final solution.

They told me in the hospital that I didn’t want to live anymore, not that I was directly suicidal. I believe they were right. I had a death inside, a sinking hopelessness that I could not believe would ever change. It unnerved me so that my brother could have easily been me.

I had checked myself into the psych ward, and it felt I was locked in and the key was thrown away. You would have thought that I was in for three months instead of three days.

This all took place almost seventeen years ago. In spite of feeling like I had nothing to live for. Instead of dying, I lived on. In two, easy words:  I survived. I could never adequately describe—really verbalize—how low that I had felt, at times. Words don’t do it justice.

I never dodged a bullet. I never felt my life flash before my eyes. Nevertheless, I feel like a survivor. I did have a few close calls in life--as a pedestrian in an encounter with cars. But what really makes me feel like a survivor is going up against the great wall of depression. What really makes me feel like I've made my way is fighting with that emotional giant that has threatened my very being.

No one need have a story like mine to feel like a survivor, either. Life isn’t easy for plenty of us. And really everyone comes from survivor stock—people who came before us that had to struggle to make it. With such things as slavery, high childhood mortality rates, and so on, one can get the gist.  

And one can surely believe what they want, but I believe in God and in heaven—of much more than meets the eye—of a purpose. It might not be a purpose shining in neon lights, but it’s a purpose, nonetheless. I’ve fought with the concepts of having meaning, and in my faith, at times. I mean I really struggled, intellectually as well as in gut wrenching form. But if this world is it—and then lights out—I would view my life as no more significant than a swarm of mosquitoes or a grey rock in a pile of other grey rocks. Some might scoff at that. I beg to differ.

That’s what gets me through the hard times, and keeps me going.
1.5k · Nov 2010
Cockeyed Optimist
Dorothy A Nov 2010
Maybe I was born
to be a Debbie Downer
Maybe I was born
to sing the blues

But I think I'll be
a cockeyed optimist
for what have I got to lose?
Dorothy A Mar 2015
I was volunteering in our church thrift closet yesterday. It is a time to change over the winter clothes to the spring clothes. This is a great benefit to the community to be able to shop there.

I talked and worked next to another church volunteer, and we got into a really good conversation.  I will not share her name, but will share some of what she said to me. I have no problem opening up to strangers, for I find that I have that gift in the ability to share my humanity. A very sensitive person, I like to be able to relate to people who have a story to tell. We all have stories to tell, do we not?  

We talked about our faith. We talked about the problems that we had in our family of origins. She shared about her divorce and ability to get back on her feet and start a daycare center when she was used to being a housewife.

The indomitable human spirit. Well, clearly many succumb to the hardships they face. I've seen plenty of things on the TV. I've witnessed this tragedy in some people's lives that I personally knew. In addition, I heard about some unhappy stories from what other people told me they experienced or heard about.

Absolutely, the news is supposed to report what is actually going on in the world, and much of that is grim reality. We all grow weary of it.  Yet the entertainment value of television can often provide nothing better than the unpleasant side of life to get ratings. Often it is fictional violence and crime. That's odd, because I observe that we Americans shy away from death. It still seems like a taboo topic.  Yet at the same time, we are so intrigued as if to peak at it from a distance like wondrous children hoping not to get caught.    

Back to my discussion with this woman, I shared that I am an amateur  writer. I shared about my first encounter with tragedy, as I just wrote about two children close to my age that I knew of who were murdered by their mother. I was just a child. It was a very, very scary reality for my young psyche.

This fellow volunteer related back to my story that her paternal grandmother and her aunt were both victims of suicide. The grandmother turned on the oven and letting the gas fumes overtake the house. "They both did it together?" I questioned.  

It ends up the aunt was only three years old. I said, "No, it was a ******/suicide."  The mother was in a forced marriage and desperate to get out.  This is the kind of stuff that is far more shocking when in your own life than when on the news.

This woman also told me that her father was the one who found his mother and sister. He was only seven-years-old! I truly felt for her and for that man! Well, she had shared prior to this story that her father had a mental breakdown in his early twenties and wasn't able to work after that.

"No wonder", I replied, understanding what he went through. How could he be unscathed by such a tragedy?  I'm sure there was more to what was wrong with him, but I could see how this could be so damaging to a seven-year-old soul.

Later in life, he spent a lot of times in mental institutions. I had shared that my paternal grandmother had to be committed, too. The woman also shared that though her parents were separated and eventually divorced. Her mother and father still loved each other very much, so that wasn't the reason. She loved her father very much, too, and looked after him when she was an adult. Her father just couldn't cope with his family or be the provider that he was supposed to be. Times were hard, and the mother had to scrounge around for any menial work that she could acquire to support the family, sometimes not having enough to eat so the children could have enough. It is similar to my dad having to support himself, his mother and his brothers when he was still a boy, living in terrible poverty.    

This kind of story swapping gives me great insight and is helpful for when I lose my proper perspective or get angry at the world.  I cannot deny that I have been bitter, yet this woman never felt this way. It wasn't on her radar. She made that quite clear that she was able to avoid those pitfalls. Undoubtedly,  her faith helped her to move forward, was and is the wind in her sails.

Bitterness is a choice. Both of us go to church in spite of the ugly stuff we witnessed or knew of, the things that often become the easy chance to question the existence or fairness of God or the meaningfulness of life.

I have struggled--and still have struggles--with becoming better by my trials. I'm not always there, but I realize that to give up on the battle is not an option.  The world is full of over-comers. The news doesn't always report that. It isn't the sensational stuff of headlines, but it is up to each of us who struggled with life to make our own, personal news stories. A triumphant headline, indeed, is the one I want to publish. To dismiss that experience is to miss out on any growth, and I find that more tragic than the hardship itself.

For when we overcome, we are more willing to relate our humanity, reaching out and helping those who also desperately need a helping hand, as well.
Better is when the "i" is taken out of bitter
1.4k · Jan 2015
January Arctic
Dorothy A Jan 2015
When winter comes, I think of survival. I know that trying to survive consists all throughout the year, but I really sense it in winter. I am blessed. I have all the provisions--a warm place to live, adequate clothing and food on the table--though I am poor.  

The 2013/2014 winter of last year was one of the worst ones on record. Polar vortex--I never even heard of such a term--but now I was stuck in one. The icy, frozen blast was relentless and wickedly dangerous, the snow practically endless. This year is not a copycat version, but the arctic blasts have come to remind me of how fragile that existence can be, that survival isn't a guarantee but more of a privilege. That is why the world needs to be interconnected to make it, as opposed to each man out for himself. Survival--I never take it for granted.
1.4k · Sep 2012
Beating A Dead Horse
Dorothy A Sep 2012
How come with all the brilliant thoroughbreds
That stand strong and ready at the starting gates
Those glorious, shiny coats gleaming in the sun
Do I keep on beating dead horses?
Instead of placing my bets on the alive and thriving?

Don't I want to finally engage in the race?
Don't I want to to keep my eyes on the winning prize?
For a dead and decaying horse,
With flies swarming about its lifeless carcass
Just ain't gonna move

Dead horse beating is a ludicrous hobby
It is more futile than leading a thirsty horse to water that just won't drink
That whip, in hand, just needs to be surrendered, put down on the ground
As well as finally releasing, letting go, on the pulling of those reins
So that horse can finally have a proper burial

Be finally laid to rest

In my dictionary
Dead horse (a noun) = people, places, or things of decay that should be out of your life
Dead horse beating (a verb) = from your thoughts to your actions, trying to revive a lost cause
Dead horse (synonoms) =  bad relationships/friendships/acquaintances {that are of the morgue}

Anything that is counterproductive to your life
1.4k · Sep 2011
In a Pink Orangish Sky
Dorothy A Sep 2011
The clouds are set
In a cloud kingdom tapestry
A glorious backdrop upon
the pink orangish sky

The sun has begun setting
After the rain clouds
began departing
to leave us with
a pink orangish sky

My dreams are set upon
The skies above me
Wrapped up in the beauty of
a pink orangish sky

It appears to me as a curtain
and my eyes are certain
that the night skies are bowing
to the pink orangish sky

I hold my hopes
in the heavenly spaces
As I keep pushing forward  
below the pink orangish sky

It really delights me
It really excites me
to write an ode
to a pink orangish sky

Can you hear my song
In this humble piece of poetry?
It all came from my view
of a pink orangish sky
1.4k · Oct 2013
The Moon
Dorothy A Oct 2013
The Moon is a great actor
He plays many roles
A skilled magician
He can make himself disappear

He can be round and fat
Like he swallowed a cosmic balloon
Or so discrete--crescent shaped as a pastry
An angel seated upon his lap, lazily lounging in the night sky

He can be faint like a ghost
Filmy and smoky, most mysterious
Among the wispy clouds
Or as a big brother to the stars

He is an inspiration
A glorious night light
To awakened dreamers
And lovers gazing the heavens

He becomes a teacher
To various artists
Painters, poets and such
Immortalized in print, canvas and stone

He is an orchestra leader  
To the howling wolves, banding in song
An icon of beauty to the human tribute
Towards him in musical rejoicing

He is a master of madness
Maybe in anarchy
One who takes much of the blame
For our odd and crazy behavior
Dorothy A Dec 2012
When she was a little girl, she said she wanted to be an author. She didn't want to be a ballerina or cow girl. Maybe an actress would do, for she had quite a flair for the dramatic.

But to the world, she was so shy, cripplingly shy, and she had very low, self-esteem. She didn't dare to dream too much, for she couldn't imagine really doing anything that could draw attention to herself. She often just wanted to hide, and her imagination accompanied her in her world.

She remembered her grade school teacher reading to her class about Abraham Lincoln. She came home that day, and somehow she wrote it just as well as she could remembrer it, with her own pictures, too. Her mother was so impressed that she bragged to everyone that her daughter wrote it all on her own, out of her own head. It must have looked that convincing to her mother.

But as she grew older, the girl didn't ever give herself permission to write something, even when it was required in school to write a poem. It was daring. She could be made fun of.

How could someone like you do that?

She wasn't unintelligent. She had a good command of the English language. She even went to college and earned a degree, the only one out of three children. But she had her heart set on psychology.

When she moved away from home in her twenties, she suddenly flourished. She took community education classes in painting, and had no idea she really could pull of what she did. Painting felt so free, like such an accomplishment. It felt good to create, to work with her hands.

And then she was on a roll. She began to write, and you just couldn't stop her. Most of her writing was pretty good, and some of her work was not to her liking. Years later she would read them again, and she could see that some so-so ones could be salvaged, or the better ones could even be better yet by fixing some of them up. She once thought she had reached her peak, but when the roller coaster of life brought her new thoughts, she was on another roll.

She wanted to be a published author, but she learned that it really wasn't about being well-known. She tried to publish some poems, but she learned that no matter what she did, she was still an author. Whether she was doing it for living, or for the love of writing, she was still a writer. She was what that little girl wanted to be, but who was terrified it could happen more than she was terrified that it wouldn't come true.

Her ultimate dream was to write a novel. Her uncle, very close in age, was angry at her for writing what he thought was a fantastic draft of a novel. She tore it up, for it was way over her head. And did this all without the help of a computer, scribbling away in notebooks. and haphazard means, that she could even barely read. Her penmanship was never very good.

Imagination has always been a good guide, fueling her with scenerios in her head about people that she had invented, that she had created, with bits and peaces of real life experiences and observations. But translating her thoughts to paper were often a challenge, not always easy to portray as she had thought of them. She surely had a gift, and she didn't think she really deserved it. She took one writing class, and she seemed to do well. But she didn't pursue it much further than a single class, and a few poetry readings.

Someone she knew from her church had got on her case for not writing every day.

You have a gift, and you aren't using it. God gave you that gift".    

"Well, let Him take it away", she retorted to the accusation.

But it would not be taken away. Writing was a catharsis, when life got too heavy. It was an escape, a place she could design her own world--at least on paper.  It was a way to feel freedom and expression that did not come so easily in life. It brought her such satisfaction when done to her approval, when good feedback came.

No, she would not write everyday. She was not a machine, but she knew she would never want writing to be taken away or denied her. That, scared, little girl that once declared that she wanted to be an author never really went away, for her desires were not fickle, not a passing fancy.  

So even if she did not have anything published, sitting on a store bookshelf. thanks to the internet, she has been able to share her thoughts, her fears, her hopes, her dreams, her disappointments--her words on display.

She knows she is in good company.
1.4k · Jun 2010
All Equals
Dorothy A Jun 2010
All equals,
we are all developing
in the womb
called potential.
All are ready,
each and every one,
to be born,
an unlimited woman or man

All equals,
we are all seen
through loving eyes
of our Creator
as a baby is looked upon
by its mother,
led by a gentle hand

When one
dominates another,
they are gaining ground
but loosing sand,
for we are all
granules on the beach,
equals upon the land
1.4k · Jan 2016
Logan, The Bully (fiction)
Dorothy A Jan 2016
His mother thought he had the face of an angel, but his teachers and his schoolmates saw the demon in him. Many knew the real Logan, contrary to the darling boy image in his school picture.  His chunky, freckled face was obnoxious, not angelic. Instead of innocence, the look of deviousness came through in those shifty, light blue peepers of his.  His incisors were on the pointy side, like mini fangs, and whenever Logan smiled one thought of a rattlesnake. Sure, he was smart, and he had stellar grades, yet he used his wits to be sneaky, often trying to outwit everybody, appearing to be a prize student in the classroom while being the Class A **** on the playground.  

A big, stout boy, he used this physical advantage to torment his less advantaged peers. When no adults were in sight, he was always trying to corner others at school, pushing his weight around to abuse those smaller than he was, applauding his own one-boy-show of intimidation with raucous laughter and claps.

Indeed, the targets of Logan’s aggression were always the weaker ones, not the ones who would ever think twice about beating the crap out of him. He went to great lengths to terrorize others—tripping them up, pushing them around, getting up in someone’s face to tell that kid how ugly or how stupid that he was—anything that caused trouble. The victims were sometimes brought to tears, and Logan was quick to call them sissies and babies. A kid named Conner, a fellow six grader, was one of Logan's favorites to pick on. Sometimes, Logan attracted a small audience of bystanders, some of them egging him on while the rest were just watching.  So Logan had his partners-in-crime through either entertainment value or passivity—a great ego booster for such a bully as him.

Few kids tried to fight back, for they were quickly overpowered, and they all knew they were no match for the likes of such a creep.  For fear of retaliation—not wanting to be branded as a snitch—most of Logan’s victims were too scared to tell anyone, the teacher or their parents. Once in a while, a protector, a fellow student, would tell the teacher on their behalf.

Logan hated snitches because it would land him in the classroom during plenty of recess times, or in the principal's office. It also brought him a day of suspension, here and there, with his mother threatening to sue the school. A small number of parents were banding together, wanting Logan out of that school, and Conner's mom was one of them.  Conner might as well have worn a target on his back saying, "Come and get me!"    

Conner knew where he stood—as a member of the group of unpopular kids. He was one of the smallest of his classmates, and with his bright red hair and crooked teeth he was a splendid target for Logan’s juvenile jollies. He avoided Logan any chance he got, staying close to the classroom during recess or walking a much longer route home from school, often delaying going home but feeling all the more alone and vulnerable. His few friends all told him the things they wanted him do to Logan, things they wouldn't dare do, themselves.

Kick him in the nuts!

Jump him from behind and gouge his eyes out!

Tie him up and shove Ex-lax down his mouth!

Wear boots with spikes so you can wrestle him to the ground and stomp all over him!

Conner, you should take up Karate and Kung Foo the **** out of him!!!

Well, Conner would have loved to have given Logan a taste of his own medicine, but never believed it could happen. One day, though, he had enough. For sure, he never even planned to do it, but it happened, nonetheless. When Logan fell back flat back on the school sidewalk, Conner couldn't even believe the big boy landed there. And it happened because of him! Logan couldn't believe it, either, sitting on his rear end with the most dazed expression on his face. Conner clocked him right in the jaw!  Conner was David, and Logan was Goliath, and it was awesome!

Conner just had a perfect shot, with perfect timing and aim. Logan was long overdue to get the result of someone’s wrath, and it was about time someone stuck it to him. Yet Conner never meant this to be a statement for all of Logan's victims. He just was tired of being afraid, of being humiliated.  For the thousandth time, Logan was waiting for him outside of class, blocking his path, and there was just no avoiding things.

Conner truly wanted to fight his own battles—dreamed of it, imagined it—but never in a million years did he think he’d ever really do it!  His mom couldn't be there to defend his every step. Nobody could.  

And there was Logan, so embarrassed as a few other kids gasped and pointed. Some were now applauding and cheering at what Conner just did, even the hypocrites who once cheered on Logan’s bullying. Now the bully was reduced to tears, for a change, as the small crowd jeered and yelled out such things as "Karma!", "Crybaby!", "Way to go, Conner!" and "Kick Logan’s ***!"

Conner actually started to feel sorry for the kid as he stumbled up off the ground and ran off. Other kids came along the scene, and soon Conner was bombarded with congratulatory measures, questions, and wonderment at his great accomplishment. Chalk one up for him! He was the unlikely defender, the kid who had the guts to give it back to the one who made his life miserable. This event would become the talk of his peers for quite some time, something of school legend.

So Logan never bothered Conner anymore. He still was an obnoxious kid, but others took Conner's lead and stood their ground more. Logan slowly learned to back down, still reeling from that one, single and swift defeat. Though he only grew an inch or two that year, Conner felt seven feet tall, and was treated with respect, free to come and go where he pleased. He still had his same nerdy friends—nothing changed in that department—but life was good.
1.3k · Oct 2010
Dorothy A Oct 2010
The devil is a liar
His mouth is consumed with fire
He is the father of all lies
He has tried to ruin so many lives

He devours all that is in his path
Because all that he desires is wrath
Don't get caught up in his many falsehoods
Overcome his evil intentions with good
1.3k · Oct 2010
Childlike Eyes
Dorothy A Oct 2010
Children can be so forgiving
even when they've been
hurt again and again
But adults can build protection
about themselves
like a  a suit of armor made of steel
Their distrust and disillusionment
becomes their impenetrable fortress

How I wish to see the world again
through childlike eyes
To not be jaded
To not be cynical
To not be tainted by hatred

It is said that to inherit
the kingdom of heaven
one has to become like
a little child

Perhaps it is because
they fully believe
and fully accept
and fully forgive
and fully love
with guileless hearts
as we all were meant to do
in this world
1.3k · Sep 2012
Dorothy A Sep 2012
Forget about how Hollywood defines it
Don't let a commercial insist what product creates it
You cannot purchase your sense of worth

Cosmetic surgery,
I've contemplated it myself
But who is to say exactly what perfect features are?  

Don't feel defeated because you think you'll never compare
Don't feel like you have been given less than others
For you are who you are

Nobody owns the true book on beauty
It comes in various editions
And shines greatest from within
Dorothy A Mar 2017
As she often did, Mandy wanted to see the sunrise, but she missed it while struggling to get up and make herself a much needed cup of coffee. Her mug in hand, along with her favorite magazine, she walked out onto her front porch to enjoy the tranquility of the fresh, new day. She thought she caught something out of her peripheral vision and was quite caught off guard. A bit startled, she did not immediately recognize the sleeping figure to her left. Even more startled, she soon realized what she was seeing.  

“Lloyd? What are you doing here?”

Lloyd didn’t move a muscle at her response, sleeping fairly soundly, too soundly to know that he should have already been in his car and long gone.
Again, she asked, “Why are you on my porch? Lloyd! Lloyd!” She nudged him in the shoulder a few times. Was he drunk? There was no smell of alcohol on him.

Now she had roused him out of his slumber, and Lloyd flinched. He was dumbfounded and needed a minute to get his bearings. With a sheepish smile, he slowly sat up and produced a pretty long yawn, stretching out his arms to shake off the night. He was in a rumpled T shirt and jeans, and certainly could have used a blanket.  

Just what her brother doing on her gliding patio couch anyhow, acting like a hobo? Getting it together, he responded, “I just didn’t want to be there...couldn’t handle it last night.”

Mandy’s heart sank. “You mean you were afraid to be home by yourself”, she confirmed to his confession.

He nodded, reluctantly, and slumped back in a slouched position. Mandy handed him her cup of coffee. He needed it more than she did, and he was glad to have it. Her feet in fuzzy slippers shuffled back to the front door as she stopped, turned towards him and said to him, “If it wasn’t summer out I’d call you completely and utterly crazy. You know you could have just told me what really was going on in your head, and I’d have let you sleep on the couch. All you needed to do was to ask—no not ask—tell—tell me instead of making my front porch your hotel room. What kind of sister do you think I am?” She wasn’t sure that her little lecture got through his thick skull.

Before she opened up the door, she threw her little brother a slight glance of compassion and said, “I’ll make us some breakfast…”  

Mandy asked their brother, Bill, if Lloyd was acting strangely in his company, as well. He said, “Yeah, he hangs around here a lot more than he used to.  We have him over for dinner a lot, and I know he feels like an intruder…though he never says it. Karen never complains and the kids like having their uncle around.” Bill paused and added, “He used to be so much fun, but I see the difference. I see when he pretends with the kids, and see how it is when he is more alone. He probably doesn’t think I notice.  I notice”.

Bill and Mandy always looked after their little brother.  A gregarious boy, he always loved attention. Getting that attention often meant getting himself into trouble. He found himself in the principal’s office more than once—pulling the fire alarm was a prank that got him two days suspension. It could also be graffiti, clowning around in class, coming in with a jar of spiders to freak other students out, or initiating skipping school with his friends made him a big target for trouble.

When it was Devil’s Night, there was one demon that could be counted on for soaping windows and tossing toilet paper up trees. It seemed like harmless kids stuff, but it got Lloyd caught and in his room for punishment for one, whole week after school. It seemed he was grounded all the time, and his mother often delivered his punishment, but she still held a soft spot for her son.  

Lloyd had his redeeming qualities. Everyone thought Lloyd would be great in the drama club in high school, not one timid bone in his body, and he could captivate an audience. He’d be great for the stage. So when the school was putting on the play, Fiddler On The Roof, Lloyd got to be understudy for the role of Tevya. When Joe Schwinn came down with a really bad cold, Lloyd finally got his chance to get on stage.

It was just that Lloyd had such a huge task to be the lead role for this production. It wasn’t that he didn’t learn the lines, but it was a tall order to fill.  He was doing a pretty good job, but he was adlibbing all throughout the play, getting a few, unexpected laughs here and there. But when it came time for Tevya to confront his third daughter and her Gentile boyfriend for wanting to marry outside his Jewish faith, Lloyd really started to get stumped. He couldn’t think of his next line, and everything got uncomfortably quiet. He soon blurted out, “Leave my daughter alone and don’t come back, you **** *******!”

It got him the biggest laugh of the night, but also booted out of the drama club and back into the principal’s office the next school day. Nevertheless, Lloyd got lots of high fives from other students, had a blast, and loved having his moment in the limelight.  

Being the youngest in the family, Lloyd’s immaturity made his parents’ hair turn grey—at least that is what his father told him. After taking the family car out for spin to impress his friends, when he only had his permit, Lloyd got into a minor fender ******. He was afraid to call his dad, but the police never gave it a second thought.

His father was furious. “Bill and Mandy, put together, never gave us even an inch of the trouble you give us!” he shouted to his son. For that foolish gesture, Lloyd did not get his license at sixteen, like his friends did. He had to wait until he could legally sign for his own, and that was at eighteen.  It wasn’t cool to wait while all his friends were driving their own cars.

But now Lloyd was thirty-one. He seemed to have learned his lessons, and was a fairly responsible man. He was glad his mother lived to be proud of him, before cancer took her life. He still did not feel he was that much of an accomplishment to his father, and they only talked occasionally. It was like his dad blamed him for her passing, and Lloyd would have done anything to have her back.

In contrast to his funny, devil-may-care side, Lloyd had the more serious, thought provoking side. When his report card wasn’t as full of A grades—like Bill or Mandy’s—he would beat himself up over it. In spite of his shenanigans, he was actually a very good student

He really missed his mom. Though she often wanted to shake some sense into him, still she always believed in him. Now Mandy kind of took up that roll in her place. Even after he could make her angry, his mom would not hesitate to sit him down and tell him things like, “I’m proud of you Lloyd. It’s not what you do. It is who you are…and you are my son.”  If only he could hear those words again from her lips.

Why would he want to go home to an empty house? Especially, the nights were the hardest. The digital clock by his bed seemed to be frozen in time, and the nightmare of insomnia seemed endless.

After knowing him for over six years, with four-and-a half years of married life together, Pamela left him. She once loved him-- or so he thought. She loved his crazy side—his humor and his fun loving nature. Maybe it was the miscarriage that did it. They both wanted children. Maybe it was because Pamela felt sheltered all her life, and soon discovered that marriage would be the way she envisioned it. Maybe it was him--period.  Anyway, she left Lloyd and it tore a hole in his soul. On top of that, he was denied a promotion in the office that went to someone else who didn’t work there as long as he did. The group of friends that he had known much of his life grew apart. Life was caving in around him and he felt helpless to do anything about it.      

It was Mandy who came up with the idea running through her mind. She told Bill, but he was against it and told her to stay out of it. Well, Mandy’s friend, Libby, was cousins with Tammy. It was Tammy who lived down the street from Lindsay and was acquainted with her. Mandy usually never played matchmaker, but she found out that Lindsay was divorced, too, and without any children. Since she dated Lloyd several years ago, at least they weren’t embarking on like some blind date that nobody really wanted to meet up with.

Sure, Lloyd was lonely, but it wasn’t for Lindsay. He was lonely for Pamela. How could his sister expect him to just get over her?  She, too, was alone, almost married her longtime boyfriend, but backed out. Didn’t she understand? But Mandy made Lindsay her Facebook friend, and told her all about the latest with her brother. Though he was a bit perturbed, Lloyd knew his sister meant well. Soon, upon Mandy’s recommendation,  Lindsay sent Lloyd a Facebook request to be her friend.

They never had dated all that long—less than a year. Lindsay reminded him of that duration of time when he first came over for a visit to sit out on her deck in her back yard. To shut Mandy up, he agreed to see her at least once. By now, the feelings for her had long passed. They were once an item together, but it was over a decade ago. They seemed like just kids at the time, though they were twenty-years-old at the time. Lindsay was actually two months older.

“My mom was so upset when she knew I had been drinking with you”, she told him. “You remember?”

Lloyd lifted up his beer in irony and Lindsay lifted hers as they clunk their bottles together. They both burst out laughing, a rarity for both. “I know. She would never allow liquor in your house”, Lloyd said, “Strict Baptist lady, for sure!”

Lindsay teased him. “Oh, you’re such a bad influence! Mom was right!”

“I was!” he exclaimed. “We were underage and lucky no harm came of it other than some **** in the toilet. No wonder your mom wanted you to ditch me!”

Lindsay always tried to please her mother who single handedly raised her only daughter. That was hard to do, though no matter what Lindsay did. She liked Lloyd a lot, but she also loved her mom. But just where was there relationship going anyway.

“You know”, Lindsay confessed. “You were my first, real love”.  She playfully winked and sipped on her beer. “I love bad boys”.

It was like the rebel in Lindsay was delayed, not like it was in her younger years. She always tried to be the good girl, the dutiful daughter, unlike Lloyd. The two were in the same grade, and went to the same high school, but they barely knew of each other in those days. They were never in the same class together and only saw each other in passing down the school halls. Her locker was once across from his. Lindsay did remember, though, his famous role as Tevya, and thinking about it again made her crack up like it just happened the other day.

“You are so much more laid back”, he told her. “I guess your mother was always there to crack the whip, but not anymore. How is she, by the way?”

Lindsay looked sad for Lloyd as she said, “Like your mom, she got cancer, but thank God she recovered. She moved to Florida a few years ago because my brother and his wife insisted the climate would be better for her.” It was actually a relief to not have to rely on her mother. She now had no excuses.  “Sorry to hear about your mother, Lloyd. My condolences.”

Lloyd appreciated her condolences. They reminisced a while, but neither one wanted to talk about the pain of being alone nor express the pain of feeling like utter losers. Lindsay wanted to open up about her two failed marriages, but she also wanted to forget about them. Lloyd was never one to share his innermost thoughts to her. He certainly didn’t want to tell her that he preferred to sleep in his car or on his sister’s front porch or that he tried not to cry because guys don’t do that, struggling with the lump in his throat from holding back so much.  

After talking about their times at the lake, of how they loved to lay on the ground and look at the stars, Lindsay finally said, “I don’t really want to date anyone at this time. I don’t really feel like doing a lot, lately, that I used to do.”

Lloyd didn’t look at her, but felt her eyes upon him. “I know what you mean”, he agreed.  “Depression *****, doesn’t it?”

“I know”, she responded. “I’ve been seeing this counselor for a while, another one, and I guess it helps. I wondered if I’d ever feel anything again. I just often felt like I was going through the motions…and that it was the best way to just get along in life.”

Lloyd didn’t know what to say. Often, he felt the same way, but he just couldn’t voice it. Would he ever want to share his life again with another woman? No, Pamela wasn’t coming back. Everyone told him so, especially Mandy. She never really felt that good about him marrying Pamela to start with, but it wasn’t up to her. It was over. Lloyd logically knew that about Pamela, but emotionally he still wasn’t there.

“I pretend a lot”, Lindsay told him. “I mean I do what I’m supposed to do—go to work, pay my mortgage and my bills…I’m just existing but not living. I’ve made my mistakes, and now I’m afraid—period.  I prefer playing it safe. I prefer not to feel.” She smiled to lighten the atmosphere and rested her hand on his. “Now how’s that for a good catch phrase for a dating website?”  

Lloyd pondered upon what she said. He could have easily said it himself. Eventually, he stood up and extended his hand out. He decided they should go for a walk. It was about three and a half miles to the park they used to hang out in—a good spot.  They walked hand in hand, like they were still together. The wind blew through Lindsay’s hair and spread it around like plant life in the ocean, soft and swaying. She was lovely.

They got to the park and Lloyd pushed her on her swing, higher and higher until she felt like a little girl again. Then they went down the slides and the balance beams. Lindsay would tickle him in the back to try to get him off balance, or she’d push him off and he would pretend to chase her and give it to her. They truly enjoyed each other’s company. Being together really banished the blues for the time, and kept the ugly thoughts of loneliness at bay and from rearing its ugly face.

“So where do we go from here?”  Lindsay asked.

“Huh?” Lloyd wondered what she was getting at. Did she mean for the park or in a deeper way?

“Can we be friends?” she asked him. She seemed uneasy, as if he would say, “Thanks, but no thanks”.

Lloyd felt a bit uneasy himself. He never wanted to hurt Lindsay, or Pamela or anyone. “Of course we can,” he told her. He said what he meant, too. He really wanted to spend time with her. “Let’s just enjoy things for what they are”.

Lloyd picked up some pieces of mulch, and threw them one by one, ahead of him. He asked Lindsay, “Was I really your first love?”

Lindsay thought a moment, and then pulled him by the arm, taking Lloyd to one of the picnic tables. She inspected it.  No, it wasn’t that one. She looked at another table. No, it wasn’t that one, either. And then she went to another one.

He asked, “What are you doing?”

“Found it!” she said at last. Lloyd looked at the table, and among all the carvings in it, Lindsay pointed out what she intended to find.

Lloyd loves Lindsay

“Did I write that?” he asked. He didn’t remember it. He ran his hands over the indented letters surrounded by an uneven heart.

They both sat down and Lindsay explained. “All the time that we were together, I knew I was really starting to like you. I mean really, really like. I wasn’t sure at first, but the feelings just got stronger. I just didn’t want to be the first one to say it—and I thought you’d never!” Her eyes beamed as she went on. “Then it happened. You said, ‘Baby, I love you”. I said, ‘What? Did I just hear what I think I heard?’ Again, you said, ‘Lindsay, I really love you’. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I never thought you’d say it, but I hoped you would!”

Now he remembered. At the time, he was carving something into the table with his pocket knife. When he finally got the urge to tell Lindsay that he loved her, she asked to borrow his knife and right then she wrote it in the table. Lloyd than took back his knife and topped it all off with outlining those words in a heart.

Lloyd truly did love Lindsay. He didn’t lose those feelings after all. To know she loved him back was like medicine to him now. They began to walk back to her house
1.3k · Dec 2010
Father God
Dorothy A Dec 2010
Why do I run from you?
And not to you?
Like a helpless newborn
I want the comfort of Your arms
But I find myself acting
like a confident, self-sufficient soul

Lord, please forgive me for such foolishness

I admit I cannot live without You
That I am more scared than I am brave
In my utter weaknesses, I know I stand defenseless
Because there are many battles to be won
And my life feels ragged and war-torn from the conflicts

So, Lord, I embrace you once again
As your precious child
Calling you Abba Father
Our earthly fathers may forsake us
and fail us shamefully
But I am forever grateful
that You love me forever
and that You have made me

1.3k · Feb 2011
My Michigan
Dorothy A Feb 2011
The most unique of states
is this two-part state
that I call home

Two peninsulas
bridged together
to become one whole
It seems just like a tale
of a man and a woman
united in a bond
of love

So it becomes

My Michigan

God bless my Michigan, today and always!
Dorothy A Mar 2017
Dave took his little boy for a stroll. Hand in hand, they went, as-three-year old Brody loved walking with his daddy. The spring weather was finally here, and green color was starting to return back to the landscape. Brody stopped and  pointed up in the air, and shouted, "Daddy, look! Birds running in the sky!"

A flock of birds flew on by, fleetingly,  and Dave smiled down at his son beaming up at him. Oh, that little-man-in-the making! It was like father, like son! Dave used to say such things when he was his age, yet he never heard it put that way before. Birds running in the sky--wonder what the birds thought of the ant-men down below? He exclaimed to his son, "Those critters have feathered wings, and they can travel like airplanes!  And they can also relax a while and soar through the sky like they were floating on air! Like balloons!" Dave put his hands out like he was an airplane and Brody followed his lead.

"I want to fly!" Brody declared, running around in circles with his outstretched arms.

"Me, too!" echoed Dave. He knelt down on one leg and pulled his boy next to him and pointed to the sky. "When I was a kid I thought those clouds were made of marshmallows. My dad used to say to me, 'Let's go outside and play catch under the marshmallow roof'".   The cottony, white clouds were billowy, three-dimensional puffs of fluff, stuffed up in various patches as if to decorate the big, blue sky.

Brody gave his father a big boy squeeze, a precious moment, indeed. Dave never wanted to lose that imagination that he could share with his son, and his son could share with him.  They both continued on,  making their way under the marshmallow sky.
1.3k · Apr 2017
If I Were A Poem...
Dorothy A Apr 2017
If I were a poem
Would I rhyme?
If I were a poem
Would I be free verse?
Would I be classical or modern?
Ordinary or a cut above?
Minimal or long winded?
Humorous or deep?
Make an impact or keep it simple?

I have written all such things
So I'm not sure
1.3k · Nov 2009
Soldier Boy in Iraq
Dorothy A Nov 2009
Soldier Boy in Iraq,
sleeping with your gun
nestled by your side,
pimples on your face,
a foreign place
to rest your head,
and your bed
is as harsh and unforgiving
as the desert sands.

You fear maybe the next bullet
may be for you,
nothing new
in your mind.
You've seen your kind
fall before.

Iraqi faces,
some grateful,
some hateful,
give you odd and curious glances.
Women and girls in veils,
tales of woe,
tales of fear.
Men and boys draw near,
captivated by the Yanks
who dare to be here.

Soldier boy in Iraq,
say your prayers.
Draw close to God,
and He will draw near
to you.
Your mom is looking forward
to your letter
and you think it's better
to waste no time
and write it now.
1.3k · Mar 2015
A Crown of Thorns
Dorothy A Mar 2015
Who would wear such a thing?
Who would be so despised?
So pathetic to a jeering crowd?
So utterly cursed?
So utterly shamed?
So utterly broken?

A foolish one, you say?
A liar?
A crazy one?
A sucker for punishment?
A mythological man?

How about this?

A man who would lay down his life for a friend
One who would take the place of others who really deserve what he got instead
One who demonstrates that the works of weakness truly outweigh the brutality of the mighty
One who is willing to connect the Divine to a suffering world

I say that is One who would wear a crown of thorns
1.3k · Nov 2009
Tangerine Sun
Dorothy A Nov 2009
I woke up today to a tangerine sun,
the fullness of its round belly
perched upon the city
in an orange, growing glow.

The day was adorned in autumn,
but all its best, in arrayed pockets
of majestic color, could not compare.

The traffic passed on by
as if the world foolishly seemed
to never notice it was there.
But I could have plucked it out of the sky,
delighting in its mouthwatering sweetness
for days and days and days,
consuming its bright fullness for life
in copy cat decision
as I would gently swallow it up

A miracle this is not.
After all, maybe it was there
many a morning,
but I forgot to look up and see.

Yet today its lantern presence
lit a fire upon my thoughts,
for God so loves us,
in spite of us,
that He shines extraordinary light
upon us
to wake us up,
to embrace the life we have been given.

This is my testimony,
fruitful expressions
of creative hope and faith
yet fiercely fought for
with every fiber of my being
to be feasted upon in my soul
for survival.
Crazy words to some,
but to dreamers not.

Today I claimed a small victory,
somewhere between here and heaven
all within the world
of a tangerine sun.
1.2k · Aug 2010
Precious Pearl
Dorothy A Aug 2010
When I scribble out a few words
Or choose very many of them
The message should remain simple
Like a beautiful, shining gem    

I do not want you to solve grand equations
I do not want you to be scratching your head
I want you to find sheer beauty
In the simplicity of what is said

Sometimes, I am a meandering rambler
Said very little with many words said
I'd rather trim off all the fatty excess
So you will not choke on what was read

We are often undiscovered treasures
We are often diamonds in the rough
We should create while we still have breath
For we will return to the ground, to dust

I hope you can envision lovely jewels
That the world was meant to create
Designed more to display humble beauty
Than it was meant to hate

Nothing special to say, you often think
I thought that myself, since I was a girl
As a pent up clam beneath the murky sea
Lies within myself the precious pearl
1.2k · Jun 2010
Dorothy A Jun 2010
In the park
I saw you
And how could I resist?
I was always a pushover
for a sweet face
Persistent, little thing,
aren't you?
That innocent look
Big, bright eyes
and a bushy tail,
twitching your nose
as you scurry about me...
You beg for a peanut,
knowing very well
what a sucker I am
for a sob story
1.2k · Jul 2010
A Ship Sails Out
Dorothy A Jul 2010
A lone, solitary ship sails out
Where on earth will be its route?
From a peaceful harbor, it embarks
Nervous, but ready to make its mark

It's not sturdy, its not massive
Not a luxury ship, it's more passive
Dingy and plain, it has only one sail
What will it do if the winds prevail?

Cold and cruel are the seas
Ready to swallow up what they may please
Strong and mighty is not this boat
Yet Will alone shall keep it afloat

Currents may seize it and shake its foundations
Nature may not produce good relations
But what if there was never a risk?
The currents calm and the winds not brisk?

What would propel this little boat forward?
The ride, smooth, if every inch was assured?
Its size looks incapable to prove the odds wrong
Yet even little things can be strong

Bigger and better ships will pass it by
Overtaking its course, they will fly
But Will alone will be the fuel
And Faith, above, shall be the guiding tool

Though the winds are coarse, and the boat dips
Just try and sink this ship!
Only the Captain will decide that fate
He can force the rains and winds to dissipate

It can take lightning strikes, rain and sleet
It can take it and not feel much defeat
For it has coursed all kinds of weather
Only to prove that is is better

So onward go! Forward sail!
Do not be afraid to fail!
Here it comes over the blue horizon
And just look how it sails on!

It proves the naysayers wrong
As the little boat chugs along
And there it goes around the bend
Not satisfied till it reaches its end
Dorothy A Jul 2010
The barn door creaked open, and I faced it like a scared rabbit, my breath panting, short and rapidly.

The silhouette figure of Jim stood there, his strong, distinctive voice calling out, "Mary?"

I couldn't respond like I wanted to. Maybe I should of just stood there and hid in the darkness and he would leave. I felt so cowardly and so ashamed of myself.

"Mary! Are you in in here?"

"Yes, I'm here", I replied nervously, my voice shaky. I couldn't stop my lip from quivering, even though the darkness of the night hid it from full view. Trying to look brave, I quickly asked Jim, "You got a smoke?"

Where did that come from? I never smoked before, even when Sue and all her friends did it. How they used to make fun of me for refusing a cigarette! Now here I was blutting out things that never would have come out of my mouth before.

Firm and steady, Jim held the match to my cigarette, but my hand shook so badly that he looked at me intensely. Soon, I feared that I would faint if he did not look away.  In the warmth of the flame, he eyes flickered, and I felt goose bumps rise upon my skin.

He steadied my hand for me, and I took a weak puff upon my Lucky Strike. "What's the matter?", he asked "You look like you saw a ghost. You're shaking from head to toe!"

"I'm just cold", I lied.

In a flash, Jim wrapped his jacket around me, and in another flash, his reassuring arms were folded around my waist as he pulled me close to himself.

Now my knees were really ready to give way. Thank God that he had me in his grip, for I would have fallen for sure. I looked out into the darkness, it nearly pitch black if not for the tip of my burning cigarette.

Sue stood there, hands on her hips in her cocky way. "Don't be such a baby!", she warned. "Relax, or it'gs going to hurt a lot worse!"

I shuddered. Why did I have to think of her! My sister!

Reluctantly, I asked her for advice this morning. She was the only one who knew where I really was tonight. Oddly enough, she was the only one I could trust to keep her mouth shut. To Sue, snitching was something only weaklings and losers did, and she was neither. We were not close sisters, but I realized if anybody knew anything about anything, it was Sue.

So maybe I was a baby, just a step away from dolls as far as my sister was concerned. Yet here I was, on the edge of a fate that was supposed to make me a woman, that made me desirable to a full-grown man. Who cared about Sue now anyway? I imagined her just slipping away, becoming smaller and smaller.

Jim's comforting arms, his wondrous touch--I felt his warm breath against my cheek, his fingers work magic upon my back.

But someting was terribly wrong.

I was pulled into it too fast. It was not me standing there as his deep kisses engulfed me into my make-believe fantasy. As Jim overpowered me, I should have been on the top of the world. I should have felt beautiful, felt like I meant something.

I tried to stop, to pull away, to refuse to go any further. All along I thought of what I should tell him.  I don't want to do this! Stop! I can't stay here with you. I really like you, but I can't! Will you let me just go back home, please?"

Instead, I could not find my voice, or my footing. He was going too far. It was all going too fast, on a runaway freight train which I had no way to jump off from . I felt too weak, too overwhelmed, embarassed just to push him away. Blood rushing into my temples, I felt myself spinning as the room was spinning, spinning out of control like that crazy, old iron rooster skating about in the wind on top of the barn.

Jim lay me down so easily as he placed himself on top of me. For that awkward moment, I did not want to be there, so I removed myself from the situation the best that I could. In the remaining time we were together, fear ruled as I shut my eyes and expected the worst.

Finally, I did find my voice. My scream was so piercing, lough enough to knock that rooster off its bearings from up above. It was as if my soul had been pierced too, torn right down past the flesh and through a writhing pain of guilt and sorrow.

Like a woman in heavy labor,  at last I knew what my sister was talking about. The rip and tear of my innocence seemed so gone away from me. Just like that.

All I could do was wimper like a puppy, the illusion of what love was shattered before my eyes. Pulling away from me, I swore that Jim  gave me a look of suspicion and anger, one that I would never forget.

From the gaps in the roof came enough exposure to shed a few rays of moonlight. I lay there as Jim harshly grabbed me by the shoulders.

"How old are you!?, he demanded

"Fifteen", I admitted, meekly.

For a moment, he just sat there, stunned. The moment felt like a lifetime to me. What was he going to do? Slowly, he bagan to shake his head in disbelief.

Then abruptly he rose up. "You're bad news!", he concluded. He grabbed his jacket, took off, and left me with words that would hurt and sting far more than our encounter together.

What occurred after that seemed like slow motion. The night seemed to last and last, in punitive judgment, as it took me a while to leave that spot, my knees curled up to my chest in a fetal position.

Eventually, I did rise up, fix myself up and headed for home--only because my stomach was growling.

But I did not feel hungry.

I tried to imagine what Sue would say after she pulled the truth out of me. You know you are still a ****** if you couldn't go through with it! She'd have that superior, smug look on her face. And ****** if I was going to feel small in her presence!

I went through the kitchen door of my house. The dawn barely breaking after the dark hours, so punishing and so long.

To my surprise, there was my father's voice from behind his favorite armchair. "You came home from Janey's house sooner than you said", he commented, startling me back to reality. "Much earlier than I expected", he added, almost as if to say, "It's nice one of you girls listens to your dear, old dad".

That was enough to bring about a true confession, a flood of repentant tears. But turning around, as I made my way upstairs, I forced a weak smile.

Yet, what I really wanted to do was turn around and run right into his lap and pour out my heart. That would be the fantasy of a child, and I fought off the urge .

I did not know what I was anymore. Still a girl? A sucker? At that moment, I felt like I did not even exist, numb and shocked to the core.

Sue met me in the hallway and started to ask me in eager whipsers, "Ok, did you do it? How was he?"

I shoved her down on the floor so quickly that she couldn't believe it. "I couldn't get enough!" , I sneered at her, my fist curled up, ready for another comment from her. Our eyes met, and mine were so steely that her reaction shocked me.

Sue never saw me this way, and lay there before me, speechless.
I got away and made it to my seclusion. Before the bathroom mirror, at last I was safe. The tears fianlly came as I studied myself closely. There was no sound, only silent, long, wet tears.

Who now stood before me was different than who she was before, and I mourned the loss of my innoence.
copywrited..............integrity....What's mine is mine.
1.2k · Nov 2009
The Apathetic Heart
Dorothy A Nov 2009
The apathetic heart
Cannot be torn apart
It cannot feel
No want to heal
The apathetic heart

A heart made of stone
Does not ever groan
It will not break
When life seems fake
A heart made of stone

A heart broken too much
Cannot feel a human touch
Can it be revived?
Will it pump and thrive?
A heart broken too much
1.2k · Nov 2009
Amelia on Her Wedding Day
Dorothy A Nov 2009
Amelia fixes her veil in the mirror,
and tilts her head from side to side.
Not satisfied, she removes it.
She brushes her brown hair.
If only God had made her the way
that she wished she could be.
The artist that she is,
she desires to paint herself pretty.
It's like she feels that her Maker
put out His first draft on her
and forgot to erase the mistakes,
to improve the rough draft.

Amelia adds rosy color to her cheeks,
and petal softness to her lips.
She dots her eyes with lovely additions
and powders her nose as if icing to the cake.
Yet Amelia's love does not care
if she looked perfect.
He always teases her
when she fusses and fusses,
and he often reveals to her
that she is more beautiful
than a garden of flowers.

Amelia relaxes her face.
Maybe this isn't what she would have ordered
if she could have possibly gotten
her choice of looks
right out from a store catalog.
She can tell by her own eyes
that they are alive.
She laughs at herself in her reflection.
She knows her beloved is the right choice.
From down the hallway to her room,
Amelia's mother calls out,
"Come along, Amelia.
Today is your wedding day."
Dorothy A Oct 2013
I’m a weird, little guy
Bananas I like to eat
You know we primates
Like a fruity treat  

I’m a monkey with stripes
A true oddity, I must say
A zebra might look at me
And yell, “What the hey?!”

So I’m pretty messed up
With a rip on my side
But what do you expect of me?
To go run off and hide?

And what about my ears?
So you want to make fun?
But it’s none of your business
That I only have one!

It is quite obvious
That I am quite a mess
And with all my monkey shines
I must really confess…..

That I ripped off
My very own ear
But one is JUST FINE!
Your yappin’ I STILL HEAR!
1.2k · Jul 2010
A Song in My Heart
Dorothy A Jul 2010
Put me in a cage,
and I'll fly away
Put me in an aquarium,
and I'll swim out to the seas
Put me in the wilderness,
and I'll find my way back home

I've had dreams
Many never came to reality
I have failed
with the world, have dropped it like a ball,
turned directions until I was dizzy
to try another and another and another
way that never seemed to work

But I cannot give up
and cannot find any more roads
in a cage,
an aquarium,
or the wilderness

God has not forsaken His children
though we may endures such places,
but I venture to say that He gives us
a way out of any snare
that man has designed

I've got a song in my heart
I've got a place to go
no matter how shut off the world can be
God gives me melody beyond measure
Yes, I can go on!
Yet I need not convince anyone
but myself of this truth

Although I nearly lost the will
to experience God's joys at all,
I boldy answer the challenging call,
spanning the skies
that once looked threatening,
swimming the ocean blue
that once engulfed me in fear
traveling through the wilderness
that seemed never ending

Yes, I trekked afoot far and wide
just to hear a pleasant voice again,
and to find mine

If you listen
you can hear what I say
with the stroke of my pen,
although you detect
not a sound

I've got a song in my heart
that will not go away
and keeps me
moving on
Dorothy A Apr 2015
Abraham Horowitz thought he was dead. Maybe this was what death was like, desolate and bleak, no different than his last few years of sheer misery, humiliation and pain.  He already felt he was in Hell, for Buchenwald was a Hell on earth, but what was going on now?  Just where was he exactly? His glasses had been smashed by a **** guard months ago, and now he couldn't understand why he could not make out the hazy figures of the guards barking out orders and smashing the butts of their rifles into the heads and backs of tormented inmates.  All that seemed to exist were walking skeletons aimlessly drifting about in the blowing wind.

His situation was always dire, but today was an indescribably odd day.   It wasn't good or bad. Lately, little aroused Abraham to ponder upon as he had long ago begun to believe that he was an animal and not a man. After all, different walks of life were thrown away like subhuman trash—left for the flies to feast upon—and it had powerfully defined the ghastly surroundings of his disgraceful existence. People who once were somebody to someone had soon become nobody in the world.  The rotting corpses proved that out. Since he was deemed as a beast, Abraham no longer thought or reasoned like a human being. There was no longer any reason to think or to feel or to imagine anything that could inspire his will to thrive.

The inhumanity had taken its toll. Too weak to stand, he had been fading in and out of sleep and consciousness when much of the chaos of forced marches took place. The Nazis were desperately trying to avoid encountering the allied forces that opposed them. They weren't going to give up easily as they'd sooner shake their fists and make all the prisoners suffer to the bitter end. Many of prisoners were moved out as possible, but not all went willingly. The remaining prisoners—those who weren't half dead—now had their chance to resist.

Abraham's back was leaning against the splintered, wooden wall of one of the barracks. He had tried to prop himself up in an attempt to sit up and then stand up. He only succeeded in sitting up in an awkward slouch, much to the discomfort to his bony backside. The sun beat down on him, his only solace to warm up his frail, battered body, his only comfort in his state of wasting away to the shell of the man he once was. Soon the sweet sun was quenched as he was engulfed in the shadows of a soldier standing before him.  

There was nothing left in him, no more will to live. He was done. No more fear flooded his mind, only thoughts of nothingness that gave him an actual period of relief.  If he was still alive—he had thought—the best thing to happen would be that the soldier now in front of him end his miserable life with a bullet to his head. What once was deemed a horrendous fate now seemed like a welcome surrender

"Hey there... sprechen sie Englisch?", the man asked him. It was the worst German accent that he ever heard, but it might as well have been the voice of God.  

Did he speak English? Oh, yes, he did! "Ja…Englisch", he managed to utter, in sheer bewilderment. He struggled for words to say, but they could not leave his mouth.

The man crouched down and said, “It’s okay now. You can say whatever you want, buddy.”

Abraham still struggled to speak. "That is yes...I...I... do....I do...and Hebrew... and Yiddish... German and… a bit... Polish", he answered with a parched, throaty voice.  Abraham had enough strength left to place his quivering hand up to his eyes. He simply cried as the light went on in his mind. The rumors going around the camp were true! The Americans had come!

Tears are for little boys. The image of his father, scolding him for crying as a youth, dashed into mind. Abraham tried to contain himself. Weeping was one satisfaction that the inmates wanted never to give to the Nazis. Only the irrevocably broken ones begged for mercy, wailing uncontrollably as they were laughed at, mocked and scorned by their enemies.  Conditioned to show no emotional response was one up on the Germans, the only control and dignity that a man had left.  Self-restraint meant you were never owned by anyone.  

Soon a slightly cool cup of water was placed upon Abraham’s shaking lips. He slurped at it—getting more on the ground than in his mouth—like a man coming out of years in the desert. Oh, how precious was that water! He could have drunk it by the gallons, splashed in it, played in it—danced in it!  If he could only stand and be given the chance!

"Easy now, buddy”, the American advised. "My name's John, by the way". The young, freckled-face private smiled proudly, stating,”John Dunn from the good, ole USA—from Jersey...New Jersey, that is."

He was only the second soldier that Abraham ever met in this entire ordeal of brutal capture and madness of war that had a heart. The soldier was rare sight in that he showed him even an ounce of kindness. John Dunn reminded him so much of Otto Brumler that he began to weep, again. He didn't know he even had it in him, for he had stopped crying so long ago that it was as if he had forgotten how.  Lately, there just weren't any more feelings left—not even hate. Oh, how he used to hate! There were only numb movements of a dead man walking about. The tears felt cleansing upon his dry and ***** face.

Otto Brumler was a rare anomaly. He just didn’t seem to make sense in this sea of insanity. A **** guard, he liked to talk with some of the inmates, discreetly giving them gifts to pass around—some cigarettes, chocolates, cheese, bread and sausages. How peculiar to be coming from a German soldier!  Some of the inmates were suspicious that he was a spy that was out to trap them and feared him even more than the most loathing of the guards. Abraham was one of them who at first thought the man was purposely trying to get them in trouble.

Trouble abounded in the camps. If the men couldn't work hard enough, they were daily beaten and tortured, so badly beaten down that many could not get back up again. If it wasn't an act of harsh aggression, it was starvation and disease that got them. Herded up like animals, the filth from their ****** fluids and human waste was an ever noxious presence, their ragged clothes soiled in the foul mess. The stench that was once unbearable eventually became to define them as trash to be thrown away, and they had forgotten what a clean existence smelled like.  

Abraham would sometimes wake up in the morning and find the one next to him had not made it through the night. Sometimes, it was on both sides that dead bodies had sandwiched him in-between. If not those succumbing to the horrible conditions, the weaker ones were taken away while alive, never to be seen again. And some would give up the will to live by refusing to press on, passively taking a bullet or a fatal beating. Then there were those who would end their own lives as the only means of escape. It seemed one less triumph for the Nazis, to deny them the sick satisfaction of killing yet another, wretched soul. Yet the Nazis always won the victory of a victim’s life ending.  Regardless of how the death of any of the undesirables occurred in the camps, it fed their ideology of superiority just fine. Many of the prisoners lay awake at night wondering how this barbarism could flourish and go unnoticed.  When would it end? Had the whole world gone mad?  

"We survive and that’s how we win”, one of the Polish prisoners, Jan, encouraged some around him. "We make it to the end because they will be defeated. They cannot last forever. You mark my words!"

"And how do we do that?" “a doubtful Jewish teen, Eli, insisted. He once was so spirited, and he had great plans to travel the world one day. "I lost my whole family. I'm the only one left and it will just be a matter of time before they get me, too. We are all doomed!" His gaunt face and hallow eyes spoke for themselves.

Abraham needed to believe he'd have even a glimmer of hope to be free one day, or he'd have lost the battle by now. His sanity would not hold out. Many already had no hope and that was like a death in itself.  Most of the men knew that to hold on, they'd have to defy logic and hold out for hope. They'd pray with each other, regardless of being a Jew or Christian or even the agnostics, sometimes losing the meager hope that they were had. It grew as scarce as their rations of crusty bread. Nevertheless, they prayed.  

One time, Abraham was grabbed by a guard by the throat and hurled to the ground for being too slow. He had been dumping out human excrement from the campgrounds. The guard berated Abraham as he kicked him over and over again while the poor man curled up into a ball in helpless submission. Protecting his face and head, he soon found himself sheltering his groin, writhing in  pain in that sensitive area that had been attacked by a heel of a boot.

It was Otto Brumler who astounded him. Why wasn't he like the others? As a Jew, the disgust the Nazis had for Abraham was as obvious as the gloom hanging over the camp. Hatred defined Abraham’s world ever since ****** took power and convinced the people that they would be better off without his kind.  Otto was looked upon as being too soft on those he guarded, reprimanded for not being too tough and rough on the prison ****. He did not go above and beyond his duty, nor did he take pleasure in anyone's pain and suffering.

"My best friend was a Jew", he confessed to Abraham one night, sneaking him some salve for his cuts and abrasions from that last beating, providing him some meat to satisfy his longings to fill his stomach.  

Abraham actually showed a real emotion that was a rare sight these days, a slow expression of surprise. "So why are you here at the camp?" he asked him.

Otto puffed on his cigar and passed it to him. He laughed a little, replying, "I think ****** is a little man...but a big bully. I would have gladly be no part of this greedy thirst to devour other nations, but I was forced into it." He looked at Abraham and smiled a bit with sad eyes. It was quite the contradiction of mirth. Otto had a ruddy complexion and dark blonde hair. In his youthfulness, there still an air of innocence about him, a kindness that the ugliness of the war had not killed in him.

"I love my country", he admitted.  "I just hate what they are doing now and how blind we have become. It will be to our ruin."

Abraham admired his honesty. "I guess there are a few good men in this world", he admitted. "My father taught me that it isn't where you come from but who you are that counts."

"That is true, my friend." Otto patted him on the back and added, “My old friend, Avi, had saved my life."  He was speaking of his Jewish friend from childhood. "Many years ago, he rescued me from a lake in my hometown. We went there to cool off from the summer heat.  I couldn't really swim, but I became overconfident and dove in like I was the best swimmer in the world.  There, I found myself in water over my head and didn't end up so well.  I would have drowned without Avi rescuing me. Unlike me, he was fearless."

"So now you know we Jews aren't devils." Abraham remarked, with a hint of a twinkle in his eye.  

"Of course not! Avi was like a prizefighter, a real proud kid. He never backed down from a fight, and there was always a challenge for him..He had to fight off the boys who picked on him for being different from most of us—for being a Jew. So he learned how to stand his ground. I was a fat boy, and Avi would defend me from the bullies who picked on me, too. He was a good friend to me. I know a a bully when I see one, Abraham” He pointed his finger all around, “Bullies everywhere, but they are not men…just weak, little boys who need someone to kick around to feel better”

Abraham knew he had a genuine friend in Otto. “What happened to your friend?”he asked about Avi.

Otto just shrugged his shoulders. “I hope he hasn't lost the fight. I wonder what has happened to him quite often...if he is alive now…if he has made it this far."  

It was nighttime, but it seemed even less secure to come together like this than if mingling in plain sight.  There was never a time where anyone could feel safe, not one minute. Abraham knew this encounter was risky, deadly for sure if caught. He talked about his lovely, young wife, Rivka, and how she felt she was not blessed with having a child. Now it seemed like it was a blessing not to rear up a child, not to have it cruelly ripped away from them and mourn the aching loss and its tragic demise. Rivka was already dead, herself,. Women and children were often the first to go. All Abraham had now was her memory, the image of her sweet face in his mind. Otto talked about his young sweetheart, Gretchen, and his dream of starting a life with her once the war was over. He still believed in a bright future.

That wish would never come true.  It wasn't long before Otto was found out about for his secret encounters with some of the prisoners and shot before a firing squad as a traitor. When Abraham found out, he wanted to weep over the loss but the tears wouldn't come. They couldn’t even come for his lovely Rivka. They only came now when Private John Dunn had given him water, mirroring the same kindness that Otto had once done, redeeming him from an animal to a man  once more.  

Abraham was eventually placed on a truck with other survivors and transported to more humane conditions. Allied soldiers were fully in charge the camp now, and there was no going back to that hellhole ever again. At last, he was truly a free man, though a heartbroken one who was not the same man as he arrived. He had not died—this was not just a dream—but he still was not convinced he would have the will to go on. The breeze on his face felt wonderful, the sun in his eyes, miraculous. That held some shred of promise for him. He passed by trees and mountainous views that he was never convinced he would ever see, again.  No more smell of death, but even the most fragrant flowers could not mask the memory of the horrible stench of his war-torn memories. Some things did just not die away that easily. Memories had a stink of their own that could not be masked by beauty. He had seen things that few could bear, much less go on to tell about it.  He'd never forget being penned up like pigs for the slaughter and made to have no hope. But by the front of the truck, there was Jan, the Pole who once said that the Nazis would be defeated and everyone could mark his words.  

Abraham looked at him until Jan's eyes met his and they both managed a smile. He had come too far to give up. He would not win the victory if he did not survive. He owed it to those who did not make it—to his people, to his fellow inmates, to Rivka, and even to Otto Brumler.  He had no clue, no answers of where to go or how to conduct himself in the world, again, but he would continue to hold onto hope that he would make it.

It suddenly dawned on him that his wife had a few cousins in Chicago that she grew up with. His mind was alerted with the remembrance of Rivka exchanging pictures, postcards and letters throughout the years, All he had of her was robbed from him in the war—everything. To lay eyes on her image—once again—and the possibility of maybe holding her actual words in his hands began to overwhelm him. His imagination could barely contain the thoughts, and he began to weep yet again. As once, crying was weakness to a man, the tears just now meant he was alive. To be counted among the living—to belong somewhere—it was the closest thing to pure joy. Thoughts of America started a small spark within—just enough to start a little fire in his soul—to lead him on to a path with a hopeful purpose. There was no turning back now.
Dorothy A Nov 2012
In my forty + years of living, I quite realize that....

Life can be hard and brutal, but life can be equally beautiful and amazing.

I've learned that loving others and liking others are two separate things. Sometimes, I did not like some people in my life...but I love(d) them very much.

I've learned that no matter what my circumstances are, to always have hope. I love the concept of hope. I fight for it, if I have to. And if only I find a flicker of hope, I'll ****** onto it for it to keep me going.

I've learned that forgiveness is vital, is important to living, but that doesn't mean I have to be friends with the one I forgive. Forgiveness is just as much for me as to the person I extend it to.

We don't always get what we want....sometimes, we have to wait and wait, and learn the hard way.....and that can often produce the most growth................the pain, the agony, the unsettling feelings.

I mean we surely can grow during the hardest times, the roughest times. I most certainly have, and have matured much more from when times were uncertain. None of us are entitled.

I've learned just got to do it! Like when I traveled to Britain...I'd rather say I accomplished a dream than "almost".
1.2k · Nov 2010
Rat Race
Dorothy A Nov 2010
From a bird's-eye view
I bet those feathered creatures
don't envy us

They must look down
from their arial dance
and pity us

We scurry about in
our cities and towns like mice,
as if we are caught up in a maze

Rats chasing after
a prized piece of cheese
in a hectic world

Bumping into one another
in a rush to get to a destination
that is slowly doing us in

How I wish to soar on bird wings
To be rid of this rat race,
finding my way out of the maze
1.2k · Jun 2016
Dorothy A Jun 2016
Don't write to please others
It won't be the truth anyway

Don't write to be edgy
If it means you don't even believe what you just said

Don't write to be popular
For popularity doesn't always mean quality

Don't try to write what you think someone wants to hear
Dare to be yourself
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