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Jul 2021 · 47
The Cool of Night
Sue Collins Jul 2021
Take the sun away. It hurts too much. Give me dark forest under a vague moon.

Let me lie down in the hollow of my tree with moss and petals as my bed. The dreams when they come will soften all blows from my past. All old senses will reappear.

Seeing the cloud patterns spelled out, hearing the affirming rustle of leaves, tasting The offering of overripe berries. The forest creatures are shadows that delight.

My breath is slowing, my heart relaxing. Is this living or is it hiding? Or is that merely a distinction without a difference?

Perhaps it is a reconciliation, an admission of my inherent weakness. I am deathly afraid of real beasts in this world.
Jul 2021 · 101
The Twilight Zone
Sue Collins Jul 2021
Those in-between fleeting moments before you let go of the night and greet the day.
I walked into the kitchen and touched my mother’s shoulder. It comforted me.

Next was my watching her slowly die. I touched her shoulder and gave her fluids.
It comforted me, this girl and woman who existence was wrapped in fear and feverish
dreams that echoed reality. Words spit with venom that cut to the bone.

The  only touches I remember. The rest of the story belongs to the night and day of darkness
And fear and unfathomable head knocking to keep the the wolf at bay. Day and night.
Apr 2021 · 26
The Precipice
Sue Collins Apr 2021
Any way that you look at it, it’s a deciding factor, benign or malignant. Could be the wind.
It stands there beckoning me with a wink and a nod. I take my first baby steps as prescribed.
The background music of my childhood lends a sinister tone as I gradually ascend untethered.

It’s now an obstacle course. No hint of what is to come. No direction, too much to lose.
I’m not alone now. I have a partner on this journey upwards. He remains a stranger to me.
The zigzags are dizzyingly connected. The creation of a new life, far off course for years.

Oh, but those were the days best enjoyed in the rosy rear mirror. Those indelible moments to savor.
The fever of adult childhood, the pull and tug of senses and desire. Passion saddled with angst.
A slowing approaching a slight deviation of the trees, sensed more that seen. A drop in temperature.

I find myself looking down more now, some would say backwards. My feet are moving with resistance.
A faint sound surrounds me, and the air becomes heavy. I am so close now that I can feel the gravity.
The journey is over. I have reached the apex. No more choices. I cannot retrace my steps. It’s up.
Feb 2021 · 100
The Great Divide
Sue Collins Feb 2021
Boundaries have always fascinated me. The separation between here and there.
Fences abound to keep us in line, but the invisible ones are the biggest problem.
Connections are lost before they begin. You wave your arm in solitary alignment.

Really, aren’t we all in confinement? From crib to grave? Free will until it isn’t?
Even so, that’s hardly enough for us. The other is our enemy. We must stake our
Territory with no trespassers metaphorically allowed. “Keep Out” on the door.

But the final boundary?  – it’s beyond our sight and knowledge. How will we find it?
When do we feel that gravitational pull? Not to worry, my friends, not to worry.
The summons is writ large in the stars. That old fence will open wide -- and then shut.
Dec 2020 · 93
The void
Sue Collins Dec 2020
Light is too easily eclipsed by darkness, its power denigrated and belittled.
The mind is limited to black and white, with gray the matter that’s evident.

My cup is half full of regrets and third chances, success lingering in the shadow.
The other half presses on with optimistic revelations and a nod to the sun’s glow,

A glow that has more meaning as I get closer to my own horizon. I can feel its warmth holding my swaddled body, reassuring me that the past is irretrievable,

And the future is preordained at the end. The sun will be with me then and forever.
Dec 2020 · 61
A purposeful endeavor
Sue Collins Dec 2020
The slate of my life is tarnished with rust and indifference impervious to the strongest of solvents.

Waking dreams and sleep recollections scatter across the line of sanity so carefully constructed.

Looking up, looking down, the sky and land shake hands ironically in a show produced only for one.

There is no more here, not even a here to speak of. It is cloistered deep in the earth’s bank of treasures, along with peace and comfort.

Considering the inevitable, I’ll sit this one out, positioning
myself under the oak’s lush canopy with my regret-tinged heart.

Awaiting the next journey full of dust and embers.
Oct 2020 · 60
Before I go
Sue Collins Oct 2020
Let me sing Amazing Grace as it’s never been sung before.
Let me rest upon the top of the mountain and touch the sun.
Let me dance as if there’s no tomorrow until the bell tolls.

Let me feel the delicious fur of my nonjudgmental pup one last time.
Let me eat as many perfect peaches as I can, hand to mouth and repeat.
Let me hear Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E until it is in my heart forever.

Let me learn to express my love without even a twinge of self-recrimination.
Let me breath from deep in my soul the pure and newborn air of freedom.
Let me….let me… one last hour, one last minute, one last second.
Sep 2020 · 44
My camera
Sue Collins Sep 2020
I’m in a music venue listening to a tribute band in Queen persona. The place is full and buzzing.
Everybody but my husband and I seem to be dancing. I’m on my third glass of wine and taking it all in.

A young woman approaches my non-young, non-dancing husband and demands that he join her in dance.
I could tell how uncomfortable he was, but she wouldn’t let him go. Was it just fun or was it mocking?

Then the magic happened. Our daughter, seeing the situation, cut in. She and her dad, with much tenderness and forgotten baggage, danced under the lights.  I took a mental picture of the glow between them,  love tested and won.

Through the haze of wine and smoke, I saw love and redemption. I don’t need anything else now.  I am home.
Sep 2020 · 59
Magical Lenses
Sue Collins Sep 2020
I thought I wanted to see your soul, your being, your thoughts and impulses.

So I ordered MagLens from the infomercial on Channel 666 for $21.95 plus postage.

I returned it. Turns out I’d much rather live with with the light of lies than the dark of truth.
Aug 2020 · 76
The end of childhood
Sue Collins Aug 2020
I so clearly recall the ice cream truck’s music because it meant the icey joy, the freedom of summer .

I always asked for the Big Stick in swirls of enchanting colors or a Fudgesicle when feeling daring.

My ahead-of-her-time mother had to be cajoled into allowing such frivolity in food choices.

One indeterminate day the music stopped. No more sweetness and light.  No more play. Lost joy.

Now when I hear the ice cream truck’s jarring jingle, I’m chilled by its menacing message of decay.
Sue Collins Jul 2020
Once I established my territory, I was able to take care of business. No one would be allowed to stop me or shame me.
The boundaries were set in stone with the help of those curious creatures who now had to strain to remember the before.
I have given them this duty in order to make them understand that this is my world now. They are but players in my mind.

Think of me as the chess master, always in control of the board. I don’t overload these agents with facts but with spurious thoughts.
Embroil them them in fear and anger so they will look to me for their salvation. Facts are beautifully malleable, aren’t they?
Am I evil? Will my day of reckoning come? Is karma real? Ah, but I have a great and wonderful back-up plan. Just you wait and see.
Jun 2020 · 83
The Pecking Order
Sue Collins Jun 2020
A Darwinian set-up enforced from the top. Who’s on first? The WINNERS as determined by their fellows.
You need sharp nails and a malevolent spirit each step of the way. No sway toward the blossoming lilies. Pulling up your own bootstraps is the American way. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that keeps the WINNERS smugly fat.

And the bottom-dwellers sink further and further away from all the bases. Hell, they aren’t even allowed in the stadium.
Unless of course it’s to answer the the blood call from those whose future depends upon their no-nothing fealty.
You say want a revolution. Well, you know. It always end up the same. It’s a musical pantomime for the WINNERS.
May 2020 · 108
How did I miss it?
Sue Collins May 2020
The answer was always there. It was writ large to prevent any confusion. Could be my eyes see only what my heart wants.
No one escapes it. No one wins the non-existing lottery. There are no exclusions in the contract. Death will find us sooner or later.

From the beginning I have never been able to grasp the indelible future, rather define my live on my own terms. Then I got old.
That youthful vision I had has gradually contracted. How did I miss that? What day was it when I started counting backwards?

If there’s an artful, graceful dance toward this new reality, I don’t know the steps. I’m out of tune and and just spinning my wheels.
Now I understand the aged rantings about those **** youngsters on the lawn. Nothing will ever be as grand as my generation.

Yes, the rose-colored glasses help ease the way forward and make the inevitable more palatable.
                        How in the world did I miss that?
Sue Collins Apr 2020
Was Dorothy right or a victim of ginned-up memory? She was so pleased to be deposited right back at her beginning.
But the colors weren’t there. Where was the action? The danger that infused her journey and spiked her nerve endings?

I guess that she eventually acclimated to her old routine. Gradually the colors and tingly tension subsided into a memory.
She helped with the chores, later married a farmer from a nearby town, and put on her apron to raise corn and a few kids.

Maybe one snowy night, though, when Dorothy was in her twilight years, all alone in front of the fireplace nursing a dram,
She took solace in the fact that once upon a time she was the star of her own technicolor journey. Close your eyes, Dorothy.
                         And dream a little dream for me.
Sue Collins Apr 2020
Letting go of the reins when the trees are sagging under the weight of irony and past iniquities may be cathartic.
Removing those blinders amid the collapse will sear the brain and remove any lingering doubt about the future.

For the shifts in mood and temperature, check the dogs. They are the barometer we can’t seem to reconcile.
Sometimes it is the cumulative that does us in. Like a cat with ball of wool. Once it’s unraveled, that’s the end.

I wish for a clear path from Point A to Point Z. If I stomp on my dreams, if I hit play, if I forget to love, if, if, if.
The God of Variables defies me. Our Lady of Misty Confusion works against me. The cat licks herself and laughs.
Apr 2020 · 100
Welcome Home
Sue Collins Apr 2020
It was a dream-like state. A state I have come to prefer over the one that purports to be real. Just shut my eyes.
The tide had its way with me. The rhythm akin to love, the making of. A roll of the dice with a saturated sound.

The seaweed embraced me as if I were her long lost love. Her smell brought unknown memories from the deep.
I culled the entanglement of human’s leftovers from her being so that she could taste freedom and breathe again.

When I heard the cacophony of the maddening world, I had to make a choice. I chose my lover. Forever entwined.
Mar 2020 · 138
An hour full of days
Sue Collins Mar 2020
The wind brought with it the memoir, wrapped up all nice and fancy with tiny love-me-nots in bloom.
A very tenuous grasp on reality from the person whose reality is based on fantasy. Can we trust her?

Several chapters to the story, beginning with an innocence-tinged laugh that belied even the child herself.
Bouts of alcohol rage and running with scissors stuff. Parents limiting their exposure to her from Day 1.

Hysteria? Hyperbole? The problem with a memoir is that we never know the ending, real or not. It just drifts off.
No conclusion, no final assessment, no lasting revelation or hope or despair.  Death takes care of  the epilogue.
Mar 2020 · 148
A brief history of the girl
Sue Collins Mar 2020
There is that head-slamming moment of clear sight. Something akin to a sucker punch.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The girl first slides out to a pink blanket and bow.
Isn’t she a little doll? Daddy’s princess will make her mark in the world with all that beauty.
Please dance for our guests, darling. And bake us a cake in mommy’s little helper oven.

The frills and curls and princess talk take their toll, cuddle the girl into steps of submission.
Twirling for dimes and validation, letting the boys take a peep for love, fluffy mascara and
Glossy lips for insurance. The M.O. of pleasing becoming implanted as smarts go on hiatus.
Friends grow clique-est daggers, and gossip about the nasty abounds. Will she or won’t she?

Of course she will and she did. Disappointed that the earth still turns, but who is she to judge?
Through the small measures and sense of her, we see that she begins to ask questions of herself.
She is not an afterthought of a rib. She wants to write to the world. Her silence has been corrupted.
And the metamorphosis begins. She loves, she procreates, and she sheds the princess skin of the child.

Maybe not head-slamming or sucker punched after all. She just grew up into herself.
Mar 2020 · 374
The boys of summer
Sue Collins Mar 2020
Legs akimbo and fire in their eyes. The beautiful boys of summer.
Their perfect brown backs and hands waving everywhere at once.
Energy for a lifetime used all at once. Flying net-less through the air.

The boys of summer see gold and silver linings in the paddle of a canoe.
Walls are to be conquered, no signs of trespassing for these boys of summer.
They have a secret language that will last them until they hit their inexorable winter.

The winged boys of summer know nothing about fear or death, bless them always.
Mar 2020 · 129
Sublime Chaos
Sue Collins Mar 2020
The poet bleeds ruby red words to match the injury. Follow the stains to find out whodonit, cathartic agony before redemption, loose ties abound.

The poet’s words a kaleidospoke of spiritual colors come to life. One strand of hair can mean life or death in the poet’s world. Always bated breath for clues.

The poet’s heart and soul cannot be bought and sold. Above the fray, giving hints of the immortal. Never didactically explaining. That’s below his pay grade.

Look to car bumpers for slogans and clichés; poetry is a unique view of the quotidian and the extraordinary together in curvilinear form. No straight lines.

The drama of internal dialogue is an art form for those willing to let the words in. Chew on them a while, and let the digestive process be everlasting.
Feb 2020 · 186
Shoes matter
Sue Collins Feb 2020
They protect you from the will of tough grounding and show the world your sense of humor or lack therof. Stilettos cry rough ***.
Cowboy boots evince faux grit. Mary Janes whisper prim but shout schoolgirl fantasies to those in the know. Boat shoes are usually bone-dry.

Bling-y athletic shoes are the McMansions of the predatory clan. Loafers have given up the game just for the proverbial shiny penny.
Sandals and flip flips are proof that less is more unless you add the dreaded socks, in which case please remain indoors for the day.

No matter the shoe,  if I walk in yours and you walk in mine, we might become pals. Multiply that by 7.8 billion. Shoes matter.
Feb 2020 · 132
Flights of fancy
Sue Collins Feb 2020
The constant quiver of the compulsive hummingbird, colors majestic. They are hard to pin down, much too smart for that.

Now, the crow, he is a rebel who lives by his own rules and reports to no one but himself. He is a proud braggart with a big heart.

And here is Ms Seagull, an elegant vandal who has to be with her watery pals searching for the next salty meal and the spray of ocean mist.

Ah, but the pelican – proof positive of a creator’s sense of humor. To look at its group flight is to be exalted, to feel that anything is possible.

Giving short shrift here, of course, to the whole flock of fliers that should never be dismissed. To fly is the dream of dreamers. Protect them all.
Feb 2020 · 1.1k
For once in my life
Sue Collins Feb 2020
I would like to live.
Feb 2020 · 841
A dutiful cleansing
Sue Collins Feb 2020
I meticulously scrub every last inch of the clean floor. Then I do it again because two is a lucky number. On to the windows.
The sills demand a toothbrush and dedication. The rugs insist on constant attention. I pick up errant ants in the cupboards.

I search for more dust or dog hair or whatever seems to clog the way, always using the preferred tool for each cleanup at hand.
Same treatment everywhere, every day. Counting and repeating ad nauseam. A compulsion, a genetic twist, a lifetime sentence.
Feb 2020 · 121
A tidal wave
Sue Collins Feb 2020
My racing heart trying to keep up with the times. Information pouring out of everyone’s pores at lightning speed until we dance.
A stiff sniff or blatant misinformation is in the wind. My brother’s ex-wife’s sister-in-law posted that Manson is alive and well.

The son rises in the west and sets in the east, children are worried about their parents, and the truth is one big hoax of lies.
These are the days, my friend, we hope they’ll quickly end. But the traction is there, and the planets are colluding against us.
Feb 2020 · 146
Sue Collins Feb 2020
I couldn’t hear above the shouting. I looked outside to see two men and a woman screaming and gesticulating at one another. A love triangle? A deal gone bad? *****, to boot?

My vantage point was high enough so that they looked less like humans and more like feral little critters in a stand-off. I wonder what the view would be from the clouds above.

I kept on moving up and watched how the critters gradually turned into ants, then mere specks of dust. Sentient no longer, just annoying little ink spots that moved nilly-*****.

Their petty struggles, their grasping for what is beyond their reach, their quick devolution into ancient ways, shedding the veneer so carefully crafted all these eons ago now.

On my return trip, I gradually saw the human forms again, no longer in a ******* match. An exchange of apologies and a shaking of hands. A détente for the ages among this trio.

The odds are against us, the wind blowing in the wrong direction, no good deed goes unpunished. But for one second, under the microscope, there is soft grace on a street at night.
Jan 2020 · 130
Sue Collins Jan 2020
Maybe it’s a zone problem. Or maybe there are just too many **** intersections. Could be the quality of the roofs, not to speak of disease, crime, and tainted everything.

The cave beckons as a cocoon for those in peril or who need the numbing blanket of forgetting. The bear is smart that way. The less exposure to the elements is their element.

Cushioning the body and wrapping the brain until it’s all over but the shouting. Murmurs have it that pain is just a reaction to the vipers who lead us astray into the desert.

I could do with a little music, a good book, maybe some See’s candies. Make me an offering, and I will consider it. I’ll open the door and latch it from within. Do Not Disturb.
Jan 2020 · 170
From the bridge
Sue Collins Jan 2020
The radical son was losing its blinding glare, softening into mellow gold. Couples watched the beauty unfold, basking in what was left of the warm glow.

Skateboarders were flying from one end to another without a nod to gravity. Babies in strollers felt the weight of what was to come as only they can.

A few cars took the trip to the other side without contemplation, just needing to get through the commute and  home to brace for the night yet again.

In the scope of things, I was but a minor player. Silently I watched my fellow humans, looking for signs of awareness on their covering skin and in their glassy eyes.

Stick figures working out their moves as they go, enchanting in their innocence and naivety. Each moment belongs to them, never to be eclipsed or redacted.

Who am I, you might ask, this spectator on the bridge. A lost soul at the rail who contemplates a final step.  But I keep watching, watching my fellow humans.
Jan 2020 · 69
Her day in the sun
Sue Collins Jan 2020
The young woman had skin as smooth as marble, hair thick and shiny, and a seductive plumpness reminiscent of a peach at its peak of ripeness.

She didn’t realize the power of her attraction, just accepted it as she did everything else in her life. Her world was full of friends and admirers.

It was her day in the sun, but she didn’t know it. Moving gracefully through life as if it were static. Never giving a nod to the slippery *****.

The mirror now echoes time’s passing, but she doesn’t see it. Squinting one eye, she sees a remarkably young person looking hopefully back at her.

Thinning hair, weathered skin, the increasing skeleton characteristics are no match for her nostalgic vision. She remains in the prime of her life.

And who are we to deny her the fantasy of immortality? Forever young and carefree in her world of dreams? May her day in the sun last an eternity.
Jan 2020 · 104
Seeing the light
Sue Collins Jan 2020
She picked up the trash on the side of the road. It was the least she could do to help.  Most were food cartons and cigarette butts.
But upon closer examination, she found a ring. It was a rose-gold band. She held it up to the light and saw a twinkly design of roses.

So delicate and nostalgic. And then she was able to make out an inscription on the inside of the band -- “I will love you forever.”
She slipped the ring into her pocket and took it home. Out of curiosity, she tried it on. It felt as if it had been custom-made for

She held her ring finger up and basked in the feeling of warmth and love, twirling her finger to see it sparkle and glow in the light.
After living a solitary life of heartache and misery, she is now loved and desired. Her face radiates heat. Her transmutation has begun.
Jan 2020 · 98
Digging a hole
Sue Collins Jan 2020
Getting to the heart of the matter once and for all. Holding a mirror to my world and wanting to make it go away.
It would all be so simple without people. Just lush greenery, waving water, sturdy trees, and animals without fear.

People – can’t live with them anymore. Where are the ones in my dreams? The ones that I fabricated with hearts and souls?
Those who can imagine a world outside of themselves and who can walk in others’ shoes whether they fit or not?

My escape route was preordained. I packed my essentials and was determined to find my spot,  filled with books and wine.
I dug out of this world and forward to peace and quiet. And more peace and quiet. Silence, not even a breath or a sigh.

No one to whom I could read my favorite passage. No one to ****** glasses with a big “cheers.” I have dug my own grave.
Jan 2020 · 105
Limitless endings
Sue Collins Jan 2020
One tiny molecule, one turn of the head, one fly in the ointment, one twist in the road and all hell breaks loose.
You’re on your way to having one kind of life when the tattered rug slips out from under you and disintegrates.
A good call to the authorities is in order but will go unanswered. Your representative is out for an extended lunch.

Shedding skin and inching along to some new and limitless endings, they were born with lucky shields not of their own.
The poor schmuck in his work clothes, the woman who never experienced being loved, the neglected child? They spin.
No skin in the game and inching backward,  and so it goes. The endings are limited by the powers that be and be.

                                   Forever and ever Amen.
Jan 2020 · 103
Dark clouds
Sue Collins Jan 2020
My mama always told me that brooding clouds meant that God was angry with his flock.
Portentous, gloomy, and downright depressing – they take over the sky as if they owned it.
Simply skipping rocks as I went, I kept trying to figure out a way to ward off their evil spell.

But growing up has its own unique benefits. No longer need I depend upon another’s superstition.
I’m a gloom lover, forever waiting for those dark clouds to wrap me up like a swaddling blanket.
A refugee from from the blinding clarity and judgmental vision of the sun that takes no prisoners.
Dec 2019 · 308
The gift
Sue Collins Dec 2019
Bright eyes that see colors everywhere rather than a drab monochromatic view  of the world

A nose that can appreciate good Scotch and night-blooming jasmine, at the same time

Ears that can hear Mozart and Queen, a cascading waterfall, and the click-click of a puppy’s paws

A mouth that can open wide to condemn evil but stay tightly shut when listening to a friend
Dec 2019 · 294
My frisson
Sue Collins Dec 2019
That brief but memorable moment that gives you the tingling chills. A biological response to a pleasure-inducing sound or vision.
My frisson today hit me out of the blue. Electrically charged, flying, seeing all the hidden hues, amazed at what I normally miss.

DNA at its finest, but why? To what end does it promote our species to experience such a rare moment of incomparable pleasure?
For those seconds, nothing was more important than the richness of life. I exist for these unpredictable moments of ecstasy.

                                                I am alive.
Dec 2019 · 107
Lost and Found
Sue Collins Dec 2019
That nagging feeling that something is missing. All limbs accounted for. I’m at a loss. Searching high and low.
I felt increasingly as if someone was watching me as I ran around in a panic looking for this unknown piece.
It must be either a necessity or a beloved something. It’s bound to be in the last place I would think to look.

I couldn’t find good suspects inside so wandered about my property. There was an old tree I loved as a child.
It has a hollow that sparked something in me, a glimpse backwards to a young girl very frightened and disturbed.
I reached in and found a small, pristine kitchen knife, an obscene relic never used that gave comfort just being.

Ghosts surround me now. They torture me, dancing their devil steps toward me as I remember. I remember. I remember.
I have found what I what I was searching for. The unknown piece has fought its way from oblivion, refusing to stay quiet.
I  shout the unspeakable, the tree my witness and my solace. With tears of strength, I say “R.I.P.” to the little girl lost but found.
Dec 2019 · 141
The good fight
Sue Collins Dec 2019
A battle of wills made by difficult by the witless on both sides. Discussions derailed by wild-eye gadflies on fire.
Goalposts travel here and there and then disappear. The crux is lost in the shuffle, replaced by ad hominems galore.

The gavel is coated with sound protection. The recordings are distortions  interspersed with specious conspiracies.
Look around and see the painfully contorted faces on the mouth breathers wrapped up like intricate pretzels.

No good fight in sight. Just power grabs and jostling for attention and 180 degree turns for the almighty dollar.
Where are the heroes, the selfless willing to break the chain of mendacity and vileness even knowing it will boomerang?
Dec 2019 · 483
A phase of delirium
Sue Collins Dec 2019
Walking on air with that buzzing feeling all around you. Looking at people but not really seeing them.
Someone is talking. I can hear them. I realize it is me. Some odd kind of fevered chatter without approval.
My skin belongs to a stranger. It’s not mine to my touch. I’m turned inside out with no barrier of protection.
I’m a recognized bystander watching me through a kaleidoscope.  I witnessed my falls that came out of nowhere.
A slow good-by and now walking a straight line. But I have fond memories of my phase of delirium. It set me loose.
Dec 2019 · 119
It’s about time
Sue Collins Dec 2019
Wonder a world without time. A pleasure to skate through at your own speed, beholden to no ticking.
No midnight, no daytime, just a current passing through and picking us up on the way to no ticking.
No straight line, rather a sensuous curvilinear ride free of anxiety and stress, on the way to no ticking.
No time to worry about death. No time to degrade our spirit. Just here and not here, no ticking time.
Dec 2019 · 135
The ties that bind
Sue Collins Dec 2019
The connections weaving in and out recall a past when it was a marvel to be attached.
The pre-birth bliss before the fall, no worries, a perfect swim, a blank slate to be filled.

The chains that held people together tethered to the MAN recall a past and present full of tears.
Enslavement of body, heart, and soul destroys the body, heart, and soul of generations. Our legacy.

The bond between two people, fragile and ephemeral, is electrically charged until the storm comes.
Brothers, lovers, soulmate friends – one key word, one misstep, a torrent of mixed messages.

But the most intimate tie? Our inescapable mortality. We are locked together on that final path.
Oh, that we could circle back to the embrace of our beginnings – no worries, a perfect swim, forever.
Dec 2019 · 133
Where do I go from here?
Sue Collins Dec 2019
The amazing maze constructed out of old ideas and rotty themes has its grip on me.
My feet in still wet cement have to get some direction from the top, the Man in charge.
I’m going to cut in line to tell him that this is a metaphorical matter of life or death.
I hope and pray that he will anoint me with his special touch and show me a new way.

Fortuitously my appeal would be heard. Some winged figures issued me into his chamber.
But all I could hear was a growly old man behind a green curtain that was suddenly invisible.
And the wiggly “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” Man or god, I now have
The courage, the brain, and the heart to find my own way. It’s an old path, to my home.
Nov 2019 · 190
It’s a dog’s life
Sue Collins Nov 2019
The stretch as she wakes up, her nose already smelling her dehydrated breakfast and first laps of water.
Her manic, jubilant rampage around the house before she drops down and naps with one paw on me.
Her luxurious fur glistening in the ray of sunshine like a silver veneer, soft to the touch as pure down.

I often wonder what she sees when she looks at me. Am I just the one that keeps her alive and kicking?
I’d like to think that she has unselfish love for me, that she would save me from some earthly disaster.
What is behind those big, soulful eyes that follow me everywhere? The tail that has its own language?

Does she know love? Memory? Sadness and grief? Can she feel joy and wonder at being alive?
I’ve asked her these questions, and after much consideration, she expressed her feelings about a dog’s life.

                     I’ve translated her barking response --
Nov 2019 · 159
It is what it is
Sue Collins Nov 2019
Wrong. Only death is immutable.The status quo today is yesterday’s news tomorrow.
Love is in the air this morning, gone by dusk. Your life’s plan rarely pans out.

Shape-forming, turbulence, flashes of lightning, skin grafts everywhere, children growing into tyrants.
The foundation crumbles, the trees felled, the virus mutates, the beliefs dissipate, corners clipped.

Rest assured that constancy exists only on paper, the future is untold, your prospects unknown.
Cross off everything on your list. Throw the list away. Float on air to your next destination.
Nov 2019 · 141
Sue Collins Nov 2019
They connect and divide us. Players and watchers with their separate symbols.
It’s game time every time, with winners and losers, no room for sometimes.
Blood action defines the fields. It’s a poetry of action and muscle in glorious hues.

Sport as war and war as sport. Boundaries, walls, bodies, and trophies define battle.
Rules of engagement written on wet cement. Crossing the line is pure showmanship.
Targets seen though myopic lenses that reduce them to pinpoints on the fields.
Nov 2019 · 142
Sue Collins Nov 2019
The weight of me has no force, no substance, no ballast.
Inconsistent, pandering, heckling, needful, shorn to the bone.

His is the salt of the earth, steady yet insistent, grounded to the earth.
Any spark of doubt doused without tension. Secure in his strength.

I fly without wings, look down for approval, wait for the storm’s end.
He looks up with eyes that say Don’t be fooled, I need you just as much.
Sue Collins Nov 2019
I found an old ivory-decorated little box tucked away among her possessions.
The box was locked but easy to foil by a person determined to seek answers.
The old woman had a lived a charmed life full of money, travel, and whiskey.

She had worn her classical beauty as a haughty warning to all who came near.
An acerbic genius at inserting the dagger right into the softest spot with ease.
Her own soft spot was animals, the wilder the better. Her feral streak, I guess.

The box felt empty but it was hiding a small crimped note underneath the velvet.
I hesitated. My face in the above gilded mirror was not the face I depended upon.
Flashes of the old woman blurred my vision. I imagined the old cord between us.

The old cord, discarded continually. Seesawing between venom and disinterest.
No back-up plan, no come-to-Jesus moments, just an invisible border wall.
I can’t seem to breathe, the portentous air enveloping me as I read:
“I did the best I could. Mom.” I shut the box and put it back where it belonged.
Nov 2019 · 125
Death Interruptus
Sue Collins Nov 2019
That’s right. I want to call a halt to death, specifically the death of one person.
Please don’t assume that it is a loved one I want to see once again. Hell, no.
I want to face the evil of a person whom I have just learned was a meek monster.

Family secrets held close to the vest, a Roshomon story imbued with tragedy.
The blithe cruelty that forever tinged an already downward spiraling stage set.
Let me have my final say to the ******* too cowardly to stay alive long enough.

A pause here and then a modicum of calm comes over me. Breathe, breathe.
It’s too easy to get pulled back into the vortex, to relive what should never have been.
It’s all right now. And it’s all right now. The dead are deaf, and I’m alive. RIP, my rage.
Nov 2019 · 501
Swimming upside down
Sue Collins Nov 2019
Looking through the murky water through mask-like eyes full of soul.
Darkness and mystery devoid of life replete with plastiky detritus.
My limbs askew foiled with the weight of water pinning me in place.
A narcotic to soothe the way. I will be hidden treasure under the sea.

Or looking up at the wondrous day that is clear and bright, with a golden sun.
Limbs as light as feathers feel of cool ocean breezes and expectations of joy.
My mind melts just enough to give me that unknown but dazzling feeling of peace.
I have time. I can float on my back until it is my time to turn over forever.
Nov 2019 · 207
From time immemorial
Sue Collins Nov 2019
We have walked with our eyes closed.
We have wreaked havoc as we go.
We have fought  the bad fight.
We have knelt to superstition.

We have thrilled to the human touch.
We have given our lives for our babies
We have found what we call love.
We have considered our posterity.

We have continually reconstructed our definition.
We have repeatedly lost and found our way.
We have never mastered the skill of co-existence.
We have never discovered the reason for our being.

But for all that we are and will ever be, there is one everlasting constant:
Our cells cry out in a shameless and painful attempt to nullify our mortality .
Arts and letters, music and poetry – all yearnings for the grace of eternity.
Cruel irony that we sentient beings are never to receive the blessed key.
Nov 2019 · 137
Going off the rails
Sue Collins Nov 2019
Remember the scruffy but lovable traveler with his worn bindle so characterized?
The hobo was a gig guy way back when, hopping on trains to make ends meet.

The romance, the adventure, all on your own, responsible to no one in particular. Now an ingrained myth among our other self myths. The loner, the go-getter. The self-made man, the bootstrap hiker-upper.

We love our John Wayne stories of glory, now etched in granite and hanging over us like a scolding aunt’s repeated finger-wagging.

It’s hell trying to live up to the slogans, bumper sticker thoughts, and flag-waving aficionados.
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