Tag Archives: fear

The Seduction of Alternative Facts

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When truth provides
no real comfort,
hope wraps her
like sturdy arms,
murmurs alternative facts
with conviction in her ear.

Sometimes, she takes refuge there:
a home with unlocked doors,
words pretty as sunrise,
futures rich and enticing as crème brûlée.

NaPoWriMo Day 23

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Run Ways

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The hamburger patty landed in the snow
flung from the kitchen window
as she yelled out toward the garage
“I told you to come in for dinner!”

Really, it was an Oreo cookie
making a black circle in the deep white
their budget far too lean
to waste good ground beef over a point

The kids dove for cover under Formica
as the door flew open
slamming against the wall
steel-toed boots leaving a contrail on the vinyl

He came at her with clenched fists
and an open mouth
she threw the fry pan at his head
as their children huddled under the table

Above their small heads
their plates sat cooling
ketchup red as blood untouched
as dishes and profanities flew

For most of her life that remained
the youngest was accused of mumbling
her words too soft on the air
for them to discern

She always worrying
if the volume increased
things could take flight
and leave no safe place to land

 

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 4

 

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Bear My Broken

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sidestep the manhole
cover
visible crack in the thick
disk
they’ve been known
to split wide
swallow whole
the woman
with red, unadorned cup
falling from graceful
into plastic bags
and gobs
would he still spit
if this was his bed
cemented
under foot
resting uneasy
by the smell of fresh donuts
while heels and trains clack
alarms
to be ignored
in a land trumped
by an illusion of bootstraps
may be best
to burn

December 2015
Julie Ayers

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April 23 —
Today, Lucius turns nine.

Nine years ago, a ringing phone
woke me in the early morning dark
and my brother told me the happy news
about his son’s birth.

Later that day, my family
joined in a Kidney Walk fundraiser,
my 10-year-old daughter proudly wearing the sign:
Today is the 4th anniversary of my kidney transplant.

She was strawberries and cream
amidst the pink dogwood blooms.

We were relief and jubilation.

April 30 —
Nine years ago, a routine chest x-ray
of my daughter showed her lungs
full of dark blooms.

May 11 —
My birthday.
Nine years ago, I packed bags
for me and my daughter,
her being admitted to the hospital
for a lung biopsy.

May 13 —
Mother’s Day.
Nine years ago, my tiny, sweet, resilient daughter,
who carried a torso already striped with scars,
was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Every Spring Since —
Like everyone, I watch for signs
from the living things around
that it is time again to bud, grow,
display what has been hidden inside,
unseen but waiting.

I watch my radiant daughter
and pray, again, please, this year,
that every reveal hold promise
and unspoiled beauty.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 23

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Today, Birthdays, Holidays, and Anniversaries

On Risk & Acceptance

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what I want for you
is to find that place of acceptance

you will know when you arrive
as it will be filled
with the kind of people
who meet you on your ideal plane
they will wrap you in their arms
if you are one who blossoms
when giving and receiving hugs
they will sit quietly by your side
engaging in an unhurried exchange
of speaking and being heard
their love will be unconditional
you treasured as the imperfect
but well-intentioned traveler you are

you must never stop looking
for this place
it exists for you
you will find it

to get there
you need to take risks
accept that you are worthy of love
as your most authentic and unmasked self

you must fearlessly open your heart
unbox everything
and lay it on the grass
a yard sale of all your apprehensions
each ambition and catastrophic failure
your most impossible desires
set it in the light
that which you consider junk and prize
all of it is treasure
of value and great significance

trust those who stop to look
who pick up this piece and that
ask for an accounting
and you in turn
must reverently visit their displays
reach out gently
and help them sort their offerings
see the beauty in every frayed seam
and roughly drawn portrait

stop hiding from your own peace
there will never be a shortage of painful things
that happen for no good reason
you will lose people
you will see and experience
nearly unbearable suffering
you will be torn asunder
and healed
and broken again

this is always the journey

you are capable of more
than just surviving
if you cultivate acceptance
for our gorgeous but flawed natures

look for your people to love
you will find them everywhere
risk loving them
risk more
by allowing them
to love your most genuine self back

November 2014
Julie Ayers

Sinking

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I never jumped off the bridge,
even when all my friends did.
The real bridge
hanging darkly
over the St. Croix.
It wasn’t the height
that stopped me
as much as the fear
of what floated below
the murk
of root beer surface:
deadheads,
and boots,
tangled net,
limbs or
lost child.

You always jump,
even when you see
the swirl
of fishing line
sharp
with barbed hook
passing just under
your dangling feet.
Still,
you push off
and fall free in abandon.
Brave or foolish?
Another lost child.


April 8, 2014
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 8

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Bath Fixtures and Beethoven

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I’ve been holding back,
carelessly squandering my verve
in a desire to pass,
repressing urges to scribble lines
or take photographs
when a minister hands a jeaned child
a purple iris
and the wisp girl grips it tightly,
petals forming fireworks
above her silk and sand waterfall
of perfectly trimmed bangs.

I didn’t dance in the aisle at Home Depot
Friday morning
when Slung-lo started playing.
SLUNG-LO!,
in Home Depot,
like a pretty message from the gods,
and I tried to pretend like it wasn’t,
and that my heart was not cliff diving
in ecstasy
over one of my happy songs
raining down from rafters
as I assessed a display of shower heads.
I failed to drop my shoulders,
allow my head to shake free,
transform to flow and bliss.

I tried not to show
any of the watching world
the depth of the gash
on my spirit last Thursday,
a veritable internal hemorrhage,
hiding instead behind a poem
about a man
being more than his bland façade
might suggest.
Anemic offerings
when I should have splattered
the room with blood,
let loose my murderous thumbs
on words that cut and skewered,
plumbed pain,
making it both singular and universal.

Beethoven fearlessly
wandered around muttering
things like “I want to seize fate by the throat.”
Sure, he had social problems,
failed romantically over and over
and went deaf,
but he wrote Allegro from Violin Sonata, Op. 24,
playing out his jubilation and his anguish
across sheets,
through notes, and strings,
in parlors and on stages.

Every last one of us
alternately stumbles and destroys,
succeeds and glides,
but few possess the daring
to sincerely share the rawest
turmoil and joy,
channel and elevate
pure emotion to art.

I am grateful for the Beethovens,
the fearless,
for those who have let loose,
uncapping the rage and the love,
refusing to hold back
in hardware stores
or concert halls,
braving full exposure
and judgmental eyes,
to bring us beauty,
loan us,
even if only for moments,
hearts capable of withstanding
unsanitized truth.

 

April 6, 2014
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 6

 

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