Tag Archives: life

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Life will do what it does
lull us
then toss us airborne
to plunge untethered

Her blond head on the hospital pillow
as she wanders out of our reach
her mother, bedside
calling her home

Another’s cells gone rogue
…the sort through treatment options
decisions to make that alter
marking what now becomes
a time before
a time after

The one keeping to quiet corners
having walked another
beloved to the final
beat of his limitless heart

I’m surrounded by heroes
in the grocery store
who have suffered greatly
but still buy strawberry jam
and avocados
bake pies and grill corn

They have shown grace
and disintegrated in fear and grief
alternately
bedpans have been thrown
fingers laced gently
regrettable words spilled
mopped up later
or later still
or never

We stand firm
lay prone in puddles
get back up
repeat
repeat

This is the only way
Dark and beautiful

July 2017

 

 

Advance Directive – or Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

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Take my heart,
if they deem it worthy,
my lungs and liver.
Use my kidneys and eyes.
Slice up my brain
and look at the lacy lesions.
Learn, study, save people if you can.

After tissue is taken,
cremate what remains.
Dispose of my ashes
somewhere lovely.
Mix me into the earth to plant a tree.
Sprinkle me in a stream.
Scatter me in the woods where I liked to hike.
Heck, you can divide me up,
have people use my ash
to condition their garden soil
or scare off raccoons.
I don’t care how,
just make use of what is left of me.

If my hardware survives the reduction,
Andrew has requested intact bits —
screws and such —
so he can save himself a dime,
…fix a railing
…build a bookshelf.

I don’t want a headstone
in some tended graveyard.
If anything, I’d rather have a bench
placed somewhere helpful
that people can rest on.
I care not about
some lasting memorial.
If it gives other people comfort,
let them do what they must.
It is all about them now.

…But, shield yourself with my stated preferences
if folks become disagreeable and argue.
They might get prickly
as they work through their feelings
about me being gone.
Be patient with them.
Remind them this is just another day
to the universe;
what matters most is kindness.

Please have a party with really good music.
Make an awesome playlist,
let guests take it home as a party favor.
Please dance. Eat cookies.
Read some poetry.
Tell everyone how much I loved them.
Often.
Folks should hug a lot.
Real hugs, long and warm.
Let them laugh.
I loved it when they laughed.

Encourage people to come dressed how they want,
in whatever makes them feel their best and happiest.
They should arrive looking like their favorite selves —
ball gowns or business suits,
sports shorts or yoga pants,
unicorn-barfing-rainbow costumes.
Tell them I wish they’d dress like this all the time.
They are gorgeous
just as they want to be.

Ask people to do something randomly nice
for someone that day.
And maybe on some other days, too,
if they happen to think of me.

Assure them I will always be there
when they are dancing
or singing or playing music
or writing something meaty that they care about.

Maybe go outside.
Strike that. Definitely go outside.
Look at the sky.
Look at the trees.
The world is really pretty.
Tell them I’m part of that now
and I’m delighted by that notion.

And please remind everyone
about how much I enjoyed the ride.
As messy and hard as it often was,
it was amazing.
I’m grateful
I got to experience every painful
and blissful bit of it.

Thank them. Thank them for everything.
They were the ones
that made my life so very extraordinary.

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 5

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morning fix

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an inexplicable traffic knot
no wreck
or struck deer
remnants of someone’s favorite bureau
strewn
leaves us sitting in the early dark
with our steel encased coffees
and minty yawns
damp heads swiveling
for the reason
we’ve paused
no longer on our way
but forced to be fixed
foot on brake
as we wait
suspended in soft rain
breathing
the sealed moment
before dawn

October 2015
Julie Ayers

Matter

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When he pulled on his Union Jack socks
and clipped the bow tie in place
thirty years ago
he didn’t know
that night would lead him
to banana spiders spinning webs
outside his bedroom window
a back lawn crawling with cicadas
their song as loud as a jet’s engine
Planet X spawned dreams
germinated in third grade
realized
three moons of Pluto discovered
two babies named
one kidney donated
a strawberry topped mountain saved

When he first saw her on the steps
of the Yale blue house
hands veiled in white cotton
a pearl button
resting against each clear wrist
he didn’t imagine
nebulas and dark matter
could occupy the same space
he understood relativity
only theoretically
and still had absolute faith
in gravity’s pull

August 2015
Julie Ayers

Climate Changed

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imageShe decided to breathe on only odd-numbered days.
A conservation strategy to help the planet and herself
waste less energy expanding and contracting her lungs,
taking in all that good oxygen from around her,
and with every exhale,
replacing it with damaging carbon dioxide.

She briefly wondered if anyone would notice her blue periods,
which would necessarily be punctuated by silence,
as all words are mostly made of air.

Her undertaking was short-lived, as was she.

And she never did learn that no one noted the loss of her words,
or of her.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 19

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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

Written

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we have our stories
written in indelible DNA
myelin sheath to lace
amino acid to crystal
bell curves on the bottom of tranquility
organs falling still, silent
cells that morph to blossom darkly

the other stories
we draw in soft pastels
only fix them by resolution
dangling by thin wire
in all their suspended coloration

the plastic hospital bassinet
sheltering wisp of white onsied baby girl
arms stretched upwards, reaching
our hands unequivocally catching

forceps liberating, cord cut,
blue eyes open, fingernails fine as rice paper
a boy all weary, bloodied
from the long struggle to here

heads that fit snug in collar-bones
hair smelling of baths of bubbles
Goodnight Moon and bunnies
and spoons of mush
sippy cups and squeak of swings

hospital hallways, sleep chairs, ERs,
ORs, intensive cares, incisions, syringes,
liquids, pills, capsules,
nights and nights and nights
full of tubing and machines
that pump and beep and drain
procedures that punish and save
and save
and save
and save

circus clowns spring-board launched
somersaulting over lines of bowed children
chemo-bald and nervously giggling
cotton candy in blistered mouths
that needed to relearn the shape of laughter

a call, a text, a visit, an email
a party invitation and picnic at the pool
a book, a glass, a poem, a concert
hats and sunscreen and trophies
and tribes

fires browning marshmallows
warming fronts and feelings
as backdrops for men thumbing guitars
vivid sparks of voices rising
into midnight blue

and saved
and saved
and saved
and saved

 

May 7, 2014
Julie Ayers