Posts by elainehaley

The Flame

Posted by on Apr 21, 2012 in Spirit | 0 comments








I guess you could say I carried a torch for him, well at times it was just a tiny flicker of light cupped in my hand to keep the flame alive in the gale that was my life. Other times the fire burned so brightly I had to turn my eyes away and wipe the tears. We count almost 50 years as we look back over the decades of our relationship. For most of the time we were on other trains headed to other places, but on occasion we had a minute to sit in the waiting room and catch up before the conductor called all aboard, a summons for one of us to go. We left reluctantly, always looking back and wondering, what if I asked him/her for tomorrow? We now discover that our mind reading skills were abysmal and our best interest would have been better served by being forthright rather than honorable.

When I think about yesterday I always see first his hand reaching for me, pulling me to him. Then I remember his mouth and the words he said, the ones that bound me to him forever. “I have always loved you and I always will. You don’t realize how special you are. You could do or be anything you desire.” I was too young and hell bent on self destruction to listen to my heart and his. I let him walk away, back to his wife and family feeling like I was in a god damn country song.

We almost waited too long, but in a series of events that makes me believe in miracles, here we are sitting at our table, in our apartment, breathing in each other’s contentment. Aside from the passion we feel is the serenity of perfectly matched biorhythms, homologues childhoods, parallel journeys of discovery and the continuous unveiling of shared values we both arrived at independently. Here we are finally free from the lies of our lives, with no regret for all the bullets we took to protect those dear to us, only the ones we would have stepped in front of had we seen them in time. There will always be a bittersweet edge to our days because of the things we cannot change, but they are balanced by a new definition of love, the one that we discovered in each other.

Do you recall that  psychological experiment in trust that where one person was required to fall backward and let the other catch them? It was a popular sit com comedy foil where Charlie Brown like characters would try again and again to believe that this time things would be different, but they always found themselves on the ground feeling hurt and foolish while we laughed at the running gag. Take it from someone who has been down there more than a few times, it’s not as amusing from a horizontal vantage point. Each time I picked myself back up and blamed my own stupidity, but what is most surprising is I never learned enough skepticism to keep me from trying one more time. When he came to me this time I believed just as sincerely as I did when I was 17 and I let myself fall.

Most of the stuff that we broke on our way to each other will heal and some will end up stronger than before. Those things that cannot be mended were always beyond our control anyway.

The sunset never looked so beautiful.

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Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in My Children, Poetry | 0 comments

I left my fear of heights somewhere along the road
I didn’t notice it was gone until I came to the last bridge
Stretched across the sky between the mountains.
I don’t know where I misplaced it, but I do remember where I first found it,
My nails clawing at the bricks and clinging to the flimsy metal rail
Halfway up the lighthouse tower facing the Atlantic
Thirty-eight years ago come March

Perhaps it died while I was sleeping
Like some ancient holocaust survivor brought down
Because he stepped off the curb into the path of a bus
Perhaps it withered away from neglect
Forgotten in the closet of my mind
Like last year’s fashion

Now I stand here staring down the abyss of my life,
Almost fearless
Well except for remembering the Mother’s day
My daughter and I laughed, cried, and got drunk together
And the morning sun found me bleeding and sticky with wine
On the sofa with no memory of how I got there.

She got religion somewhere after motherhood and marriage
And lost her memory of all the days we wasted
Doing stupid and loving things together and separately.
My nightmare of driving off the end of the bridge in Baltimore
Was the portent of a death I wanted long, despite my laughter.
I don’t know why she loves me not
Now that I have chosen to live.

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Still Living

Posted by on Jul 30, 2011 in Poetry, Spirit | 0 comments

The sky pulled me close this morning
Embraced me with its fluff of clouds
I could not help but hug back at such a spontaneous and unexpected pleasure.

My child declares me dead
And holds her breath until I disappear
Not as charming at 30 as it was at 3.
Of course I blame myself.

That long dark summer when she was lost at sea
I ached and threw money like confetti
And ran incautious through mortal peril
To bring her safely home

When she returned from the nearly dead
I slew the fatted calf and invited the world
To come marvel at the wonder of a woman-child who glittered when she walked
And sucked all the oxygen out of every room

None left for me
I held my breath and waited for her to notice.

Now I regret the path I took a decade past
But cannot un-walk it or make her turn
To see me, Desolate

When I told her I was going
The mask of her face held briefly to grief
Then rose to anger. Now she holds to her rage and pain without pity.
And speaks of me as dead

But the sky knows she lies.
The clouds flirt with me and make a sound like happiness
I laugh out loud and blow kisses.

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Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Poetry | 1 comment

The wagons are almost loaded
I point my heart to the west
The hands that pull on my clothing fall away
As we start to roll.
The road lengthens behind me,
The shadows of forty years
Dance behind me in the dark woods
Right beyond the ring
Of the campfire light

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Promises of Paris

Posted by on Apr 15, 2011 in Holidays, Spirit | 0 comments

It’s almost 2 AM, too early to wake, but Paris and hunger has roused me from a restless four hour nap. I recall very few times in my life that I have been too excited to eat, but the last few days before my trip have been so packed with preparations and anticipation I have lost track of even meal times. Now with my suitcase ready for zipping, my traveling outfit selected and my job put to bed for the month, my stomach wakes me complaining. I cannot decide it it is too later or too early to eat, but after months of being too bound by responsibilities to take time for myself I find that more than food, more than sleep, I need to write. So, let me tell you about Paris.

In Kentucky where I was reared, many early pioneers left a stamp of incongruent place names across the young wilderness, names that were doomed to be twisted into unrecognizable pronunciations by the uneducated tongues that followed them into that dark and bloody land. My high school French teacher did nothing to dispel the ignorance in myself or my classmates concerning the butchered names. The rules of pronunciation that I learned in class were not applied locally. It was my first husband that made me aware that the Versailles Highway and the palace of the Sun King were spelled exactly the same way, but that Louis would have gone into the French equivalent of a hissy fit if he heard the locals speak the word. We even named the largest city in the state after him, Louisville, but I can almost see his sneer if he heard it spoken. Hopefully I will not see the same sneer Sunday morning when I arrive in his native land and open my mouth.

In an effort not to rise above my raising I have diligently fallen asleep for weeks with the headset Rosetta Stone sent me wrapped around my head whispering barely remembered words from long ago. The only thing I have learned for certain is how to ask politely for the toilet and a translator to understand the directions to same. Last night I admitted to a bit of terror along with my excitement. Come what may however I will be on the airplane in six hours, ready or not.

I wish I could say I yearned for Paris as I sat eagerly on the front row of Mrs. Render’s French class but truthfully I just wanted to be anywhere but in Beaver Dam Ky. It was later that Paris assaulted me, so deftly I am uncertain of when the blow was struck. I do know the longing is there and a bit of it seems to be in many of my friends and acquaintances, for when I tell them about Paris they get a dreamy look in their eyes. Some say, well, the people are rude I hear, or the city is dirty, but under it all they know romance waits there in the air, in the water, in the food, and especially in the language. La ville éternelle m’appelle, et je vais…

To be continued…

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