|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
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Amid Thirsty Vines
What once was bountiful,
is now barren.
It is always in the wild and unruly garden that roots grow deep.
Neglected and forlorn,
resentful buds and regretful foliage will wind their way amid thirsty vines across a heart's landscape.
If you loved the gardener
enough to let them go,
love yourself enough
to lock the garden gate after they leave.
You will never find the depth of your own soul by going on a treasure hunt in someone else's.
The weeping willow swayed back and forth like a lover shaking her hair after an afternoon romp.
I could hear the sun's intake of breath before he told her
she made beautiful look easy.
— and I was mesmerized by how his admiration highlighted her self-confidence.
When you find a love that happens as easily as vines winding around a forgotten tree stump, you will never have to ask yourself,
"Am I, or am I not?"
And that's the kind of love that will obliterate doubt and will thrive naturally.
What will you do when you realize that memories have chains affixed tight across your soul?
Part of you is begging for release,
looking for a pardon that is never coming.
And the other is willing to do life
— rather than let go.
Look at how lovely your soul unfurls,
as you lean in towards the light.
I am a renovator at heart. I see souls who have potential, and I reach for a sledgehammer. Every wall that comes down is a victory for my self-esteem. I wish I could pass on fixer-uppers and focus on the move-in ready. But, my vintage soul longs for its template. I am enamored by the nostalgia,
and character, and the minute and intricate details that lie hidden beneath the dirt and grime of a life trying to live.
My mind likes to imagine. Fantasize a life where I walk among the hills of flowerbeds lining pathways, and I never crush their petals. I create gardens and tend them in my soul. Forget-me-nots and daisies, like the ones you gave me on our first date.
Planting seedlings and growing flowers remind me of love, blooming and fragrant.
But then the clouds will ultimately roll in and water my banks, and more often than not, it is my tears that flood and overflow the trenches. And I find myself in the thick of memory-laden mud, trying to find a way to climb out.
My heartache recovery has always entailed pruning my past. It hurts to cut out what once made you reach for the sun. But if it is strangling your growth, it must go. And if you are like me, a hoarder of everything that I once carried, you will weep enough tears to water the cuttings you tend as you embark on a new season.
Make no mistake — the agony is stored,
piled high in secret rooms she has no intention of rearranging or revisiting.
She loads and goes. She hoards their contents, because even though she refuses to use them, she is captured by their rarity,
they are collectors to her heart.
She cannot let any of her relics go.
And when all is said and done ...
Her spirit may be braced with steel,
but she is cashmere amongst tender skin and delicate to the touch.
They're just words, right? Yet when they hit you with the force of running Clydesdales,
back and forth across your ribcage, you see how badly spoken words can hurt.
There I stood,
stoic and petrified,
wooden and dust.
Begging this person to love me.
And he said he could not love my decaying heart.
And that was the end,
but it was also the beginning of me.
They come and go. A heart can be a revolving door when it feels empty. I wonder if we would get an accurate count if we started counting from the teenage years how many visitors have come calling. Some stay longer than others and make rooms in your heart. You buy matching comforters and pillow shams and you think this is the one.
The traveling ones only stay for a night.
A traveling heart is never satisfied with the accommodations and is always looking for that next wow moment. It likes the adventure, but never gets too comfortable.
If he stands at the door, one foot out, bags already in the car, and asks you to give him a reason to stay ... Gather the strength you've been holding in tightly. Look him dead in the eye and give him 100 reasons.
Spill your thoughts and emotions with explanations so deep that they wash his exit away. Because this is it. The defining line.
Before and after ... him. You will never get this moment back. If you don't want him to go, he needs to know why. If you don't justify his importance in your life, you may find yourself many years later regretting never voicing those reasons.
Maybe it was the pent-up anger, or the pride that held words in your throat, and you wanted to say it ... you wanted to scream,
"Don't go," but you stayed silent. You see,
people leave sometimes, not because they want to, but because they have no reason to stay.
Our Kind of Love
I inhale your scent,
pulling you deep within as familiarity rubs my spine.
My ribs curve,
blinking coquettishly as your fragrance strokes the inside of the place you call home.
We end up in relationships we were never meant to encounter,
because we were not patient enough to wait for the right one.
I wonder if we dislike our own company so much that we cling to the ones not meant for us. Anyone who has a warm body and knows how to say I love you. We desperately want to believe they speak the truth, because love is all we really want. Yet we can't find a way to love ourselves.
Not every I love you requires a paragraph explanation from your lips.
I leave my imprint the only way I know how.
A cursive life in bold print.
Answers to questions are often found in words not spoken,
but coveted like pressed blooms.
Hidden in secret crevices and scraped from fortified marrow.
I watch as they graft into poetic memories.
I write because I owe these scars the bedtime story they deserve.
We end up planted in relationships we were not meant to encounter because our bodies are lonely. We confuse companionship with comfort. We synchronize closeness with love. We dig in and try to make the relationship we find ourselves in ... bloom.
But if an authentic love was not present to fertilize the union during cultivation,
withering days are ahead.
She stands on her tiptoes, searching my eyes for answers.
And all I feel are questions. Things I need to ask rise in my throat, and I watch her eyes glide down, seeking solace in my quiet.
And I let it go. And just like that,
a conversation is lost.
Here I am swimming through the sea of love,
holding my breath
far too long,
and envious of those who stay on dry land.
I see vanilla-colored roses, but I don't bend to smell their fragrance, nor do I plant them among the others I have guarding my heart's gates.
Because ... they remind me of lip balm kisses at high noon, and candle scents flickering against bodies in tune.
If you're going to hold on,
then hold on so tight our fingers fuse.
If you're going to keep coming back every time you go,
then come back and stay.
Put your shoes next to mine,
to the left,
under the stairs where the space stays vacant.
If you're going to hold on,
then hold on,
and don't ever let go.
We don't thank our hearts nearly enough for all the atrocities we put them through.
We serve them on dinner plates to caveman souls who don't use napkins and spit them out because they are well done. We send them into battle, through horrific experiences, and expect them to get the job done without complaining. We object when they are hurting,
and continuously take them for granted during every minute of our pain. We blame them for holding on, for having faith when we have already let go. Yet, they keep tapping away. Enduring with a strength that is supernatural and has nothing to do with us.
They defy the death sentence you have given it, and instead keep you and your body alive.
And we don't thank our hearts nearly enough.
When did it hit you?
Turn you inside out,
flip you right where you stood.
When did you feel inspired to live this life,
instead of merely impaling your existence?
He is reckless abandon,
and she rides on the safe side of life now.
She knows that the rush
Because nothing lasting ever came from being reckless with her heart.
Before and After
I ask myself ... sometimes when I am alone.
I ask myself many, many things.
I rarely get the answers to my questions,
but the debates ...
the conversations between who I was before you,
and who I am now,
There are songs that can transport you right back to where it all began. Then there are others that make you tremble and drop you where you stand.
People will view your past and call it a tragedy, and label you tragic.
Don't let these words sink in. Remember that you have endured far worse idle chit-chat than a few assumptions from naysayers.
Use their judgment as fuel to continue the bonfire you've already started for yesterday.
There are two kinds of people who walk away from love.
One is terrified of possessing it
and then losing it, and the other is altogether numb to it.
I'm not looking for the one who will gallantly tip,
fill me up,
deplete by half,
and then complete me.
The last time I looked,
I was more than a full glass.
Promise me that when the roses bloom, the Winter will have thawed from your heart.
That you will be reminded that a few months back twigs shivered in uncontrollable conditions, yet now bud under sunny skies.
Don't waste the magical hours in front of you trying to fix the minutes you have already lived. You look back so often,
there is no way you are fully here today.
You must quit living for yesterday.
I've only known love as fickle as spring weather. Sunburned on Monday and frozen by Wednesday. A heart can never plan what it's going to wear the next day when conditions are inconsistent.
You have to trust in your heart. You have been bonded since birth. It depends upon your caretaking. It will make undesirable connections during your lifetime, but you will need to be understanding during the hard times. Remember, when it hurts ...
Heart connections are the tendrils that tangle against time,
Be bold in self-love and self-respect.
Bold enough to waylay the bullies who will try to take it from you.
I will find you waiting by the fire.
The hearth, where my heart has always been.
My heart has never left the place where we were one.
Your hand in mine,
promising to walk through forest fires.
Finding our way.
Somehow, we got lost.
And I still look for you every day.
I turned them away, left and right.
The ones who came in place of you.
Willing to fill my emptiness,
and spin me around the dance floor.
But I waited.
I waited because you were the only one who could make me feel like I was dancing by merely holding my hand.
You are deserving of a love that captures the photographs your heart has stored since birth.
You are deserving of a love that finds the contents of your hope chest
Our hearts had a conference.
But we were distracted by our surroundings,
and we never quite focused on the subject being discussed.
I stick my tongue out and feel the cold glass. I lick the side of the window of my soul. I feel like a three-year-old child going on her first vacation. I'm viewing life differently now. In awe of its wonder and possibilities. Thirsty for adventure.
She will not always tell you how she feels because she has been shushed and shooed one too many times.
She learned early on that romantic prospects want perfection, or close to it,
when searching for love. So, she doesn't reveal much.
She shoveled her concerns into little neat piles that she hides around the perimeter of her heart.
There is a place that magically appears when our integrity is on the line.
We hate to visit, but Pride Land is always near.
I've never been good at board games of any kind. I have the kind of heart that takes up residence in my eyes. One look — and they always give my next move away, and when you are transparent, you are easily played.
And when the memories roll in,
causing you to think about him in a wistful manner.
Eyes of fire that are aflame when done wrong.
A heart so deep,
the bottom will never be reached.
The wind is wicked as it calls to me under the moonlight.
Perfectly enunciated howls have turned into:
Your hands are dirty again from digging through your soul.
Storms, I have encountered them in every season, at every stage in my life.
But he was the only one I named.
I see the sun peeking through clouds that have no choice but to part, reminding me that whatever I face, there is always hope for a brighter day.
Whenever I ask myself what peace means to me, I keep coming back to the word
When I finally reached a level of acceptance within my own heart, I achieved peace.
And I will never allow another to take away what I have spent decades trying to find.
The cultivating and the fertilizing was necessary to grow stout limbs and bold petals.
Look at how your center is highlighted by the sun.
Even its rays shine in admiration at the growth you have achieved.
They cut you off knee-high.
Trampled upon your beauty.
Not knowing that your loveliness would resurface another season, and be more magnificent.
You Will Be Okay
I feel my chest close and my grip loosen.
I tell them,
and they say
you will be okay.
I forget today and remember yesterday.
I tell them,
and they say
you will be okay.
I detest being touched but I need to be felt.
I tell them and they say
you will be okay.
You will not find her in the sea of your reflection.
She is comprised of things you have never seen or felt. Stardust clouds her vision and her heart is tangled in the Moon's glow.
And it will take light-years to outrun her memory.
What is it about the lilacs and the way they sing your name?
You will always be the scent that my heart remembers much too fondly.
And when my eyes land on you, know that they see the love you cultivate while planting kindness for the next generation.
If something is inspirational, it should move you to delve deep inside yourself, and help to uncover the hidden gems that pulse with intention and require motivation.
We are all going the same way, you know?
On different paths, we meander, breathing breaths we can never get back. Actions we have to ask forgiveness for. Realizations that come too late.
We fill ourselves with the ornamental and then wonder how they get overgrown. They overtake our space and smother our chests if we neglect them. Every day we plant.
Sometimes it's words or acts of kindness.
And it might bloom, or the skies will just carry it away. But it is never forgotten ...
The Universe saw your intention and instructed the wind to scatter it somewhere else far away.
The hands that hold you
do not own you.
The hands that help you
do not control you.
Who Are You Living For?
It is ingrained in us to want our friends and family to be proud of us and of the way we live our live. We say opinions do not matter, and they shouldn't, but we find ourselves cultivating a common ground.
A neutral place that makes the important people in our lives content with our life choices. But when you choose this path,
you are living a life of appeasement,
and your soul will crave authenticity.
You've heard the fairytales. How the man wrestles the world in order to win the woman in dire straits.
We grow up groomed by humanity to think we need saving.
But, let us raise little warriors, who write their own tales of how they will conquer the world ... and save themselves.
She tiptoes across the Big Dipper gazing down on the Earth that she has left behind.
She followed her soul when it went in search of home.
She has transformed from forgotten,
And she will not apologize for living her life with intention.
Excerpted from "Amid Thirsty Vines"
Copyright © 2018 St. Martin's Press.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Amid Thirsty Vines,
Our Kind of Love,
Before and After,
You Will Be Okay,
Who Are You Living For?,
Try to Love You,
The Hardest Love to Win,
Once in a Lifetime,
Tending Your Own Garden,
Because He Left,
Spring is Coming,
Where I've Been,
Take Something Away,
Do Not Ignore It,
The Right Way,
Shade of Forever,
Quest for Love,
Love is Not a Well,
Outrunning a Memory,
Get Through It,
Heart and Soul,
Should you ever find yourself,
Also by Alfa,
About the Poet,