Ease your sweet heart

Mother dear —

You worry about me
because I write sad poems —

But I promise you:
I am okay —

Writing purges my frustrations
and vents my steam
the pen is my psychiatrist
and ink my medicine —

When life feels off-balance
back to the writing board I go
I do not hide but seek
my emotions in words
and blot them on the paper
which blots it all out of my soul —

You see sad words, but to me
all my poems are happy
because creating them heals me —

Guaranteed, and believe me
because I love you so:
your daughter is just fine —

If ever I stop writing poems
that is when you should worry.

Kicked happy, fallen grateful

Some people say that I’m too damn cheerful. They assume I haven’t been knocked around enough in life. Well, I have had many blessings. But if those people only knew the struggles I’ve had too:  sharp, excruciating, gnawing, vicious; external, internal; brutally quick and achingly ongoing; lightning strikes and hammer blows, tripping falls face-to-ground. If only they knew the many forms of pain I’ve endured. If only they would realize that most people endure lots of painful struggle in their private lives, even if they never show it.

But despite that, and despite them, I say:  Why nurture the negative? With each adversity and graying year comes a brighter, giddier laugh and a more sincere, deeper smile. My heart gets both weaker and stronger with each blow, and every knockout convinces me that I don’t want to spend any more time, not even mere seconds, being miserable or resentful or smeared with the filth of the past.

I wash myself clean each morning and try to brave the new day. I’m not going to let hard times steal my happiness — not while there are still beautiful skies and green trees and good people left in the world. If I were to give away my contentment to hardships — if any of us did — we would be giving away that which remains and makes life worth living. So, I’ll take whatever I can get in lessons and give whatever I can in smiles. And yes, I hug and I love! — these are my comforts amongst the ills of life, not my cheerfulness because I have no ills.

—Terri Guillemets