All I know is

the burn never stops burning

the ache never stops aching

and when one part of the body dies

ten thousand bodies rise up to fall headlong into that cold hole

We think we’re alone

and sweet Jesus, we are

But what amazes me

even in the witch’s hour roll call

when the clock ticks like soldiers

and black is a cavern I look about owlishly

and the lungs stay asleep

though the brain is not

I know

someone is praying

and I watch her watching me

and that thread

eye to eye

is my undeserved salvation.

A few of my favorite things: Take two

Choosing my soul

again and again

Feeling her light hurl from my eyes

Love for Love’s Sake

Knowing what that means for the first time in my life

My daughter’s breath filling the darkness of my bedroom at 2 am

Smiling into the ceiling as I listen for hours

Book ended by purring cats

All of us belly up

Sober sliding on my body each morning a little more loosely

even if the diet consists of running

from wounds that aren’t meant for healing

So dear God

do feel free to Damn me

again and again

If only for the scenic route Home.

Stardust of my Song

Once upon a time, I could hardly wait to curl up in some dusky corner and fill my veins with smoky blues and red wine.

Clink glasses with Billie Holiday.  Hold my knees.  Sway.  Ride the dark current of longing.  Sob religiously until the drunk took me at last.  A form of premeditated spiritual murder in retrospect.

But tonight I realized I haven’t cried in 98 days.  

The rest is still there.  The voracious hunger.  The bleeding heart.  The inexplicable kinship with hundred year old divas.  So many songs that will not die.

Drinking didn’t enhance the pain, it didn’t suppress it, it didn’t purge it…

It was the pain.

What I am left with now at 2 am on a Tuesday morning after a long, hard night of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald is quite simply the lucid, ruthless ache for Love.

My name for God.

The throb is the stardust of our Love.  An all but tangible signpost, the texture of which only thickens with sobriety.  A constellation of breadcrumbs Home.

Bittersweet consolation in our song.

And we all have one.  A God song.

I sang mine for you today in my car after my lunch break.

At the top of my lungs, unabashedly, head thrown back; my song swelled endlessly in my chest like a tiny universe.

Looking for empty spaces.

Sweet dreams,

Sp  

Just a little I Love you

I made it through New Year’s!

It was much more of a helmet and bunker moment than I anticipated, but it is well with my soul.  Whew.  The aftermath of anything, when sober, is always better.  A well earned nugget of wisdom that one.

Funny how this blog has become a bit of a priestess for me.  My confession, good or bad.  Honesty is my only prerequisite.  She (I’ll assign a sex to my blog, ha!) actually factors into my resolve now.

I don’t want to lose this space with you, with myself, with us.  And isn’t that the magic and the mystery of Love?  Something conceived between Lovers that we all end up living and dying for.

Beauty needs nothing to survive.  It might be the only absolute I believe in and it rises with equal ferocity out of darkness and light.

I am reminded of a line by poet Charles Bukowski from a piece called hangovers:

“it’s all been so beastly

lovely,

this mad river,

this gouging

plundering

madness

that I would wish upon

nobody

but myself,

amen.”

Who can’t identify with that?  That way in which addiction seduces us into isolation and tries to gut us in the corner.  But even there the seed for recovery is planted if we only survive all those dark nights of the soul.

The seed is surviving.  Sobriety starts with surviving and becomes its own beautiful being that we are then privileged to feed, cradle, laugh and cry with.

And wow do I love that the mad river still rages in me, and that the beastly lovely is something I would wish upon everyone now.  The difference is now I am present, I am awake, and I know I am not alone.

Graciously you take my hand and we ride this bitch together.  I love all of you and am so grateful for you in my life.

My words for 2016: honesty.  poetry.  YOU.

I can so commit to that.

Love,

Sp

Just an honest shout into the void

This one goes out to our souls.

To all of you wrestling with Demon X.

It’s not a story where the hero rises, faces the foe and finds a way to win despite all obstacles.

I think it’s a story where the hero never slays the antagonist.  Best case scenario: he walks wounded and stumbles on surprise flowers between the cracks in the concrete.

Alcoholics will be surrounded by oceans of booze today.  Indulgent spreads will brutally try the restraint of food addicts.  Smoke will rise from patios. The less fortunate will freeze in shadows.  Drugs will happen.  Some to shoot loneliness between the eyes.  Some to take the edge off other addictions.

Some of us will fail utterly.  Some of us will sip coffee and put another X on the calendar.  Some of us will fall somewhere in the middle.  But we will all feel the same broken.  We will all press our palms over the same wound.

I have no poems for you.  No clever quotes.  No god damn memes.

You are the poem I want to read.  And I do quietly every night.  I read your stories  and find them beautiful.  Especially the ones where you fail utterly and yet there he or she is, that pretty soul of yours still screaming at you, at all of us, from some kind of parallel universe:  please don’t stop trying.

What a gorgeous creature.  It looks so lost, all but dead, bleeding out; but if you set your index on its wrist, guess what?  It’s alive.

You are so tragically, beautifully alive.

I see you out there.  And you’re beautiful.  And you are absolutely Loved.

Yours,

Sp

Why Wine is Forbidden

“Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared. And that’s the sin. Literally, without. Empty. Disconnected. Lost.”

So I love red wine.

The passion behind that statement deserves its own sentence.

In fact, if it weren’t for this pesky disease, I would be Rumi and she the honorable Shams of Tabriz.

I flip open my Essential Rumi this afternoon and, no kidding, I land on this one:

Why Wine is Forbidden

When the Prophet’s Ray of intelligence

struck the dim-witted man he was with,

the man got very happy and talkative,

Soon he began unmannerly raving.

This is the problem with a selflessness

that comes quickly,

as with wine.

If the wine drinker 

has a deep gentleness in him,

he will show that

when drunk.

But if he has hidden anger and arrogance,

those appear,

and since most people do,

wine is forbidden to everyone.

Selflessness (ego abandonment).  Comes Quickly (Knowledge, not Wisdom).  And, when drunk (I think we can all draw our own conclusions there).

That’s the trifecta for me in that poem.  It’s not about our so called true colors shining while under the influence.  I don’t believe that.  We are all capable of volatile displays of emotion at any moment, drunk or not.

What I see happening here is borrowed enlightenment, descending in a passionate rush.  An enthusiastic one night stand.  There’s no conversation, no engaged dialogue, no authenticity.  The Love element is unstable, implodes, and comes out the under side on its back.

Without traction, without mindful intention the addict’s sensualist power turns on her and everyone she encounters.

Ever chasing that sweet spot, on the brink of delight, Billie Holiday moaning in the background; then suddenly (or so it seemed in retro), fetal and broken.  With someone I love telling me how “different” I seem.  What do you mean, I’d say?  (Denial).  I don’t know, you’re just different.

God, that line really haunted me for some reason.  Still does.

Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared.  And that’s the sin.  Literally, without.  Empty.  Disconnected.  Lost.

I’ve never been a fan of fire and brimstone conversion no matter the circumstance; but I will admit the analogies resonate.  Addiction is Hell.  An abuse of communion.  A perversion.  A demon to be exorcised.

Until then, the ray of intelligence falls over and over again on a dead body.

<Insert soulful sigh>

But as for this night, Lovers: “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” and we are the moon rising and the wolf within, licking a wound where Rumi’s Light will enter.

One damn day at a time.

Thankful I’m not blessed

“I’m thankful for every starving addict in the world because that hunger is a light house.”

I’m thankful for all the spewing demons behind the wheel of cars tonight because they are buying pies and visiting grandmas.

(I’m thankful for my dying Saturn because I feel like a tiny God when I lift the hood and shoot a knowing grin at a few of the pieces now).

I’m thankful for spending five hours in the ER with my daughter last night because when she puts her hand through the bars of that bed I get to squeeze it.

I’m thankful for the old woman I met there, whose agonized moans made my Love lurch.

(I’m thankful for every hour I waited for the goofy, bespectacled doctor who made us laugh over Bruce Springsteen stories and Lidocaine).

I’m thankful for alcoholism because it is the filthy mat I fall on daily; and most times when I lift my face, I see God.

I’m thankful for every starving addict in the world because that hunger is a light house.

So, I’m thankful I’m not blessed.

I’m thankful for every horrible thing I’ve ever said or done because I can’t fix yesterday, only now.

I’m thankful for the devastation of divorce because our blackest voids are really cosmic bangs of creation.

I’m thankful for every profane word ever spoken because passion is the seed of Christ.

I’m thankful for every offensive word ever spoken because it is fuel to a fire that needs to burn.

I’m thankful for every photo I have never shared because I am no different than any one of you.

And I’m thankful for every man, woman, or child brutally alone tonight because on the shore of that darkness is a broken hearted Lover waiting with a warm wrap.

Here I am.