High Alert


Pressing anxious paws against my lower arm,
she marks my skin,
3kg of stiletto feet.

Easily startled, nerves like gum,
she twitches like a bird:
permanent fight or flight.

Even asleep, she is awake
and I worry:
what does this do to her?

by Rebecca L. Atherton


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Miscellaneous


 
A bent pin,
rainbow thread,
burnt umber:
stitching today.

A fly bothering me.
Cleaning my whiskers.
Remembering that men can be kind.

by Rebecca L. Atherton


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Stupid


 
Stubbornly insisting on persisting
when the rocks on the bottom
say the surface cannot be healed.

by Rebecca L. Atherton


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Collateral Damage

 

Clouds hug the buildings above her head, oppressive in their proximity. Smoke permeates the air from a shop that has caught fire across the street.

Yesterday it rained hard enough for branches to fall from the trees and washing that had dried to become wet.

Today the sun is out and even though it hasn’t yet escaped the clouds, there is the promise of heat.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Inclement Weather Front

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This week, it’s been unseasonably cold.

In the mornings, the water is frozen,
the washing machine fails to function
and the flat doesn’t heat up.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Afoot


There is a green plaster on my balcony
that wasn’t there before.

And last night there was a freak hailstorm
that earlier wasn’t predicted.

In my neighbourhood,
strange things are happening.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Absolution

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I want to write something today but I’m not sure how or even what. It’s been a long time since I tried turning thought into entity, perfectionism and performance anxiety are getting in the way and I’m scared of saying the wrong thing or things that are insignificant so I say nothing at all. It’s a circumstance that has been stagnating for weeks, gradually building up so that at first I was not even all that aware of it; awareness only setting in once the damage was constant, a permanent switch. But if I am honest, and I try to be whenever I can, it’s been even longer than that: months.

When I look back on the past year, scrutinising and evaluating my achievements, what I have and have not done, it becomes obvious to me: there are many blanks. Two years ago, and for many years before that, I wrote and wrote. Nothing could stop me – not travelling or season or circumstance or environment, not sickness or health. And then there was the big that we shall call the ‘Big Bang’, the thing that changed everything, and since then the parts of my brain that created simply don’t work. I might get a poem or a piece of prose from time to time, but mostly it’s just non-fictional writing: analysis, exploration, education; nothing to write home about. I hate that: it’s like someone reached in when I was absent and hacked off a limb, rendering my writing arm useless, stealing pieces of my brain, removing the most authentic and valuable parts of me. I feel deprived, deceived, disillusioned and desperate. Disappointed too. And I don’t understand why.

Do I no longer have something significant to say?

Have I lost the ability to step into and walk through alternate worlds?

Am I no longer an ‘innocent’ or ‘good enough’ to be granted gifts?

And where do these thoughts come from, these doubts, these questions about my worth and my integrity?

I have always believed it is that inner naïve part, the small child that never grew up, that inspires me: for only she still has access to those other land- and timescapes, those other worlds. And while I might still wholeheartedly believe in them and indeed visit them very often in my dreams, I no longer know how to put what I see into words: the letters that complimented the pictures have gone.

I think, if I’m honest, it has a lot to do with this.

Writing is all about ownership – fessing up, revealing and holding fast
to core truths.

And I am avoiding doing this. There are things I want to say, things I need to clear, baggage I am tired of dragging because I have been dragging it for many years, that need to be aired. Only I am scared of sharing what is most personal to me and what might, if I let it, cause a storm, cutting me off and alienating me from more than I had accounted for or am prepared to lose. So I sit and stare and attempt to write and what is hidden behind remains concealed.

Do other people have this problem or is it just me?

And when relating to those that do: how long does it last?

I am impatient and eager for it to pass. I want to move on and beyond it. I want my limb back, even if it is now maimed and disfigured and not at all the same as it once was. I don’t care. I accept. I can’t continue without it. And there are so many other parts that no longer work. Or work, but differently, in a way that is visible and seen, that tells me there is a bone here, an organ there, a ligament, a muscle, etc. Their presence, their being there, is externally heard and felt. And there is pain. I am carrying a crucifix. If I can bear all of this, then surely I can bear that.

So before I conclude, I guess I will just add this, sending it out to whoever is listening, whoever relates or cares, whoever might have the power within their hands and with their prayers to change my reality.

I have had enough. I am ready to continue, moving forwards towards a ‘something’ instead of stagnating beside a ‘not at all’. Healing is going to take time, and perhaps I never will: some do, some don’t. I am learning to accept this. Take off the brakes. Release the wheels. Let me be. Trust me to choose and decide. So what if I crash, so what if I fall off and scratch things I would rather keep unscathed, so what if the direction I choose isn’t the one you had planned: I’m okay with that. After all, I’ve been choosing the wrong direction just fine up until now and I’m alive, I’m standing.

And if you cannot trust me or don’t deem it wise… Guide me and lead me instead. I am good at taking orders and following lists. What I’m not good at is staying still. There is a restlessness that won’t vacate, a voice that won’t silence, pain that longs for me to lie flat, and it is dominating my life.

Oh Father,

Please forgive me. I am human. I have fouled up. I have made a mess completely and I have sinned.

Grant me your forgiveness and a clean slate. Make me like a babe again and this time I will devote my life to service in your name.

I will not let you down. I will not disappoint. I will take your light and shine it brightly throughout the world.

Amen.

All I want for Christmas is a new beginning and absolution from what came before, confirming by its very existence the existence of a higher power and the possibility of salvation. I have to believe that there is something greater, that life is about more than this, that what has happened and come before will not break and prohibit what ought, by rights, come now.

~

If this article has stirred things up for you or made you realise there are things in your life you would like to resolve, please feel free to visit my sister site to see how we might work together in the future.

Or, to book an appointment directly, see my booking page.

Rebecca Atherton is an integrative therapist. She offers transpersonal counselling and psychotherapy mixed with energy and alternative healing. To find out more about her and the work she does, visit lemonrosepetals.

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Departure

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To take the edge off,
I turn on the heat
and plant candles throughout the house.

The world recedes…
Behind veiled windows,
it becomes night.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Waves against rock


 
All day my manicure has fallen off.
It is black.
I take this as a sign:

another shadow has lifted,
a beautiful sunset at the end of a day
of waves against rock.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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November 8, 7pm.


 
Wrapped in coats and scarves,
pensioners stretch their limbs beneath a leaden sky,
while streetlamps struggle to permeate
the darkness with their light.

In America, people cast their vote
in the general election
and I wake to a world gone mad.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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