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Our loved ones who’ve risen

and live now in the bless-ed skies of rose gold—

they beam down upon you two,

as we all who breathe are

smiling upon your grand

unification.

 

This day, you’ve both chosen to

tie your souls together before devoted eyes.

We are all bless-ed

witnesses

to these oaths.

We are all bless-ed

to be in the presence of genuine love.

 

Nicole—

my sweetest girl,

I know you

as surely as I know the cadence of my heartbeat.

The first time I held you,

I knew

you were meant for me.

 

Now you’re meant for him, too.

 

Isaiah—

young man of conviction,

I trust you

as surely as I trust the rhythm of my lungs.    ,

I know

your hands were meant for hers.

 

The journey has begun;

 

Go forth with Virtue of Truth in

mind,

mouth,

and deed.

Honor one another with Respect;

for weaved within its fabric are the

sinews of great character.

 

The journey has begun;

 

Go forth with all of our love and blessings.

 

 

Nicole and Isaiah Rodriguez—25 August, 2018 

 

© Kindra M. Austin

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Nothing scares me.

I’ve built my house around those who haunt me.

Brick and mortar rises tall—a keep.

The older I grow, so does my fortress.

Soon, I’ll be left alone to revel in my ghosts in peace.

Soon, I’ll be left alone, where I belong.

Soon, I’ll be happy in spite of mourning.

Soon, I’ll hold them, and be able to feel their weight.

Soon, we’ll throw a party in the house I built.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: DeviantArt)

Today is Poems & Paragraphs’ 2nd birthday.

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Oh, my Glob! Thank you, David Bowie! You’re awesome, too. Almost as awesome as my readers, friends, and partners in crime. I’ve met some terrific talent and beautiful souls here on WordPress–people who I look forward to crossing paths with every day. Rather than celebrate the birth of P&P, I celebrate my community, and give my deepest thanks.

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I promise to continue writing my truths, and supporting the collectives I’m so fortunate to call friends and family. And I will never stop advocating for those who need to borrow my voice. I’m looking forward to another year of challenges and growth. It makes my heart smile knowing that I have all of you–I hope you know you have me, too. FOREVER.

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P.S. expect tantrums.

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You were goddamned gorgeous, and a fucking conundrum, my mother. When I think of all the men in your life who’d tried to solve your riddles, I laugh. The relics of those men inhabit a corner in the catacombs of my heart. I don’t want them, but each one retains a precious part of you, so there they shall remain. Yes, I’ll keep those tokens to remind me that I never want to be like you—insecure.

You’d always believed you required a man’s love in order to be completely happy. From the depths of my being, I am so sorry you’d lived your life on the cusp of a chasm so black. I wish you had known your true self through the eyes of your daughters; and I don’t understand why Tara and I weren’t reasons enough for you to be content.

I’m angry tonight—angry about your failures as a mother. And I’m pissed off at myself for even thinking about all of the men you’d put in front of me and my sister. You’re fucking dead—anger is a waste of my energy. What kills me is that I’d believed this shit was behind me. I’d forgiven you a long time ago. So why am I reflecting on my adolescence all over again?

Maybe forgiveness is infinitely intermittent, and real acceptance is bullshit.

 

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I’ve written the word grief so many times now, it appears to me to be misspelled–not even misspelled, but a term invented by an imagination most dark. I wish I could detail the profundity of my grief–of my sister’s grief–because I swear on everything deemed holy, if I have to defend myself, and my sister, one more goddamned time, I’m going to come unglued, and bust up this motherfucking house. And Tara’s house, too, for fuck’s sake.

I’m one more cliché away from shattering teeth. “Buck up” is not an appropriate reaction to anyone who is mourning. For real, what in the nine circles of hell is wrong with you? I can tell you–you’ve not yet experienced this level of utter absence, yet you’re so secure with how you’d handle your shit, you believe you have some sort of stunning immunity to the potent taste of black abyss.

Well, listen here–it’s confident pricks like you who end up lost in the fog of tragedy. Tara and I, we acknowledge our need for help. So maybe “bucking up” fits. Not by your definition…but I don’t give one fuck about your definition of taking responsibility of oneself.

You praise me for my strengths without mentioning my frailties. My frailties make up the biggest parts of my strength. How can one be truly strong without that which they must overcome?

This level of mourning is none like you’ve ever had to see me through before…and I know you loved my mother. You mourned her, and now you seem to be done with all of that sad business. But goddamn it, there is no box big enough for me to stuff my feelings into, and no time table of grieving laid out for me. Shit! When you come in from work, and find me crying while holding a photograph of my mother, don’t ask me why I’m sad! Fucking duh!

I refuse to pretend I’m okay. And I defend my sister’s feelings, too.

Don’t make this a choice for me.

You’ll lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You are love letters sent

Over landscapes and seas

Underneath the heavens—

 

Abounding

Radiance

Eclipses my obscurity—

 

Lo lamenting heart

O’ mine

Violence

Eviscerated by

Deliverance

 

My friends, I thank you all for the care and kindness, the prayers and good vibes; truly, every word of encouragement and sympathy sent has helped with the mending. You are proof of the power of human connection.

Peace and positivity,

K-Love

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Dear Morgan,

The world is enormously tragical, but within your brand new

deep wondering eyes, I see all the beauty—

every miracle that is, and ever will be.

What omnipotent being exists

who is pure as a sweet babe fresh from

the womb?

Morgan with immaculate heart,

springtime flows through your veins—

from baby’s breath do the gardens grow.

The world is enormously beautiful.

 

I lost my religion the day I was born to a beautiful young woman abused by her mother’s god. At the age of sixteen this innocent was raped by a Brother—a married man with children. The Elders voted to excommunicate the girl—my mom. So there should be no wonder why I abhor Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even though my mother had been disfellowshipped, this religious faction dictated my adolescent life. My mother, although she was unwelcome in the Kingdom Hall, and despised the religion, she still feared the wrath of Jehovah. So, she allowed her parents to take me to bible studies, and assemblies in Pontiac. My dad didn’t like it, but he followed my mother’s lead. Why? I don’t fucking know.

I remember feeling a great sigh of relief when I told my mom and dad that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with Jehovah. My parents promised me that I would never have to step foot inside a Kingdom Hall ever again. I’m nearly 39, and every time I drive past a Kingdom Hall, my heart sinks into my belly. I don’t like to generalize groups of people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an open-minded person—I typically dislike labeling as a whole. But Jehovah’s Witnesses hold a special place in my heart.

Half of the JW kids my mother grew up with have committed suicide. I remember when my mother was living in Texas, she’d call me up and tell me about so and so hanging themselves, or swallowing the barrel of a gun. It freaked mom out, because these people were her age, and their actions gave her ideas of escape. My mother has slit her wrists and overdosed more times than I care to count. And I know the root of her problem is her own mother, and that fucking religion.

It’s that fucking religion that guided my grandmother in raising her children. My mother isn’t the only one permanently fucked up—my uncles are a mess. At least my Uncle Kenny is a functioning member of society. He’s more than that, really. My Uncle Kenny is my favorite man, besides my dad, and my husband. Uncle Kenny is soft spoken and kind—but he hurts, and he says, “Up yours!” to the Kingdom Hall. Aunt Denise always supported him. Now she’s gone…and I worry about him. My Uncle Kenny and Aunt Denise were always a united force—Denise being the foundation.

Uncle Kenny came over the other night. It was a great surprise to me, him knocking on our door at 8:30. Before he left at 2 a.m. he said, “You’re Aunt Denise was fierce. She was a warrior.”

And I thought about Blood into Ink. All of us at Blood into Ink are warriors. I wish my fellow writers could have known my aunt. She had to overcome much. And she was always proud of me in life; I know she is proud of me now—what I stand for.

Aunt Denise wasn’t the sort who shoved religion down throats. She believed what she believed, and respected whatever the fuck anyone else believed. Unless they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because like me, she’d witnessed the destructive properties of that cult. After my mother had been raped, and disfellowshipped, Aunt Denise spoke to her parents, and they allowed my mother to move in with them. My grandparents are pieces of shit, as far as I am concerned—the rape was never reported to the police.

My mother and my Aunt Denise had been best friends since high school. When Aunt Denise passed, I thought my mother would totally break. But, she and her brother, Kenny, have one another, and they are both managing, together.

When Uncle Kenny was at my house the other night, I finally had the chance to tell him, one on one, that I missed Aunt Denise. I at last told him my final words to Aunt Denise before she was gone. And he cried. He’s never cried in front of me. He said, “Aunt Denise was with you when you were talking to her. She’s always been proud of you.”

Next month, just before Thanksgiving, and Uncle Kenny’s birthday, is Aunt Denise’s death day.

I don’t pray to a god for the well-being of her soul. She is a part of the Universe now, and she visits me in my dreams frequently. I know Aunt Denise is existing in a state of peace, and she reaches out to show me she’s okay.

Don’t tell that to a Jehovah’s Witness, because they’ll say I’m league with Satan. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person who dies does not release a soul; they are simply dead, buried in the fucking dirt, and if they are a Witness, they will be resurrected like Jesus was, to live on a paradise earth after Armageddon has passed. Think of it! If you’ve ever found a JW pamphlet at your door, you’ll know what I’m talking about—people living amongst tigers and elephants and shit. Fucking lambs sleeping with lions on your front lawn. Asians and Latinos smiling like morons alongside the whites and blacks, they may as well be unicorns. The Watchtower and Awake! always depict Asians and Latinos chilling with wild animals. For real, how many Chinese Jehovah’s Witnesses do you know?

Propaganda, folks! That’s what this fucking cult comes calling with when they knock on your door on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve/ Christmas isn’t even holy to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

You know why JWs don’t celebrate the birth of Christ? Because their bible doesn’t tell them to.

JWs don’t celebrate anything their bible doesn’t explicitly say to celebrate. So, they don’t celebrate Christmas. They don’t celebrate their own birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, ANY holiday. They do not observe Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or even Labor Day. Any calendar holiday is off limits. JW children don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance because JWs believe that only Jehovah deserves allegiance; a JW does not willingly serve in the military.

My grandpa (my mother’s dad) was in the ARMY. He married my grandmother. I remember seeing his ARMY photo when I was young. I wonder, after he converted to Grandma’s religion (because she was a pushy bitch), if he was ashamed of his service. I’d like to think he wasn’t ashamed, though I do recall that he spoke against the military. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not permitted to enlist in any faction of the military, as pledging allegiance to anything other than Jehovah is blatant defiance.

It’s late, and I’m babbling. I’ve lost sight of what this entry is supposed to be. I’m listening to The Cranberries. Each song means something different to me—

I guess what I mean to say, in the long winded way, is that I don’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses. For personal reasons. And probably for fundamental reasons, too.

P.S. Yes, I’ve had a few drinks. It’s Sunday Funday.

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Nicole and I are on our way to see Fleetwood Mac in this photo, taken in 2015.

At 3:33 pm, on the third day of October, it is 82 degrees where I live in Michigan. The house is cool inside, too cool, so I’ve opened a window for balance–just one. The sun is a golden god today, and the trees are waving happy branches in the breeze–lots of them have managed to hold onto their spring green color. From where I’m sat at my desk in the living room, looking into the backyard, I might easily be fooled into thinking it was June.

I am peaceful this afternoon, listening to the clacking of keys as my fingers deliver my thoughts. Melvin is asleep in the window just inches away from me, and he keeps making these fat kitty errrmm sounds that melt my heart. I want to pick him up and rock him like the baby he is, but the poor guy hasn’t been feeling well, so it’s best I let him be; the sweet thing, I wonder what he dreams about, all curled up and cozy.

I’m going to prepare a chicken stew with dumplings tonight for dinner. I feel good enough to cook, so I want something special. I only wish Nicole still lived at home so I could feed her, too. Oh, my girl. I miss the smell of her shampoo permeating after her nightly shower. I miss going to bed at night, and seeing the soft light of her bedroom reaching just beyond the edge of the closed door. I miss waking up to the sound of her tea kettle. She and Isaiah have just moved into their first house, about ten miles out of the village. I still see Nicole several times a week, and we text, or speak on the phone every day.

I am peaceful this afternoon, but I really feel like I need a hug.