Just Like You

Nothing can keep me down

by Lynley Hocking

This month we are sharing a selection of intimate poems from Lynley Hocking. Lynley lives in Pasadena, South Australia in the high dependency end of a retirement village, where the needs of a life lived with chronic illness are met with grace. “I love the natural world, creative expression, and random acts of sincerity. Gangagi’s message and the Forum enrich my life and continue to point me to freedom.”

 

Nothing can keep me down

Into the mental hospital
Men in shirts
clipboards rather than ipads then
Dr blablabla
and Dr something or other
And Roger the Psychologist
whom I loved.
Perhaps hypnosis is an idea
Diazepam 10 mg to start
tell us your story
hmmm aha mmm
Leather shoes on carpet
’Im as smart as you by the way’
’Yes But you’re maladapted’
’Change adaption disorder is the summation here’
Ok cool
I gaze out the window.
I’m 20 years old
A tall man outside sticks his head at the glass suddenly and pulls a zany face
My eyes widen
We will keep you here two weeks for a start
The nurses will monitor you
I’m on long service leave starting Monday but Dr. Something or other will see you for hypnosis
Have a safe weekend
Next….’
Back out in the garden
I take a seat
chamomile tea and biscuit in hand
The same tall man approaches
‘You know Bette Midler is coming tonight?
The first prick of light in my heart
Yeh?
Yes at midnight her helicopter is landing on the roof and she’s performing a concert
Cool
Yeh you know what songs she’s singing?
No
I suck on the edge of my Monte Carlo
Notice my hand is shaking
perhaps from a broken heart
’Well one song is the wind beneath my wings. Will you be up at midnight?
No
Want me to sing it now then?
Yes.
Okay
He backs out onto his stage of lawn as I sit in the gazebo
shrugs off his coat.
Takes a bow
And let’s go
A Deep rich voice
Holding nothing back
Heart language
frees me from the groove of mind
wakes presence in my cells
collapses story
He is suddenly impossibly beautiful
He swoons
he gestures
his voice climbs,
dips
builds
During the final chorus we are both crying.
I put my tea down and clap with all my might.
A nurse approaches
Is everything ok?
Yes.
I’m laughing
yes everything IS

Later we share some Jubes
I was married he says
living a lie
I busted out as homosexual
and then these episodes started
That’s So brave I say
Yes brave
And you. Are you unwell?
Yeh
so they say
we smile
Who’s your Dr?
Dr something or other
Yes he nods
He can’t be helped
No?
I chew on my jube
the diazepams kicking in
No, He is too far gone
He even banned me from singing
No
Outrage
Yes
But nothing can keep me down

 

Come

It is your very breath
Oh infinite love
That bares my soul
I say stop, don’t, please
I say come

 

Walk on Water

Death
This is my purpose for being here
To be swallowed by the whale
To die to self
To take one shaking step after another
Over the cliff of reason
To trust the infinite will catch me
To walk on Water

 

Shhhhhhh

Consciousness is raining kisses all over me
As I lay in this death challenge
Advanced illness
Watch the dissolution of all you thought you were
Don’t fight it
Watch
Shhhhhh
Your voice is in my ear

 

Panic

Like A possum caught in the cage of my diaphragm
Its nails are sharp
they puncture inside
So I lay on this mattress and inquire.
The flow of life goes onward
outward
inward
its a bare warm street
despite the flow of traffic.
Can you feel how warm it is?
beneath your feet?
The smell of bitumen
The kids playing cricket out on the road with an old tin bin for stumps
The melody from the ice cream van
the magpies picking in the gutters
The wind in the eucalyptus?
There is a possum in my diaphragm
scrambling and scratching
Drawing blood.
Inquiry into the panic
and its the same bare street
The same bare street
 beneath.

 

Oh Daughter thy daughter

This Five foot eleven daughter at my door
in corduroy overalls and bare feet
from whence hast thou appeared?
Wild surfing hair and honey brown eyes
Striding around the room.
’Jasmine and I at the party.
Sophies moved now.
Dads obsessed with rock collecting’
I listen
I watch her fireworks
I hear her opinions
We drink chai tea
’Im in love with this guy’
like I’ve not met him yet but look at him’
phone
photos
fantasy
He lives in Hawaii but look at him surfing
He is a god’
‘God is in everything I see because God is in my mind’
I say
‘Course in Miracles
Lesson thirty’
She looks at me
’yeh. Cool’
I used to think this child was mine
Seems hilarious now
stripped of role and reason
Who knew love could rip so deep
She chose her Dads house at 14
Her brother followed soon after.
Flattened by illness
I watched the same possum climb out of the tree each night
and slide down the stobey pole.
Now it’s phone parenting largely
and these grooving visits.
She will be Eighteen in three weeks
she is the universe’s child
She is amazing
Who are you when the night has come?
I am the stars and the sky, the wind in her face
as she rises on her surfboard
I am The water In the sink as he brushes his teeth.
From my bed,
I am tears and hot chest and rage and loss
I am mother rocking her in my arms
rocking him in my arms
rocking me in my arms
I am love.
‘Make sure you work out the reading glasses you need
No good being up that close to a computer screen’
’Yes Mum
Byeeeeeee.
She kisses me farewell through the glass door
I struggle to settle afterward
Love does that
it’s not like in the movies

 

Dear One

No one said active addiction would be easy
Caught in its headwind
Desperate prayers spiraling in all directions
You have been consistent
Sweet addiction
Shall I call you beloved?
As you waltz me across this mother of pearl dance floor
Across oceans
Across our very own heart

I know your hands are in my pockets
Slowly fleecing lifeblood
As you seduce me
I know your heavenly scent upon my skin
Upon our lips
Is an idol.
Still I follow
Blind
Deaf
Dumb
Without defense
I close my eyes

Thank you for your consistency
Your Progression can be measured
In the mounting fatigue
In the gaps between coherency.
In our two lives requiring attention
Until there is only one
Yours
And I
given over and deplete
Am the parched sand beneath your sun
Still Believing
Somehow
In an oasis
That never actually existed

Thank you for the lessons in impotency
Your circus of rebellion
At least I recognized completion
As I rushed past it in your embrace
And with respect for your tenacity dear addiction
I remain unconvinced of your true authority
As you clasp me like a child and draw the blinds so tight
What tender love are you needing sweet one?
That you should feel I would abandon you here?

We are the holiness of love itself
The shifting light is made up of us
The magenta crepe myrtle is bursting with us
The moon hangs herself from our silence
The stars stare back with one same jeweled eye
And This stained cloth of sin cannot touch us
What is this story
But an opportunity
to discover firsthand
That which the stars have been winking about all along
That we are home already
And have never left

 

Through these Holes

As I’m drawn closer to you
This false self is encumbered
With less investment
I stretch out my arms
So far
And death chews holes
In my best dress
Thank God for you
Divine source
For its through these holes
That your light
Can reach the world

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