Charged

suddenly my life feels
like the air before a storm
silent, searching, charged
an imminent disaster
with destructive beauty
bright sun here and now
dark clouds at my horizon

electrified waiting
a whirlwind of stillness
it’s building, billowing
but to i know not where
and possibly to nothing
no body to forecast
whether or whether not
my future lies ahead

feeling ghosts in the wind
restlessness & anticipation
i dread this storm
but somehow
more than that
i welcome it, ache for it

oh i sorely need to become
sodden, grounded
struggle bedraggled
so i can revive
regrow vibrant —

dead branches torn away
old beliefs ripped from roots
worry whipped to shreds
powerful bolts striking
stronger than anything
i can create myself

blind me — enflame my entire sky
i want to look at the world anew
and that starts
with my own vision
i’m ready
for a new version

my being has become torrential
yet minimal — nearly imperceptible
not yet in a crisis, still
i’m bordering one, circling it
crying out for that flash point
beckoning it, to break —
to shatter my former self
and my current nothingness
into a mended calm
risen from the storm

rain, gales, hail —
i don’t care
just let it come
i need to be reborn
from the wild remains
of my inner tempests —
no, i do not want to die
but only to live again

—Terri Guillemets

Alarm ringing true

There was time —
I know there was —
saw it spread out
all ahead of me,
a beautiful infinity —
immortal fresh-faced
clock of opportunity —
numberless, handless
no ticks & no tocks
save for the sound
of distant decades
too quiet to really hear —
but at forty-eight years
a sudden gear-grinding
cacophony, the outspread
blanket of eternity
has begun to suffocate,
wrapped around me
limiting my agility
darkening my path —
I’m having trouble
breathing, I no longer
see that clock open
or free, its movements
now deafen me, its hands
tear into my flesh and
grip tight my throat —
I am choking on
second thoughts
at this midlife hour
this day of reckoning

—Terri Guillemets

Riven

joyful forty, forty-one
it was just getting good
i was just getting started
and then cruel life
dealt blow after blow
for year after year
with death and strife
thieving my calm
and ova and sight
healers and patches
blessed the rocky way
but nothing’s the same —
what of me remains?
stitches and fray

—Terri Guillemets

I accept you

Okay — I give in — I accept you — Middle Age
I am tired — I want to sit down — unrushed —
to read — and drink hot tea — and — Breathe
the number of years behind me — and ahead of me —
no longer concern me — mathematically or emotionally
I have come to rest in the sturdy arms of the Present —
where Time has been waiting for me — my whole Life

—Terri Guillemets

Real eyes

Now that I’m over the hill
I can see it’s just made of
skeletons of dead monsters
that were never really there.
But that past is no less high
and no less there, and I am
no less on the other side of it.

—Terri Guillemets

Battery

my youth is caked over
with heartache and pains
regrets and inflammations
and sudden calcifications
of ligaments and spirit
not-bothers and defeats
that went to my head
and bruises that take
too long to heal
cracked teeth and
why-tries and i’m-tireds

that which galloped
now rolls in ruts
my blonde has passed
to mousy and gray —
everyone i know
looks tired and frayed
sagging from the weight
of time and overbusy
and too much stuff
in too-big houses —
it’s too much life
and too little living —
no vitamines will fix this

—Terri Guillemets

Ode to middle age

How like a lovely autumn morning,
      serene middle age —
a sanctuary of mind, a chapel;
the age of faith on a deep foundation,
      and the age of reason;
silver fellowships, libraries and deep reflection,
wine, liberty, a milder manifestation of the soul;
brilliance upon our lips, more profound, subtle;
the rich flame of the good life, how sweet —
      listening to the murmur of change

—Terri Guillemets

blackout poetry created from Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929, Grafton paperback, 1977, pages 11–16