The Sunshine Fisherman

I’ve got a way with words,

They say.

But words,

Are merely platitudes,

They communicate,

But can’t convey,

My feelings,

And my gratitude.

But I will try,

To say goodbye,

With these few words.

This lullaby.

You were the summer time,

To me.

Sand and sea and fun.

You were the sunshine,

Sharing all your love,

And all your warmth,

With everyone.

The one last time I saw,

Your face.

Looked in your eyes so blue.

You looked at me,

And knew my face,

You told me,

I was beautiful.

So goodbye, Grandpa,

Goodbye you sweet,

And lovely man,


It’s time to rest.

To cast your line,

Into that lake,

Up in the sky.


We were drowning.
Both of us.
and like drowning people do,
we panicked.
Desperately clinging to each other,
whilst at the same time pushing each other away.
Both of us.
Weighed down with baggage.
So much baggage.
Tied fast, to our hands, our feet,
our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our souls.
Pulling us, dragging us, downward,
and apart.
I was dragged so far down
I couldn’t see you anymore.
Didn’t know if you were above me,
or below me.
I only knew I was drowning,
as were you.
Both of us.

In our bid to survive,
we lost each other,
in our frantic attempt to shed ourselves
of all that was weighing us down.
I lost sight of you, as I tried to
cut cords and set myself free,
find me,
and in time,
I did.
Finally rising up to the surface,
having shed myself of everything,
I manage to scan the horizon,
and there, much
to my eternal surprise,
I see you, in the distance,
bobbing freely, and serenely.
I can see a glow around you,
and I start to swim slowly in your direction,
my heart lifting,
when I realise it appears,
you are also swimming,
towards me.

Not Quite Dark Enough

I could write a poem on Addiction,
But it’d never be quite dark enough,
The clichés are all true,
But they never can do,
Justice to really how rough,
That dance can be,
When that Sweet Lady,
First sweeps you off of your feet,
Before that dance is through,
She’s no doubt conquered you,
And won’t ever let you retreat,

You twirl round the floor,
Though you don’t want anymore,
Once her ugly and mean side is shown,
Your head knows it’s time,
But soon you will find,
Your body’s a mind of its own,
She’ll take control,
Of your heart and your soul,
Promise all, but deliver just fears,
Try as you sometimes might,
To put up a fight,
She can keep the dance going for years,

She’ll dance you to hell,
That much I can tell,
Cuz I’ve danced with the lady myself,
Been put through the pale,
Fought both tooth and nail,
I keep the scars in a jar on a shelf,
Only one thing to trust,
As many times as you must,
With this Lady who has brought you disgrace,
Gather love and support,
Then cut her off short,
And slap the bitch right in the face!


Curse these stages I’m going through,
Wonder if it’s the same for you,
Sometimes I find I question why,
Then I try to deny it’s true,

Then anger comes and I lash out,
My pain and hurt I write about,
I know in time it will subside,
Then I’ll hide and just want to pout,

I’ll muse, and my thoughts rearrange,
Looking for something I could change,
Trying to rework the equation,
Of a situation that feels strange,

I’ll work things through and with new eyes,
In time will come to realise,
That our chance has both come and passed,
It didn’t last – we’ve said goodbyes.

Almost Gone

Look through my window… See how the sunlight sparkles...On the breezy bay.

When last we met,
You were a shadow.
A dream…
A ghost from long ago.
Like the tune to a forgotten song,
You’re still here,
But almost gone.
I don’t think you know I’m here.
You are lost…
About to disappear.
Where you’ve gone,
I know not where,
But, surely you must still be in there.
Oh, daddy…
Do you know it’s me?
When you look,
What do you see?
Do you see me looking at you?
The little girl,
Who still loves you…

Update: I’ve just been awarded the Perfect Poet Award from the Poet’s Poetry Cafe website. This poem was so personal, and so painful for me to read and to write. I’m quite overcome.


For A Moment….

Thought I found the perfect words to say,
For a moment,
Then they slipped away,
But in that moment everything was good.
You understood my innermost,
Saw the ghost of things that used to be,
I’d found a way to help you see,
Beyond the pain,
Wrong or right,
To put things in a different light,
You had your own epiphany,
Knew the ties left binding you and me,
Are ties built deep and meant to last,
Irregardless of the past,
Saw your warm, accepting, glowing heart,
I sensed you ready to restart,
I’d found the perfect words to say,
For a moment,
Then they slipped away.

The Blink Of An Eye

The blink of an eye,
A lifetime comes swirling and twirling on by,
Leaving childhood memories,
Flitting stark through their haze,
As you lay there in bed near the end of your days,
While half worlds away I’m moved gently to tears,
With a soft reminisce through our parallel years,
To think that those times that we spent long ago,
Still live deep within us in ways we don’t know,
To come back in an instant when lately I hear,
You lay there in bed,
Your last days drawing near.

Word of the Day: sorrow

Today’s word is a feeling. It’s similar to sadness but it has a different quality. Sadness is fleeting and shallow and easy to overcome. Tripping into a mud puddle while walking home in a downpour with no umbrella might make you sad. But a hot bath and a steaming mug of hot chocolate is all it takes to make your sadness disappear.

Sorrow, on the other hand, is not like tripping into a mud puddle.

Sorrow is like sinking into a deep inky black ocean. Its blackness envelops you as it pulls you down, down, down to the bottom.

The expression “drowning in sorrow” is a fairly accurate description of what it feels like. Often it takes a fully-mounted rescue operation to pull you out of it. But just remember that when you emerge from that deep ocean of pure sorrow, you’ll have a greater understanding and appreciation of pure joy.

“Sorrow is tranquillity remembered in emotion.”
Dorothy Parker

…for kate

This poem was found among some cards and letters Kate had saved over the years.  She had copied it down in her handwriting so it’s safe to assume that it meant a great deal to her.  Since her burial is tomorrow, I thought I would honor the day with something she found so compelling.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.

…chapter one

Alas, it was bound to rear its ugly head at some point.  Why not write when provoked? And why not dump as many clichés as humanly possible into the mix while I’m at it.

On 20 December 2010 at 17.26 my world metaphorically collapsed.  With the preview of one email, it was as if the roof fell upon me, 9 million tons of cement following.  I clearly remember processing the following from my pop up email alert:  Tom.  Daughter.  Kate. Dead.

I cannot cogently describe the next few hours of my life.  There was a phone call placed to Kate’s parents.  I was standing on the front stoop, in the cold, shitty wintry weather, smoking a cigarette.  I remember catching a glimpse of my reflection in the storm door.  I was smiling but it was that forced smile that I make whenever I’m on the phone.  I remember pulling on my hair.  I remember hearing the words and it reminded me of my first day in Sweden – a whole lot of gibberish that I would never understand.  I remember answering questions.  Asking questions.  I remember saying good bye.

I think I sent Magnus the email from Kate’s parents but without going back and looking, I don’t know when.

Then, somehow, I ended up in our dining room, near the door to the kitchen.  There were no lights on as the sun had set not too long before.  I stood in the dark shaking and gasping for air.  I remember Dock and Milkface coming home from work and school respectively.  Barely above a whisper, I said the unthinkable “Kate is dead.”  I remember being led to the living room and put on the sofa only to spring back up and run outside because I didn’t want my child to see me upset.  This time it was the back porch, a cigarette and my red pea coat.

For the life of me, I wish I remembered which outfit I was wearing.  By Jewish law, you’re supposed to rend your clothes.  Not by any stretch am I a good Jew or an observant Jew but I like the tradition of destroying the outfit you were wearing when the world as you knew it ended.  It’s a simple, cathartic rite.  To this day I eye the laundry pile, suspiciously, wondering which shirt was on my back. Kate would have said “the shirt is laughing at you.”

December 20th was a Monday.  I have little recall of how I got through the week.  Sparky, Monica and DeeDee brought food and booze.  I reached out to dear friends for some direly needed support.  I managed to keep focused on work and preparations for Christmas.  The first week was surprisingly easy.  I suppose that is the blessing of shock.

Rather than make our half-assed version of the julbord, I had Dock pick up a ham and I threw some crab cakes in the oven.  As I was puttering around the kitchen, I started making more and more food.  I par-boiled asparagus and let them bathe in a light olive oil glaze with lemon juice.  I think I even made bread.  I may have made boiled potatoes.  Daddy came and left.  Presents were opened.  I sat on the sofa and stared.

I tried keeping my shit together at work the following week.  Sadly, it all became too much and I ended up taking time off.  I wasn’t sleeping.  I was crying at the drop of the hat and if I could have figured out a way to get out of my own skin without making a bloody mess, I would have.

The only thing in my favor was self-medication.  As my back was giving me a world of trouble, I had various forms of painkillers at my disposal.  One can find a good amount of peace in an opiate induced fog.  Unfortunately, the calm was temporary.  At some point, notifications would be made and the floodgate of questions would open.  After all, it’s not every day that an otherwise healthy and happy 39 year old woman ends up dead.  Even if most deaths come without warning, this one was sure to jar.  And jar it did.

A death around Christmas is unusually cruel and not for the obvious reason.  A death around Christmas causes all of us to look around the room and wonder who may not be in their rightful place next year.  A death around Christmas provokes feeling of survivor’s remorse.  A death around Christmas makes you feel like absolute hell knowing that someone’s parents are not opening presents with their children or toasting a good meal with everyone present and account for.

From time to time, I’m going to chronicle my journey.  My journey with Kate who is closer to me than any other creature on the planet.  My journey of losing her and my attempts to build a life without someone who played such a critical role in my existence. While certainly therapeutic for me, I hope people will be interested in the tale of two girls growing into women and a very special friendship/sister hood.  These installments will may not always be life-affirming.  They’re certainly not novel.  But, for me, they are necessary.