Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Am Me

  photo 597411d4-5a93-4012-a5d0-b6b002b9b18d_zpsa4db5155.jpg
I often wonder how it would have been
if I hadn't reached this age and instead died like my mother at 44.
I kept dreading that 44th year of my life, and holding my breath
as it finally approached . . .  but then it passed, like the eye of a storm.

Ah! I was safe from the curse I'd fantasized, and my life would go on!
I could cut another thread from my mother's vest, resigned to the
fact that God had sent me a reprieve.

None of us realize how glued we are
and always will be, to the story of our lives
and the narrative we've memorized and regurgitated
time and time again thinking, like the Ten
Commandments, it was carved forever in stone.

But even stones change over time, as the rains pour
and ocean waves pound hard through the years,
smoothing and changing their surfaces once jagged and rough.
And so it goes with the superstitions of my Sicilian upbringing.
They've lost their hold on me; smoothed over and pounded
by my time-healed wounds. 

I am Me, and this life is my own. No one to blame for the roads
I chose to take. My past and its memories are mine alone
and so is my future. Like the marks and spots on my aging skin,
my surface has been altered much since that 44th year.

What's inside this heart and soul though, is a flame still burning,
never changing, since before I was born.  It's fueled by the love
of those I cherish, the Gifts of my life and the God who knows my name.

Joanne Cucinello   2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Me . . . No More


The earth is still tonight.
Not a leaf turns outside my window
no mouse scrambles in the hedges,
and the cricket castanets are silent now.
Even the Moon has turned her face
and will not hear my cries.

I am alone in my darkness, wondering
about the end of my days.
I want to sleep and let this wait
until the morning when I see the sun.
But no . . . the time is now
and this night has shaken my soul.

Ancestors whisper and I hold my ears.
“Are you ready?” they ask.
My mouth is shut.
They ask again, "Are you ready?”
"Never" I answer, and pull the sheets around my head.

I have never understood this joke called life.
I never will.
Must it be that this body I have come to know as Me
will turn to dust and ash, unrecognized?
All these thoughts and feelings,
this love that has grown inside me
the joy of my Darling, my children, my friends
all these . . . must I say goodbye to also?

Oh great shining Sun! Rise bright in the morning!
Cast away these ghostly fears of my demise.
Angels of Mercy, touch me with your wings
assure me now and always of God's love.
May I give back this gift, my life and body
gently on that day, without sadness or regret
and receive the eternal promised one.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Soft All Over

Yours To Live photo IStatue.jpg

I'm obsessed with disappointment lately,
disturbed and angry at the way
time just happened to paint my face. 
I don't like it! "Who are you, damn it?"
I keep asking myself every time I pass a mirror.
My vanity's wearing thin and I can't find that
promise I made, to keep my skin from slipping
down the drain.

Let go! Let go! My bones keep crying!
This is what's supposed to happen,
maybe not today, maybe not this year,
but one day when you'll come around that sneaky bend
you're going to take a deep breath and exhale!
Even if your pants don't fall around your ankles
you'll finally feel a little lighter, less inclined to fret.

Smooth skin, bright eyes, lush lips . . .
there was a time they cost you nothing.
Firm breasts, tight buttocks . . . these were tokens
easily won when the race was just beginning.
Now you're soft all over.  Learn to love it!
After all, the young will never seek their comfort
from a stiff old crone.  Smile more, sing more,
dance your dance of softness and let yourself be Love.

Joanne Cucinello  2012

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