Word Thief

*Note: This happened several years ago. Unfortunately, plagiarism is still a huge issue online.

******

The thief of words has struck again:
the sonnet snitch, the ballad bandit.
He skulks around, targeting his prey,
then pounces on their poems.

I feel conned, cheated, angry.
Maybe I should feel pity for him.
He craves attention so badly, he’ll trade his dignity
for the spotlight.

The sad thing is, amongst the stolen words,
he might have had some gems of his own.
Now, he’s left with choice words directed at him–
loser, theif, conman.

I look around at my bookshelves,
and think of the ink that ran dry,
the endless hours and sleepless nights;
the all-consuming need of a writer
to purge the soul.
Digging deep to get past the dirt,
the hurt,
the feelings that in turn
churn their way into words.

He had no respect for the art,
the process of writing.
To have women swoon
was a boon to his ego–his vanity
thinly veiled as talent.

His silver tongue is tarnished,
and he is exposed as a silver-plated fraud.

Maybe he could have redeemed himself,
apologized and bowed out gracefully,
instead of hiding behind private settings
and anonymity.

Only a coward slips out
the same way he slunk in.

©2015 PB

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Bipolar

I will always be held captive,
chained by my moods, the cycle of the moon,
this illness challenging my life.

My energy ebbs with the lows,
flows with highs,
my self-esteem and ability
playing hide and seek.

I see sparks of life one moment,
and the ugliness and dreariness of gloom,
the next.

I feel young, full of hope and dreams,
only to have thoughts dwindle–
to feel old, cold and less than alive.

I want to hide this from you.
My need for perfection and approval, greater
than my wish to slink into the corner.

I won’t bring you there again,
into my hell.
I will shield you this time
from the sludge in my mind.

I won’t make you ride the teeter-totter
anymore.
I will smile, and suffer silently

I am fine.

Spring

It’s finally here–Spring. I can watch the snow melt, uncovering many months worth of lost things. A rake. A set of keys. A barbecue. I can smell it. Not fresh, yet. Decomposed leaves, rotting wood, mud. I can hear it–dripping of melting snow, birds busy building nests.

March was the tease month, the one in which the brave birds start venturing out, and serenade the frozen grubs still in the ground. There were still days that the north wind didn’t want to let winter go. More days, though, that the sun beat down and brought the promise of Spring closer. The permafrost layer, deep within the dirt, will increasingly inch upwards, until the entire ground can soak up the melting snow. Leaves will slowly begin to bud, then pop–trees will become alive with colour.

There’s something different in the air, in the moon phases–animals are getting anxious, pets are being particularly pesky. The dogs want to play outside, roll in the snow that remains, then plonk through mud puddles, tracking their pawprints through the house.

While driving through neighbourhoods, rows of clothes flap in the crisp, fresh wind–clotheslines groaning from their weight, as spring cleaning slowly gets underway. Kids are itching to try out their new bikes and other toys received at Christmas, still sitting shiny and clean in the corners, waiting to get broken-in.

Energy. That’s it! There is electrifying energy all around. I feel it, even though I am inside. I haven’t ventured out for a couple of weeks now. But I am not worried, because Spring gives me the motivation I need to get “out there”–agoraphobia be gone! This will be the last winter I hibernate out of fear. I will hole up for warmth, for comfort; for cozy cuddles under soft quilts.

Fear has no place in my life, anymore.

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.
In honour of it, I thought of what being a woman means to me.

Being a woman today affords us the luxury to be ourselves, in whatever capacity we choose. We have more choices than our mothers had, and our daughters even more than us.

Being a woman means we walk the tightrope daily: the fine line between selfless and selfish. We need to do enough to feed our passions, and in turn, expend loving energy outwards.

Being a woman means being resilient, patient, observant, creative, nurturing, loving. I have worn many hats. I’ve been a daughter, sister, mother, nurse, chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, bookkeeper, baker, seamstress, tutor, laundress, barber, friend, story-teller, teacher, therapist, lover, and wife. I have been all these things, and more.

I love being able to be strong, yet feminine; emotional, yet intelligent; vulnerable, yet courageous.

Being a woman means knowing what is important in life, and fiercely guarding our convictions. It means being open to new ideas, learning new things.

It is the impact we make on those around us that matters, the role model we become for our daughters. I truly feel I am an equal, but accept that we are different, and I celebrate the uniqueness of our genders.

We are the sum of all our triumphs and tribulations, our unique experiences.
We are the keepers of light, hope and love.

We are woman.

Price of Freedom

I wasn’t there, that fateful day in ’56,
when the Freedom Fighters rose up;
when elation turned to terror
after the first shots were fired,
and they realized their own army
had turned against them.

I wasn’t there, when whole villages
were plundered by Russian tanks
and people had to flee or risk being killed.
In total, 26,000 Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned, tortured;
several hundred were exectuted, and 200,000 fled
to Austria, Switzerland, any country
that would be a safe haven.

I wasn’t there, when my father
escaped the hell Hungary had become,
when he holed up in abandoned buildings
and farmers’ barns in the daylight,
only to travel by stealth at night, crossing rivers under water,
while families were shot crossing the bridges.

I was not yet born, when the revolution began.
I can only say how it affected my father.
I felt his loss by proxy.
His heartache and guilt turned to rage,
and I was in its path.

He shared very little of that time.
I heard snippets of horror stories,
when he shared his escape with Hungarian friends.

I saw glimpses, when he sang to Romani records on the hi-fi,
his eyes closed, memories of his homeland re-opening wounds,
while I wept with the violins.
His armour thickened with each new scab.
Fear hung over him like a storm cloud.

He left behind his family,
his hopes, his dreams.
He even left behind a fiance.
I wonder how long she kept her hope chest,
unlocked, praying for him to come home.

The only time I saw him cry, was when his mother died.
It was the last chink in the armour.
His dream of ever seeing the Danube again was extinquished.
He was never able to return.

The grip of communism finally let go in 1989,
a year after cancer ravaged his body.
He never did get to see the disintegration
of years of oppression,
culminating in democracy.

I only know my roots
through a few black and white photographs.
An album full of anonymous people
is all I have left of him, his family,
my blood,
and a rubble pile of questions
that will never be answered.

There is a price to pay
for freedom.

The Panzers

I remember the sound of the Panzers.
I could feel them, long before they became visible.
Giant iron beasts rolled through the cobblestone streets–
the house shook, windows rattled, and dishes chattered
like the teeth of a frightened child.
Their roar bellowed from the bowels of the earth.
I can only imagine the terror these tanks instilled
during the war.

The procession through town was done monthly;
the Swiss army prepared to defend its country,
as it has been doing for the past 300 years.
But in the heart of the villagers, it was a reminder
of a dark time, one they’d rather forget.

Years later, I was startled awake by the bed shaking,
and for a moment, I thought I was back there…
As my mind cleared,
I saw that I was in my room in Burnaby,
and with relief, I realized it was only an earthquake.

Love Story

We were so young,
full of hope, life, love.
Nothing could faze us.

Our hearts beat as one,
though our minds scattered
in different directions.

The new marriage smell,
(the honeymoon swell)
ended too soon. With babies in arms,
we shelved ourselves–pacifiers
tamed passion.

Sensuality lost place to practicality,
and making love bottomed out
the to-do list.

Before long, the kids were gone–
strangers remained.

The shock of our love floundering,
brought us into reality.
Us failing wasn’t an option.

The thicket of doubt was strong,
but we cut a trail, our love
and perseverance sharper than ever.

A new chapter unfolded
in our love story.