I Will Embrace Loneliness
When I was a child,
Mother entered my room
for bedtime prayers.
Jésus, Marie, Joseph, je vous donne mon coeur,
mon âme, mon esprit et ma vie.
Mother’s arms were slightly raised,
fingers unfurled, like she was trying not to fall.
She looked placid
on the edge of sleep.
On the wall, Jesus followed her gestures
with his dark eyes,
ready to weep real tears.
I let my fingers feel the rosary beads
Papa had given me for my first communion
shift across my palms, a calibrated slither
against my skin as I prayed.
I listened to the crickets,
the first of the evening birds,
the breeze rustling the grapevines.
I felt an aching sense of loss.
I ended prayers the way
I ended conversations: abruptly,
without lengthy prelude or false closure.
& I was gone.
I’ve learned to embrace
the loneliness of being Catholic.
In my small church,
dark & cool, the soft, blue tinge
& irregular shapes of stained glass
tiles depict the stories of saints & scenes
from the Bible where the heroes carried,
the weight of their destinies.
I love the chanting
of Veni Creator Spiritu,
the statue of the Virgin Mary with her smooth,
serene face & her outstretched arms
—her courage in loneliness.
Father Martin wears an elaborate robe
of gold & silver threads
that sparkle in candlelight.
Incense weaves into the weft of his clothes.
When he gazes into a mirror
& into his own eyes, does he fear
the proximity of that other face
glaring wildly at him through the glass?
What dreams does he keep sheathed,
sharp & deep in his heart?
On Sundays, head bowed & hands
together in front of my face,
I make my way toward the altar;
I genuflect, kneels, tilt my head back
& stick out my tongue
to receive the Body of Christ.
I am awed by centuries of ritual—& loneliness.
It rushes me with something dark & heady.
& I embrace it, because I am
not alone in my solitude.
(Cover art for this poem by Frank Morrison)
An excerpt from Happy, Okay?: Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival
Confront Depression, Anxiety, Grief, and Loss through Poetry
Are the usual depression books helping you find a path to healing? No? Try this poetry collection especially for those dealing with mental illness and for people closest to them.
Create hope for the future. Paloma is faking it. On the outside, she’s A-Okay. She’s electrified at work, there is a cadence in her step as she walks her dog, she posts memes on Facebook, and she keeps up with most relationships. Looks can be deceiving, however. Inside, Paloma is just going through the motions, and she feels like things are spiraling out of control. But when things are at their darkest, dawn arrives with clarity and focus, and with it, healing. Paloma learns to value small glimmering moments of joy rather than searching for constant happiness, thus building hope for her future.
A manifesto for life. Happy, Okay?: Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival is not simply a narrative spun in verse by a masterful poet. It is an invitation to readers to shake off the stigma and silence of mental illness and find strength in the only voice that matters: your own. It can be an electric roadmap to healing and a manifesto for wholeness.
In this inspiring and heartwarming book, you will:
Understand how to make happiness a decision, even when you don’t feel it in your bones
Find out how to exercise patience and self-acceptance
Attract hope and purpose back into your life
Fans of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace, Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim, Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn, or Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley will love Happy, Okay? by M.J. Fievre.