joannebest











{May 15, 2015}   The First Time I Saw Jesus

grotto4
I was eight years old the first time I saw Jesus.
Near the ponds, where I would ice skate whenever they froze solid enough to hold my skinny frame, there was a grove of birch trees set back a bit from the thick cluster of pine surrounding everything , as far as my young eyes could see.
He didn’t speak, at least not out loud. I don’t remember what He said inside my mind because that’s where I heard Him, that’s what it was, a mindmeld. If anyone could mindmeld, surely He could.
I only remember peace. Silent calming peace amidst the wind gusts and stinging hail mixed with small tiny snowflakes blowing sideways. My cheeks were red from the cold, my toes frozen inside my rubber boots and the thermos of hot chocolate my Mom made for me did nothing to warm my mitten-clad hands.
He did though. He glowed, surrounded by bright fluffy white clouds and I felt like I was in a grotto, straight from the pages of one of my books from Catholic School.
The wind stilled, that I remember, but the rest of it remains a dreamlike memory of an eight year old girl seeing Jesus for the first time.
I never told anyone for surely they wouldn’t believe me.
~
I was nine years old the first time I heard Angels sing.
It was the day Bobby Kennedy died. Too young to really understand death except to know it was bad and sad. It was my Godmother’s birthday, how could the day turn into a day of sadness?
It was hot that day and my bedroom was upstairs, an attic converted into two bedrooms, back when air conditioning was for the wealthy, not the middle class.
I lay on my bed, a big box fan aimed at me, too hot to even turn the pages of the book I was reading when I heard the Angels sing.
The sound was glorious, Heavenly, sweeter than the Church Choir I sang with every Sunday. But somehow I knew nobody else could hear it except me. I also knew, believed with all my heart, that the Angels were rejoicing as they escorted Bobby Kennedy to Heaven.
I listened to that unearthly sound and told no-one. Surely they would think I was crazy.
~
I was sixteen years old the first time a vampire snuck into my room.
Some friends and I were vampire hunting. We’d found a business card, slightly crumbled and worn from too many dirty footsteps walking over it as it lay on the ground, partially covered and unnoticed. A corner stuck out, catching my eye and I crouched down to slip it from the dirt. Brushing it off against my already dirty jeans I struggled to read the worn out words imprinted on the card in red. My friends gathered around me as we struggled to see what was left on the card. “Vampire” and “Club” were all we could make out, along with a partial address. Mustering up our courage, we climbed back into the old worn out van we’d been cruising around town in and drove up and down the street listed on the card. The house number wasn’t readable but the neighborhood was beautifully frightening, full of old rundown Victorian houses. Most seemed abandoned and we saw no signs indicating Vampires so we called it a night.
As I hopped out of the van, the streetlight in front of my house popped, making the dark seem darker. We laughed nervously, joking that a vampire must have followed us home to warn us away. I slipped quietly into the house, the sound of my Parents snoring assuring me my missed curfew would go unnoticed, just like the business card we found.
Sleep came quick that night, followed by the vampire. It was summertime, steamy, my skin too clammy for even a sheet. The thought of sleeping naked tempted me but I could imagine, with my luck, the house burning down and me running outside bare-assed.
I fell asleep to the sound of thunder as a summer storm blew in. The white cotton curtains rippled in the breeze and a particularly bright lightening bolt illuminated my bedroom. That’s when I saw him standing at the window. The curtains billowed around him as his eyes pierced mine, beckoning me to come to him.
I found myself sitting on my wicker chair, the loose white cotton shirt I slept in had slipped down leaving my shoulders exposed, showing the silver cross I always wore. I felt no panic, no worry, just a sense of peace as he gently lifted the cross over my head, dropping it on the floor next to me while he stroked my hair, pushing it back before his mouth came down to my neck.
The following morning I awoke in my bed, drained, fatigued, the memory of a vampire in my room vivid, clear, and undeniably real. I checked my neck for any sign of vampire fangs but there was nothing. Although I did notice my cross was no longer around my neck but puddled on the floor next to the white wicker chair I’d been sitting on.

I told no one for surely they would tell me I was only dreaming. The fatigue I felt, the cross on the floor, they told me it was true but I kept quiet.
~
I was eighteen the first time I saw a flying saucer.
Four of us were driving home from a Patti Smith concert in Manhattan, it was New Years Eve but we were all stone cold sober. The roads were empty as it neared the midnight hour and as we drove over the Edison Bridge we saw it. Rising from the Raritan Bay, a round object, approximately the size of a station wagon flew slowly out of the water, red and white lights caused the water dripping from the object to look like falling flames.
We were young and fearless, opening the windows and shouting “take us with you!” as we laughed but we knew what we saw. It was real and seemed to follow us. We drove through Sayreville and parked the car near Major’s Pond, the object still hovering over us.
I don’t remember anything else, just the four of us standing outside the car watching an Unidentified Flying Object rising higher and higher until it disappeared. None of us remember exiting the car, none of us remember how long we stood there, and none of us, to this day, talk about it.
Surely no one would believe us, we were just kids, crazy punk rockers. They would think we must have been drinking or doing drugs, neither of which was true. Yet we knew we wouldn’t be believed and to my knowledge, I’m the only one willing to discuss it.
~
I was in my forties the second time I saw another UFO, this time though, it wasn’t just me and a handful of friends who saw it, but the whole town, including a priest, some policeman, as well as hundreds of cars filled with people who pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike to watch the majestic sight slowly moving in formation, low to the ground.
It was silent as it flew overhead, no crickets chirping, no buzzing of the usually ever-present mosquitos, none of the usual summer night sounds and all plane traffic was non-existent, an unusual occurrence in itself as I live a few miles away from Newark International Airport.
We stood outside on the pool deck, watching the slow glide until it reached a certain point, where it slowly disappeared, what looked like a falling trail of glitter fading as it left our field of vision.
Although we did tell other people about it, and watched and read news stories about it, there were still some doubters who surely thought we were crazy.
~
It was just a few years later the first time I saw a ghost.
In Cape May, known as one of the most haunted towns in New Jersey, my Mother and I were on one of our many Mother/Daughter getaways when it happened.
My memory is unclear and hazy, but my Mother woke up when she heard me talking to someone. “Don’t you see them?” I asked her. I pointed at them, two little children, a boy and a girl, both of them beckoning to me, encouraging me to follow them. Mom had heard me open the door and got up, pulling me back into the room when she found me leaning over the third story railing trying to reach them, to touch them, to follow them. She put me back to bed, as she did when I was a child and we talked about it in the morning over pancakes at Uncle Bills Pancake House. She saw nothing, but she believed me, she believed I saw two ghosts even though she didn’t see them herself.
But I told nobody else, surely they would insist I was in a dream-state, or I was sleepwalking, or it was just my overactive imagination.
~
The last time I saw my Mother she was in the ICU and it was her eighty-forth Birthday. We celebrated in her room with an imaginary candle in her lemon-ice. She told me about the dream she’d had, where she walked into a room and saw my Grandmother and two of her sisters, all deceased. One of her sisters asked her “what are you doing here? you don’t belong here yet”. My heart sank when she described her dream and we laughed it off, “yeah, that sounds like Aunt Jeananne” I said, “she’s just telling you it’s not your time yet.”
The hospital released her the next day, sending her to a rehabilitation center for her broken shoulder.
The following morning I was woken up from a deep sleep when the phone rang. It was a few minutes after five in the morning and they called to tell me my Mother was gone. I argued they were wrong, mistaken, my Mother wouldn’t leave me without saying goodbye.
Unfortunately, I was wrong and she did leave me without saying goodbye.
~
I like to think that day was the first time my Mother saw Jesus.
I like to think she watches over me, sees how much I miss her, how difficult it is for me to move on without her in my life.
I like to think the next time I see Jesus, He will be standing with my Mother, welcoming me home because home is where the heart is and my heart is always with my Mother.
And I don’t care what anyone thinks, because surely I will see her again, and all of this, this life I walk through each day yearning for invisibles will fade away as I move on to something bigger, something better, something understandable that will allow me to forget the forgettable, and instead, finally, I will be able to breathe easy once again.
meeting in heaven2

Advertisements


{January 16, 2015}   Imaginings

genielamp1

i imagine i imagined everything
dreamed it all up
just to keep me sane,
i was a genie and granted all your wishes
little bubbles of time and space floating
and i’d slither from one to another,
keeping the balance balanced
sprinkling glittery hope like snowflakes
to cover the ugly,
make it twinkle like my eyes,
i tried to keep the stars in place
but they pushed back too hard and i tumbled,
you caught me anyway,
but my thoughts became scrambled,
foggy and fearful and full of wonder,
not the wonder of it all,
but the wonder of the why,
because it looked unattainable on paper,
perhaps i scattered my mind as i left what should have been crumbs
to lead me back,
i got lost
unsure of what was sure,
forgetting i shouldn’t forget
and tumbling to the bottom,
it’s dark down here
but i imagine i see your eyes glow far above
at the top of the bottle,
you peer down,
i can almost reach you

genielamp



{January 5, 2015}   The Actual

angelfeathers6

i heard your voice this morning

my heart raced and my mind felt warm,

as if a blanket made of angel feathers engulfed me

and once again i felt safe, secure,

it didn’t last long though,

reality smacked me awake, hard and firm

stinging

reminding me my dreams are just that,

imaginary,

there is no pot of gold at the end of my rainbow

for i am nothing more than an observer,

watching the rest of the world go by

my brain puts pieces together in the wrong order

making the sensible senseless

and the senseless tolerable,

i’m disconnected once again

control ripped away

while the evidence piles up,

castles being built high in the sky for a worthier princess than i

as the actual tumbles over me brick by brick

holding me down, unable to save myself

from my uncontrollable self-inflicted mind-fuck

angelfeathers7



{August 10, 2014}   Midnight Sanity

sexysheets2
midnight murmurings
urgent low between
silence,
surreal imaginings
unsure,
a prophecy, a dream,
fated, faked,
never sure which is which yet,
i wait and wait and wait,
inside lives that sliver of hope,
the dangle of the prize
so close i smell it,
and like a cat i pounce,
inhale each word to roll around my mouth,
tickle my tongue and begin the slow slide,
down my throat, as every pump of my blood
leads me there,
the heart of the matter and the reason we’re here,
now,
maximum thread count slithers around me mixing words,
phrases dreamed eons ago,
all on repeat
keeping me breathing,
the waxing and waning of the moon
my only measure
and you,
my midnight sanity
midnight



{July 21, 2014}   Selective Amnesia

carsex
let me spin the wheel into the past,
so i can feel your mouth on mine
for the first time,
see the fire in my eyes
mirrored in yours,
feel your hands in my hair
as you circle for the kill,
i wanna forget,
not everything, but a little bit here
and a little bit there,
temporarily,
a do-over of a sort,
not for any reason really,
just to relive the pure pleasure,
the newness of it all
and the shivers you spread
through every cell in my body
sexycouple



{May 14, 2014}   Her Imposter

mirrorgirl9
when he begins to pull away
he does it slowly,
like a bandage caked with blood, peeled off careful,
to lessen the pain,
she doesn’t let on, that she feels it already,
pieces of her flesh tearing, still stubbornly clinging tight,
but oh how she wants to rip it off at once,
just to get it over with,
dancing mechanical with her shadow self
her heart slides and hides in the darkest corner
as her imposter takes the driver’s seat
for appearances sake,
the one who cares for nothing, the way nothing cares for her,
the girl who lives inside her mirror, looking just like her,
down to that freckle right there, in his favorite place,
the one he labels sexy, just to see her blush,
the imposter can carry on and play his games,
while her bloodied heart stays in seclusion,
until the coast is clear
and she can reemerge once again
back to the solitude that constantly calls her name
mirrorgirl4



{May 6, 2014}   Yours

yours
when you call me pet
or you tell me i am yours
my whole world glistens

yours1

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-me-up/
~This is the prompt today, whether it fits the technical definition of haiku or not, this is my version of the haiku style we were taught in school~ and the prompt is: What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?



{April 25, 2014}   Morning Minutia

morning4
it’s the morning minutia i miss most,
you and me,
a cup of tea without boundaries or barricades
and everything on the table,
nothing sacred, nothing secret,
just open roads and smooth sailing
because you never steer me wrong,
even in your absence i hear your voice in my head
letting me find my way, urging me on
to find my perfect me,
no matter where you are
there’s a certain strength you built inside me,
instinctive and innate,
connected through the blood line of the ancient ones
or maybe just a crazy happenstance,
something put me here,
now,
this way,
these days,
but lately there’s a more frequently occurring calm,
i’m beginning to trust the absence
even when the shadow-monsters whisper ‘never forever’,
this me i’m becoming is learning to banish those thoughts
designed to break me and i breathe easy,
the sound of your voice silky smooth
sliding through my mind
keeps those waiting times safe and sure
and much more bearable
morning1



{April 4, 2014}   April Showers Bring Me Tears

momfriends My Mom is 2nd from the right, the hot redhead in green

Last night I dreamed of my Mother.
I’ve dreamed of her a few times since she died but I never saw her face in my dreams. It was always the back of her head, or just that dream-logic-knowledge that she was there with me in the dream. This was the first time I saw her face, looking back at me.
I woke up to a gray rainy day knowing I had a dentist appointment in a few hours, turned on the kettle and fed my meowing babies. As I plugged my phone into the charger I noticed there was a text message, it wasn’t until I began to read it that it hit me.
For those few minutes between waking and looking at my phone, I’d forgotten.
For those few minutes, I forgot my Mother was dead.
For the first time in nearly a year, I lost it. I broke down. Great heaving sobbing break down.
~
It’s no secret I’ve been in the dumps lately.
One of the little habits I have is writing everything down, little notes on a calendar like a mini shorthand diary.
So I knew the day before yesterday, April 2nd last year, she went to the hospital. Only now I am aware of the outcome.
Now I know the ups and downs, released to rehab perfectly fine, only to pass away less than 8 hours later.
~
I’m not wallowing in it, there are a lot of other reasons I’m not feeling up to par, but this, grief, it’s harder than I knew it would be and I don’t know how to do it right.
And I understand it’s different for everyone and we all deal in our own way but I don’t know my way.
I’m lost.
Alone.
Because aren’t we always alone? When you break it down, we are alone. Or maybe it’s just my tunnel vision right now.
I hope it’s my tunnel vision.
~
A few hours ago my Dad called me. My cousin Doreen, my Dad’s (deceased) only Sister’s daughter, died today. She had stage 4 lung cancer. She was in her 60’s and I can’t count all the times I spent at the house with Doreen watching me when I was a child.
I should channel my grief into writing, this I know to be true.
I fear I need a few hours to process, although truth be told, all I want to do is go to sleep and find my Mom again.
I could use a Mom-hug, because there is nothing better.
~
Before I went to sleep last night, I prayed as hard as I could, I begged “Mom, please, I need you, please come to me in my dream, I just need my Mother” and she did.
Is it a coincidence because she was on my mind when I fell asleep?
I choose to believe it was her, because even though it was only a brief period of time, for a little while, my Mom was with me again.
~
But deep in my heart, I know she lives on through me as her blood flows through my veins.
I am truly my Mother’s daughter and for that reason alone, I am blessed.
momdad My beautiful Mom, with my Dad looking at the woman he was lucky enough to marry.



hiddenhug
once,
you whispered in my ear
telling me we are inevitable because
we just are,
i grinned in return,
positive i heard you wrong over the beat of the band,
wondering how you were able to see the invisible girl,

once,
you claimed me as yours
just to keep me safe from harm and
i smiled and agreed, laughing the whole while,
knowing your warrior instincts kicked in,
as you would never leave a damsel in distress,
even though i’m tough enough to save myself
the flash in your eyes was enough to scare away the riff-raff,
making my heart beat a bit faster, yet not knowing why

once,
you took me by surprise,
unaware that your arms were about to wrap around me,
pulling me closer,
into your leather-clad embrace,
the world melted away when your mouth took mine,
a hint of possession in your kiss
my surrender unmistakable when you made my knees buckle
and i sank into the inevitable
hiddenhold
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/prompt-moments-to-remember/



et cetera