Diana Raab – Five Poems
Venus Fly Trap
Each night in my dreams
you sit there
arms wide open
flickering your claw-like leaves
trying to attract me into your essence.
Again I am tricked by you
and I nudge closer, almost
able to touch you, as
you close your clasp before my arrival.
Like one hundred nights before, I’m
struck by your spell, each
time more intense and lasting
longer, until I decide to pivot
and walk away.
I turn around and come to you—
but you are not there.
I stand up and call you, your
spirit landing on my bedside
table. I waste no time. I approach
you and tell you that I surrender.
I am yours inside this Venus fly trap
We sit down for lunch
and unlike most lovers
you seat yourself across from me
like a business lunch.
Is it in case anyone notices or is the
distance more comfortable for you?
I want to ask you so many questions
but your eyes take a long time to warm up
and pull me in and by the time they do
it is the time for you to ask for the check,
thank me for coming and turn around and walk
out the door back to the moon from which you came
and which pulls you every single day.
My desire yanks at every dendrite in my body.
What about yours?
Follow me my friend
on which strung together
in your direction—
little knots seen
along your way, midst hurdles
which remind us that life
is real and no joke–
as you skip over the lines
of your sidewalks because
you’re afraid someone’s
back will get broken
which yanks you to
our essence calling
you, the dreams
which guide you to the place
you call home but—
until now— you were never
able to find.
When the sun rises in mother’s
quiet town, you can hear
car engines start, children crying
about going to school while climbing
into the buses zooming up these
suburban streets, but my mother,
a widow for fifteen years, sees only
her microcosm—her cat Lilly
at the foot of her bed, the cyclamens
on the kitchen table awaiting her
weekly waterings, the refrigerator
with four eggs and container of sour milk
and some carrots for her horse. It’s Monday
and she tosses her laundry into
a plastic bag, flings it into the trunk
of her brown Honda and heads to the local
Laundromat where all the other lonely
locals hang out awaiting the end of their spin cycles
as they convene on splintered
benches pressed to the frigid window,
sharing neighborly gossip and puffing
on menthol cigarettes, glancing to the left
or poorer section of town, and then to the right
where the rich folk live. Mom isn’t quite sure
which side of town she belongs on. Years earlier,
her mother left a fur coat in the back of the mothball
closet, in its pocket a diamond ring
she never wore. In her mildewed basement
she houses a washing machines where she stashes
emergency funds and family heirlooms in unmarked boxes.
Because of her bunions she wears orthotic
sneakers with long skirts, and much rather
be seen with the less fortunate, they
don’t stare at her garb, just talk behind her back.
I sit here in a coffee house
slurping my iced Americano coffee,
my baseball cap obstructs the view
of what lies above everyone’s knee
because all I want to know
is what shoes people wear.
Shoes tell it all, like the woman
over there in high heels,
wanting to be as tall as today’s lover,
and tomorrow she’ll wear flats
when out with her son.
Then there’s the father who’s
spending the weekend with his kid
who sports scuffed sneakers,
with the construction worker with tired
legs and steel-tipped boots.
In front of the line stands a man
illegally barefoot in this place with
coffee house rules plastered on all
six walls. I ask you, what are the chances of
him drinking coffee with his feet?
Author’s Statement on Beauty
Beauty is a subject we don’t often discuss, articulate, or read or write about, but we all know it when we see it. Beautiful things, places, and people make us feel good, bring us peace, and might even bring smiles to our faces. Beauty is not always tangible, but it’s present if you keep your heart, mind, and eyes open to it. There are those in the world who find everything beautiful, and others who find everything unsightly. And, of course, there are some people who profess that some things are more beautiful than others, so we can say that beauty is both subjective and objective.
I see beauty as all those qualities that give pleasure or gratification to the mind, body, and soul. People can be emotionally, physically, or soulfully beautiful, and if they’re blessed with these gifts, we might say that they’re “beautiful inside and out.” To a large extent, beauty is in the eye of the holder; and it can be created from anything—whether it’s crayons on a piece of paper or the sun rising in the sky. It’s all beautiful.
Some people often speak about objects, concepts, and individuals as being beautiful. These are things that might stand out to them or resonate with them. In Buddhism texts, there’s often a reference to the beauty of nature—the trees, the flowers, the mountains, and the animals. The lotus, which is often seen in Buddhist realms, is one of the most beautiful flowers. The way it grows in the mud and erupts into a spectacular living thing is phenomenal.
In Buddhist psychology, certain concepts such as honesty, kindness, and generosity are considered beautiful. Buddhists urge us not to become attached to external beauty, but rather to understand that true beauty is that which rests within the mind. In this context, those who are free of hatred and full of love are thought to be the most beautiful.
Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker. Her book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, is forthcoming in 2017. Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.