Saturday, March 10, 2012


He flattered her as he flattened her   
            sucked out her laughter   
                        siphoned her vitality away   
                                    one drop at a time   
                                                until she became two-dimensional   

He paired cruel insults   
            with rare compliments   
                        eroded her spirit   
                                    by belittling her   
                                                convinced her no one cares   
                                                            except for him   

He made his harsh world hers   
            forced her to choose him   
                        before her parents and over her siblings   
                                    isolated her from their love   
                                                demanded she love no one   
                                                            except for him   

He scorned her appearance   
            amplified her imperfections and flaws   
                        derided her   
                                    as worthless and unlovable to everyone   
                                                except for him   

He mocked her interests   
            stole her away from her nature   
                        moved her into his goals   
                                    while tearing apart her dreams   
                                                bullied her into forsaking everything   
                                                            except for him   

He vindictively cut her judgment   
            taught her to doubt her decisions   
                        commanded she trust no one   
                                    except for him   
                                                as he brainwashed her   
                                                            day by day   
                                                                        year after year   

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, March 9, 2012

“The Tip of an Iceberg”

with a few words  I conceal   
under an ocean’s depth of denial   
flaws and faults   
I minimize old pain   
with bland responses that reveal nothing   
of my hurt   
You see only what I show   
a crystal castle floating on blue seas   
sparkling pinnacles of light   
white perfection—an undefiled mirage   
jeweled spires   
cutting against cobalt sky   
graceful illusions I used to disguise   
their untruths   
below the surface lurks lies—   
love frozen into grotesque mutations   
sea monsters   
horrors and deceits they hide   
underneath where unexpected currents   
buffet me   
until I writhe free and climb   
back into the sunlight of brilliant diamonds—   
my iceberg   

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Strings Attached"

young and unquestioning   
my innocence drew you like a beacon   
across the lake   
flashing green with naiveté   
beckoning for your awareness   
my trust encouraged your deceit   
allowing you to bind my soul   
to your heartless control   
artlessly I believed   
the façade of friendliness and openness   
not perceiving the glass walls   
obstructing intimacy   
not understanding false promises of family   
affected affection fooled me   
until I looked beyond your insincere smiles   
and suffered the restraints   
you attach to your love   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“A Blogger’s Still Life”

         I had no direction in what I hoped to accomplish through my blog. After attending a workshop one Saturday, where a marketing expert advised up-and-coming authors to blog, I decided to give it a try. I knew that I wanted to prove to myself that I could maintain a nearly daily record of my writing skills. Sometimes, I spent part of a morning sifting through the yellowed pages of my old journals, hunting down my early attempts at poetry. I enjoyed meeting young Liz again and selecting different poems to post online. Some days, of course, I wrote new pieces, carefully culling words to record my life’s events. I rediscovered my love of creating poetry over this last year. 
         The easiest posts to write, of course, center upon favorite childhood memories. Recalling the adventures of little Lizzy has helped me to appreciate my parents all the more. I’ve had fun zeroing in on the minutia of my current life, too. I challenge myself to find a way to describe a speck of dust, mimic with words squirrel play, or capture in a phrase the phase of the moon. With some entries, I’ve created scenes played out among imaginary characters. I’ve enjoyed these dips into the lives that I mold with my words.
         I don’t recall when I began chronicles of my mother’s battle with Huntington’s Disease and our ever changing roles as her caregivers. I’ve felt driven to describe the slow deterioration that my mother endures. These blogs voice my concerns and frustrations with the impact of this disease upon all of us. After my mother’s gone, they will also give testimony to her courage, and the love and admiration all of us feel for her.
         My blog sometimes slips into an explanation of my writing process, which often bemuses and amuses me. Over the last few days, though, I’ve shared my personal adventures with my dental and medical problems. The compulsion to share the vulture of anxiety that perched upon my right shoulder as I sat at the keyboard overrode the need for privacy. I found myself wondering about other bloggers. How much do you decide to share with your readers? What slivers of yourself do you carve out of your soul and place on display for all to see?

         My blog, I often joke, keeps me sane as I’ve become more and more housebound by my mother’s disease. It provides me with daily entertainment. It forces me to examine who and what I am. I find myself often visualizing my events as a still life. An artistic rendition of reality filtered through my eyes, heart and soul.   


 Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“Adventures with the Dentist—Part 2”

            My calendar says it all, “LIZ:  DENTIST 9:00.”

            By 9:20, I stretched out on the padded dental chair, where I’d exchanged my bifocals for sunglasses. The radio, set to oldies (for me, I’m certain, as both the endodontist and his assistant look pretty young). During the first tune, a multitude of shots delivered pain killers around my tooth. I tapped out the bass drum as numbness encroached across my lips and over my cheek. By the end of the second song, I felt nothing.
            Now, I haven’t had a root canal in over fifteen years. Actually, I’ve had practically no dental work done at all within this last decade, so I wasn’t prepared for the changes that tried to minimize my discomfort. Imagine my surprise when the assistant placed a little “pillow” into my mouth to rest my right teeth upon while the drill sizzled through my molar on the left. What a luxury not to have to willfully hold my mouth open, and at just the precise width, while the specialist worked.

When the fourth song, “Dance with Me,” began, I found myself relaxing into the chair, visualizing myself at the beach with warm coconut suntan lotion smoothing my skin and an ice cold Coke (not diet) quenching my thirst. Rod Stewart, played over the drill’s hum as conversation about a weekend spent weeding flowed over me. I found myself chuckling at one point when the chat took on a humorous tone.

          I did a mental dance while The Pure Prairie League’s “Amie” filled the room. This helped me ignore the sound of the picking and scraping of the hand tools as the dentist probed to make certain he’d gotten out all infected tissue. A couple of more x-rays guided him to go a little deeper. Finally, he told me everything looked pretty good and explained that his next step would be to pack in the antibiotics and place a temporary sealant on the tooth. Removing his mask, he smiled broadly as he announced that I wouldn’t need a new crown. After a week to let the antibiotics work, I’ll return for the last part of my treatment.
            I bounced out of the office absolutely elated with this news, my twisted grin reminding me of Lurch when I glanced into the rearview mirror. I debated filling the prescription for the 800 mg of ibuprofen as I waited at the light. At the last second, I turned left instead of going straight, heading to our local pharmacy. Upon arriving home, I bragged to Paul and Mom that this procedure proved completely pain free, but I had these horse pill tablets to take in case I had any discomfort later on.
            The pain hit at exactly 2:33. I’d downed one ibuprofen as a precaution around noon. I tried to take a nap, but Mom could only manage to give me an hour before she wanted to go to the bathroom and eat dinner. As for me, I want something soft for dinner, like cheesy and oozy enchiladas.

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Off to See the Wizard"

         In a couple of hours, I’ll stretch out in a dental chair, mouth agape and hopes running high that the endodontist will perform magic with his skill and drill. I will trust the judgment of this professional who I’ve met only once to decide upon the next course of treatment. I’m putting myself into his hands on blind faith that he has my best interests at heart. Tomorrow, I’ll trust another professional to use his or her expertise. It amazes me that we willingly place our lives under the care of other people. We rely upon the training and skill of others to guide us through much of our lives. Over the next few days, I’ll seek the powers of the wizards to give me the courage, intellect and heart to find my way back home.

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Tomorrow is Another Day"

         My internal dialogue all day yesterday ran something like this, “You’re okay. This round of tests, and the additional bite out of our budget, is just one of life’s little obstacles. You’ve handled much worse with ease. You’re okay.”
         I had talked to my doctor, and her calm reassurances that micro calcifications usually end up being benign meant I slept soundly last night.
         Then today started with paying bills. No matter how much money we have coming in, the act of doling it right back out again kicks up my stress level a tad. I ran my calculations for the remainder of the month, decided to go for broke on our attempt to lower levels on a charge card, and freaked when I realized one bill edged higher than I had predicted. I didn’t realize it, but that little stress meter inside clicked up a notch as I ran the numbers.
         A quick run to the bank added to my anxiety, too. My son has always used a savings account. He figures it’s just a step or two harder to get to your money, and thus a little easier to keep money. However, recent events have made it necessary for him to add checking to his account. As we opened this account when my son was seven, both David and I can access it. I told my son that I’d run into the bank and make the changes because I already needed to make a deposit to my account. Of course, I forgot to bring the check I wanted to deposit!
            The littlest things, when you’re balancing too much, trigger tears. One more mishap that I didn’t expect, a chore that still needed to be done, and that forgotten check still sitting on the counter proved too much for me.
            As I dissolved into tears, I retreated to my bedroom because I don’t want Mom to see me cry. She often feels that her needs overburden us, so I try to protect her on the few times I feel life’s overwhelming me. David grabbed the vacuum cleaner to haul to our son’s house (we share a vacuum and all the lawn tools between the two houses) and dashed back to the bank to deposit the forgotten check. When he returned, he fixed everything. I don’t know how, but he’s able to spend a little time with me and point out how nothing’s really that bad. He reminded me of some of our other hurdles that we’ve survived.          
My little bout of tears today means I’ll be fine tomorrow because “after all . . . tomorrow is another day.” 

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman