Gift Exchange

Gift Exchange

I like the gift with no giver

the left behind book on the subway

the twenty dollar bill in a parking lot puddle

a gift with no sense of obligation

not even a sense of 

should I find out who lost this

who are you going ask

when there’s no one around to ask 


a gift that doesn’t demand response

for a return

where you have to match the value

where there isn’t a hidden agenda

where gratitude is in accepting and using

not in words and forced forgiveness

This is not part of the 227 Rules For Monks. It comes from my archive of rough draft dating, in this case, back to December 2008. If I never write another poem again I have a backlog of rough drafts to keep me busy for years to come.

This is the season of gifts – many given out of a sense of obligation to one’s building super etc. We bribe them for another year of considerate treatment – rarely do we gifts for no reason. At one time, at this time of year I do leave things on the subway, if I do use it – things like a toque or gloves – in hopes that someone might find them useful. Then a friend of mine, who works for the TTC, told me that those things usual went the lost & found or clearers took them home. So much for random altruism 🙂

Over the years I’ve become easy around gifts – giving & accepting. I’m as happy receiving home made cookies as I am with a paypal donation. ( also hav become a good regifter as well. I have enough socks & often gifted socks go to someone else, or donated to a clothing box. I no longer give gifts out of a sense of obligation.

Forgiveness has become more a mode of victimizing victims than something emotionally freeing. There is this subtext these days that if you don’t forgive someone who had harmed you you are being unreasonable & are as bad as the the person who harmed you. It’s as if not letting someone who has apologized, face the consequences of their action now makes the victim a victimizer. We may be God’s children but only one was chosen. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more Christmas kitch– sweet,eh?

Too Forgiving?

A Facebook friend recently posted ‘can one be too forgiving?’ I don’t know the context for her question but I have read that forgiveness sets me free – free of what? Free of thoughts of revenge mainly. I replied: ‘forgiveness without change is codependency.’


body (of clothes) bag

I know it isn’t easy to forgive – partly because we feel that it somehow approves of the behaviour, that in fact we are giving permission for that behaviour to continue. There’s a sense that forgiveness absolves them of responsibility – that it allows them to escape the consequences of their actions. ‘If you forgive me, why don’t you want to see me’ ‘why do I have to go to jail’ etc.


pretty patterns

Forgiveness helps free me of bitterness or anger for something but it doesn’t mean I forget the lessons I may have learned. Cunning manipulators work hard at turning forgiveness into something that is your fault – refusing to put up certain behaviours can result in them saying ‘I can see you’re still angry.’ When in fact all you are being is firm.

The need to forgive, like anger, can be addictive & as difficult to get free of – it can easily become a way of defining who we are – pushing us to find new situations (or old ones) that reassure our forgiving or angry identity. We become people looking or opportunities to forgive or get angry & end up feeling unfulfilled if we can’t find or create them.


pink vs red

I’d rather be called harsh that get caught up in the cycle of  approval by letting people take advantage of me just to prove I’m not angry or holding a grudge. When I stop playing into them in anyway, they find the door themselves. I don’t even apologize if it hits them on the ass as they leave.


It Rings For ?

how long is it before

the ring of a phone

doesn’t remind me of loss

what is the arc of that ache

of the decay from anger to acceptance

neither of which I welcome

the loss of who I love

the disappearance of the flesh

the face that mutated

from one here to dark memory

there was no way to prepare

for hearing the words

uttered in a hesitant way

do you know …

was a friend of yours …

were you close …

all that hushed rush of air

as I listened absorbed

uncertain if I could actually

say anything in response

wanting to shout to scream

to release the fear pent up so long

now realized what I always knew

that what was expected finally occurred

not hearing if it was by accident

on purpose

by disease

by a drug deal gone bad

none of that mattered

the end result was the same

leaving me here phone in hand

wondering how long will it take

a year two years

how long has it been now

the days haven’t been counted

the years have oozed by

the ring of the phone has that effect

that memory

that fear arises

I’m unwilling to answer

I say a little prayer before I do

hoping against fact

that it isn’t that inevitable event

it has been years

I’ve been in this state of loss

of missing you

longing for your return

yet knowing that will never happen

somethings can’t be undone

the body may never be restored

the one I hold in memory is gone

the one that remains is going

I can’t hold it here I can’t keep it here

I can’t fight this fight for you

felt that loss long before it happened

feel that loss now

don’t know how to share it

how to pretend it isn’t raw tender

that I wish it would end

yet dreading the way it might end

that blaze of dismay not glory

that will take you away

once and for all

each ring of the phone

brings that gone closer

each time it isn’t you

the victim on the other end

I breath a sigh of relief

grateful that the moment is not now

there’s still hope

isn’t there

as long as the phone doesn’t ring

as long as it isn’t you

calling to say

that final maudlin good bye


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


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