Family Contradictions

(For those of us caught in a maelstrom of family relations. . .)
A sugar pill with a bitter coating.
A bitter pill wrapped in honey.
Inner beauty wrapped in way too much distortion.
Even so, these distortions conceal a beating heart,
            as worthy as the next.
But then who wants to get beaten over the head
            with “Me, me, me. Give me my due.
            Have you given me my due, lately,
            again, have you?”

The maelstrom spins. . .

Dues are paid, but even that, tarnished
            by the tongue, held.
Twisted innards wrapped around love.
Love then squeezed like a balloon
            into disfigured shapes—
            disfigurement masquerading as duty.
Duties ambiguous, unclear, divided. . .

Is there a lesson to be learned here?
            That, too, remains unclear.

Thoughts banging up against an immobile lid
            on what’s boiling here.
Frustration leading to action without thought.
            Consequences set in motion.
Emotions set in concrete, but bubbling up
            just the same, seeking resolution.
Resolutions are made, then broken.
Hopes broken for freedom from
            these cycles, turning in the concrete.
“At least concrete’s not an abstraction,”
            whispered backstage.

If all’s life’s a stage,
            can I talk with the playwright, please?

Looking, then seeing, then this expression—
            then absorbing lessons, without words.
Words turning into some understanding,
            but not in words.
Words setting themselves on fire,
            sacrificing themselves so we can see.

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