Dear Powers That Be,

Where has the time gone?

Festival is over again. And as I uploaded pictures yesterday I realized that I haven’t taken my camera out all summer.

This is so very not ok and indicative of the problems I’ve been trying to solve for years now.

So, last time we talked I told you things were going to change. And as a justification for why they haven’t yet, I can only say that I had responsibilities which had to be fulfilled before I could start throwing up my hands and screaming, “NO!” at absolutely everyone who opens their mouth to speak in my presence.

I had two deadlines, one for work and another for Festival, happening at the exact same time. My meter went down to zero. And then a week later, Festival itself. I am so disheartened by myself, that I allowed my life to turn into this.

I wanted to live this summer. Actually leave the apartment and do things. Instead I spent all of it in front of a computer, for the most part. I am running out of people, and the ones that I have aren’t adding anything to my life (beyond the support I can always count on them for and do not for a moment discount).

I talk about New Betsy every six months, it seems. I *know* what the problem is and what I need to do to fix it, but I always get bogged down in the details and chicken out at the last minute. The only thing that makes this time different, I think, is that I have finally admitted to myself and those who constantly peck at me how dreadfully unhappy I am by my circumstances. I am exhausted from always having to be the someone when “someone has to do it.”

I’ve never tried to be happy because somewhere deep inside me, thanks to upbringing and lost loves and misunderstandings and mental health problems, I always figured I never deserved it. Well, whether I deserve it or not, I’m going for it this time. I can’t go on like this anymore. I do my best and I give my all and there are still people talking about how little I provide or how badly I perform and I am done dancing for you.

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.


Betsy Rose


Wonder of Wonders

Maybe I should have
moved away, anyway.
Maybe I should have
married him, after all.

Maybe if I had started
saying no, long ago,
I wouldn’t find myself
in such a mess again.

A person can
get away with
the wrong thing
for a long time.

Until everything goes
wrong all at once
and you’re left
wondering what you’ve
done with your life.

I mean, what would
have happened if
I’d moved away,

What would life
be like if I had
married him,
after all?
Insanely busy weekend so cleaning out some old stuff. And find myself standing here with a very distinctive “Now what?” feeling.

Hopefully I’ll have the courage to choose for myself from now on.



They fall in love with your broken parts and
then blame you when their love can’t fix them.
I’ve been keeping score. And I have never found this to be untrue.



Fear is what saved me
all those years ago.

Don’t say it’s selfish.
Call it cowardly but
don’t say it’s selfish.

At first I was worried
what my little sister
would do if she woke up
to be the first to find me.

And then I was frightened
I would leave too much
undone and so maybe
I could force myself
to hold out one more day.

But the truth is
it was fear
that saved me
all those years ago.

When I wake up every morning
I give myself a moment to recall
how it could have been different
if there had been one day when
the selfish outweighed the afraid.
I, like so many other poets, had to stop today and write something to unload the feelings about Robin Williams’ suicide.

Just a few days ago I was talking about suicide with someone. How angry it made me when people called it selfish. I imagine most of the people who say that have never had the grip of severe depression around their throat. On the other hand, I do believe it cowardly. And I shiver when recalling how often I was almost that weak. I am lucky enough that age, time, and good meds have driven me back from that precipice, but I’m one of the lucky ones. And believe me, I know it.


Deadline Day

I had that dream
where I woke up late
when I was supposed
to be early and then
the alarm went off
right on time but
the bridge was up
and the rain was pouring
and by the time I reached
the office I was later than
I would have been
had I been on time.
Deadline day.
Anything that can go wrong…


Happy Birthday, Old Man

Today, I stood up for myself.
And I found myself wondering
what you would say about it.

(I find myself wondering
what you would say about
many things, pretty often).

I think you’d commend my efforts
but condemn their delivery,
because you’re an old man
and old-fashioned in your views.

But I can hear your voice inside my head,
“Ooooh, ha!” and a clicking tongue,
like before, like always, like everything
I have ever done is cause for amazement.

Today would have been your 85th birthday
and you’re not here and even though you have
been gone for so long now I am still crying
because I want to know what you think about
the woman I’ve become without you.


Dream King

We’ve been planning this for weeks.
Months, really. Years.

And I stayed up too late last night
working on details whose deadline
had long passed us by already.

When I finally fell asleep I dreamt
that I had missed it all, although
I can’t remember where I’d been instead.

When I woke up I wasn’t sure whether
that was a dream come true or a nightmare.
All I know is I’m the one who’s got to choose.