Poem: Chime


They blow through me

windy words sweep miles 

past desert shapes

caught in wisps of willows 

and carried on wings of butterflies 

Gusting din

heard as flying bells 

traveler to my inner 

outer space 

where not a breeze blows

Listen

for my song

as it drifts through air

displacing wave 

putting pressure on you

to hear

Endless Mind


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Living free may only be an illusion as there is always something hidden waiting to confine the beauty of unfettered space. Maybe an unsuspecting visitor or fence covered with lush camouflage that pretends to be part of the landscape. It fools and traps the wandering dreamer.

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Step by step the visionary may walk, hopeful of its future. And in the moment all seems at peace. The surrounding landscape is hushed and still. It lulls those that pass into a false sense of calm. But what may come at the next bend? Is all as it seems?

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Best to tread lightly these earthly footsteps. Cautiously move and trust home is within. Freedom may only be skin deep. Found in the echoes of  the ancestors. Search for it not in tomorrows, but inside the endless mind.

Monkey On Our Back 


There are times we all feel the monkey on our back. Maybe we put it there, flipping it up as we were too busy with life. It became more and more burdensome, weighing us down as we carried it around. Tried as we might, we couldn’t pry it off because it clung with a mighty grip and our back became the perfect ride.

There were days we knew it was there even though looking over our shoulder it was impossible to see. But we could feel it’s little fingers scratching at our skin making it crawl. It would make weird monkey noises close to our ear so only we could hear and we would think: I must be crazy.

For years it rode like this, perched on top of us, hitching this endless ride. Until one day we realize it’s a burden to drag along this nuisance, this unwanted tag along. We think maybe we can ditch it, throw it off somewhere and let it find its own way. 

Reaching around isn’t easy, and getting it to let go is no simple task. The monkey hangs on for dear life. But finally we can grab it by the tail and rip it off. It’s easy to fling it into the forest somewhere, hoping it will find a monkey family. 

And now, for the first time in a long time we can stand up. Our back feels light. We walk down the road now, unencumbered and free. But we are ever diligent for primate hitch hikers. 

Poem : Trapped


In a snowy globe 

or fanciful place 

encased in glass

Where snowflakes shake

upside-down 

or 

sideways too

they tumble past 

In this small igloo 

my hands are pressed

against this captive cage

As the world goes by

my heart beats bird-like

in my fluttering chest

While my nose against 

this world is cold 

and closely pressed 

Outside it seems to me

that all is going well 

they come and go 

in pairs or more

while I stand inside 

without a door 

This globe is closed 

but it is clear 

I see the world 

but I am here

Maybe there will be a day

when where I live will vanish 

It will shake 

and snow will swirl 

but then the globe will fall

And when it does 

the glass will crack

and down will come my wall

Expired 


Yesterday was my last day as a licensed paramedic. It’s with great melancholy that I let it lapse. But all things need to come to their logical end, and so it was time for me to step off the bus.

For all my ups and downs, it really was a great run. I had the great honor to be with people at some of the worst times in their lives and with them as they took their last breath. They invited me into their homes, even when they may have felt ashamed, because they knew I came only carrying oxygen, not judgement. There were many neighbors I helped, and some I couldn’t, but I cared about them all. It didn’t matter who you were, why you called me, how much you had to drink, how many times you called that week, if you woke me up in the middle of the night or I had to come in a raging blizzard, I came because I really did like being a paramedic. Sure, maybe we complained a bit about the hours or the pay, but really, there wasn’t any better job than that one.

Where else do you get someone say to you: thanks for saving my wife’s life? Or making a kid with a broken arm feel less pain…or even being with someone when they take they stop breathing  knowing that you helped make their journey easier. 

So, I have no regrets except maybe I didn’t find it when I was younger. I’m gratful for the lives that I helped save, but even more grateful that I never made any mistakes that hurt anyone. 

Thanks to all those emergency workers out there still busting their butts for us all–stay safe and we are truly lucky to have you. 

Doing Wrong


Sometimes we do something wrong to someone. Sometimes we know we do, sometimes we may not. How the other people handle this can be completely different.  And those differences have completely opposite outcomes for us.

I’ve been thinking about only two of those ways in which people deal when I have done something wrong–or even have ‘supposedly’ done something wrong. I say this because in one case, I don’t even know what I did.

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In that instance there have been a couple of times where I had very dear friends that just stop being my friend without any explanation. Even though I tried to find out why or what I may have done to illicit this behavior, I never could find out why. This, of course, is disturbing and hurtful. But eventually, something we must move on from.

The second is where someone doesn’t let you forget something that you’ve done wrong and continually reminds you. While they still are your friend, family or whatever–it can come up in conversation when you least expect it. They haven’t let go, completely forgiven or whatever, even if you may have apologized. This, while is slightly better because you are still communicating, can be difficult. It’s a constant reminder and keeps you both stuck in the past.

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I guess in the first case, a simple explanation would help. Everyone has the choice to move on from a friendship. But, to me at least, it seems kind to tell the person why, especially if you had something invested in your relationship. And the second case, once you have discussed the wrong doing, we must try to put it behind the best we can and not let it keep staining the present moments.

Of course there are many more times where wrong doings are completely forgiven and we go on even better because of them. They enrich our relationships because of giving us insights to each other and all our facets. When we can love all of someone, even the not so perfect, then that is really an honest kind of love.

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Buried Treasure


There are some folks that search for buried treasure. Some of that treasure may be from sunken ships from long ago that legend tell tales of gold and jewels that went down with these vessels. Divers search and may come up with some beauties, or may find only fish and wood in the depths of ocean, or maybe nothing at all. But it might be the journey alone that draws these seekers, the hope of treasure and wealth and a visit into the past.

I’ve read of current day treasure hunts: wealthy men hiding trunks of money and producing hints with maps given in books that hungry hunters must purchase in hopes of finding the loot. Is it bunk and a lucky gent making his own treasure on unsuspecting innocents, or is there really something hidden waiting for some brilliant detective who can unlock the key?

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For me the buried treasure is of a different kind. It’s not material. In fact, I’ve been making efforts to rid myself of material goods, including ones of “value”. What is value anyway but what it means to someone. True, gold and diamonds have value if one tried to sell them in our market, but even these go up and down in price and they can sometimes cost so much they become: invaluable. Museums must hold onto pieces that are such treasures as to become priceless.

No, things are no longer what I am pursuing, but still my treasures have been buried. I’ve felt rather like some great explorer that has gone on a long expedition to some unheard of place to find my gems. The natives were not always hospitable and the climate often harsh. The tools I brought with me I found, at times, were primitive and didn’t quite do the trick as I tried to dig and dig to find this deeply hidden trunk of goods.

The maps I had were often handed to me by people who had no idea where I needed to be or what I was looking for; they were crude and often in a language I did not understand. So I tossed them aside and plunged on, sometimes through jungle brush, other years in desert heat sucking the water out of my pores. But I knew if I kept going, eventually I would find the goods.

There were years that I walked in circles. And sometimes I would just lay down and cry. Sometimes I had the strength of a tiger and the eyesight of an eagle, feeling like I was closer and closer. But then the treasure would slip away and I would have to start again.

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I’ve learned over the years now, that the maps I needed were with me written in an invisible ink only I could read. They were my maps to find my treasures. When I looked really closely, I noticed that the path lead me through all those places I had gone: the jungles and deserts and around and around–it’s where the trail led, I just hadn’t seen it before now. None of it was by accident.

And all the people I met along the way, they were in the Legend of the map, part of landscape I was meant to wander on path to the treasure. In fact, when I squinted just right, I saw that I actually had found treasure in each of these villages! There were markings showing that’s where some of the jewels were: the people, even the ones I thought were hostile had given me something I didn’t know, a tiny gem of knowledge.

But after walking, searching and following this map–and scrutinizing it carefully, I saw something that brought wonder to me. It appeared I was coming very close to the buried treasure that I had been chasing for so long. Maybe I’m only steps away now it seemed. The map showed it was at the center of everything: bright and brilliant, overflowing with energy.

I’m almost there now. The treasure. My treasure, buried–inside of me.

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