Poem: In Memory Of A Father-In-Law


In the gymnasium

performing the mental exercise of the night

dipping in and out

of sardine-squeezed bystanders

I keep losing you

Cold-shouldered around a corner

like I lost myself when I had you,

why is it all so slippery?

Only pieces–

the catch of fire hair you shed long ago

But now we both have lost

him

And our shared sorrow

brings you

here

as a lamplighter illuminating truth

And even though our bond is broken

a gift is given:

his love for me

uttered from lips I once touched

This sweet small something

settles in

Then you turn from me

and walk back into the crowd

 

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Poem: From Within


Skin

carrying scars

picked at by fretful fingers

The loss of heat

or

vacuum suck of cold

(interwoven at times)

left on integument ripples

trying desperately to hide

bone wrapped melodies

played on organs

finely tuned by fingers

fretful fingers

of the merry minutiae

on drifting cells as the float by

Song of the soul

Hum of the heart

Picking at a piece of the part

the smooth skinned shell

to hear the singing chorus

from within this finite enclosure

its voice secretly serenading:

I, too, am here

Poem Art: The Sentry


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Years of giving

torn from the skinned Birch

to carry others

across rushing waters

while naked the Tree remains

rooted

watching

as the world walks away

Not listening

to the endless clawing on Jesus arms

the sucking tendrils

that have grown up

twisting themselves around

the age-old rings of Her heart

Move on! Move on!

whispering through the thousand hands

waving goodbyes to those

that left her standing

still

and siphoning life from

dirty earth thrown down

around Her

Immobile

a sentry seasoned with sight

the beacon to set others

on their way

But forever bound and grounded

in the place she chose

to be born

 

 

 

Poem: Strictly Platonic


Slices

through a multi-layered

marbled veined cake

Ribbons of color and texture

lathered with sickly sweet

frosting and fake flowers

dripping down the sides

They all come

to sweeten the palate

and give sugar rushes

in brain bursting fury

Different sized portions

doled out in snippets

or heart attack plate fulls

all sure to crash

sooner or later

 

 

Joy Through Sacrifice


Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing.  He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.

That gave me pause.

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I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:

  • 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
  • being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
  • having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
  • moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
  • starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
  • helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
  • giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
  • changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
  • coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
  • sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
  • Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
  • standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
  • sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)

There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really.  It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery. 

So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.

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Art: Blazing Hope


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Hope, I am perfectly willing to admit, is one of those things I’ve relied far too much on. My life hasn’t maybe been as tidy as I’ve wanted it to be, but I keep thinking it’s OK because I always have that thing called hope. It can be plastered on anything really and comes in handy for so many situations…

For you see, the discussions for me happen pretty much in my own head: over and over. That looping of thoughts, both of all the stuff that I shouldn’t have done–(it doesn’t last for too long anymore)–and that almost immediate glow of hope trying very hard to wipe out those other stale ruminations of the past.

So I talk with myself constantly (sometimes quite out loud)–trying to set the hope free: that burning hope. I figure if I keep this chatter on long enough, maybe eventually it will set ablaze and blast off into reality.

Poem Art: Community


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Today has been a dreaming sort of day. One of those days where I have looked at the life I have wanted to live and wondered if it will ever be possible and if I will ever follow through–or if it will always just be a dream. It was a day filled with research and videos, thinking and feeling things in my heart–even conversations with friends.

How many of us just have these yearnings that niggle at us? It is easy to let life pull us in other directions and I admire folks who just do what they want. It’s not that they are better or I am worse at living life, it’s just different paths. And it’s not that I didn’t do what I wanted, because obviously I did.

But what about all those ‘big’ things that we think about when we were young? Where do those ideas go?

Funny, but my next poem art sort of reflected my thoughts today without my trying. But the words I came across just floated out…and spoke the things in my head.

What are your dreams?

Poem: Maybe Then


There are times when 

Taking off our skin

Or 

Burying face down 

Is what is called for

Even when the gravitational pull

Is extremely high 

The magnetic field 

That used to feel electric

Burns with poignant pain

I’m twisted for a reason 

This caricature of myself 

Wound around the former 

They talk too much 

And the me that is hearing

Is not the one that cares 

It is new

The sound loud 

And bouncing off the old echo 

It is a mirage 

Shimmering in the present 

But does not hold the truth 

I circle around myself to find it

And the nearby voices 

Push me closer 

But the answers lie deeper 

In the skeletal remains 

After gnawing it to the bone 

Leaving everything raw

Maybe then

I will know