Poem: Shooting Star


Star shoot beautiful night

Brilliant sky hearts flight

Across the world

Dreams are curled

In lovers beds

With separate dreads

But with the arc

Of light embark

Connect their souls

And fills deep holes

So no matter where

The dark may stare

Magic comes and opens doors

Makes things fly and soar

And when the end is near

I will want you here

To see the star

So far

So far

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Poem: The New Story


There comes a time

when the violent voices

that knock

into your hungry head

and talk and talk

at the dark matter

which is not a matter of fact

Time stops in a sudden

car crashing

coup contrecoup

brain slamming

amnesia

Then

wake up

with light gulping pupils

seeing newborn truth

Little rapid breaths

tasting warm honest words

that swam inside

the cranial cradle

Sleep walking once

now

jammed into mind shattered morning

Good day

Stay in front

new blood rush noise

to fill the sound

of those wicked

tales told

Just walk forward

and up up up

 

Poem: Sometimes I Forget


Sometimes I forget

when I am writing on the

steamy bathroom mirror

about happiness and joy

–my daily prayers

because life feels lacking

And I forget

when my wants

walk in front of my needs

I forget and I forget–

Until I remember

how close it was

the demon snapping at your heels

And every phone call feeling like dread

Or the day I looked in your window

and saw you lying on your mattress

on the floor

too still

Or when you first told me about

the problem

But then

I stop forgetting

and remember

and know that my life

has really been fine

since the moment

your life

got OK

 

It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

Poem: The Waiting Room


What if we all were caught

together in a place

You with the purple legs

falling fast asleep between

the snorts and sniffy drool

and the woman who talks endlessly

on a phone she cannot use

While the rest of us

quietly swim in our own small worlds

Or watch the woman just over there

who cooks the arroz con pollo

and fills the air with popcorn smells

that settle in the memory

with salty buttery moments

While piped in eighties music

seeps in our private bubbles

(one guy’s foot is tapping as he tries to read

his book)

While a little white dog

trots by masquerading as a therapist

for the human

we all know is as crazy as us all

Yet no-one looks up

or at each other

or pretends to be nice

Still the employees walk by in their

black and white garb

wishing it was 5

while we hope we’re called next

But…what if

this was an Island

in the middle of the sea

where we all were lost

and survivors of a wreck

Then how would we be

Would you catch my eye

or walk with me to the edge of the sand

and look toward the horizon

searching for distant hope

Because now we are comrades

awake

to each others light

in this hidden land

 

Poem: Speck And Observation


The rain it falls

and forests burn

Pink sun she rises

constellations turn

 

Insects forever crawl

dull rivers flow

Hot deserts whither

Nor’easters blow

 

Dirt and bone

we come and go

The earth moves on

and does not owe

 

 

Poem: In Session


Life is in session

she said to me

while her husband is laboring

to breathe

in some ICU

None of get out of this alive

Our neighbor upstairs

sure didn’t

He is gone

missing

just like the person who hit him

when he crossed the street

The movers made more noise

than he did

when they hauled his

stuff away

And blew smoke

in my windows

reminding me

Life is in session

 

Clarity


Seeing people for who they really are, whether they are homeless or our closest friends/family, can often be challenging. As humans, we spend a lot of time trying to create comfort around us, and this may include internal comfort also. Living in a world where situations can bring us discomfort, our brain will do as much as it can to remove the ‘bad’ stuff; erase memories or twist pictures before our eyes into something we’d prefer to see.

Seeing the world around us without our rose-colored glasses can often be painful, on a personal and global level. It may reveal our own child as a drug addict or a fellow human as hungry, neither snapshot as something we want to see.

But both these things are truths before us and must be acknowledged. They are drastic cases of what we see when we choose to have our eyes truly open to people around us. How do these things make us feel about these people and how do we react in response? Afterall, it does not change the fact that they are both humans still…

What if what our eyes remain closed to simpler truths about someone else? Things that just make them who they are, but different from you and I? Have we truly listened and accepted what someone has told us about their feelings or needs? Or are we trying to change them to fit into our agenda?

It can be a challenge to accept someone just as they are; especially when they look or act differently. Each day the world seems to become less and less accepting and we drift farther apart from our shared humanity.

Respect and listening. If we felt heard and respected, no matter how minor the role we may play in this game called life, then we can feel here, human and a part of the whole.

 

 

 

 

 

On Dying


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I was in the presence today of a dying person. No, not like you and me–I mean actively dying. We are all dying of course, but this is part of my hospice volunteering, my first day meeting with my new patient.

It’s not at all like being a paramedic because we aren’t given much: only a name. No diagnosis, no real history, no nothing. Of course, I’m not your average volunteer, so I can deduce some things. But, I’m not there to fix really. Only to sit. And maybe to provide some small comfort, maybe some smiles and to help a caregiver get some respite.

In this case I am reminded how much we can tell by someone’s eyes. They may not be able to speak much anymore, but their eyes speak volumes. And maybe they aren’t able-bodied any longer, but it is easy to remember that this same person was someone else, someone before they were dying.

They were like you and me: laughing loudly, arguing, dancing, quilting, walking around, loving, working and most of all–living.

It makes me wonder why people spend time while they are alive wasting it on unhappy things. On things that upset them. On things that they can never reclaim. On people who will never care enough. Why I did.

I need to spend more time living while I’m dying. Because we never know when it will be our turn that the dying will become active. Or maybe the living will simply stop.

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Giants


Giants in my life. And only some of the few who share my private space, seem to get my moods and don’t weigh me down with unnecessary baggage of their own.

They have been my compadres for longer than many I’ve known. They are getting older, but have always seemed wiser than most I meet– at least when it comes to napping.

In retrospect, hiding under the bed when most people were around was probably what I should have done also; they know the ones that are safe. And the truth is, they get a bad rap about being stuck up or snobby. A person can hardly sit down without one demanding affection.

No, it’s love, not just the catnip or canned food. Because why are they throwing themselves under hands or rubbing against parts of the body, especially when I’m trying to do something important. Love. It’s definitely love.

And with the endless purr, a thank you for the partnership. It’s not always easy with the clawed couches and smelly litter, but, in the end there is love back.

Not only that, but also napping buddies.