Poem: Strength


Remember the power

of movement

Strong sinew

forward steps

Strength from unknown fathoms

long ago

Climbing mountains

and racing miles

The mind

made a warrior queen

who won the war of

crossing over

beyond the limit of

boundaries set

Pain had no meaning

then

So now

remember

this arc of steel

bent from brain to body

Now this pillar once so

bold

must summon back

the unseen force

 

 

 

 

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Distraction


Tis the season for jing a ling and tra la la. Lots of shopping and running around. Too much Christmas music, tinsel and glitter or gathering for Hanukkah gelt and food of all kinds. Or whatever your holiday is, this is the time of year for…well, distraction.

Many of us may find much of this holiday season annoying: too much traffic, too many crowds, too much stuff and just plain too much consumerism. The holidays seem to have gotten away (in most cases) from what they were really supposed to mean and what all the symbols are meant to represent. I bet in many cases folks don’t know anymore. It’s just become: buy, buy, buy and rush, rush, rush and what’s on sale. They may know the basics, but unless you are deeply entrenched within your religious community, it’s all just Hallmark nonsense.

It’s exhausting and sad and often stressful.

But this was the first year I had an insight to it all.  Because the world has become such a harsh place and each year it only seems to get worse, maybe we all need this nonsense. Between the natural disasters and man-made horrors of the world, I truly believe we all suffer, on some deep level, from a global/connected/deep-seeded depression. Most of the time when we tune into what ever we tune into (our preferred media source), it’s some new calamity bombarding us. All year-long we must endure hearing about our fellow humans suffer, or our planet dying or animals being exterminated. It’s a wonder any of us get out of bed at all.

And then, along comes the holidays. Time for our own little fantasy world of tinsel and glitter, pretty lights and toys. And even magic and a crazy man, elves and reindeer bringing happiness to the whole world. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may still have your own holiday celebration within your own religious belief; one that brings your family together, one where you can remember better times and get time off from work.

All these holidays have one thing in common: they help us remember our past, not only our personal one when we were young and things were simpler and maybe happier; but our human past. That’s why they were celebrated in the first place; to acknowledge an important event in history.

And the days when many of us are celebrating our respective holidays on those special days specifically set aside for these historic days from our past, we are not thinking about all the terrible things going on presently that usually occupy our minds. This may be the most important gift of all.

For those precious moments at least, we can let our hearts and souls fill instead with the sounds of our families, children and homes (after the rush and stress have died down). The smells of cooking, the visits from those we haven’t seen, the familiar decorations all give a sense of well-being and safety. These feelings may be rare for us these days. So we lap it up in the swell of the holiday tide. This is the part we take for granted, the feelings, but this is the part of life we are missing every day in this painful world. This is what the holiday season gives us.  Positive feelings.

So, for the first time in many years, I say: go ahead and enjoy. Play the incessant Christmas music. I get all the lights and sparkly stuff.  Sure, I would still rather people not buy so much ‘stuff’ because it’s not good for the world, but I do understand better why they do…it’s for the feelings they produce. But mostly, I just understand the whole ‘thing’ of the holidays more this year: instead of global depression, it’s global jublilation.

Maybe that’s why they call it a magical time of year.

Poem: Alone


Alone

is the silence of the room

each night

with the shadow light

and wearing

the blanket

like a shroud

to cover what’s gone

Alone

where memories scream

and eyelids darken

walking backwards

through regret

Alone

is hearing every sound

near and far

for the stillness

of it all

Alone

cousin once removed

from lonely

in a family

lathered with space

Alone

Quiet

Choice

 

Poem: The Demented


I move you

as you watch

through eyes reaching back

to dance floors hung with

cigarette smoke swirls

Your double-breasted jacket

brushing cozily against a firmly guarded chest

Slowly moving together

feeling forever young

until

the music fades away

And then you turn

to see me sitting next to you

Are you searching among

reminiscence and room?

The pirouette now is sedate and stiff

partnered hands upon cold metal rails

that follow your lead

It is not love that holds us up in the end

But the lonely grip

of the metallic burn

the flickering memories that dart

with us

in and out

as our dance partners

once did

 

 

Image

Capture


 

Last night I was standing around the fire station with some friends. Two of them had to show me ‘home movies’ of their kids. Of course these weren’t real home movies because they were on their smart phones. A few of us were clustered around the tiny screens, listening as best we could as the kids did their adorable stuff.

But it gave me pause. I am much older than these friends and they have kids much younger than my daughters. When my girls were their ages– we took real movies. We had one of those big cameras that we would grab every time they would do something cute or just to capture important events. Even the birth of my last daughter is-for better or worse-on one of these old VHS tapes.

The thing is: my kids LOVE these tapes! My youngest daughter pulls these movies out frequently! She’ll be watching them, and sometimes drags her friends to watch them too, and then I get suckered in. Of course I get teary watching them: how cute they were with their goofy little outfits,  the lisp, cake smeared on their faces or just the fact that we all still were a family then.

And this all made me wonder…with these kinds of movies becoming a rarity, how will our future generation come to enjoy these same kinds of memories? Or the parents for that matter? While a nation may share the most intimate of detail of their lives with thousands of strangers through the internet now, somehow we may have lost the gift of capturing these intimacies within our own lives.

Somehow I think we feel it is more important now to be connected to a bigger and bigger cross-section of the world. With Facebook, tweeting and the other social media we have moved away from the more personal circles. I heard on the news today about how people have stopped writing letters and would rather text. While people love to receive letters and they are tangible and can be kept (like a VHS tape), no-one will take the time any longer to write them. It’s considered a lost art.

Our world now wants everything to be immediate and throw away. What happens to the adorable clips I saw of my friends children when they get a new phone and the data card doesn’t download properly? All is lost! Even if they post it on Facebook, will their child be able to refer back to it 20 years from now to see it? And will it even be the same as having their friends crowding around a TV set watching a full length tape? A two-minute bit taken on a phone hardly compares.

It’s just another dinosaur that will go the way of extinction and with it take lovely memories and potential intimate moments a family can share. Looking back on one’s past, as and grown-up or even a young adult, can give great insight to who we are now. Laughing at the funny hairdo’s and crying at sweet sentimentality of it all is what these flashes of the past bring to us.

So while those blinks on your phone are great to share at work and Facebook, don’t forget to continue to take some real old-fashioned home movies. Your kids will thank you and you will be eternally grateful you did many years from now. Nothing beats watching my baby coming out of the C-section and hearing that first cry-even 20 years later!