Poem: Bang


Cement walking

running from thunderstorms

a parallel universe

where life is underneath

clouds with silver linings

The voice at the other end

is rapid fire rain drops

bringing it back alive

And while the dog may hide

afraid of the noise

I let it bang my insides

to help me

wake up

 

 

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If People Were More Like Dogs


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They would take the time to play more

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They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening

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When they were afraid, they would just go hide for a bit instead of becoming bullies

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They would take lots of naps so they would always be well rested and not stressed out all the time

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They would love other species like family

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They would smile more

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They’d be OK with their bodies

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They would learn to wait patiently and to trust

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And to forgive and forget

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They would learn to love those different from themselves

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And that love is unconditional

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That you just walk away, rather than fight if you get angry

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And that territories are defined by sniffs and pee not walls or bombs

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That most of us aren’t purebred anyway, but we are just as wonderful

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That everyone just wants a home

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That we should save our voice only for the important things

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If when we were frustrated, we took it out on our own stuff, not other’s….

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That tongues are not for lashing, but for kisses and we are each unique in our own crazy way

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And if our lives were as short and precious as theirs, maybe, just maybe we would live more fully, play harder, rest more deeply, love more expansively, trust more easily, be careful not to destroy stuff and even share all we had…. For they are gone so quickly, but leave with us lessons that we carry forever.

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So they will continue to play

And we will continue to struggle

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But maybe one day we’ll tip our head close enough to theirs so we can really listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us all along.

 

A Voice


From the time we are small and come screeching into this world we want to be heard. The first thing the doctors want to hear is the baby’s first cry, the ‘strong and lusty cry’ needed to complete the “R” in the Apgar score (for respirations). From there we move to the terrible two’s where our voice is famously heard in the word NO, said over and over and as the answer to everything asked. This is where we learn to assert our voice, and we begin our journey to who we will become and away from who created us. Onto adulthood, where we either gain loud, strong voices or will  have learned to keep our mouths shut. Often depending on the environment in which we were raised, praised or shushed.

I have always had a rather big mouth. I won’t lie. In third grade a teacher hit me over the head for talking in class and called me a chatterbox.  Now, of course, she’d go to jail for doing that, but then it shut me up for a few minutes. Normally I was disrupting the class: in some fashion…talking, distracting other students, joking, horsing around or simply not paying attention. What I had to say always seemed rather more important than what they had to say. This went on right through HS. In fact, I was voted class clown and most inclined to argue, and I would say those are things that probably still would define me today.

My voice is still strong. But I see how it has matured through the years. My passion about things would often get me in trouble in the past. Often I would not know how to listen. It would be my voice drowning out all others. It’s all well and good to be passionate in what you believe, but if no-one listens, then it does no good. I was reminded today of the old adage: if a tree falls in the woods and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a noise?

But even though I have learned to temper my voice there are still real occasions when I am not heard. When I feel I am sensible and right and thoroughly ignored. Work is a good example of this situation. There are times I feel it is because I’m a woman. Others because I am just me. I’m never quite sure. But I do know it cuts me to the core and is very painful to feel that what I have to say isn’t worthy of hearing. I’ve worked hard at learning to speak so others might listen. And at becoming a better listener myself. It’s not been easy! My thoughts roll through my head a mile a minute as someone speaks to me and I want to constantly interrupt so I don’t forget anything. But I realize this is rude. It takes force of will to wait until the right time to speak my two (or 10) cents.

The demeaning of one’s ideas, feelings, thoughts or whatever is one of the worst positions to be in as the ‘demeanee.’ Maybe because it regresses one unconsciously back to childhood. Back to a time when one is trying to use a voice to say who they are, to validate who they are as a person. Communication is what makes us human. And when we turn away from someone, we deny that other person a common human courtesy.

So, for me, I always try to listen. If someone becomes too offensive, then I tell them that and I stop listening. And I can’t be around people too much if they don’t let me speak my mind. I try to do it as respectfully as I can. If I am forced to be around them, then so be it. But I will never be close to these people. And never admire who they are as humans.

I have my voice. You have yours.  Together our voices make conversation. If no-one listens, then is what we  say as powerful? The voices in my own head talk all the time. But as soon as I free them then I open myself to unlimited interactions. It’s risky, but also hopeful. The hope is that my voice will reach out and touch someone. And from there a whole new moment is created. And from a moment maybe a whole new world.