Poem: The Meeting


It appeared

the way the morning sun flashes

through gathering clouds–

suddenly

a burst of

unexpected radiance

The beauty of it

drenching

my soul

Its unforeseen appearance

bringing clarity

to the moment

But hopefully

lasting beyond

long after the day

folds into

night

 

 

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Facing The Monster


Accusers and accused. There are many of these both in the news lately. Whose stories are true? What side do we choose to believe? And why do the stories seem to play out the same way each time?

At least that how it seems to me, but could we change the ending somehow? A woman comes forward to accuse a man of some kind of sexual assault from their past. The man is a high-profile figure so the story hits the news, but we all know that these stories have struck a chord because so many women have had similar experiences in their lives (including me).

Once the man stands accused, he usually claims he didn’t do it–in a very loud voice–until it turns out that we learn he did because other women come forward, or investigation into his past concludes it was true. So why then do these men say they didn’t do it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, especially with the most recent allegations which are particularly disturbing to me, and I came up with this conclusion.

Many of us hold parts of our past we would rather forget (me included); ones that when we dare look back on them produce feelings of shame and regret. So rather than look at them, we compartmentalize them or even pretend they didn’t happen. We may actually believe they didn’t. Some folks are particularly good at this skill and humans are quite resilient and can learn to adapt to their dirty deeds and go on quite well.

What happens, though, when someone comes along and opens the door to the shame that has been hidden away and it shows its nasty head. The obvious reaction would be to say: no, no–of course I didn’t do that thing! It wasn’t me. That beast has been hiding so long it has become unfamiliar, a part of ourselves we have chosen to forget.

But, as this creature stands before us a while, I feel it should begin to take shape and start to become more visible. Letting it out of the box to stand out in the open and taking a good look at it instead of denying it, can actually help defuse its power. Because ultimately it is a part of us, no matter how bad it was, it was something we did. The first part of letting go is admitting to something.

At this point, if the accused could then face the accuser and simply say: yes, I did it, it was bad and I’m sorry I hurt you–how would that change the story? Would we all feel differently? Could then the accuser introduce forgiveness into the equation? Maybe. Hopefully.

And then maybe the healing could really begin: for everyone.

 

Poem: The Speech


Common ground

must abound

for this country

to unite

and to set

founding notions right

Not you

against me

She vs. he

White is better

than Black

or pretend

global warming

is not a fact

Walls must fall

while we help

all who call

No matter tint

of skin

where preference

is no mortal sin

And believing

means freedom

the wisdom of truth

found in our

words

Not blurred

by hatred or fear

but once again

self-evident

we the people

are equal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let The Games Begin…


And so it begins again. Tomorrow is the first day of school here where I live and I will be working again, but in a more random capacity. I’ve worked there all summer, helping wherever I was needed. It was fun actually: with the halls quiet and peaceful.

But tomorrow they will be filled with the excited (and loud) voices of our returning students and the nervous, tiny Kindergarten kids. Lucky for them we will all be there to help them all handle the first day and rein in their jitters.

There are some new teachers this year too–including a man! Whoop whoop. That place needs a balance of testosterone if you ask me, so it will be interesting to see how the kids feel about him. And there is an older (like me) new long-term sub also, which I am happy to see.

All in all, it will be an interesting year. No more full-time lunchroom duty for me! Hooray!! And I also offered to sub in the classrooms, which could turn out to be a total disaster, but we’ll give it a try. Mostly, I actually enjoy the administrative, boring stuff. It’s funny because the teachers keep telling me I’m a hero for helping them laminate, staple and collate. And I think to myself: from saving lives as a paramedic to saving these teachers… hmmm?

They assure me they would have a heart attack without me. But….

I’m not so sure.

Poem: Long Ago


Long ago

two strangers met

and their fate was sealed

 

A child’s life

had been hurt

but a woman helped it heal

 

She took her hand

and brought her home

to help her learn to feel

 

Some days were hard

and both felt pain

life could feel surreal

 

But the woman

always was there for her

through every life ordeal

 

So even though

not by birth

as my Mother you are real

 

Dedicated to my dear Mom on her 91st birthday. You are my heart and soul. Thank you for the day you found me, brought me home and have helped me on my journey ever since!

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: Convergence


We meet upon the rubbled path

as comrades often do

weary travelers in a lonely place

not by chance the journey crossed

By the crackling fire

shared stories told resting long and slow

of future climbs and mountains high

and moonlit rivers flowing near

Our hearts have been separate

but souls have been in sync

recognizing kindred spirits

and distant hopeful dreams

With these bonding moments

promises are cast

someday in a future life

the trail may yet converge

A single road then

we shall walk

together side by side

To create a burning reality

from a bridge of given thoughts

that passed between

us two

 

 

 

 

Poem: The Chase


You passed again today

through my wandering mind

your dusty shadow

shimmering in the graying light

I followed among the scattered leaves

that blow with whispers

so near the winds of thought

and wonder where you lead

Yet there is a ray of simmering light

amidst the darkened hollow

that echos in my brain

A day will come

when you shall stop

and slowly turn around

And in this precious moment

my eyes will finally learn

who hides behind the chase

 

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