aging · creativity · dreams · life · poetry · writing

Shoebox Dreams

A simple shoebox, repurposed
with plastered images of dreams –
paper affirmations of aspirations –
shelved and forgotten, its contents

snapshots, faded and torn, remnants
of another time, a different future –
captured when potential was prime
and possibility untainted by illness

this one was retirement – a supposed
celebration – but note how the colour
has drained, the cracks obliterating
pride of accomplishment; and notice

how this one crumbles to the touch –
the fragments dissipating even as
my life has dissipated, the image
lost before memory resurfaces, so

much loss when circumstance dictates
direction, overpowers will, and plans
like snowflakes, vanish in the heat
of reality – pain and insult burning

but wait – this one looks promising –
the edges only slightly torn, the image
discernible – could it be that there is
hope yet – a future author I might be?

That’s the thing about times to come,
we fill them with imaginings, and pray,
our hope, like balloons set free in a sea
of unforeseen challenges, and seldom

does the end result reflect projected
plotting, and yet, there is power in
the dreaming, and so I’ll replace the old
with new photographs to store away.

(Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge asks us to consider future.)

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creativity · life · poetry · relationships · writing

A Bee’s Perspective

A bee, caught
in a violent draught,
collides with woman

her body a salty
concrete wall
of frenzy, she is rigid,
obsessed, unspoken rage

emanating from her pores –
a gale force spiral, woman-made
vortex threatening the sanctity
of her contrived domesticity

Normally, she would swat at him –
is aware of the potential for venom
delivered via puncture – cannot pull
herself out of the vacuum of fixation

eyes riveted, hands locked on video
controls, breath shallow, heart pounding
a rabid diatribe of self – loathing:

useless woman,
irresponsible,
neglectful,
unworthy,
guilty,
fat

with each beat the tempest grows
perceptibly, the bee breaks free,
encircles the figure of a lone man
bent over a fragrant cup of brew,
is dismissed by a distracted swat

lazily careens upward, buzzing
past a sleeping child, and settling
on a sweet sticky cheek, startling
its owner, who lashes out then rises

unsteady legs toddling in search
of Momma! , the whine a catalyst,
piercing his mother’s mania –
her instincts now cat-like, body

pouncing past the insolent insect,
arms reaching towards pudgy limbs
thrusting forward into loosely
attached guard rails, now plunging

the bee surveilles the scene –
a final circuitous flight before
finding escape, the drone of his wings
a testament to the glory of being a bee.

(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem which exemplifies simultaneity.  A Bee’s Perspective first appeared in May, 2017.)

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creativity · dreams · Family · health · poetry · spirituality · writing

Talk To Me Of Horses

Talk to me of horses,
the young man says,
thin locks of blonde matted
on a sweaty brow, flashes of blue
that fade as eyes succumb
to weariness, the constant
whoosh, whoosh of respirator.

Talk to me of horses;
the world is losing its grip
and I have no cares for

the weather or car mechanics,
but I dream of horses
and I am feeling so emotional,
help me understand.

So I come to his bedside,
wait for moments of lucidity
ponder the implications
of his questions, wrestle with
my own inadequacies –
I am merely student here.

And we discuss horses –
the power of their bodies,
their beauty and grace,
their relationship to people –
decide they are ferrymen
transporting souls across worlds –
an explanation that satisfies, then

I am seeing things, he strains
embarrassed even in these final hours
to describe what seems inconceivable –
between sleep and awake – figures grey

and frightening that hover
over my bed like body snatchers…

A chills runs over me, as if icy
fingers have caressed my skin,
and I shudder despite myself,
scramble to maintain calm,
wonder aloud if it is not just fear
projecting grey into light –
clouding his vision.

My timing is off the next day,
arrive too late to see him pass,
find his mother waiting to receive me,
with a message from her son, my kin,
says that it makes no sense to her,
but he assured her I’d understand.

“You were right about the visions,”
he’d said; “there was nothing to fear.”

I smile through my sorrow –
ever the teacher that one,
now dead at twenty-one –

“Oh, and one more thing – could you
talk to me of horses.”

(Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is to write about the mysterious and magical.  This poem is dedicated to my cousin Tyler, whose aspirations were to be a physicist, but for whom life had another fate.  He taught me so much.)

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creativity · ME/ CFS · poetry · writing

A Call for Harmony

6:30 a.m. alarm sounds.
“Time to wake up!” Compliance commands.
“Just a little longer,”  Sensibility suggests.
Guilt, like an incessantly annoying child
tugs on Conscience:
“Come on; there’s lots to do!”

Body does not respond.

Sleep wins
and dreams come:
homeless,
relying on friends,

no food,
backed up toilet,
children’s wide eyes fearfully imploring:
When is this all going to end?
Guilt propels a return to consciousness.

8:25 a.m.
“Up and at ’em! There’s a good Soldier!”
Compliance attempts to be chipper.
“There’s really other more important than rest,”
Sensibility insists.
“Can’t lie in bed all day!” Guilt counters.

Body is MIA.

Dreams surface again:
setting up house in a thoroughfare,
people coming and going, oblivious
co-workers indifferent,
eyes scolding: convicting
Guilt mutates to rage,
Body wakes up choking, gasping
reaches for the rescue inhaler
sucks in, desperate for air.

11:11 a.m.
“That’s it! Up you get!”
“No! No! Rest is needed!”
“The day is wasted! There’s no going back!

“SILENCE!”  A new voice emerges.

A collective intake of breath.

“Breathe; just breathe.”

A unified sigh.

“And breathe again.”

Tempers cool, and emotions begin to settle.

“What’s going on?” Guilt wonders.
“Just trying to stick to routine,” Compliance explains.
“It’s always been this way.”
“But she’s ill now,” Sensibility adds; “concessions are necessary.”

“Breathe,” the voice asserts.
All sigh again.
“Just be in the stillness of the moment…”

Stillness has no voice.
Her language is compassion and infinite,
infinite wisdom.

“…and surrender.”

Compliance sobs, releasing enormous obligation.
Sensibility gratefully releases burden of responsibility,
and Guilt – well Guilt is little – happily snuggles up
to Unconditional Love.

“There, there,” Voice soothes; “isn’t harmony so much better?”

Body concurs and rises out of bed.

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(Today’s prompt challenges us to look at the differing parts of self and start a dialogue.   I decided to rework a poem I wrote in 2014 when suffering from severe M.E.  Dealing with a debilitating illness brought all the inner voices to the surface, and I struggled with the emotional and psychological aspects of having my life shattered.  A Call for Harmony attempts to illustrate the struggle.)

adversity · aging · creativity · Humour · life · poetry · writing

On Snakes in Drawers

Moving on – it’s top priority,
sorting through the collected,
the unused, the forgotten –
ready to let it all go, but…

there’s a snake in the drawer
and the temptation is real –

to do the irrational, flee
in a panic, shoot the beast,
or set the house on fire –
I’m overcome with anxiety

there’s a snake in the drawer
and it sure is getting to me.

Practicality says this isn’t helping,
hasn’t got time for the drama, says
let it go, re-prioritize, focus on
what’s important, making progress

there’ a snake in the drawer,
and if it got in, it can get out

I’m terrified now, my skin crawling
with the certainty of confrontation –
the cold-bloodedness of a reptile
immobilizes me, and I’m certain

there’s a snake in the drawer,
and it will be the end of me.

Common sense directs me back
to the task at hand, uses distraction
to dissuade panic, promises to deal
with it tomorrow, tucks me in, but

there’s a snake in the drawer,
and I won’t sleep a wink, only…

I do, and in the morning light
it’s clear the snake didn’t make it
a lifeless body, coiled in death
revealing a harmless garter –

there’s a snake in the drawer,
dead now by my own negligence

an unfortunate serpent, lost
and afraid, misinterpreted
by a woman desperately trying
to move on, apparently still afraid.

(Day six of NaPoWriMo focuses on line breaks.  It’s not to late to join in
for National Poetry month.

creativity · poetry · spirituality · writing

A Flower Knows

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt challenges us to move beyond our comfort zone.  It involves selecting a photograph, and then finding a poem in a language we do not speak, and writing a ‘translation’ assuming the poem is about the photograph we chose.

The photograph is from my own collection.  The poem is from a Norwegian poet, Gro Dahle (selected randomly).  Here is the original:

Det er ikke alltid
like lett å være pave
sier paven
Han gjemmer seg under bordet
og roper hunden til seg
Der sitter han til det er mørkt
og alle har sluttet å lete
Når alt er stille
i Vatikanet
kryper han fram
fra under duken
og gir hunden
rent vann i skålen
Så spiser han bokstavskjeks
ved vinduet

 ***

Here is my ‘translation’, which is in essence is only a mirroring of the structure, as I do not speak Norwegian:

There is life here
even as a flower wilts

while wilting
has surrendered self to rebirth
is not burdened by self
there is no room for ego here
nor does merit hold space
death is stillness
finality
has no expectation
is mere passage
a silent pause
before the next breath
that violent push to blossom
live again.  
 

(Aside:  I went back after writing this to see the actual translation of the original, which of course, has nothing to do with my imaginary concoction.  I discovered a delightful poem, that intrigued me to read more.  To see the original and its translation visit:  http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/22704/auto/0/It-isnt-always)

Thank you to Maureen Thorson for hosting and providing such interesting prompts.

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creativity · poetry · spirituality · writing

On Nature

How is it that a tree can stir my soul, so?
Yet, set amongst the Douglas firs –
an orchestra of giants, the reassurance
of green towering and proud – the music
of my soul is nothing less than symphonic.

How is it that the sky can speak to me?
No words to convey its vastness, yet,
it breathes new life into empty spaces,
whispers promises, ignites a hope
synonymous only with its expanse.

How is it that a body of water – be it
serene, flowing, or turbulent, can tug
at the corners of my emotional well,
create a longing for the unknowable,
toss me from my bed of complacency?

And how does a single flower, growing
wild, crack this shell of indifference –
the determination to blossom despite
harshness of surroundings – instill such
inspiration, motivate me to rejoice?

(Day four of the NaPoWriMo challenges us to use nouns in our writing.  The suggested essay is a good read, so you might want to check it out. )

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