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.

(This is a rerun of a rerun. Still resonates. Image my own)

Shifting to Acceptance

In illness, I am passenger –
no matter how venturous
mind’s reach, the raw truth
is that limitations confine

This is not a sentence
for some perceived crime,
but a re-framing – attitude
shifting to acceptance

Choice becomes thoughtful –
time allows for that now –
and gratitude takes hold
in every corner of “I can”.

(Art my own)

Maybe

Maybe I just needed a new perspective –
like the famed Hanged Man of tarot –
committed to some deep, internal need,
I willed a horizontal shift; landed with intent.

Maybe it is not my legs that are disabled,
but a soul longing to escape the continual
discord of perpetual motion, a never-ending
to-do list of the success-driven persona.

Maybe there is a greater purpose for being
that is not encompassed by outer drive –
a mysterious meaning that is revealed only
in the quiet stillness in which I now dwell.

Maybe I have been called to a personal
pilgrimage – a Camino of sorts – a crusade
of spirit designed to cleanse and enlighten –
the journey is certainly arduous enough.

Maybe it is through acceptance, finally
having released a need to control, move,
achieve, accomplish that I am able to
embrace the true lessons of suffering.

Maybe this cocooning is an act of Grace
demanding surrender before the actual
transformation occurs, and I will emerge,
legless or not, winged and ready to soar.

Maybe, just maybe, this stripped down,
barren existence is not a penance for
shameful living, but a desert crossing,
offering re-alignment: hard-fought peace.

(Maybe first appeared here Feb. 2017. Image my own)

Survivor Instinct

Buried alive
by illness’ onset
only hope for escape
tunnel whose guilt-lined
walls oozed mucous
of neglect, sorrow
so raw, shredded
faith – no light
just a dull
pulse
screaming –
I am alive.

(Chronic illness is a game changer.  No amount of ambition can turn the tide.  One is left to face the onslaught of that which has been oppressed or skipped over.  I wrote this poem early in my journey with ME.  Amazingly, no matter what, spirit still clings to life.  Image from personal collection.)

Isolation’s Hold

Disability covets isolation –
this stripped-back, box-like state.

Rustic serenity, with room
to breathe would be preferable

but old memories creep in, and
lack of self-worth leaves the door open

phantoms of former torments
unwanted visitors, shadowy

invaders target loneliness,
misconstrue lack of health

for neediness, prey on weak –
hearted, presume incapability.

I am unwell, not unwanted, effort
to protest ignored, I grow wary of

fellow travellers, am vandalized by
nightly attacks, attempt to reach out

aim for strength, logic, clarity,
dial-up past abuse instead, cannot

fathom the purpose of unsolicited
persecution, grasping at isolation.

(Isolation’s Hold was first written in June of 2017.  I am resubmitting it here for Reena’s Exploration challenge: isolation.  Seems to me is also reflective of the times.  Image from personal collection.)

Insecurity Resolved

Unnerved by invitations –
isolation equates with security –
fear the onslaught of questions,
the unleashing of a torrent –
emotions flooding, crashing
through this gated illusion –
best to withdraw.

Withdraw my best
when gated by illusion
crashing, emotions flood –
need to tame this torrent
question the onslaught, brave
insecurity, negate isolation
embrace the invitations.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from my Twitter poems. Follow me @Vjknutson.  The first stanza is the original poem.  I left it here,  then unsatisfied, decided to turn it upside down and create a new outcome. .  Image from personal collection.)

Watery Stagnation

Knee-deep wading
in electric yellow waters
of mud-laden stream

the coveted prize –
a mutated version –
Christ’s fish hovers

arms reach away –
have touched it –
recoiled out of fear.

Status is stagnation –
movement stymied
current lacking

Only the constant
thrum of winged
pests belligerence

punctures stillness,
irritates – its hard
shelled turquoise

body reminiscent
of Halcyon days,
Caribbean sunsets.

What evil virus has
cemented me here,
strangled nomadic

dreams, mired me
in polluted waters
imbued with cruel

uncertainty, faith-
less, immobilized
by incomprehensible?

(Watery Stagnation first appeared in August, 2016, and is edited here.

The Queen Is Missing

She’s not in the kitchen
presiding over preparations,
thriving amidst the chatter,
tutting away thieving fingers.

She’s not in the classroom,
mastering subjects,
upholding order,
ruling with charitable hand.

Nor is she at social affairs,
head bent in rapt attention,
smiling cordially,
gracious with compassion.

The Queen is missing –
the poise and composure
that marked her carriage
has vanished without a trace.

Don’t ask the old woman
tottering down the lane,
stooped and stumbling –
she’s not all there.

Her mind’s a trickster,
her ego a petulant child,
unwilling to concede wrong –
she’s merely the court jester.

(The Queen is Missing first appeared August of 2015.)