Martyr’s Lament

I have waken before dawn
and driven through blinding snowstorms for you.
I have been lost, but without faltering, have altered course,
and when I could drive no further, I set out on foot
navigating treacherous snow and ice, risking my life
pushing forward against all odds,for you.

So you could get where you needed to go.
So you could succeed.
I risked it all for you.

All the while I kept you by my side,
So that you would be safe,
so that I could ensure your arrival.

But I grew weary, and my body just would not go on,
and all I asked is that we rest for awhile,
so that I could catch my breath.

And in that instance, you were gone,
no hesitation in your step, no looking back,
and when you finally stopped to wait for me,
it was too late.

A barrier had grown between us:  an eight foot, chain-link fence
separating me from protecting you.And you looked me at with that gaze of exasperation,
as if to say that you should have done it on your own.

But wait, I say.  Wait.
This wall may seem insurmountable, but I can do it.
I can do it, give me time.  I’ll just climb up to the top.
It’ll be easy, you’ll see.

Don’t walk away!  Give me one more chance
to prove my love for you.

I do it all for you.

Ride along with me

I am a passenger on the road of life
and I travel in the backseat
where my input is not asked for, nor appreciated.

I ride along.

I am a passenger on the road of life,
and if you ask me the direction in which I am travelling,
at best I can only speculate; the view back here is limited.

I am not driving.

Driver #1 is motivated and self-assured
and I sit back with confidence and relax
Until his mistress climbs aboard.

Wait a minute, who invited her?

Driver #2 was handsome once,
and still is except he lacks direction.
Should someone else be paying attention?

I am not alone.

There are others riding along too, including
a lackadaisical high school dropout, whose only motivation
is his parents’ pocketbook and the promise of a Friday night booze up.

How did he get here?

You can ride along with us if you like, but be warned
the vehicle is outdated, and there is no separation between seats
so we you’ll have to squish in.

They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Oh yeah, and my crazy sister is aboard,
or that may be me, ’cause I swear I saw the ghost of another,
coming back to haunt me along the way.

Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not driving.

Night is falling, and we stop for gas
and the neon lights of the convenience store remind me,
if I’m going to make a break, it’d best be now.

Or I could find a new driver.

What if I put God at the wheel?
What if I said, God, give me direction, take me somewhere?
Would I have to sit up straighter and pay attention?
Would the adulteress and the sloth have to leave?

Would driver *1 have to be on his best behaviour,
and misguided #2 finally find guidance?

Would my vehicle become a golden chariot,
powered by horses with wings of white?

And we would fly above the obstacles
straight to the promised land?

No, this is just a fantasy, but a good one no doubt.
Instead, I’ll just ride along in this backseat
until life restores my vitality, and my head is clear again.

Then I’ll park this old vehicle.

And get a new one with GPS.

Day 225 “The Way of Life”

The sky is a cornflower blue, the sun bright, biting, as if in competition with the mustard gold, tangerine orange, and chartreuse leaves shimmering in the breeze.  This is the view from my window, and I close my eyes again, the scene too vivid for my newly awakened eyes.

I contemplate what I have witnessed and think life is like this:  too beautiful at times for words; glorious perfection.

I want to capture it, but when I open my eyes again, white clouds form the backdrop and the autumn wind is tossing the tree about. Branches dip and pull and the harmony of the past moment is gone.

And, I think, life is like this too:  it can turn in a moment, and what was once balance is suddenly lost, and we are left spinning.

I hear it now:  the wind rushing against the windowpane, taunting me:  Change!  Change! it leers.  Change is coming!

And I know what it speaks is true, for life is like this:  ever-fluctuating, never the same.

And the reminder is bittersweet.  I want it to be summer forever, but in my heart, I know it’s okay.  Change is okay.

It’s just the way of life.

Harmonics

6:30 a.m. alarm sounds.
“Time to wake up!” conditioned 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 nothing more important than rest,” Sensibility suggests.
“Can’t lie in bed all day!” Guilt counters.
But body is MIA.

Dreams surface again:
Setting up house in a thoroughfare,
people coming and going, oblivious to intrusion,
co-workers indifferent,
eyes scolding; convicting.

Guilt mutates to rage,
Body wakes up with a choking cough, and gasping,
reaches for the rescue inhaler
and sucks in, desperate for air.

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

“SILENCE!” A new voice emerges.

A collective intake of breath.

“Breathe,” comes the message. “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, “and there needs to be concessions.”

“Breathe,” the voice reasserts, and all sigh again.
“Just be in the stillness of the moment.”

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

“And surrender.”

Compliance sobs with the release of such enormous obligation.
Sensibility gratefully gives over the burden of responsibility,
and Guilt…..well Guilt is little,
and happily snuggles up to Unconditional Love.

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

Body concurs and rises out of bed.

Day 214 “Divine Spark”

The emerald waters
of my crystalline personality
are only a reflection
of an external light.

Lurking below the surface
the murky waters
of self-deprecation
create further illusion.

Dive deeper,
beyond the cold chill
of darkening thoughts
and threatening despair

Weed through the silt
of bottomed out desires
and find an opening –
black and foreboding.

Enter with an open heart
and find the chest within
rusted from neglect,
unguarded, with open latch.

Brush away the cobwebs
and with respectful caution
lift the dusty lid
and behold the divine spark

My true essence,
Tucked there in the darkness
an eternal flame
vibrant and vital.

Release it for me,
be so kind,
to light this dismal patch
and set my waters aglow again.

So that the emerald waters
of my crystalline personality
would reflect my inner
divine light.

As a Tree

Confined for hours at a time to my bed, I cheer myself by contemplating the trees outside my windows. There is something in their stoic beauty that both calms and inspires me.

Be as the tree a former meditation instructor taught me.

If I were a tree
my roots would run deep into the earth
and spread in all directions
grounding me.

Present.

My trunk would be wide and solid
weathering all storms
supporting other life
a tower.

Strong.

My branches would reach up to the sky
and dance with the breezes
and bend with the changing seasons
and bow to Nature.

Flexible.

If I were a tree
I would be calm, yet strong;
have heightened awareness, yet be rooted in reality.

I would yield to change,
yet stand proud in my own existence,
growing with grace.

If I were a tree
I would live in harmony
with Nature.

Present, Strong. Flexible.

Fully alive.

(Image from: www.nbcdfw.com)

Day 209 “The Multiverse”

In innocence, I first encountered her;
I, a mere child of five:
wide-eyed, curious, and unafraid;
she a creature of Nature.

The woods where I wandered were hers,
densely populated, untamed.
She eyed me with bewilderment,
this unattended sapling in her path.

With feline instincts she stalked me,
considering her moves
I was hers, undefended –
and so she took her time,
waiting for me to ripen for the attack.

She followed me through the fields
of adolescence,
pacing the perimeters
patiently biding her time.
And I, with growing awareness
came to understand her threat.
And I picked up the pace.

Into adulthood I ran,
seeking safety in the concrete walls
of business life, and fast-paced living
and like a cat with a mouse
she toyed with me,
knowing I’d be hers in the end.

She shrank back into the shadows
when motherhood became my calling
no doubt a Mother herself,
and therefore compassionately courteous.
But she never gave up.

Into old age I run, but –
the cougar grows closer,
her senses fully alert;
she smells my fear, and
fully powered she leaps
towards me,
and even
though
I seek
the safety
of my home
she easily
penetrates
the ineffective
doorways
of my
mind
and
pounces…

The Tao says that we live in a universe
of multiple possibilities –
a multiverse –
but when your life is spent
in survival mode,
in constant flight,
always looking behind
It is difficult to see the vast horizon
that lies ahead,
or even dream of possibilities

Day 202 “Must-Have”

Rain pelts against my window
cheered on by the relentless wind
inside I lie motionless
on my once-yearned-for
now resigned-to
bed.

Target has those things you’re looking for
texts my daughter
pic attached.
Exactly what I’m looking for
but millions of miles away
when energy fails me

Instead I give in to the fingers
of sleep
that pull me in;
blessed unconsciousness
oblivion.

Ping! another message
Starbucks has Oprah’s chai tea!
I can taste the sweet cinnamony warmth
and dream of the day
when I get out of this bed
and go for tea

the rain outside persists
the light fading
another day of suspended animation
in this gloom of isolated
silence

A door opens below me
footsteps, a voice
Do you need anything?
I don’t respond,
too weak for words.
Do I need anything?

The question reverberates
through mind
emotion
body
and comes up empty
what could I need?
too much
nothing

Rain abates, wind subsides
and a brief ray of sun
brightens the room
a promise
of spring
new beginnings
and I think
I need clothes

but clothes means shopping
and shopping means energy
and the cycle continues
and still I lay
unmoved

Then you enter
an offering of tea
and a gentle word
and with renewed momentum
I shift to make room for you.
and it all comes clear
You are what I need.

You are my must-have.