Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Seeds of Optimism

If we dig up the ground we stand on
aren’t we supposed to plant new things?
Even if it takes a few seasons to bear fruit
Whether it is an intentional bulb
that comes back year after year
full of blooming potential 
or a wild seed in the wind
that sprouts from the accidental act
of exposing fertile soul
it plants something every time anyway
My grandparents planted seeds of optimism
within me throughout my life
and they always seem to sprout
just when I need them to
We aren’t supposed to continue
to watch the weeds gather
We aren’t supposed to mow the grass down
only to watch it grow back again
We aren’t supposed to cut the dandelions
if we really love honey
And I really love honey
and dandelions
and fruit
and sowing seeds
Where did I put my shovel?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Beckoning Royal Majestic


Since I left you

I ate a donut
the size of my head
Washed it down with
3 shots of espresso
Veered off the highway
to an unknown strip mall
Bought a new pair of shoes
I didn't need
Missed my next three exits
Almost drove off the road
trying to remove my jacket
like a fervent twister
Twitched incessantly in my seat
as sweat dripped
down my sides
until

surrender … finally … came

deep breathing
long audible sighs
tears spilling
from the outside corners of my eyes
rolling down the sides of my cheeks
as I passed the gas station in Decatur
where I once gave a lovely old woman
the flowers I had bought you


Let go
and find peace
you said
What the fuck does that mean
Telling me to let go
is like super gluing my hand
to a grand piano
while you proceed to sit down
and play
endless
meandering … dissonant ... jazz chords

I have found 
fleeting moments of peace
in my life
but they are located in the past
and there is no map
that I know of
that can help me find them
in the future
and you certainly arent going to
The problem is
when I am flying solo
I tend to get lost easily
but maybe that isn't really a problem
since knowing where I am going
has never brought me to any place
I have wanted to stay anyway

Sometimes
I worry
that I don't know the difference
Between calm and numb
because the one thing
they have in common
is the stillness
the quiet
its maddening
chaos has always been the heroin of my existence
and I am good at standing in the eye of the storm

However, my comfort with fear 
makes me no smarter than a monkey
If I would just let go of the goddamn banana
maybe I could pull my hand out of the bottle
Most days I feel like
a wild coyote
stuck in a trap
and it is all I can do
not to chew off my own foot
Because I have been taught
that being a cautious three legged dog
is better than being a car chasing
dead one
no matter how much freedom 
the death of this identity may bring

I have lost all my sense of direction
from insistently following
these thoughts clouded with fear
Instead of fearlessly diving into 
the beckoning, royal, majestic
called the unknown

Thunderheads billow on my left
Deep violet violence
with asymmetrical fractals of lightening

Sunset burning on my right
Florescence orange
beams through a foggy maze

Driving straight through
the flat plains of windmills
Headed toward an indigo sky

Random electric flashes
bring me back to the present
illuminate my way
revealing midnight cumulus tendril fingers
that stretch over head
Reaching for me
Wrapping around me
This front has no clear end
and I have forgotten where it began
all I know is that I don’t want to front anymore

In my altered state of mind
my fight or flight purple haze
I have completely lost track of time
But maybe that's ok
because I know that
At the end of every drug trip
is the dry up
At the end of every road trip
is the quiet
and maybe I will find peace
in the stillness
if I just keep driving
and allow this storm
to swallow me up

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Room 241

"I would just like to find out if my sister is OK too"
she said through purple bruised lips 

Same color as the scarf I had just given my grandmother
on new years eve before she started to have chest pains
could not catch her breath

Her dark eyes sunk back into her head
with retreat and worry and pain
Her skin was porcelain
as if shock had just set in
Her hair a red shock of wild that twisted around
her small frail frame
my grandmother's roommate
room 241
It was the 5th or 6th  time I had been there to visit
and still she sits alone on the other side of the curtain
no visitors coming to see her as of yet that I know of
Scared and alone
and it frightened me
so I retreated
didn't ask the questions that rose from my chest
what about your sister
what happened to you
tell me who you are
why are you here alone
left to deal with your obvious agony
all by yourself
didn’t ask the questions that stuck in my throat

I thought of her as I walked through the grocery store
selecting bright pink flowers for my grandmother
who so deserves my love and affection

Hair on fire deserves love and affection too
so I pick out some white ones
with sparkles on the petals
I hoped they would bring healing
I hoped they would bring peace
I hoped they would bring her people to her
I still think of her now
Ashamed of my fear
as if it was even possible for her to harm anyone
Ashamed of the trite goodbyes
we all gave her as we left the room
Ashamed of the goodbye I wanted to
but did not give her
Ashamed of not reaching out
the way that I should have
Ashamed of my inability to change her life
or give her hope

My grandmother was afraid too 

Why didnt I behave the way that I wanted to
Why didn’t I choose to be the example
of how one should behave
I should have took her hand
I should have looked her in the eyes
I should have wished her peace
and good
and love
and a fast recovery
as her twin sister finally sat in the corner chair
bent and crooked with osteoporosis
looking up at me sweetly from the same deep sunken eyes
neatly cut bangs
soft and gentle demeanor
A missed opportunity to see them as they were
in that present moment
the way that I see them now
I didn’t even recognize that they were twins
I missed the opportunity
my vision was clouded 
by discomfort and self limitation
by my fears of the unknown
my fears of being asked for something extra
in my state of tired
from caring for my momentarily ailing grandmother
I sensed that this woman had a long road ahead of her
in a life that may not have very much road left

Just like my grandmother

How many times will I look in the rearview mirror
2020 vision is blurred by neck pain anyway
from looking over your shoulder all the time

How long before I let go of the should
and just have the moment
I am tired of limiting myself for the comfort of others
I'm tired of being afraid 
I am tired of being tired
so instead of a possible connection
she is yet another lesson

the test never looks like I think it's going to 
Twin sisters in a hospital room
frail
long locked
bent and worn 
gentle and timid 
quiet and inquisitive
respectful and yearning
within arms reach
God has many clever disguises
and to touch each other souls
is nothing to be afraid of

and neither is my grandmother