Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Poetry: An Evening of Tender Concern

An Evening of Tender Concern

Her flesh kept dancing
after oceans of light were waved away...

These circumstances are perfectly suited
for an evening of tender concern.
In whispers of shade
at the place where wisps of truth become a lie,
they create a suspension of time,
silvered and rippled in borrowed beats.
Given away to the lowest hours
of a stolen night,
the unleashed sensation paints
a sleepy stupor upon their bodies.
Always clumsy at giving things,
never resilient to her mistakes,
sometimes possessed with a despicable joy,
he departs with the morning.

Her flesh kept dancing,
after oceans of light were waved away...

Well-Traveled Feet

Sit and rest well-traveled feet
feet which counted years in steps, not days
days heavy with the burden of holding up these bones.
These bones now light and hollow,
light and hollow like a bird.
Like a bird on a bench,
on a bench watching people.
Watching people watching him and knowing.
Knowing that as air fills his aging lungs,
lungs longing for a smoke,
smoke of memories fill his bones.

Guilty Thoughts

Guilt demands its due.

Contemplating this, I say,
"Perhaps I'll pay..."
Anything it wants, I might give--
all my haunted, familiar places.
Rent in form of rents on me.
My body, twisted inside out might die.
And with face to foot,
elbow to knee,
scalding regret and caustic remorse
will mark my melting flesh,
my rippled, riddled
rotting corpse.


Once brilliant and irresistible, he attracted
me like a summer front-porch moth.
He fed my desire with his natural radiance
and I felt protected from my fears
born of innocence and immaturity.

He played so well at love, I felt it in my bones.
I believed in forever, I believed in him.
I loved wholly until those disembodied voices captured
his attention and drowned me in confusion.
I prayed until his hijacked fists
broke my bones and made me bleed.
I held on until my body and my love
became coffin-ripe and empty.

Evaporating into escape,
I held a wake for this
broken, yet beautiful thing
so I would never remember and never forget.


Samuel knows grief intimately.

He understands its qualities--a thickness that smothers
like molasses, like amber
that embalms and ache
with clarity and precision.

Cello chords resonate with tears.
Violins trap devastation and sing
of disillusion while violas
whisper broken promises 
and weep into my ears.

This Barber cuts and trims
a sorrow to perfection.
Molding despair to fit
Adagio,  he crafts
such beauty from exhausted hope.

My Own Personal Jesus

So there I was inoccuously chatting online today with several people, when one of them asked the simple question of me, "Do you like Muslims?" Me being me, of course responded with "Yes, why wouldn't I?"  And there the conversation abruptly ended.  The person and the conversation disappeared. It amazed me, yet again, the amount of intolerance that exists in the world, and it also got me to thinking about religion in general and my views on it specifically. By the way, before you let stereotypes get the best of you, this person was a Hindu and not a Christian.

Over the past few years, my ideas about organized religion, once nebulous, have solidified into something with which I am comfortable and in which I firmly believe.  These beliefs, however, do not mesh with the typical "all-American" idea of religion.  Although raised Methodist, I can honestly say I am not a Christian. I am not really anything other than the sum of my own personal beliefs. I believe in a higher power.  I believe in something greater than humanity that watches over us and acknowledges us and impacts us.  I do not believe in a specific diety, however.  Not Jehovah, or Allah, or Buddha or Christ. I believe that all humans have the divinity of the higher power within them and it is through that divine spark that we are united on a fundamental level, regardless of our ethnicity, country of origin, or chosen religious beliefs. I also believe that what you send out into the universe through your actions and thoughts, determines whether your time on the next plane of existence will be positive or negative.  In addition, I believe that however a person chooses to reach a connection with that higher power that exists in all of us, his or her chosen path is as worthy, valid, and divine as anyone else's.  All of this basically encapsulates how I think the world operates and how the people within it work. 

My behavior definitely reflects my beliefs about the way in which the world works, and I am tolerant of all people, accepting really, of all people.  People can reach their own understanding of the higher power and I will have nothing to say about it.  This is a personal journey.  People can be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian  or Jewish.  They can practice Shintoism, Daoism, animism, even be Wiccan for all I will comment on it.  All these and all other variations are valid methods of acheiving understanding, and I refuse to decide to dislike someone on the basis of their chosen faith.  Just like I choose not to dislike someone for their color, their background, or their political affiliation (although that can be a hard one to deal with).

I would much rather hate someone for individual reasons that for blanket stereotypes which are often misleading and outright false.  Moreso, however, I would much rather not hate anyone at all.  Very little room in my life exists for hatred, aggression, meanness, and narrow-mindness.  I have too much to do, to much I want to know, too much to accomplish to waste my time on any of that nonsense.  Loving your fellow man and woman should be everyone's focus and direction because when you love others, you show love for yourself, and it comes back to you in an abundance of ways. 

So, in the future, when anyone again asks me if I like such and such or so and so, I will always respond with, "Yes, why wouldn't I?" 

Monday, August 29, 2011

School Days: Nonets, Haikus, Cinquains

I have had quite a bit of time to myself the past few weeks since my children have returned to school.  Only my three year old son is at home, and out of the three, he is the best at entertaining himself. In fact, on most days he prefers to play alone.  I think he is going to be an engineer of some kind.   This free time has given me a chance to get back in touch with my creativity--something that disappeared about four or five years ago.  Here's a couple of poems I've written, in specific styles, to help me get in touch with my inner spark of creation.  I hope you enjoy them.

Note: Nonets are nine line poems with 9 syllables in the first line, 8 in the second, and so on.  A cinquain is a five line poem with a syllabic structure of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables per line.  A haiku is a three line poem with a syllabic structure of 5, 7, 5 syllables per line.

Ducks: A Nonet
All my ducks are in a row, and yet
symmetry is denied to me.
I can't get them evenly
spaced and one's head turns left.
They ignore my voice
and do their thing.
I don't like
these ducks

Hidden Sunshine Haiku
City streets are gray.
Sunshine seems to be hidden.
It's up the ladder.

Sand Art Haiku
Water rushes in
swirls the sand into art form
and then destroys it.

A Nonet: Dance Hall Pleasures
Bodies sway to Cole Porter. The smoke,
hugging the dance-hall walls with lust,
twines around young, smart couples.
It rubs against hot skin
fragrant with desire.
Seducing them,
making sin,
so much

Abandoned: Haiku
A crisis happened
I had to get away fast
I left God behind

Shadow Cinquain
The sun
hangs low right now.
The afternoon ends soon.
You walk away without my heart.
I laughed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oops! Karaoke Did It Again

Last night I went to karaoke again, after having not been in awhile.  I expected to drink a couple beers, sing a couple songs, and talk with friends I have made over the course of the summer.  I never expected to have an epiphany about the way I view the world and the way I view myself.  The strangest things can happen between bad renditions of Piano Man and Ice, Ice Baby.

My sister and I arrived fairly early, expecting to stay a few hours and then return home at a decent time.  The bar was quiet and not many people had arrived yet, so we got our drinks, found our perches and sat and talked.  Slowly but surely, the place began to fill as the singing started and we proceeded to have a rollicking good time.  We met some people there, in the smoking section of course, and began talking with them.  Yet another group not from Alamogordo, but here on short term contract work for the local Air Force Base. We shared some drinks and some jokes, and some profound conversation.

The discussion somehow moved from generic topics to how one lives one's life to the fullest.  Living each moment as it comes and being fully aware of the passing of time.  This man and I traded personal philosophies and while I am still forming mine to a certain extend, he skillfully elucidated an argument regarding embracing one's fears--whatever they might be and becoming one with the world in which you live. In sum, a person should recognize that the fear is what holds a person in stasis, keeps them stagnant and unwilling to move into something new.   Once a fear is identified for what it is and seen objectively it becomes possible to move beyond it and to engage in new, more open behavior that allows for greater acknowledgement of self and one's own personal kind of divinity.  You become self-actualized when you live without fear.  You become more connected to the entirety of the world.  You become fully present in your own life.

All of this really spoke to my heart and my mind.  It was a verbalization of what I do believe to be true. I went home that night feeling great from this one little conversation taking place in between shots of Patron tequila and beer chasers. (Well, the tequila might have had something to do with the good feeling too, if I am really being honest.) But yet again, last night was the perfect example of why karaoke isn't always what it seems, and for me at least, has provided an invaluable education for the betterment of my own life.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Friendship

It has always been harder for me to make friends than for my sister to make friends.  She's the outgoing, friendly, assertive person whom people flock to, like moths to a flame. I am the quiet, introspective, and unassuming person whom people enjoy when they get to know me.  Therein lies the problem, gettting to know me first.  At any rate, I have made some good friends throughout my 38 years, of many to whom I am still very close.  However, the majority of these friends were made through my sister knowing them first. 
She and I usually come to friendship as a package deal-a love me, love my sister type of thing.

Rarely do we ever have individual friends, but on occasion it does happen.  More so for my sister than me. Sometimes my sister introduces someone to me that she adores and I either have profound indifference or even dislike towards.  Occasionally that happens on my part, but then again, I am not the friend-maker, as I've already stated.  She has had several friends of her own that I do not even know, while I cannot think of a single one mine that she hasn't befriended herself. Over the past two years, I have had a friend that has been much more mine, than my sister's, even though my sister introduced us.  This friendship made me start thinking about things that I never paid attention to before.

I always knew that my sister and I to a certain degree could be classified as co-dependent.  Her approval means a great deal to me and vice-versa.  She and I generally make large decisions about our lives after having consulted with each other first, much to the annoyance of our husbands.  She has always been my best friend, my advisor, my confidant, and I have been the same for her.  This new friendship, however, made me realize, I need to start developing more friendships on my own.

I should not sit around and wait for her to bring someone to me.  I shouldn't have friends trussed up and delivered on a silver platter, that's just plain silly.  I should go out and find them myself.  She is a very busy person with an incredibly full life of family and work, and often during the school year we do not see each other enough.  I am a stay-at-home mother with plenty of time on my hands, and that time could be spent with possible friends who could enrich my life. 

My friend Brandy is one of those good friends.  Sherecently moved twelve hours away.  She too was a stay-at-home mother and our children adored each other.  She and I met on an intellectual level that I rarely find with others and  I truly enjoyed her conversation and company.  In addition, she made me be more active outside of the home and provided good, meaningful companionship for me.  I know that I will miss her now that she is gone.  I will have to find and develop new friendships on my own to compensate for her being geographically so far from me.  I hope that I follow through with this, but I have a feeling it may be difficult.

The older I get, the harder it is to extend myself intitially to someone to begin forming a friendship.  Also, I have little patience for friendships that need to be worked on, or that do not "click" immediately.  In my youth, I could doggedly pursue one if I thought it could work out, but now I just don't have the time.  Either I like you instantly, or I don't.  It's as simple as that.  These attitudes might prove to be roadblocks, but at least now I am acknowledging and thinking about changing them for the better.

I will say one thing in my favor, however.  When I become a friend to someone, I am a friend for life.  I am loyal and steadfast and supportive.  I give that friend my time, my ear, and my heart.  I open my home to my friends and embrace them as family.  I listen, I advise, I laugh, I commiserate, and I commit to friendship.  Maybe that is why I don't take it lightly and why I have such a select group of friends.  If one is to give all that emotional energy to a relationship, one should never do it lightly.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Burning My Candle At Both Ends

This week, I have been a very naughty girl.  I have avoided going to bed before three in the morning every night for a week, and I plan on doing so again for the next two nights.  This past week has been a perfect storm of busy, but I must admit I've enjoyed most of it.  In the last seven days, I've simultaneously helped a friend with a pretty big yardsale, watched the entire first season of Glee, and helped to prepare for my sister's 40th birthday party, and entertained guests from out of town all while maintaining a steady schedule of karaoke singing and beer drinking.  As you can see, my days have been pretty full and to create more time, I've been staying up way too late.  Oh, and did I mention that I am still getting up in the mornings with the kidlets and doing the mundane things like laundry, dishes, pet patrol, grocery shopping, etc.  I do believe, much as Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote, "I burn my candle at both ends, it will not last the night. But ah my foes, and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light!"  Sleep-deprived and all, I am having a blast this summer!

Next week, I have to get back into school-starting, uber-mommy routine, and I very much do not want to have to be responsible again.  I am enjoying my summer break entirely too much and I feel like my children who begin lamenting right around this time every year, "Where did my summer go?"  I feel like a kid.  I just want to hang out with my friends, find fun things to do, go swimming, stay up way past my bedtime, eat tasty junk food, go on vacation, sleep late, be irresponsible, and just thoroughly enjoy myself to my own detriment.  I mean, heck, that's what summer is all about! 

Nonetheless, I do realize the benefits of the school year beginning again.  Being back on a fairly strict schedule of school, soccer, and other extracurricular activities creates a smooth-running, well-organized utopia.  Chaos reigns during summertime at my house and while it can be energizing and exciting at first to have no routine, towards the middle of August, everyone in my family, especially my poor, beleaugured husband who works all year long, begs for some order.  I have always believed that children need, and surprisingly like structure, parameters and rules.  I have come to find out from this past week of frenetic, spontaneous activity, that adults like those things too.  More importantly, at this age, we need the structure just for our physical well-being.  I feel like I am worse than a teenager, give me an inch and I'll take a mile in regard to having a good time.  Please, somebody put me on restriction, because if left to my own devices, I may never sleep at a reasonable hour again!

In all seriousness, though, I am looking forward to another school year. Some of my best memories from childhood and young adulthood center around late summer and fall when school begins.  Even my profession as an educator strengthens my affection for the ending of summer break and going back to school.  I love the fresh faces ready to learn, the feeling of anticipation about what I might learn or be able to teach during the year, the new clothes and supplies, meeting up with friends not seen for a few months.  I love it all.  I really hope my children do as well.  My daughter who is going into the fifth grade is excited to start up again and my five year old entering kindergarten is nervous and enthusiastic too.  I hope they can maintain those feeling throughout their lives, because it makes something they have to do for 12 years a lot more fun, but it also makes them appreciate their summer vacation even more.  I still have a few more days to appreciate mine and I am going to do it to the fullest--even if it means going to bed in the wee small hours of the morning!