Tongue-tied 

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.

—–

She once held her cup beneath the faucet of my mouth and drank deeply seeking understanding. Lately my words are clumsy incantations chosen with worry and whispered with care at the keyhole of her mind’s door. I keep getting the order wrong, mispronouncing the dialect. When she flinches, my own mouth floods with the acidic taste of smoldering ink and paper. I used to be the poet with the agile and well-oiled tongue — a skeleton key. But the locks are changed, there’s a secret code. I do not know the language and can’t remember how to conjugate the verbs.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

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Alone and Not – my thoughts

image

“… whatever you desire of the world will not come to pass exactly as you will like it. But the other mercy is that whatever the world desires of you will also not come to pass. And what actually occurs is this meeting, this frontier. But it’s astonishing how much time human beings spend away from that frontier, abstracting themselves out of their bodies, out of their direct experience, and out of a deeper, broader, and wider possible future that’s waiting for them if they hold the conversation at that frontier level.”

“…one of the elemental dynamics of self-compassion is to understand our deep reluctance to be left to ourselves.”

“…we don’t get to choose so often between things we hope we can choose between.”

“Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.”

“Half of all human experience is mediated through loss and disappearance.”

– David Whyte – Excerpted from “The Conversational Nature of Reality”an On Being podcast with Krista Tippett (April 6, 2016)

—–

“Everything is Waiting for You.”

Your great mistake — Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice
You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you courage.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
The tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you.

-David Whyte

—–

There is a conversation in me between comfort and pain. It’s not just the pain of sadistic / masochistic play, it’s also the pain of sorrow, of disappointment, and of separation. There is a pain in aloneness, sometimes. I both crave and resist being alone, feeling alone, and being still long enough to hear what my body, my mind and my heart are saying to me in the silence.

Lately the Universe, or the powers that be, have seen fit to give me a season of more aloneness than that with which I am entirely comfortable. I’ve been kicking against the riding crop, balking at what cannot rightly be avoided. l’ve been stubborn, depressed, at times inconsolable. l’ve been blind to what I might gain from accepting the truth and the possibility of good from an experience of change that is filled with increased aloneness, disapointment and a deep sense of loss.

I am reminded today that sorrow is waiting for me, she is my companion, here to keep me company, to help me, to sit with me and teach me, carry me, help me find myself… until her job is done. I need to welcome her, and accept that the loss I’m feeling is a part of life — unavoidable, but completely embraceable — perhaps even something to celebrate as a reason to stretch and grow.

And sorrow is not alone. There are other companions, waiting for me. So, the questions are these: ”What else keeps me company when I feel alone, and what am I missing out on,when I succumb to loneliness?” Here is an incomplete list:

There are books waiting for me. These are books that lend their voices, whisper to me of love and life, of living fully, celebrating and dancing in the sun, lying beneath the stars, gazing at the moon. These are books that remind me there are adventures to have and ideas to explore. There are my own philosophies to challenge and there is my own growth to encourage.

There are songs waiting for me. Lyrics and melodies wait patiently, to offer me comfort, commiseration, inspiration and energy. Songs wait to move me, to prompt dancing, to jump-start poetry, to trigger smiles and tears, and memories.

There are trees waiting for me. They beckon me to walk and run, to lose myself in the woods, to push and to stretch my muscles, to work and to sweat, to tire my body and quiet my mind. They offer peace, solace, connection with my own breath, and my own soul.

There are baubles and trinkets, stones and feathers, scraps of leather, paper, ribbon— so many mementos— that lie waiting for me, on tables and on shelves, in bowls and in boxes, to bring to mind, with the touch of my fingers, the truth. I am not ever, truly alone. I am surrounded by active, purposeful, deliberate love. Mementos of date nights, of personal challenges, milestones, accomplishments and anniversaries are everywhere– gathered by my own hands to surround me with their energy and meaning.

There are also beds and chairs that hold me, support my tired weight. There are shoes and cars that carry me. There are paints and brushes, ink and pens, paper and canvas that invite me to express my emotion, to create and play.

David Whyte suggests that we’d be better suited in our solitude to join the conversation that is waiting with these several companions. They each have something to say, and even, perhaps, speak to each other in conversation as well. It would be a shame if I should get so caught up in my aloneness, that I miss the stories they have to tell me, the questions they ask and answer, and the wisdom they offer. It’s time for me to engage, to find my gratitude, and to listen and speak. With these and so many other voices in my perceived isolation — truly, I am not alone.

Fuck Off (a #NaPoMo #APRPAD rondeau poem)

judging
Tell me, who do you think you are,
and who do you think I should be–
you who have turned judgment on me,
blowing smoke like a bad cigar.

Casting your blame and pitching tar,
you cannot stand that I am free,
telling all how perfect you are,
and just how you think I should be!

You can’t wear my shoes and walk far.
Watch how I laugh, and I simply
enjoy my life — live it carefree.
I am happy, head in the stars.
I don’t care, what you think or are.

—–

#NaPoMo INFO:
Poetic Asides #April Poem-A-Day Challenge – PAD #11:

For today’s prompt, write a defensive poem. The first thing that springs to my mind is getting defensive about an accusation, which may or may not be true. The next thing I think about might be people or animals defending themselves. Or defense in sports. Or defense in the court room. Or well, there’s a lot to defend in this world.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2016-april-pad-challenge-day-11

—–

POETIC FORM INFO:
The poetic form focus for my PAD 2016 Challenge is the Rondeau — 13 lines in 3 stanzas; rhyme scheme: ABba/abAB/abbaA (uppercase letters are refrains) Usually 8 syllables per line. For info: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/personal-updates/help-me-rondeau-help-help-me-rondeau-another-french-poetic-form

—–

AUDIO FILE:

Pack

fourmountainfriends

There’s a wolf at my back —
bristling fur, thick and black, and she
lends her power to me.
At my side, you will see a bear —
shoulders strong — fierce, dark stare.
Nearby too, see her there — she is
lioness, courageous —
my friend. She loves my mess as though
it was her own, I know.
We stand. We fight. We grow — as one.
We’ll climb until we’re done,
and stand there in the sun. We’ll dance,
unbowed by circumstance.
No foe with sword or lance – could stop
our progress to the top.
Our gaze need never drop — our pride,
found only in our stride.
In love we are allied, and strong.
To us we each belong —
our truth is now the song of pack.

—-

POETIC FORM:

luc bat – (vietnamese “six-eight”) Alternating lines of 6 and 8 syllables. The rhyme scheme renews at the end of every 8-syllable line and rhymes on the 6th syllable of both lines. No set length or subject matter.

—–

FORM DIAGRAM:

xxxxxA
xxxxxAxB
xxxxxB
xxxxxBxC
xxxxxC
xxxxxCxD
xxxxxD
xxxxxDxA

—–

AUDIO FILE:

advice from e.e. cummings

climbing

*on a day when i face my climb alone,
a beloved poem by e.e cummings
can say everything i need to hear.
this is my response:

advice from e.e. cummings

run to the woods
for the sun is warm
he said, “trees are their roots
and wind is wind’

so, when you feel alone
climbing your mountain
you can “trust your heart
if the seas catch fire”

you’re surrounded by strength
you are loved by many,
so “live by love
though the stars walk backward”

the words of a fool
will lose their power in truth
while you ‘dance your death
away at this wedding’

———-

AUDIO FILE:

Your Way (an interlocking rubaiyat poem)

hike

I’d give you my world, baby if I could.
take you on a trip through my lovely wood —
but the nightingale lost her voice today,
so your tears have fallen just as they should.

I know sometimes you must go your own way.
I can’t smooth your path, take your pain away.
Though you do not climb this mountain alone,
you must face your fears; you can win the day.

I will walk with you, over every stone,
lend my voice to cheer you on, when you groan.
I’ll wipe your tears, when it’s hard and you cry —
believe you can win this fight, blood and bone.

You’ll find your own wings, I’ll run as you fly,
race along the forest floor, watch the sky —
as you chase the nightingale, be nearby,
when you reach the moon, howl your lullaby.

—–

POETIC FORM:

interlocking rubaiyat – comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern. Each successive quatrain picks up the unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So a three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme so: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, as in Frost’s example above, rhymes all four lines. Lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter.

—–

FOR MORE INFO: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/interlocking-rubaiyat-poetic-form

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AUDIO FILE:

Vulnerable Human

 

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

 

-Christina Perri, Human

robot

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be in vulnerability.

 

You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.

 

Vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.

 

-Brené Brown, PHD, LMSW

 

I am deeply, madly in love with a strong, smart, generous and breathtaking woman. Her wife is a courageous, giving, welcoming, fun and beautiful soul. She is my dear friend. Like many in my circle of polyamorous life partners, and dearly loved metamours, the three of us are learning every day to communicate well, to make room, to celebrate each other and to pour out generous amounts of trust and love as we enjoy the ecstasy and wonder that is this web of support, value and gratitude we are building for ourselves and each other. In the four months since we began, things have been absolutely, incredibly amazing.

We all work really hard to make space for each other, to flex and bend, to support and share, and to communicate, to talk honestly, to trust. We do a damn fine job, I don’t mind saying. We push ourselves, look for opportunities to grow. We are courageous and vulnerable. We’re purposeful about being good at this life, because we love each other, we honor each other, and we want to do right by those who we are so lucky to love.

I love those connections where I can let down my guard, silence my inner-critic, and be genuine. I’m welcomed with open arms. I don’t have to know all of the answers; I can struggle and laugh at myself, and know that my partners and metamours will meet me with love, and celebrate me in all my messy, morning breath, grouchy, Tuesday morning glory! I am deeply moved and fed by the willingness of lovers and their partners to be real with me, to let down their guard, put on their pajamas (or be naked), laugh about their mistakes and share their fears. It’s the very soul of this life I’m living, and I am so grateful to be met with such beauty, courage and strength.

Still, some days, the hurt comes. And that sucks.

Some days, no matter how good our intentions, no matter how carefully we choose to live, no matter how real and honest and open-hearted we are… we fail. We find ourselves in the middle of a tangled and hurtful miscommunication.  We misunderstand, we stumble, we inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I did it this week, and that sucks.

No, I wasn’t alone, there were things I could have done and things others could have done to prevent the painful situation that arose — if we’d only seen it coming — but that’s not the point. The point is, I am human, and my partners and metamours are human. No matter how well we do this polyamorous life — no matter how carefully we choose our actions, our reactions, we will spill our messy, difficult-to-swallow humanness all over those we love. It just happens.

That’s a tough pill for me to swallow today.

I am only human, and it breaks my heart to know my choices, no matter how pure my intent, caused others pain. I have cried today. I have apologized, I have spoken words of understanding and love, and meant every one… and today still sucks. Because I don’t want this kind of thing to happen, especially because I messed up.

Thankfully, I’m in this with adults — strong, generous, loving humans — who join me in gathering up the pieces, and healing the hurts. We will get through this. We will learn something about ourselves and each other. We will grow. Tomorrow will be easier, better, than today, and we will celebrate. We will face the days ahead with courage, and vulnerability. We will love, and there will be joy again. In fact, there’s a tiny bit of joy even today, knowing that we are gonna be just fine.

We’re gonna let vulnerability be our magic sauce!

 

 

 

Carry You — After Coldplay, Fix You (a golden shovel poem)

http://www.ryanmcginley.com/new-gallery/77ba04t6zx5blurketbqpdy4v10qli
Photographer – Ryan McGinley, 2010
I know your wild heart — running from city lights.
I’ve heard your howls, and I’m determined, I will 
run beside you. I will trust your instinct to guide 
us. When the chasing steals your sleep, when you 
need my love to find your way, I’ll carry you home 
I’ll hold you — though you bite and struggle, and 
though my bleeding flesh burns with the fire you ignite 
— I’ll lean into you, shoulder your body in spite of your
claws. I’ll lend to you all the strength in my bones.
———-
POETIC FORM
golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.
 
POEM A DAY NOVEMBER 2015 – PROMPT:
For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.
AUDIO FILE:

Thirsty — after Jo Dee Messina, Bring on the Rain (a golden shovel poem)

sleep

I am tired of fighting tomorrow’s 
battles, today, of thinking too long on another
possible outcome for conflict, I need a day 
of white flags, doused in gasoline and 
excuses piled up, set ablaze. I’m 
not ready to lay down tonight, too thirsty 
to swallow more words — can’t sleep anyway. 
———-
POETIC FORM
golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.
POEM A DAY NOVEMBER 2015 – PROMPT:
For today’s prompt, write a submerged poem.
For more information, check out– http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-8.

Not Ready — after Dixie Chicks, Not Ready to Make Nice (a golden shovel poem)

phoenix

You can tell, by the flicker in my eyes, I’m
not ready, a little bit crazy, mad 
and messy — apt to spin into a storm, as 
quickly as a flame-feathered phoenix, rising from hell 
but you see me — know my fire — and 
still you sit beside me, solid as the earth where
find my feet — ground myself. You don’t 
flinch, don’t falter.  I know you have
my back, in every eruption, every rebirth, every time.
———-

POETIC FORM

golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.

POEM A DAY NOVEMBER 2015 – PROMPT:

For today’s prompt, write a simmer down poem.
For more information, check out– http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-7.