I Paused Ever So Slightly Today

I paused
Ever so slightly today,
As my feet passed between shadows and sunlight streaming down…
Warm and…
It has been so long
Since I have felt the glow on my face.

My spirit ran free last night.

I opened my mouth wide
And set loose from between my teeth,
Not quite words,
Not quite sound at all,
But rather a flow of intent,
Like a river rushing to meet the shores of the distant ocean,
Erupting,
In defiance
No
In rejection of….

But there was no answer,
Nor did the facade crumble.

There are times when I wish,
To burn alive,
To be faced with
An inescapable
Yet simple and empirical fate,
So that as the flames lick their way up the ancient woodwork,
Consuming all that has been as well as all that is,
As the fire trucks that pass so often on Mounds Boulevard
Finally come racing to my house
As they often do in my dreams,
That in the silent dawn that follows
I…
We…
Might
Be forgotten
And left to rest at last.

But I know
These walls
And the solid oak doors that have been coated with cheap paint meant to imitate the grain beneath
And the carved stone in the basement that is cold and often wet on my feet as I stand and stare at the decaying brickwork
Are my own flesh and blood;
This frame has stood here for far longer
And through far more adversity
Than my thin bones could bear to comprehend,
Faltering not in the slightest
Never a complaint,
Save for the groans and creaks on windy nights
Reminiscent of so many bones and bodies moving between the thin walls
Lulling me to sleep.

I paused
Ever so slightly today.

Milestones

This piece was written in collaboration with the light-bringer Lykke, my dear friend whose prose inspired a deluge of thoughts and actions, as well the words below. My sincere thanks to her for all we have discussed and all we still have to learn from each other.

Lykke:
Milestones…
When my day starts here
Your day already is on the verge of its end point.
 
The magic of milestones…
 
When you look at the first sparks of the sun,
which says hello to a new bright day,
It's time for someone in another world with another culture to say goodbye
To the last lights in the horizon of life…
 
This is how it works.
 
However,
The magic of "humanity"
And what the hell,
We call it "peace" and "friendship",
Always speaks louder than milestones…
 
Yes.
 
I always BELIEVE that friendship is as pure as a fresh air and as powerful as cool water in the Sahara,
Which can connect everyone
To each other
Beyond any culture or any time or date differences…
 
Now "the world"
(this old man)
Needs more than anything
To take a sip of friendship and let the veins of life fill with happiness.
 
I believe any small movement can make a great typhoon in this universe,
Just like a butterfly 🦋
Auroraboros:
Milestones…
Markers to indicate
Relative proximity,
Where others have been before
As well as
Where we are headed.
 
Waking to
New light falling through the frozen pane of glass
Separating what is in
From what is
Not,
At the same time connecting
What is here
To what is not.
 
This is how it has always been.
 
However,
The world turns faster these days
And our voices are so loud,
The often travel faster than the light can bend.
 
Yes.
 
I have always believed
That the trivialities of life
Fear and hatred
Anger and violence
Are as stones falling
Through an ocean
Of Love and understanding
Radiating across and throughout the void of space and time.
 
Now
The child grows and greys and dies
And is re-born
In the words between
You & I
As hearts beat in unison
With the sound of friendship.
 
I believe
That each and every word
Each movement of the human heart
Is a milestone
In a journey that spans time itself
Culminating in
Holy union
Of heart
Of mind
Of soul.

Black Magic Can Heal Too

I feel like the world has forgotten:
Black magic can heal too.
 
(And don't think for a second
That I am not aware of the fact that the word "black" in that sentence
Has come to mean far more than darkness in terms of a lack of light.)
 
You see
I have come to understand
That most of what we fear
Is rooted in fear just the same,
That the devil themselves
Only ever wanted to know why they weren't loved.
 
And yes, I said "they"
Because fuck the gender binary
The same way it has allowed countless men over the course of history
To do just the same to women who in no way
Asked for or wanted it.
 
So I'm sorry
If the framework that was designed to give men power and reduce the status of women to that of subservient dolls
Is falling apart in front of you…
Is being…
Dare I say it…
"Perverted"
Because I am not blind
And I know where the majority of the perverted nature in this world comes from.
 
I'm so very sorry
If I offend the fragile masculinity
Of the toxic bro culture.
If you are unable to get it up later,
Feel free to think back to me and this poem;
I will consider it an honor.
 
See,
There are no monsters in this world
Like those we create in our heads,
And no heroes
Just the same.
 
So shit,
Toss the bones to the floor
And shake that wooden instrument that your father left you,
Praising God
And Allah
And seeking countenance with all the Loa
In the same breath.
 
Close your eyes
And let go,
Grasping tightly at the same time
To the intangible,
That it might lead us through this dim, dilapidated place,
Into a light that shines
Not to eliminate or replace the darkness
But to give contrast
That we might come to love and cherish both.

Even A Little Lost

This piece was written in collaboration with someone who submitted the first piece to me, which truly inspired me in a way I have not been in some time.

Unfortunately, this person did not provide their information so I do not have anything more to credit them with. If you are the author, please let me know and I will give you due credit.

Enjoy the piece, Even a Little Lost.


Unnamed Contributor:
 
Snowflakes in your skin melting like little rivers.
They are going under your jacket.
You feel confused; even a little lost.
 
"Why am I here in this winter forest? Why am I watching this beauty alone?"
 
Your gloves and shoes are warm.
 
Your path is slippery.
 
Trying to remember why you came here…
 
Oh, you tried to calm down your turbulent mind;
I guess it worked,
Being out here in the middle of nowhere.
 
Snow becomes rain;
Rain gets harder,
like little spikes coming down from the clouds.
 
It gets wetter, and everything starts melting.
Your heart included…
 
But
You are determined:
"It is better to love with ambition unmet,
To love one who is not here,
than not to feel anything at all."
 
You wonder this
And contemplate your life,
Here in the middle of the forest.
Thoughts are heavy clouds above you.
Auroraboros:
 
Branches break and
Pine needles fall to the frozen snow which crackles
Beneath boots tied tight with the laces all the way around
So they don't drag behind
 
This is a trick you learned from your father
Observing as he tied
Those large, leather work boots
You were certain he loved so much
So much more
Than …
 
If only you could wind those laces
Around all of the things
That never seem to stay in place
Those which melt like the snow on your cheeks as
Our breathe combines and…
 
"I have seen the end and it is filled with singing,"
She says,
Without much emotion,
A small twig in her right hand.
 
*snap*
 
The barren end falls to the ground
As she begins to count the needles in the remnant and toss them
Into the grainy tracks left in the snow:
 
"One…"
 
"Two…"
 
"Three…"
 
The wind is growing stronger
And now the light of day has faded,
Leaving the tall dark trees to loom above.
 
She has reached the end of the twig:
 
"Forty two!"
 
A smile
As she begins to walk ahead.
 
It has been a cold journey to this strange place
Where humans have not yet built their monuments to hubris,
And your fingers have lost most of their feeling,
But the alternative would be to stay home,
To sit by the electric fire
And think of all the things that could go wrong.
 
You slap your hands together and howl
With pain as well as delight;
How good it is to be reminded
That pain
Is better than the numbness that comes
With trying to avoid it.

In Tehran

In Tehran,
There is no hope,
"A living hell"
So they say on the TV box and in the pages filled
With so many carefully chosen words.
 
This is fine,
Really,
To be expected.
I mean,
Tehran is not in the United States,
And that is just what happens
When you are not in the United States,
Right?
 
For God blessed the blood that flows
In our veins
As well as the blood that flows
Rich like the earth
And soil
And oil
Beneath,
To be drained expediently
From any who threaten it.
 
My words drip
With a cynicism
Perhaps a touch too strong;
No apologies my dears,
We are in grave days,
And we must speak without holding back.
 
But who here does not know
A mind that thinks like this;
A soul
Wayward in its quest
To understand
And be understood?
 
A soul
Eager for
The truth which resides
Within
Your ears
Your tongues
Your pens and butterfly keyboards,
Latent in the lens of your DSLR,
Or even your megapixel myPhone.
 
In Tehran
There are so many people...

With beaming smiles
That are prone to vanish,
The same as yours,
When afraid.

With hearts
That are prone to grow harder
The same as yours,
When broken.

With souls
That are prone to cease expressing themselves in this realm
The same as yours,
When torn from their earthly bodies by an airstrike.

___

I mourn the death of all
who have suffered and died by the bombs and bullets of fear and misunderstanding.
There are none among us whose death should be celebrated...

Have You Ever Known…

Have you ever known
A grown man to weep?
It is
A shameful
Natural?
Beautiful.
Occurrence
To witness
As well as to experience.

Have you ever known
An infant to sob late into the night?
It is
A tragedy
Of cosmic (comic?) proportions.

Have you ever known
A pachyderm to mourn
The passing of another,
The loss
Of a child
O the child of another?
It breaks
Even the coldest of walls
Just as crisp ice
Atop small puddles in the parkway.

For Fear

If you only knew
That the horrors which bare their teeth from the shadows
Bare them not
Because they feel superior
And because they wish to consume you,
But rather,
Because they are afraid
And they are blinded
By the light which you cast
Into their world of only themselves,
In which the natural light
Has often lost its glow.

And how those who cower amongst them look
Up to you
In your undefeated
But battle-weary
Posture not
Of self-defeat,
But of a will to find a way
Which might lead to anything but
The loss
Of what matters most of all:
Your heart,
My dear,
And all that it represents,
All that it has felt,
And all that is has allowed
Encouraged
Forced
Others to feel;
For it is what they feel
And not who you are
That elicits those reactions:
Bared teeth and
Beaten
Chests.

For fear
Lies
Deep in the darkest valley of the heart,
And yours is open and true,
The lows and highs visible all the same,
Fear but an undercurrent
Which may be provoked as such to be experienced
By those whose valleys are only trod
When the peaks are too difficult to traverse.

On a Sunday Morning in October

There is a soul sickness in the church.

I can smell it on them
As they stumble in to the American Legion on Burma Ave
And proceed to verbally and emotionally abuse the serving staff
Then retreat to their huddled circles
To debate whether their all-encompassing love
Could ever be extended to those whose values differ
From the interpretation they have taken of words spoken by a man (?) much wiser than they could ever comprehend.

In All Things

In all things

The blade of grass
The drop of dew

The girl on the other side of the world who does not know
How much she really means
But will soon
Even if she forgets again soon after

In all things

Light
And a potential for it to go out
Just the same as for it to grow
Brighter
Than that which shines from the burning star
Around which we turn

In all things

A voice
A song that has been sung
For many years
And will continue
Long after we all have passed

In all things

I am
Nothing
But a passing breeze
A leaf
Which is carried thusly
To fall and break apart
To return once more

In all things

You