less afraid of the dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8~24~2019

Do you remember the nights
in dark moon absent hours
of deep crashing wave sounds?

You, with your bright flashlight
walking an impatient mile-a-minute
in front of me — always running —
while love-want-mothering-harlot
enveloped me in bliss and agony.

Duality — Loving a man-boy who
would never grow up. The letting go
ending every facet of my known world
(and I knew that truth then) Still — knew
the agony was my fight with God over
what was coming-inevitable-necessary.

I laughed and cried together as we
roamed the sand looking for treasure
on those deep warm summer nights,
saying goodbye to both of us in every step.
Your flashlight dimmer as you raced ahead
and as I followed, I knew I was becoming
less afraid of the dark.

I find shark’s teeth now
every time I visit the beach.
God and I, hand in hand, walking
together. He gives them to me —
a way of loving-forgiving
and remembering you.

 

 

~Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

for Matthew

man-on-stairs-joana-kruse

 

How do I tell you to a stranger?
Do I start with that goofy walk – yours alone
Or the quick smile, always with a slight laugh,
Tilting head and blue sparkling eyes?
Or, the truth when we met –
though I denied it then –
that you looked to young to be the GSM,
that you weren’t what I expected the GSM
of a large store to be.
Your steadfast declaration –
that you were worthy of the spot:
“I can handle it!”
As if convincing me of this in some way
mattered. To you

I was “your angel” come to help.
The proclamation over and over
again. NOW we could do what must
be done to turn it around, grow
your success. I remember that night
in the bar (your words still ringing
in my ear). Us. We. Laughing, agreeing
in unison with the crowd of people
that we would move forward, clean up
the debris, build a stronger better future
together. You – the age of my daughter –
twenty-eight and electric with youth,
hope, drive. But gray shadows circled
even then, ethereal smoke twirling

at the edges of a dream. I spent
ninety-four days by your side before
fate bade me leave, warned me
that the darkening skies
and nightmare abyss would
claim you.

Seven hundred and thirty days later.
I look down At your face,
cradled by silk cushions in the coffin,

Gray and still like a deep, dark storm
blowing distant Over the ocean.
Your smile missing. I remember

a singular moment of time, mere weeks,
a few months on the calendar,
when kindred souls met, laughed,
and dreamed. Happily planning
a future that fate knew
would never come.

Photography Prints

(RIP Matthew Sayers 2014)

Photo Credit: Man on Stairs by Joana Kruse

picture with Kathy, 1970’s

We are both dressed
in matching-tan-wool coats
topped-off with elegant tams.

Standing together on stone steps —
green grass thriving at our feet,
buds and blossoms from the rose bush
showing in the corner of the frame.

We are playing “dress-up”
(blistering hot and sweating
under the heavy-wool-weight),
in the famous June heat —
smiling on cue, as grandma snaps our picture,

with an ancient box camera
and old, arthritic hands.

~June 2012

nilsy art

Image by geirt.com via Flickr

Other Reading:

Derivation

I grew up in a small town.
Southern – reserved countryside
where even the roses said grace.

Each fragile part of life
exposed in natural hardship
of daily living. For years

I would believe the old adage:
Everything will be okay.

But, it wasn’t, couldn’t be,
and you knew time marched
hard forward. The end
coming on a mild February day.
Your promise to never leave me —
broken.

Three days later in a silk-lined
casket, your final sleep.
Lowered, leveled, the dirt
softly rolling down
to cover you. This deep-dark
iron-fed earth your final home.

The beat of my heart, flesh-torn,
forever changed, a murmur
of loss traceable — back
to the day of your leaving.

~June 2012

Authenticity

Appalachian Mountains

Appalachian Mountains (Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties)

I can see the bright-white hair

Of the child, bending, fingers reaching,

Trembling down into grass blades

To touch the little bug crawling along.

Mesmerized by moving life, slowly

Touching the tops of its shinny fly-like

Wings. Then, stand to running

across dark verdant grass yard,

Freshly mowed, to chase the butterflies

Across bush-tops around the corner.

I can hear the Appalachian accent laden

Voice of the young woman, screaming

The argument to higher intensity

As if loud will win it. The twirling turn

Of angry body, movement in flash-quick

Motion toward an open door. Then,

Footfall to running across the red dust dirt

And down through the wood path

To cry in solitude, quietly.

I can feel the angry quick vehemence

That becomes a cause becomes a mission

Becomes what will change her into wholeness

While she struggles to leave the dark rooms

of hard memories and tries to help others

never visit those places. The drive to live

after making such an effort to die, rather

than stay in the pain that was nothing

but is becoming, becoming a voice with

purpose. The first letters forming

words forming a poem, forming tomorrow.

I can remember time before it became

Abyss of career and responsibility, before

Manager became a carried title implying

In charge, a time before being diligently dutiful

in taking care of the things Others left

un-taken-care-of.  The twirling turn From art

to actuality, from theory to responsibility.

That has come to feel like a very long version of

A four-letter word said under-breath in madness.

I can still see

The bright-white hair of the child, bending,

Fingers reaching, trembling to grasp life.

~South Carolina, 2009

Beneath the Tides of Sleep and Time

Beneath the tides of sleep and time
Strange fish are moving!    

Thomas Wolfe

freya-wave-laurie-behnen

I’ve been back in the region of my childhood for three years. There were a few times, those first years, when I came back for several months at a time  before leaving again. But, I’ve never considered that “being” here. My reality is that I left at the age of seventeen and didn’t return for twenty-seven years. Now, in my early forties, I’ve come back to a town filled with ghost-like memories of a place and its silent-voiced people that no longer exist.

The clouds still look the same overhead, floating across cow-filled pastures, an opaque-white fluff against the blue-purple outline of mountains. The same sounds of whippoorwills and crickets sing through the nights.

I stand, on my back porch, as the last light of day slips away and the crickets hum. In this growing dark moment I can pretend that the twenty-seven years hasn’t passed – I am once again here in my youth listening to the singing of the whippoorwills as they welcome the deep night.

Most of the old home places are torn down – the grass, trees, and new growth disguising the old sites. Driving by them makes memory appear a trick of false pictures. Is that really the yard we once played in and the tree I loved to climb? Erasure, the way nature reclaims its own, in spite of previous existence and the blood of memory soaking that ground.

The vast-rambling plants, grasses, and trees disguise the greater void of all who are missing. This is the saddest part. Both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all the older church members are long dead and buried. Laying flowers across bronze or beneath the shadow of granite is all I can give them. Their personalities and laughter absent from the impersonal carvings. Their formal names and date to date is all there is.

I chose this path. Each step forward, toward the new, requiring a leaving behind and stepping further away from what lived here. I remember me as a thirsting, starving soul – I was silently dying. It took the leaving to make me grow, for me to understand my true and deepest identity, for me to become the intended individual that I now am. I know this as truth within my most sacred self. I chose this path – I am my own expertly crafted story.

* / * / *

The book of me isn’t finished, but the chapter I’ve lived in this past three years is telling itself into ending. I feel it. I’m familiar with these closures that seem to come unbidden, but later prove necessary and instrumental for the next phase of my life.

Coming home has been about reconciliation with myself more than anything else. I wouldn’t have expected that, but it is often at the end of a thing that you are able to see it most clearly. My life here, as a child and teenager, provided little community or friendship. I lived in an odd isolation that it would take me years to understand.

My grandparents, favorite aunts and uncles, and the like provided a foundational concept of love; but it was many long years before I could see that at work in my becoming. The deep sense of isolation, my inability to find fulfilling relationships, or a place where I could truly “fit in” as they say would change after my leaving.

In the twenty-seven years away – time divided between Atlanta, Georgia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – I would find my “fitting in’” and my individual identity, expand and examine my belief systems, and develop a workable life philosophy.  It’s taken this time of coming home for me to actually see clearly who I’ve become. That I am happy with the overall picture is a surprise and a gift. Other than that, my past in this specific place holds less of value to me than I hoped it would. The past is a combination of shredded mirage-memory images.  It is the future that calls and whispers to me as a vivid-flowing movement. And, it is endings that open the doors through which the future comes.

* / * / *

My children and grandchildren are here – that is my reason for staying.  My son and daughter, both in their mid-to-late twenties, are adults living their own lives. We have grown together the past few years, each one of us helping the other or celebrating through alternate periods of trial and joy. I am proud of them and content in the knowledge that they are happy, healthy, and blessed with wonderful spouses and children.

I love my children dearly, but it is the love and desire for my grandchildren that holds me rooted in this place of thick-red clay. I enjoy being a grandma more than I could have ever imagined.  The four “babies” range from 3 to 7 years old and are a constant  treasure and blessing to me – each of them special and unique individuals that I adore.

* / * / *

I spent Saturday afternoon at work with a couple from Argentina (as they purchased a car from me). It was a wonderful visit for me and I deeply enjoyed our conversation. Lately, I drift in to thoughts of traveling overseas, even becoming an expat like Hemingway and so many others. There is something that calls me to South America and Europe – part of the artist that is enamored of these places where such long history and artistic depth lives. Just “to walk the streets” as they say . . .

I met a lovely lady from Poland last year (again, in the sales process of my real-world job) and we became immediate pals. She came to work for me for a while and we remain friends after her leaving. We talk often of a trip to Europe this coming year – she’ll take me around Poland, Germany, and maybe even Greece. I love this thought, love to contemplate this trip with a wonderful friend (who will make sure I don’t get lost since I speak not one word of German, Greek, etc.).

I have always wanted to travel overseas to these places – a longing I have often dusted off and examined, but began to take less seriously as the years passed. Thanks to my wonderful friend, Agnes, this desire is rekindled. I feel the shift in movement – in path – like a wave rushing the sand between my toes brushing the tops of my feet. Travel . . . again.

* / * / *

I’ve jumped on planes, traveled by trucks, hopped in my car and started driving – traveling throughout the United States several times. These “other places” seem to thrall my Gypsy blood – it rests awhile and then roars with rushing to movement, to travel, to seeking. Each of these trips and times in other parts of the US (often working in other regions for long periods of time) created deep changes in understanding and perspective for me. I was not the same person coming home as I was in the leaving. (I deeply believe every young person should travel for a time before settling down if at all possible!)

* / * / *

The past four months at work (day job again) have been horrific in many ways. I’ve experienced things I could in no way anticipate or expect – things that put me in a position to make some very difficult decisions. I made a decision that I felt was the “right one,” as well as the only one I being me could make following some very dark days of hurt, confusion, and serious in-depth thought. The coming weeks will bring the results of that choice and I continue to pray for wisdom moving forward and a final resolution that will bring peace.

I am coming to a cross-roads of sorts in my business life. Maybe it’s just that mid-life crises everyone jokes about! Either way, I’m giving serious thought to leaving the automotive industry – my 70-hour-weeks life’s blood for the past 7 years. I am transitioning mentally (and maybe physically). It will be interesting to see how it all turns out down where those “strange fish are moving.” I’ll keep you posted!

 

~South Carolina, January 2012

 

Artwork: Freya Wave by Laurie Behnen. To see more artwork by this artist, please visit her site at Fine Art America. Please help support this wonderful artist by visiting FAM and maybe even buying a print or notecards!

 

for Luck

We have walked these
paths a hundred
times – since my little legs
first stood, learned movement,
learned to walk beside you.

The path,
actually two – defined
in a way that speaks
of distance and history. We
will walk the path well-worn
or
if you indulge me
the one slightly overgrown,
briars lining the edges,
large towering stalks
blackberries in season,
if the day is right.

This path – the second one,
less used, steeper,
with jagged rocks
buried in the dirt
of what is now more gully
than walking path. But
this is where
Grandpa and I checked
rabbit gums for a catch,
he letting me
slide the little door,
up and open,
to peer inside.

This ground grew
my love of rabbits —
I never understood,
never equated the
bait-caught prey
with an animal dying.

The rabbits foot,
for luck,
a joke, because
death
had no meaning to me then.

~~November 2011

of Broken Rooms

~for P

{Art: Isolation by Ina Mar (c) Adagp, Paris}

 

There is deep silence here ~

Forlorn-magic once spoke
whispered kisses, your name
crossing my lips, a breath only
against the skin – soft, taut, strong skin
of your neck, arms, chest. In
the dark shadows of broken rooms,
building a home of – destruction first. Then,

building a home of hope of – the sheets were clean,
the warm-blood-wood walls
holding secrets, ours and earlier, generations before us
these walls were closing in on the hearts beating rapid,
percussion, the sounds of fluttering clicking time
in a dark house beside a church. Sacrilegious – passion
burning, life burning  death — in the graveyard
at the edge of a hill – a ghost-memory whispers, soft
edible cries, choking, sobbing – whisper, whisper
of wings. Forlorn-angels once walked

in the soft dew-grass, wet droplets clinging
to porcelain animals, mysteries, dead flowers.
This sweet-heated moisture, muscle, brushing
of skin against skin – the sheets were clean,
destruction, chaos building – building
into ecstasy, into orgasm, into ending.
Our secret,
our bodies – so deliciously warm, wrapped, entwined
in a space of time
where forlorn magical angels sing, wing-beats
lifting our names above the graves.

There is a deep memory here ~

~October, 2011

Artwork: Isolation by Ina Mar (c) Adagp, Paris. Please visit her website at:  http://www.redbubble.com/people/ina-mar/works/6081284-isolation

Yesterday

~for my Sister

The door
to yesterday opens —
creaks at the hinges.

In another time
we are sitting, playing
in burnished sand —
barely-born, fresh presence,
two toddlers, laughing

into growing, into years later
we will run
past the familiar
in search of more.

***

The dilapidated bridge —
the one we walked
across into freedom —
still stands.

Straw-thatch, mud-glue
built across
dangerous-deep
ravines of memory —

We agree
never look down
never look back
march forward

Forget
those long dusty days
when we
were still children.

Forget
every smile we lost
every tear we cried.
It’s only water across skin,
nothing more.

October 2011

Artwork, Final Destination, by Photodream Art. By Den Bosch, Noord Brabant – Netherlands. Please visit here to see more about this artist and to see other artwork.

The Note

What can you  know at thirteen
of letters of love, soft words
of declaration – pouring forth
gushing admiration for
a high-school Adonis?

I was vulnerable, feminine,
soft – everything you’d expect
from a girl-child in love.

Too sappy, sincere, honest,
she told me —
He’ll show it to everyone – No,
not this note. But…

sad-broken humor
the only way to avoid ridicule –
You MUST
play the jokester,
not the lover,
she said.  

(I acquiesced.)

Later, in dark rooms,
I re-read
the first note
that would have told you
I was enamored, in heart-felt awe,
of the boy-man you were becoming.

I thought of old stories –
how we laughed together
as children. Side-by-side,
uncommon neighbors,
toddler playmates – until
the time-memory slipped away
and We were gone.

~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~

Apology was the first step
those few years later – us
technically grown, adulthood –
failed marriages, our own children,
lessons learned and learning —

Living in dark places beneath
burning turmoil, we were Us
for a millisecond, a moment.
— Then, the dark night shifted
fell from place —

The Muses laughed,
threw complication
into the mix, Fate
danced through the shadows
bumping into Us
jostling Me and You — then
the time-memory slipped away
and We were gone.

~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~

We speak without voices —
typed-letters on a screen,
new notes
written twenty years later
in real time.

Now we are friends
as we were playmates – some
strange connective-bond built
in a sandbox —

before we could know
the game we live in,
the jokes Life plays
and the roads we would choose
to follow.

And, I am still thinking
about the note
I should have given you —

 

September 2011

 

Artwork: Chiaro di luna by Escha Van den bogerd. You may find more about the artist and other works here.

 

 

Conversation


I don’t
think
it’s supposed
to feel
this good to
talk to you

* * *

It’s like Roses
in the morning
covered
in dew, too
important (beautiful)
for words.
Or, it’s like
the feel
of soft-warm
sun touching
your skin
on a cold
November
day — just
perfect and perfectly
amazing.

* * *

You
are a shadow
love haunting
my memory
like
a deep,
cool breeze
on a
blazing-Hot
day.

~July 2011, South Carolina

 
Sell Art Online

ARTWORK: Gentle Woman by Svetlana Nivikova. Read author Bio and see more work by this artitst here.

Crumpled Sheets

 

 

I can remember
the way you walk –
a fluid movement
with erotic appeal.

The way your hair
falls a certain way
across your cheeks,
beside your eyes.

A slight lift to the right
whenever you smile –
the honey sweet taste
of your lips, of you
in a passionate kiss.

I can remember
the way your back
feels soft and muscled –
warm – as I roll closer,
snuggle into sleep.

Waking to feel
the length of your legs
entwined with mine,
the width of your chest,

the weight of you
shifting, above and within
me — your chest touching mine,
soft whisper of words
against the nape of my neck.

I can remember
the strength of you
holding me, taking me,
hot against my flesh –
filling me completely
all those long years ago.

~July, 2011 South Carolina

Photography Prints

ARTWORK: Reverie by Richard Young. For artist information, other available works, and further details on this piece, please go here.

Ritual

Ritual
~for Julia, in memoria

On this Lily-white
silent Sunday she
combs one hundred times
the strands of pony-grey,
streaked-aged mane
of ninety-two years,
pulls it back tightly
into an outdated bun.

Liquid-blue-petal eyes
shift, stare sadly down
at purple-viened hands
lain gently across cloth,
placid in a lap
of sagging flesh
and weak-white bone.

Old Southern sighs resignation
as generations gather
around the chair
to celebrate ancient,
another birthday.

Their debt of homage
paid in presence, ordered
by size and height around
the matriarchal chair.

Time-ticks every face older
into a mist of memory
becoming dreams —
as death comes
she remembers the future–

ball gown of tangerine silk
flowing, she dances
times distorted promenade.

The children will turn,
burn old candles,
forget,
and live forward.

~Summer 2011, South Carolina
Photography Prints

Grandfather

On some other lost plane
of time you are standing
watching the years roll
like clouds forecasting
rain on a spring day.

Gray-black eyes fold tears
into memory that forgets
you. As soon as dawn comes
you watch the children
grow like strong trees,
the grandchildren grow
like deep-rooted sycamores
in the ground you plowed.

On some other lost plane
of time you are hovering
as a bright-bold presence
with a smile eating tears
of snow on a winter day.

April 2011

Becoming Modern

 

I have officially arrived in the current century according to my compatriots at work. I now own an Android Phone and a new laptop with Windows 7 installed.

Of course, I had no idea what an Android phone actually was until yesterday, and I was perfectly content with Windows Vista.

The new phone, coupled with the laptop, are gigantic steps forward for me. I tend to live more by the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” world motto than the “if it’s new technology, I must have it” one. But, I’m learning how to use a “touch screen” to scroll through my “Apps” without needing assistance.

I thought the previous laptop (about 5 years old) with wireless that moved at the speed of turtle was just fine forever. And, it was until I started adding up the wasted hours and realized how long everything took on it versus my three year old desktop.

Still, having two computers that worked fine, even if one was very slow, led to an inner debate and argument on wastefulness (I’m pretty sure this is a leftover lesson from my well-meaning grandmother!).

So, months after starting an inner argument with myself, I finally gave in and bought a new laptop. Logically, since time is the one thing I never have enough of, and the old laptop was taking up way too much of this precious commodity, it made sense to buy a new one.

The phone was different, less a thought-out decision and more a flighty comment that led to my having a phone gifted to me the next day. It was strange turning off the phone I’ve had for the past 4 years – a simple flip-top, dial the number kind of phone, with real buttons for the numbers and alphabet, and an alarm I’ve used as my alarm-clock substitute for the same number of years.

Okay, I know it was antiquated by today’s standards, but I knew how to use it and it served it’s purpose. The new phone is a little more of a challenge – it took me forever to figure out if it had an alarm and how to set it, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it and am becoming modern.

Last night, as I was playing with the new phone, I started thinking about my childhood and my grandparents. They would be over 100 years old if they were still living.

I remember watching TV with them at night: Walter Cronkite detailing the news, Kojak, The Waltons, and Disney movies on the weekend were the norm.

We lived with a phone (party line only for years. Anyone else remember that?) and one television set with three channels. Cable TV wouldn’t be available in that rural area until years later when I was a married adult living far away.

I remember those quiet nights, sitting on the screened-porch, listening to the Whippoorwill calls, and everyone talking together. I remember spending as much time outside playing, making-up imaginary games and acting-out storybook scenarios with my cousins, as I ever spent inside. And, I remember a time when TV was a very small part of my day.

I miss that quiet, less-connected, less-complicated world sometimes. I can’t imagine what my grandparents would think of my new phone or the multiple computers, but I’m sure they would be amazed and lost in the world as it’s become. I’m also sure they’d say it was wasteful and I didn’t need all those things! Smile

Sometimes, I feel a little lost as well as I wonder what my grandchildren will see in their lifetimes. Will it be the vast array of changes and technological advancements that I’ve witnessed? Or, will science and technology change directions and go spiraling off in a now unknown direction? What will it mean as they grow older in world where everything is immediate? What will it mean when their compatriots congratulate them on becoming modern?

Burning

Burning red days
follow pink-petal nights.
Fragrance singing soft
lullabies. In memory

yearning ruptures,
breast bursting open,
tears like ash
slowly spilling
into crimson spoons

used for digging
up history.
Pure-petulant remorse,

regretting too late
the burning black days
to follow.

composed January 27, 2011

Pages of Memory

 

(On my last visit with my grandmother before her death)

Her age-dimmed cloudy eyes linger,
watch me being my mother on the pages of memory.
She tells me how much she loves me and
asks about the baby, turns to see.

Trembling-aged hand that held me and
spanked me and cuddled me as a child
shakes as it reaches out, then
tenderly touches a baby’s silken head.

She grows impatient, wants me to listen
to the important things she’s telling me
about how to raise this child — ooh, so sweet,
precious little Colleen. I, adult Colleen, stand

watching and listening as she talks
remembering me into reliving our lives
over again from her memory of 17 years ago.
I promise to do everything she says.

I tell her how much I love her and become
my mother for her today – again and
become my infant self again – one last time –
watching her through both sets of eyes.

Until, my daughter takes my finger
with her tiny hand and I look down to see
her child-dimmed cloudy eyes watching me
being her mother on the pages of memory.

Blue-Eyed Mystery

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”  ~Albert Einstein

 

I love the mysterious aspects of life and am a believer in signs, portents, omens, and the like. I’m sure this tendency comes partly from the artistic side of my nature and partly because the grandfather that raised me was part Native American. I lived with my grandparents from the time I was 3 until I was 11. During those years I learned a lot of uncommon things – I could trap and skin rabbits, I could shoot a shotgun at a very young age, I knew the names of plants and trees, understood the difference between poisonous berries and those safe to eat, and learned to make sassafras tea from sassafras roots dug in of the woods.

Those years were an uncommon and delightful period in my life. A bright time that would preface the much darker years that followed.  That time period also created a certain view of my place in and interaction with the world around me. I came to believe that God and nature speak to us in many ways – through signs, intuition, omens, and various levels of unconscious perception. This “sense” of belief in other (in all its various forms) remains with me today.

As a young child I was told stories of animal spirits or animal guides and was certain (due to my fondness for them) that my animal guide was a wolf. I appreciated the uniqueness of wolves, their sad mournful cries, the abject loyalty, and the fact that they mated for life. An interesting, lovely animal across the board. However, as certain as I was of their guidance as a child, and as much as I liked them, something started changing as I reached adolescence. I started dreaming about a white tiger with blue eyes.

My dreams about the tiger were so unusual and vivid that they initially caused a simultaneous happiness and panic.

 The tiger was always with me, but doing nothing in particular – just present in a reassuring way. I would wake with the dream so fresh and real in my mind – the tiger stretched out and me curled up against him. There was a sense of strength and wildness about the creature. Still, I always felt that I was safe with him. In fact, I have never felt safer and more protected in my life than in those dreams sleeping beside my blue-eyed tiger.

 The tiger dreams were a normal part of my life for 21 years. I puzzled over them a great deal during that time. I read numerous dream interpretation books and many psychology books and dream-cognizant behavior theories. None of these offered a satisfactory logical explanation, nor did they describe any particular form of insanity in which this dream was a prevalent symptom (because, yes, I was starting to wonder about sanity!). There were no answers readily available  – just the breathing animal beside me in my dreams, warm and silent.

Now, allow me to clarify for all the psych majors out there – I never dated anyone with blue eyes during those years. Didn’t have an unfulfilled crush on a blue-eyed guy, or any of those normal dream-prompting scenarios. In fact, the tiger presence in my dreams had a wholly different essence than anyone I’d ever met. Unique and complicated in its energy, but soothing in a way totally alien to me.

And then, the dreams stopped during a very difficult time in my life. It struck me as really unusual at the time, because normally the presence was more dominant during times of hardship. The last time I dreamed of my tiger was almost three years ago – the day before I got on a plane and flew to Dallas to start work with a sales group. What hadn’t made sense for 21 years was perfectly clear a mere 24 hours later.

My tiger was a premonition of change: a time to come, a place I would find, and a person I would meet. I would know the eyes and the presence immediately. The mystery of what that means in my life remains a mystery still. I believe the world and God speak to us in so many subtle and shocking ways – beneath the obvious is a deep, flowing current of mystery that moves with us and carries us. Sometimes, the answer is just another question.

Why was I shown something for so many years that was so far away? I believe it was so I could recognize and understand when it arrived without fear and misconception. It was a pivot-point in my life and the deeper parts of self. I have changed drastically in many ways since then. I have a deeper understanding of the danger and the beauty that co-exists in our world and in our deepest selves. I understand that some emotions defy explanation and logic, and yet have a greater meaning in the larger fabric of life – the smallest moments shared can enrich us and change us in profound ways.

The tiger of my youth doesn’t visit my dreams anymore, but his voice still speaks in my heart. He remains a great and wonderful mystery in my life.

How Time Builds

 

Isn’t it strange how time builds

these houses we live in

with regret, confusion, un-knowing turned to stone?

 

Did you hear the workman start clearing

the land for construction when you were young

and I was younger – a child at your knee?

 

Did you taste the brick masons mixture

of grief and fear used to season the mortar

for the foundation as we argued away the years?

 

Did you see the man pass by with his chisel

and saw and boards and nails for the walls

as you grew older as I grew older too?

 

Did you feel the dark shadows as the shingles

were nailed to the beams of the roof

while we huddled – divided by our growing identities?

 

Did you know our houses would share memories

and history and tears and people

without sharing a common doorway for meeting?

 

Isn’t it strange how time builds

these houses that define us

with regret, confusion, un-knowing turned to stone?

September Afternoon

You are my quiet obsession. A mist

of mirror and memory that I return to

in my mind (heart) – that warm, vague

shadow I cling to: when my true world

stagnates, bores my senses. I call you

from that place of tedium . . .

know the faster heartbeat, breathless gasp,

flood of memories will surge to lift me

past today, this place — stable and solid.

Your voice on the phone —

a bright, hot, rushing wind that carries

me up and away to other places.

Epiphany 2

May 18, 2010 (at dusk)

 

The puzzle piece missing

is still not speaking toward

finding itself anytime soon.

The roses were a beautiful

symbol of the nothing they

meant to be before becoming

just simply what they were.

The apology was its own

magnificent accomplishment

diminished by being less

than it probably meant to be

in the beginning when it felt

more sincere and right, unforced.

The ending was quick before

its long decline into other places

of memory and time twisted to

make it prolong itself indefinitely.

The puzzle piece missing

is still not speaking toward

finding itself anytime soon.