Fifteen minutes of Flame

HONK! The beeping squall announces sacrament.

Ruffle of coat as the door becomes locked against the world

With a practiced swirl the coat is laid down over his bag

Puppy howls and purring clucks sing greeting.

Fluffed heads and ruffled butts, affection gifted.

Maybe fifteen minutes then the worship service is over,

He vanishes like an unanswered prayer.

I am blinded by my faith, accept it as my truth

even as I’m told I’m a sinner:

“You do this.”

“This is your fault.”

“You don’t have courtesy.”

“(s i l e n c e f o r w e e k s)”

FUCK YOU!

As I kneel at my altar after giving all I’m able,

it isn’t enough because I’m not whole-y holy.

I am “The Chosen One.” I am “loved dearly, but,”

This church is beginning to feeling like a silent prison.

I meditate in deep communion to ponder pontificated parole.

Sondering

I want to talk about the people that are peripheral to your every day. In my life, they are the bus drivers that work so I can get around town. They are the retail workers that ring up my purchases at the stores where I shop. The gas station attendant who explains I can save a couple bucks if I grab another off the shelf holds a special place. Just people doing what they do.

But then if you realize that their lives are as rich as your own with complex relationships, health issues, families, hobbies, friends, etc; the world explodes. It’s as if, like your own family tree, they expand into an infinity. When you see everyone as intricate parts of one another, things get fascinatingly complex.

But we don’t typically enjoy complex. We’d rather look past that woman in the beautiful dress that manspreads. We’d rather not realize that the armrest we’ve been using was someone’s leg that they kept crossed because you were unwittingly borrowing it. It’s like we put on blinders to the lives that are happening around us to maintain simplicity.

That really isn’t very human of us and yet it is perfectly human. It’s like looking at a painting but only seeing the picture, not the colors. We gray out the things we don’t want to pay attention to like a speed reader does for the words, not letters. We do a human shorthand so our brains can remain focused on our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. We can ignore the background noise without having to actually participate.

When I ride the bus, I do my best to be mindful of the people I’m riding with. It’s not out of fear or anxiety, but more like an observation of my surroundings. I’ve found some pretty great people to talk to about many different topics. I’ve discovered, as I’m walking to or from the bus, secret codes embedded on the sidewalks. I’ve found trinkets such as a honking duck, a tiny bird that got stunned on the glass windows of GVSU, dollar bills, and even a guy who loved my art and bought one of my pieces.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpAPrKxHp8W/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

I challenge you to reach out to the world by opening up your eyes and turning up the color. See if you can guess their story about their appearance without asking. Make up their backstory so that you can practically sit down at their dinner table as their invited guest. See how quickly their lives become full and rich with color and flavor.

Make up their relationship with the person sitting far away from them. See if you can make them meet in your head. What will the conversation be like? Will it be angry? Long lost? Happy? A reuniting of high school BFF’s? Who have they lost in their life? Why is that important to the narrative?

I’m asking you these questions because at the beginning of the new year, I am to begin writing one of four books to be completed by the end of 2019. I’m a procrastinator so I’m going to give you a brief synopsis of each:

  1. (Working Title) Seventeen Days: A love story: A woman estranged from her best friend takes a road trip to rescue her. Their reunion is a wild adventure.
  2. (Working Title) Talking to the Ceiling; Looking to the Sky: A spiritual evolution that occurs when a woman seeks to release her anger toward God.
  3. (Working Title) The Fireman’s Son: A loving father describes life as a Fireman via letters to his deployed son during WWII.
  4. (Working Title) The Loves of Clara: A woman born in the early 19th century leads a secret life as a famous artist.

And there you have it. Why don’t you help me out here and comment which book you’d read first and why. It might help me narrow down my choices. I’ll let you into my world so you can sonder around as a repayment, how’s that?

Sometimes Maybe

Sometimes I want to be a kite

Ripped and tugged by wind’s whim

Rising above spectators

Admired for my brightly colored dips

That write nonsensical whispers

Of promises made to a forever not witnessed

Sometimes I wish I were a bear

Raw with raking power paws

With heavy duty claws that help me eat

People I don’t like or those who disturb me.

Sometimes I wish I were a siren

One that rests on rocks singing sweetly

Lulling sailors to their doom upon my rocks

Jutting breasts and flirty hair calling to boys

“Beware! Beware!”

Sometimes I’m glad to be me

A chubby tubby funny woman with dimple cheeks

Cracking open frozen hearts, not of ice

But stuck in places not so nice

Places that don’t remember their worth

Burying their beings without much mirth.

Running Rampant

There is a degradation of masks piled up in the middle of society’s living room floor. The pink elephant with polka-dots has begun the erotic dance of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” It’s such a beautifully awful dance played out with vicious words typed with anger and a seemingly absolute belief that the brilliant slice taken from a “Libtard/Wingnuts” dignity will most certainly have them eating crow and begging for forgiveness.

This deeply ingrained battle to be right has caused discourse on every level from global down to the familial microcosm. It has pushed down buttons of justice, conscience, defense/attack, personal rights and freedoms for many politically minded adults.

This rhetoric presents itself as friendly fire but is subtly far more bombastic. It is meant to disrupt unity. It is created with both sides seeing the same information but with their preferred “AMEN” spin attached.  It has created a sense of terror, injustice, righteous indignation, and cries of prosecution from every participant.

When the weight of Donald’s election settled into my brain, I admit, I was convinced we’d reached the epitome of desperation. I lamented to my friend, through ugly sobs and heavy snot, that I didn’t believe I’d make it out of this administration alive. The cruelty I heard through soundbites on national news caused such a feeling of anxiety because, although my father died in March of 2016, the alt-right had just, essentially, elected my father to run the country.

How can a dead man be elected?

My sperm donor was the kind of man who took great delight in making other people uncomfortable. It was his passion to destroy anything or anyone that said they loved him. His fragile ego, narcissistic personality, abusive behavior, as well as his habit of gas-lighting others while never once taking responsibility for his actions or their consequences made Donald identical.

The rawness of that realization is so potent that two years later, I am still broken wide open with my muscles dried to jerky. I look like an anatomy book that shows nothing but muscle without skin to hide the innards. Each nerve screams in a constant high pitch because there is no relief. It hasn’t stopped. It will continue until he is no longer in power.

I can only read the news a little bit before I have to put it down and walk away. Many times I’m finding myself going for days without checking anything out that I normally would because the injury to my sense of decency is brutal, bloody, and truthfully, exhausting. With this administration, it’s been like living with an abusive relative that you can’t escape from, despite futile efforts.

The only people who do not seem to see this are, I suspect, so used to being abused that this is their normal. They’re used to everything Donald does from lying to name calling, finger pointing to shifting blame. They believe because the alternative would mean they put their faith in the hands of a psychopath which is totally unacceptable.

They honestly believe the lie that he will build the wall, that we won’t pay for it (and even if we do, Mexico will pay us back), that he is an anointed of God, that he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.

It is my further hypothesis that the people who are so vehemently protesting are people that have been in abusive relationships and have either left or minimally recognized they are in danger. They see all the red flags that have been run up the flagpole (but only to half mast because…guns). They understand that if this is allowed to continue, someone is going to end up dead, which further means it will be themselves or someone they love. Theses are the people who are taking to the streets and rampaging wrathfully for justice to be served.

I wake up each day wondering if today will be the day the world ends. I wonder if the people I love, both Veteran and not, will be able to continue the care they get through government programs. I’m deeply concerned about my brothers and sisters with more melanin and whether they are going to survive the onslaught of violence which has escalated since the induction of white supremacist Donald Trump into the White House. I worry also about the LGBTQ community with Donald Trump’s cronies running around threatening imminent bathroom attacks by trans people or conversion of youth to being gay because they were raised in loving homes with same gender parents.

The focus is completely egotistical to the point that the news cycles barely touch on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Children, women, men, entire communities are starving to death. There is nothing left to eat. The death toll is rising.

Russia is making power plays that are starting wars with their neighbors in the Ukraine. It’s a vicious game of cat and mouse that is being willfully and freely condoned by this administration.

Murdered American citizens by foreign royalty are dismissed as no big deal because there is profit to be made. What’s one life when billions of dollars could line the pockets of the ultra-rich? Life holds no value which, in turn, means none of us matters in the least to Donald. Unless we bring profit, he has no interest in keeping any of us alive.

What’s even more twisted to me, is that Donald’s “Amen corner” seem to agree. They stand behind him as if they are in awe of his boldness while they whole time their hands are held out for more money. It’s a disturbing trend which has been around probably since politics were invented. It’s shameful pandering to the deepest pockets.

I don’t have the answers to how this could possibly be solved unless we can reset the last save and start back in 2015 again before this insanity became the reality TV of real life. When I was a young child, I was proud to be an American. I was proud that this country stood for justice around the world. Now, my shame for what we’ve become as a society makes my head hang like Ol’ Glory, at half-mast. I do not know this Republic that I once loved so dearly. I truly wish she were the Land that I Love once more.

 

 

Revision

Rolling down the road before

Been there, done that, know the score

Crossed that bridge, then burned it down

Trapped myself in my hometown

Ghosts of me walk laughing by

Anger driven, cocaine high

I barely know the face of then

But I wear them as my diadem

Broken heart lay broken wide

Spilling love from what’s inside

Trains of childhood sing forlorn

Don’t chase those tracks. Don’t heed those horns.

The Tender Heart

A tender heart gives love like breath

like clinging to a mother’s breast

flowing freely falling fast

love is born to last

too last

But also is the bite of death

that cracks the shine of granted health

broken hearts are staples

for those that are truly able

to give

to love

to be

all in without fear

regret only for not having more time

but loving while remaining blind

to the inevitable end

“Be Safe”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I want to be safe in the sense that I don’t get shot in my house. I want to be safe in the sense that when I walk down my streets at night with my little dog, waiting on her to do her “business”, I’m not going to be attacked. I want to be safe enough that when I follow the road rules, I don’t get in an accident because others also want to be safe, or rather, unharmed.

But there is a part of me that doesn’t want to be safe. Being safe takes a chunk away from the loudness of life. It reduces the voices of exuberant laughter to polite chuckles. It sucks the genuine grief from our deepest fears and distills it into quiet murmuring condolences. It shatters the adventure of stepping one foot outside of your comfort zone by giving the illusion of safety.

But safety, like everything, is an illusion. It’s not real. It surprises us because we expect things to be the same. We expect to wake up, go about our day without incident, return home, eat the same meal we did last week, watch regurgitated shows with different characters but the same stories, and go to bed at the same time. It’s our expectation of safety that, pardon my french, fucks us up.

Chaos and change are the way of the world. If we could control any of it, we’d be reasonable in our expectations, but we do not. We can do our best not to contribute, by following the rules, obeying laws, keeping an eye out for ne’er-do-wells, but being safe is a lie we tell ourselves so we can live with minimal fear.

My Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Dave are driving a different route back from their vacation in Maine. It has places for them to stop that they’ve never been before which means the potential for a fantastic adventure. But in the commentary on their shared pictures, there were all the comments from a variety of people telling them to, “Be safe.” The comments are made with love and not as admonitions, mind you. They are meant with the best of intentions. But I don’t think I’ll wish them the same.

I wish them to be unharmed but in no way to be safe. I want them to have the adventure they’re hoping for on the new route. I want them to have experiences that will give them the best adventure with minimal difficulty. I want them to see things so spectacular it takes their breath away because they chose to stop somewhere they wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. I want them to experience every drop of grandness in the views, every bliss to be had floating on the breeze. I want them to taste the rain as if it were their first time. To have Ruby show them the newborn idea of life heroic in a way that brings them fits of delight. But, I do not wish them to “be safe”.