Bully

Bullybully

When I was 9, I consoled a girl from my class on the school bus
About her recent break-up.
“How could he do that to you?” I patted her back.
“You deserve so much better.”

Deep down, I wanted to be that boy,
The one who broke her heart, who tossed her aside.
The popular and callous straight boy who didn’t have to hide.

He confronted me on the same bus the next day.
Told me to stay away from his girl.
He, smaller in every way,
Told me to watch out at recess,
That I was a nerd
And that he had more hair on his balls than I ever would.

How strange that it took so many years to offer myself the same words.
“How could he do that to you?”
“You deserve so much better.”

the unintentional hypocrite

door

before i went on my first date with a man, i did marriage counseling for dozens and dozens of couples

before i knew what i wanted to do with my life, i successfully completed six years of college with a 3.8 grade point average

before i considered myself authentic, i wrote hundreds of pages of journal entries and poems exploring my soul

before i knew how to tell my story, i published a book

before i had my first real kiss, i had a successful marriage to a woman, and everyone thought we were the perfect couple

before i knew what being mentally healthy was, i was the director of a community mental health center

before i understood my own spirituality, i completed a two year dedicated missionary service and baptized several into the faith i was born into

before i understood how to take care of myself, i was taking care of two sons who required my everything

before i lived well, i merely lived

 

 

insomnia

it happens easily

 

at midnight

when the bed stretches on for miles

and I’m the only one inside it

 

a pillow between my knees

another balled together under my right ear

my toes curled up like elf shoes

one arm wrapped protectively around my abdomen

the other under head extended to its fullest, reaching

the ache of the world rests in my spine, my hips

and my eyes are opened to darkness

 

they show there, when I’m at my most vulnerable

when even sound is distant

they climb over the corners of the bed, burrow through the sheets

they scratch at my surfaces

they cover me, they bury me

the demons

breath soft, in whispers, no fire and no thorns

 

they carry messages of

he said he loved you but he hurt you”

and

“they all end in the same place”

and

“dig, keep digging, it’s bottomless”

and

“this is it, all there is, this darkness, this room, this you”

 

I stay there

for a moment, for forever

because it feels familiar

the doubt, the pain, the angst

after all

I dwelt in it for so long

it’s warm on my skin and cold in my heart

the demons become one with the sheet that covers my naked form

the whispers grow and stay and settle

and then the demons fall like leaves, gently, floating

off

and out

and down

and away

 

and then it is me again

alone in the expanse of the bed

still protected, still reaching, still curled,

still weight-bearing, still silent

my eyes can close now

and the sun soon rises

And I, no less

Who am I to think I deserve good things
to think I am worthy of praise
that I ought to be discussed, thought about, regarded?
Who am I to think my words carry power
that they paint a picture
that they do anymore than capture a moment of my being
one that passes like any other?
Why would I want to be noticed or smiled upon
with patience and measured balanced time
with more than a casual mention?
What am I to do but
rise and toil
work and sow
plan and dream?
I, no more than anyone else, deserve such things.
And I, no less. expanse

wind

 

Wind1
i spread my arms to you today
and was met head on with your power
more than breeze
more than gust
sheer wind meets me, unafraid
your coldness, brisk against my skin
shirt tugging against me in an effort to be free
i long for exposure
“thank you” I whisper, as you fill my lungs
and you soften briefly
surprising me with an answer
showing me that tender breath can be more effective
than tornado or hurricane
now you push again, consistent
trees dance wildly against the sky
and i look up at your unseeable wonder
and shout a simple “YES!”
into you, your green and blue
invisible, intangible, ethereal
yet supreme and jagged and precise and unbearable
i only see what you move against
never you
i only feel you when you move,
without me
within me
were you the god i grew up believing in
dwelling within each of us
yet all over the earth
everywhere and nowhere?
you surround me now
“thank you” i whisper again
as i gather you within
to strengthen my strength

the night sky

milky-way-984050_960_720

I recall wishing once to be hard in all my soft places

those supple and diaphanous systems within me

that had searched so valiantly, so militantly, for things that cannot exist without. 

 

Then…

After the one who could have been there and wasn’t, 

And the one whose needs filled the room to bursting, 

And the one who used fists, 

And the one who made unkeepable promises, 

And the one who used up all the natural resources and kept farming for more, 

And the who was there and then wasn’t, 

And the one who could only see himself, 

And the one who could never answer (because he didn’t exist), 

Then…

 

After the sun set, 

I stood under the stars, 

right where I had always been standing,

and I looked up, hard and jagged and careful within, 

reliant more upon that beautiful night sky

than I ever had been upon the clouds. 

 

when silence surrounds you

enjoy_the_silence

close our eyes in any space, and all that remains is sound

outward: soft electric whirs, the distant sound of traffic, gentle wind on tree

and inward: resonant heart thumping, breath in nostrils, digestion

 

these same sounds carry us from highway to mountaintop

they are immune to the heartbreak and soul ache,

persistent through sleep and stress and sanity

 

in this sought-out silence, amidst the chaos

we realize childhood truths,

we sort out spiritual deficiency,

we heal from the deepest wounds,

and we realize that those from far away may love us still.

human shame

abstract-360a

one small david-sized rock

in that raw spot between two goliath-sized eyes

and defenses splinter

spider webs cricking and cracking across the pane

one deafening shatter

an impact, like a toppled bucket of nails

jagged shards exploding over the carefully constructed landscape

tender universes of shame

broken edges, barbed corners

each uniquely able to draw blood

every piece screams its own scream:

I hurt him!

Not good enough!

Unworthy!

What a disappointment, what a mess, what a fool you’ve been!

the blood pools around the fragments now, a ruby puddle of pain

Alone!

Broken!

Disgusting! Annoying!

Not what you were supposed to be!

You’ll never find love!

You don’t matter…

the sun sets, the stars rise

and the wounds that don’t heal

clot

rubicund, then incarnadine, then crimson

then the sepia crust of scabs

that will eventually pinken

and heal

gentle scars remain

vulnerable to another hit, another day

Stepping on Cracks

crack in pavement

As a child, I carefully measured my sidewalk steps, making sure to avoid the cracks,

Knowing inwardly that the cracks were there to test me,

And that a single misstep would break my mother’s back, or worse.

I focused so closely on each crack that I lost track of the world around me.

As a child, I knew nothing of concrete cohesion or molecular expansion, the very reasons the cracks were set down in the first place.

Now, when I walk or run or skip or dance, I don’t notice the cracks,

For who would choose to stare at the sidewalk while missing trees and sun and birdsong, love and laughter, lungs full to bursting then empty of breath?

And despite all my worry of years gone by, my mother’s back is fine, and I realize I had little to do with it.

You Are Alive. Are You Living?

Miracle-593x371

You are Alive. Are you Living?
At any given moment, there are a Million little Miracles keeping you Alive.
Amazing autonomic processes like digestion and respiration,
New Life constantly Birthing within you as old Life dies,
Neurotransmitters, white blood cells, amino acids.
You are a Living, Breathing, Miracle of Life.
You are Alive. Are you Living?
Do you take moments to Connect to the very Spark of Life within you…
Your Spirit, your Soul, your Chi, your Seed, your Nucleus…
And Wonder at the very Miracle you are?
Do you see the Horizon or the Mountains or the Ocean Tide
And Gawk in open Wonder?
Do you Laugh with your Whole Being until your gut aches?
Do you Embrace others and Hold them tight and let your Hug pack a punch?
Are you Kind to yourself? Do you allow yourself to Cry, to Indulge, to Risk?
Do you Love? Fiercely, Loudly, Often, be it your Friends, your Partner, your Children?
Are you Afraid of what you might Find if you open that shutter or Peel back one more layer?
Do you shy away from the Tears, Sweat, Blood, and Pain
That are Crucial to that Release you so desperately Need?
Do you Thrive, or merely Survive?
Do you let yourself Soar, Plunge, Thrill, Sing, Be?
You are Alive. Are you Living?