Poetry

March on.
Like a soldier, valiantly defend the wholeness of who are.
The expression of your full self: the shame, the sadness, the joy, the confused, the shattered, the thoughtless, the fearful, the excited, the content.
The everything.
Know that your feelings are likely felt by millions, that the things you love, others likely love.
The connection.
The trust.
The acceptance.

March on.
Like a general, courageously command the parts of you that are holding you back.
These are the feelings that you won’t measure up, the hesitance of failure, the scarcity, the uncertainty.
The darkness.
Know that these feelings are felt by everyone, and overcome by too few.
Connection does not require agreeableness.
Trust is not always warranted.
Acceptance isn’t distributed fairly.

And that’s okay.

You march on.
Despite the fact that not everyone will accept you – or your work.
Because recognizing that pleasing others indiscriminately is a sure means to a lost life,
That a life without risk, without going out on a limb, without facing blockades and storming the bastille of others’ opinions, professional opinions, is a life that hasn’t made the highest contribution that it must make out of an ineffable obligation.
One must forget the experts.
The critics.
The sideliners.
The colleagues.
And especially the gatekeepers.

One must speak the sincere truth that is within them without fear, without affectation, without deceit.
Being mindful of kindness and tact but honest nonetheless.

We are alive for a moment,
Here today, gone tomorrow.
We have one chance.
Yet so many are waiting for permission.

It’s never going to be perfect or easy or obvious.
It’s always going to take longer than you think.

Sacrifices will be made.

You are eventually going to fail.
Sometimes very, very badly.

Do it anyway.

Dear Love:

Arguments descend into trivialities. Trivialities descend into miscommunications. We are each making efforts, we are both on each other’s team, seeking earnestly for the best outcome in good faith. We want this to last. We want this to work. But we’re hurt. But we’re human, and let’s face it: criticism sucks.

So let’s stop getting worked up and get to the core of how we’re feeling: disrespected, unappreciated, or not listened to. It’s true that occasionally we won’t measure up, that our best measurements of our best expressions will pale in comparison to the expectations we’ve established for a dynamic romantic enterprise.

We will get let down. We will be unkind. We will be impatient. We will be thoughtless and act selfishly. We will forget when we shouldn’t and sometimes remember when we should forget. We will be tired and hangry and “Look, I’m just not feeling it right now, okay? Can we just go to bed?”

Together we are climbing a steep, steep mountain, with uneven rocks and uncertain outcomes, just trying to make the best of the equipment we’ve got, which isn’t a lot, and keep the faith despite the rocks, and promote the best, most gosh darn-amazing love we can imagine. Firey and deeply connected.

But our scenes are unscripted, so it’s no surprise we slip up and hurt those we love most, even with the best of intentions.

In sum, I’m sorry. I’m human. Let’s make hot chocolate, cuddle, and watch scary movies on Netflix.

Warmest regards,

K.

Days crawl
Going slowly
In the moments
We notice: we’re unchanging.

Until we notice: that we are
Or that we did.

When did we?

We’re keeping pace
Keeping up
‘Til were not.

Then we stall.

We take stock.

Each day
Each moment
Each notice, minted
– Magnificent.

It’s tough to reason
How we plan the seasons
As though we stand cemented
In familiar conventions.

But we change
With the seasons
We’re affected.

It’s more than depressive.

We’re so inchoate.

We don’t know it.

But we think we do.

So we say, “Be like me.”

I’m happy. Take a leave.

Or stay. Either way.

You’ll be fine.

I’ve known users and boozers,
Spent some time at nine
Hotboxing in a car
While my dad and his friends
Were getting high
And lots of men who
Took me for road loads,
Which taught me it was
Cool to drink and drive.

So I was feckless,
Drove an Escort so reckless
It stalled on the ride –
On a death wish,
Running from the pain inside.

What’s more – abusers,
I’ve seen all kinds.
It was violent in youth,
Called the cops as a tot;
My pa was beating my ma.

And as a teen in revolt,
I was shunned and shamed,
Told I wasn’t loved,
Had a stepdad who thought I was gay.
I was too much trouble,
And for others, I was more than a pain.
I was choked by a bloke;
He thought I needed constrain.

But lo, I was better
Or so it was thought.
So I was isolated from love
And told I had to shut up.

I suffered from others’
Intolerance, complexes, and trauma.
Instead of understood, I was punished
For my acting out and drama.

Looking back I can see I was a typical teen
With confusion who just wanted friends.
Stuck in an environment that taught me
Anger and alone defined so-called men.

The system suspended me,
Counselors played favorites,
Teachers were angered and gave me demerits
I lived a life in vexation,
Lost and mistreated.

So today I seem different and awkward when greeted.

20190907_174122[1]

A love etched in a park bench
Marks a day in more ways than
Remains of the pen or sharp edge.
Minds are molded in those days
By glee in the moments that spurred the whim.
These are the moments that signify –
We have lived.

These are the times in awestruck, warm glance,
The days of play and evening embrace,
The days of the first loves uttered,
The days that invite a longing heart
In the long travel to follow.

One might say to herself,
“These were the days that I lived,
The days that I played before it was hard,
Before I knew strife or an adulterer’s remorse.
These are the days that I cherished most dearly.”

And a wise one will say to her young,
“And so shall you.”

enormoussmallness5

An illustration from Enormous Smallness, a biography about E.E. Cummings, an inspiring hoper

I’m stressed
Overworked and just a mess
I like to practice mental rest
Mindfulness to soothe distress
I’d like to write, read many books, and plan for tests

And plan for papers

And plan for work

And plan for plans so I can practice mental rest

But I’m upset
I’d like to explore and play and swim and joke and snort
And cuddle in a pillow fort

But I’m pressed for time
There’s much to do
Seriousness about hullabaloo

People in charge have decided that funs too fun
And, “Well, there’s a time for that”
It’s set for seven; haven’t you looked?
It’s there within our discipline book

You’re grown now, after all
If you’re to succeed, you must learn to settle with less
What’s all this with creative work, sincerity, and imagination?

Don’t you know the worlds at war?
Our nation’s facing several disgraces
Don’t you know there are czars and greed?
Don’t you know you there are drunks in bars and poverty,
Anxiety, and people in the streets with no food to eat?
Responsibility means you must pursue industry

Adults show up, despite disease
You’ve committed; our society requires you to be
Tired and buttoned-down – to the tee
Speaking of, have you practiced your golf swing?
You’ll need to if you will compete most effectively

Be grateful, it once was worse
Children had to work and didn’t learn
And hours lasted and smoke would burn in city streets

You see: the world is unkind
People lie and care for their lives
They forget they’re kids inside
And choose to hide behind a role that they decide

It’s confusing, I know; I feel it too

And what are we to do?

There’s a secret thing
I’m so happy to share with you:
Don’t listen to those authorities

It’s scary, I know, but success just needs faith and hope

Don’t sacrifice who you are inside
To be a part of something that makes people mope

Hear your heart and help your friends
You might need to plan now and then

But it’s okay to take the time for jokes and snorts and pillow forts

And live your life
Don’t give it up; just keep focus
Practice your passion and commit some time
You might fail but eventually you’ll notice

You’ve built a life you love
And the dreams people told you to believe were true
They were just a bit tough
There’s no right answer
So don’t worry, keep going, and do what’s right for you

Western Civilization

Western Civilizations, 2009 – Brian Dettmer

It’s all fun and games,
Until someone grows up
Then come the anxiety, neurosis,
Man’s rivalries
We crave love.
Escape the pain
Through video games, drugs, and the LA dynasty;
It starts to feel like it’s not enough.
Hype beasts and iconography give rise
To champagne idolatry
Try to stay tough.

Self-will and good books
Overcome our Byzantine ivory
Scared they won’t accept us.

Those authorities, so sure,
Standing upon divers of mighty degrees –
Lending credibility
Ego fuels the corrupt.
The devil’s a good effigy to enforce our morality
Muster the force to speak up.

Or bury our greed and deplete our license with lies
It’s fine. It’s all right.
True, most of us just get by,
Craving comfort and love.

Art serves to shine a light on humankind;
It can unite or divide, destroy or inspire
Hacks trade what’s right to serve their own devices

There’s a thin line between connection and good service
When you’ve ignored the voice in your heart
And live in comfort despite those hurting,
Ask yourself, “Was it worth it?”