It Is Not Like I Am Trying To Ditch Poetry, But Poetry Won’t Let Me Anyway

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It Is Not Like I Am Trying To Ditch Poetry, But Poetry Won’t Let Me Anyway

When my speaking voice
My writing prose, writer’s voice
Are released to run free into the wide open spaces of the blogosphere and the world wide web
Compressed language, brevity and pithy phrasing
Fail me
You could say I am a long-winded fool
A verbose jaw flapper, writer of long and winding words
Lover of the adverb
Repeater of things, lover of and
Funny how you swear you don’t give a twit or a flea or a flick
About what the naysayer’s say
Because
Isn’t it odd that the naysayers take up more space with their naysaying than the non-naysayers

So you go into your place where you hide all the brave
And you pull out all the tools and the stops
And you assess things, take the lay of the land
(Names have been changed to protect me)
Hold your finger high in the sky to take an opinion poll
Check the collective temperature of the crowd that you aim to please
Imagine what all the readers want to read
Second guess the lay of the land
And craft the project to fit the need

And loose yourself in the process
(Flipping through the Yellow Pages you search and opine the lack of  attorney’s who specialize in break-up’s
Between poetry and writer, writer and poetry)
Wondering if you’ve flipped a switch
Most folks would just ditch the poetry without a thought
Not even looking back

You start to write some words of the Dear John sort
Tell poetry how grateful you are to have had her help in shaping your prose
And gently console her with what would I have done without you’s
(She is a she, poetry, duh)
And you get out the hats and blowers and confetti
Send her on her way
Tell her, “Have you seen the poetry section at Barnes and Noble?”
(There is a poem about that, you can Google it, I wrote it, I should know)

Have you been in the room with people who look a hole as wide as the Hoover dam
Right through your insides when you say “Poetry”
And people with M.D.’s and degrees
And retirees and Ph.d’s and common people who are civilized and polite to the n’th degree
On all other occasions but this very one
Givers of the blank stare (they are grieving your loss of sales as they drop their jaw)
And you swear
And you swear off poetry
Well not really off, just less

Settle into the place that the naysayer’s swore was the safest bet
And the surest sure thing

The place where the agents live and thrive and the publishers always go
And then for the life of you
You decide to go down swinging
To take your beloved poetry with you
To leave no poetic child behind
To go after the one lost poetic soul
To bring every poetic voice home for a proper, oh never mind

It is not like I was trying to ditch poetry anyway
And even if I was
It won’t let me

Anyway

Look for poetry to find a place
And settle into at least a chapter or verse
Of the long-wided wind bag’s
Imaginary book of dreams
The names have been changed to protect poetry

A Few Things I Learned In June {Joining Emily Freeman}

I learned a few things in June. What a month. Packed with life in all its wonder, glory, joy and pain.

I am still processing so much of what this month revealed to me. And if you have been reading along here for awhile you have heard me say “I am a slow processor.” Think the crockpot of cookeries up against the ultimate microwave. I process the things of life which I ingest over a longish period of time. Hours not minutes. Days not hours. Often.

That is to say, I am not ready to share all that I have learned. But here are a few things which I am longing to share.

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1. When we choose to do that one small thing, its impact is multiplied. Simply put, simple things can and do become grand things. Small gestures can and do become life-impacting.  The Small and The Simple are to be embraced, cherished and sought after. They take on the attributes of the magnificent. Capitalizing the lowercase things of this world.

They, after all are the game-changers, the life-changers, the emotional softening of the hard and crusty places. In June alone, I have seen this played out over and over and over again. My eyes leak and my heart hurts at the beauty and wonder of the transformative power of small. Look with me. Do you see how beautiful the small things of this world are. In a wink, a blink and a nod there are pieces of beautiful waiting to be captured, recorded and cherished. Cataloging life this way fills me up to over-flowing.

And I am learning this again and again. I am learning and believing that this is the way we are meant to see the world. I am a slow learner. And slow is really okay.

2. As a writer, I am called to use my words. And as a reader, you are invited to enter in and see the picture on the canvas that is the page. Have you seen the gold balls that drop down from the heavenlies. I found two pods this week.

(If you follow my instagram feed you may know I am in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for a respite). You can Google with me….there is a tree which drops gold, rounded pods. And they are fragile as parchment paper, bumpy like a golfball, golden like Oriental silk. And beautiful. I am always looking for wonder and posting what I find on Instagram. It helps me to stay awake at the wheel. And no I did not take a picture of the golden balls. But we will find them on Google together.

The day I found one, I proclaimed. Gold balls are falling from heaven. No anomaly was that. I found a second. Don’t we love Google for solving the earthly mysteries, like gold balls which nature has made. Amazing.

3. Voxer is my new best friend. This I did not learn in June. This I have had amplified in June. As I am writing this post I am Voxering my very special friend Shelly Miller in London  (which by the way this “What I Learned Series” is a favorite tradition within the bloggy world  – thank you very much Emily Freeman)

Voxer is a phone app which allows you to talk, walkie-talkie style, text and send photos. Welp. That is pretty much a communication dream package, you hit the lottery, what more could you ask for. I know there are some downsides somewhere in there, but for me (and I haven’t even up-graded to Pro yet) it is the bomb-diggity. People. I get to stay in touch with writers, bloggers and friends all over the whole wide world.

4. Releasing often, maybe always involves trust. A young couple approached me at the gas station last week. They asked me for one dollar and fifty cents. For the bus. I cannot stop thinking about their need. Their circumstances, because they told me the Reader’s Digest version of their story. I am still thinking about them. Hoping for them. And when I remember to I hope I will pray for them. That small interchange, eye-ball to eye-ball, exchange of money from my hand to theirs leaves me changed. Who asks for so little. Why didn’t they go for a 20 or more. They had a need for a bus ticket from one town to the next. Small again. I wish I had been willing to give them more.

5. People like to talk about their gardens. If you know anyone who has a garden, ask them. How are your radishes this year. How are the rainfall and the soil in your world. Ask them what is thriving and what is wilting. I think the vocabulary of gardeners is the vocabulary of the soul. And if you want an ice breaker, conversation starter, or if you just want to connect on a human level with another human being, ask them about their garden. Open the garden gate and see what transpires. And you can ask yours truly about hers or follow me on instagram, where beginning July 1, it is all about my garden and chickens. AGAIN.

Gardens are a beautiful, never-grows old, metaphor for life. A place of paradox. Life and death, thriving and struggling, flourishing and floundering.

How does your garden grow?

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A Matter Of Grace

Grace

A Matter Of Grace

For the life of me

I cannot find where it stops

And starts

There are those who have the off valve at their disposal, and those

Who cannot find the switch marked “on”

They,  being of a large herd of people, otherwise known as sheep, who hear his voice and claim to control the grace valve

For the life of me

I stand under the pining Jesus, starring, as though never before having been introduced to grace which is my imagination at work, because I have known grace for an eternity, marveling at raw new grace as if for the first time, for the life of me and all the sheep

And I ask him to stand by me

As if we were looking out in tandem, out at the world on the cusp of another July

And I ask, in a muffled prayer, and squint the eyes of my heart, because they are closer to 20/20 than my old eyes, arriving upon another July

“Where does the grace begin and end?”

Because

For the life of me, of which there have been 56 July’s, to add a frame of reference to some of the things I’ve seen

And I weep and he wails

This artist has depicted him bent and bemoaning

And I as an artist, writing of grace, I feel it is perfectly fitting because of the pain

And for the life of him

I cannot find the end

Of unceasing grace, unending gift, a long tangling and untangling of one more lagnaippe, gift upon gift, generously unfurled

From on high, an example of how to unfurl the fists, clenched

The hands in the crucifix hold the flow of grace

Upon grace

For the life of holy, sacred

Him

For the life of me, I think I may now see, the one more small added grace, upon the existing grace, upon the extended grace, upon the amazing grace, upon the forever and ever amen grace

ad infinitum

let grace flow

For goodness’ sake, for the life of Him in us

Joining Laura Boggess. Because it is Monday

Both Sides Of My Mouth: Lamentations and Praise

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Both Sides Of My Mouth: Lamentations and Praise

Don’t call me duplicitous
Call me human
As I look to the Divine
Rent in two
Ripped and torn
Half here and half there
With a mouth full of lamentations and praise
I have pushed the cheek full of both
The tongue is muted in the mystery of the days
Hoarding the praise, as if it would leave me wanting
Malnourished because of its lack
In a diet
Heavy with lamenting

Heat and heavy hang in the air
It is summer and it is the South
But it is filled with grief and loss
So it is heavier and hotter and more burdensome this year
Rife with pain
Heat and heavy hang here
Suspended in the invisible netting of  time

But I have a place to hold on to both’s and and’s
Do not call me names
Filled with an unknowing
The Psalmists knows this place well
Where they dwell
Across the pages
One from the other
Lamentations and Praise

I will raise a hand to wipe a tear
And I will raise another to point to that which is worthy of praise

C0-inhabitants
Side by side
Prayers running over the cup
I am weak and can barely lift it to my
Two lips
One whispers grief
One praise

Lift the cup for me
And I will life the cup for you
I am drying tears
They mix with sweat on the brow of the mourners

We cannot turn the page, yet
We are called into a time of grief
Joy will come in the mourning