on a labor day

It’s a spooky town. The breath of its deep darkness hangs in the air. Walking these quiet streets, I can feel the rage and torment, the lostness and grief of the men who struggled with their lives for bread and liquor and their place on earth, the bruised women who toiled with terror and hope and despair, the dreamless children who walked the rail in their dirty clothes.

The place seeps perhaps not with their ghosts, but with emotions so intense they linger through the years in the shadows of the looming houses, those vulgar homes too big for common sense, the ones the workers never stepped inside. But those terrible feelings, they permeate the very streets, wash the entire town with a laughing anger, in a final futile conquest of this place. 

Because they own it. They own this town, the specters of that otherwise pointless life-or-death struggle. They are gone and utterly forgotten, but they have an icy grip on this place and they wring it, wring it, choking it with that rage they cannot purge. 

And so inside the quiet rooms of the mansions, in the alleys behind, on the corners of the trendy little main drag, the desperation plays out still. No lessons learned, this labor day, the money still changes hands while a baffled earth looks on. The drugs and the alcohol somehow ensure the clock gets punched, while others tread the mill in their trance. They wake up to breathe another day, the vague sense that something different could exist still somehow pushing the blood through their veins. But there, in the distance, the rumble of the train, soon the whistle blows. Like I said, it’s a spooky town.

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Stand for Freedom

the tall man

The tall man walked into her dream clearly unaware he was in her personal space. 

He looked around for a moment then headed toward an outlet in the wall where a cord was plugged in. She watched him stroll right up and simply pull the plug. 

She rushed in and told him no, no that has to be plugged in there. She took it from him and plugged it back in. 

He apologized and proceeded to go about moving other things around.

Soon, another person arrived loaded down with various items. The tall man helped to unload it all into the space, smiling and chatting pleasantly all the while. The other person came and went several times, each time bringing a load which the tall man carefully dispositioned in the space. It was a seemingly miscellaneous collection of items, most of which seemed to be old or used.

The tall man went about his activities in her space as she looked on. She finally struck up a conversation with the tall man, who turned out to be very easygoing and congenial.

She couldn’t help but wonder who he was. He seemed quite intelligent but never really gave a clue about his profession or background. Still, he seemed to know everything about all the items being delivered into the space, and showed no interest in everything that she already kept there.

She asked the tall man to tell her about some of the things being delivered, which he was only too happy to do, in great detail.

They wandered off chatting. Distracted by the tall man’s steady banter, she didn’t notice as he casually pulled the plug again and turned off the lights as they walked out the door. She never for a moment thought where it was she was going, or that she might be leaving her space behind. 

Still talking, with a smile on his face, he gently closed the door behind them. She never even noticed the soft click of the lock as they headed down the path. The tall man clearly knew the way.

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Stand for Freedom

creativity is a need

When the words don’t want to come, I soon discover that my other creative endeavors are stymied, too. 

When I feel a block in my writing, I think to myself, “I need to stitch,” or, “I need to paint.” I gather my materials, feeling assured that the project will kickstart my writing again, only to find myself staring at my supplies. I find I’m stuck in that area, too.

The muse does not discriminate. If I am feeling resistance to writing, it’s creative resistance across the board. And this is a problem. Creativity is a need, not a want, in my world.

Fortunately, I have learned a few things from such moments. I don’t know how others do it, but they work for me.

Discipline. The thing about writing, for me, is you just do it. You just show up and start. It might be a rough start, but you generally get into gear at some point.

Running/walking outside. Probably the biggest single source of activated inspiration in my life. Meditation in motion, in nature, rain or shine. Goes hand in hand with discipline.

Nature. Just getting out in it always nurtures:  breathing the air, feeling the sunshine or wind, noticing all the colors, scents, and sensations.

Permission #1. Importantly, I must give myself permission to be creative, affirming that it is a legitimate and desirable activity for which I am perfectly qualified. I wrote a little about this topic here as well.

Permission #2. Every now and then, I also realize I need to step away for a moment because something is percolating. In those times, it is best to let go and allow the space. Good time to go for a run, huh?

Pretty simple stuff, but it works for me. Maybe you have some tricks of your own?

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Stand for Freedom

awaken

crickets chirping.
a bird’s clear note.
a star-filled sky
slowly giving way
to the sun 
spilling pink into the horizon
reaching toward
ever more blue.
trees standing in silhouette
until the light infuses
every growing thing
and the air
whispers everything awake.
these, at least, are truth.

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Stand for Freedom

ours

We belong in this world.
We are the elk standing silent in the mountains
we are the wolf treading the darkness
the polar bear crossing the tundra
the geese winging the skies
the person walking the trail
the whale plying the oceans
the honeybee tasting the nectar.
We, we are the ones that belong here.

We belong in this world
and the world belongs to us,
not to governments or institutions or corporations,
it belongs to us.
And when those constructs
fail to serve, and worse, destroy,
we need to remember
who we are.
This world is ours.

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Stand for freedom

leaf on the tree

i am but a leaf on the tree
a petal on the flower
i am only one feather on the wing
what can i do
i feel the buffeting winds 
trace the sun’s inevitable path
abide in the falling rain
it is not enough to simply bear witness
as this strange scythe now makes its brutal swings
i do not wither and fall
but flutter with song
bloom with fierce color 
soar in defiance on the winds of spirit
i grow whole and full
abundant in my many dimensions
knowing i am essential 
for i am the weathered oak, the burgeoning lupine, 
i am the heron poised and ready at the river’s edge
i stand beyond the blindly grasping sweep
laughing
i am truth

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Stand for Freedom

blank page

How is it that this blank page
is the only refuge
the only safe space for retreat
beckoning with promise of shelter
a place to finally breathe
and find nourishment
to discover the nurturing mother
and know hope
resting even, perhaps, in delight
while the demons scurry about
in their unending, frantic parade

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Stand for Freedom