something there ~


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was there ever
here before
some refrain of yesterday -
a flame
beyond the dark
to lure us home
a story left
for making sense
as want for one last time
a fate designed by more
than wishful thinking

a stand of pines
a bed of dreams -
beyond the river
is something there
reminding us
of ways by which we came
to find the truth
was bound to us

for reasons
I dare not explain
life implores the soul -
fading tender graces
older scars
are weaved into the making
of all we’re come
to be

lines are crossed
into the light

. . .

starting over ~


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the morning sun
is burned into these places
I am found
as fleeting was your memory
of when
and how it was
I knew of you -
the same as times before
from the start
of starting over
was a kiss
without a name

. . .

drifter ~


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of this soul
how much is known
of loves beyond

a diamond sky
and buried stones
exists of all
I am

I knew before
tho I can’t say
what of when
I wandered

of nights into you
as the first

of ancient
above the path
familiar unfamiliar

before the fathers
gave of breath
a name

. . .

where secrets hide ~


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you find me here
pressed between the pages

a verse or so
you never meant
to write

is colored
by carnation
to match
the aging sun
lines erased
passions to ignite

these fragile sheets
where secrets hide
beyond the grasp
of time
eternal as a moment
where history is laid

in words -
the heart
remembers us
the same

. . .

but for this ~


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Recently, a friend posted something about control and it stayed with me through the day. I kept coming back to it, such that I eventually conceded that maybe it was something I needed to write about.  Maybe it was a conversation I needed with myself. so that I understood more clearly.

As with everything I post here, I would expect you to take what you will from it. And if it doesn’t work for you, well, it doesn’t work. That’s exactly as it should be.  I would hate for anyone to see this as anything more than opinion.

Now, where was I?loveme

All of us are familiar with the obvious signs of control, with individuals who insist that everything be done their way. They set the rules for every relationship they have, with only a cursory concern for anyone other than themselves. But there are other ‘less obvious’ things that I have come to view as control, and I’ve struggled with coming up a definition that works (that expresses my thoughts). Maybe, for me, it’s a grey line that ultimately comes down to expectations.

If you do something nice for me, with an expectation that I will do the same, that’s a form of control because your heart isn’t concerned as much with the giving as with the getting back. If you wash my car because you’re planning to ask me to watch your dog on Saturday, I view that as a form of control and the kind act is somehow lessened. Of course, I realize that I could thank you for the car wash and still refuse to watch your pet, but that’s a bigger pill to swallow because it requires us to ignore the kindness. See?

Yet, this stuff happens all the time. It’s a give and take (o, the games people play). Even the best relationships are filled with these subtle interactions (dance), as perhaps they should be. That’s why the line is so fuzzy – because it’s not so easy to see when a gesture becomes a job – when a kindness becomes a debt – when a good relationship becomes not so good. From my perspective, the line is the expectation.  At the precise moment that I thought less of you because you didn’t respond or react the way I wanted, it stopped being about my love for you.

I’m not perfect (yeah, I’ve said that before), and I’ve behaved in very unloving ways at times. I regret those and, in retrospect, I can see the instant I crossed the fuzzy line. In some cases, I just wanted someone else to feel as badly as I. In others, I was convinced that tears or ultimatums would somehow swing the odds in my favor. But, if I look closely (and honestly), those were times when the only thing that mattered was that I got what I wanted.

And that’s a control issue, no matter how easily it might be to defend.

If I refuse to keep your pooch, and you blow up, reminding me of how you washed my car……..well, there you have it. If I get angry because I don’t get my way and somehow make it all your fault, that’s a control thing. I am absolutely sure of one thing – if you wish to see who someone really is, watch what they do when they don’t get what they want.

“Anyone who loves in the expectation of being loved in return is wasting their time.”  From my personal experience, I might even argue that they just think they’re loving.

As you would expect, many of my students are experts in the art of control. Family and friends are manipulated by the notion that their loved one will be homeless, without food, or even suicidal if they don’t pay the electric bill, keep the kids, or buy them clothes for a date (with the guy who is going to change everything).  It’s not hard to understand why so many are without any support at all; they’ve become masters at burning bridges.

I rarely have a class where someone doesn’t approach me with a need of some kind, and by need, I mean something beyond that which I’ve openly offered.  Those who know me might wonder how I could ever say ‘no’, and yet I’ve come to understand that (sometimes) in helping, the only thing I’ve done is delay the lesson.  I’m not even sure they notice how their perceived need has become something more – a means for measuring.  They’ve done it so long that they’re oblivious to the demands they make on the people who love them (as proof of that love).

It’s everywhere. Employees tolerate an ogre of a boss because they’re afraid of losing their job; men so afraid  of losing everything that they settle for a co-existence rather than a relationship built on love; women who trade their voice for nicer kitchen cabinets and granite countertops.

The world is filled with takers, those who can spot a kind heart across a busy freeway. The really sad thing is that there are kind hearts out there who want so badly to be loved that they will accept whatever they’re given.

“What we all want, really, is to be loved. That craving drives our worst behavior.”

The best relationships are defined by those with no ulterior motive for love. True love is never a dependency; it seeks only to be.

“I am surprised how difficult for people is to say “I love you”. They only say the three magic words when they are sure they will hear “I love you too” back. C’mon! Spread the energy of love without expecting anything! Cowards are incapable of expressing love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”

what of this
my heart shall break
and leave upon your hands
the stain
the promise
I was waiting for
is not for want
to come again

. . .

once the same ~


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how many times
have I heard tell
of blossoms in November
beyond the reach
of reason
where memories are laid
flickers bloom
the faintest scent
of mystery and myrtle
evermore is not so far -
awaiting you
to dream

with stories
of your wanderings
beyond the reach of light
beyond the edge of knowing
where to go
moonlight sits
in shadow
of every present tense
would know the way
you knew
to find me now

wrapped in yellow flowers
as once the same you loved -
grew along the pasture
with lavender
and sage
remember how
the cedars stretched
to block the view of morning
of prying eyes
before the skies
were blue

what winters
have you tucked away
in hollyhock and briar
beneath the fold
where all your secrets lay
of heaven come
one night to find you
standing by the gate
caught between the first to leave
and coming back
to me

. . .

a place I keep ~


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Many years ago, my Christmas holiday was interrupted by a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. On Christmas eve, I was called to assist with the birth of a calf. The mother was down, and the calf was breech. A cesarean was needed to save the life of both the calf and mother. Once an animal ‘gets down’, time is of the essence.

But this writing isn’t about time, or about calves. It is instead about something else I learned that night. I suppose I was naïve in thinking the human body is more like the board used when playing ‘Operation’ than it is a sack of potatoes. I expected everything to have its designated place, and that is true but only in a very general sense.wealth

In order to get to the baby, we had to do a lot of moving of other things. Imagine a tub full of water balloons in various sizes, and you’ll understand what I mean. Anyone familiar with this would understand how a baby has room to grow; how a tumor has room to grow.

The body is an amazing thing in this way, and in some ways, the heart is the same. I’m not talking about the physical heart (the viscero) but rather the center, where our deepest feelings are stored. It is much like to the cigar box I had when I was young. It held my treasure, and I’m fairly certain that someone looking in that box could tell what mattered to me, could formulate some version of my story. The heart is just that, an accumulation of thoughts, emotion and feeling. And like the body, the heart is able to always make room for more.

As much as I love, I’m confident that I cannot ever be loved-up, to the point where I can’t love any more. It is my belief that the more you love, the more you love, such that the heart is forever growing larger.

But the heart can hold more than just love and pleasant memories. It can harbor bitterness, regret, resentment, and hate. In some ways, these things do to the heart what a tumor does to the body. They don’t really belong, but the heart makes room for them.

untilIknewAnd the heart carries them. I imagine the lightness of love and kindness, and how much bitterness and regret must weigh in comparison. Forgiveness, when given, surely has almost no weight at all, but carried too long (held back), it becomes heavier and heavier, weighing us down. Like a tumor, it poisons everything we know, taking more and more of our joys, our happiness, our dreams.

Imagine my cigar box. If I insisted on keeping every rock thrown at me, in no time at all, there’d be no room for feathers.

of all I have
my joys to keep
the first to kiss
my last
a jar of jam
a house my father owned
make my bed
of feathers cast aside
by downy flight
draw my bath
from rivers
nearly gone

. . .

falling stars ~


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what part of me
is without place -
but for my ways

will they need a map
to find me -
here I am

on paths untouched
by fortune
the age of God
would speak to me
of heaven
coming down

as close
these eyes to memorize
the mystery of one -
a droning song
of blush
against the night

of another time
I slept in fields of snow
don’t need a dream
– tis all the proof
I know

the distant sound of
falling stars
becomes a lullabye
of cricket serenade
– an angel sigh

to take the breath
of wonder -

where hush relearned my kiss
as ancient lives
aglow beneath the pines

. . .

made us to story ~


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these hands
how they love you
as lips to your song
of a place
I was going

near a bend
in the river
where cattails are free
to move without music -
as one
with the waves

were rocked
by an ocean
in love with the sky
remade us to story
of clouds
filled with rain

how distant
endearing -
the thundering boom
rattles the windows
when I hold you
this way

. . .


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