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Archive for the ‘Badass Courage’ Category

everyone blames the poet
when there’s not enough blood on the page
flowing around the crevasses of every mind that begs the poet to bleed a bit more
grabbing hold of a soul here and a heart there
because everyone wants the poet to take it all away so they don’t have to stay there anymore
pausing when you read a word
wincing from the pain
laughing when you know you can’t feel anything that isn’t written in the blood of the poet
you take the poets words and walk around in a haze
just bleed a bit more
till the fire goes out and the wave stops rolling and the wind mellows to a breeze
everyone blames the poet
when the answers are so well hidden
like a flawless shell you spot when you’re walking that thin line between there and here
when the pretties aren’t neatly tied in a bow and handed to you
you have to walk a little longer
you have to bleed a bit more
everyone blames the poet for not supplying the world with wings but they keep saying jump
just jump
cut open a vein and let each word drip out
slowly
effortlessly
puddling on the page for everyone to read
everyone blames the poet when they watch the waves come in and wash it all away
but we know
they’ll just bleed a bit more

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the trouble with landmines,

you constantly look where your feet are planted,
the direction your toes are pointing,
you’ve navigated these fields before.
they try to stay hidden,
but your eyes are wide now,
you see them underneath the dandelions and the clover.

the trouble with landmines,

you pause just to hear the explosion,
quieting your breath to hear the snap of the trigger,
you brace for the blast.
blocking your movement in all directions,
zigging here but zagging there,
never a straight line.

the trouble with landmines,

you focus on the boom and not on your breath.

defuse them with a perfectly placed pause.

you can sit and wait,
you can run unafraid,
you can do both,
you should do both,

to avoid the trouble with landmines.

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lightning strikes
i cover my eyes
weaving its way through the cracks
in front of us all
shouting at the storm
we steady ourselves on your words

lightning strikes
the waves start to crest
we close our eyes and dive
unafraid
we see you walking on the ocean
our beacon
our breath

lightning strikes
sudden and full of anger
we are unafraid
linking arms because together we are strong
and you
shouting at the storm
a chorus of screams building behind you

lightning strikes
trembling and wet
the waves beat us relentlessly
and still we stay
facing the storm
and you
in front of us all
walking on the ocean

I wrote this poem for a dear friend, Lisa Bonchek Adams, who recently found out she has metastatic breast cancer. She is sharing her story with all of us here — you need to read her, it will change you forever.

I also started a facebook page for her that I am inviting everyone to join called, The Adventures of Flat Lisa, so that we all can take her on our adventures or our daily lives. We are all truly connected in this world, so share yourself.

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dare to see past the range of your eyes
a moment waiting to be learned
just beyond our vision
pieces and bits and fragments

something inside me died
but I don’t feel the loss
the space left room for more
pieces and bits and fragments

that chain was so heavy
so unmovable
holding your courage captive
you forget how to stand
you forget to shift your balance with the changing sand below
you forget all the
pieces and bits and fragments
the unfinished you
an unfinished conversation
there was more to be said
more to be heard
more words
more silences

a churning of thoughts
as unsettled as the ocean floor
trying to see how it all fits together
stop
stand back
wait
let it rest
a tether isn’t needed
cut yourself loose
you won’t float away or be lost
feel how steady you are on the uneven sand

dive into the wave
swim through the mire
dart to the surface
break it open with a scream
silence crashes in all around you
and holds you
and binds you
and forbids you
so cut the tether
let it go
be strong
be brave
be unafraid

the fragments
the pieces
the unfinished bits of me

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I don’t need 79 words to tell you what I think of you.
79 words is far too many.
79 words would use too much breath.
Breath I’m keeping for myself.
Breath I’m giving to someone else.
Breath I will simply let escape my lungs because I am alive.
And you — chained to the bottom of the ocean,
grasping at distant memories,
wishing I had 79 words to spare,
a life raft to throw to you,
… but, I don’t.

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I wish you could feel how tightly this grip is wound around my soul,
it cuts off all the oxygen that lights the candle flickering in my heart.
I pause and look and twist my way to try to loosen it.
I squirm and yell and curse and it never unravels, but I do.
I begin slowly like a single thread from your sweater that gets caught on a branch as you leisurely stroll by. You pull it, quickly, trying to remove it before further damage is done but you aren’t quick enough. It begins to unravel, more and more with each attempt at stopping it… it unravels until there is a hole — one that is visible to everyone who walks by. They try to pretend to not look, to time their glance with the movement of your eyes so you don’t catch them.
But you do.
You see them peering at the hole that started so small but now shows the world your fleshy skin underneath.
And it all started with that grip.
The one I placed on myself to try to snuff out all the worth that others could see because I didn’t want anyone to see. I wanted to be invisible, to slip under the wave and never be seen… I wanted to meld into the crowd of ordinary people gathered at the ordinary coffee shop to talk about their ordinary lives because no one pays attention to them. Everyone walks right past all those ordinary humans on their way to some other place. The place everyone wishes they were.
I wonder how tightly the grip has them.
I wonder if they smile so no one sees the unraveling.
I wonder if they laugh so no one hears the distant scream.
I wonder if they squirm when no one is looking.
That grip.
So tightly it holds.
The bruising can not be concealed.
and then…
I stop.
My movement.
My breath.
My anger.
My fear.
I breathe — deep, slow, deliberate.
I will every ounce of life into my lungs till I can hold no more.
I am filled with the life that I am claiming. It is mine, unmistakably mine.
and then…
I exhale.
Slow.
Calm.
Steady.
Peaceful.
That grip.
The steady stream of pain subsides in that instant I decided to not notice because noticing only gives it the power it never deserved. I stopped squirming and fighting and reviewing the repeating scenes — I stopped waiting for a change… I am becoming, I am becoming.
The grip is there…
always there, attempting to enforce its power over me when it knows I am barely breathing and trying to be small and searching for answers that don’t exist and wishing I was invisible.
But I am not invisible.
I am alive, still.
… the grip, it loosens.

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all these things
fill our minds and hearts
make us remember and help us forget
make us lie to stay hidden
make us draw the curtains so no one will see
all these things float around us like fire flies on a warm summer night slowly our hand reaches out to touch the light and it vanishes only to appear further in the distance so we move again and again we reach but we’re always a step behind

all these things
churn around in our thoughts
so close to answers we don’t know we need
so close the heat from reality turns us a bright shade of pink
so close we turn away from the unfolding scene
all these things chip away at the hope you hold so tightly because if you let it go you disappear and no one sees you because the hope is the only proof you were ever there but it keeps slipping out from the cracks you can’t quite cover

all these things
can not be willed away
we learn so little from sweetness
we learn too often from the leftover scars
we learn to stand on uneven ground
all these things lead us to the path we follow the one that is barren of footsteps and hope until we take our first step then the path molds to us and we light our way with dreams and the path is ours and only ours it’s been waiting for us to begin to live

all these things
look like a distorted photo
we squint to see the detail
we squint and hold the picture at awkward angles
we squint until we can open our eyes wide
all these things we think have ruined us and broken us and kicked us repeatedly when we were already pleading for understanding have made us somebody who no longer waits for the silence to break and no longer stands still too afraid to begin and no longer asks others to point us in the direction of our own courage
all these things help us land exactly where we are
… right in the midst of our beautiful lives

20120803-103946.jpg

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awake and unafraid

maggie and milly and molly and may ~~

ee cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

 .

here

in the very best possible way… you are small

dig in your toes

breathe

let the ocean wash over you

proof, you are

awake and unafraid

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must have inhaled a thousand times,
trying to escape my mind,
just pretending to be blind,
hoping you can see inside,
all these breaths,
a thousand times.

must have tried on a thousand skins,
hiding behind the walls within,
waiting for the touch of a friend,
someone who knew it was all pretend,
all these masks,
a thousand skins.

must have hoped on a thousand stars,
saw them clearly from so far,
their light crept through the cracks in my heart,
their shine would cover up these scars,
all these wishes,
a thousand stars.

must have cried a thousand tears,
like anyone who’s lived these years,
seen my share of conquered fears,
grabbed my courage and drew it near,
all these heart-breaks,
a thousand tears.

must have given up a thousand ways,
saw the smile across your face,
a reflection of a courage filled place,
knew this was my sacred space,
all these chances,
a thousand ways.

must have exhaled a thousand times,
trying not to criticize,
all us learning we can fly,
spread our wings and take flight,
all these breaths,
a thousand times.

20120713-212218.jpg
(this picture is of a secluded lake I found when I needed to take a thousand breaths)

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the alarm sounds,
the day begins.
the sun appears through the curtain,
pink and purple and orange,
the sky blazing with the colors of the day.
so much promise ahead,
possibilities are endless,
no one yet set in their concrete ways.
the light glistens of hope,
it glances at these scars that won’t fade.
turn the page,
find the words.

the dreams are quieted,
hushed by my thoughts.
the list is filled,
everything carefully planned,
all the steps of life right there,
everything in order except my mind.
covered by a questioning stare,
tell me what I’m thinking,
reveal my thoughts,
I’ll try not to disappoint.
turn the page,
say it a million ways.

take a ride with me,
these journeys are never completed alone.
bypassing every memory,
here and now is where we’re headed.
it’s an unmarked path,
bring your courage,
pack your bravery,
shake the dust off your back,
be kind to that pile of regrets,
we’re not coming back.
turn the page,
another chapter is waiting.

don’t avoid the pain,
turn it to a poem,
invite everyone to read,
don’t worry that it doesn’t rhyme.
I know the things you’re learning,
I figured them out when I let the past go.
do-overs are real,
they occur every day,
tethered by a million strands of love,
the light has always been there.
turn the page,
the plot is building.

the moon is taking its place,
smile for the stillness,
listen and breathe the empty voids.
the darkness presses against the window,
I can see its breath,
I can hear its beating heart,
timed perfectly with the bravery of letting go,
the courage of taking a step.
the night cushions you like sand on your toes,
dance naked on the shifting beach.
turn the page,
this is our story.

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