Love is Real

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How many times
I’ve tried to find you
using the only
language I know
in hopes bringing
you closer,
 
But my eyes
were travelling
faster and farther
than I could
keep up with;
you knew.
 
I couldn’t find
rest at all.
I didn’t trust
that in stillness,
you would
find your way
 
(to me. That
this is what you
wanted, too)
 
I couldn’t close
my eyes, which
gave me, at least,
enough of the
world to pacify
my fearful heart.
 
But this is
no longer enough.
You are here,
yet not here; my
blindness compounds
the closer you are.
 
My belly knows;
it pulsates,
Feverish.
My heart knows
it has been in
darkness too long.
 
What terrorizes me,
beyond the seen,
will take me to
everything. I know
this now. You
always did.
 
Will you wait
as I close my eyes,
and still my fledgling heart,
and trust that
the whole world
remains, and bigger
 
(and that you will
still be here, and
that love is real)?
– TS

The Day that Changed the World

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Today, something a little bit different. I wanted to share with you a stream-of-consciousness poem I wrote while waiting for the US election results to come in last November. As emotions surged that I didn’t know what to do with, I turned to the page (to the computer, to be honest!) and poured everything inside of me onto the page (screen). This has not been polished or edited in any way, and it is not pretty and it was not made with an audience in mind. It was a piece of me in that moment, unfettered. That day brought a lot of fear to me; it was not by any means my first time experiencing fear, and it will not be the last, but it was a big day, and this is me, and it is my hope that sharing this messy poem can bring us together in all our our glorious ups-and-downs …

ELECTION DAY
In a grey world, we can only
See colour through a fog.
We don’t know about saturation
So much as remember it,
Hear the vague impressions
That were once shouts: Red! Blue!
Home and ground sunk below
Where gravity never took hold
So we fly down. But we can always
Go the way of flight.
It only takes a single moment,
As an object of fear concretizes
And a lifetime of peace
Sinks into apparent illusion,
As memories have always
Made of our lives.
The world is not ours to claim,
But our hearts are. Our domain.
What better time to remember now,
Or to try to understand?
What will I do next?
I’ll prepare a soup lunch
In a changed world that
Remains as abstract to me
As the former one always was.
I’d rather come together in joy,
As many times as I’ve forgotten how,
But I’ll be happy to come together
In our sadness and shock,
And create a new, blessed warmth
To fuel the world.
Madness reigns only so long
As we feed it and let it in,
As long as we see the actual
For the true.
Still, the heart pounds,
Face flushes swooshes
Through the head causing
Pain and the kind of terror
I had once when I lost
My father’s grip in the ocean
And the universe started
Sucking me in, away from
The only world I’d known.
This never felt like an invitation,
No, it was a violation of my child me.
I want to scream STOP now as then,
Knowing it cannot and that
I am not at the center of this
Chaotic revolution.
People have been screaming stop
My whole existence and
Back to the very beginning and
It never filtered in, not like this.
Here, the selfish can be transformed
Into compassion. This is
Our necessity, the new
Life’s work.
It doesn’t matter what my head knows,
It never did.
The body soldiers on, fingers shaking
Head afire, heart quivering.
The mind is back there, in the grey fog,
With the sinking homes and
Vanishing holdings-on.
We need to grow the heart
From the ground up
Through the muck and the
Night terrors to come,
And go to where it’s green
And where delusions shatter
Into the laughing sky
And our emergent laughing souls.
Where is Jack Kerouac’s America,
That invited him in through the cracks
So that he may keep all our dreams whole,
Where did I go, who fell into his
Journeys of the road, spoke to his hobos
And saluted the sacred in our ruptures?
Where will I go, as I scramble to
Piece together a version of myself
That was for so short of time?
Who will I be as I try to do more
Than just wander through new climes?
It is a sad, mad, frantic time,
Our neighbours are not our friends
We have all become the enemy
Of peace and sensibility.
This has all happened before,
Our woes leap across time
So we can turn them into a circle,
And hold hands around it,
And weep,
And carry on.
And then WHAT?
Because even though the body is not lying
The mind is not believing.
It can’t be happening (to us).
It would never happen.
History teaches us (the right) lessons.
Even more selfish:
I and we must be the exceptions,
Immune from political and natural
Cycles and diseases.
No, it’s time to stop and dive in.
Let’s look at what we’ve made
And where we find ourselves.
Let’s get dirty with the mess of it all
And wash each other clean
Until we are shining with
Brand new memories,
If that is what we continue
To look for.
And still the blue sky is blue
And the red blood is ours
And the trees and children everywhere
And the mothers and fathers
Sisters and brothers
wait for our attention.
And still the wind only sometimes
Changes where it goes.
Love never turned its back on us.
Love cannot do that
Any more than it would.
It is ours to claim.
Yes, it is ours to claim.

  • TS

What Kind of Day Will You Have?

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Where will you go today?
Are you excited
thinking about it?
Sometimes I, too,
wake up to
such a sun and sky
that I’m sure the feelings
can no longer be contained
in this one body
on this one day.
May your day be
precious and exciting
and give you great joy.
May it fulfill a lifelong dream,
and be full of surprises.
May you be open to
surprises just like these.
And if, in the event
that such a place is
more than a little scary –
sometimes I, too,
wake up to such fear
that the world contracts
and barrels toward me
and I can’t find my
way back into it –
May you be open
to exploring your fear,
and may you have
the love and support
that can carry you through
this journey with ease.
May we all live, breathe,
dream and create peace,
and the magical world
we want to live it. – TS

I Stay

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heartland
world goes to dusk
verdant landscape blushes
as sun paints the world
one last streak of fire
for this time
 
i stay
as she makes
her serpentine descent
i mourn the world
that will soon be
shrouded in dark
 
i resist
the temptation
to leap toward the horizon
and follow the sun to
all those places
on the other side
 
instead
hands to heart
i fix my gaze on the tree
i slow down my breath
that pulses with twilight fear
and i stay – TS

To Find You.

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Farther than the
infinite bounds
 
Of our universe,
a plea, a grasp.
 
A walk through
the land between
 
You and I.
I feel parched
 
Here, the sun
has squeezes out
 
From me the
nectar of courage.
 
I retreat, head
cast down, and
 
In the glint of sand
so soft and fluid,
 
An invitation: stay.
But I’ve been here
 
So long. The story
is old. I want to
 
Shake it off now,
leave its formidable
 
Shell here to dry
in the mid-morning
 
Heat. The mirage,
too, tempts me with
 
Her guileless beauty,
for having what I
 
Could never claim
for myself.
 
I do want the very
edges of our known
 
Worlds. Don’t we all?
Where have I been
 
looking? You have
been seeing me this
 
whole time. I am
coming to find you. – TS

Do Not Be Afraid

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Breathe in peace.
Breathe out peace.
 
I do not know where
the breath comes from,
nor where it goes.
 
I do not know
how the words arise,
nor where they land.
 
A lifetime spent learning
is no preparation
for the journey of knowing.
 
Sometimes I fall
under the weight of words,
the vehicle of my lessons,
 
Their ability to
sear right through me
as though they had weight.
 
What am I afraid of?
That beyond the words,
A gate is ready to fly open?
 
That back through
the layers of spacetime
lies an origin of purity?
 
Why are we so afraid
of what is pure and benevolent,
and always open to us?
 
Breathe peace in and out.
Rest in stillness
so as to watch fear go. – TS

Joy to Fear to Love

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The palpitating in our hearts is fear.
The shaking of our limbs is shock.
The knots in our neck are frozen indecision.
The tension in our shoulders is the weight of the world.
The constriction in our throats is helplessness.
The ache in our joints is the control we never had.

And yet, it is also this.

The look on our faces is hope.
The glimmer in our eyes is joy.
The smile on our faces is optimism.
The daydreaming we do is for a good tomorrow.
The bond between us is our link to the future.
The hands reaching out to everyone else is love.

And it is not as easy as making the choice.
But it is as simple as accepting them both.- TS