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

For the New Day

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The brimming heart of a new day
begins with a slow stirring within
 
A shaking off of nocturnal dreams
a deep, long stretch the body through
 
A feeling of joy for nascent things rising up
from toes to belly to the top of the head
 
And most of all, a wondrous belief
In what stays despite all the going
 
In the calm on the other side of tumult
In the ability of the self to just carry on
 
Which is to say, in the unwavering love
that is always flowing in both directions.
 
– TS

Hello Beauty

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Hello beauty,
the arch simplicity of a new day beginning
the sun knowing without knowing,
the ground our vast, churning revolution
of dynamism and receptivity,
host to our place in it,
above and below,
wandering in between the shadow and light
of all there is,
if we will,
take the time to witness
to encounter and really see
what comes before us,
if we can,
come to be like the sun,
and know without knowing,
and feel without judgment,
from every corner and crevice of heart,
and the beauty, once revealed,
never to part.

The Way of the Sun

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I see, in the miraculous way
the sun makes her sure descent,
 
my own place in this world.
The sun gives us this gift
 
In her sure movements, regal
and decisive, sweeping across
 
lands in constant invitation.
I stand and watch the sky
 
sigh plush and heavy at dusk,
heaving at the last letting go
 
in tufts of orange, grey and pink.
I, too, sigh, with the weight of
 
the undone, my heart hammering
in her caged dome, unlike the
 
sun before me, a fireball ablaze
with the potential for all that is,
 
offering me, even now, her golden
embrace. I stand before the mountain,
 
shaking at the wonder of all the ways
in which I am here, and not here, and
 
I take it. The sun’s persistent rotations
that allow my fluttering, fledgling
 
trajectories. Warning of the dark,
soothing, always again, with her light.
 
– TS

Can We, Together?

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Will you hold me when I ache,
when the day that changed the world
nears its sweet dusky end?
I thought I could do it alone,
stand here in the face of
these bald transmutations,
chest thrust out
like the immutable warrior
I would like it to be,
and hold my gaze,
and reach with ease
to the song inside me
that echoes the great one harmony.
Mistaking myself for one of us, I feel
I would like to be a tree for birds,
water, sun and rain for trees,
I would like to be the mountain
that appears to need nothing at all
as though it arose from
its own history
we can neither approach nor grasp.
The parts that are broken inside
aim for the top of the mountain
(and I’ll never make it this way)
instead of circling around it,
maybe barefoot, maybe on my knees,
where there are those who are
always ready to take me
as one of their own.
Before I forget again, I ask,
Will you guide my hand into yours?
Can we ache and burn
and laugh and dance together?
 
– TS