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19.5k · May 2014
Strong
Rod E Kok May 2014
I’m strong, I can stand
against the buffeting winds
that try push me down.

        (I’m weak, too easy I fall,
       giving in to the pressure
       that mounts from within.)

In the face of your discrimination,
I’m courageous
       (I fear your abuse)

Yes, I am strong.
Though my gnarled hands
bend with age,
my roots…

        (break, there is no
       vigor left in me)

Sighing...my mind twists
that which should grow
into a solid foundation,
turning it into

        (groans of pain,
       mental anguish.
       Weakness takes over)

A tired thought dances
through dim light,
bringing some joy
into the
  
       (bleak. All I see are
       shadows. Mocking shadows.)

Once I believed I had it,
an inner strength to deal
with anything.

        (Like a mirage, my spirit
       couldn’t grasp what it needed.)

Now I envision…
no, I see what I truly am.

My hands are wringing,
I’m cold...so cold.

I am
not
strong.
This is the 7th piece I wrote in the Anxiety collaboration. This piece was the chosen one, until I wrote another piece. If you have read all 6 poems in this series, you will see a progression from dark to not so dark. Each piece has emotion, lots of it. I have to admit that this one was the hardest to write, as the emotion hit me very hard. I was mentally spent after writing and editing this (although there was very little editing to be done). As I was in my 'writing state of mind', I cried. Yes, dear reader, some poetry does that to me. I was overwhelmed by emotion. I have not yet figured out if the tears were borne from the poem, or if the words flowed out as a reaction to where my head was at. Maybe it just doesn't matter.

This poem is the 2nd last one in this series. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you, in some little way, took a journey with me. Maybe my words have revealed something in us that we don't want people to see. Maybe you just simply can't relate to any of it. And there is always the risk that you laugh at me and my words. This is all fine. I have grown. I have learned. Smiled and cried, I've run the gamut of emotion in this series of poetry. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
April 2014
11.0k · Oct 2014
Changed and Changing
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Somewhere

Somehow

I can’t identify when
it changed.

I saw things differently,
my eyes no longer covered
by an opaque way
of thinking.

Sunshine brightened this world
with unimagined colors,
butterflies broke free,
songbirds warbled lovely tunes.

Amidst emerging beauty
words became
every day’s lifeblood;
I found my voice.

All around me,
there was change,
yet everything remained
the same.
For it was me
that changed.
Reborn, rewired.
My heart drummed
a brand new beat.

Driven by transformation,
I wrote. I write.
Adding a dash of color.
Singing harmony
to surrounding melodies.
I am changing.
I am writing.
I am a poet.
This is my first poem for OctPoWriMo. The word prompts are: chrysalis, butterfly, transformation.
6.2k · May 2014
Darkness
Rod E Kok May 2014
Darkness.

Laying here, alone
        weary
          empty

I've withdrawn into
deep shadows

I can't see the pain

but your voice,
   your condescending rage
rattles against my cage.

I've never understood
you...I blame the drink
for randomly possessing

your eyes
seeing me as a target.

I don't know what to
expect.
   physical or mental
it's all torment.

I'm sick of walking
on the eggshells which litter
that fabric which we used to
lay on
   together.

Now I hide from you,
   from your demons that can't find me
in my darkness.

Darkness.
This is the 4th piece I wrote for the Anxiety collaboration. It is the darkest of them all. This one shows the progression, or rather, the regression of my mindset as I wrote. My mindset was dark, darker and darkest, and then went back up. I believe the poems I wrote reflect that. If you've read the previous two pieces I wrote for the collaboration, I think you will see it as well.

After I wrote this piece, I knew right away that it would not make the cut. It never had a chance to be the final submission to the artist. But I kept it, as it is part of the journey. If I recall correctly, it was this piece that convinced me I did not want to go really dark for my final piece. And so, this poem taught me a lot...about myself, about my poetry, and about what I wanted to contribute to Nicky's collaboration set.

Once again I urge you to not read too much into the words in relation to myself. I do not feel the emotion as written. But please do read the words knowing that somewhere, somebody feels this. The emotion is real. Maybe we can't relate. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Rod E. Kok
March 2014
4.3k · Oct 2014
The Purple City
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Dark shadows drew us in,
we hid in quiet privacy.

There was no hurry
to forge this perfect
embrace,
we would not rush
our hearts desire.

Somehow this was different.

Chaste hugs of the past
grew into
this moment.

Our feelings developed,
slowly we became
more than friends.

Finally it happened,
our first kiss,
with only the rain
serving as witness.

As the purple city surrounded us,
we gave in.
Our breath mingled,
seemingly time stood still,
and it truly was
magic.
Happy Saturday, dear reader. Today is the 25th day of #OctPoWriMo, and the prompt is 'magic'. I used this opportunity to tell of a life event, a magical event. For the readers who have seen the purple city (and I suspect there are few), it will evoke images of a wonderful setting. For everyone else, do a google search for 'edmonton purple city' and follow the gigcity link to understand what I am referring to. I hope you enjoy this poem, and maybe you'll be inspired to find your own purple city, and create memories that last a lifetime.

Rod E. Kok
October 25, 2014
3.1k · Nov 2014
My Mask
Rod E Kok Nov 2014
I wear a mask
so nobody will see
what lies behind
my eyes.

I live in a semblance of
normality,
but reality plays tricks,
pretence is the lie I live.

My ever changing facade
reveals what I want the world
to see
to understand.

But it’s not me.

Precious few know me,
or see me in all my
weakness,
because I hide
that which would frighten.

It’s easier to exist
in a world where expectations
are met,
and I can be the man
they want me to be.

So here I am.
I look just like you.
Just please don’t try
to remove my mask.
2.9k · Oct 2014
Music We Whisper
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I could swim
in what the sea says
is life and light
but watching our dreams
is music we whisper
Today, dear reader, we got to play with a magnetic poetry board. I used an online one, and came up with the poem for the day. There was no theme, just let let words take you where they may. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 17, 2014
2.8k · Oct 2014
My Take on Fairytales
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I don't believe in fairytales
it's really not my thing,
I've never told my children tales
of dragons and of kings.

We’ve watched some shows
on the T.V
of Rubbles and the Stones,
we watched them drive around their cars
of ***** rocks and bones.

I’ve read them poems
of ancient deeds,
they rode a trojan horse.
Those bards of old
could tell a tale,
words of truth of course.

We’ve sung our songs
of buses wheels,
and Irish unicorns,
but now we hear
the beating drum
marching until morn.

I don’t believe in fairytales,
it’s really not my thing,
I will not teach them, I’m too prim
they really are quite Grimm.
Hello dear reader, today's prompt for #OctPoWriMo is 'once upon a time' and 'happily ever after'. That's right, we are delving into the world of fairytales. Nothing about my work in the past has indicated fairytales, but I really stepped outside my comfort zone on this one. I think this one is fun, whimsical, and downright playful. And it rhymes. Go figure.

Rod E. Kok
October 16, 2014
2.6k · Jun 2014
Breathe
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
Breathe.
Warm caress against your skin,
tendrils of love embrace you.
Playful whispers and
whimsical sighs take us
on a journey of
love.
A breath of passion
enriches our lives
as we breathe in unison,
keeping cadence with the sounds
of nature.
We are surrounded by life,
by love,
by desire...
our flame adds to summer's
heat.
Relax, my love.
I will encircle you with
a rapture which takes your breath away.
Remember, my love...
exhale. Let stress and pain
emit from your body as my adoration
holds you.
Recline in the arms of
my devotion
and remember to
breathe.
2.4k · Dec 2014
Melancholic Colors
Rod E Kok Dec 2014
I don't live in
a black and white world,
but there are days in which
my pallette is ******* up.

Love and passion
are no longer red,
but hues of grey
fill my soul.

Blues are no longer
beautiful,
but are muted versions
of angry self-loathing.

Nature is not reflected
in pastels,
but my mirror is broken,
for no light exists
in the shadow it creates.

If I truly cared to believe
that the grass is greener,
I could learn to look past
all the melancholic colors.
2.1k · May 2014
Kiss in a Storm
Rod E Kok May 2014
Puddles form
around our feet,
rain falls relentlessly.

Water drums
a staccato rhythm,
keeping a beat
of its own accord.

Streetlights bravely fight
against the deluge,
mustering a translucent glow.

Alone we stand,
laughing at our
predicament.
No umbrella, no coats...
no reprieve.

The torrent washes
over us.
Soaked to the skin,
warmth is shared
by a kiss
in the storm.
1.9k · May 2014
Believe
Rod E Kok May 2014
You’ve said all along
my unfounded fear
in my own ability
was exactly that.

Unfounded.

Not true.

I’ve tried to be
to do
to want
to desire.
But yet…

I fail.
I fall.

Down.

Your love props me up
changes my
self deprecation,
loathing and delusions
of inadequacy.

A smile from you,
a hug
a gentle touch…
kind words of support
encouragement
motivation

the falling stops
ever so briefly
and once again
I start
to
believe.
I wrote this one quite a while ago, and it got lost in the myriad of unpublished completed works. It's not a happy piece. I am guessing I was not in a good place when I wrote it.
1.7k · Oct 2014
Eyes of a Child
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I didn’t ask
for harsh words.
I merely wanted
a ball glove.

Bruises of my youth
will fade,
but memories of your anger
are seared forever.

I sought protection,
but only received excuses
which smelled
of whiskey and
stale cigarettes.

You called me
a mistake of passion,
you treated me
as a little lower
than your dog.

Why?
No wait…
don’t answer.

Your cruel interactions
led me to
a determined goal:
to live free.

I’ve turned madness into
bravery,
teaching others
to be proud,
walk up straight,
be courageous.

I want the world to know
my story, the history
which made me
who I am today.

I am yours,
though your denial
rots away your
last chance at decency.

I hope you see
where you’ve gone
wrong,
for I’ve told your life
through the eyes
of a child.
Dear reader, today's prompt for #OctPoWriMo is about children, and creating a safer world for them. I have not completely followed the prompt, but rather I've looked at an unjust world through someone else's eyes. Through the eyes of a child. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 11, 2014
1.6k · Oct 2014
My Last Cup of Coffee
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Murmured voices break the silence

To my right
a cute couple clink
their wine glasses together
in a celebratory toast.

Off to the left,
an older gentleman
engages an old-ish lady
in whispered conversation.
I’m guessing he’s whispering
sweet nothings to his bride.

The well dressed young man
standing at the bar
survey’s the crowd,
looking restless.
He seems to be waiting
for…

Ah, that beautiful girl
that just walked in.
Her eyes light up,
his face breaks into
a big smile.

I love the ambience
of this old place.
Red carpets,
dim lights,
candles flickering in
every direction.

My time here is
almost done.
I only need
some sugar
for this last
cup of coffee.
My prompts for today were the words sweet, chocolate, indulgence and sugar. I struggled with this, but as I sit on my couch with the Coffitivity app playing in my headphones, it came to me. I hope you enjoy it.
1.4k · Jun 2014
finding peace
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
somedays it’s nice
just to sit
relax
unwind

free one’s mind
of thoughts which
drag us down.

feet propped up
on an ottoman
eyes closed
music playing

idyllic

rye ‘n’ coke
and a bag of chips

guilty pleasures
lend a helping hand
to bring us
up

a temporary utopia
is what I need
crave
desire

in the absence
of sadness
sorrow
disappointment
I find
peace.
1.4k · Oct 2014
Colour of Life
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Yellows, greens and reds
teardrops fall on resting land
the colour of life
Dear reader, it has been some time since I've written a Haiku. As I was travelling today (a 6 hour drive from my parents place to home), I was thinking about the #OctPoWriMo prompt for day 13. Colour. What does colour mean to me? And as I was driving, I decided to write a haiku, mostly because it was a form I could work with in my head, and have my wife write down the nonsense as it came to me. And so, somewhere along Highway 2 northbound, my poem was born. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 13, 2014
1.1k · Oct 2014
Counting my Blessings
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I spent my day
counting blessings.

One gift of life
that my father
and mother
welcomed as me.

I know how to count,
two follows one,
but amidst much thought
I can't see three.

I'm stuck, entrenched,
mired in the glue
that holds me
where I am.

This second blessing,
the one that defines me,
is like manna from Heaven.

Two hands, holding steadfast
through ups and downs
life and death
sickness and health.

Two looks, eyes to eyes
passing an understanding
through a mere glance.

Two hearts, intertwined
to become one,
beating to a cadence
of love.

I counted my blessings
and got stuck at two.

For there it was
Me and you.
My second poem for #OctPoWriMo
1.1k · May 2014
Deaf Ears
Rod E Kok May 2014
It’s wrong. All is so very
wrong.
My dreams insist on being
a harbinger of nothing
positive.
   (No sunshine at night)

Rumination lays bare
sins of the past,
I’m saddened by what I did.
   (We all make choices)

Hiding my thoughts,
my dreams,
the desires that exist
in a secret place
cover me in an unholy sweat.
   (Get behind me, devil)

There is no understanding
from those around me,
friends abandon the sinner
   (cast not that stone!)

Apologies aren’t heard,
much less accepted.
Ah, the tears that flow
don’t reflect pity,
only remorse.
   (Why can’t you see that?)

Forgiveness is all I want
I beg for it.
On my knees, I make my
impassioned plea.
   (it falls on deaf ears)
Here is the 5th poem I wrote for the Anxiety / Release collaboration. It is dark, but I don't feel it as dark as #4. There are some really cool ideas in this piece, and I remember being fairly happy with it. The only thing I don't like is that it seems to end very abruptly. But it is finished...I have nothing more to offer this particular piece.

Rod E. Kok
March 2014
991 · Oct 2014
Hands and Feet
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Put your hand in mine
I whispered to
my newborn son
I’ll try to keep you
safe and warm

Put your hand in mine,
together we will fight.

Let me carry you, my boy
for your feet are weary,
even though they have never
carried a load.

Lend me your hand,
dear Michael,
for once you are gone,
I will see your prints
on my heart.

Walk with me
in memory,
dear child.
For someday,
we will walk
together.

Put your hand in mine,
and bid us farewell.

Lay quiet, my baby boy
Jesus will take you
home.
It is very sad that I am unable to post pictures to accompany my poem. To see the picture that really enforces this piece, please visit my website www.rodkok.ca and read Hands and Feet
990 · Oct 2014
A Picture...For You
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I write my words
to paint a picture,
one of hope,
of love.

I’d awaken passion,
if only I could.
We could walk on beaches,
listen to ocean’s roar,
dedicating that moment
to the rest of our lives.

I’d dry your tears,
write your pain,
your suffering
into the depths
of the sea.

My pen draws pictures
of swirling lines,
surrounding us,
holding us close
in each other’s arms.

I pray my inkwell
never runs dry,
my quill flying across
pages of love.

I pray my words
comfort you,
warm you
and fill you
with pictures of us.
Together always.
For today's prompt, we were given a bunch of quotes from different writers / poets / famous people. I chose a line from Leonardo da Vinci. There is so much more I could have written in this piece, but I chose to keep it simple. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 14, 2014

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
885 · Oct 2014
Moonscapes
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Memories of yesteryear
Our long walks
On moonlit paths
Not a care in world
Save for each other
Cautiously holding hands
Approaching love
Precious reminiscence
Everyday grateful
Solitude together
Hello dear reader. Today's prompt for #OctPoWriMo was to write about the moon, and how it affects us. I didn't use any of the word prompts, but the one 'feeling' prompt I used was based on the word nostalgic. Also, this poem marks the first time in this challenge that I have strayed away from FreeVerse poetry. Today's work is an acrostic. Thus, the name of the poem is Moonscapes, and the first letter of every line forms that word. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 8, 2014
875 · Oct 2014
A Polite Smile
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
Beneath black curls
beautiful eyes said
I’m wrong.

I’m not some experience,
much as I know
my grasp is better
to be weighed.

While time creeps,
caution.
They haven’t ignored it.
Waste time.
March down.
Crush them,
make an example
of his enemies!

It maddens me to listen,
explaining things that
accomplish much.

His eyes found themselves
locked on the wave of
anger, crying.

You gave the best,
you chose
a polite smile.
Dear reader, the 18th prompt of #OctPoWriMo is 'found' or 'blackout' poetry. We were asked to take the page from a book, and black out all the words that don't belong in the poem we want to write. I chose the book Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llewellan, and my wife chose page 350. And so, I took a picture of the page (I wasn't about to color in one of my favorite books) and armed with Photoshop, I created, or found, a poem. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 18, 2014
868 · Oct 2014
Alone
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
asleep
immersed in dreams
subconscious thoughts of you
warm and safe in our bed, alone
come home
Hello once again, dear reader. The prompt for day 27 of #OctPoWriMo is sleep. We were given some key words to work with. I was curious as to where this prompt would take me, and the result is quite unexpected. I decided that I did not want to write in my normal form, which is free-verse. I have stepped outside my comfort zone a couple times this month, and have enjoyed every minute of it. Discovering new ways of exercising my brain and honing my craft is exciting and refreshing. I did write an acrostic poem and have a nonet as a WIP, but neither of these will get published for now.

Today, I went with a cinquain. You can read about this particular form here.  In short, it is a 22 syllable poem, non-rhyming, with the syllables per line being 2, 4, 6, 8, 2.  I don't know if I strictly adhered to all the rules, but there are different schools of thought about the cinquain, different ways to do it. I did stay with the syllable count, as that seems to be the most important. I hope you enjoy this poem. It is very much in line with what I posted on day 26. The prompt naturally led me here.

Rod E. Kok
October 27, 2014
862 · May 2014
My Reality, My Life
Rod E Kok May 2014
Past and future come together
in a maelstrom of emotions.
Swirling delusions
illusions
collusions
render my thoughts
unintelligible.

My stomach knots,
knowing I need to face
you, and your torrid
condescension.

Cold sweat beads on my body,
I shiver in the exact opposite
of anticipation.

Too much going on...
I can't deal with stress...
work, family, health.

Life.

Great expectations guide me down a road
travelled by those who judge.
Actions of yesterdays haunt me,
hide me from facing light.

You're not helping.

I cried out for support as I met
new friends, co- workers,
challenges.

You laughed at my burden,
shared my unease with your friends.
They shared your laughter
while nobody dipped a toe
into the pool I was drowning in.

Past and future collide
forming the present.

I live in restlessness,
imagining the worst,
feeding off a dish of foreboding,
drinking from the cup of delusion.
This is my normal.
My reality.
My life
This is the 6th piece I wrote for the Anxiety / Release collaboration. When I wrote this, I thought it had a very strong chance at being my submission. I personally think this was the most powerful piece I wrote up to this point for the collaboration. I was (and am) very pleased with some of the imagery I came up with. I think my favorite line is 'You're not helping'. That line says so much to me, I still get shivers when I read it.

I hope you are enjoying this journey through darkness with me, as I guide you down a path of poems that are focused on Anxiety. I have received very little feedback (which is fine), so I am not sure how this series is being looked at. Nevertheless, dear reader, please read the work, even if you don't want to interact with me on it. Please understand the sweat, the tears and the raw emotion that is plugged into each piece. It truly is exhausting. As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read my work.

Rod E. Kok
April 2014
841 · Oct 2014
Two Sides
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
doubt
questions
doubt myself
no confidence
my own worst critic
motivation is gone
I hunger to find it back
I long to feel good about me,
feel good about the words I’ve written
but I don’t think I can do this much more

overflowing with confidence, I write
ambition rises like a phoenix
fires of yearning burn aloft
passion for writing to you
joy of sharing my soul
hunger to write more
words are my life
I will write
words of
love
Day 28, dear reader. Day 28. I never would have thought to make it this far into #OctPoWriMo, but I have surprised even myself. And what is more surprising is that I am enjoying the art of 'thinking outside the box'. I have tried a couple different forms, and tried a couple different approaches. It has been enlightening, and a growing experience.

So, what does today bring us? I have written a double etheree. An etheree is a 10 line poem that consists of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 syllables. A double etheree is the same, except the order of lines/syllables is reversed in the second verse.

Today's poem shows two sides of me, both of which very much are real. At times during #OctPoWriMo, I have felt both sides. Thanks to those who have encouraged me *cough Jessica Scott cough* to keep going. The theme we were given to work with was 'hunger' + a secondary 'feeling' word. I chose to use hunger not as relating to food, but rather in relation to my writing and my craft. I hope you enjoy today's offering.

Rod E. Kok
October 28, 2014
839 · Jun 2014
beyond the hurt
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
days have passed by,
sun and moon running
their course

time has moved on

each day blending into
the previous one

tomorrow holds promise
of healing,
yet the future
never arrives

we are left to languish,
wondering about our ability
to forgive
forget

move on

it’s easy, it’s hard
I’ve made a mess of
trying to clean up
the pieces of
my broken heart

my face smiles
my heart cries

I hide behind lights
of darkness,
afraid that someone might see
me

and my broken
desire to write words
of peace.

I seek your friendship,
your respect
your love

for that is what will take me
beyond the hurt.
790 · Oct 2014
Kiss in the Rain
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
a light drizzle falls
as we walk
hand in hand.

streetlights pale glow
cuts through the somber
dawn.
muted street sounds
keeps our path
tranquil.

damp shoes provide
no warmth to our feet,
but somehow that just
doesn’t matter.

a quiet shadow beckons,
I pull you into it’s depths.
wiping raindrops from your lips
no-one is witness
to an impassioned kiss.

soaked clothing provides
a cold barrier,
yet our romantic fervour
is heat enough.

a light drizzle falls,
but we are oblivious.

cloudy days provide
their own rainbow,
it only takes
a kiss in the rain
to see it.
Day 19! I am finding it hard to believe that I have managed to 'stay alive' through the first 18 days of #OctPoWriMo. It is a real challenge to write a poem everyday, never mind to write something that others might enjoy. I am very overwhelmed with the positive feedback I have received, and for that I thank you all.

Today's prompt is rain, and we were given a list of words we should try incorporate into our work. Those words are melancholy, drizzle, damp, rainbow, cloudy, grass and somber. I actually wrote 3 poems for this, and wasn't really satisfied until the 12th edit of the 3rd poem. And so, I share with you today's poem, and sincerely hope that you all get to experience a Kiss in the Rain.

Rod E. Kok
October 19, 2014
746 · May 2014
The Little Ship
Rod E Kok May 2014
Feelings persist,
gnawing at my core,
burrowing
inch by ****** inch
through the fabric of
wet, clammy skin.

Maybe I should remain
alone...

What if I am not
good enough?

Deep breath…

you can do this
is what I am told
by sadism buried inside my
troubled mind.

Don't worry...everyone will
   (laugh at you)
think you're wonderful.

One step at a time,
time keeps pace with
wildly jumbled thoughts
of inadequacy.

Convincing myself I can
leave my hole,
sweating to
over-worked imagination,
it is only a bottle
that allows me to sail away
on the little ship
contained within.
This poem is the third one I wrote for the Anxiety / Release collaboration. Yes, the third. And no, there was not a second. The second attempt never got finished, and thus will never get posted.

This particular piece is not my favorite, and definitely not one of the stronger ones I wrote for the collaboration. I think it is fairly obvious why it did not make the cut. Yet I am posting it. Why? Well, I want to give you an idea as to what I went through as I contemplated, ruminated and struggled with as the process went on. This poem is dark, and I remember that I was in a fairly dense fog (mentally, not physically) as I wrote it. But I can't help but feel that there is something missing, something incomplete with this piece. I can't put my finger on it. I did edit this piece a bit long after the actual writing date, and it did make it better than the original.

Once again, I ask that, at the very least, you can appreciate what it takes to write this dark poetry. It is not just random words, it is a thought process that starts as a tiny idea, and with a heavy heart and foggy mind, that idea grows into something....scary.

Feedback is always welcome.
619 · Oct 2014
My Very Own Reality
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
My painting is colored
with words.
Shapes of emotion,
caressed into pictures
of passionate love,
become my personal
Picasso.

I wear a cloak
held together by
the thinnest thread,
barely keeping me warm.
Yet I will write a fire
into my heart,
surrounding me with
life-giving heat.

My blood flows
from fingers performing
a dance, staining the page
with smooth routines,
gracefully conveying
a message of hope.

My mind spurs me on,
to achieve heights
of creativity
never before seen.

My soul is laid bare,
knowing that every word I bleed
is my very own
reality.
Good morning, dear reader. When I received the prompt for our October 24 poem, I was as un-inspired as I'd been in a while. I really had no idea where to go with it, and seriously considered avoiding it completely and posting an un-related piece. But, in the words of a new acquaintance and fellow poet, inspiration is fickle but is rarely unfaithful.

The prompt we were given was based on 4 different reality TV shows. I freely admit that I don't watch any of them. So, rather than being inspired by the actual shows themselves (the letter of the prompt), I created my poem from the premise of the shows (the spirit of the prompt). Our prompt TV shows are 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Project Runway', 'FaceOff', and 'Ink Master'. I have never heard of 2 out of the 4. Our prompt words are 'Make-up', 'Tattoo', 'Dance', and 'Fashion'.

In the end, I was inspired. I hope you enjoy this poem.

Rod E. Kok
October 24, 2014
615 · May 2014
Oblivious
Rod E Kok May 2014
Do you even realize
what damage was done
when you spoke?

Is there understanding
that your words
caused pain?

Under a guise of humor
I was brought
to my knees.

Will you go on forever
not knowing what you
accomplished?

Or do you secretly gloat
over the knife that found
its mark.

I consider you
a friend, but as I pull the blade
out of my soul,
I have one hope...

That you are
oblivious.
This poem is not targeted at anyone in particular, but rather it was born from pent up frustration at the way my craft and my passion for poetry is perceived. You may not like poetry, and I appreciate that. It is not a genre for everybody. You may not understand the words I write, or relate to the things I write about. That's cool. Not everybody gets it. You may not like me, and I appreciate that too.

Read the poem. I will take the knife out, and carry on. And maybe someday my words will mean something to you, and you will understand.

Rod E. Kok
May, 2014
576 · May 2014
Thanks for the Ride
Rod E Kok May 2014
They said I was wrong
in the head, a case study
for the shrinks.
Neurotic, psychotic...
and a few other
- otics and - olics.
Uniqueness allows me to stand out,
drawing attention by my lack of
animation, but they call it
a case.

Although I try to live
normally,
quiet pressure builds
from outside and my skin
turns clammy.

Studies show...
blah blah blah...
a vacant stare as I
withdraw from forces which
label me.

I am failing in my effort
to remain whole,
'at peace' is barely registering
in my need to co-exist.

With quickening breath,
life giving air eludes my
needful lungs. I cannot see
beyond the red rimmed
glasses of my tear-filled eyes.

Furtive glances reveal
those who wish me
locked away, or at the very least...
hidden.

Why?
Why me? I truly am
defensible, responsible,
along with a couple more
-ibles and -ables.

Yet you have caused me
this unbearable angst,
I can't take
your condescending looks,
touches, thoughts.

I am leaving.
For good.

Thanks for the
ride.
This poem was my very first attempt at writing for the Anxiety / Release Collaboration I was invited to participate in by Nicky Mortlock (@ArtiPeeps on Twitter).  What is this collaboration about? Well, Nicky has invited 4 poets and 4 artists to work on this. A poet will get matched up with an artist, making 4 pairs. The poet will write a piece on Anxiety, and the artist will have an opportunity to interpret the words into art. As far as I know, the 4 poems and corresponding art pieces will be on display at some point in England.

As I wrote my way through the theme of 'Anxiety', I really found myself getting dark. My first couple pieces were very dark, and gradually they became a lighter shade of grey. It has been an extremely interesting and enlightening process. The writing, the communication with the artist, exploring anxiety and learning about it. I have grown a lot as a writer, and have learned to write about some emotions that I've never really penned about.

And so, dear reader, the piece that follows is the first attempt. Do not be afraid for me. I live in a world of fog at times, but never have I experienced what I have written. The emotion is born from research, the words have been nurtured with creativity and passion. Yes, the pieces I have written for this collaboration have affected me deeply. That's what writing does to me.

I hope you enjoy this first piece. And if you don't, I understand completely. But all I ask, at the very least, is to appreciate the effort, the research, the creativity and the passion that goes into this piece, and every other poem I have ever written.

Rod E. Kok
March 2014
564 · Dec 2015
Don't Give UP
Rod E Kok Dec 2015
I won't give up,
nor will I
give in.

My story will not end
by my own hand.

Although I am led
by un-holy thoughts,
I will fight
to the bitter end.

When my eyes look away,
I will pray
for strength to close them.

If my body's desire
is to serve itself,
I will try to treat it
as the temple it is.

I won't give up,
this story
will not end.

Yet it seems so simple
to take that easy way out.

Don't give up;
I won't
give in.
545 · Oct 2014
Oh Canada
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
A cowardly effort
a nation left in tears.

Defenseless,
selfless,
a soldier fell
in the line of duty.

Standing guard,
a war memorial reminds us all
of the freedoms we have,
paid for in blood
spilled in bygone days.

paid for in blood
spilled yesterday.

Freedom was attacked,
but cowardice failed.

Our heroes prevailed,
for we don’t live in fear,
but stand together,
united in our love
for this great land.

Cowardice failed.

Our voices join in unison
singing O Canada,
true north strong
and free.

Sadness will remain
for loss sustained.

Families mourn,
a nation weeps.
We will rise up,
providing comfort.

We will not fear.
Cowards cannot win.
God keep our land
safe from evil,
strong in faith.

We turn the page,
a new chapter is
written.
Words of courage,
bravery, heroism
fill the pages.

And when history is told,
there will be no doubt.
We truly do stand
on guard
for our beautiful land.
536 · Feb 2015
Grounded
Rod E Kok Feb 2015
We flew together,
soaring higher than
our dreams ever took us.

Hand in hand
we rode warm currents,
watching earth slowly
getting smaller.

An eagle followed us,
screaming displeasure
at our intrusion
in his lofty kingdom.

Laughter echoed
between majestic clouds,
love carried us
along this magnificent journey.

We took flight,
holding each other
tight.

And though it seemed
like we were flying,
we always remained
grounded.
524 · Feb 2015
Symphonic Love
Rod E Kok Feb 2015
We should lay under
warm blankets,
listen to slow music,
and let a symphony take us
to breath-taking heights
as love provides
melody and harmony;
you and I
together.
Forever.
509 · Oct 2014
Alone in the Dark
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
You have left me alone,
surrounded by darkness,
my heart starts pounding,
my breath quickens,
palms slick with sweat.

I am cold...so cold.

A hair falls from my head,
hitting the floor,
a booming thud.

My old grandfathers clock
calls out time,
midnight has struck
a fearful chord deep
in my soul.

In my bed
there is no warm place
for me to hide…
you are away
(only for a short time).
Please come home,
so I can sleep.

Mysterious footsteps echo
down empty hallways
of our deserted home.
I am alone…
alone with whoever
(or whatever)
lurks in the shadows.

Unreasonable fear
pervades my being,
I wait for dawn.

Waiting for light,
my mind plays tricks.
I cannot sleep,
mysterious sounds whisper
thunderclaps in my room.

Please come home,
so I can sleep.

Please….
come home.
Dear reader, day 26 of #OctPoWriMo has us confronting our fears, writing about what scares us. There are many things I fear. I fear rejection by my peers, by the poetic community, by friends. I fear things that I simply will not share with anyone but my wife, I fear stubbing my toes (a curse of big feet). I have serious fears, debilitating fears and silly fears. And it is the silly fear that I am writing about today.

Once in a while, my wife and kids will go to spend a few days with her parents, and I am left alone at home. I hate it. I hate every moment of an empty house. I especially hate the nights. Will you laugh at this piece, or rather, laugh at me for this piece? Possibly. I don't fear that, for I am writing this in the light. And my wife and kids are by my side. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 26, 2014
498 · Jun 2014
Through Closed Eyes
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
Worry not
for me,
I will be fine.

Look not upon my frailties
as something I
control,
or my weaknesses as
choice.

No one is in a position
to judge,
we all hide something.

I chose to admit
I cannot swim against
currents of despondency.
I have revealed a part of me
which might have remained
buried.

A struggle of mind,
at times there is
no hope for
tomorrow.

My false exterior
has faded,
a heart is laid bare
for all to see.

I hope you understand,
or at the very least
don't judge.

There is no room
for black and white
in a technicolor world.

Please do not worry.

And please don't look
at me
through closed eyes.
484 · Oct 2014
Just Because
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I never thought
to write again,
after self-doubt
and a loathing
for my words
infected me.

Knife wounds left
me scarred,
negativity to my craft
left me adrift
on a sea of questions.

But I healed.

The bleeding was stopped
by a true passion
for that creative sequence
of thoughts which leads to
poetry.

I healed.
I became strong.

I no longer feel
a need
to justify my work.

I write because.
Just because.
Day 9 of #OctPoWriMo brought a prompt that really made me think. For today I was challenged to write about why I write. Why do I continue creating poetry (or short stories, or any sort of writing). Why? Read the poem. It answers the question. Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 9, 2014
450 · Oct 2014
It is Finished
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
It is finished.

A journey of sharing
is over.
I do not know how
to deal with this.

From the excitement of early morn,
being prompted to write,
to the wonderment of late evening,
seeing how many actually read
my work.

It is finished.

A truly heady experience,
emotions ran rampant
for 31 days.

I gave you my heart
on a readable platter,
my soul was visible
to all who cared to see it.

It is finished.

Never have I written
so much poetry,
rarely have I had
such a feeling of
accomplishment.

I am a blessed man
to have met
so many
great poets,
great writers
better people.

It is finished.

Time to breathe,
time to relax.
For in the big scheme of things,
it has just begun.
Dear reader, it is a bittersweet day. Today marks the end of #OctPoWriMo.  I can honestly say that I am a bit sad about this. Every day for the past 31 days, I have written a poem based on a prompt from one of our wonderful organizers. Every day I have pushed myself. Somedays it came easy, some days I struggled mightily. But, I did it. And I am proud of it. I probably wrote close to 40 poems in the past 31 days. Knowing what I have done serves as motivation for what I need to do...I need to write. It's in my blood.

Thank you to the organizers and prompters for taking us on this fantastic journey of poetry. Julie, Morgan, Amy and Tamara...thank you. If I missed one someone, I apologize and offer you a special thank you as well.

Thank you to all the poets who contributed their poetry. Reading your work gave me so much inspiration. I have made new friends, and for that I am grateful. Also thank you to all those who read my work. I am humbled that little ol' me could write something that so many enjoyed. I hope our journey together doesn't end here.

And that, dear reader, brings us to my final poem of #OctPoWriMo2014. As the tears fall from my eyes, and as my heart beats a little bit faster, let me say that it is finished.

Rod E. Kok
October 31, 2014
423 · May 2015
It's Not What It Seems
Rod E Kok May 2015
Morning dawned,
a new spring day
arose from night’s
comforting embrace.

Ah, spring.
Our sun is heating us
more and more
while winter’s dark doldrums
pass into obscurity.

Sounds of nature awakening
should be coming through
the bedroom window.
Chirping birds,
children playing.

And then....

And then I looked
out.

A howling gale
beat relentlessly
against my windows.
Flakes of snow stuck
to my sidewalks.

It looked cold.
It seemed cold.
It is cold.

Spring has sprung,
but it’s kiss is frigid.
It seems to be a good day
to stay in bed.
This poem is written as a description of something that it isn't. Make sense? Enjoy the poem.
412 · Oct 2014
Passing Years
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
The years are passing by.

Without fail, we watch
a timeless passage into
tomorrow.

Daily I pray for
our love to remain
strong.

Without fail, we make
mistakes, causing hurt
grief
sorrow.

We forgive.
We forget.

Time moves on,
and we grow
together.
Passion does not fade,
our own brand of romance
keeps our hearts warm.

Without fail, I realize
the truth.
If not for you,
there is no me.

All that I am
is for you,
because of you.

The years are passing by,
and we are watching
their passage.

Hand in hand,
in love.
Together forever.
Good morning, dear reader. The prompt for day 29 of #OctPoWriMo is love and relationships. We were given a pretty broad field to play in, and I chose the one that comes naturally to me. My poem today is for my dear wife, my best friend. The line in this poem that is my favorite is 'If not for you, there is no me'.  What is your favorite?

Rod E. Kok
October 29, 2014
403 · May 2015
A Different Life
Rod E Kok May 2015
I have lived my life
surrounded by concrete,
bright lights,
speeding cars,
next door neighbors.

My own brand
of peace,
of solitude,
of quiet.

It was all an illusion,
for time has been filled
with constant
busyness.

Now, as I get older
I long for something
different.

I crave nature's wild sounds,
I desire impenetrable darkness
that holds my deepest secrets.

I fear that my thoughts are exposed,
what with all these streetlights
shining like dented halos
around my very existence.

Alas, it is not meant to be.
For as I draw near
to the end,
I suppose it is too late
to move towards
a different life.
This is the poem I wrote as a warm up for #NaPoWriMo. Over the next month or so, I hope to post all of them.
402 · May 2014
Off My Feet
Rod E Kok May 2014
I am perceived as being
strong
confident
unbowed by the winds
that besiege me from
every direction.

Yet branches in
my mind are buffeted
by fears of inadequacy.

Nobody sees my tears,
or feels my pain
as the roots which hold me
weaken under stress.

I fear judgement from my peers,
so I hide.

What truly exists inside
gets painted with
an opaque veneer,
a disguise made up of
words, smiles and laughter.

I try reach out,
offering a glimpse into
my tortured soul...
fear draws me back,
back to the shame I feel,
to the disappointment I have created.

Failure is mine.

You tried to help,
crawling to me, your own tears
laving my feet...
I pushed you away
out of despair.

I pray
for a gentle breeze
to caress me,
but the answer comes
in a gale.

And knocks me
off my feet.
'Off My Feet' is the 8th attempt on the given theme, and in my humble opinion, it is the strongest. I believe that the words are the culmination of the previous 7 attempts. Out of all the poems and words I wrote for this collaboration, this one is the most personal. I can honestly say that there are many things in this piece that reflect me. Maybe you didn't know that about me. Maybe you can't see which parts I am referring to. Do you see me as confident, as being able to stand against the wind? Yes dear reader, this poem is deeply reflective.

It took 7 attempts to come up with what I wanted to present to the world. It took 7 attempts to write about me. Although the previous pieces have elements of myself, none so much as this one is like looking in the mirror.

This is another poem that reduced me to tears. The weight of emotion and self-reflection was simply unbearable at that particular moment. I know that a good number of you will not be able to understand this, and I am very cognizant of that. But I needed to reveal this...it is the first time I have bared myself in this manner.

Please, dear reader...don't judge me. If you don't get it, read the Anxiety series of poems (and the introductions) and try to understand. At the very least (and this I have asked before), please try to appreciate the words. Appreciate the emotional journey the poems take you on, acknowledge the power and passion of the message that I am trying to convey, and please be sensitive to the fact that people we know exist in the world I have written.

As always, dear reader, I encourage interaction. I love feedback, positive or negative. I am deeply grateful for the time you have taken to read my work, and I encourage you to read this series of poems (starting with ''Thanks for the Ride'') and ending in this piece.
381 · Oct 2014
Seasons
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
There is a new chill in the air,
my aging bones attest to
its bitter sting.

Dog days of summer have passed,
change is in the air.
Colors change,
moods are different.
All around us,
melancholy sets in
as we prepare for
winter’s doldrums.

Through arthritic reminders,
my body prepares to battle
this northern climate’s
failure at global warming.

Yet it’s not an end
to anything,
but rather a beginning.

Fall into winter
so we can
spring into summer.

It really is
perfect.
Here's is today's challenge for #OctPoWriMo: Write a poem influenced by your feelings about autumn. Do you see autumn as a beginning or the beginning of the end? Chose at least three from this list of words below.
The words: chill, renewal, death, rebirth, harvest, melancholy, aging, change
I hope you enjoy today's offering.

Rod E. Kok
October 5, 2014
378 · Oct 2014
Perfect Comfort
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I wasn’t there on the morning he arrived,
it all happened too quick, too early.

Receiving a child from God
mimics perfection,
a glimpse of Heaven for a time.

Michael was born imperfect
(we all are),
his illnesses overcame
the fight he put up
(with help from his doctors).

What comfort is there,
amidst imperfection,
surrounded by
false perfectionism?

What comfort is there?

He fought, but lost the battle.
He tried, and won the war.
For in perfectly appointed time,
he passed
from my arms
to the most perfect arms
of Jesus.

That is
perfect comfort.
Today's poem for #OctPoWriMo is a very emotional one. Initially I wasn't going to go this direction with the prompts, but it came to me very suddenly. So I wrote. And quite possibly, I even shed a tear while writing. For those of you who know me, you know of the loss my wife and I suffered almost 15 years ago. Today's poem, guided by the prompts of perfection and imperfection, speaks to that loss.
Please enjoy.

Rod E. Kok
October 6, 2014
369 · Oct 2014
Nothing Got Started
Rod E Kok Oct 2014
I can do anything
I can do nothing
nothing is easy
nothing is hard
hard to be impulsive
hard to be encouraged
encouraged to write
encouraged to live
live to tell the story
live to dream
dream of love
dream of you
you are everything
you are my rock
rock on the ground
rock and roll
roll with the punches
roll in a circle
circle of life
circle of light
light from the sun
light from the moon
moon in the sky
moon is full
full of adventure
full of hope
hope to succeed
hope to be happy
happy with you
happy with me
me and my fears
me and my words
words that rhyme
words of passion
passion for love
passion for work
work at school
work at home
home sweet home
homeward bound
bound with chains
bound for the end
end of this blitz
end of the day
day is over
day has started
started to write
started to smile
smile
write
Hello dear reader. Today, I decided to go in a different direction than I've ever gone. I am branching out, and trying a new poetry form. It is called a poetry blitz. The blitz is meant to be read quickly, leaving yourself only time to breathe. As I read more of these over the course of #OctPoWriMo, I have found that I really enjoyed them. That was my motivation to try. I did try to include some of the word prompts / feeling prompts we were given.

Rod E. Kok
October 22, 2014
361 · Sep 2014
Learning to Write...Again
Rod E Kok Sep 2014
I am prepared
to experience
joy with pain,
success via failure.

My mind is opening up
to creative vibes,
my muse is beckoned
once again.

I long for
that euphoric ******
when a new poem
is born,

yet I fear a block
which prevents any thoughts
from becoming
alive.

Write! Ignore all obstacles
which stop my passion
from existing.
Think outside the box.

Listen.
Feel.

My heart will guide
inspirations into
words.

And through it all,
I will learn
to write again.
360 · Nov 2014
Abandoned No More
Rod E Kok Nov 2014
A torrent of musical notes
carried me along a wayward path,
dark and sombre, it was a dirge...
funereal in its essence, a haunting chant
painted black slashes across
my page.

I cried for support, for help...
a prayer to a God I thought
had abandoned me.

Never am I free from falling,
my ears still hear grim melodies
that have an unforgiving harmony.
My feet stand on the precipice,
my eyes looking into the chasm.

Yet through the cold silence of despair,
a warming embrace takes in my heart,
soothing whispers clothe my naked soul.
I am not alone.

For now I see that trail which leads me
through the valley.
My confidence is renewed,
faith is gifted out of grace,
and I am taught to trust
in my God, for he alone
will never abandon me.
Hello dear reader. This poem is the first one I've put on my website since #OctPoWriMo ended. I have written a couple poems, but I am saving them for the book I am planning to put out in the near future. I wrote this poem fairly quickly, as it seemed to flow into what you'll read below. It in no way reflects my state of mind at this present time, although I draw on experience to convey the message. I hope you enjoy my first offering of this month.

Rod E. Kok
November 13, 2014
349 · Jun 2014
Hidden
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
A childhood favorite becomes
something with
an entirely different
meaning.

      (count to 10
         then try to find me)

Today, yesterday
tomorrow
it has become
a game for one.

      (8...9...10! Ready or not,
          not one is coming.)

Nobody gets close
in this solitary
game.

Feelings and thoughts
are well disguised,
only slightly revealed
through cracks in the wall.

      (Where are you?
          Where did you go?)

Sequestered by failings,
inadequacy paints a veneer of
confidence
self esteem
vibrancy.

None of it exists.

      (Are you still playing?)

This childhood game
is renamed, redefined.
For if anybody seeks,
I shall remain
hidden.
337 · Jul 2014
Limits
Rod E Kok Jul 2014
An endless view,
wispy clouds interlaced
with majestic blues.
Everyday I gaze up,
telling myself that I am looking
at the only limit
which exists.
Rod E Kok Jun 2014
Under my blanket
of darkness,
your whispering voice
reached deep into
this tortured soul.

Your resolve,
holding me in love's embrace,
kept me warm.

That tender caress,
offered unconditionally,
slowly drew back
coverings of self-loathing.

A prayer offered up,
amidst tears of anguish,
answered in a love
only you can provide.

You only offered
encouragement.

That is what I needed.

No judgement or rebuke.
You had no
'easy fixes'.

As I lie
in gloomy shadows,
your soft touch
cooled my burning skin.

I fell from a confident perch,
remaining prostrated
beyond the light.

But you...

you became
my strength
my words
that song which lent power
to my weakened mind.

You are my everything.
You gave the desire to stand
on my own two feet.

Thank you.
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