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Dear Winter, you're leaving, and oh, how my heart hurts.
I panic as the balm of your dormancy
gives way to Spring's exuberant insistence on growth.
After Spring, Summer will saunter in
with her interminably long twilights and
loud cicada choirs.
Oh Winter, won't you transfix me again
with one of your powerful deep freezes ... or a silent snow shower ... or a glint of sun-kissed ice?
Cast once more your concealing blanket of snow and frost across the land ... blemishes be gone.
Indeed, as you fade away, I long for your return.
As you approach afresh, how my soul rejoices!
That first pure white winter flake of snow.
And then more, more, more … each one unique they say.
When you're around, my mind feels at peace
as I stroll down snow-covered streets and woody paths.
There's always a hint of magic mystery in the air,
secrets hanging amidst the ice-covered branches.
I marvel with a sense of wonder at what you'll reveal next:
a woodpecker working on a hollow tree,
a flash of cardinal red,
a twinkling ice droplet catching a sunbeam.
When you light up a lot of them, way up in the tree tops,
oh how they sparkle, an array of dazzling diamonds far finer than any man-made décor.
And what fun it is when you reveal the paw prints
of so many passers-by,
their curious patterns in the night and wee hours,
secret stories witnessed only by you.
Ah Winter, if I were a composer and the seasons a song,
I'd give spring and summer staccato quarters
to fall I'd give a half
but to you, Winter, a sustained whole.
If I were a snowbird, I'd follow you south ...
to a chilly Chilean climb or a frosty Australian hinterland.
But alas for now, my wings can't carry me that far.
And so I must wait patiently, intently, for your return,
watching for the signs, longing for the soothing forgiveness of your freezing temperatures,
the purifying baptism of that first arctic blast.
Though I may admire Spring's glory or bask in Summer's bright rays, rest assured they are passing fancies.
Even Fall, with his brilliant leaves and brisk breezes, is still a distant second to you.
These three are merely my constant companions until you return.
And so auf wiedersehen my dear Winter, my love.
I'll hold you in my memory until we are together again.
I started writing this poem on March 20, 2018, a comfortingly dreary first day of spring with a forecast for snow.
Hummingbird has a message
Things aren’t as they appear
Hot lava on marble stairs
Man knows the end is near

A hole is in the floor
The case is not packed right
Hurry, hurry, time to go
Don’t want to miss the flight

The daughter leaves the pack
The mother watches with fear
Aperture click, perspectives switch
The pack is bad, no coast is clear

Hummingbird dips and dives
Fury boils, screams enter ether
The drain is clogged, the bridge is broken
Distractions nibble, gnaw and eat her

Then sparkling violet flowers
Cascade from the long black hair
Running fast and leaping far
Bionic energy in the air

One spirit in three persons
Find the baby in the brush
Flat bike tire, dusty road
Must go faster, in a rush

Road too steep, car too weak
Never ready for the journey
Lava’s rising, getting closer
Bend the mirror, twist the time key

Now you appear as you
But you also are in others
Woman, child, mother, daughter
Humming bird knows how to hover
Like dreams, art does not always make sense, except in some ways to the artist, who needs to express something, as does the dreamer.
Hope is
what we have
when we think
what seems so impossibly bad
can be worked through,
that we are all
continually being chiseled
trying to make it better.
*from Wise Words to Remember (WW2R) #2, note to self, sometime in 2014.
Try to stay focused

and finish more ****.

Try not to be afraid

to start.
*Wise Words to Remember, note to self, winter 2018.
Oh, how I wish I had a reliable Internal Guidance System.
You know, like a GPS, but one that never loses service during cloudy weather or runs out of battery power?

Instead, my on-board navigation system frequently leaves me hanging.
Where am I? What am I doing? … What am I supposed to be doing?

It’s like my guidance computer got knocked out, kind of like the one on the ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft.

Which brings up another thing. …

Just like in “Apollo 13,” the movie, I wish I had this team of really smart guys, all wearing white shirts, black ties and 1970s horn-rimmed glasses, feverishly sliding beads on their abacuses*, checking my calculations for me, letting me know if the answer I’m considering is sound. “Looks good, Flight!” Thumbs up!

Instead, it’s like I’m endlessly pulling the handle on a Vegas slot machine, watching for a solution to line up.
Directions. The Right Decisions.

It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. Gosh knows, I’m always looking for clues and signs.
Astrology. Organized religion. The Wall Street Journal. Oprah Magazine.
I’ve sought counsel from them all. And found some temporal landing lights.

Sometimes I’m moved to act boldly. Make a change! Write that letter! Start something new.

But inevitably the runway gets mighty foggy all over again.
I waiver. I waffle. And I wonder … what now?

Come on, GPS! I need you to kick in here.
I’m tired of trying to read the tea leaves.

Could you just lock and load my coordinates and let me settle into some journey that makes sense and feels right … that takes me where I’m meant to be?

Oh, wait a second. Is that you, GPS? What’s that you said?
Oh, “Recalculating.” Right. Got it. I’ve heard that before.
Come to think of it, it’s the answer I was expecting.

And I know it’s going to come up many more times as I navigate my life.
I wait. I hear. I listen. I learn. I hope. I live.
*or is it abaci?
“I’m the guy who gets you out,”
said the well-built man standing outside my sister’s door.
“I just wanted you to see my face,
so you’d know me … should the need arise.”
His eyes scanned the joint quickly,
Instantly calculating all means of entry and egress.
A quick handshake, and he was gone.

You see, my sister was a fun-loving Peace Corps volunteer
Stationed in rural Honduras
In a time before today’s violence, drugs and gangs
No, those were quieter days … but still,

There was The Guy …
… Who Gets You Out…

Presumably in case of a sudden revolutionary movement
Some destabilizing event. A political coup.
Intrigue between nations
The likes of which we’ll never know.

Oh, that Guy, that Guy!
God, how I’ve wanted him in my life!
If only he’d show up on my doorstep
And then I’d know I’d be OK.
He’d be there for me.
He and his operatives,
They’d have a way to know
when things were getting a bit perilous
Watching. Waiting.
Never engaging unless it was a matter of imminent danger.

I’m not proud. I’ll admit
I’ve longed for him to materialize
Those times I’ve been depressed and stressed and anxious
Overloaded, weighted down
Teary, weary, lost.

Out of nowhere, the chopper descends!
And there he is, looking down at me
The Guy Who Gets You Out
I grasp his outstretched hand
And he pulls me Up, Up and Away!

He flies me to a deserted island
To a nicely appointed safe house.
“We saw things were getting out of your control,” he says.
“We knew it was time to act.”
“You’re too important to lose. It’s imperative that you do what only you can do — that you survive.”
“You’re safe now,” he tells me. “Just take some time to recover and then get started.”
“You’ll find everything you need here — food, clothes, toiletries, plenty of paper and pens.”

And then as quickly as he came into my life, he was gone, for now.
The Guy Who Gets You Out.
But he’s done his job well. Mission accomplished.
I feel an ethereal calm, staring at the waves, the tide rolling in.
I contemplate my place in the world
And marvel at how the Powers that Be
Knew just when to catch me
Right before the fall.

It’s a blur now — the chopper, the escape, the chaos we left behind
But his face, his outstretched hand remain forever ingrained in my memory
The tamer of my bedlam
The savior of my spirit
The Guy Who Gets You Out.
My relationship with alcohol
has had its ups and downs.
The biggest problem being
I always want another round.

And there always seems a reason
to pour that one drink more:
Relax, escape, excitement
or “when life is such a bore.” *

Some Help to dull the edges
Some Thing to pick me up,
a Balm to sooth frayed nerves.
Flow forth, fermented cup.

We were pals for years and years,
my precious alcohol … my friend.
A Lenten fast, a pregnant break,
and we were back together again.

But for me, those days of drinking
began to take their toll.
And I began to make a plan
For a different way to roll.

Ye gads! Who knew
how hard it would be
to put that plan in motion?
Start. Stop. Succeed. Fail. One year turned into three.

But then that last drink did go down.
Truth be told, it was like any other.
A battlefield general at war for some time,
I knew one casualty could follow another.

But as one more day passed
and bottles stayed on the shelf,
I learned the hard part of stopping
is your relation with your Self.

No more good-time Kathy.
So hard, the letting go.
Good-bye, antidote for anything.
Hello, life felt blow by blow.

The last drink, the closing chapter
Where they a flower I didn’t savor?
Sometimes I wish I had,
but now I’m tasting many new flavors.
*The Rolling Stones, “Mother’s Little Helper”
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