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feeling discomfort dissipates as
I embrace instead of
pushing away
10w
I thought it right to assess some antidepressants, which philosophers are more inclined to call mood enhancers.
(This was during my foray into human enhancement, substances intended to enhance physicality, cognition or mood. Nootropic compounds concern the latter two categories.)

The most commonly prescribed mood enhancers are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), but it takes over a week for these compounds reach their peak effect. I therefore approached them with the notion that a limited dosage might point to their character which would further manifest in the long-term. (In addition, side-effect were less likely to manifest.) These considerations in mind, I set about acquiring a few miscellaneous anti-D's.

Fluoxetine was the first successful selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), better known by its original brand-name Prozac. Fluoxetine has an acute biological half-life of between 1-3 days. Presence of a trifluoromethyl group on the compound deserves note, I wonder what the presence of electronegative fluorine atoms add to the psychoactive flavour of a compound (subjective effects).
I administered a single dose by mouth, there was some indication of subjective character. Light serotonergic sensations and seemingly benign mood-dampening, there is a ****** towards the positive. Waking headspace relatively uninteresting. Observed hints of oneirogenesis, did not manifest in enough character to be detailed - a sort of vivid, 'pulsive wandering, more pronounced in contrast to its waking character.
Good experiment, intresting results.
Ligand     Ki (nM)   Ki (nM)
Target      Flx            Nflx
SERT        1               19
NET         660           2700
DAT         4180         420
5-HT2A   200           300
5-HT2B    5000         5100
5-HT2C    72.6          91.2
α1             3000         3900
M1            870           1200
M2            2700         4600
M3            1000         760
M4            2900         2600
M5            2700         2200
H1            3250         10000

Escitalopram is an SSRI commonly prescribed for major depression and generalised anxiety. It is the (S)-stereoisomer of citalopram. The biological half-life is of escitalopram is between 27-32 hours.
I administered a dose and thought the phenomenal serotonergicity less apparent than fluoxetine but then gastro-intestinal disturbance was noted, I correctly surmised it has a high affinity for 5-HT2C but was also surprised to find it is is quite adrenergic.
Any oneiric qualities were not readily apparent after a single dose, relatively little visual imagery which is understandable given its lack of affinity for 5-HT2A. I found this to be philosophically intresting. Mood elevation observed in bursts of conversation and as odd sensations, possible mental discomfort.
Ligand,
Recptr     Ki (nM)
SERT       2.5
NET        6,514
5-HT2C   2,531
α1            3,870
M1           1,242
H1           1,973

Venlafaxine is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Venlafaxine and its metabolites are active for about 11 hours.
Initial subjective effects similar to a very light empathogenic stimulant. Perception of altered attention-span/increased reflexive response; energising yet paradoxically much yawning.
Ligand,  Vnfx      Dvnfx
Recptr    Ki(nM)  Ki(nM)
SERT  ­    82           40.2
NET       2480        558.4

Tianeptine is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) with an unusual mechanism of action. It is an atypical agonist of the μ-opioid receptor and has been described as a (selective) serotonin reuptake enhancer (SRE). It has a short duration as sodium salts [prescribed form] of between 2-4 hours but as sulfate this can be notably extended, some of its metabolites are active for longer than tianeptine itself.
Definitely anxiolytic, quite artificial; possible aphrodisiac. I find its opioid activity dissuading, requires utmost caution.

Moclobemide is a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A (RIMA), its monoamine oxidase inhibition lasts about 8–10 hours and wears off completely by 24 hours. Inhibiting the decomposition of monoamines (e.g. serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) increases their accumulation at an extracellular level. It tends to suppress REM sleep and so it lacks oneirogenic properties.
Feeling of well-being, less constrained by the usual anxieties; openness. Relatively unnoticeable side-effects when diet is carefully managed. Made the mistake of eating a cheese and turkey sandwich (i.e. foodstuff rich in tryptophan), indications of a mild serotonin syndrome later became apparent. Symptoms included feelings of overheating and flushing, slight sweating, racing thoughts and anxious discomfort. A stark reminder of Shulgin's old adage: "there is no casual experiment".
Combination with a select few tryptamines (not 5-MeO-xxT) should be safe, and synergistic (perfect for pharmahuasca); reputed to potentiate GHB. However, generally it is extremely dangerous to combine with serotonergic drugs.
b e mccomb Aug 2016
a discomfort
radiating
upwards from the
***** of my feet
up my calves and
through the muscles
i try to keep
from twitching.

some nights i could
wash my hands
twenty times
and still feel
sweaty and
hopeless.

i could give up
sometimes
i know where the
blind curves are
and the tallest trees
in the woods
and i know how
much it hurts
behind my spine and
inside my rib cage.

i can't
breathe
i can't
breathe

and maybe giving up
would hurt less than
trying to hold myself
steady and trying

and

and

thoughts keep getting
cut off in the middle

i can't
breathe
i can't
breathe

i've had dark
nights and
slightly lighter
nights and
quiet damp
nights and
buzzing summer
nights and
throbbing multicolored
nights and
nights so deathly silent
i questioned my own sanity

and some nights
where i wanted
to just
give up

nights
nights
all of them were
nights.

i can't
breathe
i can't
breathe

i would run away
from my problems
if there wasn't this
discomfort
in the ***** of my feet
radiating upwards

and also
if i could breathe

*but i
can't
*******
breathe
Copyright 4/23/16 by B. E. McComb
Harrison W Jun 2016
Easy answer to a simple problem
Raise my hands and scratch the **** thing
But then again, why should I have to?
Why must I immediately raise my hands to scratch my itchy nose?

Is it because the itch is caused by a parasitic alien?
Hellbent in destroying my body by tickling my prickly nose hairs?
And thus if I scratch my nose I would rid myself of said parasite?
No no no, the idea of such a thing is of the utmost absurdity

The most logical answer is that I must rid myself of discomfort
Discomfort: Quite a word indeed to one that lives well
Where I can sit comfortably on a couch in an air conditioned house
And I can still find something that causes discomfort

Perhaps after I rid myself of this infernal discomfort
I shall go to the kitchen and make myself a lovely roast
With some scallion potatoes on the side with green beans
And then rub uncomfortably on the chair because my ******* itches
In between   (a poem)
.
my mind struggles against its own illusion
nightmare tumbles out into still morning
light is heavy,
a fog of echoes...
and I am caught
.
day dreams the sunlight
dreams light the day
and I am caught in between
mourning echoes...
like a stillborn ghost
who can't take a breath in the present

….
  
I live on a tropical island and just want to go surfing with my husband, but the nausea in the early morning as I try to eat  breakfast and drive with him to the beach is so uncomfortable.  Day after day it makes even surfing a chore, and I consider not going anymore.  Background anxiety and unreasonable irritation interferes with our marriage, frustrates him enough to want me out.  

For me, a trip to the grocery store or meeting a group of people awakens the same dreadful fear as rockclimbing a cliff. Perspective has been lost in the extremes.  I try to gain some control over this hindering nuisance, seeking situations that bring the same surges of adrenaline so I can learn to master it.  If I can just push past the avoidance that would keep me inside doing nothing, if I can just ignore the feeling I want to throw up, if I can just get out there, I am rewarded with life’s potential beauty eventually.  Many days I do enjoy the thrill of mountain biking or connection with nature when surfing, but there are too many days of internal struggle that reduce what should be enjoyable to a relentless chore of wrestling inner demons.

The VA offers a few sessions of marriage counseling, and the doctor begins to explain PTSD.  ***, I’ve learned to cope with an unreliable brain, but now there’s this?  From what I understand (and that’s just me, an amateur philosopher) Sometimes the brain is so traumatized, that the memory is literally sealed off, encapsulated, protecting it from changing.  If later something happens that is similar, the brain triggers avoidance responses as a take-no-chances survival mechanism.  Literally the brain is protecting one’s self from one’s self.  This all-or-nothing strategy works fending off potential dinosaur attacks, but in our complex society, these automatic avoidance behaviors complicate functioning and well being.  Life becomes an attitude of constant reaction instead of motivated intention.

The website for the National center for PTSD says.  “After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.”  

“Common reactions to trauma are:
• Fear or anxiety: In moments of danger, our bodies prepare to fight our enemy, flee the situation, or freeze in the hope that the danger will move past us. But those feelings of alertness may stay even after the danger has passed. You may:feel tense or afraid, be agitated and jumpy, feel on alert.  
• Sadness or depression: Sadness after a trauma may come from a sense of loss---of a loved one, of trust in the world, faith, or a previous way of life. You may:have crying spells, lose interest in things you used to enjoy, want to be alone all the time, feel tired, empty, and numb.  
• Guilt and shame: You may feel guilty that you did not do more to prevent the trauma. You may feel ashamed because during the trauma you acted in ways that you would not otherwise have done. You may:feel responsible for what happened, feel guilty because others were injured or killed and you survived.  
• Anger and irritability: Anger may result from feeling you have been unfairly treated. Anger can make you feel irritated and cause you to be easily set off. You may:lash out at your partner or spouse, have less patience with your children, overreact to small misunderstandings.  
• Behavior changes: You may act in unhealthy ways. You may:drink, use drugs, or smoke too much, drive aggressively, neglect your health, avoid certain people or situations.”   It lists four main symptoms: reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind of the event, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)”

Four words strung together: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  They’ve become a tired cliché, exhausted from the endless threat of random cruelty camouflaged in banality, weary of the weight shouldering back the wall that separates death and gore from the living.  Living was a reflex beyond willpower and devoid of choice. Control was self-deception.  The mind was so preoccupied with A: survival, B: sanity, in that order.  Rest was a cruel illusion.  The tank was drained, no room for emotions ditched.  Empathy took too much effort, fear was greedy.  Hopefully they can be remembered and found on the other side, if there is one.  Sleep deprived cells were left hyper-alert from the imminent, shot up and addicted to adrenaline.  Living was Fate and Chance, and meant leaving that time and place sealed in forgetfulness.  

Now PTSD is a worn out acronym, a cold shadow of what it feels like.  I try to think of something more personal that can describe the way it randomly visits me, now resigned to its familiar unwelcome influence.  It steals through my brain, flying ahead of me with its own agenda of protecting sabotage.  Its like the Guardian Trickster of Native American legend.  Its an archetype but real enough to make mistakes: Chulyen, the black raven.

A decade after the ER, contentment is found in a garden of slow tranquility as a butterfly interrupts a sunbeam.  My heart fills with bittersweet as I’ve finally found something I love and want to keep.  Just then Chulyen’s grasping black claws clamp my heart with painful arrhythmia and it fills to burst, tripping in panic trying to recover its pace.  The sudden pain drops me to my knees, in the dirt between fragrant lavender and cherry tomatoes.  Pain stops breath and time and makes me remember the ER, when my heart rebelled its ordained purpose for a week.  I had tried to throw my bitter life back in God’s face but He didn’t take it.  Now that I have peace and a life that I treasure, He’s taking it now.  The price for my mistake is due.  It was all just borrowed time and I’m still so young, my children just babies.  God with a flick of cruelty reminds me not to put faith in the tangible, especially when its treasured.  The sharp claws finally relent and I can breathe, looking up with a gasp and the Raven takes flight overhead leaving a shadow.  Bright noon warmth, unusually heavy and foreboding, seems to say ‘there will come a time when you will not welcome the sun.’   Doctors run an EKG and diagnose ‘stress’.

The bird perches on my shoulder two more decades later, always seeing death just over there.  So I sit on the porch just a little longer and check my list again, delaying the unavoidable racing heart and rush of tension when I fix the motorcycle helmet strap under my chin.  I know all those stupid drivers have my life in their cell-phone distracted hands and hope my husband knows how much I love him, and my daughters too.  

Chulyen wakes me at 3:00 am when autumn’s wind aggravates the trees.  His rustle of black feathers outside unsettles summer’s calm night.  He brings an end-of-the-world portent that hints this peace is just temporary, borrowed.  Tribulation will return.

Ravens are attracted to bright shiny things.  Chulyen steals off with treasures like intention, and contentment.  I don’t realize they are missing until occasionally I find myself truly living in the moment.  I guess that is another reason why I crave adventure, for those instants and epiphanies that snap me out of that long term modis operandi of reacting, instead of being.  The daily list of ‘I must, or I should’ can for a brief while become ‘I want’  and I am free.

My companion the black bird perches relaxed in the desert on the gatepost of a memory.  A bullet-scarred paint-faded sign dangles by one corner from rusty barbed wire:
    No Trespassing    
    That Means You
I have a haunted idea what's behind the fence.  Chulyen implies the memory with a simple mistaken sound:
a Harley in the distance is for a second the agitating echo of a helicopter...
or those were the very same words they said when...
or I hear a few jangling clinks of forks in our warm kitchen...
hinting a cold cafeteria at 5:00 am smelling of fake eggs and industrial maple flavored corn syrup,
and everything else that happened that day...
My cells recollect, brace with the addictive rush of adrenaline.  But the raven denies access to the memory, distracting with discomfort.  I trip and I fall hard into the gritty dirt of irritation at the person who unknowingly reminded me.  Anxiety floods in along with fatigue of the helplessness of it all, back then and still now.  I can't go further.  Chulyen’s tricking deception says Leave This Memory, you never wanted to come back.
But I already knew from just recognizing the bird patiently sitting there a sentinal,
recalling every other time he tricked me with nausea and depression.
I tried to tell myself again that behind that gate,
the past has dried up from neglect.
Disintegrated into dust,
Blown away,
doesn't
exist.



After everything else, how to work through this?  The VA gave me a manual, a crudely printed set of worksheets with a government-looking blue cover page:  Cognitive Processing Therapy.
“In normal recovery from PTSD symptioms, intrusion, thoughts, and emotions decrease over time and no longer trigger each other.  However, in those who don’t recover, the vivid images, negative thoughts, and strong emotions lead to escape and avoidance.  Avoidance prevents the processing of the trauma that is needed for recovery and works only temporarily.  The ultimate goal is acceptance.  
There may be “stuck points”, conflicting beliefs or strong negative beliefs that create additional unpleasant emotions and unhealthy behavior.  For example, a prior belief may have been “ I am able to protect myself in dangerous situations.”  But after being harmed during military service, a conflicting belief surfaces, “I was harmed during service, and I am to blame.”  If one is ‘stuck’ here, it may take some time until one is able to get feelings out about the trauma, because one is processing a number of rationales.  “I deserved it because…” , or “I misinterpreted what happened, I acted inappropriately, I must be crazy…”  The goal is to change the prior belief to one that does not hinder acceptance.  For example, “I may not be able to protect myself in all situations.”

(chapter continues with recovery methods)
Forty Days

A Season of Grief, a Season of Rejoicing

November 9-December 20, 2014

For Barbara Beach Alter 
It is Christmas morning in Saco, Maine, where today Bett, Aaron, Emily, Thomasin and our beloved cousin Marie find ourselves gathered to celebrate our first Christmas without dadima (our name for Barbara Beach Alter).  Brother Tom writes that already in India he and Carol with Jamie, Meha and Cayden (the only of her seven greatgrandchildren Barry never held) have celebrated.  Today Marty and Lincoln join us in Maine.

This gathering of documents—notes, drafts of memorial services, poems, homilies—is my christmas present to each of you.  It is a record, certainly subjective, of grief and rejoicing.

John Copley Alter
1:14 a.m.
Saco, Maine 
November 9

Loved ones,
Barbara Beach Alter died peacefully at 2:55 Sunday morning (today).  Bett and I had the good fortune to be there for the final beating of her good strong heart.  She murmured charcoal.  The nurse who was bathing her afterwards noted how few wrinkles there were, and it is true.
For those of you nearby you may if you want visit Mom in her room at hospice this morning (until noon).  Visit? Darshan? Paying respects?
Bett and I plan to be there around 11:00.
Much love to all. A blessed occasion.
John


November 10

Matthew 5:13-19
Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

yesterday in the early hours my mother died her saltiness
restored all that had through the months of her old
age and convalescence obscured the lens of her life cleaned
away so that for us now more and more clearly
as we hear about her through the memory and love
of so many people her good works shine forth in
their glory but it is to the days of her
convalescence the days of her dementia I would turn our
minds those of us who spent time with her at
Wingate long-term care facility remember that Barbara Beach Alter became
at times fierce in her commanding us that ‘not one
letter, not one stroke of a letter’ of the commandments
should be altered do you remember that those of you
and us who were given the work and gift of
spending time with Barry in those days in that condition

remember for instance how fussy she became about the sequence
of food on her tray how impatient with us for
our trespasses and violations how adamant that we look forward
for instance and not back at her how she would
say stop holding my hand and saying you love me
you have work to do o she was almost impossible
and certainly incoherent and demented in her obsession with law
and procedure fussy impatient imperious I do not forget being
scolded reamed out put in my place for having somehow
failed to do what the ‘law and the prophets’ demand

Barbara beach alter in the days before hospice in the
nursing home and hospital and even if we are honest
in the final years of her life found herself caught
up in the rigidity of her anxious desire to be
faithful to the laws and commandments of her life and
that made her at times extremely demanding to be with

amen and the epistemological confusion of course the clash between
her reality and ours it was all an ordeal for
her and for those of us who kept her company

and yet and yet through it all and now as
that ordeal for her is no longer paramount as she
dances in heaven all the wrinkles and discomfort of her
life removed and forgiven Barbara Beach Alter kept the faith
living in the midst such that those who cared for
her most intimately the strangers all professed your mother blessed
us


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



So, brother and sister, here are my thoughts about the memorial service(s).
Let’s find a time when we three can be present; that’s the most important thing.  My life is currently the least constrained by agenda and schedule.  And then the grandchildren, recognizing that Jamie may not be able to come.  So, our work is to find our when our kids are able to come. Bett and I are exploring that with our three, each of whom has some constraint: Emily, the cost; Thomasin, the piebaking demands, Aaron school.  But we are flexible.

Much love.

John



Walking in my mother’s wake today some trees
a gentle breeze some dogs a little boy
the neighborhood and I took joy from interaction

we are at best a fraction in love’s
calculation after all heaven I realize is not
above or below cannot be taught comes naturally

as death does walking in my mother’s wake
I found new allies learned yet again not
to take myself too seriously to be caught

off guard as a matter of principle and
not to insist that I understand but live
in the midst of forgiveness


in my mother’s wake I am reading these books for
some way to continue to knock on her door Wendell
Berry he can tell me some things and William Blake
he can take me closer and I remember she described
me once as an unused Jewish liberal so I am
reading about protestant liberalism but ham that I am also
reading Carl Hiassen’s Bad Monkey and Quo Vadimus that my
daughter left behind and mythologically Reflections from yale divinity school
no fooling Denise Levertov David Sobel Galway Kinnell’s translation of
Rilke some wake

November 11

Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

this morning in the wee hours my mother died one
of the wise bridesmaids whose lamp to the end was
full she carried always the flask of oil that is
joy that is the love of the kingdom of heaven
and of the bridegroom a flask always replenished by prayer
by devotion by a humble courageous living in the midst

she expected every day the bridegroom to come in other
words and she was also one who would never refuse
to share even the last drop with somebody in need

and at the end it is so clear the door
into the banquet hall was not closed to her as
it is not closed to any one of us foolishness
is to believe otherwise to believe that the bridegroom will
not come today in the early morning in the wee
hours that is when he comes in the midst of
other plans is when he comes even when we are
doing what we assume to be good work when we
are doing what gives us pleasure our duty joy comes
then unsummoned unpredictable random even according to all our best
laid plans my mother loved so many things her pleasure
included dancing late in her life terminally unsteady she invented
what we loved to urge her to do namely the
sitting jig and we grew up with images of her
Isadora Duncan dancing with white scarves in an enchanted forest

Barbara Beach Alter aka Barry aka dadima bari nani aunt
and daughter wife missionary is now I know dancing a
rollicking boisterous jig on the shores of a lake that
is as her grandson once confided to her god in
liquid form spilly Beach of course also dyslexic executive function
compromised she was but one who loved to be always
in the midst surrounded by loved ones some of them
absolute strangers she shared her oil because for her it
came welling up from an inexhaustible source a deep eternal
well of such illumination and laughter such giddy divine chuckles

for her there was to be no exclusion she would
not find the awful idea of being one of the
foolish applicable to anybody but happily she welcomed into her
midst so many it is hard to imagine how many

so there she is now a bridesmaid dancing for joy
in such elegant clothing with such perpetual brightness

amen hallelujah rejoice


sometimes I think she pulled us all out of the
magic hat sometimes I think she knit us all into
one of her theologically impossible sweaters and then with a
wink she passes through the eye of the needle and
is gone and we are left to play in her
honor endless hands of solitaire sometimes I think we are
no more than the hermeneutics of her life the epistemology
artless she was not her heart like one of those
magical meals for her then a doxology praise then praise
she knows salvation

what is a life’s work it is like a landscape
dotted with oases and gardens for the thirsty and the
lost it is like scraping through dry barren ground and
finding there suddenly not only the theology of paradise but
such seeds your hands ache to begin the planting what
is a life’s work what has been shut for too
long opens what has been shut for too long opens

a life’s work renews itself then with death the kernel
of hope that dies in springtime sprouting is what a
life’s work becomes

November 12

John 21:15-17
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

I know my mother very much enjoyed having breakfast with
god and that the meals of her nursing home drove
her nearly crazy and that when at last she found
hospice o she again could imagine the feast of heaven
at which Jesus breaks bread with us and speaks with
such clarity do you love me more than these I
know it was questions as simple and overwhelming as this
that dominated her final days do you love me love
being  one of the last five words she attempted to
speak do you love me she wrestled in her last
months with epistemology and psychology and theology and all had
to do with whether she could answer unequivocally you know
that I love you and that she could say of
her life that she had broken bread with god we
all remember in her life those moments when there was
a great gladness an innocent acceptance of what lay immediately
in her presence now those months in the nursing home
tormented her in precisely this fashion that it was hard
to accept to be in the midst of such mediocrity
and woe to be innocent and accepting but now praise
god there she is a happy guest at the great
feast and we left behind bereft can acknowledge that she
loved god in her own fashion as best she possibly
could and do you remember being with her there in
hospital or nursing home and she commanding us to move
beyond holding her hand and saying we loved her and
to feed the sheep to do that work which will
make of this earth this here and now an outstation
of heaven Barbara Beach Alter loved god in her own
fashion as best she possibly could we remember that and
that memory is today like a great network a web
of love and inspiration o we would gladly one more
time hold her hand and say I love you but
we know also clearly I think today what the work
is to love our neighbor as ourselves to work for
peace and justice I think of my sister with her
colleagues in WEIGO and how her sisters have understood her
grief  let us break our fast together then glad for
the worldwide web that in these days is reading the
gospel of the life of Barbara Beach Alter praise god


feed
tend
feed
in exchange for his three denials Peter is given three imperative verbs
feed
tend
feed
this is the commission Jesus after breakfast on the shore of the sea of Galilee gives to Peter
twice he says feed
in the commonwealth of Massachusetts 700,000 people are hungry
1 in 6 americans are hungry
living in uncertainty about their daily bread
more than 18,000,000 in Africa
842,000,000 around the world go to bed hungry


Marty and Tom
The thinking about the memorial service is taking this slow and cautious turn, namely that we have three services (at least), one in Sudbury, one in New Haven (allowing Stan and Chuck and others to come) at First Presbyterian (with Blair Moffett we hope), and of course one in India.
The date frame appears to be somewhere between December 17 and 20, unless you have other thoughts.
The actual cremation happens tomorrow.  Lincoln, Bett, Alexis and I will attend, and then of course there is In the Midst on Friday.
Love you more than tongue can tell.
John


the thing with a life well lived is that many
people have partaken the way let’s say a river moves
down through any number of different lives all the time
sedulously seeking the shortest path to the sea to steal
a line from somebody or other meandering a watershed within
which so many of us find a way to live
our own lives nourished and for each of us the
river distinct and different white water the slow fertile meander
the delta and we say to each other this is
the composite river


sometimes I feel like a sleepwalker trying to run a
marathon sometimes I feel like a speedbump in a blizzard

an arrow in a wind tunnel sometimes I feel like

a hazard sign in an old age home sometimes I
feel like a tyrannosaurus rex trying to ride a tricycle

and sometimes those are the good days when identity is
strong like an icicle in a heat wave is strong

I try to read wisdom literature at happy hour scotch
and Solomon can’t go wrong I think and sometimes I

feel like crying

November 13

four days ago we were left alone there with your
body after your breathing ceased and the proud stubborn beating
of your heart and in those four days beloved mother
so much I would love to say to you and
share the antics of the squirrel late leaves on the
neighborhood trees music Orion the network the atlas of love
your life has left behind and all the words we
are the gospel of today and I would sit with
you there then in silence as I sit now four
days later vigilant insomniac aware that the kingdom of heaven
is not more complicated than singing than love than dancing

we are all dancing the dance lord siva teaches and
the s
Advent Oct 2014
when the clock ticks at 12,
another minute has passed and another day has been renewed.
it replenishes an entire moment that separates yesterday from today.

when the clock ticks at 12,
a part of me has left something for good.
something that could only be retrieved by the nostalgia
of the passing hours that gives a pang of discomfort and dismay.

when the clock ticks at 12,
a fairy godmother is there waiting for me to move past everything and start fresh,
like nothing has ever happened from yesterday

but when the clock ticks at 3,
my emotions are scattered,
eating me alive.
it kicks me out of the zone - exposing me to a world of nothing but things to hide.
it haunts my core, dwells with my demons,
building up emotions that don't seem to collide

and at 3, I find you - once again with all the sublime images we’ve captured
and grand words we’ve uttered.
i find you, drowning from the roots
of my memoirs... and there I see how midnights took parts of me

because at 3, I’ll always remember how I grew with thee


a.t.
Wednesday May 2014
They say home is wherever you lay your head at night
That must be true
because my former house has a lock on the door now;
a lock to keep me out.

I never realized this is how it is to be homeless,
the endless wandering of a place to rest at night
the endless cycle of hunger and
thirst and
protection

I walk out of work with not a place to be in the world
and if I’m being honest it should frighten me.

I am a wanderer.

I have no sense of direction,
no moral pull,
nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I have this endless feeling of discomfort and
an airy breeze where the good in my heart and soul should be.

I am a girl, not a very beautiful or talented one.

I belong to anyone who belongs to everyone.

Home is where I rest my head for a night.

Home is a backseat
Home is a smoke filled room at 2 am
Home is a parking garage
Home is a strangers bedroom

Home is a feeling rather than a location,
but those who have a lock and key and
a mortgage fee will never understand.
I am homeless, but I am free.
Prohemium.

But al to litel, weylaway the whyle,
Lasteth swich Ioye, y-thonked be Fortune!
That semeth trewest, whan she wol bygyle,
And can to foles so hir song entune,
That she hem hent and blent, traytour comune;  
And whan a wight is from hir wheel y-throwe,
Than laugheth she, and maketh him the mowe.

From Troilus she gan hir brighte face
Awey to wrythe, and took of him non hede,
But caste him clene out of his lady grace,  
And on hir wheel she sette up Diomede;
For which right now myn herte ginneth blede,
And now my penne, allas! With which I wryte,
Quaketh for drede of that I moot endyte.

For how Criseyde Troilus forsook,  
Or at the leste, how that she was unkinde,
Mot hennes-forth ben matere of my book,
As wryten folk through which it is in minde.
Allas! That they sholde ever cause finde
To speke hir harm; and if they on hir lye,  
Y-wis, hem-self sholde han the vilanye.

O ye Herines, Nightes doughtren three,
That endelees compleynen ever in pyne,
Megera, Alete, and eek Thesiphone;
Thou cruel Mars eek, fader to Quiryne,  
This ilke ferthe book me helpeth fyne,
So that the los of lyf and love y-fere
Of Troilus be fully shewed here.

Explicit prohemium.

Incipit Quartus Liber.

Ligginge in ost, as I have seyd er this,
The Grekes stronge, aboute Troye toun,  
Bifel that, whan that Phebus shyning is
Up-on the brest of Hercules Lyoun,
That Ector, with ful many a bold baroun,
Caste on a day with Grekes for to fighte,
As he was wont to greve hem what he mighte.  

Not I how longe or short it was bitwene
This purpos and that day they fighte mente;
But on a day wel armed, bright and shene,
Ector, and many a worthy wight out wente,
With spere in hond and bigge bowes bente;  
And in the herd, with-oute lenger lette,
Hir fomen in the feld anoon hem mette.

The longe day, with speres sharpe y-grounde,
With arwes, dartes, swerdes, maces felle,
They fighte and bringen hors and man to grounde,  
And with hir axes out the braynes quelle.
But in the laste shour, sooth for to telle,
The folk of Troye hem-selven so misledden,
That with the worse at night homward they fledden.

At whiche day was taken Antenor,  
Maugre Polydamas or Monesteo,
Santippe, Sarpedon, Polynestor,
Polyte, or eek the Troian daun Ripheo,
And othere lasse folk, as Phebuseo.
So that, for harm, that day the folk of Troye  
Dredden to lese a greet part of hir Ioye.

Of Pryamus was yeve, at Greek requeste,
A tyme of trewe, and tho they gonnen trete,
Hir prisoneres to chaungen, moste and leste,
And for the surplus yeven sommes grete.  
This thing anoon was couth in every strete,
Bothe in thassege, in toune, and every-where,
And with the firste it cam to Calkas ere.

Whan Calkas knew this tretis sholde holde,
In consistorie, among the Grekes, sone  
He gan in thringe forth, with lordes olde,
And sette him there-as he was wont to done;
And with a chaunged face hem bad a bone,
For love of god, to don that reverence,
To stinte noyse, and yeve him audience.  

Thanne seyde he thus, 'Lo! Lordes myne, I was
Troian, as it is knowen out of drede;
And, if that yow remembre, I am Calkas,
That alderfirst yaf comfort to your nede,
And tolde wel how that ye sholden spede.  
For dredelees, thorugh yow, shal, in a stounde,
Ben Troye y-brend, and beten doun to grounde.

'And in what forme, or in what maner wyse
This town to shende, and al your lust to acheve,
Ye han er this wel herd it me devyse;  
This knowe ye, my lordes, as I leve.
And for the Grekes weren me so leve,
I com my-self in my propre persone,
To teche in this how yow was best to done;

'Havinge un-to my tresour ne my rente  
Right no resport, to respect of your ese.
Thus al my good I loste and to yow wente,
Wening in this you, lordes, for to plese.
But al that los ne doth me no disese.
I vouche-sauf, as wisly have I Ioye,  
For you to lese al that I have in Troye,

'Save of a doughter, that I lafte, allas!
Slepinge at hoom, whanne out of Troye I sterte.
O sterne, O cruel fader that I was!
How mighte I have in that so hard an herte?  
Allas! I ne hadde y-brought hir in hir sherte!
For sorwe of which I wol not live to morwe,
But-if ye lordes rewe up-on my sorwe.

'For, by that cause I say no tyme er now
Hir to delivere, I holden have my pees;  
But now or never, if that it lyke yow,
I may hir have right sone, doutelees.
O help and grace! Amonges al this prees,
Rewe on this olde caitif in destresse,
Sin I through yow have al this hevinesse!  

'Ye have now caught and fetered in prisoun
Troians y-nowe; and if your willes be,
My child with oon may have redempcioun.
Now for the love of god and of bountee,
Oon of so fele, allas! So yeve him me.  
What nede were it this preyere for to werne,
Sin ye shul bothe han folk and toun as yerne?

'On peril of my lyf, I shal nat lye,
Appollo hath me told it feithfully;
I have eek founde it be astronomye,  
By sort, and by augurie eek trewely,
And dar wel seye, the tyme is faste by,
That fyr and flaumbe on al the toun shal sprede;
And thus shal Troye turne to asshen dede.

'For certeyn, Phebus and Neptunus bothe,  
That makeden the walles of the toun,
Ben with the folk of Troye alwey so wrothe,
That thei wol bringe it to confusioun,
Right in despyt of king Lameadoun.
By-cause he nolde payen hem hir hyre,  
The toun of Troye shal ben set on-fyre.'

Telling his tale alwey, this olde greye,
Humble in speche, and in his lokinge eke,
The salte teres from his eyen tweye
Ful faste ronnen doun by eyther cheke.  
So longe he gan of socour hem by-seke
That, for to hele him of his sorwes sore,
They yave him Antenor, with-oute more.

But who was glad y-nough but Calkas tho?
And of this thing ful sone his nedes leyde  
On hem that sholden for the tretis go,
And hem for Antenor ful ofte preyde
To bringen hoom king Toas and Criseyde;
And whan Pryam his save-garde sente,
Thembassadours to Troye streyght they wente.  

The cause y-told of hir cominge, the olde
Pryam the king ful sone in general
Let here-upon his parlement to holde,
Of which the effect rehersen yow I shal.
Thembassadours ben answered for fynal,  
Theschaunge of prisoners and al this nede
Hem lyketh wel, and forth in they procede.

This Troilus was present in the place,
Whan axed was for Antenor Criseyde,
For which ful sone chaungen gan his face,  
As he that with tho wordes wel neigh deyde.
But nathelees, he no word to it seyde,
Lest men sholde his affeccioun espye;
With mannes herte he gan his sorwes drye.

And ful of anguissh and of grisly drede  
Abood what lordes wolde un-to it seye;
And if they wolde graunte, as god forbede,
Theschaunge of hir, than thoughte he thinges tweye,
First, how to save hir honour, and what weye
He mighte best theschaunge of hir withstonde;  
Ful faste he caste how al this mighte stonde.

Love him made al prest to doon hir byde,
And rather dye than she sholde go;
But resoun seyde him, on that other syde,
'With-oute assent of hir ne do not so,  
Lest for thy werk she wolde be thy fo,
And seyn, that thorugh thy medling is y-blowe
Your bother love, there it was erst unknowe.'

For which he gan deliberen, for the beste,
That though the lordes wolde that she wente,  
He wolde lat hem graunte what hem leste,
And telle his lady first what that they mente.
And whan that she had seyd him hir entente,
Ther-after wolde he werken also blyve,
Though al the world ayein it wolde stryve.  

Ector, which that wel the Grekes herde,
For Antenor how they wolde han Criseyde,
Gan it withstonde, and sobrely answerde: --
'Sires, she nis no prisoner,' he seyde;
'I noot on yow who that this charge leyde,  
But, on my part, ye may eft-sone hem telle,
We usen here no wommen for to selle.'

The noyse of peple up-stirte thanne at ones,
As breme as blase of straw y-set on fyre;
For infortune it wolde, for the nones,  
They sholden hir confusioun desyre.
'Ector,' quod they, 'what goost may yow enspyre
This womman thus to shilde and doon us lese
Daun Antenor? -- a wrong wey now ye chese --

'That is so wys, and eek so bold baroun,  
And we han nede to folk, as men may see;
He is eek oon, the grettest of this toun;
O Ector, lat tho fantasyes be!
O king Priam,' quod they, 'thus seggen we,
That al our voys is to for-gon Criseyde;'  
And to deliveren Antenor they preyde.

O Iuvenal, lord! Trewe is thy sentence,
That litel witen folk what is to yerne
That they ne finde in hir desyr offence;
For cloud of errour let hem not descerne  
What best is; and lo, here ensample as yerne.
This folk desiren now deliveraunce
Of Antenor, that broughte hem to mischaunce!

For he was after traytour to the toun
Of Troye; allas! They quitte him out to rathe;  
O nyce world, lo, thy discrecioun!
Criseyde, which that never dide hem skathe,
Shal now no lenger in hir blisse bathe;
But Antenor, he shal com hoom to toune,
And she shal out; thus seyden here and howne.  

For which delibered was by parlement
For Antenor to yelden out Criseyde,
And it pronounced by the president,
Al-theigh that Ector 'nay' ful ofte preyde.
And fynaly, what wight that it with-seyde,  
It was for nought, it moste been, and sholde;
For substaunce of the parlement it wolde.

Departed out of parlement echone,
This Troilus, with-oute wordes mo,
Un-to his chaumbre spedde him faste allone,  
But-if it were a man of his or two,
The whiche he bad out faste for to go,
By-cause he wolde slepen, as he seyde,
And hastely up-on his bed him leyde.

And as in winter leves been biraft,  
Eche after other, til the tree be bare,
So that ther nis but bark and braunche y-laft,
Lyth Troilus, biraft of ech wel-fare,
Y-bounden in the blake bark of care,
Disposed wood out of his wit to breyde,  
So sore him sat the chaunginge of Criseyde.

He rist him up, and every dore he shette
And windowe eek, and tho this sorweful man
Up-on his beddes syde a-doun him sette,
Ful lyk a deed image pale and wan;  
And in his brest the heped wo bigan
Out-breste, and he to werken in this wyse
In his woodnesse, as I shal yow devyse.

Right as the wilde bole biginneth springe
Now here, now there, y-darted to the herte,  
And of his deeth roreth in compleyninge,
Right so gan he aboute the chaumbre sterte,
Smyting his brest ay with his festes smerte;
His heed to the wal, his body to the grounde
Ful ofte he swapte, him-selven to confounde.  

His eyen two, for pitee of his herte,
Out stremeden as swifte welles tweye;
The heighe sobbes of his sorwes smerte
His speche him refte, unnethes mighte he seye,
'O deeth, allas! Why niltow do me deye?  
A-cursed be the day which that nature
Shoop me to ben a lyves creature!'

But after, whan the furie and the rage
Which that his herte twiste and faste threste,
By lengthe of tyme somwhat gan asswage,  
Up-on his bed he leyde him doun to reste;
But tho bigonne his teres more out-breste,
That wonder is, the body may suffyse
To half this wo, which that I yow devyse.

Than seyde he thus, 'Fortune! Allas the whyle!  
What have I doon, what have I thus a-gilt?
How mightestow for reuthe me bigyle?
Is ther no grace, and shal I thus be spilt?
Shal thus Criseyde awey, for that thou wilt?
Allas! How maystow in thyn herte finde  
To been to me thus cruel and unkinde?

'Have I thee nought honoured al my lyve,
As thou wel wost, above the goddes alle?
Why wiltow me fro Ioye thus depryve?
O Troilus, what may men now thee calle  
But wrecche of wrecches, out of honour falle
In-to miserie, in which I wol biwayle
Criseyde, allas! Til that the breeth me fayle?

'Allas, Fortune! If that my lyf in Ioye
Displesed hadde un-to thy foule envye,  
Why ne haddestow my fader, king of Troye,
By-raft the lyf, or doon my bretheren dye,
Or slayn my-self, that thus compleyne and crye,
I, combre-world, that may of no-thing serve,
But ever dye, and never fully sterve?  

'If that Criseyde allone were me laft,
Nought roughte I whider thou woldest me stere;
And hir, allas! Than hastow me biraft.
But ever-more, lo! This is thy manere,
To reve a wight that most is to him dere,  
To preve in that thy gerful violence.
Thus am I lost, ther helpeth no defence!

'O verray lord of love, O god, allas!
That knowest best myn herte and al my thought,
What shal my sorwful lyf don in this cas  
If I for-go that I so dere have bought?
Sin ye Cryseyde and me han fully brought
In-to your grace, and bothe our hertes seled,
How may ye suffre, allas! It be repeled?

'What I may doon, I shal, whyl I may dure  
On lyve in torment and in cruel peyne,
This infortune or this disaventure,
Allone as I was born, y-wis, compleyne;
Ne never wil I seen it shyne or reyne;
But ende I wil, as Edippe, in derknesse  
My sorwful lyf, and dyen in distresse.

'O wery goost, that errest to and fro,
Why niltow fleen out of the wofulleste
Body, that ever mighte on grounde go?
O soule, lurkinge in this wo, unneste,  
Flee forth out of myn herte, and lat it breste,
And folwe alwey Criseyde, thy lady dere;
Thy righte place is now no lenger here!

'O wofulle eyen two, sin your disport
Was al to seen Criseydes eyen brighte,  
What shal ye doon but, for my discomfort,
Stonden for nought, and wepen out your sighte?
Sin she is queynt, that wont was yow to lighte,
In veyn fro-this-forth have I eyen tweye
Y-formed, sin your vertue is a-weye.  

'O my Criseyde, O lady sovereyne
Of thilke woful soule that thus cryeth,
Who shal now yeven comfort to the peyne?
Allas, no wight; but when myn herte dyeth,
My spirit, which that so un-to yow hyeth,  
Receyve in gree, for that shal ay yow serve;
For-thy no fors is, though the body sterve.

'O ye loveres, that heighe upon the wheel
Ben set of Fortune, in good aventure,
God leve that ye finde ay love of steel,  
And longe mot your lyf in Ioye endure!
But whan ye comen by my sepulture,
Remembreth that your felawe resteth there;
For I lovede eek, though I unworthy were.

'O olde, unholsom, and mislyved man,  
Calkas I mene, allas! What eyleth thee
To been a Greek, sin thou art born Troian?
O Calkas, which that wilt my bane be,
In cursed tyme was thou born for me!
As wolde blisful Iove, for his Ioye,  
That I thee hadde, where I wolde, in Troye!'

A thousand sykes, hottere than the glede,
Out of his brest ech after other wente,
Medled with pleyntes newe, his wo to fede,
For which his woful teres never stente;  
And shortly, so his peynes him to-rente,
And wex so mat, that Ioye nor penaunce
He feleth noon, but lyth forth in a traunce.

Pandare, which that in the parlement
Hadde herd what every lord and burgeys seyde,  
And how ful graunted was, by oon assent,
For Antenor to yelden so Criseyde,
Gan wel neigh wood out of his wit to breyde,
So that, for wo, he niste what he mente;
But in a rees to Troilus he wente.  

A certeyn knight, that for the tyme kepte
The chaumbre-dore, un-dide it him anoon;
And Pandare, that ful tendreliche wepte,
In-to the derke chaumbre, as stille as stoon,
Toward the bed gan softely to goon,  
So confus, that he niste what to seye;
For verray wo his wit was neigh aweye.

And with his chere and loking al to-torn,
For sorwe of this, and with his armes folden,
He stood this woful Troilus biforn,  
And on his pitous face he gan biholden;
But lord, so often gan his herte colden,
Seing his freend in wo, whos hevinesse
His herte slow, as thoughte him, for distresse.

This woful wight, this Troilus, that felte  
His freend Pandare y-comen him to see,
Gan as the snow ayein the sonne melte,
For which this sorwful Pandare, of pitee,
Gan for to wepe as tendreliche as he;
And specheles thus been thise ilke tweye,  
That neyther mighte o word for sorwe seye.

But at the laste this woful Troilus,
Ney deed for smert, gan bresten out to rore,
And with a sorwful noyse he seyde thus,
Among his sobbes and his sykes sore,  
'Lo! Pandare, I am deed, with-oute
Robert G Page Dec 2015
A Christmas Thought (short story)
by
rgpage

This time of the year,  when once giving from the heart has since melted like the snow in Spring to the meaningless demand for expensive toys and gadgets;  and Santa has waned to no more than the all-giving sugar daddy to each and every child,  and a tireless crutch to the mindless parent during the year; “Santa’s watching so you’d better be good.”

And alas,  there I stood in this huge department store amid a vast forest of toys, colors, and noises, fallen prey to this modern day hypocrisy known as Christmas.  Being of a lower middle economical standard,  and having with such stealth blindness juggled expenses and bills to afford myself the opportunity to plunge even deeper into dept.  I pondered these playful wonders of modern day technology.  All about countless numbers of people were doing as I in efforts to reward their children for their year of good service.

This was when I saw her. As fast as this seasonal frenzy had overtaken me just days earlier,  it vanished for a time as I watched her. It must have been that she seemed so out of place in this hurry-scurry festive scene of Christmas shopping that she caught my eye.  She was very old and her tattered,  worn out clothing all too obviously reflected the fact that she couldn’t afford much.  While others struggled about her almost comically laden with brightly colored  packages, this old woman had nothing more than an old purse dangling from her arm.  Slowly she moved, seemingly pained with the infirmities which accompany old age.  She appeared overweight for her stature which I’m sure added to her discomfort.  When she stopped in front of the doll section  her old, pudgy face glowed with joy.  Undoubtedly a doll for a little granddaughter,  I was  sure no more as she couldn’t possibly afford more.  I watched as she studied each doll
and its price tag,  going from one to the next.  Finally she stopped to give particular attention to one little doll adorned with colorful ribbons and big bright blue eyes.  Then putting the doll back,  she opened her purse and I watched as she counted the small amount of money that she had.  

By this time I had become so unexplainably absorbed with watching the old woman,  who with a smile closed her purse, retrieved the doll and walked slowly and painfully to the checkout counter to wait in line.  Around her the noise of parents and children alike waiting their turn to check out didn’t seem to bother her as she patiently waited, holding the precious little doll for an equally precious granddaughter.  Finally when her turn came, an all to cruel yet human trait appeared in not only the people waiting behind her but the checkout clerk as well. Their impatience to maintain a steady flow of human traffic through the turnstiles came to the forefront almost obliterating this seasonal spirit.  This didn’t seem to deter the old woman from slowly and surely counting out the correct change,  leaving her very little to return to her purse.

With this done and the doll tucked away in a shopping sack,  she proceeded through the large glass doors and out into the cold December night.  A passing thought, “one special gift for one special person,” went through my mind as I continued my own, now more selective tour of annual duty.  Looking over my shoulder for one last glimpse of the old woman, I suddenly felt as if struck by a jolt of electricity as I saw her on her back in the slushy snow, struggling like an over-turned turtle.

Bolting out the door hoping to be the first to reach her,  I almost found myself lying next to her on the slick sidewalk.  Nothing was said as I struggled to lift her up.  Once this was accomplished I asked her if she was alright.  Instead of answering  she started looking around for her package.  I spotted the torn, soaked paper sack some ten feet away in a slushy puddle and went to retrieve it.  The doll had come half way out of the sack and her little blonde curls were now filled with water and slush; and as I handed it back I searched the old woman’s face for even a trace of sadness, there was none. Instead she looked at me smiled and said, “thank you young man, it’ll dry out, it’ll be alright, Merry Christmas.”  Then holding the doll in both hands, she turned and went on her way, much slower and much more cautiously.  I just stood there and watched her until she finally disappeared in the crowd and darkness and thought to myself, “maybe Santa Claus isn’t a man after all.”
aiMaureen Jan 2019
Being different is not something that can be taught
The discomfort i feel when i walk into a room where no one looks like me
The stares coming from humans who look at me as "someone" from a different planet
The confidence they emit when they ask if my hair is real

Everyday is a struggle for me, i fight everyday to include myself in places, things that they say are "made for all"
The moment a brother leaves the house we hold our hearts in our hands and the moment they get home we heave a sigh of relief
They might not know it but it is the truth

Everything about me and my people tell a story
From the crown of our head to the sole of our feet
Our hair styles, features, languages, accents, clothings, traditions
I can't teach you how to be black
You want the fun parts not the ones that will make you question why you are being mistreated

Being black is not a subject that can be taught
Even if i add it to the school curriculum
You will never understand it or be it
Enhance yourself all you want but being black is more than that
The beauty of being alive is you have the chance to be you

You have the opportunity to celebrate the ones who are different
To celebrate the differences together with them
Squash your thirst to be something you're not and something you will never be
And hold our hands so we can create a world where we all can be
             @ai_Maureen
sweet leigh Jan 2014
Are you ******* crazy, he says
and I want to nod,
want to grin
want to peel back my lips and gnash my teeth like a wild thing,
want to jump on the table and scream.

I want to caterwaul,
want to close my eyes and keep them shut
I want to dig my nails into flesh and hear the tear.
No, my voice is quiet like a whisper,
hesitant and unsure.

I want that to be the wrong answer
but I don’t...
I want him to get angrier still
but I don’t...

I don’t want him red-eyed,
blood thirsty,
coming down upon me
but I do.

And when he grips my chin with slender fingers,
I want to sigh,
want to moan like a ***** in heat.
Like a ***** on the side of the road, full with ***,
sore with lust and ****-swollen.

When his hand slaps my bare bare skin,
stinging pink brightly under the force of my degradation.
My sweet humiliation,
leaving soft thick welts on my delicate limbs,
writhing helplessly in discomfort,
tears smudging old makeup and
I am weak,
I am ugly,
I am hurting and I am wrong,
impaired and imperfect,
and perhaps I am ******* crazy.
another random find from my notes
This remembrance somehow still makest me guilty;
in every minute of it I feelest tangled, I feelest unfree.
I loathest this less genial side of captivity,
but still, 'tis ironically within my heart, and my torpid soul;
ah, I am afraid that it shall somehow becomest foul,
and I wantest very much, to endear my soul to liberty,
but so long as I hath consciously loved thee,
My confidence remaineth always too bold-
But I promisest that this shall becomest my last sonata,
Should thou ever findest, that thou desirest it to be;
whilst my incomplete song shall be our last cantata.
Ah, this series shall but never end,
Should I approachest and befriendest it,
but to confess, more I thinkest of it, the more my heart is pained;
No coldness shall it feelest, nor any beat of which, shall remaineth.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My heart, ah-my poor heart, is still restricted, and left within thee,
And amongst this dear spring's shuffling leaves, still blooms,
And shall bloomest forever with benevolence,
and even greater benevolence, as spring fliest and leavest
Just like thy sweet temper, and ever ostentatious laughter,
Thy voice and words, that are no longer here for me,
But still as clear, and authentic like a piece of gospel music, to me.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My pleasurable toils, and consummation still liest in thee-
as forever seemest that I shall trust thee, and thee only,
For the brief moment we had was but grand-and pleasant,
All the way more enigmatic, though frail, and exuberant
than I couldst perhaps rememberest,
But as I rememberest them, I shall also rememberest thee,
For those short nights are always fond and stellar to my memory,
As thou pronounced me lovely-and called myself thy lady,
As thou lingered about and placed thy sheepish fingers on my knee.
Ah, thee, whose heart is so kind and ever gently considerate,
From the moment thou stared at me I knew thou wert my unbinding fate.
And thy scent-o, thy manly scent, too calming but at times, poisonous;
Was more than any treasures I'd once withheld in my hand.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My enormity liest in thee, and so doth every pore
of my irrevocable, consolable sense;
Thou awakened my pride, thou livened up my tense,
Thou disturbed my mind, thou stole my conscience.
And with thy touch I was burning with bashfulness,
meanwhile my mind couldst stop not
ringing within me, unspeakable thoughts.
Ah, thee, thou made me shriek, thou slapped me awake;
And thou steered me away from any cruel dreams, and lies
these variegated worlds ought to make.
But still I hatest myself now, for leaving all of which unspoken,
Though plenty of time I had, whilst walking with thee, by the red ferns;
And every now and then, their branches ******* terrific sounds-
But not loud; benign and soft as heartfelt murmurs in our hearts.
And those dead leaves were just dead,
Over and under the gusty tears they had shed,
And their surfaces had been closed,
But as we stormed busily with laughter, along their dead roots,
All came back to life, and polished liveliness, and guiltless temperance.
Ah, thy image is still in my mind-for it is my ill mind's antidote,
With all the haste and loveliness and ardour as thou but ever hath,
Thou art loved, by me and my soul, more than I love myself and the earth,
Thou art more handsome even, than the juicy unearthed hearth yonder.
Ah thee, my very own lover and drowsy merriment at times,
Thou who keepest fading and growing-
and fading and growing over my head,
Thy image hauntest my sleep and drivest all of me crazy,
For justice is not justice, and death is not
death, as long as I am not with thee,
And I shall accept not-death as it is,
for I shall die never without thee,
For I am in thy love, as thine in mine,
And dreams shall no longer matterest,
when thy joys are mine-and fiercely mine,
I am blinded by urgent insecurity,
That occurest and tauntest and shadowest me
like a panoramic little ghost,
Massively shall it address me,
Painstakingly and, in the name of justice, ingloriously,
And shall them address my past and destroy me,
For I hath carelessly let thee fade from my life,
And enslavest and burdenest my very own history,
For in which now there is no longer thy name,
ike how mine not in thine.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
Still thou art gentle as summer daffodils,
Thy image slanderest me, and its fangs couldst ****.
Thou owneth that sharpness that threatens me,
Corruptest and stiflest me, without any single stress,
And charming but evil like thy thirsty flesh.
Ah, still, I wishest to be good, and be not a temptress,
though all my love stories be bad, and
endest me and shuttest up in a dire mess.
I feelest empty, and for evermore t'is emptiness
shall proudly tormentest and torturest me,
Stenching me out like I am a little devil,
Who knowest but nothing of love nor goodwill,
I needst thee to make everything better, and shinier,
In my future life, as later-in my advanced years,
As death is getting near, for more and greater
shall my soul hath accordingly stayed here.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
Thou art my summer butterfly and beetle,
I shall cloakest thee with sweet honey and sun,
And engulfest thee safely and warmly
under the angry sickly moon.
I am thankful for thee still, for thou hath changed me,
For thou made me see, and opened my flawed eyes
Thou enabled me to witness the real world;
But everything is still, at times, beyond my fancy,
For they keepest moving and stayest never still,
Sometimes I am, like I used to be, astonished
at the gust of things, and the way they grossly turned
Their malice made my heart wrenched, and my stomach churned
What I seest oftentimes weariest my *****, and disruptest my glee
And still I shall convincest myself, that I but needst thee with me,
Thee to for evermore be my all-day guide and candlelight,
Thee who art so understanding, and everything lovable, to my sight.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
If thou wert a needle then I'd be thy thread,
If thy rain wert dry then I'd makest it wet.
But needst not thou worry about my rain;
For 'tis all enduring and canst bear
even the greatest, most cynical pain.
Ah, and thus I'd be thy umbrella,
Thou, whose abode in my heart
is more superfluous, and graceful-
than my random, fictitious nirvana;
Oh, thee, thou art my lost grace,
And everyone who is not thee-
I keepest calling them by thy name,
How crazy-ah, I am, just like now I am, about thee!
Ah, thou art my air, my sigh, and my comfortable relief,
And in my poetry thou art worth all my sonnets, my charm,
and forever inadequate, affection!
And only in thy eyes I find my dear, effectual temptations,
As under the hungered moonlight by the infuriated sea,
Who standeth strenuously by the peering strand of couples,
Thou evokest within me dangerous eves, and morns of madness,
Thou makest me find my irked melody, and vexed sonnet,
Thou made, even briefly-my latent days gracious,
Thou made me feelest glad and undistant and precious.
Thou art a saint, thou art a saint, though thy being a human
intervenest thee and prohibitest thee from being so;
ah, and whoever thinkest so is worthy of my regrets,
and the worst tactfulness of my weary wrath;
For thou art far precious, more than any trace
of silverness, or even true goldness,
Thou art my holiest source of joy,
and most healing pond of tears;
Thou art my wealth, ****** trust,
and my only sober redemption;
thou art my conscience, pride, and lost self;
Thou art indeed, my eternally irredeemable satisfaction.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
I adorest thee only-my prince, my hero, my pristine knight;
Ah, thee, thou art perfect to my belief and my sight,
Thou who art deserving of all my breath and my poetry;
Thou who understandest what kindness is, and desires are,
Thou who made me seest farther but not too far.
Thou who art an angel to me-a fair, fair angel,
Thou who art beguiling as tasteful tides
among the sea-my courteous summer sea,
Thou who art even more human than
our fellow living souls themselves;
Sometimes I think thou art courage itself-
as thou art even braver than it, the latter, is!
Thou art the sole ripe fruit of my soul,
And my poetic imagination, and due thought;
Thou art the naked notes of my sonata,
And the naughty lyrics of my sonnet,
Thou art everything to nothingness,
As how nothingness deemest thee everything;
Thou makest them shy, and dutifully-
and outstandingly, changest their minds;
Thou art a handsome one to everything,
Just as how everything respectest, and adore thee.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
By whose presence I was delighted, as well my breath-dignified,
Ah, my love, now helpest me define what love itself is;
For I assumest it is more than fits of hysteria, and sweet kisses
Look, now, and dream that if death is not really death
Than what is it aside from unseen rays of breath?
For love is, I thinkest, more handsome than it doth lookest,
For in love flowest blood, and sacrifice, and fate that hearts adorest
But desiccated and mocked as it is, by its very own lovers
That its sweetness hath now turned dark, and far bitter;
Full of hesitations engulfed in the best ways they could muster;
O, my love, like the round-leafed dandellions outside,
I shall glancest and swimest and delvest into thy soul;
I shall bearest and detainest and imprisonest thee in my mind,
But verily shall I care for thee,
ah, and thus I shall become thy everything!
Let me, once more, become obstinate-but delirious in thy arms;
let me my very prince-oh, my very, very own prince!
Doth thou knowest not that I am misguided,
and awfully derogated, without thee!
Ah, thee! My very, very own thee!
Comest back to me, o my sweet,
And let me be painted in thy charms,
o thee, whom I hath so tearfully,
and blushingly missed, ever since!

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
I loveth thee adorably, and am fond of thee admirably,
so frequent not outside when all is dark and yon sky is red,
For I hatest justification, and its possibly hidden wrath;
I hatest judging what is to happen when our hearts hath met,
but how canst I ever knowest-when thou choosest to remaineth mute?
Then tearest my heart, and keepest my mouth shut
O thee, should this discomfort ever happenest again;
Please instead slayest me, slaughterest me, and consumest me-
And lastly let me wander around the earth as a ghost.
Let me be all ghastly, deadly, and but penniless;
Let me be breathless, poor, imbecile, and lost-
For in utter death there is only poverty,
And poverty ever after-as no delicacy nor taste,
But I shall still dreamest as though my deadness is not death,
for I am alone; for I am all cursed, without thee.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully cherished,
To thee whom I endorsed, and magnified,
My heart, ah-my poor heart, is still left within thee,
Just how weepest shall the leafless autumn tree,
Waiting for its lost offspring to return,
and be liberated from its pious mourns;
And as I hearest their shaky, infantile chorus,
I shall but picturest thee again, thus;
Thy cordial left palm entwined in my hand,
Strolling with me about the leafy garden.
A joyed maiden having found her dream man,
a loving man swamped deeply with his love, for his loyal maiden.
It was almost 10 oclock, their eyes heavy as rocks, Erik and Jamal headed home
The fork in the road that they've always known to mean they tread on all alone
They made their embrace and started their pace and Erik did not hasten much
Jamal however was quick to endeavor, because mama had told him to rush
They walked their separate ways, reflected on their days, and coveted what tomorrow would bring
At that very moment, their train of thought stolen, by the bellow of sirens they sing
A large police van rolled upon each young man, and flashed a light on each of their face
They told Erik hurry, his mom needn't worry, yet they questioned young Jamal's pace
They told him get down, he got on the ground and struggled in his discomfort
Erik heard a bang in the night, that had gave him a fright, and thought to himself where'd it come from?
Commuter Poet Dec 2016
The discomfort
Of my comfort zone
Far outweighs
The discomfort
Of
The unknown

To live
Alive
Surpasses
The enactment of
A living death
10th December 2016
Kiernan Norman Jan 2015
I picture them in a balmy hallway,
far-corner huddled; quietly, urgently
comparing their notes on ways I have loved.

They'll laugh at lame jokes and avoid eye contact,
each surprised by their own awkwardness.
One of them will quip the term
'eskimo brother'
and immediately wish he hadn't.
The rest will kindly ignore it.
The moment will pass.

They will slowly shed their discomfort.
They will remove their coats.
Sweat will bloom at collars
and trace knotty bumps of spine before
pooling into the space between
boxers and belt.

They won't openly discuss the
strange comradery
that accompanies the lazy river evenings spent drifting down the same mind-
but the tension pulling across
each of their jaws
will announce loud and clear
how frustrating it has
been to be cropped,
tucked in, paper fortune teller folded
and wrapped up into someone else’s idea of poetry.


Casually
then all at once,
they will get started.
Printed pages will uncoil from backpacks,
phones will emerge from pockets
and fingers slightly shaking
will chase the letters
of my name through search engines.

My sticky poems will fan out across floorboards.
They will lower their bodies carefully, not quite kneeling,
(and without mention of the bad knees they happen to share.)
They'll hover above each piece of evidence
and their eyes will crash along titles and memories-
they'll read with raised
eyebrows and pretend as if
they don't already know
each poem, each quick dig, by heart.

When they start claiming
and denying pieces
they will do so lightly
and without judgment.
'This piece is about you and the dry, delicate
tissue-shell of skin
she held out for you after you told
her to shed.
But this piece- this piece is about me
and the messy ointment
that ruined her clothes and
stained her blankets.
A doctor instructed she
apply the ointment to her hands
twice a day to treat
the burns my silence left
across her arms and throat.'

They will share a bit of rage,
A bit of regret.
A bit of shame, perhaps.
They will either miss me intensely
or not at all.
They will either own up
to the poems they begat
or begin refuting.
They don’t want any of
this chilly weight on their soul.
I understand.

They didn’t sign up for this, I know that.
They didn’t set out to rock me,
nor to dig down deep and get to my China.
I was happy to share, to whisper and recite blurry
morning confessions and epiphanies.
I was right behind them running toward the sand dunes,
waving a shovel and pail.
But I can’t feel bad either.
You all must have known:

If you happen to fall for a girl
who writes you must realize
that every smile you put on her face,
every stray hair you’ve pushed back from her eyes,
and quick habit she starts to crave
is fair game.

If a girl who writes happens to fall for you too--
forget it.
You will find echoes of the way your souls fit and fought
together until she has nothing left to feel on the subject;
(and you must be well aware
she's tidal, her feelings are icecaps,
they are melting but will trickle fresh
and renewed for centuries to come.)
Breon Oct 2018
Another night staring skyward where
          Every creaking shift fills the world
                    And the ink-black sky's toothless maw,
Shocks and aftershocks of sound
          Where a moment's discomfort swells
                    To a frenzied crescendo, incessant,
Pressing against skin from within
          Until a saint's patience would break
                    Like lips parting for a stifled sigh.
Midnight falters and fades to dawn,
          Surrenders to the unconquered sun
                    Who, grinning wide as the horizon,
Watches the twisting, turning world
          Tear away from night's dreamless womb
                    Sleepless, stumbling away in a daze.
"What are you?" he asks. "I mean what are you mixed with?"

He does not mean for the question to be rude. He has never seen someone quite like me, and the question has been bouncing around in his head for at least 2 minutes. So he blurts it out.

"Jamaican, Chinese, and White," I tell the stranger. I smile politely and attempt to mask my discomfort.

He only looks more intrigued. He thinks I am odd, oddly beautiful. Like a rare bird he has found. Not a bird one would ever keep. Just something to look at in awe.

"What are you?" the test paper asks, though in a more formal way. "Please bubble your ethnicity." I hesitate. I think about bubbling 3 different races, but I just end up filling in the bubble that says "other".

"What are you?" I ask my mirror. "Are you a freak? Why don't you look like everyone else? Why do they stare at you?"

"You are not pretty," i tell my reflection. "You are just different. The kind of different that no one likes. The kind of different that scares and intimidates people."

My reflection pauses for a moment. She smiles with kind eyes, forgiving my insult.

"You are everything," she tells me. "You are the sun, the moon and everything in between. You are a scorching hot fire, yet you are cold spring water. You are good and bad. You are you and I am, too. But most of all, you are human. Just like anyone else.
This poem is about the struggles and insecurities i used to have as a child of mixed race. Then growing up and learning to love myself.
Jordan Ray Aug 2018
I once knew a butterfly.
Her beauty knew no bounds.
She glided through the air and encapsulated my every thought.
Her delicate wings flapped away any discomfort.
But I was naive and turned away from the butterfly.
I was young and I wanted to see what other creatures the world had to offer.

I then knew an ox.
She was strong.
She faced up to challenges most would cower from.
However she didn't realise how heavy handed she was.
She broke things without meaning or realisation.
Including my heart. I missed the butterfly.

Finally I knew a fox.
She was pretty.
Her paws dragged mud through the house.
You tend to forget the sharp teeth when they're hidden by a smile.
Very clever creatures.
I found that foxes are sly,  I missed the butterfly.

I missed the butterfly. But she had flown away.
Her majestic flight continued even with my back turned.
I didn't realise at the time but the butterfly,
Was stronger than the ox. And Prettier than the fox.
But I missed the butterfly. She had flown away..
Like the life of PI up in here haha!
Keith J Collard Aug 2012
Colonial mansion, in an ocean of grass,
windows aglow as I walk past.
funeral service now used of verandah,
but I hear music, not mournful stanza.
french doors open to a reminisce,
with boyhood heart, of vitreous.

Footfalls on parquet floors,
tux and gown past crown moulded doors.
captured ambiance of a setting sun,
shown from chandeliers highly hung,
day I was born, born the day of prom,
I smiled cordially, and my date fawned.

Girls betrothed by corsage on wrist,
rare french curls--a lunar eclipse.
bedraggled boys now dapper and genteel,
vest and bow-tie, a knightly feel.
chapperesses smiling at maidenly gait,
happy drowse in  mansion estate.

Cuff-links, silk gloves, nail polish of gloss,
beheld tonics and sweets, carefully aloft.
opening cord, an arrow from cupid's bow,
striking coquettes to their tippy toes.
they sprang to dance,I stepped back,
invisible in shadow with tux of black.

Shoulders, lake ripples easing to shore,
hips, gentle waves, right before they pour.
boys stiff, as if waists beheld sabers,
legs, sweeping brooms of on shore waiters.
"your too handsome to stay here unseen,"
said rivaling chaperess, past semblance of queen.

"You should dance ,"said glittered lips of pink,
bent like sparrow wings, during teacup drink.
privy to why in shadow I hid my blush,
her class my crush, that crushed me so much.

She strained me, even the shadows she gave,
black silk, stretching,--convex and concave.
crude metal and wood classroom seat,
clasped her waist of slender physique.
she was guarded by a window in curtain mail,
and tended to by servants of light and gale.
light loved her skin of Mediterranean sand,
and wind enthralled by each and every brown strand.

Light penetrated strands, blondly hot,
wind would blow, cooling pony tail off.
her shadow curtsied under my desk,
long legs danced in irritableness.
mourning class is abuzz with scent of prom,
flower not frost, rules the school's dawn.

I gave my consent, to an earlier invite,
then on, suitor blinded me with light.
and Great Gatsy, and looming prom night,
subjects of sparrow wings pressed tight.
" show of hands, who do not have a date?"
slender wrist arises, from an arm curvate.

alone, she shown that no one asked her,
this stone of Rome amongst boys of plaster.
hand fell with boy of teachers match,
wind shrouded her,from the window sash
rays gave discomfort,to gaze her way,
but I looked through burning ray--

To see a trace of a tear,in eyes ovate,
a goddess unsought, with sadful face.
I, poor, fatherless, could not possibly go,
to prom with princess of arched portico?
I could not interweave my hands to dance,
or know where I could place my glance.

Wind blew a scrap from her desk, indiscreet,
it was pierced by light at my feet.
"will" and "with" were dotted with a heart,
"prom" and "me" before most painful part.
my name in her beautiful free hand,
the color red from hearts inkstand.

(Class bell rings) I travel over star lit lawn,
the music gets louder as I return to prom,
eyes turn to cotton, in shadow as I ponder,
as pain was forgotten, I came upon her.
invisible hands, lifted my chin to a red shape,
our eyes met, her's smiling, mine agape.

Only a glass-maker could imagine my sight,
seeing hot curves form in dance floor light.
only a wax-wing could have rivaled her eyes,
waves gently broke to gown down her thighs.
"will you dance with me,"she softly entreated,
" I don't know how,"a coward repeated.

A princess which tournaments were held,
for which every timber of mansion were felled.
not for Rome the mansion's Corinthian column--
--for her--from quarry prom did befall them.
I could not tarnish this feminine form,
with my lineage in crown she adorned.

I turned from beauty, to dark acres tread,
under willow, I play the last thing she said--
my name--as I shunned from last chance,
now back under willow, cane marks my stance.
I have preserved her forever, shying fate,
even if it was with my own heart-break.

I still see her--in the most beautiful prom poses--
--still--as lights flicker out and a coffin closes.
Andrew Rueter Sep 2017
All comforts we create
Can't compare to the womb
All our fears of fate
Drive us toward the tomb
They cut the umbilical cord
They way I cut my phone cord
Leaving me alone and torn
Wishing I could curl up in a curl
And experience comfort from the world
Where people pay with change
Because they have no money
And people pay with rain
Because they have no honey

I've seen the chaos of fire
And the serenity of water
And the steam that rises when they're combined
The wet ashes of love mix into a thick cement
And become the heart's hardened womb
The heart's hellish hatred blooms
From within the darkness
Bringing us hardships

When my brain is in my eyes
It brings discomfort in disguise
Like the discomfort when I lie
And say I don't give a **** about what others think
Mentally I have become fetal
Yet I'm trying to sound regal
The illusion of indifference
Protects me from conversation
Like the womb or the tomb
And the broom is the tool
That sweeps dirt up under the rug
When my heartstrings begin to tug
The womb is the only place clean and snug

In a world where people become mindless weapons
The womb becomes a pistol
Blasting bullets into the Earth
We save our solidarity
For the moments when massive amounts of people die
And the bar seems to keep rising
And we forget the importance of one
Until we are hit personally
And look down to see blood from multiple wounds
The result of gunshots fired by multiple wombs
Jim Musics Jul 2018
We unfurled the Spring cloth above the table
Letting it float down with gentle guidance
Its patterns and colors so like the blossoms out back

Colors will fade over years and hours
Memories of tastes and scents last as long

I was stung near that tree last year  
I'm still mindful of the discomfort and sleeplessness that it brought

This year, we will inspect each branch for hornets' nests
Finding none will lessen my unease, but not all

When peaches are ripe
And we taste the flesh
Mix slices with white wine and ice
I will strive to be sanguine and unfettered
Fully immersed

You will bring me all the way there
about two weeks from now
Matterhorn Dec 2018
He awoke.

His eyes opened slowly with a purposeful slowness; an action that for most people is the beginning of their life was, for him, a procrastination.

He arose.

The floor felt cold, unwelcoming as he stumbled reluctantly to the sink. The bristles rasped against his teeth, gums bleeding out of spite.

He entered.

Breakfast—a lonely egg, boring toast—entered his body; each bite was scooped with the utilitarian vigor of one who is no longer enchanted by food, yet the relationship must continue: a compulsory marriage without option for divorce. This discomfort washed down with lemon-water.

He contemplated.

Thoughts, those musings that are feared, condemned by most and yet became the greatest of comforts for him, reminded him that one day it all would end and he would be free.

He wasted.

He stretched out his hands, offering up his life force in the daily sacrifice to the eager god that, in return, lit up with the brightness of a thousand stars that blinded him from all that he wished not to see.

He showered.

Cold water ran down his soul, icing the most superficial inflammations while taunting the deepest wounds; no matter how long he remained behind the curtain, there would be no true respite.

He returned.

The blackness beckoned. He entered willingly, surrendering himself to the dark embrace of that demonic respite, his beloved above all others.

He died, once again.
© Ethan M. Pfahning 2018
svdgrl Apr 2014
coated with cushions
fall asleep anywhere
without a single care or worry
wish i knew your secret
Captain Comfort.
everything comes easily
easy to withdraw
easy to release
who cares the least?
Captain Comfort.
i wanna feel what it's like
to be in that soft skin
forgetting what is in
forgetting everything
Captain Comfort.
in your own life boat
is there space for me?
or would it only be
discomfort?
Justin G Dec 2014
I fear thyself
I fear attraction
I fear unfamiliarity
I fear attention
I fear incidence
I fear conversation
I fear interaction
I fear answers
I fear questions
I fear to tell my story
I fear to hear yours
I fear compliance
I fear conflict
I fear benevolence
I fear mutuality
I fear victimisation
I fear change
I fear to love
I fear to hate
I fear significance
I fear insignificance
I fear the lies we tell
I fear the truths we hide
I fear imprisonment
I fear freedom
I fear hope
I fear despair
I fear old age
I fear children
I fear intelligence
I fear ignorance
I fear to take
I fear to give
I fear to borrow
I fear to loan
I fear to exchange
I fear to teach
I fear to learn
I fear to laugh
I fear to cry
I fear to be
I fear not to be
I fear to be afraid
I fear to be brave
I fear to die
I fear to live
I fear discomfort
I fear responsibility
I fear to gain
I fear to lose
I fear victory
I fear defeat
I fear antrophy
I fear hypertrophy
I fear inertia
I fear activity
I fear obedience
I fear disobedience
I fear justice
I fear injustice
I fear totality
I fear poverty
I fear embarrassment
I fear addiction
I fear declamation
I fear guilt
I fear pride
I fear delusion
I fear unfulfillment
I fear my apathy
I fear to be wakeful
I fear to be tired
I fear my capabilities
I fear my incapabilities
I fear my dreams
I fear my nightmares
I fear women
I fear men
I fear being disabled
I fear misinterpretation
I fear misrepresentation
I fear altruism
I fear limitation
I fear to endear
I fear to inspire
I fear to forget
I fear to remember
I fear self doubt
I fear discrimination
I fear starvation
I fear migration
I fear fragility
I fear formality
I fear banality
I fear enticement
I fear cruelty
I fear judgement
I fear to embrace
I endure what I fear
I endure because I must
I endure myself because I fear
Endure thyself
Megan Wilcox Mar 2014
I'm dying slowly
from love
A timeless death
feared by all

Suffering in agony
alone
Tortured by heartache
from you

Enduring sleepless nights
paralyzed by my nightmares
Deteriorating thoughts
plague my mind

Discomfort in my bones
shakes me to my core
Panic running through my veins
shutting me down

I now wish for death
a sweet release
From all this pain
killing me slowly
Dorothy A Dec 2011
A rose in the middle of December is what I saw outside. Instantly, I connected this odd occurrence with my life. The thought hit my thoughts like a ton of bricks. That is what I am, I had thought to myself. That describes me.

As I looked out my living room window on a sunny, but freezing, Saturday afternoon, I was surprised to see this solitary rose that had bloomed on my mini rose plant.  Providing me with a few salmon colored roses each season of its bloom, without fail this plant regrows again and again in my garden. I first planted it there since forever ago, or so it seems.

Usually, such a flowering occurrence should be no big deal, nothing major or out of the ordinary. Certainly, I would not find this as something really noteworthy to write about. Rose plants do that kind of thing all the time.

But it was frigid cold outside, and the middle of December.

What a strange, yet amazing thing to behold! Maybe there is a proper explanation for it, but I don’t care. The petals were just as colorful as ever when really they should have wilted awy from the cold. All the other flowering plants in my garden surely did! It didn’t really make sense, but its presence was pretty awesome.

I eagerly went to find my camera to take a picture of my sweet, little rose. The grass was dotted with tiny patches of snow to show that-yes indeed-winter is really only days away from its official entrance. Plant activity and growth really should be over. Isn’t that right? I know we have had some warmer days during the previous month, but the icy cold seemed to have come to stay for a while. It surely defies logic to think of blooming flowers on such days.

I often look for “God moments”, as I call them, in which God gives me something to hold onto that reveals His love to me. Not looking for anything earth shattering, I see often see God in the little things, in the details of life. And I don’t even always look for such things, for sometimes I doubt God really cares or really is that effective in my life. You see, that is not uncommon for someone who deals with chronic depression. I learned early on in life that nobody is there for you, not really. I know Christians aren’t supposed to feel this way, but if I can be bold to be honest, I am. Often, I just think I’ll get by on my own. If I can’t get by on my own, I often try to put up with it instead of turning to God for help.  But lately I was feeling desperate.

Suffering with depression all of my life, and with managable anxiety, the thought of the approaching Christmas had been especially difficult for me. I know that people are “supposed to” feel uplifted with the holiday, but I was not. To reveal this is a source of shame to me, and I have learned to mask such uneasy feelings, trying to fake it for the sake of showing the world that I really am OK inside. It is like I expect everyone to look at me and say, “What’s the matter with you, loser!”

I knew I could find two things that would appeal to me—Christmas music and lights. Yet the music that I often love could not do it for me. The lovely Christmas lights, shining in the dark of night, didn’t matter either. I was feeling dejected, and I was growing weary with life—again. When not obligated to go anywhere, I felt like hiding from the world, feeling safer from anxious thoughts by myself. And as safe as I tried to feel in my comfort zone, this was frightening to me. This did not feel like living to me.

Is this how I am going to live out the rest of my pitiful life? This was one of my kinder thoughts.

I usually get through Christmas OK, making the best of it, but my losses often feel bigger than my blessings. In 1998, I lost an estranged brother to suicide. In 2005, I lost a father to Alzheimer’s, a few weeks after Christmas. In 2007, my mother had to spend Christmas in a nursing home recovering from major surgery. That year, I struggled through that season with very hopeless feelings, for my mother was in jeopardy of never walking again. She spent almost half a year in that place—a woman with sever scoliosis, and chronic back pain, who cannot stand for very long. In my hopelessness, I seem to forget the miracles in my life, for my mom’s return home seems like one to me.

I also see my father’s experience and death from Alzheimer’s as something far more than a tragedy. For many years, I avoided my father, wanting really nothing to do with him. Grudges surely seem larger than life over time, and although I wanted to forgive my father and seek reconciliation, fear often stood in the way. Even though my dad grew remorseful for how he raised his children, it took my brother’s suicide for me to find forgiveness for a man I thought never supported me or believed in me. For over two years, while my dad was ill and dying, the bond between us grew into something special. I know from personal experience that even in the difficult times, there are larger purposes involved.
  
No doubt, I have been provided with some huge challenges in life. Thankfully, I always pulled through when I surely felt that I would crumble into pieces. I clung to my faith in God, even when that faith felt like dying embers in a fire, for it seemed to be all that I had. Nothing else worked. Nothing else satisfied for very long. And when it did last, I wanted more and more, like a drug addict looking for his next fix.  

I have often been plagued with self doubt. What is my purpose in this life? Why am I here? I knew I was not alone in this thinking, reminding myself that I am not the most unique person in my suffering. So I searched the internet, a convenient source to turn to when you can’t seem to face people, and the world.  

Not wanting to live or value your own life is a horrible state of mind that I would not wish on anybody. I have relied on a depression medication since my brother died, and still do, but there had to be something more to help me. Deep down inside, I did not want to die, but I didn’t know how to live either. The heart of the matter was that in my worst bouts of depression, I was just so broken inside. I survived enough to go through the motions, but I felt like I was losing the battle—and really did not want to win the war anyhow.

I still remember the “God moment” I had when I was in London, England in August of 2011. At that time, life felt like an adventure as I went on my very first overseas trip to Europe. I have yearned to go to Europe since childhood. It was a Sunday morning in London, and a religious program was on. From what one man was saying on TV about his experiences, my ears perked up and I hurriedly scribbled some things down on a pad of my hotel paper before I forget some of his statements that stood out to me.

During my short stay in London, I was experiencing a cold. I wanted to feel Gods presence as I felt the swallowed up feeling of being a stranger in a faraway place. As intruiged as I was,  in the huge, bustling metropolis, I admit I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I find big cities as places in which people pass others with no concern other than to go about their way. London was fascinating, but I am a suburbanite, for sure!

The things this man was saying on TV really impacted me at the time, and I now carry that scrap of paper around with me in my wallet. Little did I know that a few months later that these statements would help to pull me through from reaching into despair. That despair began a few months after that trip when I was quite sick with the flu, twice in a row, and feeling very isolated and weary.

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

All my crooked crutches and phony props, as I call them, weren’t working. If the computer wasn’t taking up much of my free time, television was numbing my senses from the stark reality that life felt empty for me. Where was God? Logically, I knew I had no reason to be bitter, for I knew the answer. I felt so far away from Him, helpless and hopeless—yet I clung to this hope—God never moved at all. I was the one who walked away, but like the prodigal son in the Bible, God would be waiting there for me with a joyful expectation. I truly believe that even though I often wonder how God puts up with me.

It has been a long time—if ever—that I fully trusted in God alone. Yes, I believed in Him, and trusted in Jesus as my savior, but I often held back. I was still so angry and hurt about the past. Why didn’t God rescue me from such a horrible childhood? Why was I bullied in school? Why didn’t I have a better family? Why did loneliness and insecurity plague me as it did? Why wasn’t I beautiful? Why didn’t I have a better life? Why this and why that. Even though I logically knew better, in my hurt and wounded soul, life felt like a big, horrible mistake. God must have not cared about me. I may not have consciously acknowledged it, but my actions proved otherwise.

We live in a world where you got to be stronger, you got to be better; you got to be tougher; you got to be faster; you got to be more successful. The media pounds this into our brains all the time in many different forms. How many of us feel like we can never measure up? I am sure I am not alone in feeling the inadequacy. Yet I could not concentrate on anyone else’s pain when I was so wrapped up in my own.

A rose in the middle of December—I put it all into proper perspective. What a fragile looking thing, but an enduring one! It symbolizes to me the invincible, indelible human soul in the midst of an often perplexing world. When all around seems bleak, when life takes a toll on you, that remains unscathed, untouched by the trails we often have to face.  When we die, I wholeheartedly believe, it will be the only true thing that remains of us. When our bodies decay into dust, our souls will be like that rose, brilliant and beautiful.    

Besides myself, there are two groups of people, near and dear to my heart, which I could compare to that symbolic rose in my garden. My current job is working with special needs students, usually with autistic children and young adults. I worked 19 years in a bland office job, and could not ignore the constant nagging feeling to get the courage and desire up to do something more fulfilling with my life. With fearful, but bold determination I thought: It’s now or never.  Maybe it was not the wisest thing, but it felt so freeing to say to my boss, “I think I quit”, without another job to back me up. I basked in the encouraging applause of many co-workers who wished they had the guts to do the same, but soon the panic set in.

What do I do now? What can I do now?

Never working with children before, I felt a call to work with them, and I absolutely have a greater sense of purpose. Many of these children cannot talk. Many of them cannot walk. Many of them accept people just as they are, for I believe they want the same in return. Their lives teach me what really is important in life—and that is compassion.

Other than children, I also love the elderly, sensing their desperate need for love and compassion. Forcing myself to get my mind off my own troubles, I heeded my pastor’s call to not simply “go to church” but to “be the church”. I knew I had talents. I knew could open my mouth and carry a tune. From what I went through in my life, I knew I had the compassion. After all, I dealt with my dying father in a nursing home. With a nursing home ministry in my church, and a nursing home right across the street, it was obvious—there are others out there that need hope and they need love. So what was my excuse?

In this world that expects you to be stronger, better, tougher, faster or more successful, there are those that live in the world that they don’t fit any of these categories. But yet they are here. They exist. Can they be ignored? The answer is surely, yes, and they often are.  Perhaps, the world is uncomfortable with them, does not know what to do with them. They don’t fit into the false demands for perfection. They don’t fit into push and shove to get ahead of everyone else, but they remind us, sometimes to the point of discomfort, how fragile the human condition often is.  

Lately, I have had such a hunger that food cannot satisfy. I yearned for a peace, one that only God can provide me with. I found two uplifting stories on the internet of people who struggle on and whose lives defy the idea of a perfect world. One of them was about an Australian man, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs. He was picked on at school because he was perceived as a freak, as someone who did not seem to have any real chance at living a normal life. And he was angry that he did not look like, or function like, most everyone else. At about the age of eight he wanted to end it all, thinking he had no purpose in life. He eventually gave his life to Christ, and now lives a full life, reaching out to others with his incredible story of hope and perseverance.

Another woman, Joni Eareckson Tada, continues to amaze me. She is a quadriplegic from a diving accident gone horribly wrong. Her story touches many people with her hopeful attitude and her amazing faith in Christ. She, too, wanted to die when she thought her life had no more meaning. Recently, she has even fought breast cancer and chronic pain that has added to her decades of struggles with immobility.  She touches so many lives with her honesty about her suffering, giving people hope in times that seem hopeless.            

I wanted what these two people had. No, I did not want their afflictions, but I wanted to be able to reach out to others and touch their hearts, as well.  I wanted that faith, desperately, a faith that will not back down in the face of fear, in serious doubts, deep sadness, and pain. These people had little choice but to turn to God. The alternative was utter bleakness, a lack of purpose, and a slow death. But they defied the odds and etched a life out of faith, helping countless others to endure their struggles and to find meaning in life. There were plenty of times when I did not pray to reach out to a God that I gave my heart to many years ago. I bought into the belief that God was as inadequate and ineffective as I was feeling.    

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

With plenty of tears, I cried out to God. It was a gut wrenching cry of someone with nothing to give but a broken heart. I wanted that kind of faith, and I meant that with every fiber of my being. Deep inside, my faith wasn’t gone. It never really left me, but only God had the ability to grow it, to prosper it, and to produce “life” back into my life. The battles might have felt overwhelming, at times, but I have always been a survivor. In spite of heartaches, and from what they actually teach me, I can be an encourager to others. Instead of just wanting to make everything go away, I can look forward to new chapters in my life.  

I know there will still be times when I will struggle to want to face another day, yet with my faith in God, I can.

So a rose growing outside may be not a big deal. Writers and poets have seemingly exhausted the topic, hailing it the most precious of flowers, the most perplex, with such lovely fragility, yet sheltered by stinging thorns. My inspiration to write on the same subject may not be unique, but as a rose blooms, and its glorious petals unfold, so does my story. I admit I hesitated to finish writing this, not sure I wanted to expose these things about my life. It takes a lot of guts to admit how imperfect you are in a world that seems to shun or poke fun at such things. But if I can encourage even one person, who has similar struggles, I will gladly try to be an encouragement.    

For almost a week now, existing in a stark contrast of its surroundings, that little rose remains, cold winter weather and all. Every day since, for about a week now, I continue look for it outside and find it going against the grain.  All the other flowers in my dormant garden are long gone. It will be gone eventually, but I am still enjoying my “God
utter futility of self righteous anger
wraps it's dark cloud around me.
my brain becomes foggy, and my
perception becomes distorted.

love feels like hate, and pain feels like freedom.
my fear leads to anger, which leads to a split
second choice where my fists punch a concrete
wall.

my hand explodes with pain that spreads to my arms
and then to my whole body.  the pain numbs my inner
pain and discomfort.  I want to be a spiritual person, but
sometimes I'm just a frail human being afraid to feel hurt,
so I numb myself with pain.  Utter insanity to try to escape
suffering by self-harm, but that's what happens sometimes.

I am left facing the wall cradling my hand.  I am left with a feeling of utter futility.  My own powerlessness over my
self destructive behavior leaves me humbeled and willing to ask for help.  God, help me let go. Help me not harm myself and others.  Help me feel emotional discomfort without resorting to
punching walls.  Help me be free.
Ankit J Chheda Nov 2012
It was cold city night,
The hours with sounds dying,
It seemed life had escaped,
To the other side of the world,
I rocked for hours with my child in my hands,
I dreamt about her life to come,
Like I often did,
A little eased at the fever subsided.
As I slipped into the clutches of sweet slumber,
My head slumped down,
In what seemed like a blink of an eye,
My head swung up to search the sky,
Where the gold of the sun
Seemed to chase away the night,
But there was something not right,
The morning seemed to bring a sense of change,
Not of the good kind.
As I felt my child, burning up like the coming sun,
I hurried my way to the physician,
Like a saint he answered to my prayer,
Asked me to wait behind while he tried to cure my life,
I never realized until he gave me the handkerchief,
That with my baby I’d been crying,
Her cries echoing foul against my ears,
I’m hurting as much on my helplessness
To take care of my child,
Who is part of my flesh,
Part of my being on the verge of...
Part of my being that I brought to life.
I began to sing to my baby a lullaby,
“Don’t cry my child, I’m here right by you,
For you I sing this lullaby, so you may fall asleep.
In the moonshine, your face glows,
You look like the princess
A queen you’ll grow up into,
Leave me someday for your king,
But till then be with me always,
Even when you learn to walk,
My child, so I can fulfill your wishes,
So you’ll remember me always,
So I can protect you till your king comes,
So I can teach you to walk and run.
Don’t cry, you make me cry too,
Sleep now my child, tomorrow
We’ll begin anew, for you’re alright,
This discomfort will pass… Oh look!
It’s already morn, the sun shines bright!
I see you’d fallen asleep,
While I kept dreaming on,
Open your eyes my child,
A new day has come.
As I finish, I realize that you stopped crying,
But to my plea, you never opened your eyes.
Liz Jan 2015
Funny little thing is she,
She laughs at lightning in the storm.
And what most would see as torture,
She inflicts with pride and is not scared.
Her skin is sharp like broken glass,
And through her lover’s skin she tore.

Through her safest home she tore.
Stupid little girl is she.
They try to mend her broken glass
But the edges cause destruction of a storm.
Please don’t run, don’t be scared,
Don’t be a part of her torture.

Running love is her only torture,
Not pain that through her heart tore.
Distance leaves her crying scared,
Unable to control the fear in her.
Maybe she is the rain in the storm,
Shattering passing window glass.

Maybe she doesn’t mind the glass,
She doesn’t think this is torture.
And maybe it’s not a storm,
But a hurricane she tore
Out of her skin. She
Is no longer scared.

The distance does not make her scared.
Her skin is no longer broken glass.
Alive little girl is she.
Nothing more will be her torture.
She doesn’t need the lover she tore.
No longer does she hide from the storm.

Not sunny skies, but no more storm.
Not yet calm, but at least not scared.
Not yet healed, but not torn.
Maybe cracked, but not broken glass.
Some discomfort, but it doesn’t feel like torture.
Strong little girl is she.

Screaming insanely she tore herself out of this storm.
No one will say “she’s gonna lose it”. Because she somehow she is not scared.
It’s a mystery how she fixed her glass, or how she can still tolerate the torture.
zxndrew Aug 2019
Attempting to break from normalcy
Learning there is much more for me to see
The process may hurt
But there is no progress without work
Trying to break my shell
Allania Berkey Mar 2016
The clock struck midnight
I was restless and thoughtful as could be
I noticed that I had been tossing and turning to a beat and rhythm that plunged above in the sky
It was a thunder-storm
bang, crash, thump
The sky illuminated in glory
Envy

The thunder roared and crashed in the middle of the night and the trees helplessly yearned for serenity
Ironic
It was calm earlier that day
Imagine
The breeze was right where it should have been and the sun was warmer than a hot skillet on a stove top
Peace
The sky was fostered in a pacific blue
And the clouds resembled dreams
Love
I remember it was 1:05 pm to be exact and I was feeling blissful
I decided to ride my bike through a quaint old town, two miles west of my house
Adventure
I stopped and stared at this little old man painting in the park
He was painting a tree, with pink, red, purple and gray
Odd
I couldn't help, but noticed how he was enticed by his surroundings
Interesting
I continued to bike away
It was now 2:45pm and I was feeling a bit famished
To the right of me stayed a cunning unforgettable coffee shop
I insisted to go in
Hesitation
Something about that coffee shop struck me that day, just like the little old man painting his introspection in the park
The room reeked in comfort and patience
Something I did not understand
Silence
Contemplatively, I bought a cup of coffee--black, I also companied that coffee with a blue berry scone--my favorite
I sat by the window to admire the sunlight and how the warmth cherished my skin
I sipped my coffee--startled
I noticed something peculiar about this coffee shop and this day
Instantly, I was left with an uneasy and unsettled feeling
Thoughtful
My black coffee was much more bitter than usual
It is as if the taste could not go down my throat
Something was wrong, I felt it
As I looked around the room everyone else was enjoying their cup of coffee
They also seemed to lack any hesitation
The tone in their voices create a harmonic rhythm in conversation
I noticed that every time they took a sip of their coffee they found it sweet, rather than bitter
I turned my head and looked out the window for a moment
Suddenly, I noticed that the sky was diminishing in its tints of blue
Wonder
I looked down at my watch
It was 3:35pm, I had to get home
I paid my bill and scurried onto my bike
Remember
The sky was calm throughout the entirety of the day
It was lovely and ideal--until it wasn't

No one expected a storm
No one expected disaster
But somehow, I did

I laid in bed that night waiting in anticipation
Waiting for my world to collide
Thunder and lighting seemed to have fought its way through the sky
Time
There wasn't enough
Concurrently, I felt bitter-- just like my cup of coffee in that cunning old shop
Ambiguity
I was left without answers
I was left without sugar and cream
creek, scratch, thump
The tree branch slid against the slide of my house
I noticed it all
It's starting
All the anticipation and anxiety I felt throughout the day was finally coming to its end or maybe to its start
The sky started to illuminate an illusion of sunlight
It was 11:30 pm and the day it almost to its end
I laid in bed thinking
I thought about my day and everything that it was missing
I notice it all
The little old man in the park painted a tree with a usual set of pigments, he defined ordinary, while sat alone comforted by the mere work of his creativity
The people in the coffee shop arrayed and encompassed patience, harmony and happiness
I was struck by discomfort because I unware of all those wonderful things
I knew all about the thunder and how it was provoked in the sky
I understood the lighting and its wish to shine
I thought of the beat and tempo that they would together make
Sometimes it was bitter, but sometimes it was sweet
I understood thunder and lighting
I understood why they danced viciously in the sky  
Finally, the clock struck midnight and it was now tomorrow
Fear
The storm was coming to its peak
The thunder fought its way with the lighting just as viciously written words floated on a piece of paper
The lighting struck back with ferocious and willful ambition
Relentless
The lighting held its ground, but didn't give up its hope
BANG
Memories
It was 1:05 am
The storm had reached its end
The thunder and lighting seemed to have parted their ways
Their fight was tortious
Nobody won, rather they both lost
It was 1:25 am
The rain had finally stopped
The trees have found their peace
It was 1:42 am
As I laid in bed, I thought about my day
I just want the storm to stop
Just like the the thunder and lightening, the little old man in the park and the people in that cunning old coffee shop, all have found their comfort and patience
The thunder and lightening have similarly found it in their bitter sweet good bye
It was wonderful
I noticed that as much as they fought throughout that darling midnight blue sky, they were attracted to their rhythm—A rhythm that was worth saving
The sweetness was found in their beat as they danced throughout the night
The thunder and lighting created a bittersweet combination
Just like the coffee I wish I would of had
A natural disaster that was intended to create a craze in the sky
The thunder wanted to be sweet, as did the lighting
Two peas in two different pods
Their negativity created the sweet appreciation of warm sunlight
I notice it all
The sun was the sweet
The day was calm
The thunder and lightening both knew it all too well
That night, the reminder of it anyways, I laid in bed and I knew that someday the storm would go away
It was 2:25 am and I finally shut my eyes
Francie Lynch Aug 2015
Warning: Use dis list in context.*

You decide on which side you fall.

disappear
disregard
disaster
displace
disqualify
disrepair­
disturb
dissipate
disability
dispose
dismal
distribute
distrust
­disturb
discriminate
discuss
disdain
disguise
dishearten
disinher­it
disown
disparage
disagree
disgruntle
disclose
discolour
disput­e
disarm
discover
disassemble
disadvantage
disallow
dispossess
di­scontent
discontinue
disrespect
disincline
discomfort
disrepute
d­ishonest
disillusion
dishonor
dismiss
disobey
disjoin
disappoint
­discipline
discord
discern
discrete
disfigure
disconnect
disappro­ve
discharge
disbar
disease
discord
disfavor
disengage
disassocia­te
discipline
discount
disembody
displace
dissaray
disembowel
dis­combobulate
discredit
discourse
disentangle
disenfranchise
disemb­ark
discard
disburse
disbelief
discover
disable
disagree
disinteg­rate
dismay
dispense
dislodge
disclaimer
disapprove
dissatisfy
di­srupt
dispel
dislike
dismantle
disloyal
disbatch
disrobe
disperse­
display
disaprove
disciple
disavow
disconcert
disinfect
disorder­
dismal
dismember
displease
dissemble
disunity
dislocate
distort
­distrust
distress
dissolute
disassociate
distill
discect (?)
distemper
distain
distasteful
distraught
dissolve
dissonant
d­issuade

And dis isn't de end.
ryn Feb 2015
How many more Valentine's
How many more birthdays
How many more New Year's
How many more of tomorrow's rays

How much more strength
How much more perseverance
How much more fortitude
How much more despondence

How many more circles
How many more misleading clues
How many more loops
How many more déjà vus

How much more sadness
How much more to be paid
How much more discomfort
How much more to be laid

How many more questions
How much more time
How many more answers
How much more must I rhyme

How many more roses
How many more seasons
How many more Valentine's
How much more to achieve balance
Sleepz Feb 2018
There was once two,
that cared about each other.
They were happily together so long,
it was unimagined that anything could go wrong.

When he saw her,
with her beautiful blond hair,
that coiled around his fingers anytime he felt it.
Her sweet chocolate eyes that stared
and pierced through what pumped his blood
to keep him there.

Her sweet voice attracted him like a honey bee to a flower,
soft, like the ocean waves.
A sound you could fall asleep to,
but wouldn't because you'd never get bored.

The taste of her lips unique,
He loved to kiss her cheek.
When they hugged and he bowed his head over her shoulder,
he felt his cheek pressed against her clavicle,
wondering if she felt the discomfort of bone against bone.

He could smell her perfume, especially on dates.
But nothing could smell better to him than her natural scent;
Freshly showered every morning,
coffee on the table waiting,
setting the expectation that today will be a great day.

He leaves to work,
believing when he returns she'd be there.
At the same time,
nothing makes him more sad,
than knowing she is allowed to leave forever.
yet, more beautiful than a dove in a cage,
is the one that is always free.
Andrew Rueter Nov 2017
There is a fight
It is internal
There is a plight
It is infernal
There is no light
In this ******

There are many things people callously say
Like I'm the last person they'd expect to be gay
Delivered like a compliment
Burning like a sulfur vent
I have to remember not to say thank you
To save someone some discomfort down the line
When it's easy to let these sentiments internalize

You'll see this in the homosexual community
They don't face the hatred with impunity
Some call themselves masculine
And blame their plight on the effeminate
But no matter what
They'll still be called degenerate
So the community internalizes marginalization
Though this prejudiced stop is no original station
You'd think your own kind would allow vacations
From the population of an uncaring nation
That will never grant us any veneration
Because of the nature of our *******
Yet we **** ourselves for their placation

There is hatred within
This hatred imprint
When we fractionalize marginalized groups
Into the "good" ones and "bad" ones
We say the bad ones are the reasons the good ones must be hated
Whether they're cops or criminals
Christian or Muslim
Gay or straight
We find reasons to hate
When we live our life in the grime
Of the negativity we've internalized
Douglas Goins Feb 22
I wish I could tell you it doesn’t hurt.
That this pain is a two on the doctor discomfort scale.
But I doubt I’ll ever recover.
Even after I find the strength to get better.
Because loving you.
Was by far the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
Mateuš Conrad Jul 2016
having applied myself to two languages with different parameters of execution: writing in primarily in English, reading fiction and poetry primarily in English enabled me to gain strength in reading philosophy and conjuring up white-rabbits from a top-hat in Polnisch - i can't read philosophy in English - which explains why few interests in philosophy exist - the English have undermined the worth of philosophy, oh sure, David Hume is the rave in Scotland, because he's Scottish - but the English took to solely understanding the world via Darwinism - image deciphering accounts of how the natural order of things is attached to inanimate materials propelled by falling apples - the continental procedure is less concerning Darwinism and more akin to a mental fashion statement, as in: what's vogue these days? what's the cognitive vogue? the English "philosophers" with their rigid Darwinism are like priests - which is why they attracted biblical literal interpretation - the creationists - there's no other explanation why the creationists emerged - it was because of militant atheism, atheism without individual originality - invoked by a sense of herding the sheep to the grazing hills of nihilism - the pillar that became the crutch - of course i admire and know it's true - no Genesis story that's merely a p.s. in history is ever going to undermine the naturalist's fascination with the world in every minute detail - i'm not against that... but at this moment i was thinking of a cult idea for a naturalist - take a pornographic movie, and give it to a naturalist to assess - after all... we're just mammals - i think this could turn out to be a real daytrip for a naturalist - oh sure, it must be ease with organism that apparently do not derive any pleasure from procreation... give two beings that apparently do derive pleasure from procreation... to later debase it with the malignant forces at work in the Encyclopedia that's 120 days of *****... the naturalist narrating a pornographic scene would be bewildered as to why these highly evolved creatures are exponentially higher-up the tiers of evolution, needing so many complex adaptive techniques - boredom for one, people have created more distractions than they have created tools of necessity - but perhaps they're equal - our evolutionary drive? the thing that makes us tick is not necessarily physical discomfort - we exercise for the pleasure of physical discomfort - the drive is boredom, the fear of it drives us mad with constant ingenuity taking form - like a ballerina in a salsa bar... sadism in the aura of hot-sweat-and-coconut-***-shaking as if playing dice in Las Vegas... Don Quixote (the ballet on three days away)... we're done with the empirical satisfaction of Darwinism, we know it, we need a humanistic approach to it, something that goes against the English priesthood - Darwinism will never be vogue in continent Europe, continent Europeans just say: Egyptology is as far back as is necessary to go... our lives are more important and more complex than those of primates... our lives are more important and more complex than those of primates... we want to write history, not look at history as a burden and therefore try to erase it, placing ourselves in a garden of awe and glass; honestly? Darwinism is a bit like creationism - it all starts with a garden, awe, and the grand spectacle - only the other includes a need to procrastinate by doing some ritualistic mumble and Hosanna Hallelujah in the highest - and the other tries not to yawn.

so onto my favourite topic... rich boy's slang -
do you really think a *prince
of Egypt would speak
slave tongue Hebraic?
do you think **** & 'arry could speak Bulgarian
or Romanian? let me think... no.
they might speak French... maybe German...
but certainly not the eastern tongues -
now, whoever wrote that book wrote it in ancient
Egyptian, the chronologically speaking
yes, female genital mutilation was practised first
in Africa, notably Egypt, prior to male genital
mutilation being instigated by frustrated Abraham -
the collision was bound to happen -
see how pretty prince slang looks?
it's poetic - the rich boys call it poetry, the poor
boys call slang - which is why poor boy raps
and over uses rhyme - or perhaps rhyme is easier
to remember than free verse poetry -
rich boy brings a page on stage and recites because
he's too lazy or not bothered to memorise,
poor boy says yeah a lot in between his lyrics
without a page so he can the the bowling aisle
movement as if he's rolling in a convertible Cadillac -
sing ***! yo! ***! yo! so the chronology matches,
Eve first, Adam second - but not as in: they did it first -
later down the line they cut off the precious skin
and hence felt naked, they fell, they revised was not
to be revised - sure, the man got the favour right -
he was the winner - but at the same time, the loser -
hence the good & evil bit - we don't really know -
is it really necessary to have good *** to later have
a fickle partner and laws being in her favour via what's
called the missed prenup thought? to me it's just a literal
reading of the text - looking for laurel leaves to cover
the revision of the genitalia - not the actual genitalia per se,
just the revised versions - so if the female variation is
whatever it is - less pleasure from *** and what not,
for man that also means counting the stars and weeks
and having no pleasure from ******* when her period
arrives and you have to try a diet of **** or something -
well of course it's slightly uncomfortable with it -
but at the same time you increase your endurance with it -
a slight sadomasochism, no whips no ******* women,
no leather, no adventure, just raw meat and raw meat -
no fantasy no role play - just a little bit of skin making all
the difference - can you imagine Marquis de Sade writing
as frankly as this? well... every time i revise my thought
on the book of genesis, i obviously become a covert literal
reader of it, deciphering the eloquent slang of a prince of
Egypt would use on such "delicate" matters -
but with that being said: it becomes all the less fascinating
a myth-making engine, and given he was forced out of
his comfort zone (and i mean a comfort zone) he would
cite God as the word (reason), but by word alone and
the word only - the reasoning behind what entered the land
of Egypt as being the same as what entered the Garden
of Eden... and tempted... the temptation came with the pyramids -
oddly enough only the Eiffel Tower was higher than
the pyramids - look at the time it took man to become so bold again!
look at it! massive - and in some weird quantum physics
interpretation of the mythological past becoming the actual
future - the tower of Babel... and... yep, you guessed it:
the Burj Khalifa (or the Khalifa Tower) is its equivalent;
but ****, only the Eiffel Tower overshadowed the pyramids -
something must have happened back then then,
if man was so shy in rising his structures too far up into
the sky - but i guess the Enlightenment spurred him on...
later to crash back down with the atom phobia of the second
part of the 20th century, which in the 21st century morphed into:
well, how will wars be profitable if we drop a nuke?
e'oh! no, sorry, one nuke will make us bankrupt -
we need tanks, guns, bullets... huge bulks of them!
stockpiling nukes ended up a bit like stockpiling too much...
ah crap... don't have a good analogy - just started thinking
of a desert of sugar - sugar dunes... imagining a desert
like that... well, partially true - with the Arabs not drinking
alcohol and eating too many sweets, diabetic amputees throughout
the desert land.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.

In a lone boat, rain cloak and hat of reeds.
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.

I am alone in this mountain fastness, on a steep downward path in the deepest shadow. I play with the twelve characters of Lui Tsung-yaun’s poem. How few poems tell of the desolation of winter. The coming of Spring, the passing of Autumn? Yes. But the onset of Winter? Even my sharp memory only recalls a meagre handful of poems to this season: the time of the first snows. Against all good sense I set out from Stone Village too late in the year: now I search for comforting word images to accompany me on this journey. Just below the snowline I pass through a stunted forest of ancient walnut trees almost leafless; the unrelenting wind has dispatched them crinkled brown into the valley below. I see there a winding river. I see its distant lake. I think of this poem known since my teenage years, puzzled over that one could see in one sweep of the horizon a thousand peaks. Here are that thousand and more if the ranks of limestone pillars in these mountains can be counted as peaks. I count them as peaks. And those thousand paths? At every turn there is some fresh way falling into the valley, or a faint trail rising to the heights. But this path I tread asserts itself on the traveller. Its stones are worn and the excrement of passing pack animals sticks to my boots.

Last night a cave, tonight I will reach the village of Psnumako. My former guide provided its name with a disdain he could not hide. When questioned he warned me not to enter without a stout staff against the mastiffs that guard each house, supposedly ******* during the day but apt to break their bonds at the smell of a stranger.

The steep and ever steeper descent brings pain to my knees. At this hour of the day my body would prefer to climb to the heights, but descend I must. The cold, the damp cold begins to stiffen weary limbs. I am tired from a day’s travel, tired from three hard climbs, two descents and this, my third, to complete before nightfall. I enter a narrow gorge loud with clamour of running water, cascade upon cascade flowing from the heights, falling fast to the river soon to interrupt my path. I shall have to force a crossing. What passed for a bridge were two fallen pines lashed together.  Now they lie akimbo a little distant, thrown apart like sticks by the spring flood as the deep snows melt. I must divest myself of boots and lower garments and wade across, stumbling on stones up to my waist in swift waters, terrified under the weight of my pack that I will fall and be swept under and along. To travel alone at such moments is foolhardy, but on this cold afternoon I have no choice.

I am so intent on preparing for this crossing it is only when I reach the end of the path that I notice snow is falling, its flakes sharp and white against the dark-water flow. The whirl and turn of the water mesmerises. Fatigue, fatigue embraces me, a day’s fatigue holds me fast on the river’s stony side. I close my eyes and hear the water rush and place myself into the protection of a mountain charm learnt from a passing traveller. Dwarfed by the size of his burden I see him negotiate a narrow path high above a chasm; he walked trance-like to the intoning of this charm.

It is soon done, the cold crossing, and with a lighter step I walk the remaining leagues to the lake-side and sight of the village. There are the faintest sparks of light amongst the silhouettes of houses. Animals are being brought in from the home fields against the night. A sudden shout, the barking of dogs, and now the snow falls thick and fast.

The guttural dialect here is barely discernable as speech. We are from different worlds this shepherd and I who meet at the stupa guarding the village entrance. This is not a Buddhist shrine but an acknowledgement of some mountain giant of terrifying aspect. The shepherd sees my official insignia and nods, knowing I will require shelter. He utters what may be a welcome, but could be a warning, and leads me forth. The mastiffs leap and bay as I pass between the primitive two-storey houses, animals below, humankind above. He disappears. I stop and wait. He returns with a woman who beckons me to climb the ladder to what may be her home. A widow perhaps? She is alone unless the rank darkness hides a man or child. But there is none. I hear animals move and grunt under the floor, a mat of dirt and straw. There is a sleeping loft, a cooking corner. I can see little else. But I am out of the snow, the biting wind, the cold. She pulls at my cloak, wet and caked with ice. There is a bowl placed in my hands; a rough tea. I speak a greeting, but there is no reply just a rustle of straw as she moves across the room.

The stupor of a journey’s pause is upon me. After three days on the trail to the heights I am numb with fatigue. I need food and sleep. I need rest before a final trek into the wilderness. Beyond Psnumako Lake known paths end. Except for the tracks used by shepherds to move their flocks to different seasonal pastures, there is wilderness. I hope for guidance, for the whereabouts of the sages who, in the winter months I am told, leave their reed huts on the heights for caves in the lower valleys. I shall be patient, remain here a little while. I am now immune to the discomfort and dirt of travel. That is how it is. That is how is must be. I miss only the mental absorption of writing, the caress of the brush on a scroll. In my home in Louyang I keep brush and paper close to hand; wherever I may be I can write, even in, especially in, the privy. If a line comes to me I can write it down. Here there is only the comfort of memory.

To think that in the past I wrote of this mountain wilderness out of my imagination and the descriptions of others. I once thought of these remote places as havens of spiritual liberation.

In the hills there is the sound of zither.
White clouds stay over shaded peaks,
Red flowers shine in the sunlit woods
Rocks are washed in the stream like jade;

How very different is the reality of it all; in this emerging winter world of mist, where the sun rarely visits and most living things have departed, where wind colours silence and one’s footfall becomes consolation. The sound of stone rubbing stone on the path is the eternal present. There have been days when only a distant crow moves in the landscape. Lammergeyers are known in these parts, but I have yet to see one. If there are wild beasts, they shun me.

As this bowl of tea cools in my hands but warms my frozen fingers I form pictures of the past day on its dark surface. Before dawn from the mouth of a river cave I sensed changes in the qualities of darkness that have hidden the heights above me. Then a perceptible line appeared and divided the mountain from the sky. That line became variegated; there were trees bristling on the highest rocks. It appears that at this hour the prevalent mist settles in the valleys leaving the sky clear.

The woman comes to me. She kneels to untie my boots. She looks with a curious innocence at my strangeness, the distortion of my face, the cleft palette, the deformed upper lip, the squint of my left eye. She is kindly as I give her my best smile though my face seems frozen still. There is a whisper, a prayer of welcome possibly. Then she bows her head, unravels a long scarf to reveal a mane of oiled hair, and sets about removing my boots. I see only the top of her head, a severe parting, hair held tightly in wooden combs. I close my eyes to bring to mind the image of Xaoli, so slight in comparison, her butterfly hands flittering into and around my sleeves, her seeing touch mapping out the extent of me, each piece of clothing, only later my face.

My reverie is broken by the entrance of two men. They squat behind the woman and, after taking in my ugliness and my hairpins of office, patiently wait for her to finish and retire. We stand and bow, then sit again amongst the straw.

‘Honoured Lord, I am Yun. You have travelled from Stone Village? And beyond?’

I pass him the Emperor’s seal he cannot read, but remain silent.

‘You are seeking those who live in the heights? The village only sees their servants, young boys sent for a goat or flasks of barley spirit. They bring herbs our women favour. Some have seen their huts when seeking lost animals. Now it is said they are gathered in the caves like animals waiting for the spring moon.’

‘When was the village last visited by their kind?’

‘ Hanlu, my Lord, the time of cold dew, two boys appeared with a pony. There was trading. They brought Chrysanthemum flowers and herbs for two geese and wine. They left scrolls for passage to Stone Village. Now the snows fall we may not see them until the Spring’

‘How far are your summer pastures? Have you any who would guide me there ?’

‘We do not seek these places after the first snows. The sages haunt the region beyond Chang Mountain. Before the 11th moon you might pass into the valley of Lidong where it is believed their caves lie, but to return before the Spring will not be possible.’

‘How many days there?’

‘Allow four. A difficult way, unmarked, rarely trodden, much climbing. There is one here who we could send with you – part of the way, and at a price, My Lord. Dahan travelled two seasons since as groom to a party of six with ponies, but then in late Spring.’

‘I will stay three days.’

‘Just so My Lord. Xiu Li will see to your wishes.’

And they depart, Yun’s companion has remained silent throughout, though searched my face continually. By the door he places his hand against the stout bag that carries my lute. ‘Guqin’, he says tenderly.

This instrument is my pass to the community of the reclusive. I am renown for my songs and their singing. My third-best guqin has not left its bag since Stone Village and I fear damage despite all my care on the path.

Later, as the village mastiffs gradually cease their baying as the quarter moon rises I take this instrument and place it across my lap. Its seven silk strings I wipe with a cloth and gently tune with its tasselled pegs. I then prepare myself through meditation to avoid the intrusion of distracting thoughts. With my eyes closed I allow my hands to seek out and name each part of guqin: from the Forehead of the Top Board, to the String Eyes, the Dew Collector, The Mountain, Shoulder and Phoenix Wings, past the Waist, the Hat Lines and the Dragon’s Beard, to the Dragon’s Gums and thence to the Inner Top Board. I can feel the Pillar of Heaven – the sound post – has moved a little in my recent travels. So too the Pillar of Earth – but with care I move both to their rightful positions. And so on naming the inner and outer parts of each of the two boards that make up the guqin. I begin to regulate my breathing and allow the fingers of my left hand to stroke and touch, to press and oscillate in the manner of vibrato. Zhoa Wenji describes twenty-three kinds of vibrato. I feel in turn each of the hui, the thirteen gold studs that mark the harmonic nodes and allow me to play the guqin by touch alone. In these moments of preparation I hear the words of my teacher: a good player makes sounds that are plentiful but not confused. As the moon reflecting on water, so the sounds are together but not combined. Like wind in the pines, they are combined but also spread out. Such sounds are valued for their lightness. Avoid the addition of inappropriate  "guest" sounds. This is the refined theory of the guqin. To be knowledgeable about music, one must seek this, then one can realize its beauty.

I have tuned to the Huangzhong mode. The song *Amidst Mountains Thinking of an Old Friend
I have brought to mind. I recall the words of The Slender Hermit who says of this piece that its interest lies in holding cherished thoughts, but having no way to tell these to anyone. There are emotions about the present time, longings and laments for the past, but there is no way to express any of this. And so this piece.

In this poor reed hut the room is filled with mist and haze,
how far away are the things I love;
the old plum tree seems exhausted, its flowers about to die,
the mountains are lonely and I am nostalgic for past times.
The moon shines brightly on this lovely evening,
from this distance I think of my old friend and wonder where he is.
The green of the mountains never fades,
but before I know it my hair will turn white;
the moon is waning and flowers wither,
Old friend, I dream constantly of meeting you.
How hard it is to recall the joy of our last meeting!
With the many mountain ranges,
and its hidden tigers and coiled dragons,
I am unable return to you in Chang An.
The road is distant, the tall trees make the road dark,
and the world is vast.

I mourn Aquila and Lyra
separated by the Milky Way like the cowherd and weaving girl,
on the ground we are separated by 1,000 li
in the sky we are each in a separate place,
though our passions remain strong
There has been no warm correspondence,
there is restraint to the bright harmony,
and the flowing streams are swallowed by the setting sun.


The thought of this song of mid autumn touches me before its words have issued from my lips. I play the last two lines in harmonics and sing.
Zuo Si was the brother of the courtesan and poet Zuo Fen. This short story is based on a chapter from my novel Summoning the Recluse. The opening poem appears in a translation by David Hinton from his collection Mountain Home.
Margo May Apr 2016
when people are
suffering
in deep pain
pain that is greater
than the pain you feel,
how can you think about
yourself?

when you can
survive
in discomfort
discomfort that is less
than the discomfort they feel,
how can you think about
yourself?

when they need
healing
so much more
more that is desired and
even more than you need,
how can you think about
yourself?

the truth is
i can’t.

their pain can’t be ignored,
your pain can’t be ignored.

i would live every day with
my pain
if it meant everyone else was
forever healed.

but someone else already paid that price
and his name is
Jesus.

— The End —