underneath below…Haiku/ Tanka

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i have known more pain

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than i can hope to forget,

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yet…i look skyward.
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these eyes collect joy,
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like a jewel thief stealing

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moments where i can.
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when the moonlit skies
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reflect more darkness than light,
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i hide behind clouds.
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this melancholy…
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it lays shallow in my lungs,
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waiting to exhale.
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battered and lonely,
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you found me once on the shore…
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but i crash in waves…
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underneath below
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the undertow i create
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in amniotic
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silence i know all too well,
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a slave to the familiar.
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tell me… stars have life,

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find me… whenever i hide.

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underneath…

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below.
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over the wall

dear friends, i found a song and video that
inspired this poem. the words are written to the
tempo of the song and if you have the time,
please watch this incredible video.
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Stubborn Love/ The Lumineers
It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
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over the wall
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i saw a smile today…

shining from a stranger’s face

and bundled from the bitter cold

it leapt over the wall

to meet me eye to eye
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i woke a girl today…

and kissed her pale forehead

as i did on that night she was born

tears just poured over the wall

at the miracle in my arms
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i drew a face today…

trusting these hands again to say

what my eyes have always known

climbing over the wall
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’cause fear is the enemy of art
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i risked it all again…
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and shared all the secrets
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of my troubled life
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her patient Love tore down the wall
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to heal an injured heart
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now i won’t pretend to know

why this life can be so hard sometimes

and this world will bruise our tender hearts
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because i am just the sum of all my pain

the kind that can never really be repaired

i just learned to wear the scars beneath my skin
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i saw the sun today

so bright through the clouds

even the greying slush did

sparkle and gleam across my boots

and i… just keep walkin’ on
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The Bridge of Time and Promise

dear friends.. i felt the need to write some prose while i worked on the co write poems i mentioned in my last post, the song was chosen not for the title or video but for the close your eyes experience.
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The Bridge of Time and Promise
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Chaos was the default setting in my family. The earliest memory of my uncertain future, was me sitting in the sturdy chrome legged high chair that provided a perfect mezzanine level view of the kitchen table. From the relative safety of that private perch sitting plush as a prince behind my oversized formica tray, I could hear and see everything.

It was a cruel foreshadowing of how I would eventually view the world.

Wednesday meant spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and not ’50’s style Americanized Chef Boyardee spaghetti either. No, not in our house. I can remember watching for hours while my mom made the meatballs, prepared the ingredients and slow cooked the deep red fragrant sauce on the stove. With her large spoon disappearing into the open topped aluminum pressure cooker to take a sip then dolloping some into my plastic bowl, I was a red saucy mess by dinnertime

Though I was much too young and preoccupied as curious kids are,
to understand exactly what all the words I heard actually meant, I knew something was amiss that night. Kids learn by repetition and it wasn’t until my personal spaghetti feast was suddenly interrupted by a very loud thwack followed by my father yelling at the top of his lungs, did I realize the words ‘not good enough’ was…uhm, not good.

From what I could gather, his ‘not good enough wife’ had once again tried to cook a ‘not good enough sauce’, not like his mother would make it and said sauce and spaghetti ended up on the ceiling in so furious a motion, my mom and I sat in stunned mouth agape awe.

Lost in my kid reverie of seeing something new for the very first time,
I don’t recall hearing the plate crash down on the table but the white porcelain shards were everywhere. The inevitable commotion and chaos trailed quickly down the hallway without so much as a glance from me, I just couldn’t take my eyes off that Rorschach red splatter on the low ceiling.

So there I sat in our little kitchen alone in my high chair, howling with laughter as one by one a spaghetti strand would peel away from the ceiling only to flutter and plop on the linoleum floor.

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Apparently the spaghetti was cooked to perfection, al dente pasta will cling if you toss a strand on the ceiling; an old school trick I learned from my few years as a chef. The recipe is memorized now I’ve made it so many times though I wish just once, mom could have slow cooked
it for her grandchild. Shining that red saucy face grin, my daughter has been happily wearing that sauce since she was in her own high chair.

Mom deserved to live that memory… the world and our lives are less that she didn’t but the regret has tempered with time, and knowing mom would have been tickled that her recipe was still being savored.

And there is solace in knowing the weight of her life has lifted some,

that the generational abuse in our family finally ended with me…

a promise I whispered in my daughter’s ear

the miracle night she was born.

in whatever I have or may succeed,

I find joy in the vast and

tranquil oceans of her innocence.

and my life’s full reward

witnessing the budding dreams

of clean and open sky…

of song and flights of angels soaring…

of pure… in her adolescent eyes.
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as the Universe intended.
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shoots and wings, thresholds and thank you’s

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i woke today to an earlier light,

slicing sun… between wooden blinds.

Spring soil…it shifts and yearns

in shy murmurs… of shoots and wings.

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how the wind is alive

with the long forgotten calls

of weary immigrant birds,

floating currents… returning home.

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and maybe… my day is here

to shed this curfew of skin and doubt,

finally… free myself forward

shutter eyes that lurk behind my head.

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let my instinct… map a ready sky,

a fragile trust and mysterious as flight.

let unfurl… these inadvertent wings

and surrender my will to each unknown.

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there is stubborn in my bones

a rain worn feather remains as resolute,

and how much fear… i’ve let fly

oh, sweet wing of creation… take me home.
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thresholds
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When I began this little blog a year ago, I had such meager and modest expectations that anyone would pay any attention to what was being written here, let alone take the time to leave a comment because of something I happened to write.

I wrote short stories then, a memoir of sorts, recollections of a kid from a troubled family living in a poor and forsaken neighborhood in Brooklyn. And that’s all I had plans to write until I just happened to see a link to a poetry site on someone’s blog. It was the first week of April, and just happened to be the first week of National Poetry Month.

I still can’t explain what compelled me to submit a poem, I’d only written one until then just a few months earlier. But I did, flying by the seat of my proverbial pants, against every fear and anxiety I wrote renewal. I was so heartened and overwhelmed by the response, I wrote another.

And the rest, as they say is history.

But I believe our history is a living thing, and so very humbly here I am… 150 poems later. This past week this little blog surpassed 16,000 page views and recorded its 5000th comment and on days like this when I sit back and reflect on this profound improbability, I have to clunk myself in the head with the heal of my hand in a “I shoulda’ had a V8′ moment to make sure this isn’t a dream.

Me, who feared poetry all his life… is now obsessed with its writing.
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shoots and wings
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And now I think it’s time to ‘unfurl these inadvertent wings’, cast aside the fear and doubt and accept the gifts that are being presented. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be busy with some collaborations and personal projects I wanted to tell you about.

A dear friend and most talented writer Bianca (B.G. Bowers) is dedicating her blog for the entire month of April to invited guest poets and challenges. She has very graciously asked me to participate, and I was honored to accept. On April 20th my poems will be featured and I’m really excited at the prospect. Thank you again Bianca.

In the next few weeks, 3 poets who are held in very high regard for personal and important reasons, and I will be working on co written poems. The themes of each of these poems are so dramatically different, the challenges will likely take us all to places we haven’t been before. With the enormous energy and talent these poets possess, I have no doubt co writing these poems will be an exciting and rewarding creative experience and I thank them all for this opportunity.

When you have a chance please visit
Melanie (Wordifull) Chloe (Sirena Tales) and teardropsofink

And lastly, many of you might remember that this past summer I was invited to apply for residency to the Ragdale Artist Retreat. Considering the prestigious alumni that have and still spend time there, it is an honor for me to even be considered. I’ve hesitated to apply because the one requisite the board asks you to have, is a worthy goal, something you can or want to achieve while you are there. I didn’t…until now.

In a recent comment thread with my wonderful new poet friend Nomzi (Nomzi Kumalo), she mentioned that she’d like to have a collection or a book of some of her favorite poems of mine. And of course I gave her my standard ‘oh I’ve never had the dream or desire to be published’ response. She hasn’t been the first friend to tell me this…

well… I finally got the courage to ask ‘why not a book?’

So I will apply now and whether I get accepted to Ragdale or not, a book will be self published in the coming months. I do have a tentative title ‘poems of Hope from a wounded heart‘, and dear Chloe has so graciously accepted to write an introduction. Thank you Nomzi for the spark and thank you Chloe for being generous with your valuable time. Love and Hugs to you both!
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thank you all
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And of course none of this would have or could have happened without all of you, who have read this poetry of mine and written so many profoundly heartfelt and encouraging comments. And a very special thanks to Melissa Hassard and the 20 Lines a Day community.

What an incredible gift this Circle of Encouragement is!

so ty, ty, ty, from the bottom of this very grateful heart.

Love and Hugs to you all!

Faith interwoven….Tanka/Haiku

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evergreen boughs weigh
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heavy with hungry sparrows
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awaiting daybreak.
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their hopeful chirping,
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like sweet memories waken
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a sleeping landscape.
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our nature entwined
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in Faith that a warming Sun
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will rise once again.
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