Category Archives: spirituality

A Jar of Macadamia Nuts

“Things aren’t important.

Things are important.

Does that make sense?”

 

She stood before me

In the supermarket.

A friend, I haven’t seen in over a year.

A disease that is slowly melting her cartilage away.

She smiled joyfully at me,

In front of the shredded cheese.

Her happiness had nothing to do with the cheese.

I hope.

 

“I think so.” I replied.

“Big things aren’t important.

Small things are.”

 

Her smile continued.

“Yes last year I couldn’t stand.

I might have to have surgery to fuse my spine.

I won’t be able to move my head ever again.”

 

I said, “Like this?”

Slowly moving my back, neck, and head from side to side as one

Imagining what life would be like,

Like a naive child learning about homeless for the first time.

 

“Yes,” she said.

We stood, for a moment, in silence as the Friday shoppers passed us,

In a frenzied passion,

As if the three for two special

Held the meaning of life

Or the riches of Solomon.

 

“You look well,” I said and I meant it.

In fact, she looked beautiful,

With a knowledge and understanding

That few possess.

 

 

“Thanks,” she smiled again.

Her eyes closed as discomfort from her condition took hold of her.

“I can only get around now for small amounts of time

And I’m about done.”

 

I noticed a jar of Macadamia nuts in her hand

And looked around for her cart.

“Is you cart somewhere?”

 

No, this is all I came for.”

I looked confused

So she continued,

“Last year I couldn’t stand,

I couldn’t clean.

I couldn’t be the mother

I wanted to be.

Everything I thought I once was,

I wasn’t.

I couldn’t even bake.

I love baking.

For now,

At this moment,

I can do things,

Small things,

Simple things.

Today I can bake cookies.”

She looked at the jar in her hand

And smiled sadly.

“Today I can bake,

Silly really.”

 

Not silly at all.

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The Leprechaun II 070517

We don’t believe in leprechauns anymore,

And that is sad for them.

We all need to be believed in.

 

No one to bother them as they ply their trade,

Cobbling their shoes for fairies’ feet.

But every once in a while,

I bet they look over their shoulder,

Thinking that they heard a person,

Creeping, sneaking up to catch them,

And demand their treasure.

After a moment,

The feeling passes.

They let out a mournful sigh,

Continuing their lonely work,

Undesired and unloved.

 

We don’t believe in leprechauns anymore,

And that is sad for us.

We all need something magical to believe in.

 

Instead, we Google our magic away,

Replacing hope and desire,

With meaningless symbols,

On lighted screens.

We have leprechauns dancing

On our souvenir shot glasses,

Which we fill to forget,

The magic we once believed in.

 

Was there a time

When we ventured

Into the dark forest alone

To capture the elusive sprite

And bring back the pot of gold

To our unbelieving parents?

 

There must have been a time

When the world was full of enchantments.

And every tree, and every leaf, and every stone

Was filled with wonder,

Waiting to be picked up

And studied as they slowly reveal

Their mysteries to us.

 

We don’t believe in leprechauns anymore,

And that is sad, so sad.

Without these lessons in

Faith and Hope and Desire,

Is it possible to truly love?


Ingrid Thanks 4/9/17

All the broken hearts in the world still beat.

 

A stunning lyric

In a pop song

For a man

In his fifties

Searching, searching

His whole life

To be home

In the arms of another.

 

Renting, only renting

For a few years

Or less

But not anymore.

Drifting, drifting

Never stopping

No interest,

Either direction on that two-way street

Thinking he’ll never find his picket fence.

 

All the broken hearts in the world still beat.

 

But he still lives

His heart still beats

Sadly beating,

Weakly beating,

But beating still.

 

Shakespeare, Milton, Byron

Not for them.

Their voices silent.

Their poems completed.

Life is too short.

It was for them.

It was for others

Whom I miss so much.

Whom I’ll never see again.

 

But I can smell the coffee.

And it is time to wake up and do so!

I can taste a ripe, ripe summer’s peach,

Juices drip as I break the skin

Feel the sweet liquid run

Down my chin

Until I wipe it

With the back of my hand.

The stickiness remains,

That joyous, beautiful stickiness.

 

 

All the broken hearts in the world still beat.

 

Find Beauty.

Find Peace.

Find Love

And Forgiveness.

Listen to the laughter of children, unspoiled, uncynical.

Rejoice in the stories of the old as they tell of victories and disasters from long ago.

They won’t be able to tell those stories much longer.

Their voices less clear.

And softer as the past rushes from us.

And soon like them,

Our passing fancies will all have passed.

 

All the broken hearts in the world still beat.

 

Even in our darkest times,

We are still alive.

We have only a moment.

This moment.

To live and love.

To be happy.


Where I was 2/18/17

I was a better person with you.

 

A better person than I am now.

In solitude, I dwell in dark places

I’ve constructed with shattered pieces

Of withered memories twisted by distrust

And ancient photos hidden away in boxes never opened.

 

I used to be happier

And less suspicious

And less angry.

Now I am sadder, and more suspicious, and angrier.

 

And the world reflects my feelings back at me,

Magnifying and multiplying

Two mirrors reflecting each other

In an amusement park fun house

As hollow laughter accompanies carnival music,

In a never ending loop.

 

I see conspiracies in passing conversations.

I see anger in the youth,

I see surrender in the old,

I see frustration in my peers,

 

But I do not see that,

They are reflections,

All reflections of myself.

 

And I will never be happy,

Never, ever be happy,

Until I once again see

That joy exists,

Still exists,

When pain and sorrow

Are released

From the prison

I’ve confined them in,

Deep in my bitter heart.


Love is like Christmas 11/16/16

 

Love is like Christmas

The smell of freshly

Baked ginger cookies

From grandma’s kitchen

The brightly lit homes

Filled with welcomes welcome

The beautifully decorated tree

Holding gently

Memories of a lifetime,

Ornaments passed from

Generation to generation,

From friend to friend.

 

I walk down the quiet street,

Listening to the holiday parties

The Laughter,

The stories

Of good times past

And memories of good friend passed.

Their lives continue

In the retelling of traditions

And of recipes recreated.

 

I walk down the happy street

Where tomorrow morning

Children will rise,

Jumping on their parent’s bed

Gleefully yelling,

Santa was here, Santa was here.

The living room will soon be filled with

Mountains of discarded wrapping paper and

The laughter of children

As they test the warranties of their gifts.

 

I stop outside my home.

The darkened rooms.

There is no smell of cookies.

No tree with brightly

Wrapped presents beneath.

 

Love is like Christmas for me.

Never had it, never will.

And the expectation every year,

Of what Santa will bring,

Of what love will bring,

Makes my home a prison,

Sentenced to my gloomy rooms,

Waiting for release.

I walk away from my prison cell

To a darker corner of my town.

 

Mrs. Wilson’s husband passed.

It is the first Christmas without him.

Their only son died in Vietnam

So very long ago.

She sits alone with a scrapbook,

And smiles with tears in her eyes.

 

Mr. Paneer’s wife left him,

Along with the kids.

She always trimmed the tree.

He didn’t buy one this year.

He wouldn’t, he couldn’t.

He drinks another round while

Looking into the empty corner.

 

Mr. Murry died last fall.

His house is dark.

A For Sale sign sits out front.

And that is all that is left of Mr. Murry.

 

I stopped.

A light snow falling down,

Seemed to glisten in the streetlight’s glow.

Dancing, dancing,

Slowly falling.

I held my hand out.

A snowflake landed in my palm

A moment before melting.

Love is like Christmas,

Like Christmas indeed.


I will not tend my garden anymore. 11/19/16

 

I will not tend my garden anymore.

Let it grow. Let it grow.

I cannot contain it anyway.

It will wilt or grow in God’s own way.

 

I remember when I came to this place.

Four stately pines, three in the back, leaning towards each other

Dependent but independent. I thought they were weak.

I thought they would fall, so I cut them.

I cut them down, not letting them live, their lives,

Without my consent.

 

One in the front, I cut down as well

Too close to the house.

Too close to my home.

Too close to me.

So I cut it down.

Four trees, three of the past, one for tomorrow.

 

And then I cut some more,

Pruning and weeding,

Uprooting and cutting

In order to make my garden perfect.

But I have tended too, too aggressively.

Plants like people need space to grow and air to breath.

They cannot blossom in trifled containers.

 

My Gypsy Sues have died, their thorny skeletons catching me when I pass.

My Lodden Blue has wilted but flourishes far away from my tending.

Professor Anton Kippenburg refused to sprout, never wanting to share their bloom.

The winds and the rains came and scattered what was left.

Broken limbs decaying, hiding in unmowed grass.

 

I will not tend my garden anymore.

Let the weeds grow,

The mushrooms appear then fade overnight.

Let the bugs and the beasts find sanctuary.

I will not run them off.

Let the neighbors complain,

As they battle to control their own small plots of earth.

 

I will let God have his way.

I cannot fight what isn’t there.

My opinion is not required.

My approval is not needed.

What will be will be.

What will be will be.


Goodbyes 10/22/16

 

When I was four

They took off Bozo

For the funeral of JFK.

I remember a small boy

Saying goodbye to his father,

A salute, by his mother’s side.

 

When I was six,

I was left with my mother’s friend

As my parents attended the funeral

Of a small boy killed by a handgun.

Francis took me to the beach

And from a distance, I saw myself

Playing alone in the sparkling water.

 

Robert and Martin

Left me a few years later.

My mother crying softly

While watching the news.

The good die young

But so the bad,

Death doesn’t care

He welcomes all.

 

My best friend Solomon

Moved away

No reason was given

That a child could understand.

But watching Batman was no longer fun,

And Major Matt Mason

Was forgotten on the bookshelf.

 

In high school, my best friend

Was killed by a hit and run

On a lonely country road,

All by himself,

Lying on the cold asphalt,

Staring up at a beautiful night’s sky.

I rode to the funeral with his girlfriend,

My secret crush.

She rested her troubled head on my shoulder

But we never really talked again.

Two losses from one death.

I reminded her of him too much

To be around.

 

Death is always here,

Waiting to appear at some inconvenient time.

Faith is only a way to make life bearable,

A lie we force ourselves to believe

So we can get out of bed.

 

As I grew up

People left me in other ways.

Broken relationships and broken hearts

Scattered along life’s bumpy road.

Holding on to another

In a desperate effort to feel safe

To feel love

To feel forever.

 

The results are the same

Sitting alone hoping my broken heart will mend,

So that one day, I’ll find my happily ever after

One day my princess will come.

 

Then suddenly I just stopped,

Believing in forever.

No sudden deaths,

No abrupt departures,

Only the truth of life

That we are mortal

And there is only now.

 

So find someone to love

And accept that nothing is forever.

But moments can be filled with love, and hope, and joy,

As well as separation’s sorrow.