NPWM Day 25: Heart of Stone

Can you miss something you’ve never known?

Is it possible that this heart of stone

yearns to be a heart of flesh?

Even though the languid stream of years

pushes me further from that unjaded youth

and forces me to face the truth:

that I am growing older

and harder

and guarded,

even so,

can you relearn what you’ve once known?

Can you soften a heart of stone?

NPWM Day 2: Dynamite

Why is it that

Our conversations

Are laced with dynamite?

And we strike matches with our words

And hope they don’t ignite?

 

What happens to us

In those brittle moments

To make us take up arms

And grit our teeth

And throw ourselves into

A battle we don’t want?

 

And when we retreat,

Bloodied and bruised,

To lick our wounds,

How is it that I turn to you

And look into your eyes

For some reassurance,

Some glint of forgiveness,

Even so soon?

 

And how is it possible

That I find what I’m looking for

There in your gaze,

Nestled amidst the hurt and

hesitation?

How do you keep forgiving,

Keep loving,

Keep needing,

Even as we stand there bleeding?

 

This is our miracle.

This slow lowering of guards,

This tentative trust,

This tenacious hope

That tomorrow we will start again,

And again, and again,

Until we learn that

Words are not weapons

And we are not at odds.

The Fight In Me

 

The days stretch on–

a blurred line,

a slow succession

leading into mist

which never parts.

Is everyone’s future

so unfathomable?

Or do some see it

stretch before them

like a bright river,

carrying them, all anticipation,

swiftly onward

to their destination?

These days and days and days

take out all

the fight in me.

I shouldn’t be so tired.

But where there was fire,

there are now only embers

smoldering, cooling, waiting

for some sweet breath

of wind to blow

and coax

them to a warmer glow.

I dare not hope for a blaze.

And yet, in this haze,

this march of days,

I find a quiet, bending strength.

And maybe the fight in me

hasn’t died; it has learned

a steady stance.

Perhaps the fight

isn’t always flame and spark.

Perhaps it’s standing, enduring,

even through the dark.

Even now I find

that day after day,

the fight isn’t a battle.

It’s the will to stay.

A Child No More

I’ve always wanted to be brave

To face my demons unafraid

And yet I’ve always waited on

Someone, something, far beyond

But there are wolves outside my door

And I’m a child no more

 

Throw open wide this shuttered heart

Let in the light till shadows part

Gaze straight into the the truth of me

Embrace the facts unflinchingly

Unlock the gate, unbar the door

For I’m a child no more

 

I swell beyond these strict confines

Overflow my precious lines

Past the margins, I am free

Expand to the periphery

Plummet down or rise to soar

Either way, a child no more

Older Now

Lights

 

You grip the steering wheel just a little tighter,

and we plunge into the semi-darkness of the tunnel.

The weight of a mountain presses close around us

as we fling our way through the heart of the earth

at sixty miles an hour

and the lights, beacons spaced evenly in the dark,

flash past.

I close my eyes and imagine

that days and nights are passing by

each time the light washes against my eyelids.

I slip into the stream of time,

a quick succession.

When we emerge from the tunnel,

how much time has passed?

How many days and nights?

I’m older now by far.

NPM: Siren Song– Denouement

I am a siren still

And I sing the only song I know

Tenuously suspended

in a liminal space

Part woman, part bird

Flighty, I abhor a cage

And my sharp eye

and flitting bird-heart

Fear its confinement

But perhaps I have shed

A few of these feathers

and become more wholly

a person, not a fable

I sing and hope

for one who knows the perils

and dares anyway

to approach my jagged coastline

To take my hand, taloned as it is

and bear my flaws

Lead me not to a cage,

but to a horizon

And hear me, truly

hear me

Because I sing the only song I know:

My own.

 

NPM: Nothing Is Wasted

Every day I stumble

On the road to somewhere

My knees are bloodied

My palms scraped raw

But nothing is wasted

Every embarrassment

Every hesitation

Every doubt overcome

Every ounce of pain

And disappointment

It is all transformed

And used for my good

Nothing is wasted

 

Every day I push myself up

On the road to somewhere

A moment of fortitude

An exertion of will

And nothing is wasted

Every unseen victory

Every unspoken hope

Every secret generosity

Every well-done task

And unrecognized potential

They are all accounted for

And acknowledged by God

And nothing is wasted

NPM: The Handless Watch

Monsieur Cotillier had not always been

the remarkable person of fable.

He was once just a child

By the name of Armand

who slept on the hay in a stable.

 

And little Armand woke up every morning

to care for the cows and the hens.

He’d work through the day,

then lay down and pray,

and sleep to start over again.

 

A less magical life can scarce be imagined.

Armand knew that this was his lot.

Until one day there came

a traveling market

and everything changed on the spot.

 

For after the milking and feeding was done,

Young Armand snuck off to the fair.

He saw trinkets and baubles

straight out of his dreams,

enchantment hung thick in the air.

 

A two headed-lizard spoke sonnets of love,

Cards built themselves up into towers.

And out of a wagon,

a wizened old woman

sold beautiful crystallized flowers.

 

Such blossoms have never been seen on this earth

They delighted and dazzled the boy.

Each perfect cut bloom

so vivid and sharp

filled Armand with ineffable joy.

 

The woman looked up and noticed the child

admiring all of her wares.

“Long have I waited

for you, my dear boy.”

Armand could do nothing but stare.

 

She reached into her shawl and pulled out a chain.

A pocketwatch hung from one end.

“This is for you, child.

Now open it up,

It’s time for your tale to begin.

 

Time and Fate are two faces of the very same coin

Together they bend and are bent.

So why should a watch

tell only the Time,

but not Fate, to a certain extent?”

 

Wide-eyed, Armand took and opened the watch,

and stared into a face without hands,

but he heard a small voice

that spoke right in his ear

and revealed a bit of Future’s plans.

 

“You will travel, Armand, you will see wondrous things.

You’ll face danger, betrayal, and fear.

You’ll know love ever-true

but it is not for you

to spend life with the one you hold dear.

 

And much like this bazaar, from your travels afar,

you’ll collect many wonders exquisite.

People will come to you

for a glimpse of true magic.

Only once in their lives can they visit.

 

So go, dear sweet boy, and don’t lose the joy

you hold in your heart like a flame.

You are destined for greatness,

But never forget

the humble start from whence you came.”

 

When Armand looked up from the watch’s blank face

A shiver ran all down his spine,

for the market was gone

and no sound could be heard

but the whistle of wind in the pines.

NPM: The Tree of Life

As I walked along by a lazy stream

That tumbled and flowed like a liquid dream

I looked into its depths and saw a gleam

I reached toward the glint and managed to free

from the silt and the mud a golden key

Embossed on one side with a silver tree

I slid the key deep into my coat pocket

Somewhere was a door, and I would unlock it

And I cherished that hope, though some might mock it

But the key never fit, though I tried many locks

Though I traveled to places where no one now walks

And listened for guidance where no one now talks

My heart said it mattered, I shouldn’t give in

If I persevered, I would certainly win

If I opened the lock, a new life would begin

I dreamed of adventures and stories untold

I dreamed of lost treasures, and mountains of gold

And in the long meantime, my body grew old

Quick, light, and hushed comes the footfall of death

And so ends the surging of blood and of breath

The eyes must go blind and the ears must go deaf

And as my heart finally started to fail,

I slipped softly beyond the thin mortal veil

and came to a door of exquisite detail

Tooled with a tree laden heavy with fruit

Lofty its crown and unfathomed its root

I trembled before it, reverent and mute

A weight in my hand, I noticed the key

Somehow it had passed to the next world with me

I approached the grand doorway in awe, timidly

Inserted the key, turned the latch, pushed the door

and found all I’d spent my whole life searching for

A new life, a treasure, a story, and more.

Learning to Forget

When will I start learning to forget?

For every memory that warms my winter heart,

Another falls like swift shadow

to darken my thoughts

 

And suddenly, I am her–

the fool from years ago

the girl I try to leave behind

I am the mistake, the bad judgment,

the waylaid good intention

 

I tell myself

I can move on

I can be better, stronger, wiser

I can be more

than the sum of my memories

 

And I make new choices

New decisions

of who I will be today

I grow up and away

I begin to leave the past, and yet

When will I start learning to forget?