NPWM Day 16: Yield

When I get angry,

My whole body goes rigid.

My shoulders stiffen.

My jaw clenches.

If standing, I grow very still

For just a moment,

Then I may break loose and pace,

Or simply walk away,

Or stomp away, depending.

And I can feel this stiffness

Settled in my soul,

This unbending, proud, angry heart.

I have been holding my shoulders tense for so long,

Holding my grudges and my offenses,

That I’ve forgotten how to yield.

But oh, how I long to yield again:

To bend and not break,

To sway and not stiffen,

To forgive, to forget,

To lay down sword and shield

And simply yield.

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NPWM Day 11: Tomorrow is Yesterday

I thought love

would help me not to break

but now I know

that’s my mistake.

I beat myself

against your walls

until I’m battered

close to shattered

I never thought I’d be like this

Said I wouldn’t be this way

But here I am

right in the middle of

who I don’t want to be

Every detail memorized

Played on repeat in my restless mind

Unable to unravel

where I went wrong

again

Always afraid

that tomorrow

will be yesterday

and I’ll never get past it

Never get further

Because tomorrow is yesterday

and I’m defeated before I’ve begun

And yet the sun

will rise, despite me

And I can’t help but

feel a feeble flutter of hope

from this broken-winged bird of a heart

that tomorrow can be different

and so can I

and so can you

 

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.

If You Fall

I’ve been trying to write for days,

And I keep erasing every line.

My words feel so trite,

so flimsy,

so weak.

Why do they abandon me

when my need is greatest?

When my heart swells and trembles,

When my spirit cries and shouts,

Then my pen runs dry

and my tongue falls mute.

I know that words can transport, transform.

I’ve felt their latent power humming on the page.

Why then when I feel deeply

are these letters flat and dull?

I’m desperate to say

whatever this is

that quakes and roars and whispers

through my dreams and into my waking hours.

We talk with our eyes,

and maybe that’s best.

Maybe they say what I can’t.

Look in them and see

that if you break, so do I;

if you fall, I fall too;

and if I rise,

I’ll rise with you.

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

Well

In these lean hours of respite

these quiet moments between

When I allow myself to wait

 

wait

 

wait

 

and listen to the rhythmic rush of blood

in my eardrums

counterposed to the ticking of the clock

on my wall

(my own heartbeat

striving relentlessly

against the current of time)

In these moments

I slow down my racing thoughts

my frantic fears

my desperate wishes

And it is enough

enough

to rest in this transient calm

to know that all is well

and will be well

Tomorrow will come

with its dizzying demands

and I will face it

and surely fail

to meet all its myriad requirements

But the steadying truth

is right here in this silent stillness:

It is well.

Ebenezer: A Stone to Remember

Build an altar

Raise a stone

Dig a well

Do something, anything,

To alter the barren landscape

Of your heart

The monotonous stretch

Of your memory

Make a mark

To disrupt the linear, unchanging path

Of your trudge through the wilderness

So that when you look back over your shoulder

As you dig your toes into the soil

Of the Promised land

You will remember

Who brought you this far