I’m the kind of person who would rather know than wonder — to find out. As I’ve often said, “You won’t know if you don’t go.” That being said I always have more enthusiasm when signing up for writing conferences, workshops and classes than I do in the day(s) leading up to them. Stubbornly I drag myself to them with a new notebook, caffeine, open ears and soak up. You see I have a battery that for years I wasn’t aware of and for it I need to keep going…
Yesterday I was reminded that “You don’t know what you don’t know”, “You’ll absorb things will come back to you when you need them”, “Have fun and be honest”, “Retain subsidiary rights”, “Eighty percent of published material doesn’t earn out”, “In poetry the writer gets to chose the right margin
(aka. The Line)”
and possibly most important, “Don’t be afraid to fail.”
Staring into the future as if to see something misunderstood, possibly hope – probably not. The resting baby on her shoulder waits, her two boys still wait.
“Nothing changes through the one-way window. Growing stubble, anchored tight crows feet guarding steel blue eyes, his sun baked skin doesn’t even sweat” was scribbled on the old police report, now exposed for granddaughters not met to read.
The assumed word Monster now appears on his face above Husband, Dad and Grandpa.
I always learn something when I cross my favorite bridge, this time it was for a “Faces” writing workshop taught by Matt Love September 16th 2017.
Tired eyes awaken anyway to stare
through coffee steam Blended lines
turned by the sun overlap as if stickers on an edgy club wall
Torn stubs fall
from an overbooked calendar pausing
to be glanced at like posters once stapled to a pole
Sore feet crush grass burnt brown and bleached
Fresh wrinkles appear like scars
on a machine built for speed— traded for a moment
waiting to be reflected on and laced into history
Energy spent, bartered and consumed
in the season of the sun Leave one Summer’d
Some holidays feel like tombstones on the calendar
These days smell like dusty dishes, broken flowers and tired pictures
Flashbacks seem bright – some not
Numbers that don’t count
Food not cooked
Time for a New Tradition
Why do I keep trying to understand
the list of many things that I do
not? I carry around a fifty-
one-year-old weathered scroll
inked with a variety of unknowns.
Some, once understood—now
not. Many new, others ever-
changing. The list
grows. If “life is what happens when you are making
other plans,” why plan?
Why do traits that attract
turn into reasons to leave?
Is life alone settling,
fate, or just giving up
on the game? Why use the word
forever when nothing is?
How can a lifestyle choice threaten
others? How is walking in rain
therapy to some, yet loathed by many?
How do crows know I am
a friend, though I wasn’t always?
How does a special animal change
a person’s life? What do you do
when they go? Why do tough
people sometimes betray the code
and cry? Why do some become monsters
instead of protecting
their children? Can the kindness
of an outsider make enough
difference? Why does the pain remain
when the damage is long
gone? How do butterflies
know to show up when you need
them? If writing can be an antidote
for depression, can it lead
to understanding? Is philosophy
a gift, or an over-thought
burden? Destiny, obligation
calling (words that are larger
than life) can you really
see them coming?
Herman Hesse wrote:
I have been and still am a seeker,
but I have ceased to question
stars and books; I have begun
to listen to the teaching my blood
whispers to me.
Was there an event that opened
his eyes to this
realization or is it the wisdom
of a tired traveler?
When is it okay to let go
of questions and simply embrace?
The surprises never
end. Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean
back: let the bad be curses
and the good, magic.
This poem started with my piece Why from the “Write to Understand” writing workshop taught by friend Matt Love on December 10th 2016 in Astoria, Oregon and evolved over time thanks to the help from another writer friend of mine Tara Hardy .