Circles and Cycles

Sharing

Isn’t always easy

She’d eat my food

I didn’t know at first

Or understand

A community mind

First trip to the grocery with her

Loading up with things I’d like

It’s been decades now

Sharing time

A place to shelter into

Sharing friends

They started sharing too

Filling my home with replacements

For much of what I’d left behind

Filling my circle with love

I give and give back and give away

Everything I need within reach

A call away

A text

We cycle gratitude

We circle around the debts we owe

Which do not cancel each other out

Life for life

Blood for blood

Soul for soul

This giving and receiving

Endless circle

Material things or wise words

Or simple presence

Gratitude rises

Gratitude overflows like a fountain

Gratitude streams over the edges

Softer

Smoother

Until we are luminescent rivers

Until we are the shimmering ocean

And you reading this

Are now caught up in an eddy

Maybe you will understand in a year

This vortex which has swept you upside down

Shaken you firmly

Stretched you out longer

Wound and unwound you

Until you are dizzy

Will place your feet firmly

On the path invisible

You walk on water

Miraculous

seashore under white and blue sky during sunset
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Keep Warm

There is the cold void of space

Expanding through your heart

Temperatures dropping

Daily

Every slight, every ding, every pain

We numb and withdraw

Our sap dropping from limbs to root

Our leaves fall beautiful

Into piles of decay

How to continue

Why go on

When it hurts

Grief overtaking

And spring is so far away

Don’t stay there in the heart of winter

Rest and repair and rise again

Capture each ray of sunshine

Be soothed by the songs of the birds

Revel in the blue, blue sky

Wrap the grey clouds around you

Sprout

Grow

Fly

The heart of summer is always within you

A blooming meadow

Paradise of butterflies and bumblebees

Keep warm

With the kind word of a friend

Laughter

A good book

Keep warm deep into the restless night

Keep warm kindled sparks in reserve

Until you become the star

Surrounded

In the daylight hours

On sun drenched streets

I am surrounded

Where I once walked

A solitary path

What beauty held

In bunches

Vied for prominence

Against a single bloom

And won

Best Friends

There’s the surface, and then the truth

Skipping rocks on water

With the daughter of my parents’ friends

Vacations

Celebrations

Backyard Barbecues

Barbies sprinklers

Long walks

Swimming and bike rides to nowhere

Superficial

Convenient

Allowed

We were best friends because there was no

Other words to describe a dynamic

For the most part

Beyond our control

She would not show up for me

And there’s the truth then

Of how I grew up

With with unnamed group of friends

Who did show up for me

Regularly

Three guys on BMX bikes

My true best friend, in retrospect

Always in the midst of the others

Or by himself

I still see you

Days full of skateboards

Basketball

BMX tricks

Blaring the music as the balls bounced

And the wheels rolled

Doorbell ringing with the group asking me

“Can you play, there’s a pick up game at the courts?”

My game was solid

Daily shooting

Free throw

3-pointer

Half court

Layup

I’m on my way

We couldn’t say

Back then

With so much skin in the game

That we were best friends

We never had to say it

This was written on the court

Written in the music

Written on the pavement

Written in skinned knees

Written on scraped shoulders

Written on wheelies

Written on sweet passes

Scored on backboards

Written into the sum of who I was

The acceptance of the group

The truth of it

Under the surface

Those guys saved me over and over

When they showed up

And showed up

And showed up

Swish

Beyond Sorry

“I’m sorry…” she begins

Trailing off down the path of

Self recrimination

“There’s no sorry.” I tell her

It’s about the dishes maybe

It’s about expectations I don’t have

That she fears I might

It’s how the past gnaws her legs

Inhibiting movement

We are way beyond sorry

I wash the dishes

It’s a gift not a chore

So small I barely notice

I vacuum and mop the floor

Wipe down the baseboards

Clean the doors

She’s sorry and she’s not sorry

She thinks I think she ought to do

Different

It takes time to rewrite the story

We are way beyond sorry

There’s no judgment when I’m cleaning

There’s celebration

What to give the person who has everything

But time

Who gives to others without holding back

Who creates space, and opportunity

Supports, and lends a hand

It’s only temporary

This life

This moment

This situation in situ

The history is long and tangled

The friendship well established

She says “Thank you,”

Without an apology this time

Reacquainted

We are beyond sorry

No regrets

I survey the next room

And pick up the cloth

It’s not enough, but it’s something

She found a way to leave me afternoon Chai

I detail cleaned the coffee grinder

She gave me a beautiful bowl and a wooden elephant

I vacuumed the cobwebs from the corners of each room

I am sorry and not sorry

We are beyond it

Way beyond sorry

Full of gratitude for chosen family

I say “Thank you”

Without apology this time

What Did You Contemplate

I watched your face

A thousand ways you’d hide

In front of me

Fingers running lightly over your mouth

Lest the words escape

Dammed and damned

A shrug – the answer composed

Of a book of words unsaid

“I don’t know.”

But you did know

Maybe

Your secrets are your own

I didn’t pry

Your private thoughts remained

Within the cage

Built over times unknown to me

And yet

The light came through the gaps

And glimpses caught

Of unrelenting pain

Did it relent finally

Did it ease at last

I’m sure I don’t know

And yet I hope

That you are out there with your

Happiness unbound

Sharing all the words you

Kept from me with

Someone safe for you

Steady for you

Someone you could

Be in revelation

The best we were for

Each other were

As friends

And the times we

Held each other in a

More intimate embrace

Less intimate

More insulated

We stood for a time

On and off

Back to back

In a world which would pry

Secrets from us

If we dropped our guard

And so we

Did not drop it

Completely

Not with each other

Not with each other

Not with the world

Then

Mine have all escaped now

Running havoc

If you see them

Let them be

They are as free as me

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Heart Wadi

Heart WadiHeart Wadi

Written May 6, 2010

In the desert of my heart, I found a spring. 

The eye of the mother woke up weeping for her children.

As I drank deep of the clear water, the sky let loose with rain.

The sands burst forth with flowers, yellow blooms, green leaves.

Thank you, dear friend, for leading me to the well of compassion.

Thank you, dear friend, for leading me to the well of joy.

In the desert of my heart, I stood in need.

The sustenance I needed, could not be found.

When you took my hand in yours and led me further,

I wondered what at the end we’d find.

Thank you, dear friend, for leading me across the valley.

Thank you, dear friend, for staying by my side.

In the desert of my heart, know that death did stalk me.

The desert dogs were nipping at my heels.

Thirst and hunger were quick to overtake me.

The rocks tore at my hands and knees.

Thank you, dear friend, for shelter and for safety.

Thank you, dear friend, for food and for a drink.

In the desert of my heart, I stood in silence.

The pulse that should have been could not be heard.

I bent my ear down to listen to the stones.

From this position I could see your wounds before me.

The eye within me opened wide to cry.

Thank you, dear friend, for leading me to my heart.

Thank you, dear friend, your presence made it start.

Dear friend, let me help you cross your desert.

We will keep the dogs and thirst at bay.

Drink from my well until you find yours.

The rain will come and wash away the sorrow.

Dear friend, let me dress your wounds and soothe you,

And, we will live to lead another on the way

Enchanted

What is the sound of love

Which weaves a spell profound

The ripples in a creekbed

The song of birds awing

What is the sound of patience

A cantrip of the unbound

The slowly growing tree

The tide rolling away from shore

What is the sound of friendship

When changing and unchanging

The laughter ringing louder

The hug when tears will spill

All of life resounding

With a magic pulsing power

Will you let yourself enchant

The weary and despondant

Will you be enchanted

By the beauty all around us

Don’t break the spell, love

Speak of wonders in tones of awe

Don’t break the spell, love

Listen to the heart

As it beats you back to life