Bon Voyage Friend

The Paris Poets Society met tonight to say farewell to a member who is moving away. She will be greatly missed. What could I give her but a poem. See you later Sharda.

 

We are the lucky ones

The gifted, slightly crazy ones

Who see the world in brighter hues

With hearts too big to make us choose

We make one singing moment freeze

Or gobble eternity if we please

Paint with sunlight, wind and moon

Voice a storm, pour out monsoon

Open heart, to throat, to pen

And give it to the world again

Young or old, joyful, shattered

sing or whisper, doesn’t matter

Use your words, we tell a child

But poets play with words and smile

We know a secret, so look around

We share our souls where poems abound

The View From Here

endless conversations with each other and with God

fall again and again on deaf ears, an effort odd

in that the talk is not the walk and hearts are never

in the mix we want to fix but no one touches ever

what we know, we KNOW is always at the center there’s a door

we knock and knock and kick the wood but cannot enter

like a monkey grasps his food and keeps his hand so stuck so frozen

what the hell, we have to let it go stop clinging to our right, our might

our rotten self and staunch the bleeding, no one’s leading

all just follow this way that way on the surface storm is coming

drums are drumming but the sound is drowned by weeping

creeping up knee deep in rage we leap, all so surprised to find

it’s US not THEM, WE have to be the father, mother, sister, brother

for each other, EACH is precious, EACH is special, ALL are crucial

to survival, every loss in death or life diminishes and finishes the coffin nails

we are a chain our dna, our history, a convoluted mystery

a constant pattern of election then rejection events conspire to reconnection

a spark divine, love for creation, yet birthing seeds of self-destruction

drugged by image constant movement busy busy blur the lines

build a hideout cave to crouch in, turn the lights out, shut the blinds

we like to say we’re different, kinder, better, smarter, kneeling at the perfect altar

never stopping to discern, we set ourselves as little gods, then falter

stumble on our souls refusing to acknowledge cost we’re lost and yet

the hope that lives in each potential when we see that you are me

and I am you all swimming in a great deep sea, starving though to love is free

to feed each other, hold a hand, the only way to reach the sand

the water rising, talk is cheap, deep and deeper, still we sleep

wake, arise, the need is great, stop bailing water, fix the boat

all together we sink or float.

Sky Dancing

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the clouds are busy

dancing twirling

building castles

boiling, swirling

dressed in homespun

verse and chorus

every step, performance for us

waves of music

played by wind

partners changing

dip and spin

then joy poured out

tears wash the earth

wiped clean by sun

the sky gives birth

to clouds again

and more and more

while on the ground

we dream to soar

 

Photo Credit: Tommy Stone

Dusk

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clouds may hide the sun

but cannot hide the light

through grey of dusk

a blush still peeks

soft as eyelash

on pink soft cheeks

silken brush till day is done

calls forth the stars to say goodnight

 

Photo Credit Tommy Stone

Detritus

erased emotions strewn about
like clothing on the bedroom floor
in the corner a pile of shout
a few fears hid behind the door

hope peeps out from under the bed
erased emotions strewn about
can they be poked back in her head
gathered in piles of stinking doubt

venomous words from an angry mouth
it will take a lot to clean this mess
erased emotions strewn about
tear stained carpet and wrinkled stress

gather it up and launder all
love and laughter to take stains out
fold it fresh the weekly call
erased emotions strewn about

more work on quaterns using lines from some older poems

Move Your Feet

more time moving, less time talking
prescription for what ails us all
when angered take yourself a walking
footsteps echo down a dark hall

throw the locked doors open wide
more time moving, less time talking
swing your arms, lengthen your stride
eyes wide open at beauty gawking

find the peace that has been lacking
heal the cuts and bruises over
more time moving, less time talking
breathe the air and smell the clover

world looks better a little blurred
if you find yourself disturbed
take some time, go nature stalking
more time moving, less time talking

working with Quaterns – four 8 syllable quatrains, Refrain is repeated as line 1 of stanza 1, line 2 of stanza 2, line 3 of stanza 3 and line 4 of stanza 4.

Ten Things My Granddaughter Teaches Me About Jesus

When I married Dale, my heart grew to hold him. When our children were born, more space was added and as they married it grew even bigger, Now there is a new place, room for this new child, a part of us all.  When we are apart, no matter how far or how long, there remains a grandchild shaped place in my heart, waiting and loving and praying until we are together again.

Jesus loves all of us. There is room at the cross.

When I hold out my arms and she smiles and runs to me my heart is so full it wants to burst. Chubby little legs moving, elbows out, full speed ahead. She is not graceful as she learns to use her growing limbs, she may trip and sometimes get distracted by something else along the way. It may not look like anything special to someone watching..but it is everything to me. She is my granddaughter and I am her gamma and I will lift her when she reaches me at last.

Jesus is always waiting for us to run to Him, arms out, ready to lift us out of our aloneness, no matter where we are in our journey to Him.

When I sing to her it does not matter that my voice is not perfect or that I miss some notes. She loves it and sings with me. It may not be opera, or even pleasant as far as an artistic music endeavor and even though there might be a lesson in the words, the important part is that she is looking at my face and smiling and the singing is an act of love.

When we sing our praises to Jesus, it doesn’t matter what the words are or that our voice cracks. It’s not the song that counts. It’s the heart.

When she laughs, I can’t help but laugh with her. When she is sad or hurt, I want to cry with her. I am fascinated by her personality, by how intent she is on things and I love to watch her discover the world. I rejoice in her ‘becoming” as she grows and learns and changes.

Jesus is “over the moon” in love with us. He rejoices in our triumphs and weeps with us at our failures. He knows every little quirk. We are the favorite part of creation.

When we walk together and she reaches to hold my hand, I love to take that hand and walk with her, trying to make sure she is safe. I love spending time with her. She might stumble so I have to walk slow and bend so that she can reach me, but it doesn’t matter as long as she wants to walk with me.

Jesus is walking with us, His hand reached down waiting for us to grasp when the sun is shining and the path is smooth and lined with flowers. He is there when the way is dark and rocky and we are stumbling and weary.

When she falls down and gets hurt or is sick, I want nothing more than to comfort her and heal her. I can’t protect her from everything hurtful and it is painful to me to know that she will know pain in her life and I would spare her that, but I can’t and so I will pray that there is a hand for her to hold when it comes and that she will grow stronger. If the painful situation is one where I can help or at least let her now I am there, I pray it will make our relationship grow stronger and deeper. I would love for the answer to always be yes, but sometimes no matter how much you love someone, the answer will have to be no.

Jesus knows suffering. Jesus knows how the world can hurt you even when you have the best intentions. He has seen the weakest and meanest of humanity and died for all of us anyway. Jesus asked the Father, if there was any other way for Him to do God’s will, to take the suffering away, but He had to walk that path and die on a cross so we would have a resurrected savior.

When she spends the night at my house she sometimes wakes in the night. If I hear her I love to get up and pat her and sing to her and reassure her that she is not alone in this strange world and that someone is watching over her so she can sleep.

Jesus watches over us even when we sleep. We can give him all of the problems of the day and lean on Him for peace that comes from knowing He is always there.

I am so excited when she learns a new word or any kind of way to express herself. I am filled with joy when she can talk to me and I want to always be someone that she will want to tell anything to, secrets, hurts, questions, joy and even anger because I love her, completely, without reservation. I don’t just love this part and not love that part – I love all of her.

Jesus is big enough and has enough love that He can take all of it – all our parts, even the dark and dusty ones that we hide from each other and sometimes even from ourselves. His eyes see us, not like we see each other or ourselves, but through the lens of eternity.

The time we spend together will let a little bit of me live on through her and though my parents are gone, she learns a little bit about them through me. I hope to be around long enough to tell her stories of our family, so she can tell her children and they can tell theirs. But the stories won’t matter as much as the time. Whenever I have the gift of hanging out with her, I pray that she sees my mama through knowing me.

The time we spend hanging out with Jesus, in prayer, in praise, and in His word, we get to know Him and through Him we get to know more of God.

There is nothing she could do for the rest of her life, that would make me stop loving her. I don’t mean that I will approve of every decision she makes and there will be seasons of pride and seasons of disappointment as there are for all of us, but the love will never stop. I pray that even after I am gone from this earth, that she will know her gamma loved her.

We are so loved. No matter how old we are, how many times we stumble or how far and hard we fall, Jesus love is always there waiting to lift us up, clean us off, and let us know that we kingdom kids and He loves us. Always and forever. Amen.

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Spring Break

One hundred and three work orders. In two months. That is what I have done. I have been mad and sad and frustrated and tired and dealing with scary crappy health stuff but I did it. Spring break begins.

 

The Weight of Anger

the weight of anger
is immense
tense and tiresome
dragging the heart down to the
level of nothing good
no laughter, no singing
it steals your voice and takes
all your choices for itself
it changes all the colors like
some bad adjustment, all tinged with
mad, sad, hurt, can’t even separate the parts
the heart beats faster and I hear
that tone in my voice you know
the one that sounds like
a banshee, like fingernails
on chalkboards
like a lonely cat
back up, fur bristled
like thistles. prickle
changed no longer
who I am but taken
by the weight
of anger

Lessons From a Statue

Photographer Tommy Stone

Photo credit: Tommy Stone

wings raised in
perpetual readiness
shuttered lids
warmed by a winter sun
nestled in the green
there are lessons here
and prayers
be still
be prepared
stay warm
find a safe place
calm whispers
in a world of chaos

 

As always, thank you Tommy for inspiration.

Let Go!

The last few weeks at work have been odd and unsettling. I have run through a pile of emotions and probably let my blood pressure get out of hand for nothing so I am taking a step back. I think I need to write more and stop overthinking. Some of my reactions to change are my own insecurity and I KNOW this. I just forget. Not everything that happens is because I am older, because I got injured, or because I am female. I have to remember that sometimes people are just twisted up in their own garbage and and I need to decide not to be collateral damage.

Two things have helped me get to this point. I just had to shut up and wait for them.

2 Chronicles 20:17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'”

A Coat by William Butler Yeats

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

I have read the scripture reference before but never felt the meaning so strongly as now. I am going to make the last few lines my meditation for the week and take comfort from knowing that every tomorrow, God will be with me.

The poem was one I discovered clicking to read a different poem. It was in the sidebar. What a wonderful find. Everyone makes their “song” a coat. I cover up with words until I believe them myself but the world always ends up ripping the coat away. A lesson I seem destined to learn again and again. The world might take the top layer but it cannot touch your song or soul. There is risk in walking “naked” but there is freedom too.

all the letters coalesce
become something they were not
and in the birth a death comes too but not
the inner center
gooey soft and chewy
still remains though rain may fall
on just and unjust
washing nothing but the dust
you must
hang on, hang in, hang out
like driftwood bleached bone beauty
hard as nails the water changed
and in becoming
whiter with each passing tear
hardened edges give way to
softened lines as words become pictures
and scars become memories
the shadows only mean the sun still shines

Thank you Mr. Yeats. You still resonate. Also thank you Jae for sharing a poem that led to the poem challenge that led to Yeats. Happy trails. Thank you to my grandbaby for taking my mind off problems and changing my perspective. Thank you blog sidebar for this quote of the day:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Havelock Ellis

we are all having so much fun…

I have had so much time to write in the last few months. Time does not not seem to mean creativity as the empty blog shows. My body has not been my friend. On May the 30th I broke a bone in my foot. I had surgery two weeks later and they put metal in my foot. I was no weight bearing for six weeks. When I finally started putting weight on it again it swelled and ached and it turns out it was infected. Another surgery to remove the metal. Along with the surgery they put what is called a picc line in my arm so I could get six weeks of IV antibiotics at home. Home health came once a week and changed the dressing on the picc line and drew labs. During this time I kept telling people my arm hurt. It became worse, to the point where it would keep me awake at night. After hooking up and infusing the antibiotics, I could barely lift the it off the arm of the chair. A few weeks ago I went to have the picc line removed and said once again that my arm hurt and I was hopeful that it would improve once the picc line was removed. The doctor decided I should get an ultrasound of the arm and apparently, the picc line had caused a blood clot. Now I am on two different blood thinners to make sure that the blood vessel heals without sending the clot somewhere it should not be. I was given a prescription for blood thinners in injection form and told to follow up with my local doctor. I made an appointment and when I showed up for the appointment the doctor would not do anything because they had no information from the hospital. I waited several days and called them and was told they still had no information. I told them that I only had two syringes left and if labs take three days to get results I was going to be in trouble before we got answers. This made them decide I should come on in and at least get labs drawn. I actually saw a doctor this time and he said I should have been on the shots AND oral meds and then when the therapeutic level is attained I could get off the shots and just continue with the pills. Soooo I got another prescription of ten more syringes plus the pills. The shots are not horrible but the medicine stings and it leaves ugly big bruises on my stomach. I would have appreciated doing this correctly the first time.

I had thought about trying nanowrimo again this year but I just do not feel it.

I feel like the poster-child for Murphy’s law. What can go wrong…will. I am back at work and that is helping keep my mind off it. I am trying to concentrate on my health, find a balance between rest and exercise and a balance between what I cannot eat while I am on this blood thinner and eating healthy.

Inspiration is hiding right now. Maybe when I am better I will write a medical/murder mystery/urban fantasy…kill off a few bureaucrats or at least turn them into gargoyles, forever imprisoned in stone, unable to communicate.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Write if I Want To…

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Beautiful photo by Tommy Stone

sandwiched in between all the black
you know the clouds that move in unexpectedly and stay longer than you wish
no invitation, just plop down at your door with suitcase overflowing
taking over the guest room and hogging the remote
eating up the last piece of cake and tracking all over your clean bright floors

but I digress, sandwiched in-between, that’s where I was…
there is this light that dances just on the edge of your vision
creeps in with a little finesse unlike that pesky black shadow that
just wants to take over
it lingers as long as it can
hanging on by fingertips and branch endings, tossing a little pastel silk
over all that dark velvet
reminding you that darkness like uninvited company
does not stay forever
even as it sinks to the ground the last veil drifts by
pats your cheek and tucks you in
making shadow puppets on your heart
soft as a mother’s sigh

Mist

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Image by Tommy Stone

skeletal remains
last stabbing grasp
reaching for what was
or what will be
who can tell?
fog hides truth

Inbetween

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Image by Tommy Stone

I love the moments in-between
sunset, sunrise
either one will do
The earth in deepest indigo
sky ceiling blending in to the color
of robins eggs, babies eyes,
soft and unsure
but in the middle no artist brush
could blend to make that shade of peach
or palest coral, blush
there really is no name
but the color is easy on eyes
that are just waking
or near to closing

Oil or Rust?

hello hello a person finally
ask a question
get an answer that is no answer
leads to questions why the language
so confusing obfuscation is the nation
pastime making simple things so difficult
and mama always said you catch more flies
with honey but the money is what talks today
and even that is not enough
to make a person care to share
the knowledge that they hoard as though
their very life depends on keeping little piles
of facts so deeply buried harried then the conversation
takes a turn on contemplation seems to me
that spelling out the answer would save time
the goal the whole thing reeks
I do not seek to make you less to make you
miss the most important part to hide
if service is what you provide then
I propose machine is broken just a token
of the way things should be done
it grinds to dust instead of oil
you turn to rust

We all sell customer service, no matter what our job title. Whether we know it or not. From the customer side of things, if you make my life easier, you get my business. If I call you, frustrated and confused, and you give me a simple answer, I sigh with relief and sing your praises to everyone I know. If I approach you with a problem, fearful that it will be difficult or expensive to solve and you respond with a calm answer and do not make me feel ignorant or needy for asking, my entire mood changes and I respond in kind.

If I take my car to the mechanic, I am afraid it will be something difficult and expensive to fix. When he smiles and tells me it is just that little thingamabob that needs adjusting or a simple twenty dollar part, I am happy, relieved, and more likely to take the car back to him when the big stuff goes wrong. I will also pass his name out to friends.

I find this in my own job all the time. I fix computer problems. If someone has a question or a problem with their computer and I show them how to easily rectify the issue so that they can avoid the problem in the future, in a nice way that allows for them being intelligent human beings, just not possessing the particular piece of information they need in the situation, they remember not just that I fixed their problem, but that I was nice. I have a rep. I LIKE having that rep. I like being known for being nice. I like sharing information with others. I like oiling the machinery of every day life.

It seems to me that some folks take pleasure in being rust. The old saying “the buck stops here” meant being accountable, being responsible, being the solution. The present meaning for that saying is more like end of the road honey. No answers here.

Unless you get mean or shout or threaten or make yourself such a nuisance that the person finally, slowly, painfully, drags out the one little piece of information that is needed to remedy the situation and make the customer go away.

I have had to deal with Workers Comp for the last three months. I should not complain because this injury has rasped up some expensive bills that I fortunately have not had to be responsible for and I am truly grateful. really I am.

However…it has been such an ordeal to get information. Nearly every single time. I end up with the frustration coming through in my voice. I end the call angry and often more confused that when I began.

The only time I have gotten clear and fast results was when I got ugly.

For example…After the second surgery on my foot to remove the metal that was placed there to begin with and deal with the infection that had set in, I was, for the weekend at least, the only patient at the surgery center. The surgery took place on a Friday with the understanding that I would probably stay over night. I stayed the weekend with the understanding that I would be going home on Monday. I sent the husband home. No need for him to sit around while I napped and read and watched HGTV. He drove the ninety miles back on Monday and sat there all day ready to drive me home. There was a problem. I finally told him to go home and I would call him when they were actually sure I was being discharged. Tuesday rolled around. I sat. I waited. I think the nurse finally hated to come to my room because even if I didn’t ask out loud my face showed my frustration.

Finally, I got on my knee scooter and went down the hall searching for a decent signal on my cell phone. I found one on a bench in front of the cafeteria. I called my Workers Comp case worker. He was not in. I explained in detail what my problem was.

I am sitting on a bench in front of the cafeteria so I can have a phone signal. My post op foot is hanging out for any opportunistic bacteria that might wander by to jump on board. My hair and clothes are dirty because I thought I would be home by now. The hospital wants to send me home. I want to go home. The problem seems to be you. This is a very nice hospital. Very expensive. If you wish to continue to foot the bill for me to stay in what is the equivalent of a four star hotel where they will bring me Rosa’s Migas and French Vanilla coffee in the morning, then so be it.

A moment later I was speaking to a supervisor. Evidently the person at the hospital had submitted paperwork for pre-authorization. This supervisor had initialed it and sent it back saying she did not think it required pre-authorization. Her tone suggested that these people did not know what they were doing. I could have asked why she did not note along with her initials that rather than contact the pre-authorization company that she needed to contact Risk Management. I could have asked why there seem to be separate entities for each step of this process and that why none of them seem to be aware of what the other is doing. I could have. I didn’t. I simply asked her if I could have her name and told her I would go back to the desk and ask that the appropriate person contact her so we could resolve this. She seemed reluctant but gave me her name and twenty minutes later I was calling my husband to tell him to come get me.

Two days of me sitting there and Workers Comp paying and all it took was me calling and fussing.

Why was that necessary?

I have had a knee scooter nearly the whole time. It has been a life saver. I seriously think that if I had to manage crutches in the middle of the night, half asleep and in the dark, just to get to the bathroom, I would have been in a lot more serious trouble.

I asked the doc for a prescription for the knee scooter because that was what my case worker told me I needed. The doc’s office person ace me a pamphlet for a place in Dallas.  I went to a place here near home and rented one for a week myself, just to see if I could manage it. When I found that I really did need the thing, I called the place I rented it and said I need to keep this, and it is workers comp. The person I talked to said they had never billed this as a workers comp item. (Keep in mind that they do crutches and other durable medical items so it would be the same process).

I spoke to someone in town who understands workers comp and verified that it would be the same. Now I am getting bills from them. I called my caseworker. After ten minutes of my asking for clarification it turns out that my only recourse at this point is to pay for the thing outright, obtain the needed prescription from the doc and a receipt from the medical supply provider, and hope  workers comp will reimburse me.

At the very start I needed information that I received too late for it to be of any help. I needed things to happen in a certain order. I needed steps.

I SHOULD have had that information two and a half months ago. I did not because I was being nice and trying not to be a bother which is what I have felt like every time I have had to call.

I also was told that I could call the Workers Comp commission and ask questions at any time. I am thinking that is another piece of information I should have had several months ago.

I am not sure I would have known what questions to ask. That is a problem I often see in my own job. I get an email where someone is having a problem. Experience has taught me that often what they are asking is not what they need to ask. My process is to either read between the lines and answer what I believe they actually mean, or ask more questions if I am unsure.

At no time in this process have I had anyone tell me I was asking the wrong questions, nor has anyone asked me questions to determine what I really needed to know.

The general feeling has always seemed like the person at the other end of the line was trying to give the shortest answers or least amount of information needed to get me off the line. Period. Somewhere there may be a training manual that teaches how to handle as many calls as possible in as short a time as possible. It does not seem to focus on solving problems, quality rather than quantity.

We are sacrificing quality for quantity and we are all paying the price, from the client who either does not get what they need unless they are angry and determined enough to fight for it, to the provider who will never go home at the end of the day with a feeling of satisfaction from a job well done, knowing they have solved problems and made people’s lives easier.

We have become a society that no longer oils the machinery to keep things running. We are getting rusty.

Gold Before Dusk

even sky holds on to light
climax of the final act
crescendo golden notes to play
sing the evening welcome home
gilding leaf and branch and pond
softened green and cooling air
sigh as though to say
remember this when darkness falls
a memory of day

The Wisdom of Stones

be still
cling to the mountainside
or bottom of the rushing stream
change comes but if you wait
long enough
the pain will pass
rough edges smoothed
story revealed
of storms weathered
flood endured
sunbaked and wind burned
lines deepened
memories etched
soul remains