Yoo Hoo!

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Came home to some good news in my email – SpillWords has picked up another piece and so has Three Line Poetry. Posts to follow! Looking forward to getting back to the prompts as well as my weekly challenge! Plus LOTS of blogs to catch up on. I’ll try to read everyone’s work as quickly as possible. I’ve not forgotten all my favorites, promise! 🙂

I’ve Heard

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drunks tell no lies
they say
but when they’re sober
they tell no truths

liquid courage
they say
but it’s more like
real communication’s anesthesia

honesty
needs to be shared
person to person
with heads clear

otherwise, the path down liquid lane makes

hard times
get harder
direction is lost
focus gone

and the urge
to share
what needs to be said
just adds up to a larger tab

Covering

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Joy feels like exposure to the harshest elements.
In showing it you become a pawn
in the game of advantage
like taken of that is.

Allowing happiness to make an appearance,
well, that’s just a sin.
“Be humble, accept things with grace,” they said.
As they shushed my feelings out of jealousy.

Feeling like a kernel doubling in size,
well, that’s just ruinous.
“Let’s not have a grandiose, public display,” they said.
As they swatted my butt out of anger.

Having intensity acknowledged on the surface,
well, that’s just suicide.
“Behave yourself!” they said.
As they locked me away with a pious vengeance.

Where did it ever get me to give a voice
to what bubbles up happy tears and excitement?
Hide your feelings, stomp them down reactions was all I ever got.
Because no one really wanted to meet the real me.

Let Me Near

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Getting off the train in Chicago,
the strong wind,
urgent like me.
Each waft carrying my steps
in the direction of home. It’s as if
nature knew it was time for us. I’m so ready
to capture what sustains me. I’ve missed you,
your silhouette, and your substance.
Being close to you is a memory I pull from.
It keeps me sane while I’m away. This couple
defining what a day needs is everything to me.
Longing to share of myself, my legs
hasten their pace. I want to be
wrapped in the space we create.
I’ve missed your light touch
caressing my face, and
the sweetness of your kisses
has haunted me for weeks.
The questions of workdays take
a backseat while we rediscover
the single-best thing of the us we are.
The focus in your gaze tells me I
was right to hurry. It keeps me coming back,
again and again.

Wish List

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As we’re growing up, we continually shape and define what’s important to us. For me, this was always an easy task as I continually challenged and questioned the world around me. Consistently prioritizing and seeking fairness may be what gave me a strong drive for justice.

I recently came across something I’d written a long time ago. I may have been in my thirties at the time. Not quite sure what prompted the thoughts initially. Even though written over twenty years ago, the original statements remain the same. These are the relatively few things I think I need to stay a calm individual with others. To stay sane, well, that’s another story for another day.

My wishlist:

  • DO what you say. It speaks volumes of you as a person that I can depend on you.
  • Smile when I smile at you. It does us both good. When you are having a bad day, know that my smiles mean I care about you, and it’s meant to lift you.
  • Don’t be a liar – about ANYTHING! I appreciate honesty, above all else. If you are honest, we will always find a way through together.
  • Recognize that every individual on this planet is a human being, including yourself and deserves respect just for that fact alone, regardless of their race, religion, color, gender, sexual preference, political beliefs, or the country where they originated. Maybe then we could look forward to some of that World Peace that beauty contestants speak of during the interview segment.
  • If you can help someone when they need it – DO IT! Giving to someone in his or her hour of defeat is the best gift you can give, every time.
  • Read, learn, listen. Take every opportunity to educate yourself about your world. You are a human being who lives on this planet and in this society. Your understanding of how it works and runs contributes to it running better, for all of us.
  • Please make choices in your life that benefit you, not hurt you. ALL of us deserve a good experience on this earth. I care about you.
  • If you make a mistake or have done something wrong that causes hurt – big or small – take ownership of it, feel genuine remorse and say “I’m Sorry” like you’ll never do it again. Forgiveness feels right for both of us.

Looking at these bullet points now, it feels appropriate to expect these things of others for my well-being. But when I look at my relationships, in general, it seems to challenge people to give these most basic elements. I don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to create harmony over distress.

Then I look at it from the flip-side – am I one hundred percent doing these things for other individuals? And I have to say, no honestly. There are a couple of statements on this list that I’ve periodically had a hard time doing. I’ll leave it to you to decide where you think I’ve fallen. I will say that when I stumble, it’s because of this human ego.

All I ask is that people do their best and maybe remember to keep their ego in check. And I’ll match their efforts. At this stage in my life, I’m more determined than ever to be that person I expect others to be. Something I would never have conceived of doing in my youth.

Here’s to maturity!

Unscrewed

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The battles began, never thinking we’d be
in a place where it felt all sucked out, with intense
feelings of acrimony letting the warmth
of what was dissipate, argument by argument.

Guilty waves coursed like an electric current,
me for the kids, you for your sins. Playing
at normal became the norm while the years
of neglect and lack of focused attention

skewed the connection. Then like a burnt-out bulb,
the energy waned. We imploded and made the pfft sound,
blowing out what once was from the core, the place
we drew strength from, where we imagined a bright future

sustaining us, our glow enriching the space,
giving off substance and volume, where like
an energy-efficient model, we thought
it’d be a while until our end. Till death do us part.

We’d be bright for an eternity that in actuality
would never come. It was clear the light
had gone out, the spark never to return
nor brighten our way. It was time to slowly

remove ourselves from this home thought of as permanent
where we had fastened ourselves into, letting go and moving on,
feeling drained and used up. Made to be undone, nothing is forever
but the hope was there once, shining brightly before it burned out.

Bana

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Thirty years ago, I met an influential lady. My Bana, I called her. I’ve often, affectionately, called her my surrogate mother. Her real name was Marilynn. I’d not ever met someone like her, and to date, haven’t since. Every day I see her face and smile. It’s because I keep a picture close by to say hello as I begin my day. And I miss her. I’m glad our worlds intersected so long ago. She made a healing dent in my psyche, which had been so damaged by the events of my past. I loved her for every moment of herself she brought into my life, and so grateful for the time she was there.

Growing up in a chaotic and, at times, an insecure household taught me many lessons. I would eventually need to undo many of them. It took quite a few years, and an unstable love affair to make it happen. The romance didn’t last, but the friendship with his mother, my Bana, was just the beginning of what became my life-altering connection.

The best way to describe what she embodied is the saying that we’ve all heard before – “Teach, Love, Inspire.” She spoke those words to me on many occasions, and also projected them into our space and connection. I’m sure the expression didn’t originate with her, but she lived that phrase eloquently. Bana’s influence helped guide me to a path of living a better life for myself. Her essence was to be a teacher; the subject was how to love and inspire. She would say she blessed me with excellent guidance. I would chuckle but agree and say it was the most significant advice anyone had ever given me.

Teaching took the shape of discussion, leading by example, sharing and laughing about past lessons about herself and others. It was sad at times but also funny. Her style was uncomplicated, and I was open to her influence. I liked to take a step back in those moments and observe her educate me. I realized how easy it was to learn from her, and how effortless it was that knowledge or feelings got conveyed. She was such an open book; Bana loved sharing. It didn’t matter what the subject was. And she delighted in being a presence in another’s life.

I think she was the one who made learning fascinating to me, even though it was my natural state to ask why all the time about everything. She had more questions than I did! Bana also went thoroughly into discussions on subjects and all its tangents and layers of thoughts that I’d ordinarily not encountered with most people. They tended to be so superficial; she wasn’t that at all.

The act of being loving came naturally to Bana. It was almost a permanent state of mind for her. And it was always genuine and focused. You couldn’t help but love her back as immensely as she showed her love for you. The lessons I learned in her presence were impactful to me in that I understood how desperately we all just needed to be loved or nurtured. I could see the outcome of her generosity play out in her family and with her other friends. These times were filled with substantive interactions. It was always such a buoyant feeling to be alive with her. I miss those moments when she would lock eyes with me, and all I could see was acceptance and joy in her expression. To feel that genuineness from her and be unreservedly embraced by her love was something that I had not ever experienced in my upbringing.

I don’t know when I started calling her my surrogate mother, but she played the part of a mother to me more than my biological mother had ever been. Bana knew my feelings towards her, and I think she felt grateful for that sentiment when I expressed it to her. At least I hope she felt as exceptional as I thought she was and how she made me see her. My birth mother also knew how I felt about Bana. Even she liked Bana, regardless that my allegiance to my friend was stronger than my bond with her. It’s a testament to Bana as to what kind of person she was.

Expressing myself was something I enjoyed from as long back as I can remember. I can’t say that I had the ability or even possessed the skill set then. It took years to master it to the degree I enjoy today, but it was something that Bana encouraged, always. She exemplified the words “Loud and Proud,” something I now call myself to do and be whenever I get the chance. She forced me, lovingly, of course, to be myself in the way I could most influence the world, but also helped me continue to strip away more layers within and expose the authenticity of my being to myself and others. I didn’t know that at the time. But what I learned from her creativity along with her persistence that I tell my story, is she had given me the keys to be inspired by the world around me, and most importantly, her attitude of positivity taught me how.

As I write this, I realize that she died around the age I am right now. It makes me feel somewhat melancholy, but ironically, energized to encourage just as she did. I understand that because of her, I teach, love, and inspire others by the way I live, precisely how her presence advised me. Bana is no longer here, but her words, her essence, and her love are still rooted firmly within me. How fortunate for me we met when we did. The value she brought to my life at that time is something I, to this day, try very hard to express in how I behave and connect to others. Our world could surely use a lot more people like Bana to spread this wisdom around. I’m glad she helped mold me to the benefit of others, but principally to myself.

She was a gift that kept on giving long after she left us.

I miss her.

Effective Blathering

UntitledUnderstanding meaning in what another human has to say can be difficult. Imagine a bird who tries to communicate something by pecking aggressively at a windowpane. At times, it’s that unclear as to what their intention or message informs us at that moment. We’ve all been in situations where we were dumbfounded. The concept is not clear, and we don’t get the message they are trying to convey.

Maybe we are distracted and not entirely focused on “hearing” them. That’s an easy fix, listen better. Pay attention and stop trying to figure out how to respond before you’ve fully digested the speaker’s input.

Sometimes it is a language barrier. Feeling unclear can add a level of concentration to determine intention with meaning. Being from different cultures may confuse what objects represent in the other person’s language, or even the translation to our native tongue could vary slightly. Heavy accents will further make communication problematic. Slow, deliberate speech can help any misunderstanding, and asking to clarify can go a long way to understanding each other better.

Incoherent rambling isn’t about making sense, it’s merely ineffective word usage and possibly brought on by overwhelming emotions. Or mental illness. They feel no clarity, so why should there be any precision in rationally emoting? This type of speech will lead to frustration and absolutely no comprehension on the part of the listener. It’s very unproductive, leaving the receiver of the information and speaker equally without a clue as to how to move forward with the conversation.

Some people suck at communicating. It’s like they speak one language and we hear a different one. The logic employed by the listener for understanding seems to be unique to just that individual, and the speaker utilizes another rationale in orating. In other words, the person speaking follows their path from point A to point B, but this journey may be the opposite for the listener.

Then add to that the layer of how intimate the connection with that person is. You tend to think you know what your friend, partner, or family feels about things, so naturally, that should translate into having more comfortable conversations, right? WRONG!
It’s frustrating to be talking to each other only to determine you are entirely missing each other’s perspective. It halts progress for understanding. The more we are frustrated, the less we are inclined to genuinely care enough to want to know what each other’s interpretations are.

Both parties thinking they are communicating effectively sometimes also have a desire to be heard rather than wanting to understand each other. It’s the “who’s right and wrong” scenario in the end. All you hear is emotion wishing to claim dominance and, ultimately, victory. It’s deafening. And it’s defeating what communication should be about – exchanging, conveying or sharing information, disclosing something of importance and a means to connect to others through discussion.

Realize that each conversation we have will be different. All individuals have unique speaking styles, and it matters the type of relationship two people have. Ultimately, the goal has to be mutual respect first. It starts with giving full focus and attention. The presentation of the information is what it is, and adjusting to it means leaving personal biases and interpretations behind while ingesting the data. When we also choose to utilize a keen sense of diplomacy during the discussion, then the interaction can be so much more transparent and more accessible to grasp.

How grand when we can leave eye-squinting moments behind and realize wide-eyed light bulb moments instead! And then, just like that, another avenue of connection has been established.