The Valley of Drifted Snow

“Long johns, my friend, we need to put them on to stave the cold”
It feels colder these days than when as kids we built snowmen,
Rode our flexible flyer down the hill, brave and reckless, laughing.
We wake in the morning with stiff fingers and an unusual chill: 40?
New England would laugh a collective laugh at our need for layers.
Yet, here we are, in our pit, in our mire, seeking rock for our feet,
Fingers numb to the bone, the pain we feel hard to diagnose, known
Inside our souls, yet we only share part of the details, what our shame
Forgets to hide as we try and abate our shivering flesh, ripped away
From the bones that once held us upright and strong as we climbed
Back up the hill once our laughter filled the valley of drifted snow.
Are we far from those teenagers now? Without conviction I say yes.
Yet, the 17 year old looks down on me in my wasted state of weakness
And knows he is already the better man and turns to his mother to say
“I will be edgy and cool without a diploma. We have to watch over her.”
He doesn’t know about long johns or laughter in the snow drift valley.
The blades of the flexible flyer have rusted. My sins have overcome me.
I have become poor and needy, and look up to this little Lord, help me
Do not delay your thoughts, chill climbing my bones needs a blanket.
Do not conceal your love, cover me up, so that all might see mercy.

With many thanks to Christine at Brave and Reckless
https://braveandrecklessblog.com/

40 Minutes

Say no to clowns, rode in on the donkey thinking
The end of this adventure will require humility.
So when we departed one another in the desert
I had no regrets, but second thoughts do come
Every now and then. Couldn’t I reach more souls
If I was the one king to rule them all?

Say no to clowns, harder to do in a crown
Drops of blood and this will take some humility.
What were those offers? Could I choose to fly,
I might catch his son as he fell off the cliff, but for
The sake of art could I just accept the tortured gift
His soul sings to help us say goodbye to our fathers?

Say no to clowns, even as they raise me off the ground
The wound in my side burns more on this skeleton tree.
Why couldn’t we have just turned some dust into tea
And discussed, like distant cousins do, connections
Our stories have to the greater Narrative? We could’ve
Shared a few laughs at His expense. Now, though, it is

Finished. Just say no to these clowns, then invite me
Down when they show up and we can share that tea.

Revisiting Backcatablogs: Say No To Clowns and a response: 40 Minutes.

As this week draws to a close, I am happy to report that my week spent with saynotoclowns was valuable beyond words. Digging around a fellow poet’s back catalog not only feels respectful, it is also a chance to connect to the larger human beings that we all are. In this week’s adventures I discovered a great writer, a deeply spiritual soul, and a musical kindred spirit whose taste in music already has me thinking about which musician I want to tackle after I finish my National series; Nick Cave comes to mind. Fortunately, I have a few more weeks to think about it, but I am pretty sure the Bad Seed is planted (so sorry, couldn’t resist).

My response poem to saynotoclowns tries to encapsulate the humor I found in her writing (…this woman’s first post was of a donkey for crying out loud!…) while also respecting her deep spirituality. Somehow, while on a too-rickety airplane from Singapore to Hong Kong, I began riffing off the title to her blog and ended up on a conversation that Jesus had with the Devil in his final 40 minutes. While this falls far short of the deeply hysterical but very reverent book, Lamb by Christopher Moore, I do hope it shares its spirit of both being respectful of faith while also being respectful of the humanity of Jesus and therefore he had to have had a sense of humor. Oh, and there is a Nick Cave reference in there for good measure.

As always, I encourage my friends to go back to the beginning and see what the writers posted when they were just getting started, there are some gems back there! Finally, as always, there is more to be found at saynotoclowns… please go explore.

My response poem:

40 Minutes

Say no to clowns, rode in on the donkey thinking
The end of this adventure will require humility.
So when we departed one another in the desert
I had no regrets, but second thoughts do come
Every now and then. Couldn’t I reach more souls
If I was the one king to rule them all?

Say no to clowns, harder to do in a crown
Drops of blood and this will take some humility.
What were those offers? Could I choose to fly,
I might catch his son as he fell off the cliff, but for
The sake of art could I just accept the tortured gift
His soul sings to help us say goodbye to our fathers?

Say no to clowns, even as they raise me off the ground
The wound in my side burns more on this skeleton tree.
Why couldn’t we have just turned some dust into tea
And discussed, like distant cousins do, connections
Our stories have to the greater Narrative? We could’ve
Shared a few laughs at His expense. Now, though, it is

Finished. Just say no to these clowns, then invite me
Down when they show up and we can share that tea.

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/dont-touch-me/

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/shoot-the-clown/

Stephen’s Tuesday Morning Reflection 9/5: Noticing Life’s Details

My most recent post at my personal blog, a short poem called Yellow Butterfly (link below) was inspired in part by watching a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast that teaches us to Stop-Look-Go while being grateful for the moments we are given.  I want to share a complementary article from a good friend, Saeah, at imperfectionistblog.com (link below) not only for its excellence, but also to show gratitude.  She turned me on to this TED talk a few weeks back to help me process several of the challenges life has tossed into my moments.  She writes: “Clarity of mind and heart allows us to see life’s details. These details bring an abundance of beauty into our lives that we often reject by choosing to be lost in the busyness of our day-to-day.” This article reminds me not only to stop, look, and pay attention to the little details of life, but also to stop, look and say thank you to the people who take the time to become bells of awareness in our lives, waking us up to the moments we are too busy to notice.

This week, I want to stop, look, and notice the precious details of life, and also friends like Saeah, and so many others here in the Cafe and outside who have taken the time over the last months to wake me up to these moments life has given me.  Perhaps saying thanks is all I can do as I stop and look around in this time of great challenges, but with friends ringing bells of awareness like this, how can we not become more aware of the goodness inside all of us and become better humans?

http://imperfectionistblog.com/2017/09/hunting-for-pictures/

Yellow Butterfly

Yellow Butterfly

Every moment gives a gift
An opportunity to see
A yellow butterfly land
On the pool deck to give
The daughter a smile
She seemed to have lost.

 

 

Image: Me, Chinese Gardens, Singapore.

Spinning Naked Singing

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty
Tied to the post barks at the convention of standards
She turns to the mirror, gagged, looking for a safe word
Unable to spit it out.

Who is prisoner, who is warden?

Wrapped inside this lace prison strips beauty
Of depth. In the fathoms, sharks swim with barracudas
She turns to the mirror, looking for an oxygen tank,
A rifle to shoot at the gag.

Who is hunter, who is hunted?

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty asks, naked,
Why don’t you untie me, stare at gently falling flesh
In the mirror, laugh, then smile at the unravelling
Spit out unsafe words until the tank explodes

Who is safe? who is safe?

Lace lumped on the floor, the mirror looks back
At beauty dancing, spinning, whirly-dirvishing
Singing words that explode, spitting them out
Like poison sucked from a rattlesnake bite.

Revisiting Backcatablogging – Midwest Fantasy Writes and a Response Poem “Spinning Naked Singing”

One thing I missed last week was Back Cataloging, well, it wasn’t missed as much as it wasn’t reflected in my posts. I have spent a good deal of time over the last several weeks reading Midwest Fantasy. If you take the time to browse through her posts pinned below, she will invite the reader into her world with very sensual and modestly erotic writing that expresses a depth of a sensuality connecting to a deeper spirituality of self-discovery. She affirms wonderful, sex-positive idea of Woman. While the legs in the icon at the top of the page may seduce the reader, getting insight into the depths of this interesting and very decent human will be the reward.

I welcome her to the Go Dog Go Treetop Cafe.

A reflection:

Spinning Naked Singing

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty
Tied to the post barks at the convention of standards
She turns to the mirror, gagged, looking for a safe word
Unable to spit it out.

Who is prisoner, who is warden?

Wrapped inside this lace prison strips beauty
Of depth. In the fathoms, sharks swim with barracudas
She turns to the mirror, looking for an oxygen tank,
A rifle to shoot at the gag.

Who is hunter, who is hunted?

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty asks, naked,
Why don’t you untie me, stare at gently falling flesh
In the mirror, laugh, then smile at the unravelling
Spit out unsafe words until the tank explodes

Who is safe, who is safe?

Lace lumped on the floor, the mirror looks back
At beauty dancing, spinning, whirly-dirvishing
Singing words that explode, spitting them out
Like poison sucked from a rattlesnake bite.

Please explore more, just a few favorites:

https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/about/

https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/multi-colored-me/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/naked-in-metaphors/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/territory-of-my-mind/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/beware-my-dance/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/heart-too-big/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/innate-sense-of-woman/

Cafe Chat: Backcatablog Alisa Hutton at Dusted Words and a response poem “No Ordinary Day”

Hi.  Remember me?  S Francis here from SailorPoet.  Over the next few weeks I will be transitioning my collaborative work over to the GDG.  Hope you are all well.

Here, I revisit my backcatablog of Alisa’s work.

At long last! Alisa, thank you for your patience, but after Chuck’s comprehensive review of your work, I recognized that the work required of me for Backcatablogging had transformed. Alisa’s writing is fantastic and I am very eager to see her hang out at the cafe from time to time as it allows. First, let Chuck speak for himself with his fantastic work here:

https://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/back-catalogging-the-works-of-alisa-hutton-from-dustedwords-com/

https://dustedwords.com/about/

After Chuck had provided the details, I needed to inhabit the words and find a response vehicle. I also learned that I needed to think through what backcatablogging was all about. I want to invite writers looking through the window into the cafe, spend some time learning about them and their writing, listen, read, and then inhabit their words and the worlds they create. Hopefully, I will be able find a piece of my own voice through their writing and let it prompt something that becomes a sort of hybrid.

Alisa writes about the ocean, living on the Pacific side of North America, I found a common connection with my own love for the ocean growing up on the Atlantic side of North America. So, I set myself a task of writing a found poem and ran a search on her blog for the word ocean:

https://dustedwords.com/?s=ocean

You can follow the link above to the search, and then link to the many wonderful poems that provided me the words for my response poem. My next step was to cut and paste all the lines with the word ocean in them. Then the crafting began. I challenged myself to find a narrative arc from these lines, beginning with “The ordinary day/ my ocean died.” It took some time to get to that arc, but it ended up being one about healing and a She – reading Alisa’s poems there is a “She” that runs through the lines as a character – perhaps this is the same She, or a different She. I think, mine is Ocean, my first Love.

Alisa, thank you for your words, thank you for writing, and I hope to see you around the cafe!

This is for you, distilled from your words, some lines so perfect I kept them as is:

no ordinary day

that ordinary day

my ocean died

She took my hand

led me through

my deepest fears

in Her gentle arms

breathing salt air

She whispered tides

no one would notice

they swallowed me

we drank medronho

far from the edge

where fish

offered nourishment

healing and growth

we sank we rose

She washed over me

that clear winter night

when the moon danced

dusted with magic

Song of the Week – Patrick Watson – Man Under the Sea – Introducing Barista Alisa – and a response poem – Weight Ocean Weight

I have just finished reading Alan Lightman’s book The Accidental Universe, a very good and respectful discussion that allows space in the world for both science and faith. He divides the book into seven essays to explain different understandings of the universe from all disciplines of science with a respectful reverence for both the technical and the spiritual aspects of our existence: Accidental, Temporary, Spiritual, Symmetrical, Gargantuan, Lawful, and Disembodied. I recommend taking a week to read the book, one chapter a day, and let his thoughts permeate your thinking and creativity. With discipline, time and a safe place to create, each chapter could inspire you to develop a deeper understanding of the meaning of your life, our existence in the universe, and how much we should respect the simplest fact that we are alive. Whether you believe an intelligent being created this place or that it is the result of the most miraculous and random alignment of singular circumstances or any variation in between, we should share one thing: AWE. We should share this awe and let our beliefs and faiths guide a fabulous conversation about what matters more: we exist and we will never really, truly know why.

Continue reading

Friends o’ GDG: Poet Girl Em Has a Table at the Cafe

This week, I will be sharing with you some very close friends of the Cafe. Poet Girl Em played the part of Leonardo DiCaprio to my Cillian Murphy a few months back when we has some exchanges in an imaginary cafe. Somewhere back in late March or early April are some comments that have me responding to Em sitting at a cafe. This inspired us to write responses to each other. My Sunflower poem on Sudden Denouement is also a response to one of her posts. Rumor has it we have an anchorage to tend to, give us some time, we will get to it.

In March…

Continue reading