a poem – I stood next to my conscience

 

I wrote a few lines pf poetry during a very moving Sunday Service last weekend. Bob Kilpatrick was our preacher that morning, Ministry through music moves me, lifts me to a different level of consciousness. I was blessed to get signed copies of his two books. So I posted it on Instagram together with some photos I took from the day I had. I read Vanessa’s poem “breath” this morning and saw in her words an accumulation of life’s prompts that I seldom take heed of.

So I tweaked the poem a little, different now from the Instagram post and maybe this portrays December in our hearts the best. A season of hope coming to fruition.

Linking this to saynotoclowns for inspiring a re-write.

I stood next to my conscience
looking over my shoulder
my head reasoned over my heart
the longing has finally ended

I lowered my hands
yet lifted my voice in hope
a new understanding
of waiting

2nd December 2017 – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Tree Top Café

in the quiet time of evening,

when the stars assume their patterns,

and the day has made its journey,

and we wondered just what happened,

to the life we knew before the world changed

Sting – My funny friend and me, Emperor’s New Groove

Today I am going to write for the first time something very personal. I’d love for you to come sit with me and listen to my story.

I lost my elder son, his name is Joshua, I lost him in a tragic accident on the 9th of August 2017 and my world changed. I had him for 20 years and I wish I could bargain for more. It seemed too soon to lose the child I had the most difficult pregnancy with but waited for the most, it seemed too sudden to put a full stop on a life that I had held so tenderly when I brought him home from the hospital and then hugged as fiercely as I carried his ashes out to sea.

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my son Joshua 

So this is my story in the café today, it’s not going to be a happy one but if you’d still like to listen please come sit with me. I don’t know, there may just be some sprinkle of funny and happy as I go along writing this because my Joshua was that to so many, a funny friend, always the one they sought and counted on, the one adults looked for at church or at youth camp to get something done right, the one kids at Sunday School clamoured around for a piggy back ride but who they obeyed when he firmly disciplined them. My perfect son. I get angry with a future I will never have with you.

I have 3 other kids, my two older girls and after Joshua my youngest son. They know how much I love Joshua and that I am writing this and know I call him my perfect child even though I know it must hurt them just a little to know that I love him more because he is not here. But that’s not true I loved him more even from before. He was the one who read my flash fiction and silly stories, the only one who called me “Mom” when all the others called me “Mother”, who reads my stories now? I have stopped writing for that very reason; I did not know it until just now.

Beauty is not just in the face beauty is a light in the heart – Khalil Gibran

My son is beautiful inside and out, he had a face that calmed people, a smile so engaging people gravitated to its warmth. I witnessed a generation of people come out to mourn his passing, while I tried to keep my grief as private and closed as I could with my small circle of family, friends and church leaders, his huge presence in so many people’s lives expanded the number of people we planned for at the wake service. His grandmother, my mother whispered to me, you only see this number of people at a wake of a very old person not a young man. How she must have hurt to put her grandson to rest yet in her sorrow saw how much he was respected and loved. I can’t console her or my brother who says he lost more than a nephew; he lost his idol, his Mr. Cool. His eulogy told us about the private things they shared. My son was a brilliant light.

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my son Joshua

Indeed he was loved and that love sustained us, we could not turn people away as wake services go that way, they just come. How do you turn away a whole football team or an entire college faculty? My heart broke even more to see his friends, young strong and vibrant youth cry like little babies for a friend they told me was like no other. Many confessed how Joshua was the one that brought them to Christ, brought them to church, spoke to them when no one else bothered and was always there when they needed him. But my Joshua died alone with no friend around him, no one to hold him, especially not me. A kind hearted stranger, the Good Samaritan who crossed the street and called an ambulance after his accident was not even the last person who held him as he breathed his last, he was all alone and that grips me with a fierce anger at myself for being too caught up with my own life to not hear my son’s last breath.

My doctor friend who was Head of Trauma at the hospital said Joshua died instantly from his massive head injuries but his body looked so perfect, his arms crossed over his chest, his mouth in a crooked grin, his long lashes curved gently on his high cheek bones. Oh how the girls loved and envied his beautiful lashes. I am thinking he was greeted by his guardian angel that held him as he said goodbye to this world, so maybe he wasn’t alone. That’s why he looked so peaceful.

But I am alone in this grief, we are all handling it in our own way, we go for counselling but words cannot express or heal what we feel. We sit with people who love us and reach out to us but each one of us is truly alone and that’s the way it will be for we each honour him in our own way. The way Joshua is remembered by each of us. His brother has taken to wearing his T-shirts, his sisters take time to sit in his room or lie on his bed and just breathe him in.

It’s not what you take it’s what you leave – Jennifer Niven in All the Bright Places

And he left behind a legacy of a young man that touched the lives of people in a special yet understated way. My kids and his close friends show me the Twitter and Instagram messages and posts, I see the Facebook updates, I knew I had a special child, but this was overwhelming, an outpouring of grief by an entire community. I met primary school teachers, college lecturers, people I had not known before come up to me and say “I knew Joshua”. And they would tell me of something he did that touched them in a special way. Each one a different story, how could there be so many for such a young man?

They spoke softly of a life that was lived with such tender beauty and compassion for others.

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whisper – T.S Elliot in the Hollow Man

No shouting, no screams, he went silently in the evening air, he floated above us into Jesus arms. My son was a young Christian man who led a life with such impact I can only hope to have. In a whisper he was gone. By the time I got to the hospital his body was already cold but I hugged him for the last time. That was all I got.

Sometimes you just got to accept that some people can only be in your heart and not in your life – Christopher Pike in The Last Story

He will always be in our hearts. His story lives on in all of us who know him and love him and now even in the people who only hear about him, like when our Youth Pastor preaches or when a friend uses his name and him as an example in a power point presentation for a college assignment, or when he is remembered for the words that only Joshua could coin, words remembered around a fellowship or group devotion, so newcomers would come to love him too.

Love is never wasted for its value does not depend on its reciprocity – C.S Lewis

And so this is my story this week, my intention is to give you hope not despair, I ask for a smile even though it’s sad but please don’t feel sorry for me. For I have known a true love because of the love Joshua gave me. I urge you to write and don’t get paralysed like me, trapped within the walls of my own sadness. But if you are, if you do falter, know someone is out there willing to hear your story. Be brave and write that which comes from your heart.

I end with a quote from one of Joshua’s favourite actors………..

To me friendship means loving tolerance – Robert Downey Jr.

Hope & Love

Gina@singledust

November Poems

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Image : Frosts’s My November Guest was my favourite November poem

“November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December; the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls and the shapes of the trees are revealed. When the earth imperceptibly wakes and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent.”Alison Uttley

I belong to a dynamic poetry club here in Malaysia and we have a theme when we gather to discuss and share poetry, our own as well as from published poets and writers. This month of November our theme was simple, it was well “November”!

I never knew there were so many “November” poems, with the words November as well as describing November and things that happened in history in a November month. Truly Wow! The one quoted in the text above symbolises a November in the Northern Hemisphere for me. Here on the equator November is just rainy everyday. If I could I would be a world of snow like my poem below:

Her Dance With Destiny

Out of the wardrobe she came
Looking for a new friend, a game
Finding fresh fallen snow
She walked out a little more

From between the woolen coats
She tied her safety ropes
Her lifeline back to reality
After her dance with destiny

Behind a cluster of white birch
Stark against the whiter church
She saw destiny extend his hand
He asked her come join his band

He was as blue as her icy heart
Shinning shimmering colder art
But his smile reached her, warmer
She accepted, walked out further

So she joined this band of sound
Making music upon the ground
Dancing deeper into whiter wonder
Finding rhythm’s beauty a splendour

A new game she played
Upon earth’s Teutonic plates
Keeping time guessing truths
Breaking rules leaving clues

A re-post of a poem written at the beginning of this year as I was so excited to see snow……in a photo sent to me from my best friend living in Alberta, Canada. It’s already snowing up in the Rockies and I wish I could go play with her in the white snow.

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image: snow in Alberta, from my Canadian friend

 

 

25th November 2017 – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Tree Top Café

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at my poetry club we spend time over November poems and hot coffee

“Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes. Sometimes, people discover you, even though they’ve been looking at you all the entire time. Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we’re not paying enough attention. We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.”

― Cecelia Ahern, A Place Called Here

It’s been awhile since I posted in the café and I have missed being here. Life can throw us curve balls we can’t catch or dodge that hits us right in the solar plexus. We recoil, in pain, in anger, in frustration and sometimes just collapse under the sheer impact. When it happened to me, I just wanted to disappear. Just like the novel I quoted above, I wanted to be in a place called here. In a place where no one could find me.

But soon the feeling, either of pain or grief lifts and we have to resume life as we knew it, with a new found understanding that even though things may not be the same and we are not going to be the same either, but we can move on. We need to find ourselves again and allow ourselves to be found.

While I was hiding away I had a lot of time to read and I did so voraciously, like I had been deprived or had been on a strict diet. I read in every free moment and space I found. My favourite place was a cosy café where I did not want to be known or recognised. The solitude was my own prescription and the coffee my tonic. The book was my salvation.

There’s an unspoken camaraderie among readers and coffee drinkers in cosy, quiet cafes, the silent welcome with downcast eyes peering over book tops. The gentle nod as you glance up once every so often to rest tired eyes, eyes that sometimes tear with not reason, and you blame it on the story in the book, and that gentle nod from a stranger tells you, they understand too. I craved the anonymity yet looked forward to the familiar faces. I did not need spoken words; I hated the sound of speech and laughter grated on my nerves. A quiet, cosy café gave me a place to grieve against the impact of the curveballs that left me paralysed and aching for answers to questions I had no one to ask.

But while I sat alone in the real world café, safely detached from all possible human interaction my friends in this virtual community of writers, poets and storytellers never let me be alone. They sought me out from my hiding place, they offered me comfort and encouragement through my hardest days, days of struggling with own thoughts that wound like a tight rubber band in my head waiting to snap, and my beautiful friends help loosen the cinch of that painful ache around my head and heart.

As always, this is the part where I stop and ask myself, what’s my point? Where am I going with all this? Belonging to a community is important, as a human first and then as a writer, we need each other, we thrive because the others never stop nurturing and encouraging us and our talent. The backbone of this café community was built on trust, faith, admiration and respect for one another. While tough times will always appear, tougher people stand stronger together; especially when one is floundering we join hands and provide a web of support, affirmation and love.
I love that I have this community to belong to, a place I can call home. Not just a place called here. A place where I am welcomed even when I am at my worst for then I can rest to become my next very best.

Hope & Love

Gina@Singledust

15th July – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

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Flat white @ the Morning After

Come sit with me because I found a cafe that was empty at 5 am one Friday morning! It was called the Morning After and the coffee was ground fresh as you ordered it and served with a smile and little chat that warmed my heart.

My mind has been filled with mathematical equations, work instructions and achieving deadlines it seems all I really want to do is have a good cup of coffee to restore sanity to my life.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity that has left me breathless and gasping for air before I finally crash at day’s end and sleep till the alarm goes off. I must thank my beautiful family for dutifully assuming their roles and carrying out their responsibilities while I was present but hardly around.

I thank Sangbad for writing in my absence and keeping the café vibe alive. His post for last week’s “Come Sit with Me” was brilliant and we may take turns writing this segment.

And I also want to thank the lovely café community for the support and love that continues to make this a special place, the place where we can hang out and just be ourselves and where everyone knows your name!

This week I have hardly had the chance to read other blogs and have left my unattended but I have managed to sit in a few cafes while on my travels and read novels, combining my two loves as the days swirled past me. I devoured books as I was introduced to new writers and I felt my life enriched beyond expectation.

This past few weeks I have read to name a few:

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – gifted to me by my good friend and blogger here in Malaysia Ally L Mare, I loved it Ally and made notes so hope to write a review of this and the other book The Giver by Lois Lowry one day!! But just a quick word, to encourage you to pick it up, the ending was totally unexpected of a Young Adult novel, it started out dealing with teenage problems but finished saying something really profound to the adult we all need to become.

The Arab of Our Future Parts 1 & 2 by Riad Satouff, my book club reads interesting books and there are interesting people I connect with in this club that brings so much flavour than just being solitary in my choice of reading material. I have never read a graphic novel before this and started with trepidation but happy I persevered, it was an amazing look at the life of an immigrant, told through the eyes of a talented child.

Hemmingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck – fact and fiction interwoven set against the Depression Era in Key West with the 1935 Labour Day Hurricane as the event that brought the community together. My love for historical fiction and anything that deals with the war and veterans of the war pulled me into this fascinating story and I finished it during my 3-hour flight. If you have read Ernest Hemmingway, read this, it’s Papa come to life. And I felt like his daughter, and as a writer felt the ache a writer feels for the subjects we write on.

I was introduced to writers I would never have picked up ever, the Australian National Treasure – Tim Winton and his book Breath, a look at taking risks and how far we would go living a reckless life. The Heart of Darkness author Joseph Conrad and his travel through the Congo narrated while on a Thames riverboat is riveting reading.

So where am I going with all this? This week while I have had limited online interaction and missed it so much, the break has enabled me to connect with people in my physical world and be part of real life after hiding for a good many years. And reading books from a time long reinvents me I feel. And I think about what my assignment is, in writing and churning out stories and poetry?

I read this piece a few weeks back and it has stayed in my head, about the assignment we have as writers in dark and trying times equally in good and happy times. I quote the text from Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings a favourite inspirational site that blends science and art.

“This is your assignment created by Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney E. Martin offer a heartening answer in a collaboration that stands as a mighty manifesto for our time and a testament to the only mechanism by which the creative spirit has ever pulled humanity out of every abyss of its own making.”

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

Wow! Isn’t that amazing to read and let sink in. Then after reading Hemmingway’s Girl I found out about this article he, Ernest Hemmingway wrote, or as I would like to refer to him: Papa as he is affectionately known, and here it is for your reference. http://www.unz.org/Pub/NewMasses-1935sep17-00009

I’ve copied below two passages that show you Hemingway’s anguish over the fate of the war veterans during that time and for some others that touched his life.

“Who sent them down there?

I hope he reads this—and how does he feel?

He will die too, himself, perhaps even without a hurricane warning, but maybe it will be an easy death, that’s the best you get, so that you do not have to hang onto something until you can’t hang on, until your fingers won’t hold on, and it is dark. And the wind makes, a noise like a locomotive passing, with a shriek on top of that, because the wind has a scream exactly as it has in books, and then the fill goes and the high wall of water rolls you over and over and then, whatever it is, you get it and we find you, now of no importance, stinking in the mangroves.

* * * *

You’re dead now, brother, but who left you there in the hurricane months on the Keys, where a thousand men died before you in the hurricane months when they were building the road that’s now washed out?

Who left you there? And what’s the punishment for manslaughter now?”

Read about a time when people were at their lowest, financially, morally and spiritually and then a hurricane hits and your government forgets about you. Forgets about the men and women who sacrificed to defend country in the war, left to die building a road for the economic prosperity of a town inhabited by the rich and famous and beautiful. A road to be built by the scarred, broken, ugly veterans who seemed to have less use than the envisioned road in a society focused on being beautiful and staying strong.

I was moved by his writing; Hemmingway knew how to live life one way only, loud and intense and died the same, but the life he led was honest to what he believed was the right way to live. Yet he never forgot the man on the street, defended the weak and tried to be a good person according to the standards of the people around him. That made him capture the people he lived with and he wrote them into his novels. How often do we do that? And is right to keep people between the pages of our stories?

So what is your assignment? Is there something happening around you that you must write about? Is there something that you read that has moved you to write your own words in response? If there has been, pick up your pen and write or your thoughts will be forgotten with the rush of day and then it becomes a distant memory you will never recapture.

This is your assignment!

I hope the weekend will be especially sweet and filled with memories, if they aren’t yet, go out and make them. I am looking forward to book hunting and more café moments this weekend besides a picnic in a park and holding hands under the stars.

Hope & Light

Gina@Singledust

 

A Cafe Moment – Our lives turned and curved to meet

This was actually written more than a year ago , a chapter from my book that is still in progress, but I thought it would fit so well here right now!

It is also a continuation from the Cafe Moment posted earlier, you can read it here.

It drizzled this morning. I was grateful for the warmth of the café.

Each time the door opened I stopped myself from turning to see if it was her. I looked at the newspaper, it helped calm me, I could not order any food, I felt nausea rising with the panic.

I smelt her perfume even before I saw her. She sat exactly opposite me again. I sipped the lukewarm coffee and pretended not to stare.

She did not look up. She pointed to the menu and nodded at the server. She looked sad.

My courage increased with her evident sadness. Her cheeks are flushed and her perfume intoxicated me.

I went over and sat on the chair next to her. She looked at me with misty eyes. I don’t speak and she stayed silent. I felt bolder and settled down.

I signaled the waitress to bring my coffee and newspaper over. The waitress brings her her frothy cup at the same time. We lifted our cups almost in unison and our eyes met for a brief moment.

We sat in silent agreement.

Her sadness weighed her shoulders down and I wanted to curve my arms around her. Instead I looked at her hands and let my fingers touch hers. I continued to read my paper. She continued to look down at our fingers touching slightly.

She moved a little, a jerk.

She has curled her fingers around mine. I felt her sigh through her skin.

Our lives turned and curved to meet at this point and I would take the opportunities that fate gave me.

“Hello, I am Lisa”, she says. “Would you like to take a walk with me?”

I am still holding her hand as we curved around the block and headed down main street away from the cafe where we first met.

 

24th June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

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Credit : my flat white in Circus Circus!

Get your coffee and come sit with me, I have my flat white ready!

I was recently introduced to John Berger an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. I was given his novel G (which won the 1972 Booker Prize) as a reading assignment by my reading partner. It was not an easy read and I felt intellectually challenged as art has not been something I could ever comment on, not being a visually inspired person, most art is lost on me. But I did pick up something from reading his words, he had a keen eye for the insignificant. I love this quote from him – “If I am a storyteller, it’s because I listen”.

It surprised me that an art critic who had a keen eye for form and structure was also a keen listener. So I decided I would try to be both a keen listener and also observer of insignificant things and moments.

I did after all receive a lot of my stories from listening or rather eavesdropping when I was a child. My mind absorbed all of them and later I think I made up my own when I forgot the facts! But I was always listening to whoever wanted to speak to me, I found that the highest honour.

Then I came across this piece:

Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, related one of the most stinging experiences in his life. He had maintained a 4.0 GPA in college and wanted to graduate with a perfect GPA. The final exam for a business strategy course was a blank piece of paper. The professor said he had taught them everything he could about business, so he only had one more question: What is the name of the lady who cleans this building?

Mr. Bettinger said that was the only test he ever failed. He had seen her, but never taken the time to speak to her or find out who she was. He learned the lesson to always get to know the people who can seem insignificant to us.

Always stop and listen to someone even if you think there are insignificant, you will never know what you miss. And never dismiss anything or anyone as insignificant.

And what did you miss at the café this week?

Come sit with me and let’s see!

The week started rather gravely for us as our Café Captain, S Francis observed a period of silence and mourning for the lives of the sailors lost at sea from the USS Fitzgerald collision early Sunday morning the 18th of June. S Francis has taken a period of time off from blogging to show respect and honour for these souls and their families during their most heartbreaking time. We stand by him and support him and offer comfort and understanding as what affects one affects all of us. We remember those who sacrifice so much to serve. My father was a Navy man too and I remember the weight of saying goodbye and not knowing when I would see him again. The loss these families must endure is unimaginable.

Again these maybe few and insignificant against the thousands who are in service but no, no one should just be a number, each a name and a soul we must remember.

Christine has led us during his absence and we continue to spread the warm spirit of community at the Go Dog Go Café.

Mr Davy D has a lovely discussion going on the subject of Why We Write Poetry? Davy says, “Shakespeare, according to some sources, wrote part of his poetry to supplement his income when plague closed the London theatres and stopped the performances of his plays. William Wordsworth’s poetry grew from his love and obsession with his childhood and nature.”

Davy then wrote a poem in response to his thoughts on the question and trying to solve the puzzle.

And I never wrote poetry till I started blogging! That puzzled me!

Read Davy’s post and the comments to understand why some of us write poetry.

Davy is our in house celebrity now, read about his recent new role here – Hanging Out With the Red Kites.

Christine did a most evocative Spoken Word Spotlight. This week she introduced us to a gorgeous poem written by Lois E. Linkens that was originally published by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.  We strongly recommend that you visit Lois’ blog and read more of her excellent poetry. Sit back, take a sip of coffee, close your eyes and enjoy.

There’s a Fiction section where you can read and also contribute stories on cafés and coffee moments, read my little story about a cute café in Auckland, New Zealand called Circus, Circus!

If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing or contribute a story, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email  us at godoggocafe@gmail.com.

I was pleased and a little overwhelmed to read Amanda’s rewind of an interview she did with me some weeks back. Thank you Amanda for the questions that prompted me to share and open up, you are a truly gifted person, and juggle so much yet produce such amazing work. Each Tuesday Amanda will post an interview she has conducted. Soon all the Baristas here will be interviewed too, so watch this space if you have a favourite you are waiting to read! If you would like to be a part of Amanda’s bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to her through her Contact Page.

And we have two fabulous call and response poems from Chrstine and Chuck, two brilliant poets. Using words in tight spaces to tell a story of courage and resilience. Read them both here. The Call / The Response.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite poets, a wise and tender soul:

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” – Rumi

Hope & Light

Gina@Singledust

 

A Cafe Moment – I got what I thought I had lost

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photo from Google

This was originally written for the Word Press Daily Prompt from last year, here it is now with some revision. I have since captured the moment I thought I had lost forever!

When I worked the early shift in Auckland I would ride the bus down Mt. Eden Road and look into the shops starting business as early as 5am. There was one I wanted to go into so badly and so one morning off duty I rode the first bus out and had coffee at the Circus Circus!

The lights of the cafe had called out to the whimsical side of me and I am easily persuaded by twinkling lights. Its a tiny little place and you sit close to other early morning people and feel a companionship without having to speak just a nod or a smile and its like the place your heart has been looking for all this time.

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photos from the Circus Circus website 

I miss this little coffee shop on the slope of the hill, I miss the bright red and twinkling lights and I miss the flat white coffee in New Zealand.

I only went once because I waited to experience it with someone special but that day never came and I had already left the island. Lesson learned…..don’t wait too long.

And so now writing a revision to this little cafe moment I am happy to say I managed to capture the moment I thought lost forever. Just a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to sit in the same cafe and with the person I wanted to from before. There was magic, thick in the air and so electric and the coffee never tasted so good!

Circus Circus is still there, and if you are ever in the land of the long white cloud I hope you will hop on over to this place where you must have coffee amid twinkling lights while the world starts to wake around you.

And watch the face of a special person over the frothy milky foam and slowly twirling aromatic mist from your coffee cup.

And never miss an opportunity to be in a cafe where a moment is captured and treasured forever!

 

17th June – Come Sit With Me – In the Go Dog Go Cafe

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My Vietnamese coffee on a leisurely day

Welcome to the Go Dog Go Café

Bob Dylan said – people have a hard time accepting anything that overwhelms them.

So when things do overwhelm you, don’t get reckless and don’t be irrational – pick up your pen and write or type. We need to speak it out but our voices may not be loud or firm so we write, and from writing comes the clarity we look for. Clarity gives us power. Power is knowledge.

Power is not violence and senseless acts. Power is using our gifts to change situations for the better, for humanity.

Many violent and senseless things are happening in the world and sometimes they are really close to home and our hearts. Let’s speak up and let our voices be heard. Use our writing to share what we have learnt and as a reminder never to repeat such atrocities and grievances against humanity. Let us use our words powerfully and effectively. Not our fists and weapons.

Let me first share a poem from a favorite poet e.e. Cummings

Humanity i love you (e.e. Cummings)

Humanity i love you

because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you

He ends with the line “i hate you” to show you his disgust. This is a cynical poem, using words to show disgust, some people write like this to show their frustration about the world around them they so desperately want to change and see change. They see injustices like Cummings did, seeing richer sections of society abuse the poorer and less fortunate. Or just be indifferent, their indifference encouraging more neglect and abuse.

We write like that when we are disgusted with what’s happening in the world; politics, abuse, discrimination, destruction and marginalization.

But our writing needs to offer a solution too. Suggestion, advice, hope, future steps and not just empty words. Make your words count, you say you have a way with words? Then make it count.

Humanity is selfish. When we are at the top looking down, we crow over our success, forget those in need, sometimes all we do is just write about the weak and miserable, but have you really been there to know their suffering?

Most of us cannot say yes to that question. We are quite cocooned in our safe little worlds. But some do see the injustices and must have our voices heard. Today I want to highlight a few people and posts that have done just that in this café.

You thought you were just hanging out at a cool café? Well this is a living, breathing and evolving entity. Be happy and proud to be here.

Come sit with me!

I started the week reading a delightful piece of flash fiction from our barista Vanessa @saynotoclowns – Her flash fiction had an open ending and it let my imagination make up the ending. It was one I liked for the female lead was the one that brought adventure and colour to the story. Vanessa does this superbly, little vignettes of a tale snipped off a larger fabric, most times coming from a song she has heard. Music does inspire us deeply. Sometimes the stories we write hide some of the reality we cannot speak about freely. We may need to weave a tale that parallels our own realities but never revealing its true source. But we do write from our own experiences and share it and find there are others just like us with those same experiences we thought only unique to us. And that offers the comfort of a bond across the seas and miles that separate us.

And so you must write! Or like Byron said – if I don’t write to empty my mind – I go mad.

We may write about simple things not major events as not everyone of us goes through horrors unimaginable in life to relate to those who do and write about it. Like for example – If the venerable Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh — who has been through horrors I cannot even imagine — can say, “The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms,”

We too can practice peace in the midst of the upheaval, the anxieties, the self-doubt and self-reprisals.

And our other barista Davy D has set out to do just that in his weekly post Hang out Thursday – this week he takes us to have Coffee with Basho .

Davy D talks about his favourite poet and how reading the poet’s words gave him comfort. He highlights the works of Basho and makes references to world events and urges us to seek peaceful places around us, pockets of peace and tranquility. Davy asks each of us to reconnect with nature and by doing so back to our own humanity and the gentleness of spirit we have forgotten. Not a spirit of animosity, greed, anger or hatred. The spirit of respect for nature and our fellow human. We seem to have lost this in our quest for development and success. And I like Davy’s thought, for everything around us does have a value and a purpose, no matter how small they may seem. Even our everyday experience is valuable.

Our everyday experience is both physical and temporal.

Christine our most illustrious and hardworking barista set out a challenge to use 10 objects in our life to paint an experience. Read Christine’s challenge – originating from her post Asylum that intrigued me.  Read some of the responses, see what defines each of us. The differences, the similarities and the parallels. I thought this was an amazing challenge to do, so simple it became philosophical in discussion about the things that define our experience.

One person that responded to the challenge and I would like to mention here is Jerennazuto in his post – “10 objects” – read his collection of both the physical and temporal objects that make up his experience, simple yet profound, relatable yet imaginative.

One person I read who blends the physical and temporal so beautifully in his writing is S Francis our café founder and leader of our community. He inspires us with the books and songs he listens to. His younger self poetry is a must read to see the man develop from the boy while still retaining the innocence and love for life that is so fragile. His tender words as a young man contemplating the balance in the world is worth your time and consideration. Games of the Sandbox is my favourite.

When I read S Francis’s writing I realise that we all need something to believe in and we cannot become more than what we were yesterday without reading or continuing to learn. And I take an excerpt from his recent Song Of The Week post –

“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.”

We may be people of science and mathematics but the universe is made up of more than just numbers and formulas, our understanding too should not be so limited but all encompassing. I urge you to spend some time reading S Francis writing to understand the real foundation of this café.

But…..our café is also a fun and happening place! With specials for everyone!

Sangbad kicks off the week on Monday with his very special Guest Posts – I enjoyed this one as it made me think about my kids at that age. Sangbad selects special writers and highlights some of their best stories here. Read Asiya’s – the Clingy Period here. It was hilarious!

Mandibelle has her amazing and in depth interviews lined up every Tuesday, where we will be introduced to new writers and personalities. Check out this week’s interview of a contemporary writer Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) and illustrator Jodi from The Creative Life In Between. 

We have a new event every Wednesday – Spoken Word Spotlight Night  where we will hear Christine speak our poetry. I was so pleased to hear my poem “Soil of Your Seed”. Christine has an amazing voice and gives the words just the right intonation and magical feel.  If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email us at godoggocafe@gmail.com.  

Similarly if you would like to be a contributor to our Blackboard Specials  use the same contact form or email. This week we read another fine piece from Aurora Phoenix  – Dances with Words 

Many other things are happening at the café and you need to drop by and check out the menu!

Two new baristas have joined us this week, Alisa  and Beth Amanda  and I would like to welcome them warmly and look forward to their contributions.

And there are more stories here last week where you can read about coffee and how it connects people and keeps this community together.

Thank you for sitting with me and I look forward to seeing all of you at the CAFÉ!

Love & Hope

Gina@Singledust

 

 

 

A Cafe Moment – Courage to speak to her

I sit down at the café for breakfast. Order a coffee and look at the menu. The door opens and she walks in, almost blown in by the wind. I look back at the menu and glance at her. Almost like clockwork I see her again the same time every morning.

She sits at the table across from me and fidgets with the tablecloth, straightening the edges and cutlery. I wonder if she knows I am watching her. She’s interesting to watch.

Waitress takes my order then hers; I strain to hear her voice. Just a few syllables but I want to hear more. She has an accent I cannot place. Continue reading