Dear Baristas, One and All,

Thank you all for your persistence and endurance through all your struggles: personal, physical, emotional.

I too have had my own struggles and though largely wish to remain in a private place to deal with them, I do want to find a quiet corner in the cafe to feel the presence of the community that seems to be patiently waiting for me to return, in spite of my feeling unworthy of their friendship and love. This, as Gina wrote in her post this weekend, seems to be the defining characteristic of our community.

One goal of mine with the GDG Cafe was inclusion, making sure all felt welcomed. The thought was to welcome poets of all experience and quality, to let people know that it was having a voice that mattered more than what the critics thought of the voice. A lesson drawn from Rilke, I wanted people who looked inside and said I MUST write know they had a place to be welcomed. Now I know that this inclusion must extend to sinners and saints, failures and champions, grievers and celebrators. To allow this place to be where we find the openings to our paths again when they seem overgrown in the woods of life that overwhelm us, or the darkness that consumes us with no regard for a humanity wrought with flaws and scars and farts and otherwise unsavory stuff.

Over the next week or so, I owe you all a vision for this place.

I hope you are all still writing and know that I am too, if just in my journal for now. The seeds are plenty. My prolific-ness remains, well, prolific.

Finally, and this shouldn’t have been the last thing written but the first and most important, thank you Christine for keeping the cafe alive for all of us, thank you to Chuck and Beth and Linda and Amanda and Davy and Gina and Sangbad and all the Guest Baristas who have written and posted and given people good reasons to visit the cafe. For those of you who are wondering if being in the GDG Cafe is worth it and may be ready to cut ties, I ask for some time, not a lot of time, I am getting my life back together, feel stronger and close to ready.

May I say one more bit of praise for Christine? In spite of her own challenges, she never wavered and always has a hand extended no matter what I go through and it seems what so many of us go through here in the cafe and all over the amazing poetry world here in Word Press. She is truly Brave and Reckless for being so persistent and a friend to all us fledgling poets.

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/

Unheard Incantations: A Collaborative Poem

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)

Breathe deep, dear love;
Be still with me
Listen to my heartstrings
A song meant just for you (KMA)

Each tear
An eloquent elegy
To tortured truths (AP)

Each note played
On a hand carved lute
Strung with strips
Of my soul (JWL)

Your breathless aura
Beats in time
Undulating ululation
With my exhaled psyche (AP)

Intertwined, tangled,
Unified: whole
Healed. (JWL)

Yet with hearts torn open
Bleeding out the notes of our song
You turned from me (ME)

I am fire
Drowning
In desire
Weep
I beg
Save me (1W-W)

Fetch me an instrument,
For the untrained ear
Is soothed by that
Which it cannot comprehend. (LEL)

Not everything is black and white.
For even the eclipsed moon
Is not without a little light. (SD)

Whispers through the distance
I remember
As you reach for my hand
my heart (CER)

Our words
Still
Bleeding
Drip like fire
Into embers
Wanting back
Their flame. (SFF)

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)


Written by:

1Wise-Woman

Kindra M. Austin

Sarah Doughty

Michael Erickson

Stephen F. Fuller

John W. Leys

Lois E. Linkens

Aurora Phoenix

Christine E. Ray

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/

Spoken Word Spotlight: Catch A Firefly/S. Francis

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Welcome to Spoken Word Spotlight.  Every Wednesday, Christine brings a writer’s words to life.  This week she brings us a beautiful and nostalgic poem by Barista S. Francis. Sit back, take a sip of coffee, close your eyes and enjoy.

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.

Come and catch a firefly with me
Like we are children playing free
Alone in a field designed for us
The grass, the trees, the flowers,
Perfection. What shall we do with it?
Put it in a jar, poked holes in lid,
Watch it become our lantern?
Or watch it languish alone?

Do we dare lift the lid, reach inside
Draw the firefly out to the jar’s rim
And then sit together and just watch?
Our eyes open await the exact moment
When it chooses to take flight,
Trace a swift arc around our field
To recapture enough lost time to then
Light up a whole new universe within.

We will each reach out our hand
To try and catch it again, this light
Passing through our fingers like air,
Until I close my eyes like a blind man,
Turn my fingers to your skin and trace
The wholeness of a moment I had sought
When I first became aware of light spilling
Down the back of my soul, needing capture.

Turn the Night On- Christine Ray (Brave and Reckless) & S Francis (SailorPoet)

emotionalintimacy

“Looks like they are at it again,” Mouse.

“Did you have your coffee, yet,” Gecko?

“No, make you a cup while we watch them work?”

“Sounds excellent.”

Presenting another collaboration between S Francis and Christine
https://braveandrecklessblog.com/
https://sailorpoet.com/


Won’t you stay,

My love?

 

Outside snow falls steady

Gusted by north wind

Tapping at our window

Inside these walls

A fire burns

 

Softly

So softly

Spread your

Raven hair

Upon my pillow

 

Gently

So gently

We will unfold

Our layers

Like origami flowers

 

Reveal the

Treasure at the core

Offer it like pearls

That dissolve

On our tongues

 

Won’t you stay my love?

turn the night on

now

 

Won’t you stay my love?

Turn the night on

Now?

Won’t you stay,

My love?

 

As bitter winds blow

and frost grows in ferns

Across the window

Inside these walls

A fire burns

 

Softly

So softly

Fall into my

Chocolate eyes

Across the pillow

 

Gently

So gently

I will rub

My hands across

Your silk skin.

 

Offer the

Tenderness in your core

In small gasps

That dissolve

On our tongues.

 

Won’t you stay my love?

Turn the night on

Now?