in that brief still moment

in that brief, still moment

i lost my job 
no, I didn’t lose it
i was holding onto it for dear life 
and it was taken away from me
like a favorite toy from a child 
who was playing with it for too long
20 dedicated years…some 6000+ days

well, yes, I guess, I lost my job
because I feel the hurt of work
going on without me,
i have an empty space inside of me
where the people I played with used to rest
i miss the sense of purpose
that came from being of service there

but, in a brief, still moment
sitting in silence and 
the spaciousness that had opened up before me
i saw myself soaring like a bird
riding the thermals high above the beautiful earth
available to live life completely on my terms
to fully move my face in the direction of my dreams
in that brief, still moment
I realized I was free.

He Takes Flight

on approach into London England
He Takes Flight

The invitations mount in a pile on the table. One follows him 
around his house as gentle sighs, exhaling 
the burden of his duties, the things he was expected to do 
every day, the littlest of things you wouldn’t think were so heavy, 
like making the bed or brushing his teeth, 
day after day, ceaselessly. 

Another arrives like a warning whistle 
as he sits at his desk, his screen a streetlight 
illuminating the tracks ahead, his day a cargo train, 
car after black car, stretching endlessly 
into the wild prairie with its hungry harvest, his gut burning 
like a black coal, and the steam that keeps him chugging 
can’t move up and out his pipes.  

The last summons lands at his feet in a crumpled ball, 
after his partner wonders aloud what they might enjoy for dinner, and he yells 
back at her, not just testy, but mean and spiteful. Even this 
tiniest and inconsequential of decisions feels like a billboard shouting. 
He stares down at the paper, gazes up to her and collapses, 
not physically into her arms but right there before her, he falls 
into pieces, broken mirror littering the floor. 

There, 
his heart finally stills 
from the chase of all those invitations, 
and the soft round world around him catches up. 
It’s not that he’s given in or given up. It’s not like that. 
It’s more like he put the barbell back into its rack along the wall 
so life doesn’t hit him straight on, like he’s open enough 
so that life moves through him. 

He discovers that the world did not stop when he let go 
of his load. The sun still shines gold in the sky and 
clouds cast shadows on the sidewalk. He takes flight, 
an eagle gliding on thermals high above the patchwork of earth, 
unencumbered by life’s demands, no weights to carry. 
For the moment, free. 
And that is enough. 

This poem is also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.

get free

Guara blossoms on Lake Lugano with Monte San Salvatore in Switzerland

Get free

Get free of what blocks you. 

Get free by empowering yourself to share your truth – bare, basic, brutal honesty. 

Get free of your inhibitions and doubts and imposter ideas or second thoughts. 

Get free by letting what turns up percolate like coffee, deepening their color and flavor, their scent rising and inspiring.

Get free of structure, format, rules, protocols, what you think is correct or good or desirable. 

Get free by letting things be messy, striking things out, or not, squeezing things between words and ideas and along the margins and flowing onto the next page. 

Get free by opening to what’s deep within you, scratching to get to the surface, whatever that is in there yelling against the walls of your being that no one can hear, although they have their ears pressed there waiting. 

Get free by creating a safe space where you can roam like a rabbit whose squeezed through someone’s fence into a big flourishing garden. 

Get free by stepping outside of your comfort zone and onto the big carnival rides that take you high into the sky, offering new perspective, shaking you up, bringing you down.

Get free by seizing the real stuff, not the crap your mind tells you to release; no, nothing ordinary or customary or sedentary. 

Get free by letting go of what you think the world needs or what would be most helpful; no, push out the grimy, grubby, mucky and muddy stuff. 

Get free by giving birth to what might be dying inside of you.

This poem was inspired by an Anaphora poetry prompt, where you repeat a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect. It’s also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.