Happy New Year! 2021 was not an easy year for me. I do believe in the importance of looking at the energy and trying to see what gifts it might have given. I got my answer last night. In the very late hour of New Years Eve, water started to seep in from above into my apartment. It was a late night as it seemed my apartment became open to everyone to tour. Normally, I would have been in tears or angry. I just sat on my bed (like it was my little life raft) and handled it. I have said to my clients so many times this year, ‘the environment is always going to throw things at you; we know that’s not going to change. The only thing you can change is how you respond.’ That was the great lesson for me of 2021. When it seemed the universe was conspiring against me to flow with it. I think I proved that I learned that well last night. I dealt with it. I wasn’t mad or upset or crying. I just dealt with it, and so onto 2022! I wrote a book of poems years ago called, “A Doubt of Movement.” I had just ended a marriage. I was working with a lot of trauma and really severe substance use patients. Politically, things felt at a stand still. The book of poems is a lot about acknowledging victories at a time when it felt like there weren’t many. I’ve been asked to write a book of non-fiction for some time. I always knew I would get to it, but I felt like when the moment was right, the universe would let me know. Throughout 2020/21, I began to study astrology. The study of astrology, sort of made me more aware of stories and what the ‘collective,’ as I’m privy to a wide range of what people are going through via my job, are dealing with. I began to notice that certain weeks there were definitely ‘themes’ prevalent in what my clients were struggling with. Often, they were in-tune with what friends were talking to me about and replicated narratives in the larger collective. A few weeks ago, I began to think about this and my need to process some of it. I often choose a word for the year that I’m trying to embody. This idea of ‘movement,’ came back to me again and again. I went back and reread the poems in that book. I realized my book is going to be a series of essays throughout the year. There will be somewhat a focus on the idea of ‘movement.’ I feel like we’re at a time in history where there is this ‘doubt of movement,’ so I’m going to go with it, so that is going to be a project I’m working on throughout this year. The last poem in that back, that is the ‘title poem,’ is a poem that I am going to share today. It’s one of the poems, for me, that never is finished. Every time I read it, I change it. I add a few lines. I cut a few lines. It lives in a state of impermanence. Every time I thought about sharing it, it would say, ‘I’m not there yet.’ It’s still saying that. It might show up some other time and read differently. It meanders, and I like that about it. It mimics the way the stream of the mind flows when it is ‘doubting movement.’ It reminds me of a long river that I just keep following and when I think I’ve found where it empties into, I realize it keeps going. I think it might never be finished. I’m sharing it today because I feel like 2021 sort of flows into 2022 in that same fashion. The doubt is still there. The river just sort of found a new curve and we’re following that curve. I hope that what’s behind it is amazing, and I realize there’s going to be some hard areas to move through. Those areas are the areas that we need our confidence the most. Those are the areas that we start measuring in steps forward instead of looking up and becoming overwhelmed by the vast terrain ahead. 2021 gave me the gift to do this, so I have to say ‘thank you.’ It’s time to utilize that gift, as I move through the new terrains of 2022. Godspeed on all your adventures! One thing is for sure, you will acquire new gifts of knowledge. Time assures us of that. So welcome 2022. I give you my most meandering of poems to start as we continue through these serpentine days with surprise and momentum. Momentum is the word I chose for 2022 by the way!
A Doubt of Movement
In the wine deepened warmest hug in the world,
I gave you my first connection to Kerouac
I had a little ache beneath my ribcage.
Solitary streets and pillbox houses,
walking through the late night
before the first house light signaled
dawn. Low levels of leptin
that accompany weight loss in the body.
I am less sensitive to short acting satiety signals
from the gut, making me ever so hungry
for the characters in you that kept me writing.
All those nights I sat silent by the phone,
with my old man eyes thinking, simply,
Now my worn moccasins move
through my Bob Dylan records,
as my body realizes how long it has been.
I ask you to say it again,
with the eagerness of hands that keeps a
record needle, going back to a song
you can’t turn your back to before bed.
It is true…
There is no such thing as an original,
but I would argue a sunroof
could just as easily be called a moonroof
and there is always a doubt of movement
in each step where nothing happens of significance
except the significance of just being.
We walk remembering
our best conversations, all things
the fairy tell will tell. Through the dark,
we walk past the strong, consoling bark
on the maples and elms, casual
through the come agains and the let gos,
the melatonin cottages and the oat bran muffins,
the sex and the exhibit of stomped out cigarettes,
bourbon bottles, the suspect of teenagers
in all of us wanting to break laws.
We walk through slow songs picked
on lovelorn guitars. Sometimes
I admit I didn’t hear you. Sometimes
I confess I felt like a chaperone
walking something beloved home.
Trying to keep it safe from reality.
Perfection is a once and lifetime prom date,
and she is wearing my corsage
tonight. And all the poems written
on sugar packets, folded into empty napkins
put in the pocket of a denim jacket
are reading their brilliant lines
each time I look into your eyes.
Innocent as a wine cooler,
in the easy go down stomach of
a lovesick teenager looking to get laid.
We share the moon like two teenagers
humble in our nakedness
steaming up the wood paneled windows
of our parents station wagon.
The conversation almost strange..
when we realize our identities are not out of town….
they’ve moved away from one another.
I admit to you that I have spent many days
walking the night streets of places
God knew I would never call home.
Alone without shoes,
salaries, and respect to earn.
pretending not to understand
the hunger in local restaurants
in full booths of people
that brought out the sad radio stations
in my head, and became great spots to people watch.
Everyone is not you.
The fucks and the Coronas
The sneak ins to other lives
that led to out of body experiences & lonely nights
spent watching empty couples fight in full restaurants,
and I never got caught.
No one ever suspected
anyone but a teenager of such careless acts-
Until, inside me, the train crashed.
Fluorescent cities gave way to no sleep,
so I began with a simple dream
of you walking with me
in our Dylan Thomas days,
with our red wheelbarrow,
arm in arm.
Unbeknownst to you,
I lived alone in that little Eden
until tonight when this Adam
felt an ache beneath his rib cage
setting the world into spin
bringing Eve in with the dawn.
They will will all think we’re telling lies
As I start to tell them about the simple paradise
cause chaos needs to be to have creation,
and every man needs simplicity
to doubt his complexity
to kiss is to know your delicacy
to be delicate is to know you’re hard,
so I slipped my hand into yours
and we walked two shadows
over the foothills into the dawn
simple houses and American dreams
picket fences that never could be understood
looking pretty and protective
of the sex, sleep, eat, drink, and dream
you and me,
forever and always,
even when stillness is where we stand.
Those steps we took together,
is the reason my foot moves forward
when doubts of movement have me cornered.
The lovely we made
keeps alive the idea of motion
inside of me. So yeah,
Thank you, I said it
for your amazing grace.