Happy Mother’s Day to Mom and all mom’s out there reading. We spent a good Sunday unplugged and eating homemade pancakes here in Singapore, something that may become a healthy habit.
I made a deliberate choice this past week to take a step back and begin a reevaluation. No. My body and brain made that choice for me. Two weeks ago, perhaps because of a virus or a bug that was “going around” or perhaps because I had exhausted myself, I ended up laid up for the day. Not taking the queue from my body, I slept but pressed on thinking it was more the bug than me. Last week, my brain woke up one morning and simply said “No” to me. It didn’t offer me much more than that, as brains do it implied that I now needed to now figure out what it was saying no to.
Many of you have commented that I must not sleep, and while I do sleep, I don’t sleep enough. Sometimes this is because of a deliberate choice I make to set an alarm, wake up early, and write. More often, I wake before the alarm, thinking. I used to lie in bed and try to go back to sleep or let my head slip into the mire in darker corners. A few months back, I made the choice to take advantage of these moments of insomnia and follow my passion and write. Doing so put me in the middle of a stream of life that I had only taken playful dips into to cool off or occasionally cupped my hands to sip from. What happened? As Joseph Campbell might say, I found my bliss. However, in finding my bliss, I physically wore myself out, and no amount of bliss can overcome exhaustion. So I needed to put a few weights on the rest and fitness side of life’s balance, both of which take time, so precious.
My voice, personal as it may sound, is also my politics. I remain in a professional position where I am not at liberty to openly and publicly voice my opinions. I do not see this as being silenced, but as a valuable and essential aspect of my service. My oath is to the idea of America, not to a specific person or party. I serve because I believe in the American people and the idea of America with a passion more important to me than my personal politics. However, since I began my professional journey, I have seen an ugliness grow more powerful in the American public arena on all sides. Hate, greed, conflict, anger, cruelty, violence, meanness sells and people are buying it in unprecedented ways creating a cycle of ugliness that I believe must be broken else we will break the very idea of America.
I am choosing to fight ugly with my words, hoping that some of them are beautiful enough to begin a counter-narrative. I have no presumptions that my voice will be The Voice, but rather a voice that will hopefully become part of a chorus that says to the ugliness, “No. We, the People, are better than this hate, this greed, this violence, this anger.”
Soon, I will get to 1987 in the story of my writing that will explain how the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr informed my early development as a young man. In spite of my chosen profession, these teachings still inform me as a middle-aged man. They are why being inclusive matters, why I look for community; they are what forms the core of this soul who haunts the desks of this little cafe. However, I want to say a little something about this cafe. I don’t want it to be my cafe, I want it to be ours. This is an existential place where we can meet and share those things we need to share with others willing to respect us and listen, to offer support and a cup of coffee. All I want is a table in the corner, not my name on the sign out front. I will get to 1987 and a few subsequent years and maybe this will make more sense.
So this past week, I wrote a few poems, seems I am taking this sonnet idea out for a test drive along with four line poems inspired by the Chinese Poems of the Masters. I also began a series of poems in response to The Unforgettable Fire, the album that I was listening to at the beginning of my writing journey and formed part of that foundation along with MLK. This poem also begins to tap into my compassionate voice, my empathy with nods to the life of Paul Celan and the teachings of Viktor Frankl.
In the cafe, just a few shout-outs since my retreat kept me from visiting many of the others sipping their coffee (I know all of you were writing brilliant stuff and look forward to catching up with you soon).
First and foremost, please go check out the remarkable love poems of Gina at Singledust and download her first book here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/723076 and
A shout out to Chuck and his thorough backcatablog of Alisa:
and a hysterical take on one of my poems:
I want to throw my full support behind Vanessa who will be taking a break from blogging. A table is saved for you, my dear, funny friend. I promise to deliver the premium roast and maybe some chicken noodle soup.
Em wrote this post a couple weeks back, but man, this moved/moves me. Those who have been following along know that my dad passed away last year, so my heart is still a little sensitive to “dad” things. Em’s a lucky woman, so let this bring a tear to your eye, friends.
And for those of you with a hankering for some dark humor rich with irony directed at our beauty and violence obsessed culture, I give you the work of my fellow caffeine and open field addict, Tanya Cliff:
Seduction Through Slaughter
I am going to jump into the backseat of Davy D’s car and check out some other cafes around the neighborhood:
Hang Out Thursdays
Midwest Fantasy writes a poem that speaks to all of us writers exposing ourselves here and elsewhere:
Finally, take a trip over to my friend Fiona’s blog, I am very excited that with a little encouragement she has started posting her poetry:
Otherwise, there are a couple of things lingering out there, the next sense in the Senses series; a response to the work of Alisa; a personal essay about Why Melaka. What else might be upcoming? I don’t know. TV on the Radio is playing in my ear buds, so maybe something will prompt me. Mostly, though, I am going to continue to spend some time figuring out what this Discovery is all about and what I want to do with it. More on that next week.
Keep sipping the cool waters of your bliss, keep reading, and keep writing the passion in your heart.
I c u.