Growth rings

New casts an old shadow,
a curtain that I pin to it.
Wisdom compels and cajoles me
to trace lines around the shade
early and soon,
and again in each season.
It marks a contour, not a boundary,
serving as neither containment
nor confinement, but the edge
of a history,
a warning not be enveloped,
and a call to shining a light,
setting the mantle aglow,
stepping forward to find
in illumination a new wisdom
hiding in the dark.

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Smart phone

To bed early,
sleep is now a commodity
to be traded against
work, laundry, fun, and
the rest.

Midnight, alarm goes off.
Apparently my mom’s birthday.
But, wait, my sleepy thoughts
untagle that it isn’t for awhile,
days away.

Now I’m awake, and thinking.
Why would my calendar think
it is today?
No, a year ago I set this alarm
to remind me to get a gift.

I open the app, and start browsing,
and slowly dozing,  back and forth,
eyes open and close, then seal,
until the real alarm buzzes at 4:45
“What now?! Oh, yeah, …life.”

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Women’s March, Privilege, Cheap Shots, and Getting Muddy

I began writing this piece almost a month ago, and have decided to publish it now, albeit unedited.

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This past weekend was abundant with energy, excitement, rage, disappointment, and thoughtful growth.  Over the past few weeks, I have reflected a lot on what I want and need for my own life and how I can breathe life into that plan.  Over that, place the political and social atmosphere here in the United States, and what emerges is a tapestry on which chapters in a much larger story are being stitched and written.

On Saturday, I participated in the Women’s March on Washington.  More correctly, I attended the pre-march rally, chanted and shouted slogans, talked with people in a generally non-political way, and simply added to the overall numbers.  I did not know what to expect, but I was not surprised at what I discovered: energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration.

The March and the rally were, in actuality, not just about women’s rights, women’s issues, and a forum for women to demonstrate their power and their voices. They were also a space where many of us average citizens could stand up for any of our issues, be it gay marriage or the influence of money on our system.  In some ambiguous way, I feel that something was stolen from the focus on Women, although I neither regret nor feel that the presence of protesters and supporters representing other causes and demographics (LBGT Rights, People with Disabilities Activism, Education Advocacy, Anti-War, Anti-corruption, Immigration Activism) detracted from the overall event. It became, organically, something more, while staying true, if not a diluted or expanded version of the original purpose.  Issues are interconnected and intersectional. Being, as it was, directly on the heels of the inauguration of President Trump, the populist nature of a concerned citizenry rising up to be seen and heard seemed to bolster and amplify all voices.

At least, this is how it appeared through my eyes.

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Improvement Planning

Improvement Plan (see my previous post on Essential Planning)

Step 1:  Analysis

structeval

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Home

I once held this fantasy, but it has since grown up. Now I find myself wearing armor to bed and long past holding any weighty regret for this not materializing.

Still, as a story, it is sweet, though treacle and naive. Still, the possibility holds some reservation in part of my brain as a comfortable retreat.

It goes something like this:

He wakes and looks at her, still sleeping. He wants to climb over the bundled blanket that separates them and feel her skin on his. He settles for a kiss on the top of her head. Up, he knows the day will be difficult in ways he’s not yet prepared for. Many are, but not more than his mettle. He also knows that there is opportunity for adventure and reaching higher. He will leave the warmth of the bed and enter the fire of the world, winning and losing in unequal measure. He will live it. She will be his witness for bits of it, his partner for others, his comfort for even others.

Some of what he will bring home will be set on their table, and will allow her to set aside some of the challenges she faces alone, free to give chase to those parts of her world where she feels the need to hunt; his addition to the pot. Some will fuel her. Some will inspire her.

Some of what he brings home will be only for sharing.

The rest he saves for himself; he still labors for his own dreams, after all. In this significant way, he contributes to the building of her as she builds herself, he himself, and they themselves. Continue reading

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Spiders

The day spiders came crawling
out of my veins,
a processional
forming ranks that spelled
words and phrases
in a pulsing mass of instinct
and venom and senses beyond
sight.
That day I decided to be born
into the world, not whole,
but everywhere alive.

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Hardly Stormcrows

Hardly stormcrows,
whose acumen does not
include subtlety.
More like the odd color choice
or misplaced stroke of the brush
that snags on spurs in the back of
the spine and slowly drills
coreward.
Clues and miscues stimulate
the gut before the mind.
Either I am skilled at
noticing truth and the surf is
slowly gathering wind behind
it, or perhaps, I create my own karma,
but I remember the rarity of
being wrong reading the tiniest
pricks of thorn and nettle,
the ones I refrain from
calling out large, today,
because I know, just as I have before,
today isn’t trying to hide,
and tomorrow doesn’t care.

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Essential Planning Revisited

Plans and schedules define the end
as much as they are defined by it,
iterative processes, with space for
flexible maneuvering, as long as the
detours are heading the same way.
Still, the path has its own voice
and sensuous beauty, a justification
for reflection, or a siren for
stopping, sleeping.
Now, the time is for mileage
and progress, time to wake up.

New year, updated plans. I have begun to take this New Year as an appropriate milestone to revise and update my plans and goals. I wrote a long piece regarding essential planning about 5 months ago. Much has changed since then, and it is time to record the successes and evaluate the missed opportunities, revising the course.

This post is a summary of my process, not specificity, although I will briefly mention that some specific goals have been met (educational funding, social engagement, physical fitness), partially met (career training, family engagement), or heretofore, missed (creative endeavors, career advancement).

What follows is the process of evaluation for the long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals I had identified earlier.

      • Identify structures in my life that serve as foundations and home bases for perusing my goals. Examples include: social groups to which I belong, clubs, local groups, close friends, intimacies, family, and work organizations, including my current employer.
      • Categorize each element into one or more of the following:
        1. Essential to reaching goals
        2. In alignment with goals
        3. Neutral with respect to goals
        4. Not in alignment with goals (distractions)
        5. Preventing or impeding goals
      • Evaluate forward orientation of the various structures, namely:
        1. S: Strengthen the structure through investment of time, energy, and focus.
        2. L: Leave the structure in place with the same investment of time, energy, and focus.
        3. D: Diminish the structure
        4. X: Drop the structure
      • Develop or revisit previously developed actions. Examples include: update resume, increase workout frequency, and meditate daily.

Through this process, I have already discovered great value that had been unrecognized, as well as serious misalignment in other areas. And, that is exactly why it is necessary.

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Reclaimed Angel

Angel’s footing, muse’s fire,
unattainable and out of reach;
identity, attire, existentially
ugly, malformed, stitched in discordant
black and muddy grey against a scene
set in pink, gold, red and green.
Forget this folly, so simple for one baptized,
scripted: base, miscast, crude.
Remain backstage, wait, lean upon
prop arrows and dance to cued thunderclaps;
watch the spectacle spin,
know when lines of relief
will be vacant, capped pen, silent.
Captive, the role isn’t the ballast of deus skies,
less than that, countersunk, bit,
and in sandbag’s fall, rise,
use wings owned, known, proven, if but wax,
lose nothing but a title and a tether;
to open weather, exit or exile, same thing;
dance with sparks and fire again, engine,
renamed, reclaimed angel.

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Next Round

Today, I had to go a little easier with my right paw. On Sunday, it had landed less than squarely on the bag, leaving me with a partial weekend of aching and shaking out the stiffness. A little softer on the punches this evening meant a little faster on the movement. There is no taking it easy on the workouts.

I am not entirely surprised at the improvements I have earned in both my physical and mental health due to the increased attention I’ve placed on both those items. My physique is not marble worthy, but I am certainly strong. I’ve noticed a new heft to my calves, chest, arms, as well as an increased endurance in the more cerebral and emotional parts of my daily fight.
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