Swallowing Swords

These are words
I can’t take back.
Into the fray.
Into the storm.
This fabric can’t be mended
Once it is torn.
So I’ll bite my tongue
And choke on my words.
Even though it’s like
Swallowing swords.

I’ll let you be who you want to be.
But you do not define me.
I’ll find my substance someplace else,
And leave you to go screw yourself.

Never mind. It’s really my call.
I don’t really care to swallow the sword
After all.

Doubt

Was I wrong to cut you off
So many months ago,
To leave it with a simple text
That said “I told you so”?
Was I wrong to drive away
Before you’d made your peace?
Although, when you had been found out,
You didn’t even try.
Sitting in this quiet place,
With buzzing in my ears,
Has given me much clarity;
It’s also raised some fears.
What if I stay all alone
With none to share my joy?
But you were not a man full grown,
Only just a boy.
I imagined things as better
Even when we were at war.
If I ever feel my doubt,
I’ll remember who you are.

Hold Out

Hold out for hope when none is there.
I will not give in to despair
Or wet my hair with tears each night
And stay awake til mornings light.

I’ll walk in greener pastures soon
Beneath warm sun at midday noon.
And underneath the stars we’ll play
And share the secrets of our day.

I’ll eat again til I am full,
And rest beside you in that lull
That comes with twilight’s steely light.
You’ll read to me into the night.

I will dream of pleasant times;
And file away some lovely rhymes.
Sing me tunes I long to hear,
And hold me close til morning’s here.

*originally written on Dec. 16, 2011 and recently published in the poetry anthology Ground Zero by Nicholas Gagnier of Retcon Poet

Ground Zero

Freedom in Friendship

love

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet number 116 has long been a favorite of mine. But more recently I came across the above quote by Adam Clarke. At first I found it difficult to hold both of these statements to be true. On first look they seem to be mutually exclusive, such opposing ideas that I feel my brain being tied into a knot. For my purposes I don’t speak of romantic love but of friendship (but I love my friends, so forgive me my broad interpretation). Here is my quandary: when does faithfulness in a friendship cross the line into lack of self-respect, by staying when things are terribly dysfunctional? On deeper inspection, I find these quotes to be quite complimentary.

Shakespeare is indeed right when he says “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” Love is faithful and kind and patient and covers a multitude of sins.

Clarke is also right that “love requires love as its recompense,” for true friendship must be reciprocal in nature. Genuine friendship is not an exchange of goods, services, and presents; a “this for that” mentality does not make for a lasting friendship. The only thing required is the exchange of goodwill, kindness and truth spoken in love. A friendship without mutual respect and the permission to allow each other to grow and change creates shackles rather than freedom.

Maybe I should be reading these quotes the other way around. There can only be loyalty, love, and faithfulness in a friendship (love which does not alter) when friendship has been given freely (love begetting love) first. Love does not flee at the first sign of trouble; adversely, love does not require oneself to be bullied, manipulated and disrespected for the sake of loyalty.

As a Christian these quotes will only get me so far. Scripture is really my only compass to navigate the choppy waters of evaluating my relationships. I have found the following verses particularly helpful:

“friendships” to avoid

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 16:28
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

Proverbs 22:24–25
Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.

friendships to cherish and cultivate

Proverbs 27:9
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Proverbs 18:24
A man [or woman] who has friends must show himself [or herself] friendly. And there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother [or sister].

Ecclesiastes 4:-12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Longer

You told me once you were not ready,
Your heart unsure, your hands unsteady.
But I’ll wait, I’ll wait for you,
Until the sky’s no longer blue.

I will wait here at the shore
For perhaps a little more.
I’ll wait for you, until you’re stronger,
And even then a little longer.

I am impatient for the day,
When you may chose to walk away
And take another path. Down a road I cannot follow.
But I’ll wade here in the shallows

Of a heart that could delve deeper.
But the cost is so much steeper.
So as the light will fade away,
I might start out on my own way

To take a road that you won’t follow.
We might cross paths among the willows.
Will you remember who I was?
The promises I made were rushed.

But now that I  have gotten stronger
I will wait for you no longer.
You told me once you were not ready,
Your heart unsure, your hands unsteady.
I waited.  The sky’s longer blue,
And now I cannot wait for you.

originally written on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 12:13am

Let’s Not Fight

Take my hand and let’s not fight.
Bring me with you into the night.
Carry the lantern and lead the way.
I promise to follow. I will not stray.
Summon your courage and do not fear.
Dance with me to the tunes that we hear:
Celebration and hope to come soon,
And the songs that carry a mournful tune.
If it gets too dark and we’ve lost the way
We’ll relight the lantern while on our way.
We’ll bath in the shallows under dark skies.
As we walk on, the sun shall rise
And lend us the courage we need to keep on
Until we find ourselves back home.

originally written on 8/24/11

Blue Dreams

I dream about you frequently,
Of the things I didn’t say,
How I never came to visit you
Once you went away,
About the life we used to live
Before it all went wrong.
I’ve known you almost my whole life.
I’ve loved you all along.
Now you’re coming home real soon,
In only few short weeks.
The dreams have since been turned to fear,
That you’ll want nothing more from me.
I dream about you constantly,
Of the things I never knew.
I’ve failed you terribly my friend.
These dreams are ringed in blue.

blue

Sing Me a Song

Sing to me, sing to me, sing to me a song.
Strum your guitar and sing me a tune
That mirrors the constancy of the moon.

Inspiration’s running low.
I think I have tapped out the well.
I have no words of hope to speak
And feel there is no joy to seek.

Sing to me, sing to me, sing to me a song.
Play your flute and sing me a song,
That calls back friendships held so long.

I feel weary of my life.
Vicissitudes give birth to strife.
Change is what I’m anxious for
But fear to open up the door
Of new and shining things ahead
When I could just stay in my bed;
Slowly to become recluse,
But I am without excuse.

Sing to me, sing to me, sing to me a song.
Bang your drums to my own heartbeat.
Remind me of truth that burns like heat.

Encourage me to summon strength.  Whisper words for me to hear,
“Carry on and do not fear. Change is already here.”

originally written on 9/11/11