Uncover the Sun

Past Any Season

 

Autumn is everything-colored

except black and white,

magenta, dark purple,

orange and red and gold,

every shade ever seen in gardens

 

If we were leaves

would we love each other

far past youthful green

into the fallen months

of rusty brown?

 

Would we remember each other

long after we lay

on mossy ground,

slowly darkening

into earth again?

 

Every autumn I picture you

playing in the fallen leaf piles,

throwing them sky high

and laughing

past any season

 

Uncover the Sun

Not Broken

I’ve heard therapists say it about their clients, friends say it about their friends, casual acquaintances mention it regarding someone who’s going through a hard time. And every time I hear, “He’s broken, she’s broken, they’re broken,” I wince. Why? Because broken is a label that dehumanizes, that treats people as if they are machines. Every time I hear this phrase, I picture a person broken down by the side of the road with others walking by glad that it’s not them. And yes, there is a patronizing quality in, “She’s broken,” as if the person saying it is better, more whole, not as prone to the dings and pains of being human.

Being “broken,” implies that we need fixing, usually by something or someone else. And we all do need help sometimes. But if you go out there and break a leg, usually the doctor puts it in a cast, recommends rest and elevation, and tells you it will heal in about six weeks. Your leg may be broken, but no one suggests that you are. We humans have this amazing innate ability to heal, given the right support, education, and encouragement.

Being broken also implies that something doesn’t work, that you don’t work, and in a capitalist society, not working is the ultimate sin. We categorize people by whether they have a “good job,” or not, usually one that pays well, rather than one that brings joy and a sense of service and purpose. People who are not working for money at all, like stay-at-home parents, are considered less powerful in this society. If your life is “not working,” if you are unable to conform, you are considered less valuable as a human being.

Labeling someone, “broken,” puts them in a category of “the other,” and it’s a lot easier to ignore, dismiss, and incarcerate “broken others.” So, no, you’re not broken. You may be going through utter hell, you may have scars from physical injury, emotional trauma, or be grieving the fate of mankind, but you’re not broken, you’re human.

Uncover the Sun

Your Metal

 

Test your metal,

let it sing to you

under the tap tap hammer

of everyday life

 

The instrument of air

will play tunes

upon that windchime

of yours

 

Enough fire will form

any tool you’ll ever need

to dig or till,

sew or bejewel

 

Your metal will serve you well

as weapons sing

through the air

in fierce metallic cries

 

Your metal-

perfectly balanced

between life and death,

love and loss

 

Someday,

every bit of your metal

will fall down

into earth’s veins again

 

Death, that metallurgist,

will render you

forge ready

once more

 

And

who knows what

you will then

become?

 

Uncover the Sun

Five Minutes

 

In five minutes

you can change your mind

or your life,

write a poem,

end a relationship,

answer the phone,

drink a cup of coffee,

win a prize,

count three hundred seconds,

forgive yourself or another,

laugh uproariously,

listen carefully,

quit a job.

 

In five minutes

you can change your mind

or your life,

stand up to injustice

start a relationship,

give a speech,

read a book,

donate to a cause,

start a new job,

appreciate yourself or another,

weep many tears,

help a stranger.

 

In five minutes

you can change your life

or not.

Uncover the Sun

Feast of Stars

 

Through the rocky crags

we can see a whole feast of stars

laid out against the sky

in an infinite banquet

of sound

 

That kind of music

only comes in the night

when the last crescendo of day

fades into dark

with a savoring pause

 

The moon rises,

singing her light arias,

while the stars dance

sweetly with the sky

and the earth smiles in wonder

 

It is then that our minds remember

ourselves, each other,

and the bountiful concert

that no human instrument

ever played so well

 

Uncover the Sun

 

Neck

 

This long column holds

up a head full of brains,

ideas, imagination,

the power of remembrance,

a scull clothed in flesh, nerves, and skin,

and openings orbiting

random thoughts

 

This tube of sound and swallow

constricts around sorrow,

gulps past the bit of apple

Adam once ate

but blamed on Eve,

and sings life

one note at a time

 

This gusty windpipe

develops from conception

right from the heart

to nod, bend, and swivel,

to express self,

sense, nonsense,

and sometimes silence

 

This long slender holder

of every flowering mind

often grows tired

of lifting up

the whole human

world, one small brain

at a time

 

Uncover the Sun

Travel

 

If you travel past the fallen sunset

into the blue heaven

of not knowing what

lies ahead,

you may find music there

and a moving still life

painted by fate in broad strokes

with marvelous detail

that changes

the closer you arrive

 

If you travel beyond the trees

rooted in every weather

and follow

the curved trunk up

into the branching future,

you may find home there,

where liberty

nests

at the top of the highest reach

of any living creature

 

If you travel beyond the death

of dreams, and loves

and wishes,

you may find a gift there

waiting for you

not to be opened

only held

and known

and accepted,

wrappings and all

 

Uncover the Sun

Transitions

 

When I was young, I had a hard time switching from a creative dreamy state to a linear, homework mode, and vice versa. I needed quite a bit of transition time between different kinds of tasks. Reading books helped calm down my brain and make the shift back and forth easier. Certain times of the day, like morning, were easier for me to focus my mind on left brain activities like math, and I loved having unscheduled hours from late afternoon into nighttime in which to ponder and create.

 

After learning to write analytical essays in 9th grade, it became more difficult for me to write creatively. My head actually hurt trying to make myself conform to school work. I got the same kinds of headaches in college while moving between right to left brain activities and back. Years later,  a woman hooked me up to a biofeedback machine. Apparently, I spend a great deal of time in dreamy states of mind similar to small children between the ages of three and five, which explained a lot.

 

As an adult, I still need transition time between right and left-brain activities. While doing bookkeeping for example, I put music on  and start in the morning. For right-brained activities like art, I start later in the evening after the mundane tasks are finished. It remains difficult for me to shift from doing art to linear activities, for example, but after left brain activities, right brain ones seem like I escaped from jail and made a break for freedom. It is important for creative folks to figure out how to transition back and forth between such different kinds of tasks effectively.

 

Since I’m self-employed, I am able to establish my own hours and have a lot of freedom to organize my day in the way in which my brain works best. When I tried the traditional, 40 hour per week job, of which I lasted exactly three years out of my entire life, I experienced increased ill health, not to mention frustration creatively.

 

Many of our societal structures work well for people who can make their brains operate a certain way. But for those who cannot, it is awful. They may be the artists, writers, musicians, and creative folks that don’t conform, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. Some may call it a lifestyle choice, but for many creative types, it’s the only way their brains function properly. Unfortunately, this isn’t a friendly society for nonconformist brains. Or as a woman from another country told me, “Your society is soul crushing for artists.”Continue reading

Uncover the Sun

No-fig Days

 

Some days

are no-fig days,

no fat fruit

plumply waiting

to be picked

 

No sweetness

hanging

lushly among the leaves,

the pulp juicy

around the seeds

 

No surprises

beckoning in the garden

to delight the eyes

and pique

the palate

 

Some days

are no-fig days,

undistinguished

from other ordinary days

except by anticipation

 

Of fig days,

full of flavor and devourings

and the glory of nature

bearing and sharing

most fruitfully

Uncover the Sun

Rituals

 

For the dead,

we swallow past

the lump in our throats

 

We stand up to speak

in the face of those

whose misery matches ours

 

We struggle for words

to share our hearts

and our loss

 

Birth and death dates

are inscribed in newspaper articles

or etched on stone

 

to become part of a story

of a life that no one

wholly knows

 

Most of us only meet

in the middle, missing

the birth or maybe the final moment

 

And every day

and some day

each person here

 

will have to grieve

the dead or be grieved

by the living

 

Year after decade

we mourn

and remember

 

Our rituals for the dead

become love

honoring love