Forever Nested

Empty nest
discourages sadness,
too beautifully woven
with flowered wild grasses, 

nostalgic strands of the past
leave the heart
to imagination,
a reminder that love remains
behind in every season,

as well as the next:
from eggs come wings
to independence
to touch for oneself 
the clouds’ edges.

Home, they say, 
is where the heart is, 
and a part of my heart
flies with you and will 
beyond this world’s
and life’s limitations… 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Seasons

Seasons about,
seasons within,
seasons of life,
seasons begin.

All seasons end.

This brings about what pleases
and that which disappoints,
that which shatters
and that which fills with joy,

but who are we to judge
what’s in our best interest
from our non-omniscient,
limited perspective?

Who is the narrator?
Who is the character?
Who is the author?
Who will read it

in the end?

Dusty cover,
spring breeze,
dust to dust,
seasons never cease.

I resist the gales of change
even though I’ve grown wings;
sometimes our comfy cocoons
are stirred on purpose
by the leaf.

Premature nostalgia
begins to take hold;
I try to focus on the excitement
of what He has in store.

Seasons never cease.
“Nothing gold can stay,”
but it returns so loyally,
and in its absence regrows

faith.

I will harvest the gold
in the center
as the petals unfurl,
life within life…
keeping or returning to
the purity and light,

I believe,

is the eternal goal.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Event Horizon

Part three of an unnamed work in progress. Here are parts one and two: My Star and A Coat of Sunshine

Time to talk about the song.

When my son last visited, he played this song a lot on our Bluetooth speaker while he and his girlfriend and my daughter stayed up all hours playing board games (while I tried to sleep in the master suite of the ranch on the other side of the door). It’s a song he really feels, like the movie. At the first notes, when it comes on the radio now when he is not present, I immediately change it. To “control” my sadness. I try to avoid thinking about him and his sadness and his addiction, him as Bradley Cooper in the movie. It just hurts too much.

It was the mention of the movie and allusion to the song in passing on social media that stemmed this writing spree in me though. I connected with a fellow English teacher-poet on Instagram where I usually just post and go without actually socializing. I am one to put a song on repeat for hours, for days, to feel, to lose myself in the zone, to somewhere it seems I am being led, but only hitting repeat on max volume on my earbuds and a lot of patience simply lingering at the portal is necessary. To let myself feel without thinking for once. For a long while…

I listened to the soundtrack while sweating through yard work. Then I watched the video… and cried. What a sad movie. One of his favorites, of course. I could never remove the movie from myself now. I didn’t know that that Instagram post I “ran across” by someone I did not yet “follow” would lead me here, to pouring out prose, whether or not I post it or lock it up. I knew it was going to mean something though. I believe strongly in paths crossing for reasons.

I need this. To let my fingers fly free across the keyboard in prose again. To feel the release that comes from that and also through music.

I connect the most in songs to the non-words, the soul eruptions that exceed alpha-translation. That is what pain and love is, after all. And the fall. For me, it is the rise of the wailing “uhs” and “ohs,” and in voices like Lady Gaga’s and Calum Scott’s (“Dancing On My Own”).

In “Shallow,” that point is the moment of free fall. And free fall… could end or not end in a limited number of ways, albeit in limitless places, could be initiated or not initiated for so many reasons, could be the beginning or the end. For me, regarding all of this, it is that push to the edge at the end of my marriage, when I could no longer breathe, and my panic-attacked heart raced as if it were going to give out once and for all. The 2:42 point of no return is when I leapt, screaming on the way down that I have had all I could take, not being able to see the bottom, leaping entirely with the final no-turning-back point of faith, faith I would crash through the mirage of the surface into the “anything more than this.”

I am happy to report, it was the best jump I ever made. The one that saved me. I didn’t want to have wings. I just wanted to crash through it to the other side. Full speed. Once and for all. 

I am also keenly aware that others feel that same desperateness and take the leap to leave this life altogether. The song’s narrator makes it clear she will never meet the ground though. I feel a need and calling to string nets for every jumper off course. So they are forced back up and can only pass through the same portal as me and her, only with faith and courage. In the more that is here in this life.

May angels escort each at the edge. To safety. To life. 

Always Surmountable

©LauraDenise

We are never trapped,
just fated to faulty perspective,
succumb to specious perception;
it’s all relevant, related –

one more rock-move away
from the light 
on the other side
of the avalanche,

one more “wrong” turn
lost in the forest
before hearing
the anabranch…

much is necessarily experienced:

near suffocation sometimes the only way
to motivate a life-saving change,

the legs of the journey
in the humanless woods
lead to the reflection
and feeling of wounds,

and all paths probably have purpose
among the universe’s higher powers.

Without the lonely, looping trails,
we could not emerge anew
with our truest selves

and others we met along the way
not-so-coincidentally placed.

We are never trapped. 
We are never lost. 
At least not for very long. 

No change was ever ignited 
without the spark.
So many opportunities
missed, passed up, though
after being gifted matchsticks
but still refusing to start
the fire. 

Holding Photographs

nostalgia bittersweet
joy so genuine, effortless
radiating, echoing
from fading photographs

touched, held between
ringless fingers and the fumes
of a heart on empty
from the moment
so distantly removed

time does not warp
those precious instances
forever suspended
feelings will flutter on
thousands of centuries

bittersweet for the bliss
is eternally retrievable
but if the present is less
then the tears
breach suppressible

falling is the gravity
of sadness, all rain
nature running its course
to cleanse the panes

we simply must
adjust the frames
order the montages
strategically arrange

so when we step back
to take in the collective
the rainbow across
our present
gets light-refracted

Sea Dance

Barefoot atop the deep waters,
white dress and wild tresses flowing,
sunken-ship cemetery of the past beneath,
I twirl in this present moment. 

The sea is mine
as my dance floor,
and I skim across 
to my pick of shores;
I explore, I vacation, 
not searching, just jubilation
of losing
worries and fears,
exaltation of the lightness
of the lifting of those stormy years,
each moment an eternity
to get to the next,
each stepping stone
sinking with each vine grasped,
no beanstalk discovered
to bring me to the clouds,
only faith each day
for decades
of a better tomorrow.

That tomorrow is today,

hence the head-raised dance
in the sun and in the rain,
embracing with wide-opened arms
the achievement of having started
upon this horizon
I only viewed from the beach.

The stepping stones still sink.
I just realized the only missing factor
was to fully 

believe.

They were never needed. 
Self-love was the only key.

I was always worth it. 
Eventually, I fought
for me
and this
dream.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

The Tiller

Trust in the shadows;
they are benevolent too,
dimming the wrong ways
so the beacon may shine through.

Listen for the truth;
it whispers faithfully through the gale.
Turn your back to the blustery lies;
the bitterest of winds best fill the sails.

You don’t need a map
for an evacuation route;
just follow the signs
He’s already laid out.

He knows all,
including what’s up ahead.
Listen for The Light;
drown out the ghost voices
haunting your head.

You took the steps.
You left that land.
These turbulent waters
will lead to the end

of that decades-long storm
that shredded every kite you raised
that lightning struck
on its way down
to reiterate
that you will never
be freed from this fate.

But fate was a falsity
and now you will know
that destiny
is all within
your control,

and He wants you to have
all your heart desires.
He will lead you there
through these uncharted waters,

but He wants your hands
on the tiller
to feel
the power you have
that He instills.

He calls upon the winds
and every fin in the sea
to escort you on your voyage to
your chosen dreams.

Poems and photos ©LauraDenise

January Fire

Winter in the South means a mix of seasons but the absence of snow. My soul needs the snow though. Still, I find much beauty in the messages and stories that appear in my lens. There is always a story in my lens.

I have been admiring the stubbornness of Autumn. Colors still ablaze that arrived in standardized winter months hold fast, refuse to let go. Soon it will be spring here. How long can Autumn hold on? Will she co-exist with Spring next? As much as I admire her, part of me wants to console her, let her know that it will be okay to relax her grip, to let change occur. I have known such resistance, such unsettling feelings, such pre-nostalgia, such fear.

I am not a fan of change, which surprises even me given my fiery resistance to conformity. Part of me admires the fiery leaf refusing to be classified into a season, to be confined to certain months. Part of me sees a sadness though too, especially paired with the fiery setting sun, similarly seeming to stall in its descent, wanting to stay just a bit longer.

Autumn clings
defiant
or weeping;
its leaves
like the setting sun
seem to desperately
hold on.