Second Apiering

Tide flows, 
tide ebbs, 
changing, hiding, 
revealing the edges
of division.

I watch
the transitions,
half dream-drifting,
half paying
detail-attention.

Always thinking. 

I ponder on 
the ebb and flow, 
how one takes
and the other gives
in its rhythmic dance
to and fro

and how taking
can also be
giving, 
and giving be
taking,
and for each,
the difference 
is in the
seeking and releasing.

We send bottled messages
afloat, hopeful for
its accurate delivery
and offer what we desire
for burial at sea;

we collect treasures
and look for clues
from gods and mermaids
Destiny-strewn.

I notice in the wet sand
in between surf’s blanketing,
a secret passageway, 
a ladder to dreams,

unless, of course, 
it’s an evil illusion,
a detour or trap
set by opposing forces.

I wonder
how much 
is serendipity
and divine intervention
verses taking control
and free will’s actions,

if choosing the evanescent
option not on the maps
is a test of fortitude
or foolish brassiness.

Another option,
nonetheless, is presented:
two piers to walk,
but only one may
have no end. 

Poem and images by Laura Denise

Catapults

Internal disposition
of slipping
into loss
of direction,
contingent upon
situation, 
origin, intention,
catalyst participation,
leisurely initiated or
punitively inflicted,
meditation or conviction.
Usually welcome
as an introverted creative,
this episodic disillusion 
stripping me of all pulls
keeping me rooted
to anything… 

The void.

Loss of hearing
among the noise.

Galaxies inside.

Gravity denied. 

Lifetimes paused,
unable to decide

anything at all.
Desirous of a

f
a
l
l,

anything to move the air
to revivify my trackable pulse,
the beat of my heart
back on the radar
to be found again,
though I am not

lost.
I’m right here. 
The voice,
gone.

Why did I wander
so far 
from home?

The fall,
granted:
my return,

a

c
o
m
e
t

flung from
catapult. 

This will hurt
us all… 

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Lines in the Dirt

I’ve toed a lot of lines in my life. I’ve toed them recently. I will toe them again today.

My spring out of bed has become inconsistent. My sleep, interrupted. I wake to report to that line again, and that is a different kind of waking. To take my shift to relieve my unconscious self to defend my inner sanctuary boundary-border. Again. It’s exhausting. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s not what I was designed for.

I am more than this.

I was beaten when they breached my outer border. But I’ve since recovered. Now I stand resolute at the final white-picket fence, last patch of wildflowers inside. I feel strong again. Weaponless by choice. A pacifist maybe.

The dust of the corporate stampede settles as the hooves come to a halt. And here we are again. At the line. I toe the dirt with my bare feet, my dress hemline soiled. My head is not bowed. I took into eyes. I look to the heavens. I look back into the eyes.

I am passionate. In all things. I used to think it was my blessing and my curse. But then self-love took hold and merged with my faith in loving, divine, individual creation, so now I think, though I’m still on the journey of discovery and understanding and potential, that my passion is only a blessing.

I taste the indignant feelings rising, mixed into the saliva of my mouth. It is not fear that causes me to swallow it back down. There is no fight or flight in me now. There is only strength and unhurried contemplation. I weigh it all. I need to free myself from the weight.

I hear your voice. And I still myself in hopes of His.

It is silent enough inside me that I can hear the whisper of each petal the breeze gives voice to. There is indeed a great injustice here. A war of the world and the self. A war of the ages. And the individual never wins. I feel I was born to take this stand, though I know it will make no difference in the war. It is indeed personal. But it is mostly the morality that is part of my blood, flowing in and out of my heart.

I will bow gracefully. But not for them. For me. For my wildflower patch.

The two-headed serpent will reside among us. Its poison can no longer make me sick. I will see to it that my flowers flourish despite his presence, slithering so deceitfully all around us.

The corporate stampede stand-off I have stirred in my rebellion retreats with patronizing words I pretend I am too ignorant to perceive.

I turn my attention away from them and him, and begin again to love, to mother,

to teach.

The dirt returns to white sand,
the waves resume their soothing music.
I return to showing my flowers
how unique each is
and all they are capable of becoming,
come the May winds….

Words and images ©LauraDenise

Rider

Illusion of control, 
I never really drove, 
not on a road trip
of my own;
I rode
round and round, 
hair in the breeze,
holding on to the mane
of carousel dreams, 
never free. 
Now I am.
But the invisible reins
of pleasing so long
keeps me stalled
in the corral;
my voice on auto-pilot
agreeing with everyone else. 
A passenger yet.
I sit quietly 
still looking out
the windows.
But in the rearview mirrors,
I frame my favorite parts, 
and up ahead in the near distance,
I see the peaks 
of my heart’s desires. 
I think I am ready
to take the wheel
while listening to nature
on God’s behalf appeal
to my soul, that home, 
I’ve carried all along.
I only needed to use my voice
to steer to where
I belong. 
I will need to put it in park
for the final leg,
so I can ride bareback
on my stallion 
away from all of them… 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

For A While

Times are changing,
the earth keeps rotating,
seasons arrive and depart…
Change is always hard on my heart.

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No shadow now joined to my hip.
Gradual independence.
Children grow up and detach.
How can we know which kiss may be the last?

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Years unravelled from finite twine; 
at the end, the kites will fly.
If Father Time were to grant my wish,
which moments would I revisit?

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The sands keep slipping;
no way to flip it.
How should I spend this day?
What memories can I make
to leave my family as legacy
to have, to hold, to keep
as the distance continues to grow
and life leads us down different roads?

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Tomorrow is never promised,
another sunset never guaranteed.
Priorities must be organized
so nothing overshadows the people.

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This moment may be all we have,
so when I reach for your hand,
let me draw you nearer.
Come sit for a while and talk with me, dear. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Blue Canvas

Upon the blue canvas
of my dreams,
I take hold of a brush
and my destiny.

Having painted atop
a darker past, 
I choose the brightest hues
and happiness.

Never actually fated
to the dead-end path I was on, 
self-shackled, I eventually realized
there were no locks,

and the way I was living
really upset my Father,
but I thought the sacrifices
were what He wanted.

Twice in recent times, I
opened empty fortune cookies;
people said that was such
a foreboding prophecy, 

but I took it to be a deeper message
that I alone must choose my direction,
and I felt a sense of being chosen
and a rush of empowering liberation,

and so I dusted off the bristles 
and am painting now my future;
I know God has a plan for me
but also a part he’s lovingly reserved, 

and what I design on this canvas,
I feel He’ll help me achieve,
for He’s waited so long to have me realize
my own needs,
and all along He’s only wanted
the best for me. 

I take hold of the brush
and firmly, finally begin
to shape my desired reality.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

One Blank Page

If I had but one blank page to fill,
what would my message be?

What dance would my fingers perform
across the finite-lettered keys?

How could I paint in black-font
a picture of beauty and hope

that would reach and pierce with light
the souls who need it most?

If I were confined to the cage of a page,
how could I choose the right combination of words

that could break free from the paper or screen
and inspirationally rebirth?

How powerful words can be,
how powerful the choices,

how powerful this lesson when applied
to our spoken and inner

voices,

how powerful the silence
when writer’s block takes hold,

and we fail to say what should be said
when it matters most.

Poem and image ©Laura Denise

Southbound

This photo popped up on my Facebook Memories this morning with some comments about my inspirational journey that made me teary.

It is of my daughter looking like she is deep in thought. I had just uprooted her life with a sudden move from Ohio to Florida when I accepted my first teaching job at the start of the school year. Six years later, she reports still not being happy with me about that. But I think it was all for the best.

It actually felt selfish. I had finished graduate school, but competition for teaching jobs was fierce in my area despite my having served all of the districts as a substitute teacher. It was the end of July. It looked like I would have to sub another year.

I actually don’t even remember how I learned of the vacancy in Florida, in the area my mom lived, the area I was a regular tourist of for many years. It wasn’t through mom because I remember surprising her with the news.

I got hired over the phone. My future supervisor claimed she just had a feeling about me through our conversations. (Or they were desperate.)

I had three weeks before I had to report to work, three weeks to move! Ahhh! I am NOT a frequent mover. I get very attached to homes and hometowns. We had lived in Ohio from the time my son started Kindergarten to his then junior year at The Ohio State University. We came for a (failed) career opportunity for my husband. Previously, I had lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. That’s it.

But Florida was familiar to us all as tourists since my mom moved down there when I was pregnant with my first child. The absolute heart-wrenching part of the decision was leaving my adult son, separating the siblings. But he had already moved out and led a busy life of his own. Most kids grow up and move away, but I was blessed in having mine stay. It was I who left him and moved away, like my mom did when I was his age. It tore me up emotionally. Lots of tears.

But I felt very strongly God’s calling, like I had a few times before in my life. With my marriage at its end (again), I should have been able to make the decision for myself, for my future, for the future of my children, but I simply would not have without feeling God’s hand.

I do still have guilt I moved my daughter and left my son. But I also acquired a stable salary with benefits and was able to pay my bills for the first time in my life. Although my husband followed me down here and we gave it one more shot (again), my twenty-four-year marriage finally came to a peaceful end once and for all four years later.

Above all, I could not ever imagine being more passionate or more fulfilled than I have been every day at this high school, with my staff and student family. Would I have gotten hired eventually up north? Maybe. Would I have loved my school? Maybe. We can never know.

We can never know what the future holds for us, what lies just beyond the next curve in the path. We simply blindly choose the paths, though we must be willing to change direction as needed, sometimes even going off-trail altogether. Sometimes we must collect, empty, exchange the gear in our packs depending on which path or non-path we wish to explore.

We must keep moving forward until we are sure we are home. That direction only becomes clear when we still ourselves enough to hear the calling, feel the gentle tug, of the soul.

I know I ended up where I was meant to be. And now I feel another’s pull leading to me. My story is filling with so many new beginnings.

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Ascension

I used to foolishly attempt

to trek around 

the storms

to avoid them,

but the weather comes

regardless…

 

Eventually, I learned

some you must simply

forge through

and get it over with…

 

But then I remembered

the times upon

aluminum wings

I’ve flown,

and how the storms

appear the ceiling

only to those below.

 

It took a long while,

but I finally grew

wings of my own

and apply that lesson,

simply soar above

many of the dark clouds, 

slip into that

blue-loophole

ascension… 

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Poem and image ©LauraDenise