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. 

Reflection Deception

What is it about nature’s reflections
that draw us in and entrance us; 
just the optical illusion,
or is there more to it
beneath the surface?

I stand divided between
what is and is not:
truths entombed in deceptions
guarded by ghostly asps
with venomous tongues.

One side, firm footing,
the other, a gator-bait splash;
demons and sirens playing
shamelessly dirtier
the more questions I ask. 

Round and round, I turn it, 
but things buried,
whether in water or sand,
seem to keep moving 
the markers and the X,

the mines I’ve mapped, the chests
not to be raised, unearthed.
Where to step next
I become again unsure. 

I just kept walking
that endless plank;
cautiously, even fearfully, forward
was still movement until 
courage could team up with faith. 

Then, your truth-whispers came,
along with your hand
and patience and dedication,
and allowed me to finally walk safely,
either and any way,
even on that water,
with confidence,
with our combined

strength.

Now, for you, dear friend,
please allow me to do the same.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Story Roots

Don’t think my sunny outlook 
comes from a lifetime of easy;
I’ve walked through the dark wood
and from depression’s cliff,
still find myself sometimes clinging.

I’ve cried my share of flash floods,
drowned several lives in the deep, 
survived decades of verbal abuse,
spent my time vowed and banded to Lonely.

I’ve been there and back,
having spent most of my life there,
but through it all, I kept the marker on
where my dreams were buried,

inside a humble chest
beneath the patch of wildflowers;
I watched the live hues grow
as the turpentine slowly stripped 
my own colors.

But the spirit, like pain, is buried deep,
like music in the heart, cannot be reaped
by any other, and perhaps the tears
upon those wounds are the rain needed
to combine with the light of the soul
in that long, desolate season,

and we finally figure out
how to use that manure
to fertilize our strength and desire,
and the sprouts from within
finally catch fire
and rise up to inspire,
and the wildflowers burst
from that buried chest,
breaking the lock 
from the inside, having had
enough of that old
non-life.

So when I see all that I now see in each bloom, 
know I, too, like you,
am the seed, the petals, the stem, the story, 
the roots.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Gripping Sand

Sometimes we must firmly
grip the sand
instead of merely wishing
to be carried to shore.

Sometimes it is best
to escape through the window
rather than open
either door.

Sometimes when the photo album
has so many empty pages,
it’s time coloring the sickness yellow
since it can’t fade non-faces.

Sometimes in the dark wood
instead of striking tear-soaked matches,
we must look up for the beacon
of light through the branches.

Sometimes from the cliff of depression
instead of digging our nails in,
we must be willing to release our grip
and reach for the offered hand.

Sometimes for a while longer,
it’s good to remain on our knees,
but He cannot help us rise
if we let lie His gifted bravery.

Sometimes when we grip the sand
and claw our way to beach,
we complain it’s the wrong island
and forget we were just
drowning in the deep.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

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

Dandelions This Time

I am sooooooo excited and honored to have my dear blogging friend, dragonfly-whisperer/photographer, and fellow believer, Mike Powell, recite my latest poem! This is a very special poem to me and to have a special-to-me person recite it makes me a bit teary… Thank you, Mike! Please do pay Mike a visit to enjoy his nature stories and photos at Mike Powell: My Journey Through Photography here on WordPress. 

Sprouted from past tears
that saturated the buried
teeth of lions,
lies that rotted,

but underground,
those roots reached
blindly for a dream
in the suffocating darkness,
light faith-felt
not yet seen;

we forged through
lifetimes of winter
determined we too
deserved to find
in our hearts that
spring,

strained to hear
the birds sing,
to inch upward
when strength allowed,

recovering each time
any lost ground
from sinking,
from pressures
above

that could only
hold us down
for so long,

could only
depress us
so many inches
as we gripped
the dirt
and resisted.

I think it was
the feeling
that you were 
near,

reaching yourself
for something unclear,

but both of us
persisted
in breaking
earth

to breathe 
the air
of any season,

to feel
on our faces
the warmth;

finally
our time came,
double golden-crowned
and kissed goodbye
by Fate,

released
to freedom
on the same day,

never knowing
if our parallels
brought us
side by side,

but the sight
of you
upon my eyes
was no chance
but the gift
of a Gardener
divine.

Survivors
continuing 
a shared story,

memories 
of the season
before
eternal winter
return as familiar 

as the stars.

We will live
until we together
embrace
the next season,
and when our stems break
and we are but seeds 
again 
in the breeze,
my darling, 
this time,
we will not 
be separated
by anyone or
anything. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Cleaning Windows

Revisiting cracked window scenes
from my past,
on my terms,
in a controlled mental environment,

I strip him of the victim persona,
no, not persona…
I believed him victim
deep within
since as a boy, Addiction took hold.

I wipe the film
from the glass,
but it only smears more;
I clean it properly
and reveal myself
looking out,
eyeing the door.

Only my hidden tear
from that year escapes.
I cannot comfort 
younger me,
assure her
one day… 

I look behind her
at him, 
bellowing profanities
in strings
that never end

while others received
from their men pearls,
he only gifted her
inadvertently 
strength after stripping
her worth. 

Her back is turned,
but I look him in the eye
and try
to hold him accountable
for these actions
despite Addiction inside;

the exorcism
in his gray
will still need to be
performed,
but it’s not my job
to try to arrange it
anymore, 

and only now
do I realize,
it never was, 
but enablers are always
the last to learn
the lessons. 

While I look at him
in the eyes
through that window of time, 
still sickly sympathetically, 
Addiction rises out of him
and looks directly at me. 

It smiles evilly and winks. 

I look into my own eyes
on the other side 
of the pain/pane 
and futilely wipe the tear.
“Oh, my dear. I’m afraid

you foolishly will choose
for decades to stay,
but you will endure it all,
and it will make you 
who we are today, 
way beyond okay, 

with a heart intact, 
repaired and whole,
filled with love of self
and the one God sends
to properly have and to hold.” 

Fins and Fairytruths

I gave others
just about all
of me selflessly,
and it drained
and
d
r
a
i
n
e
d
me
until I was left
baking in the sun
at the bottom of
a dry well,
fossilizing.

You found me. 
Gently lifted
my head
and breathed
a fountain of life
into me,

and the well filled
as our hearts did,
and instead of treading water, 
we taught each other
how to swim

in the direction we needed to,
dreamed of once,
instead of being at the mercy
of others’ currents,

and we rose together,
buoyant and free,
grew fins and made
a home of the sea.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Sea Feathers and Leaves

Many specific, powerful moments have I captured at the beach, with and without a lens, that live in me so vividly, there to be called upon on a whim whenever I need them. Two of these are my images “Pigeon on the Pier” and “Sunflowers in the Sand,” their lessons, how they resonated with me, similar.

I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and started my own family there. In city parks, pigeons are popular, as well as those sitting on benches feeding them. City pigeons are what I had always known. They were standard and expected in my world. They had their place. They were common, not viewed as anything spectacular or especially beautiful by others.

Many years later, on a visit to the Gulf shores of Florida, I came upon the same type of pigeon on an ocean pier.

IMG_4971
Pigeon on the Pier

It stunned me with unexpectedness. A pigeon at the beach? I never heard of or imagined such a thing. There was only one, hanging out with the traditional seabirds, sitting on the pier railing. Its colors, illuminated by the unobstructed sun, against the backdrop of the sea’s blues and greens and white-capped waves and the aquahorizon blending into the endless blue sky, were truly spectacular, the most beautiful and striking bird on the pier.

So deliberately and boldly out of place, shattering preconceived notions, limitations, stereotypes. This pigeon was free, beyond cage, beyond park, beyond fear. It was deeply inspirational, motivational. A “city” pigeon with feathers caressed by the salty sea breeze. Of course, in my mind, I spun a whole story about it, how it defied and transcended expectations, went its own way, flew the coop, against the flock, followed dreams deemed foolish and unattainable, highly discouraged by other feathered friends and family. This pigeon heard of another place over the rainbow or simply believed in one with no such evidence, a place where it knew it had to reach, a place where it knew it belonged.

I wondered if it now called this place home, or if it had more unknowns to explore. Years later, that pigeon on the pier would very personally resonate with me even more…

Another sight that mesmerized me was a patch of sunflowers growing out of the sand along a short boardwalk that led to the sea.

IMG_E3685
Sunflowers in the Sand

Another out-of-place image that struck me, shook my preconceived notions of what is expected to be and not to be. Flowers can grow without soil? Have I lived such a sheltered and naïve life that I didn’t know that was possible? Sure, the sea oats grew tall and majestic from the sand, but such a well-known flower so far away from gardens and fields? Its deep green leaves and signature golden-burst blossoms were such a stark contrast, like the pigeon’s colors, against the muted hues of the seashore. It too seemed to be making a bold statement, had a story.

The sunflowers in the sand reminded me of young childhood thinking in the time of innocence and uninhibited creative thinking before all of the influences that seem to dissolve such wonderful early notions of coloring suns green and the grass purple, of coloring outside of the lines, all before we were told… Told what? What were the words spoken, yelled, whispered that changed and molded a notion, a belief, a mind, a child, a nation? What was the guidance? What word-seeds planted, and what did they grow? What fertilizer in lieu of seeds, and what did it kill?

For a while, for a period of my adulthood, I responsibly packed up the unrealized dreams, the unfulfilled fantasies. Once a creative colorer, a young artist, an older painter of grandiose possibilities, I laid down the crayons and paints, crumbled up more and more of my drawings, on paper and canvas and medialess in my mind, my aging heart. Some paths I chose seemed permanently outlined, with me trapped on the inside of those lines, now without my coloring tools. Trapped in the book, a pigeon in a cage, a sunflower seed eaten, not planted.

Eventually, though, something inside me made me finally reach. For the latch, for that crayon. I am now the pigeon on the pier, the sunflower in the sand.

All words and images on this site ©LauraDenise