Rock

When struggling through life

I met the waves head-on

Gasping and nearly drowning as adversity slapped me in the face

Dragging down my body and my morale

Slowly, painfully, my ego was chipped away

Now a smoother stone, when the forces come at me

I bunker down in the stream bed

And let them pass over me with intentional non-effort

Challenges will always be a part of life

I used to be a leaf tossed by the wind

Now I embody the ever-present rock within

This is a practice, not a perfect

My ego still protests in victimized shame

I send a softening breath to my hard-headed brain

And soothe myself

You are OK

This is hard

You are doing your best

You are more than perfect: you are human

Humans get to live the beauty of learning from their experiences

Just breathe

Blue Glass

I am not OK

I’ve spent a life time lying,
Sticking to the script, saying that I’m fine
I learned as a child to be truthless
Because honesty only got me neglectful rejection
And beat-downs, ruthless
I was trained to be out of touch with my feelings
For a decades, I’ve been reeling
Coming home to my body, battered and bruised
Healing deep emotional wounds
In my family, failure was not an option
I prayed, even as an adult, for adoption
Periodically I stumble through patches of suicidal ideation
Homicidal visions to destroy all of creation
Just to find peace
Do you know what I mean?
I make ends meet, though I’ve stolen and cheated
Swimming upstream, never defeated
I don’t trust anyone with the truth about my life
I don’t want to rehash it, don’t want to unravel it
As a teenager, I used to beat off to Gravel Pit
I am not Ok, and I am Ok with that
I should probably ‘get help’, but the thing about people
Is that they make me uneasy
Can you blame me?
You can shame me, but whatever you are thinking,
I’m sure I’ve done worse
I seem Ok, like a high-functioning addict
Storing up empty bottles in my attic
Just to see sunlight shine through blue glass
Behold the beauty of my realized potential at last

Emergency Room

Emerging from the emergency room, gasping to find my breath, I weep.

I finished my last shift in that hell-hole, and I thought I would cry tears of joy, but instead I am crying tears of raw emotional release.
My patients called me an angel, but many of them were also angels to me- holding my spirit buoyantly with their sparkling eyes, a much-needed balance to my co-workers who seemed mostly dead inside.
Crushed inside the machine
Their eyes see only the screen
Their skin knows no fresh air or sunlight
As they toil day and night
In a crowded, chaotic space filled with alarms
Long ago, they replaced their charms
With rigid motions, mechanical minds
Without windows, they don’t notice the passage of time
When did they become so cold and bitter?
It must have been little by little
The fire in their hearts was starved of oxygen, their spirits wore away
I hope I keep my heartspirit intact, at the end of the day
Flashback to a line of gurneys in the ambulance bay
My attending grilling me, I didn’t know what to say
Broken bones and chronic pain
STAT CT to look for a bleed in the brain
Patients sustained on turkey sandwiches and diet ginger-ale
We wait on them, they wait for us, but we are all stuck in this jail
Trapped in a health care system which is systematically inhumane
No wonder so many of us don’t feel quite sane
My vision is blurred by tears
I’ve finished one more day in the middle of many hard years
Of sacrificing my life, enduring unfathomable strife
Just to help others survive another night
I want to get off this roller coaster, but I’m strapped in
Though I am sick to my stomach and deafened by the din
I return to my breath, breathe in new air
I have the rest of my life to move on towards
Tomorrow night, I’ll be back in the wards
With renewed gratitude, I leave this emergency beast
I walk past patients waiting to suckle the mechanical teat
Finally allowing room for my own emergency
My meltdown of tears isn’t enough to drown out the blaze
Which burnt me out long before today
I struggle to justify
Why I put myself in situations that make me cry