5.9.18 Out Once More

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“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” Norman Cousins

Two weeks ago the unthinkable happened … the young daughter of some friends of ours passed away after battling cancer for a year. I thought I was prepared for the funeral, after all, I’ve been to my fair share of them – I wasn’t. Though funerals were literally something I grew up with, I’ve only been to one other child’s funeral, and they were equally, agonizingly, heartbreaking – both for seven-year-old girls.

I don’t have words really, to describe how it feels to see their parents … it is surreally painful because instantly I’m forced to imagine myself in their place – and I am lost. So although I have no right to even pretend to know how it really feels, this poem is what came out of my emotions. All my love, all my prayers, casting hope to anyone who understands this pain. All my love to anyone who lost anyone whose lost life matters to them as much as their own. I so desperately wish this void was not a burden you must carry. We were not intended for separation. God knows … this is not the end.

Elle

Out Once More

In.

Out.

In again.

Out once more.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

I think that it’s “returning to normal” that I find the most offensive.

Things like …

casual conversation

filled with, “How are you?” and other equally unpleasant

pleasantries.

In those moments I feel every too-quick heartbeat

and it seems supernaturally unfair that involuntary responses

are not, in fact, involuntary –

because I literally need to remind myself to breathe …

to release.

Sometimes I can’t stand the sun’s arrogance – that it has the audacity to rise when I,

when she

no longer can.

And it hurts in places I can only describe as

the absence

the empty

the lost.

And I cry with a voice I don’t recognize as my own,

because “we” no longer are …

and I can’t remember how to find who I was

before.

Returning to a “normal” place in this life is somewhere I can’t find.

And so it seems I’m chasing a new normal –

something I’m seeking but am not sure I’ll be able to recognize

being in the state-of-being that I am,

or am not.

But even now,

even here

in this

in-between …

I can’t bring myself to hate the world,

because she loved it …

and I can’t hate my life,

because she was a part of it –

and as I live on

in some way

so does she.

It’s not in the way that I hoped for,

but she believed in hope,

and so must I.

In.

Out.

In again.

Out once more.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

 

 

4.25.18 Change Never Is

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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there.” Philippians 3:20

In the past three days, I have been confronted with a series of challenging perceptions,  presuppositions, misrepresentations, misunderstandings, and multiple-perspectives on ethnicity, racism, and personal identity. From literary discussions to student issues, faith-based revelations to immigration conversations, it has been a heart-swelling week of looking hard at myself, my beliefs, my unintended biases, and my intentions. Revelation? I am still learning. Most importantly? I still want to.

My poem “Change Never Is,” is dedicated to every individual who maybe, like me, is still trying to discover how to be their best, most loving, undeniably compassionate self through it all, albeit imperfectly … and who is willing to step through the broken glass of shattered hearts, in the hopes of finding all the pieces to put us together again.

Go heal where you can,

Elle

Change Never Is

And suddenly … it’s different.

Just like that.

With the flip of a switch,

or the bat of an eye.

In the space of a heartbeat.

You realize something new about yourself.

Or maybe it’s old, but you wouldn’t admit it before now –

when actuality is staring back at you

clearer than the reflection of the mask you’ve grown so comfortable wearing,

you’d actually forgotten your own face.

You still might not want to deal with the truth of how you feel

but you do feel

and that’s the problem

(or some sordid beginning of the solution)

You can’t ignore it anymore –

and it’s jarring,

this knowing that you can’t go back.

Suddenly the innocence you had only just before,

is nothing more than a fantasy you can’t find your way back to

because reality demands accountability –

and there’s no longer room for the callousness of pretend.

We grow in stages,

but sometimes it feels as if a lifetime of lessons are hurled in our direction

faster than we can absorb the shock of their blows.

There is hardly a line between villain and victim –

the pain is dolled in equal measure,

whether it is deflected or digested? That depends on the user

and the used.

And as much as you thought that you knew who,

and how,

and what

you were …

everything can change

when you’re challenged to accept as fact

that what you wished was just the remnant of a bad dream.

You’re awake.

So now what?

There is no rest for you in dreaming … only in shaking off your slumber.

It’s time to breathe in slowly,

acclimatize yourself one fiber at a time …

There are thoughts to be sorted –

film reels of clouded memories to look at with new lenses.

The past may not align with the present,

but the future is yours to discern.

Endow a legacy stronger than pride.

Entitle yourself to an awakening.

That shifting in your bones … that thickening of your skin …

it’s not comfortable,

but darling,

change never is.

 

4.11.18 Apologetic

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“If the explanations amount to something, I will tell you.” – Joanna Klink

Sometimes I feel inclined to apologize. I don’t have a specific reason … it’s just an open gap between emotions that feels heavy; a call to respond to something beyond what I am capable of finding words for. Maybe it comes from the apologies I should have made throughout my life, but wasn’t mature enough to own at the time. Maybe it is the unspoken words I cannot give to the people who are no longer there to hear them. Maybe it is the result of a look that said more than I meant it to say, or the absence of a look that needed to happen. Whether it was in words being cast as arrows or shields … I apologize nonetheless. And this poem is to anyone who has felt the same, or to whom I should have apologized to long ago.

Apologetic

Apologetic

I am scarred

and stained

with the unused ink

of un-penned words

I never wrote

of unuttered phrases

I didn’t say

And I’m sorry

now,

and then

that I wasn’t

brave enough to speak what you deserved to hear

I may have given voice to my thoughts

but chances are they were not filtered with love

and truth,

without empathy?

Honesty,

without grace?

They are nothing but empty condemnation.

There are some things time doesn’t erase,

and the absence of an apology is the epitome of unalterable

How, after all, do you undo what was never done?

So I’m sorry –

from somewhere between quiet thoughts and trembling hands …

amidst the need to be vindicated and the desire to be free …

in the space that separates accepting defeat and willing myself to try once more –

I’m sorry.

For the hurt you feel that was my fault,

and wasn’t

For the comfort you needed,

but didn’t find in me

I remain,

here

and now

apologetic

3.20.18 My Paper Pretend Reality

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Tonight my son gave me an acorn, and told me it was a kiss.  Here, it is not yet Spring, and so this tells me he has held onto this “kiss” for a time – just waiting to pass it along when the right moment came. In my heart full of opinions, it was perfect timing, because as the Peter Pan inspired gift reminded me … I think I’d like to escape this world for a bit, and live in pages for awhile. I hope you’ll share your stories with me, and our chapters will meet in the middle.

Elle

My Paper Pretend, Reality

I want to live in pages for awhile,

between the safety of clever beginnings

and tied-with-a-bow endings

not stuck in a plot line

that feels more like it’s spinning than rising

toward a climax I can neither see

nor predict
I want to live in pages for awhile,

where I can be the hero –

without being judged for my strength

or the damsel –

without being judged for my weakness

needing

and needed just the same

I want to live in pages for awhile,

and dwell in the possibility

that decisions have more to do with heart,

than logic

In a place where there is always time for the edge of a romance,

the curl of a mystery,

where adventure is never further

than a few precious lines away

I want to live in pages for awhile

where the strength of my spine

is defined by the words cast upon it

and yet safely,

tucked and protected within,

I’ll never hear anyone judging my book

by its cover

because I’ll be too busy living my life

on the inside

to care

I want to live in pages for awhile

so that just for a moment …

to appease the sensitive yet strong-willed character I’m sure to be –

Once upon a time,

someday,

and even happily ever after

have to exist

Simply because I wish it

as it is my imagination that requires tending to

The only question remains …

will you come with me?

 

Elle

3.6.18 I Write.

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“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

I am deliriously happy to announce that I have a new piece in Bella Grace Magazine. This poem was really special to me because it epitomized what it means to find rest … not always the easiest of pursuits. “Because of Sundays,” is about delighting in the times you can wake up, just to fall asleep and dream again. I hope that you are able to visit Bella Grace online to purchase a copy, or, like me, steal away to your nearest bookstore just to see this lovely publication on the shelves where she belongs.

I have to say that the happiest moment of this particular piece was stealing away to see myself in print at the bookstore before receiving my copy. There was a sweet lady who was interested in what I was reading, and I told her all about a magazine that wasn’t filled with adds or tabloid stories, but pure, real pieces from the heart of writers, photographers, and seekers of living life with intention. Watching her shuffle away with her copy felt like extending a tiny legacy in some minuscule, but meaningful way.

It’s not always easy. Writing. There are endless rejection letters … pieces that go unfinished because of the reality of living between imagination and Mondays … and the ridiculous business of revising things you could’ve sworn you got right the first time. Still, I cannot seem to shake this love affair with words. And though it is ever-so-much more a give than take kind of relationship, it is one I am willing to work on for all of the reasons I relayed in the poem below. Please let me know your thoughts dear ones!

All my love, from my pen and page to yours,

Elle

I Write.

I write.

To hear the sound of a pencil speaking to it’s page.

I write.

For the hope that a story that needed telling gets told.

I write.

To connect my whispered thoughts to fellow dreamers across the world.

I write.

For the undiluted joy of marrying words that belong together in a line.

I write.

To share memories my mind is too slippery to hold on its own.

I write.

For the beam of radiant thought I cannot ignore inside me.

I write.

To hear the promises of better things I will into being by creating them.

I write.

For the God who commanded my heart to dance at the sight of words.

I write.

To reach for the immortality of lines that will outlive me.

I write.

For the ones I have raised with the truth that stories hold power.

I write.

To feel.

I write.

For joie de vivre.

I write.

To inspire.

I write.

For there is simply no way I could not.

 

 

2.20.18 Await

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Gently

and slow

We step into the fractured moments

of each day

with one infinitesimal breath

shallowly followed by another

And in small ways

we give calm permission to chase chaos

Sometimes it is enough

we are enough

But other times,

the ability to realize our frailty

is braver

than determining our strength

introducing ourselves to our weakness

allows us to appreciate the humble beauty

of what it means to need

to depend

 

Instead of being depended upon

Light has the most potential

in the darkness

Beauty that comes from broken can be blessed

Gently

and slow

Embrace now

whatever it maybe

for then

where hope remains

and you

on the other side

await

 

2.7.18 We Endure

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We are fickle, fragile beings

made of thoughts that disconnect us

and experiences that slowly tie us back together again

It’s amazing – sometimes

how the pitfalls and potholes of life

are often the very things that bring us back to level ground

What is it about proximity to a low point,

that finally garners enough of our attention

to make us look up

Of dust

we are earth and her ashes

yet our spirits eternally crave our return to the stars

We subdue and repress

to the plights of a world we can’t control our part in

just to numb and then hide from the feelings we’ve neglected for

far

too

long

We are fickle and fragile

too stubborn to part with the bank of emotions we’ve saved

as a treasure

as a curse

And we use the excuse of the pleasures and pains

to somehow forgive our shell casts and remains

evolve but don’t change

we are ever the same

we move on

we stand still

we endure

1.9.18 Where Dreamers Go

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I’m not a practical person,

and what’s more – I have no shame about it

In fact, I count it among one of my favorite attributes

fortunately, 

or unfortunately

this world was built for practical people

and so I don’t always fit so well

Again, I count this as a positive

because comfort often partners with complacency

and dreamers have no time for either

We who find inspiration in the magical

We who wrap our minds around what could be 

instead of what is

We have no room in our busy thoughts for:  

the logical option

the safest choice

or even the wisest one

So while that doesn’t make life any easier

for me,

or the practical ones who wish I was just a little

more 

or less

of what I actually am

It does make life so very real

I awaken as I wonder

and pretend

and imagine

And sometimes I want to invite this reality-broken world to try

just a little bit harder

to find their way to 

lost-in-thought

because it’s so beautiful here

Here the light doesn’t shine, 

it sparkles

The moon doesn’t wax or wane –

it waltzes

in and out of winking stars

daydreams are born and borne again 

How I wish time didn’t hold

so many

so captive

Practical gets things done

But dreaming makes things worth doing

Both are necessary

and I willingly enter into the world of reality

from 

time

to

time

As long as you understand that it is only a vacation

from the place we dreamers need to stay

to feel peace

to be free

to go home

12.27.17 A Wish Turned Prayer

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Dearest Readers:

There are so many thank you’s I wish to express to you, but mostly, I am just grateful for your company. Sometimes, as a writer, you can feel quite alone with your thoughts. From time to time your weary-penned heart wonders if anyone else is out there sharing your silent conversations. The blessing comes in the comments, and every time you “talk back” to me, I am encouraged to write again. Over the years with this blog, I have nearly a thousand followers, and my blog has reached over seventy-five countries. What an amazing thought … what a delight to know that words have power and presence. I pray that this year you are all encouraged, that the tandem light of joy and peace merge and blend within your spirits and keep you delighted in the magic of every day.

Love and sparkles to you my friends. Here is a poem to start your new year.

Elle

A Wish-Turned-Prayer

There in the miraculous reflection of the stars lies the answer to the question
of whether darkness can vanquish light
Not only can it not extinguish what is …

it can’t even dissolve what was

Stars are echoes of illuminations past and yet here
in the present
they stay

Remaining radiant
defiant in their persistence

We are drawn to the same gleaming purpose the same luminescent call –
to alight the beat of a heart
to inspire the dream of a mind

to encourage the magic of ordinary expressions of love

What could be more noble than the pursuit of enlightenment?
of effulgence?
of starlight?
What could hold more power than the memory of incandescence?

So carry on in the twilights you’re given
toward what’s pure, though at times you may crawl Have the faith to redeem what is broken inside
Let the giver of perfect wisdom plant words that will heal And believe in the power of a wish-turned-prayer

12.18.17 After All

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After All

Sometimes all it takes is one person

one person to have one conversation

that leads to a single assurance

igniting an ember of hope

and suddenly overwhelmed becomes

less

and power transfers from fear

to faith
Isn’t it magnificent what one can do?

The way restoration washes over weary

when just the right pairing of comforting words

knit your spirit back together?

Whether the vessel used to pour out solace

or the parched heart receiving it

there is something so beautiful about the connection

of one soul tending to another

and it seems that somehow

the resonant ache in the broken places of this life

heal

albeit in small ways

but even a drop of grace is enough

to awaken a dormant conviction

to un-break a fractured heart

to alight a selfless intention

So be the one you need to be

whether in giving or in taking

expend or release

bestow or ascertain

because the truth is

they are of equal virtue

 

Ultimately – the world just needs to remember

how to feel

and recognize how the presence of one

becomes the potential of two

two who are no longer alone

but united in the mission of growing into the possibility

that one conversation

one ignited hope

is all it takes

to keep the world in balance after all