brick by brick, limb by limb

oh yeah

poetry in progress

 

brick by brick, limb by limb

i)

i was born into a country

divided by a wall that:

cut through people’s breaths and yet

straightened their shoulders like a spine;

i was born into a country with

a cast grown tightly around (and into) its body:

half-disease, half-remedy

ii)

finally, the fall came:

as the trees began to shed their leaves,

the wind picked up brick after brick and

carried it away;

it left us with a new kind of emptiness that

made my father tear himself apart:

he took limb after limb and threw it against

that same brick sky until he was no longer my father but a

tiny white spot in the distance

iii)

most wars won mean several battles lost,

no big victory comes without defeat on both sides

keep in mind the bigger picture, i hear you sing –

your catch phrase:

keep in mind the bigger picture,

we are making history, we are changing things for the better

(battle after battle, defeat after defeat)

iv)

sometimes I open an old book and some of my father’s

fingertips or eyelashes still crumble

out from in between the pages and fall into my lap;

we all keep in mind the bigger picture, of course

but you should know that in order see it clearly,

most of us have to stand on each other’s shoulders,

that’s why some of us fall and break their backs.

 

human-ness

humans – you just have to wonder what we’re up to these days …

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“He who wants the world to remain the way it is, doesn’t want it to remain.” – Erich Fried

 

human-ness

Part I

you say you didn’t see it coming but

you’re a liar (you have a remarkable history of lying to yourself, there’s no one to match you, I swear)

you just can’t let it go, the immediate high

not even because it’s really all that good (it’s not) but

it’s right in front of you: hot sips of instant coffee from a plastic cup, not good but oh so hot; it warms you up like nothing else (that is, if you ever were to try anything else, of course).

 

you’ve avoided nine dark alleys

convincing yourself you’re better than that (you did it, ace, nine times!)

only to walk into dark alley number ten

convincing yourself that once won’t hurt (or twice or three times or who keeps track of these things anyways, huh?)

 

I’m sorry to say this, but:

you’re weak and you’re a liar.

(Am I being too harsh? Don’t cry!)

Maybe you’re just being

human – but someone has to tell you:

your human-ness is eventually going to kill

you, for good.

 

Part II

just try

quit searching through the trash for

the touch of a hand, the tip of someone else’s tongue to lick your wounds;

times have changed, dear:

these things aren’t found on the street and they don’t grow on trees (sometimes they do, but only on trees budding in glass boxes, hidden away so you’ll never ever find them)

no, these things aren’t handed out freely – people keep them sealed up in their original wrapping: they’re collectors’ items, they’re sold (like everything else)

you only give to get (and why shouldn’t you when everyone else is doing the same thing – don’t be stupid)

oh, how we’ve learnt to keep little secrets (from our neighbors, our lovers, our children, ourselves) like our lives depended on it (and maybe they do) and

you should learn, too

just look what your carelessness has

gotten you into

if you keep running around with an open heart like that

you’ll eventually bleed

to death

 

Soundtrack: Rising Appalachia – Scale down

 

 

poetry is dead, says the poet – a Q&A session

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The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The answer: “A poet.”

***

You get up, you breathe in, you drink your coffee, you work, you breathe out, you drink your coffee, you drink your coffee, you work, you work, you breathe in, you breathe out, you work, you go to bed.

***

The question: “Do people still read poetry these days?”

More questions: “What do you want to be when you grow up? You’re already grown up, so what do you want to be? What are you? Who are you?”

Some answers imperatives: “Choose a career path, choose wisely, make some a lot of money.”

The answer: “No one reads poetry these days.”

***

“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s scribbled on dirty walls in public restrooms, girl”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of wine from the box. “I should know”

“No one reads poetry these days unless they’re dead drunk and their life has just started unraveling like a badly knitted sweater”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of whiskey from the bottle. “Also, this is exactly when most people start writing poetry” It seems that he should know.

“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s referenced in an obscure pop song, honey”, says the poet and takes another sip from his bottle of dark beer. “And in the end, all they remember is the cute singer.”

***

You get up, you breathe in, you get dressed, you take an aspirin, you work, you breathe in, you breathe in, you breathe, you drink your coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, you work, you breathe out, you breathe out, you take an aspirin, you work, coffee, work, coffee, bed.

***

You still read poetry: on dirty walls in public restrooms, on stickers stuck to sign posts, in old books, in new books, in your own books, in borrowed books, on postcards, in magazines; you still read poetry. You still write poetry: in letters, in your notebook, in your head. In your head, in your head, in your head (where’s my notebook?).

***

The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Another question: “Do you want to grow up?”

The answer imperative: “Make some a lot of money (and then spend it and then make more money so you can spend more money and then – ).”

Answers: “You still read poetry. Poets still write poetry. Some many people still read and write poetry. You can still be a poet.”

***

“Choose any career path, girl – as long as you continue writing, you’re probably a poet anyways”, says the poet and pours himself another cup of black coffee. “Trust me, I should know.”

In with the new …

In with the new …

“It will be the year of courage!” she announced. We were having a very late New Year’s breakfast, still in our pjs; uncombed hair, uncombed thoughts.
I liked the idea. “Here’s to that.”

***

When was the last time you felt courageous?

While jumping on your bed (even though you knew it might break and spit you out or eat you up)? While eating spicy food (even though you knew your mouth would burn and rebel for hours afterwards)? While rolling snowballs with your bare hands (even though it would make your fingers turn blue and go numb)?

I’d say there’s plenty to feel courageous about.

***

I’ve never had a slogan for a new year, so this is the first new thing of 2017.

***

… out with the old.

I do believe making mistakes is a necessary part of becoming a better person. That being said, I don’t like catching myself making the same mistake twice (let’s be honest: three times is more likely). So how about not making old mistakes anymore?

How about: “Don’t fool me twice.”

I’m sure there are enough new mistakes waiting just around the corner.

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the heart of the matter

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Sit still … and focus! … is this all there is to it? This picture was taken a while ago (when my uncle was one of these tiny humans sitting quietly behind their desks) but how much has really changed since? I’ve always been hoping to create a more inspirational learning atmosphere. We’ll see how that goes.

The heart of the matter

God, I love 80ies music.

Wonder why? Here’s the reason: that terrible combination of a quite danceable, sing-along-in-the-kitchen/shower/while-vacuuming kind of tune with lyrics full of soul-shaking, heart-wrenching wisdom. A musical decade of wonder.
And synthesizers, of course.

Let me share a snippet of the gem I’m listening to right now:
I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter (just to get the mood across correctly: imagine the strumming of an unplugged electric guitar and a gospel choir humming softly in the background).

On point, Don.

Okay, this isn’t a music blog and although it sounds like it so far, this isn’t supposed to be a blog post celebrating my top 10 80ies chart hits. If you were hoping for a free Don Henley mp3 download, you’re out of luck. Sorry, folks. I was just about to start writing this post when this song came on and it resonated with me and, coincidentally, with the thoughts I was about to share.

I have been, in fact, trying to get down to the heart of the matter lately. A bit unsuccessfully, though. I’ve been enrolled in a 2-year teacher training program for close to 2 years now. Let’s quickly do the math together: yes, I can see the finish line! For now however, the near end of my teacher training isn’t a cause for much celebration but it means observation, evaluation and, as an extra Easter treat, oral examination.

To make this period especially enticing for future teachers: it’s hard if not impossible to get things right. You can pour all your heart, effort, sweat, laminating pouches and glitter into one lesson and people will still find a way to take it apart based on the one thing that wasn’t quite right (in their opinion).

You inevitably wonder: am I doing this right? Am I a good teacher? Or is this a terrible career plan for me and the poor tiny humans sitting in my class room?

Help!

I want to be a teacher. I like hanging out with 8-year-olds, teaching them things I’m passionate about and learning new things along the way. I hope to inspire them to make their own way, stand up for what they believe in and grow from fabulous tiny humans into fabulous average-sized humans.

Yet, there are so many holes in our system of education – some that have been temporarily patched up and some staring you right in the face. It’s not just one sector, too. You can start your way from the curriculum and work your way up to teacher training and funding and … the list goes on and on.

It gets hard not to be disheartened, not to lose focus and, the one thing I deeply care about: inspiration.

If all my effort is in vain, if there’s so much wrong with the system itself, am I on a mission that is destined to fail?

What do you think? What inspires you? What keeps you motivated and going, even when the odds aren’t in your favor?

I’m curious to know and determined to get down to the heart of the matter.

Inspire me, will you?

Cheers,
Lisa

Somewhere between running a marathon and standing still.

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Sometimes you’re running and running and the world around you’s becoming nothing but a blur.

 

Do not chase after people. If someone wants to be a part of your life, they shouldn’t keep running in the opposite direction. At least in my opinion, this seems like a pretty basic prerequisite.

But hell, what do I know?

And it’s not like I’ve never chased after someone before.
Because maybe, they just don’t know any better. Because maybe they’ve been hurt before and don’t know how to deal with their feelings. Because maybe they’re too afraid or proud or godknowswhatelse to stand still, let alone turn around and face you. Because maybe, perhaps, possibly, they just have a terrible sense of direction.

Yeah right.

I’m getting tired of running. If I wanted to train for a marathon, I’d just lace my running shoes, no extra incentive needed, thank you very much.
I think, maybe beginnings shouldn’t be so complicated. From what I know about middle parts and endings, things usually get complicated enough after the first chapter or two.

But then I think, maybe things can never be not complicated. I’m having a hard time imagining that at one point or another, the timing, the place, the circumstances are just right and everything falls into place, just like that.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though? Yes, yes. It would be oh so nice.

Note to self: Do not chase after people (because maybe there comes a time to stand still).
I’m just starting to wonder what it feels like to come home. Homecoming. It suddenly seems like such a wonderful idea.

Drive East of Eden ‘til we start to feel the West.

Dear You …

What good is a letter if you never send it? A very good question.

Well, just as some words are left unsaid, some letters remain at the bottom of a drawer. Because that’s where you’ve hastily stashed them away right after you were done writing. You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’ve never done this before? Good for you. God knows I have.

Here’s one of them.

***

Dear You,
Did you know that thinking of you still makes me so sad? Sometimes I think it’s because I know that I will never be the one you want to fall asleep and wake up to. I hate the thought, but I suppose there is someone else whose eyes are your very own dawn, your very own dusk; whose taste is the only flavor that doesn’t feel odd or wrong in your mouth.
There’s something else, though, that makes me even sadder: to wonder whether I’ll ever see you again. To think that maybe I won’t is breaking my heart. Over and over again. Of course, there’s nothing original about any of this. It’s a cliché, the size of a billboard. It’s hard to miss. To me, though, it feels painfully unique. Much like an original Van Gogh; like it should be framed and hung up in the Louvre. Or in one of those peculiar cafés that support local artists and always smell funky (that strange mix of stale cigarette smoke, coffee and incense).
It’s strange to think that hearts are broken and the world just goes on and no one gives a shit. Did you know that the average heart beats 100, 000 times in a day? I’ve been wondering how many hearts are broken in a day and whether this means they start beating faster or slower or they just stop altogether and whether any of this is factored into the calculation. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to break a heart and not even know it. Have you ever wondered about something like this? I think you might not even know that you’re breaking my heart. I really think you don’t.
I never told you: did you know that I’d be happy to simply sit next to you and not say a word? Every now and then, I would catch a glimpse of your eyes or your smile or the way your hands can’t stop talking even when you don’t say a word. It would still break my heart, but it would be a different kind of heartbreak. More bearable. In a way, thinking of you is like listening to a requiem: it pulls apart each and every corner of the soul and yet it’s impossible to stop. It’s so heart-wrenchingly, hopelessly and incomparably beautiful. I keep thinking of you – a silent lament; lacrimosa. Nothing’s ever made me feel so alive and so numb at the same time.
You must think I’m silly or crazy or maybe just a child to think and feel the way I do. Get over it, you might say. I guess that’s the reasonable thing to do. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to think of you differently. I might simply think of you as that one beautiful and sad and inspiring boy who made me write all these words, hushed songs and love letters (who made me drink and smoke a little too much for a while). If I was an instrument, I could simply think of you as the one who pulled one of my strings, pressed one of my keys and created so much music, by accident. The most beautiful melody, just by accident. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all you were supposed to do. And maybe I should be thankful for that. Someday I will.

No more ‘I love you’s.

Someday.

Love,
Me.

PS: There’s a soundtrack, too. In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been such a lazy blogger lately: I’ve been dabbling in songwriting, This is what it sounds like (but watch out, the sound quality is quite crappy): https://soundcloud.com/lisa-wer

Dear Mr. Grinch …

You all know the famous lines in the Dr. Seuss book: The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason … well, I think I do.

Dear Mr. Grinch,

I get it after all.

Why you, why some people simply hate Christmas. It all makes sense now.

I’ve never been one of you. I may have been an elf in a former life, or a Who at least. I love the lights, ornaments, carefully picking out presents, writing Christmas cards, hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows. If it was up to me, I’d be celebrating Christmas all year.

Not just because of these little things I just listed of course, also because – most importantly – Christmas is about spending time with people you love. And I suppose that’s where it gets complicated, unbearable even, for some of us.

This had never occurred to me until one particular conversation with a colleague some time ago.

Me: Aren’t you looking forward to Christmas, too? It’s my favorite time of the year!

Her: No.

Awkward silence.

Me: … oh … how come?

Her: My father passed away on Christmas.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry … then that’s understandable of course …

The thing is, though, I didn’t really get it. I just thought I did. Besides, it was the only reply I could think of that made a little sense when someone tells you something awful like this.

***

Two days ago I got a phone call. It was my dad. I’d just sent him a picture of the heap of Christmas cookies I’d been making with my roommates. There’s no way on earth I could have seen it coming.

His voice gave him away immediately, though: shaky and sort of muffled. I felt my heart sink, right past my stomach, down to the very tip of my toes. Your dad isn’t supposed to call you in a shaky and muffled voice. If anyone, it should be your mom. My dad doesn’t give hugs unless he’s forced to. He’s a practical man down to his very core. When my sister told him she was pregnant (sort of a little too young, sort of not at the right time), he just shrugged and said: Things happen. He doesn’t f***ing talk like this unless something’s really wrong. And it was.

A death in the family or within your closest group of friends always feels like a smack in the face. This one felt like being punched with a crowbar. I sat down and mumbled something along the lines of I can’t believe it, this is terrible, I don’t know what to say. Then my mom took over the phone because, clearly, my dad was in no shape to continue this conversation; especially with me being the eloquent dialog partner that I was at this very moment.

I spent the rest of the night sorting through all sorts of emotions, fairly unsuccessful. I was trying to come up with a brilliant message to send to my sister, because this terrible piece of news hit much closer to her home. I didn’t want to call her because if I could’t come up with a couple of words in writing, how was I supposed to say something remotely resembling a sentence. It took me hours and the words still felt inadequate and silly and unhelpful. I sent the message anyways because I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her. Because I was, all night.

I still am. I’m thinking about her and her husband who’ve been through so much already. I’m thinking about my two wonderful nephews, in particular the older one of the two, who’s already had so many losses to claim in his short life that it’s breaking my heart whenever I think about it. I’m thinking about my dad’s voice. I’m thinking and thinking and it all seems so horrifying that at times I catch myself wondering whether none of this has actually happened and it’s all just a terrible nightmare.

I’m thinking and thinking –

and I get it.

At the same time, I don’t feel like it. I still love Christmas. I’m dreading this year’s holidays but I’m hoping they’re going to be like a little break from the days filled with grief, confusion and anger that are lying ahead.

This is not an anti-Christmas manifesto. If anything, I hope it’s a reminder for all of you to be grateful for your family and friends, a reminder to let them know how much you care (more often, we should tell each other every single day), a reminder to be there for each other, especially during the hard times.

Have a wonderful Christmas filled with laughter and love

– xxx,

L.

Guess who’s back? (all grown-up now!)

I’m just as well adjusted, I swear.

Guess who’s back? Of course, this is a rhetorical question, no one’s hacked into my blog account (yet) and the answer can only be: it’s me!

I haven’t written all that much ever since the New Year flipped on my crunch mode switch aka omg-finals-panic switch when it accidentally leaned against it (that drunk bastard, pardon my language). Not because I spent my days and nights crouched over books and books and more books. That too, but I also picked up my little guitar and wrote a couple of songs (that still need a bit of fine-tuning).

Sometimes, you need to let go of one thing to make room for another. But not all good-byes are forever (whoever came up with that idea anyways?).

This is also what I’m telling myself whenever I think about having to move by the end of the month and I get that tingly feeling in my stomach that has nothing to do with butterflies whatsoever. I’ve always had a hard time letting go of things/people/seasonal candy (so what if I have a craving for peppermint bark in August? Sue me).

Yeah, changes, changes. I’ve finally graduated this summer and I’m about to move (in case I’m able to find a place to move into, of course) so I won’t have to drive 3 hours to work and back every day – which seems like a sensible idea and I hear people expect you to act sensible more often than not once you’re done with school because they think it means you’re all grown-up and stuff.

But more often than not, people are pretty funny and they expect all kinds of things that are not gonna happen. Just sayin’.

What does it mean to be grown-up anyways? Having sensible ideas and making reasonable decisions – are grown-ups allowed to cross a red light and go to bed without brushing their teeth every once in a while or having cereal for dinner or … ? Maybe it’s all about having a mature taste in music/movies/food – but what if I still wanna sing that awful nineties song in the shower?

(This one, no regrets:)

And what if I still wanna watch Saturday morning cartoons, what if I prefer that pizza place around the corner over that terribly chic French restaurant downtown?

Then again, starting this fall, I’ll be teaching 6-10-year olds – I don’t really have to be too grown-up yet, do I?

(I’m sure you’ve all missed my brilliant closing lines!)

Good night y’all (spoken like a true adult).

Gee, snow all over my blog – has it really been that long?

So. New Year’s. Really? Already?

Okay then. New Year’s. New resolutions, of course.

Not because everyone talks about their own resolutions. Not because I feel like I have to come up with something inspirational (but if I did, wouldn’t it be great?).

Simply because, let’s face the obvious: there’s always room for improvement.

Am I the best version of myself? I doubt that. Am I getting close? Closer at least? Who knows. Honestly, I don’t think so. There are a lot of things I’d like to do that I haven’t done, a lot of things I’d like to be that I’m not (yet), there are ways in which I’d like to behave given certain situations and I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like the person that I am right now (most days, I think she’s quite alright – despite the occasional bad hair day, the overly emotional fit from time to time and other lovely quirks I prefer to hide until the third date at least). But still. Maybe I can do better. Be nicer. Be more aware of what’s really important.

As an (almost) teacher, here’s one of my (very original) catch phrases: that was great but I believe you can do even better! Hell yeah! I’m going to earn myself some new gold stars in 2014 – who else is on board?

So where were we? Resolutions, right.

***So here are a few thoughts***

Don’t change for someone else. Although you may very well change because of someone else. Or simply because of yourself. Of course.

Something to remember: everyone’s very different and the fact that you’re dealing with something in a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else does – we should all try to be aware of this and respect it. We’re all little individuals – this is why life gets exhausting sometimes but it’s also what keeps it interesting and exciting and lovely. Think about it.

Sometimes, you just need to rest.

It’s not always someone else’s fault (… sh** … I don’t really like this one, but oh well).

It’s not always your fault either (now it gets complicated).

Maybe this year it’s time to learn this one: not forcing something that just isn’t meant to be but also not letting chances slip by – is there ever a way to tell these two apart?

Music. There’s no way around it. And maybe there’ll be time to improve your guitar playing skills and write a few more of these silly songs. And maybe there’ll be someone to play them to. Maybe.

***

It’s all very scattered, mind you. I know. But whose thoughts aren’t, really? It’s mostly a mess if you ask me. It’ll be a mess in 2014 as well, that’s something I’m sure of, but maybe it’ll be a little shinier and maybe it’ll be the first step towards something like an actual arrangement system.

You’re not supposed to laugh at this, I was trying to be serious. Okay, whatever. One last resolution: don’t take yourself too seriously – you should use every opportunity to laugh you can get, even if it means laughing at yourself.

***Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a marvelous 2014!***

 

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