brick by brick, limb by limb
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:
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
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)
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.
humans – you just have to wonder what we’re up to these days …
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.
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
Soundtrack: Rising Appalachia – Scale down
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 …
“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.
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?
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?