Lost Moments

In our lives we have many experiences

travails of innocence no one

has an answer to suggest an outcome

only hitch on,

grab a strand of burlap,

feel the dust build underneath our psyche

and ride on.

~

I’ve always enjoyed the horizon

seeing wheat fields flowing in an autumn breeze,

the fresh blossoms of a rainy morning aftermath,

often my favorite moments

caught in the rain

soaked to the bone

fresh soup and a warm fire

in the evening lull.

~

On occasion I recall that summer afternoon,

we walked in our usual path,

to a sort of ‘city’ glen above John Muir,

where there would be

an eventual opening in the brush,

we would lay there

act like a couple in love

no one’s eyes except our own.

~

This one time,

and this would be my definition of loss,

I would nap in that moment,

and did I in the afternoon sun

wake shortly there after

and she would be gone,

I would then stand only to notice her figure

meandering into the park,

having left this moment

behind.

~

I remember not knowing what to do,

far too distant would a shout of name

turn your head,

either distance or time

would cause her, might, continue forward

regardless.

~

That was the message going through my mind.

I hurried to try to catch up,

to not lose this moment.

~

We do eventually, in time find ourselves to be on course,

yet still could we already know some concept of remorse.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2021

The Reason We Dream

I used to believe we could go on forever,

that afternoon in the park

when he drew his graphite vision

the first holocraft on a hot sunny day

the three of us

in Memorial park

looking up in the sky with awe,

one of us with the bong in our hands

another – a slow exhale into the summer horizon.

.

We were just kids, snotty, arrogant, naive

to the world around us,

yet as long as we had each other,

the laughs would remain,

though with time,

that original notion in our heads

became Orwellian

while the years did pass,

we do, will I, would I, we wonder

upon each other’s lives.

.

Today the craft does exist

fifty years later of course,

yet our imagination can still

redefine

its own spectacular outtake

on society’s thrills and ills

all of which

we are told over and over again,

’this human condition stuff,

it will set you free.’

.

Next time you are in the woods

take a moment to pause

think a bit on me and my  buddies

we all carry the same weight.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2021

She Gives Me Real

When it happens I can smile,

not a knowing I am right sort of

trivialized agreement,

far more this sanity we all try to live

yet seldom understand

why.

I remember once being told

we ought not ever ask,

only allow

let the circumstance be not our own,

only cast the open freedom

to salvage respect

rather than beg a

forgiveness

leaves us wondering

why

I m grateful

she told me then in simple terms,

her smile.


©️ Thom Amundsen 4/2021

Wander Away At 60

I wonder sometimes,

the rains outside no different than they ever can be,

paint the ground with symbolic elements

of nature,

if we could all just walk away

hang out in the woods,

stay alone away from carrying on

misinterpretations of what it is we might

have once realized and then,

well the time,

watch on a wrist

following every second,

the minutes go by until the hours

days and weeks, the months,

now years,

still standing here, frozen in the moment,

decades of speculation

without ever really understanding why,

just why, why, what is the why

that keeps me wandering always wishing,

only realizing after the rains have gone away,

the ground is dry without that fresh cleansing air,

the sort you might feel when letting the floodgates

step outside of our own control,

wander away now,

keep going for there isn’t a lot of recall,

once the bricks have been laid,

their heavy landscape a constant reminder,

something the water cannot truly

wash away.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2021

3 AM

lights low,

what’s happening in here

no one might ever know.

The cast of a dozen stories

one day to the next,

perhaps a romance again.

Seems easy to dream

when the lover is alone

hopeful she might understand.

Its 3 am blues are alive

waiting alone to feel

some fatigue beyond the daily drain.

A couple of movies later

sleep still stays in seclusion

his mind a travel beyond the real.

Play some blues he asked

and let the melody

take his reacting mind away again.

It’s 3 am and he really doesn’t

care about the morning,

as long as the words speak

as I am.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2021

Wishful Knowledge

Those times told before

when once it happens

comes the sigh.

It’s that wish of only

‘getting it’

knowing we all had it.

Only now a reminder gave us

‘silent scolding’

telling our own selves

we ought know.

The end result

manifest in our own hearts

when asked again and in a long-awaited,

again.

In the beginning …


©️ Thom Amundsen 4/2021

– to k

A Gentle Breeze

I woke to their singing

like lounging by the river

a fresh morning dew

preparing us a sky as blue.

~

This isn’t just remembering

more holding truth to who we

are when a cloudy mind reflect

upon a gentle swaying we select.

~

Last night heard words ringing

soft reminders why we are now

Inside lovely dreams, a fantasy

in strength settling a symbolic sea.

~

I lay in bed awaiting a morning sun

gray skies gifted me a gentle breeze.


©️Thom Amundsen 4/2021

for k

A Certain Melody

I remember a time

traveling the highway

short ride to my exit

just off the city ramp,

~

So many occasions I thought

only of you

soft chords of a melody

when I listen tonight still …

~

Maybe it is the Beatles,

back then the Fab Four –

‘Back in the USSR’ meant little

beyond a lovely rhyme scheme

~

Tonight it has its own silent mystique,

a memory like 8th street after sunset.


©️ Thom Amundsen 4/2021

– for Karla

A World of Measures

We are a measured society. Our actions fall under values we would wish to believe manifest in our background, cultural mores, the manner we were raised, the people by which we surround ourselves. In order to feel a certain sense of security, I want to believe in doing the right thing, living a life of compassion, respect and understanding. I often fall back upon the only attribute I can always count on to help me move forward – the concept of love. We all have a penchant for understanding what kindness might do to enhance our own personal confidence in who we are and how we go about our lives.

What I just described is how I live my life. I might go through my day with concern of other’s perception of me, but nowhere in my day have I ever felt a concern for my welfare beyond evaluating my own actions and making the right decisions to maintain a moral and dignified life. I have never felt my reality to be threatened by violence of any sort. Even those bullying moments in my childhood didn’t amount to anything as traumatic as senseless loss of life over and over again. I lost my cousin when I was 12 years old – he and I were six months apart in age, and that tragedy changed the course of my young life. What is important to recognize about that moment is that I didn’t have to get used to loss being right around the corner of all my actions throughout every living moment of my existence.

I am a White man living a privileged life.

When George Floyd lost his life last May during the Memorial Day holiday, I struggled to understand his loss. I tried to imagine the pain his world endured and I could not wrap my head around it at all. I couldn’t go and visit the memorial. I felt like I didn’t belong there. I felt pain and compassion for his loss and the impact on the community, including the horrific repetition of a systemic assault upon the welfare and safety of people of color in our society. I realized the Black community lived in a measured life far different than my own.

Daunte Wright lived a measured life. His every action has been based upon and judged by the color of his skin. His safety was when he was surrounded by his friends, his family, the people he counted upon to always be there for him, to not judge him, to never ostracize his position in their lives.

I once sat in a roundtable discussion of an equity based forum, a group whereby I was one of only a couple of white participants in a mix of a dozen contributors. The end discussion was a share of how we all felt about the last hour of a courageous conversation. I spoke out and suggested this was a fascinating hour and that I needed to process this and probably write about my feelings later in the week. I felt confident I was speaking accurately from my heart. A woman on my right said to me, “I’m glad you are going to do that, to process this day – good luck with that.” She then suggested she will get up from the table and be immediately immersed with a need to survive as she goes about her afternoon. She said “I have to be aware of myself in my every move the moment I walk out my door in the morning until evening when I can return to the security of my own home.”

I was actually a bit shocked, perhaps mortified at my naive approach to the measure of someone else’s life far more impacted by the nature of racism in our society. A woman on the right of me after listening to me rationalize my ignorance then plead, “when are white people going to let go of their white guilt and just acknowledge their role in privilege in our society.” Stunned again I thanked everyone at the table for letting me share in the discussion and allow me to have my takeaways. I was humbled. I was measured in the moment, but that feeling paled to the measure I realized people of color will experience every moment of their lives.

Daunte Wright’s life was certainly measured and he suffered a tragic end to living his life in goodness and flaw. The paramount misperception without question the color of his skin. The evidence would suggest a travesty has occurred, one that repeats itself so frequently there are protesters today walking the streets wearing t-shirts with a dozen names printed in a list of losses our Black society has experienced at the hands of ignorance. The world around Breonna and George and Michael and Philando and now Daunte are rampant with a confusing measure of importance in a country where the color of our skin is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. It is important to understand how measures play a role in perception.

There will be push-back. There always is. I have a good friend whose husband, also a friend is a police officer in the twin cities. She once described to me the fear she has every time her husband has to walk up to a parked vehicle he has pulled over for a traffic violation. I wish that analogy could be as simple and educational as it sounds, but there is a greater argument to be had about discrimination, fear, confusion in a hurting society. We are all being measured, however there is a much greater consequence for people of color in a world that still after decades beyond the civil rights movement of the 60’s continues to perpetuate a thinking of ill-met measure and judgment that has nothing to do with the whole of our humanity.

We are all products of the same nature of human beings relying upon eating, sleeping and communicating with each other to live our lives in a kind, forgiving, loving manner. We all do live measured lives some with greater extremes than others. The truth is we need to be measured the same – we need to leave privilege behind and begin loving one another for whom we are rather than forcing our neighbor to adjust their lives based upon the color of their skin.

We need our measuring stick to endure the confusion and misperception of years of trauma and perpetual ignorance and begin to love one another with kindness and acceptance. We need to be measured by a universal humanity and not one of misguided and horrific judgment.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2021

A response to the tragic death of Daunte Wright, of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, of Philando Castile and the countless names that preceded death based upon fear.