That Last Place

Months ago,

in an arid summer sun

I stood stunned

watching their feet play the edge,

up close, gravel and loose rock,

awesome picture for the den,

a wide expanse behind us all,

let’s us believe

there really is a top to the world.

~

Too far away,

too scared,

couldn’t make it anyway

I don’t know if it is the fear of crossing over,

or leaving behind feeling no longer wanted.

A speaker

could rationalize any reason

to want to disappear,

because it is them,

doesn’t have to be real.

~

Think about the time it would take,

versus all the hours to return,

how quickly the immediacy,

there isn’t enough time in a day to

ever understand

just why one choice over the other,

evinces that random inability to

cry.

~

I remember when I was a little boy,

something about a woman

everyone knew,

left all of them in confusion

though her words clearly made it real,

she spoke of no longer needing

the speaker,

to give audience to her own personal

demons,

the sad surrender.

~

I really don’t understand what it takes to recognize why,

I don’t know if I ever can.


© Thom Amundsen 10/22/2020 

a different life

Recently,

inside a fantasy

I was given something

not ever would I imagine.

 

Life doesn’t hold a

twist upon what we believe,

or chance

state of mind

might bury itself for years.

 

An orderly intimacy

drawn on paperwork eons ago,

the masters of a philosophy

in matrimony

created this our lives,

borne out of some necessity

let ourselves know love,

give our lives a moral code.

 

Raise children,

esteem values,

if in the midst of our growth,

if there is a mental breakdown,

an inability –

separate paths

seem distant in the wind.

 

A rain storm may have occasion

led to a questionable civility,

then it happens,

in the quiet of our own solace,

we do realize

yet seldom act upon,

a desire to return ourselves

to some identity forgotten

decades ago.

 

Though be thankful,

we have a grateful energy always

travels with our memory,

for we would not be the person we are today,

the longest path

is the one

where wisdom winds

upon the mind.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

Check Out Time

Have you ever,

bad day – attitude like a torrential rain storm,

not pretty just cold, damp, unrelenting,

unlike that one summer rain,

we walked around the lake,

feeling a mist was steady, warm, passionate

all of us soaked through our clothes,

everyone around in the same  state of mind,

waiting for their warming soup at home,

ah, lentil, chicken noodle, maybe some stew, too,

would make that day complete

feeling in love with the human condition

in her most revealing slate.

 

Though then thunder clouds

in their most frightening state,

suggestive

we might all know this

once

in our lives,

yet never wish upon anyone else

just learn to cope,

find your shelter,

ask forgiveness,

speak a new life,

imagine sunny horizons,

a positive outlook brings a smile

sullen solace suddenly serene.

 

Skies clear,

stars alight,

the moon again, my friend.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

Critical Circumstance

We do measure

our lives

our accomplishments

a steadfast ability to compete with

ourselves.

If might our lives not be

so easily swept by the tides of societal

expectation

what then might be our

end game.

Would we survive if we came

to realize

nothing else really mattered

beyond the satisfaction of, inevitably,

ourselves?

 

Oh so we are told,

or perhaps

in the manner of a scold,

to look to ourselves,

yes, us,

not beyond the measure of our soul,

only to recognize

the deeper commitment of our own

personal salvation,

must always be in the realm

of some

internalized realization.

 

Our lives,

who we are,

the world in which we have lived,

is based upon action,

only,

not philosophy,

more aptly

in the end,

it is truly the strides

we have taken in our own

efforts to not compromise what we believe,

instead we do try

to emulate

the beauty around us,

the simple freedom of appreciation,

rather than that criticism

of who we are,

what we might have been,

where we shall travel in our

long extended remaining

steps along some

theoretical

path in our lives.

 

We live to see tomorrow,

therefore is it presumptuous to believe

a next day matters less

than what has promised itself to be

the beauty of our past.

 

Forge ahead with a passion

this is the matter of such is wise.


© Thom Amundsen 1/2020

Walk With Me

A ride through hell

night sky invisible

the mind on fire

a slow reckoning.

 

When inside a dream

we might walk alone

finding only silence

her differed mystique.

 

Life happens so bold

is this all there is

again and again

the reputation of love.

 

Tight spaces and weight

the sort of ride we fear

nowhere to go

miles beyond our comfort

 

zone, that place we know

subtle glance vanish

her heart his tears

wondering just how when.

 

Might without an ask

realize this is forever,

though hope again,

a reminder of nostalgia.

 

Step across that threshold,

the battered soul will

always remind always

the surface far and away.

 

Walk with me he said,

she gave a glance,

his favorite moment

her eyes rolling in smile.

 

If two people might

move beyond the status

quo to appreciate real

love, certain passion.

 

When last we spoke,

an icy crest had shadowed

what once was a fire

felt with the scope of time.

 

Oh to have that energy

Speak desire, our synergy

First Glance

Eyes open

still in mourning

a soft reminder

precious

in the quiet of a breeze

rustling leaves

the next stage

a would be journey lay ahead.

What follows

will be stark extreme

immediate loss

in sensory perception

for some a routine

cycle of life

while others we know

traverse a newer universe

one shares in

solemn

Mortality

The Obituary

I wonder how they felt it might read,

summing up their life,

in a nutshell,

passing through all of the bad times,

focus upon the good, the energy, the meaning,

the society we live in deems the necessary truths.

If we knew,

would we then change our mind,

if we could stand in the back of the church,

see the weeping eyes,

the countless expressions of confusion,

would we,

care.

 

I wonder what mine will say today,

as compared to years from now,

which would be more attractive,

the present reality

or that seeming legacy that time forgot,

only the pain did always remain,

a constant,

within even a moment of relief,

there would be the memory of how many times,

we might have,

he might have,

thought differently than to withstand

normalcy.

 

Oh the papers they might read,

and then in a week or two,

there his ashes would be spread.

The Mourning Has Begun

The skies are gray with humanity,

powerful, frightening, a storm beyond the natural course of our lives.

 

In the comfort of home,

some homes, ours, yours, we haven’t direct connections with theirs …

Wait just a minute though,

seconds really, that’s all it takes today to look at the pain of a lost soul,

dragging their body, bodies, families through the rubble of

cause.

 

Whose responsible for the chaos,

the insidious nature of need, something defined outside the comfort of my home.

I will watch the news today like a natural reality show,

one that will actually receive ratings, sad to imagine.

We’re talking about ‘big moments’ now,

‘presidential posturing’

‘making a statement’

yet in the end, the end of the day, the end of a life, lives, neighborhoods,

children, women, fathers, mothers, co-workers, neighbors, lives.

 

In the shallow recall of international turmoil,

the comfort of my home seems callous.

“Homegrown Extremism”

“Homegrown Extremism” – President Obama

Really, it is difficult to argue a more stable and consistent response to a tragedy that confuses and impacts our lives as a nation. We did or did not know people directly. We did respond with our own theories and convictions of the reason for this tragedy. We were not there, so we didn’t experience first hand the true terror of this tragedy. We did in our own personal and private manner, experience the grief and pain of this tragedy. No one can question that. So now do we react? Or do we take pause – again – and begin to formulate a plan.

The only act we can do today is attempt to resonate a dialogue that helps – maybe not in this election cycle (a ludicrous reason), maybe not in this month, perhaps not this decade – continue the healing nature of recognizing how the human condition comes in a primary form far before the material gains of a party or biased way of thinking.

I choose personal faith, the serenity prayer, and hope –

(God) Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, wisdom to know the difference.

-the parenthesis are purposeful-

or perhaps this works instead …

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952

… finally, one of my mother’s favorite …

War Is Not Healthy For Children And Other Living Things – Lorriane Schneider

Check Your Need

Check your nails,

primp your hair,

fix your tie,

pull that food out of your teeth,

people die

~

Meet the boss,

play the silly fool,

smile to your strangers

walking by,

be sure we all can see your eyes,

people die

~

plan your life,

hug your animal

frolic in the springtime air,

plant your garden,

there’s more beyond the world you live,

people die

~

‘I read the news today, oh boy’

‘if you try sometime, you get what you need’

‘and you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack’

‘there’s a man over there with a gun in his hand’

‘stand up and be counted’

everything sounds so familiar and right when we lose!

~

for the years continue to climb,

lives begin and transpire

incidents define,

heart and soul and positivity decline

while we every day wake up to the morning news …

people still die.

~

© Thom Amundsen 2016 March

Lyrics

Beatles

Rolling Stones

Talking Heads

Buffalo Springfield

AC/DC