Finding Streams

Go home and write

a page tonight

Let that page come out of you –

then it will be true                      -Langston Hughes


I ask them all to do it,

my students

wide eyed or sleepy

take these words and let them become yours,

tell us (me) about you,

what are you like?

what makes you tick?

pour out your life into a few lines on a piece of paper,

and then it will be true,

well, it is supposed to be because

that’s what I

the teacher

expect of you.

But is it me,

the teacher,

do I really know what I am asking,

do I get it,

asking her, him, them

to open up their lives

to my eyes on a piece of paper,

to share their soul and what they could believe,

much like the student

did living in Harlem,

going to an all white college

in the fifties,

and yet, that’s what he did,

his life over yours

over my own.

We all do have these lives we live,

no one really understands why,

just go forward,

have the better smile,

means more than the better ride,

well if it is sincere,

oh to be so genuine,

in a society like,

like this one,

we all still struggle to understand.


© Thom Amundsen 9/2020

Winds of August

Feel it when the breeze catches a frame of mind,

sudden shifting in your seat, rearranging,

wondering how it ever became so blind,

a nation struggling to understand and be kind.

 

We have lived this way now,

while everyone everywhere anytime,

has the same logic behind survival,

no one is really excluded, no rivals.

 

The winds of an august have begun a whine

like no other in our lives before,

we are asked, move forward, stay behind,

we are not really quite sure how to be.

 

We are living in a different time where all

heart and soul, dreams caught in rewind.


© Thom Amundsen 8/2020

The Mechanics of Time

A manner of words will carry weight

for the listener

far more likely than that speaker

for whom the end never arrives.

 

There is a wisdom in the quiet –

when will we ever understand difficulty

is far beyond

a matter of chosen explanation.

 

Might we sacrifice peace of mind

too often

rather than finding a way to live

accepting thoughtful compromise.

 

Certainly one cannot fathom

a notion of defense

would overcome the deceit apparent

is fraudulent dialogue.

 

A communication designed around time

and history,

once revered in a clocked day

become weeks of truth.

 

Days begin weeks become months

the years fly by,

and yet words once shared

do now become a travesty of time.

 

We are in the throes of this ‘human condition’

tossed about like pawns by our own volition.

© Thom Amundsen 8/2020

 

 

A Teacher In Covid

Already the interactions are painful,

the loss of touching hearts,

a lacking support

we each carry our own  grief

this virtual life apart.

 

Masks, cleansers, plexi-glass

we are talking teenagers

with opposing views,

a society brought in from home,

cannot imagine compliance,

if you believe that well you’re an as …

well, rather crass.

 

Different our lives,

having to rethink

that which will keep us wise,

only temporary

though lives are changed,

there is a certain grief

with losing that which we love.

 

Music, gatherings, a sport, the stage

All of these adjustments at this our age.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

On Letting Go

We are told, asked, suggested

sometime simple

plea

allow ourselves

remember only sweet memory.

 

Let the rest

all the pain and heartache

the shame and what ifs

become just that

alone

left in the past.

 

Oh to be so elementary

this a concept

a luxury in the peace of mind

so sought after

a yearning proposal

often unable to be felt

or practiced

analyzed to such a degree

the original idea

lost in the fabric

our own quiet

well-hidden lunacy.

 

For it is that which we seek,

a way to take a break,

leave behind a history

of resentments inside a facade

of happiness and a vision

would tell anyone nearby

life ‘rolls off of me’

and then I say goodbye

for today will be the promise

an uncharted new way.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

Letting Words Become Our Own

Have lost the day of the week,

my pen is dry of ink,

for the pattern of time did

dissipate and all mention

of passion did deteriorate.

 

In a wild search, looking

everywhere around us,

in our dreams,

daily routines,

a hot summer day,

a cold bitter frost,

every occasion

that man somehow

seems to need

to feel alive,

all containing words

just out of reach.

 

So instead there is a solemn

reaction to a lacking inspiration,

we seem compelled

to ask for attention,

rather than forgiveness.

 

Our own contemplation

of who we are,

where we have been,

how come we, this,

when did that last horizon

leave our own ambience

upon what once

is a consideration

of a stand alone

personal reckoning.

 

Where did they fall out of reach,

how will these ever match up.


© Thom Amundsen  7/2020

Hearing Voices

They are not loud,

in fact,

whispers that catch me,

wondering where.

They are in my head,

reminders

of why it is that way I am

will be my forever.

I sometimes in the silence

can imagine window sills tremble,

the sky is falling

inside my mind.

I wonder if you might know,

this feeling

is more powerful than

anything I will ever know.

Know it is true,

Know it can never go away.

No, no, know.

I Cried Tonight

seniors

photo collage – Lezlie Vermillion

 

While rains fell, I swam in the beauty of a summer shower,

the cloudy afternoon turning toward nature’s setting hour,

I think we all have our own conception of a romanticized storm

with its electrifying resonance, makes us each somehow conform.

 

This year has been a challenge to breathe, only in quiet we grieve.

Stale of a pandemic – a somber reminder of how isolate we believe

our lives would become in a manner of short-lived sordid silence.

We all stayed home together using a prescribed social distance

 

meant to keep alive, those whom we loved, could now only imagine.

We missed the dear lives we grew to know and watched a time taken

away in throes of mortality, the fear, the protective nature we live

only to suggest we are experiencing a historic timeline. We give

 

hope to the many children who walked inside the solace of a stage,

so many years did they play the roles whose time will never age.

I watched upon my seniors today, in pictures, experience in a way,

some tasking for ‘break a legs’ in a world asking survival each day.

 

Tears in my eyes as I live this constant reminder of a virtual  end,

careers, scripted lives, now faithful their realities eventually mend.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2020 – the year of the pandemic