Once

There was this young man,

he didn’t understand,

lived his life

by some societal demand.

Each day,

from morning he began

to try to find answers

inside his own head.

 

The throbbing

always until night’s end,

wanting resolve,

wishing solution,

medicating blues

begging forgiveness

for strange ideals

he would never

readily realize.

 

Watching people

walk the same streets

always vigilant,

a constant

recognition,

perhaps a look in our eyes

that would tell

anyone nearby

we all feel

the same

anxiety

who, wanting

to know.

 

We live life

always

wishing redemption

once.

Once, In Sunlight

We did

in quiet observation,

attend of course

the eyes

windows that speak

well beyond the notice

of a fashion,

of a trend,

of an expectation.

 

Instead, just a glance

where both pain and joy

can reside,

can wait for the next opportunity

to speak aloud

in the framework

of sweet silence.

 

We are that coincidence

when two people

encounter one another

on a summer’s day,

in the heat,

the passionate embrace

of a spectacular

sunrise.

 

We look for the eyes

accentuate the why


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Ric Ocasek – Drive

Another rock and roll icon passed on today. His legacy with a certain genre of music caught my eye in the eighties. Most every song has purpose, in lyrics, in rhythm, the Cars were able to take us on a journey. There is one particular piece, has always stuck with me.

In ‘Drive’ the video I suppose makes it that much more powerful. I see a woman struggling with her own sanity, four walls around her protecting her own impulsivity, and the lyrics are haunting,

Who’s gonna hold you down,
When you shake?
Who’s gonna come around,
When you break?

I worked in mental health for a couple of decades, and in that time, I observed many struggling human beings in isolation. Our job, my job was to maintain their safety, to watch and make sure they didn’t try to harm themselves, but in that isolated space, they might find a calm, and return to the general population.

Some took hours, even overnight, some needed to be strapped to a gurney, rather than do damage to themselves. I always felt a certain compassion for their helpless nature in the throes of a psychosis. I watched tears, and I was in no position to offer them any professional solace, except one human being to another making sure they knew I was there to keep them safe.

So when I reflect on ‘Drive’ I realize the vulnerability of our lives, when we do become so lonely, there seems no solution. We make choices that we later regret, or haven’t a chance to regret. I think about an artist’s genius in what in their mind is just cutting another album, and part of the whole – sounds good in a mix, looks good in a visual, having really, sometimes, no idea the impact it might have on their audience.

I leave it to you to get through the ads, and watch the Cars speak to the frailty of the human condition, and yet plead for some common welfare to be found that will expand the possibilities of the human spirit.

 


© Thom Amundsen 2019

RIP – Ric Ocasek – The Cars

Our Spectacular Being

I can feel you,

crossing a path,

planting my feet in

the morning mud,

last night’s rainfall,

making apparent

the day ahead would

not carry the same weight

in a sunny afternoon.

 

I think about aging sometimes,

more than some would like,

I imagine those days,

suggesting,

if I could …

all over again.

 

I wonder what might happen,

would there be other

faults

to replace the ones

having beckoned

my mind for

a half century.

 

Would awareness allow me

to feel right in my dreams,

or how long might it be

that I come to terms,

with this new life,

no longer carrying

the reminder of the old.

 

I read a book today

about ‘letting go’

a scary reality

when there are those matters

we wish to hang onto

all of our lonely lives.

 

Yet, the takeaway

today,

was not that we could never

look back,

instead we might

find a way,

always

love the reality

of our time.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Walk In The Woods

Shelter immediate a quiet reaction in a forest,

knowing only the carved humanity

gave passage inside a wood,

a seasonal fascination with nature.

 

Such is the beauty of a wilderness

a recognition of some humility

the animal life, vegetation and looming

trees that spoke to an ancient history.

 

Wonderful is the breeze circulating air

a quiet walk turns to some melody

stand now listen, start again and feel

the woods a passion, glance, a glimpse

 

When maneuvering the crags and rocky

exterior of lives  comfort habit

the bounding slams of a bear feet away

our own humanity with their territory.

 

Pick up rocks we might recognize truths

We the humans are children of their home.

The Importance of Beauty

We live in a society of measure. Of mirrors and reflections and purposeful glances. We operate by sensing physicality alone, even when made aware of a far deeper context to what is beauty in our lives, in our society. This is an important subject to dwell upon in light of the ugliness we are experiencing in our own country, in the world itself. The idea of glamor far exceeds the recognition of beauty and how it operates in the well-being of ourselves, our friends and family, our planet.

I remember as a young child knowing what beauty was in an innocent mind. I watched Diana Ross on Ed Sullivan, I noticed the screaming young girls at the front of a stage at a concert for the Beatles. I was madly in love with Gidget or Marcia Brady of course. In all those examples I was focusing on their physical attributes, which gave me a foundation as young boy to know what defined beauty in my life. It wasn’t until I watched a dear friend perform her gymnastic composition on parallel bars that I began to know another definition. It wasn’t until I walked home with a school mate, though a couple years older than me, and striking in her glamorous demeanor that I noticed beauty in a different level.

In watching my friend perform I was struck by her commitment to what she loved at the time, an athletic prowess as a young woman, one that allowed her to become a state champion in her abilities. To me that wonderment of effort was beautiful to observe.

Later in life, listening to a friend of the family talk about what is important, as we crossed our familiar bridge on our way home from school, and descended a hill that held our neighborhood. She was teaching lessons as a 12th grader to a 9th grader, how important it was to love yourself before you could love others. In listening to her, I realized there was more than fashionable jeans, a chic style sweater, perfect hair to define the beauty inherent with my friend. She taught me about compassion and that began for me a different focus upon beauty in our lives.

One day as a twelve year old I was getting a ride from my sister to basketball practice. She asked me what was wrong as I slumped in the passenger seat. I told her I was lonely, didn’t know what to do about it. She stopped the car, turned to me and said you have to find a passion in your life. As a twelve year old, I blushed and imagined passion to be something sexual, and I couldn’t believe she was telling me this. She then explained the word passion is not simply about sex, it is about loving what you do, finding something that gives you the ability to believe in yourself because your energy is drawn completely to accentuating your own passion.

That lesson from my sister, the walk with my friend, the athletic prowess of my schoolmate, all of those pieces of my life gave me opportunity to recognize a more holistic approach to understanding beauty in my life.

Certainly as a young man, I was still drawn to the beauty of woman, the wonder of her elegance, in the summertime, the fascination of her stylistic manner of wardrobe on a cold winter’s day, how intriguing it was to know she would be cognizant of a look she wanted to have in the midst of a bustling society. I remember knowing a woman who I watched cross the street one day, wearing a striking rain jacket and green knee high rain boots.

Her image has stayed with me all my life, as did the day she and I were lounging in her apartment, and I commented on her jeans, and she gave me a smile and said she had been wearing them for eight days. I thought that was the coolest thing, her sweet comfort level with her own self image caused me to feel beauty about her person, well beyond a physical characteristic.

I think the deeper context of who we are is often easily forgotten about, put aside, neglected. I have a brother who in his elder life, now sits in an art museum and curates the lovers of a gallery in his home town. We had a chance to visit him one afternoon, and he was so in his element – he knew the history of all the works in the gallery, and his smile radiated as we walked through the rooms. I took his picture afterwards because I wanted to have a record of the beauty that shined from him internally. He looked to be a happy man.

Beauty for me holds a lot of different values. Seeing a band perform live, watching my students reach fruition on the stage with their efforts. Observing a student find their way in a classroom studying a subject they have never understood. Seeing students take chances and risks knowing one another beyond a superficial level. Watching my family evolve as I see my two children continue to strive for happiness in their lives rather than letting hardships discourage them. Having close friends dear to your heart that are there to support you, laugh at your whims, share dialogue and understanding for your own passions.

That word passion comes back every time I struggle. The passion to seek, the passion to address needs of concern, the passion to love. We are a vulnerable lot easily drawn to the pain in our lives rather than seeing the beauty of who we are and accentuating beauty in the lives of those around us. My hope is that the people around me, those I am closest to, can see beauty for what it truly is, to give meaning to what is important, beautiful and eternal in our lives.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

I Cry, Sometimes

Sharing a story,

recalling a significant

rite of passage

in my childhood,

Not one I chose

I might be so

reminded.

 

One day,

her glance

a twelve year old mind,

frightened by tragedy,

submission to God’s plan,

a confusion,

yet her eyes,

would tell me a story.

 

I then

and forever

touched

would struggle my means

would understand

only a criticism

I would believe

in my own heart,

only to find,

years upon years,

I would recognize

her heart to be pure

holding firm

a supportive glance

in a time of sadness.

 

Oh, today,

I did cry,

I felt a passion

to share, to allow

a soul

might know

my own choices

in a life

where all of my instincts

tested

at a very young age,

one OI would choose

to live again,

a parallel life perhaps

touched by

happiness.



© Thom Amundsen 2019