An Unconditional Prelude

We stood and watched,

heard about a couple of planes

ascending into the atmosphere

above and beyond a toxic city.

 

We wondered aloud,

thought oh my, such a tragedy,

imagined only a particular moment,

far beyond our backyard,

we don’t even need a fence,

so convenient,

so far away.

 

We began to stare

a certain shock

this calamity of our social

atmosphere,

shutting down,

closing, ending,

creating financial ruin,

the livelihood of so many,

suddenly matters little,

not a bitter response,

just one of humanity,

a time to understand,

find meaning.

 

There is ahead of ourselves a prelude

asking, universal, unconditional love.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

Stepping Away

Many times in my life,

have I stepped away,

taken a breather,

had my hand forced …

yet, when does the time come when we can

honestly say,

the choice is my own

for me to decide

in some sort of even way,

not a hostile arrangement,

by any means,

so out of character,

would be defiance and doom and gloom.

 

Stepping away

would ask for only a settlement

in love, in passion, in pursuance

of those pieces of our lives,

our own peace,

our desire to understand

a world beyond

selfish need.

 

Reality is a dream,

we can see deep along a river path,

the blossoming of spring,

the lush imagination

allows us  to draw

our own own

sweet circumstance

the beauty of a fantasy,

the magic of our mind.

 

So we do step away,

on occasion within ourselves,

in other situations,

we ask for a pardon,

and yet,

the road away does seem to

carry the weight

of our own self-proclaimed tragedy,

with far less burdensome angst,

than

if we stay within the course

of simple travesty.

 

Outside, the sun had begun to shine,

an overbearing competition inside.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

A Working Man

I am a working man,

with a verve, passion, a concept

of what I feel is right

in the vocation that I am.

 

I need to see the might

of quickly drawn out ideals

that give me inspiration,

capture a full moon at night.

 

I watched her drive away

her smile was something to hold

wondering then what happened

to the silence of today.

 

This isn’t who we imagine,

the working man in his day,

has thoughts of some reaction

speak to personal, my chagrin

 

I am a steadfast human being,

drawn by a mechanical means

I cannot step away from love,

a sordid state of wooing.

 

She walked away from a life we knew,

and then ironic, so did she.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

A Giving Value

Its been awhile

since a recommended analysis

would take me,

move me,

ask me to respond to life

and resonate.

 

While the world

continues to cycle

a round

a mechanical need

to survive

the crossing winds,

seems logical

we might all

seek the same

peace and solace.

 

Yet, it’s been awhile

since peace of mind

seemed relevant

to my own thoughts …

rewind,

the constant

pouring truth

having to comprehend,

what it might be

our own personality

subjects actions,

always a challenge.

 

Stand on the precipice

see the miles of opportuinity

if in flight

we fall rapidly,

but the observation,

distant eternity.

 

Step away and enjoy the view

that part of you, gives value too.


© Scott F Savage 3/2020

Its Quiet Routine

Its

deafening balance is one to be reckoned,

the quiet inside a sallowed severance,

the act of dismissal,

the purity within timely terror

on life

on reason

on separation

on courage on and on and on and on

we go the circus of our lives.

 

Its

measure of circumstance

erupts in a vision,

perhaps it is a dream

the waking sun explodes upon

a memory,

washing away the moments

the solitude

the granted harmony

the swift

welcome left now to fester

a lost melody.

 

Its

cruel hysteric necessitates

a reminder why,

this slow eventuality,

years upon years,

giving days their own causal

sacrifice inside the solemn

nature of

a discord

a grief

a denial

a disbelief

a convincing declarative

demise.

 

When routine begins its own culture,

the words in mind could discern as tears.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

 

A Difficult Month

I have experienced loss this month, not simply grief of losing a loved one to the natural course of life. More presence and banishment. Not hostile as much as confusing. Many aspects of life have been exposed, many others kept in their dark holes of quiet solace from revealing my greatest fears. And yet there is the heartbreak of our lives that we always keep close to ourselves in order to find some sanity in our day to day.

I have known love on so many levels, and now I am being asked to love alone, without any recourse beyond knowing in my own seeming understanding of God or some spiritual entity that love does exist and continues beyond the mechanical or physicality of the human condition.

My belief is in God. I have kept that tucked away for many years because parts of our society do not accept the reality of some of our own ways to find personal strength in ourselves, in our lives. I remember a time over a decade ago when I was struggling and when finally coming to terms with whom I was in the moment, I sat in a chapel, looked at an altar and began to feel the tears stream down my cheeks. I didn’t hold back, I just let them fall, and the memories began to flood my mind. I thought immediately of my cousin Billy, who I miss so much, and my parents, and my childhood, and like a film reel my life ran its course of recall and redemption. I realized that morning that I could be okay with whatever decision I make in life because it is my own. I believed that day, that God was looking over me, and offering forgiveness. It felt unique in contrast to the many times I would on my knees or in a fetal position pray that God might take me out of this miserable life. That day God held my hand.

Recently I have returned to the church and it has offered me a unique peace. Though I still walk through my days with questionable motives. I have very good friends, a support system that is just short of phenomenal, but are we ever completely satisfied? There is a void in my life that I created on my own, that I find troubling because I fall into patterns of neediness that won’t allow that to be fixed. I have made a choice in my life that I could not possibly regret because moments do teach happiness and truth.

Today, my words gradually become more revealing. I hope they might speak the truth in what I feel, not simply words to fill the page and find reader’s eyes, but words that would somehow tell a story that when other’s hear, they have their own quiet ‘yeah’ moments. My mother always called them ‘aha’ moments, so I save her mantra for myself because I do love her and miss her dearly. With my dad the two taught us as a family how to live with one another no matter the struggle. We used to spend hours in debates with all of our family around the old oak table – freedom of thought without judgment. Something I miss dearly, but in writing we can find and use that venue to our own advantage to help define our thoughts.

So it has been a difficult month. I have returned to work in a capacity and the students are clearly my life blood. I see them throughout the day and their smiling faces is all a person needs in the moment. It is the hours afterwards that I will continue to struggle to find my own space, my own identity, my own truths.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2020

A Doll’s House – Part 2

Doll's House 2

For years I have been compelled to perform Ibsen’s A Doll’s House on a high school stage. The message, a premise of marriage along with inevitable and familiar failings speaks incredibly well to a society a century later still struggling with the concept of a union between two people. In my own interpretation of Ibsen and motive, I felt that Nora was no longer intrigued by Torvald Helmer’s rule of thumb, and as  a crusader herself for a ‘woman’ well before a time of authenticity in judgment, she made a choice that shook the family, if not certainly that auspicious society of marriage at the time.

In the original play, Nora Helmers walks out on Torvald and her children and there the story ends, the audience is left only to speculate her demise or future. What Ibsen does with this beautiful piece is speak clearly to a concept of marriage and unity, pitfalls and survival, that exist still in today’s modern society.

In Lucas Hnath’s contemporary revision, A Doll’s House – Part 2, the next chapter to a classic story, Nora returns to the home she departed from 15 years later, now a successful woman with a dilemma placed upon her identity. Under the direction of Joanie Schultz, the characters demonstrate an exercise in futility that remains a running theme from the moment Nora’s shocking return upsets the house nanny – Anne Marie. The encounter of the two both stark with worry of the other’s reaction is a comical way to dive into a work of serious consequence. Why has Nora returned after 15 years is Anne Marie’s most pressing concern.

The story unfolds to discover the legal documentation of Nora & Torvald’s divorce was never filed. Torvald refused to file the papers. Nora is now left with a successful writing career yet the possibility of being exposed and character destroyed because of this seeming ‘oversight.’ In the midst of this literal jigsaw puzzle several scenarios are part of an excruciating dialogue where every character including the now adult daughter of Nora begins a diatribe of blaming one another for the failure to come to terms with  marriage dissolution. What happens in the process of Nora & Torvald coming to terms with a difficult decision is exactly what our society today still nurses with a walking on eggshells fear of communication. The inability to be genuine and real with one another no matter the consequence.

The Jungle Theatre does an exceptional job bringing this consequential story to the mind of everyone in the audience. For me the play was exceedingly relevant in its ability to show everyone that despite the struggle, no matter the disparity, there is an outstretched hand of love that cannot possibly ever go away.

The only constant is Nora’s ability to again, depart.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2020