A Distant Child

In a quiet state I would recognize the distance

Between the now of experience toward childhood

We might wish to have a redo on pain if we could

Seems a simple prospect to imagine all is chance.

 

When returning to some original memory in life

Oh to know the patterns that drove our own fight

Or flight, the summer weather such intrigue in light

Of finding ourselves amongst the massive strife

 

Inside a dream we could walk for miles in the sand

Feeling only the beauty of the sea carrying away our

Imagination, our intrigue with stepping beyond power

That illusion of knowing we could withstand demand

 

Live your life she said, he said the world in silent release

Would rather only our sanity to discover our own peace.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Pieces of Time

I wonder about what might remain,

the pieces of me throughout a memory,

is it my own, someone I knew,

I know,

a circumstance I cannot return.

 

If I were to wander far enough into the forest,

might I be sure to follow

some path

a traveling analogy

holding promise for tomorrow.

 

Forever is the time we remember,

when everything else we know

falls victim to promise,

our lives amidst the mix

of the masses.

 

Who might ever recall a sadness,

when a happy moment awaits,

shoring up the energy

to celebrate

the human condition.

 

Cast away the doubt of recall,

for there might be some journey

ahead

we could never predict,

yet plod on forward with a smile.

 

If asked what it is I might be listening

now in the twilight of winter

beckon the cool winds of a sky

waiting to descend

sweet air of a crystal midnight.

 

Oh if I might seek such is time,

would discovery ease a life strain.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Ground Breaking Rules

When in childhood,

I once stood in the forest,

friends having descended the trail,

a night of surreal

exploration of the wood,

a morning fire,

a quiet reckoning.

 

Having forgotten a knife,

knowing it to be on a rock,

the rings of stone,

suddenly erupted

while coming upon,

the late night stories.

 

There is a blessing,

in the revisit,

perhaps a spiritual

guide,

a sense of

realizing Nature

needs such attention,

as my barely covered

feet stamped out

a reality of tragedy.

 

The reception of my friends,

a fatigue of waiting,

I recalled the story,

their laughter infectious,

imagining

if we had all been part of

an innocent scheme

to wipe out wood,

kept the lives of

eyes that met our silence

in the quiet of night.

 

We all do face our demons

in vivid flames of abandon.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

the ‘august’ of my childhood

for I remember when only as a child

I would on a hilltop nearby

cry out my fears alone at the edge of gravel

a pathway held my dreams

and my sanity

for alone I could scream

without being known,

only I might be the wiser

in a world so overthrown

as some confusion,

the medley

of a young boy

nearing his own insanity.

 

for I would then depart that hilltop,

walk the gravel trail,

return to my world,

this sea of humanity,

claiming to know the truth,

by their actions,

those of which I watched

intently,

wishing to find some avenue

a comfort level

would give allowance

to teenage angst rather than a

labeled disorder.

 

for now might be all the decades of time

the traveling monologues

starlit nights,

and golden sunrises,

clouds might give some detailed reminder

of life as it is

meant only to be lived

rather than caught in some constant

scrutiny of why that determines

well-being.

 

My struggles well documented

in the porous fabric of my mind,

tales of which I might

redefine,

in order that some peace of mind,

peace of mind,

peace of mind,

would that I could piece together

this static fame of mind.

 

I am in the ‘august’ of my childhood,

oh such is life that took us

on a roller coaster of emotion,

the different degrees of temptation,

obliteration of dreams,

the calming sea of

finding solace

in the truth

that speaks to that

lonesome road

so often felt

yet clearly denied

for sake of some

sweet symbolic stability.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Who I Was, Who I Am

A script exists for all of us,

none of which will drag on

no melodrama

only the reality of our lives.

 

We choose to want to know

long before we ever have a need

the two iconic parallels

oh wants and needs, oh travesty.

 

I once took a ride on a city bus

staring off into the world,

I didn’t notice my mother

walking alog the side.

 

Later that night she outed me,

said she noticed and tried to wave,

said I ha look, a certain disposition

like I was wanting a different life.

 

Mothers are funny that way,

not willing to share the reality

unless the effort is made beforehand,

the pains, such are gains we feel.

 

I once felt like my world was a Hollywood movie

no Oscar by any stretch

scene to scene playing out the real

inside the illusion of dreams never had.

 

What I was and now seem as I am

has no bearing on whom I wish to be.

Coming Home Again

When I was twelve, I found a copy of Thomas Wolfe’s classic, You Can’t Go Home Again, I remember being profoundly impacted by the title. Just the words alone made me wonder about home, and in my 12 year old mind I thought of my cousin Billy, who had just passed weeks earlier in a tragic car accident. He was a close friend, a cousin, and a model of a human being whom I aspired to, but whose magic had departed at an early age.

At Billy’s passing, the tragedy effectively shut me down, I was a ghost of myself for the next few months, and really didn’t have any clue what life meant to me anymore. I only knew that my cousin was gone, and I could no longer count on him to be there next to me as a child growing up in a confusing world. What used to be important to me suddenly didn’t matter. We were embroiled in the Vietnam war, and now all I paid attention to were the names scrolled on the news of the dead U.S. servicemen. Somehow I related that to my own loss.

President Nixon would resign in six months, Spiro Agnew already convicted, the political world that my mother paid attention to with every pundit’s prognostication began to have meaning in my life. I was raised in the 60’s so I already had experienced the loss of the Kennedy’s, MLK Jr., Malcolm X and countless others through the eyes of my older siblings and parents. Yet, as things settled, I kept still trying to figure out what Wolfe meant with that engaging title. So, I read the book.

I remember being fascinated with how fiction would somehow expose reality, how the community didn’t respond well to the writer’s focus, and the meaning began to take shape. For the next few years, my life evolved as a child turned troubled teenager in the city of Wausau, WI. I attended three different high schools, had academic struggles, dabbled in alcohol and drugs and was generally a classic mixed up kid with a lot of baggage that followed me until I could finally leave town. I moved to the twin cities and slowly carved out a world for myself.

Tonight, I return to Wausau four decades after I left, though I have been here many times since, I now have a better understanding of Thomas Wolfe’s meaning when he wrote his book. He didn’t necessarily intend to suggest he was ostracized or banished from his community, really more likely he was acknowledging that change is inevitable and we all must be prepared to accept the challenges that life might have in store for us.

Tonight, I drove into my hometown in the middle of a snowstorm. I drove past city markings familiar to my childhood, and realized while the snow fell as regularly as it did when I was twelve years old. I remember burying my cousin Billy in Minneapolis while snow gathered on the treetops along the winding roads around Lake Calhoun as we caravanned to the cemetery to pay our respects. I looked down 28th avenue as we drove into town, my home 40 years earlier, my life now settling into an early autumn. I realized I could come home again.

If, Wonder Might Recall

We circle our lives

in a constant twirl

deciding upon a sacred

trust of following trails

cascading in waters

a fresh, puritanical veil

we are always looking,

wondering, in a wander

if this is what is meant

to be our only real.

 

Remember when as a child

the sweet irony of morning

the sun cast across the sky

our lives simply meant this

moment only, nothing beyond,

we could dance forever

in a myriad of circumstance

always feeling welcome

in the world we did belong.

 

Sometimes today,

when glancing in our

rearview mirror on this

our life we lead,

we wonder about the tools

we carried forward,

those we left behind,

the evils, the strain,

the confusion,

if only we could keep

ourselves moving forward.

 

There seems a purpose

to all of this, our memory.

What Really Means Love Today

Lately the news has been grim. We seem to be riding on this roller coaster of misinformation that draws our compassion in far too many directions. It really appears that on any given day we could lose sight of what is really important to us, based upon where we see our world headed. At least for me that is a fear. Sometimes I wonder if it just self- persecution or if my insight is really trying to match up with my intuitions.

I’ve always been a feeling person, one that operates from the heart. I can sit in my home and feel tears when a dad is making sure his daughter is ready for college, because that same emotion impacted me when my little girl started her first year of college away from home. I remember, I cried all the way home, a two hour drive where I really thought I had lost my world and I wasn’t ever going to have it back. But fortunately she did return a stronger and more confident, now, young woman, whom I am so very proud of.

My son has had a similar effect on my life. I have a picture of him and I standing on the shores of the Temperance river – me kneeling and he standing next to me with his Twins cap and a smile – pressed lips smile. We were together and we had just had a lot of fun and it was a moment frozen in time that for many years afterwards I would struggle because I wanted that time back. He grew up, found his own life and moved into the next chapter of his young adulthood. I thought I lost him, and there were many nights when I cried myself to sleep. But now today, he’s a strapping young man, and he has a good life, one that I can be extremely proud of.

It is those moments of reflection that I do understand the meaning of love. It is such moments that I look at the world around us and I wonder if everyone feels the same way I do. I wonder if people watch the news and they sometimes lose hope because there are so many wrong things happening, that our minds cannot wrap ourselves around them soon enough. In trying to do so, we forget those moments in our lives that have greater value. It is the people we love that we are close to and count on knowing and seeing throughout the various chapters of our lives.

I think that’s the piece we have to stay focused on. What is important is to know the love we already have and can feel in our family, our loved ones, those friends we are closest to, the people we know we can trust and count upon on a daily basis. I think by doing that we can by example be representative of a good, peaceful march upon the negativity that surrounds us.

I think we all need to practice love.

A Little Boy

when I was a little boy

I had no idea

the man

I would become;

inside all of this

anxiety

remains that little boy

screaming

sometimes to not recall

the day

innocence gave its

departure notice

to his only

grasp upon

sweet reality

 

when I was a little boy

I understood

universal

love

When A Child Dreams

I would dream summers

running through hemlock

brush scratches naked calves

the moment, lost in its mystique

 

When we were kids

we were ushered out of the house

play until you drop

play until you drop

 

We didn’t mind

being ushered out

we were in our element

children of summer

 

When I was a child

I didn’t imagine barriers

there wasn’t a risk of

seeing a friend bloodied

 

We didn’t walk around

waiting for our parents

who were never to be found,

unless of their own volition.

 

When I was a younger boy,

I could run for hours,

feeling the heat of summer

knowing the thrill of joy

 

In my wildest dreams

I was never sought, ushered,

told to stop my scream

for justice beyond my dream.

 

Today, the children of summer

are everywhere and far away

from the beauty of love

the compassion of a tender tear.

 

Today, I do recall freedom in my childhood,

I weep alone for the children of summer.