First Moments

When doubt begins to wonder

and all the souls that gather around

suddenly want to splinter off,

an edgy sort of raw scrape upon our

own fragile sanity.

~

We might think we know,

protest the moment,

rather respond with a reaction

that only suggests we are

as fucked up as we believe ourselves.

~

What happens when we really cannot

our bodies, our selves

an old adage we once called a title

seems now so profound only wants

to speak to the here and now.

~

I remember one time,

I could clearly see the grain of a wall,

having looked so long

a blank slate of never ending worry

just across the room, just there.

~

Have we ever wondered why

each of us operates by our own set of rules,

despite knowing otherwise

fall on my sword

before I ever imagine something wise.

~

Seems a song playing on the radio

helped me know who I was,

know what pain felt like,

when a strung out heroine addict

was found dead in a seedy restroom.

~

Somebody cared about that moment,

they came and rescued his soul,

there was some reason to know why

yet the questions would always

far outweigh that sad reality.

~

Those moments when we suddenly

find our way,

when through the quiet of a morose

state of mind,

we ride the crest of that initial pain.

~

Those first moments we’d rather never explain.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2021

A Certainty is Rage

When at wit’s end this identity does unravel,

the spirit, the mind, that epicenter of our brain

begins to take its own journey

while the body will always forever remain.

Hard to know where the mind goes

when stuck in idle unable to let go.

~

There is a response to fear and anxiety

a shutting down of the factory,

all working parts forcibly placed on leave

in order to comprehend the nature of this pain.

Watching the year end,

yet knowing our lives are not over,

we are meant to go forward

an unprecedented commitment lay ahead.

~

I once told a kid, a student, a young man,

while crying in my classroom,

‘this is a brief moment in your life’

when he wailed about losing

a privilege to walk with his peers

with their heads held up high

and a diploma in hand.

~

I looked him in the eye

and said those dark moments will not

ever defeat him, he will move forward,

and make a life of his own.

~

I told him with a passion, a compassionate plea,

do not give up, you must please set yourself free.


© Thom Amundsen 12/2020

A Stirring Conversation

So, I have been feeling poorly recently – what an exciting start right? A real grabber. My point is though I was feeling bad for myself because any type of illness I immediately imagine Covid, and I go through the motions of the test and it comes back negative – well that is my assumption this time around. Chest cold, flu, earache, swollen glands, sore throat – every ugly combination. So I complained about that to my friend.

She asked me to take a minute and think about it. Imagine being homeless with no shelter knowing the cold winds are ahead with winter looming, little to eat, no fresh water. Go a step further and live the life of a displaced refugee stranded without food and medical care and essential living needs. Think about anyone that feels their lives are in jeopardy due to a chronic illness, terminal diagnosis, and then reflect back upon my common cold. Please do not imagine I diminish the tragedy of Covid in people’s lives in any manner. The words were just rather humbling, and did make me step back and feel a pang of embarrassment, guilt, remorse. I’m turning those toward more reflective ways to ponder upon our lives. Someone out there will say quickly, life is relative, don’t try to measure it.

I do live a fortunate life. I think I will step out briefly today and pick up some Tylenol and tissues.

I’m sorry.

Stepping Inside

I found this enormous chasm,

walls beyond my reach,

a dank stream of sarcasm

flowing in between broken lives.

I have had a fear of this place,

a very long time,

ever since once in a moment,

I felt a silence in my mind.

Sorting through shuttered windows,

imagining teeming lives outside

while perception stand alone

enabling now the shrinking walls.

A certain tightness in this acrid air

give a visionary a repulsive response

to wondering just why, tell me how

we lost contact our wandering sky.

Discovering there really are limits,

vaporous form sans freedom emits.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

Distance Learning

So, I imagined this happening,

the wave of the virus,

would shut us down,

remove our access to the classroom.

 

A part of me appreciated the break,

I could still with students,

have a dialogue in the distance,

never contemplated the reality.

 

Then the news,

the overbearing sentence

of every teacher, every student,

we were suddenly thrown a ball

 

and we missed, no one could grasp

the nature of our loss,

of their loss

of a world of we miss you.

 

Here we are now,

a beautiful day,

one would say,

grasp the sunlight’s rays

 

We are a positive group,

this humanity,

we will endure

like wars and 9/11.

 

Oh you will not rule us,

please COVID 19,

know we’d rather not assumptions,

we wish everyone to know you.

 

Wear a mask,

stay at home

wear a mask stay at home

we cannot deny your influence.

 

We will overcome the nature of this fear,

We must stay together, live our sphere.

11 AM

It is when I read the news,

the WHO

releases numbers

some refuse to hear,

yet I am curious,

if not a little scared.

 

I looked outside tonight,

used to live on a quiet street,

maybe three cars an hour,

tonight,

on a busy highway,

a couple of cars, blocks apart,

8 PM,

not even bar time,

not close to rush hour

just a traffic glut

on a regular night.

 

I stopped in the grocery,

crossed paths with masks,

curious eyes,

downcast glances,

not a lot of conversation

when avoiding

human interaction.

 

I’ll go to bed again tonight,

I’ll be alone tonight,

the new me,

getting used to an isolation

without a cabin nearby.

I’ll think about those I love,

I miss,

I yearn,

my double life,

has become

a singular challenge

waiting on

tomorrow,

the news.


© Scott F Savage 3/2020

The Sudden Nature of Touch

I am in my quiet,

the fortress of my own

 

isolation.

 

I’m doing everything right,

six feet apart,

wash your hands,

clean your countertops,

do the laundry,

wear gloves at the gas station,

(wait I didn’t, a week ago, what if … )

 

So many, wonders, what if,

thank God I have my dog,

the only issue though is when he reaches to

 

 

touch me,

 

 

it usually ends in an abrasive

scratch,

I’ll rather have you close than

catching me in full gallant leap.

 

I can think of other times in my life when that

unconscious leap occurred

into the arms of one we love,

 

of those we love,

 

of the beauty and grace of a hug

of knowing we were consciously

being held.

 

I no longer imagine my friend

who was in her own faze

 

of the healing nature of a hug

 

asking for a constant hug

to such a degree,

would I take a turn

a distant hallway,

find a stairwell,

a corner to escape this moment

 

of discovery.

 

I would like that moment back,

or maybe let’s wait a week from now,

I promise,

I will shower,

wash my hands,

wipe down my countertops,

keep a six foot distance,

until no longer

do I need to repress

 

my own desire,

 

a need to be held,

 

a wish to hold

 

a screaming irony to avoiding those hugs

throughout the entirety

of my own

chosen

 

isolated life.

 

COVID 19 rant


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

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

Thinking the Essence of Man

Who are we

he said

over a beer with a friend,

troubled by the circumstance

of a gender bending

authority

in his mind,

yet

in another’s

an opportunity

perhaps to find Grace

between man and woman,

to know some

spiritual guidance

will take our lives much further

then simple rejection.

 

Oh, but simple is not truth,

this analogy

seems a convenient

escape beyond our

self-described realism.

 

Man is not alone,

in a sweet testament

could if found

embark upon a journey

perhaps a sojourn

of forgiveness

to know only that

she

might, may, could, will be

a savior

in the fault

of human pride

the human condition

as it plays out

ego.

When Walking in the Wood

I noticed tonight,

a deeper darkness

filling the mysterious quiet

of the wood, a forest of our mind.

 

We choose now today to be afraid,

we could walk freely

when in the stone castles

a moat our greatest fear.

 

Oh certain there were evil

lurking inside the shallows,

yet vulnerable as we might

have been, then it was so rare.

 

Today, and every day now,

it is not simply the forest life

watching our every move,

yet it is a jungle of lost humanity.

 

Such is a definitive cry of woe

to know our lives in a technical

brainwash of social embrace,

we forget a silent walk when alone.

 

Oh to know that forest of old

a place whereby our lives so bold.