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

Finding a Moment

 Go home and write
      a page tonight.
      And let that page come out of you—
      Then, it will be true.
– Langston Hughes
~
Though when time would suggest
it is an easy ask,
this only task we have in life,
is to speak our truths,
who it is we might be,
what we believe,
how it could possibly be
that all of our time spent
in speculation
just another round of
wanting to know,
to give us reason
to live our lives by,
understand the whole
no matter the loss of insight
brought upon ourselves
with some unraveled deceit.
~
Finding the words
the best way to relate my story,
glancing out windows
where my life once used to be,
sort of meant to be,
the picket fence round gardens,
dog running free,
children in a play set
being watched by
you and me.
~
My view is a spotlight
across a little street,
windows like my own,
yet different lives,
we all seem to share a similar
structure
meant to hold form
rather  beyond an original,
that formula had its way
for decades or more,
and now,
in an aging pattern
of recognizing our mortality,
here to stay,
this will be the remainder
of my game.
~
I would look for my children
for theirs are the memory
I reflect upon,
standing by the river
teaching them both
how to dribble a ball,
skate on ice,
master a bicycle,
show excitement when they search
my own eyes,
rather than letting them see
some pain I must hide
I would wish they feel
laughter and love,
an eternal fantasy in dreams.
~
For now would these words be
the reality I am ask to only seem.

© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

This Letter

I would compose a letter that might or could

ought to contain everything,

yet there is that piece of the human condition

prevents everyone from being perhaps

Stephen King, or Charles Bukowski, even Sylvia Plath.

 

Emily Dickinson is said to have lived a reclusive life

in her bedroom overlooking a lawn where children played,

and yet, she only wondered, imagined,

wrote about all of the confusion she felt

while remaining locked inside her own mania.

 

And in a rather beautiful sense of nature,

living a life in New England where poets just seem

a natural part of the soil, was Robert Frost

penning his own recollections of a speaker

living lives with miles to go …

 

Then along came Langston Hughes,

he wrote about the Black experience,

but without hostility,

at least I didn’t feel it,

when his words did bleed compassion.

 

I think about writers and the lives they led,

what did finally inspire them to discover

the avenue of their words,

the memory in their lives,

created this need to express some pain.

 

Yet beauty too would be Maya Angelou in her Grace

with every ballad focused upon loving

one another, each other, the human race,

the pure humanity

exists in love.

 

So while I try to write a letter

wrap my head around my state of mind,

I weep a humility toward those that come before

the courage to speak their ‘wisdom’

rather than suppress the raw nature of identity.

 

We all have letters we would like to write one day,

heal the soul, allow eyes to open, hearts explode with love.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

Ode to Langston Hughes

I have admired you

From afar

In the pages that you appear

I even speak about your ability

To

Suggest

I mean, like, make a strong

Statement

~

I wish I might have seen you personally

Sometime at a slam, slamming, speaking

Utilizing

An opportunity that indicates peace

~

See

I wonder why we can never get past

The reality of our humanity

Why we sometimes allow

Fear

Insecurity – yours is mine as I might know yours

But right now your strong

Words

Those are real emotions

That’s why that’s why I just have to scream …

~

Once in awhile

It becomes very clear

That our lives could be complicated

What’s more important is the simple reality

Colliding with our moment

~

I’ll take twelve minutes and save the other

three minutes for you

because that’s all you need having already been there.