Hang Onto Dreams

Oh how we do experience fallout

letting our safer dreams fade into blue

the light of day soon cast away from view.

Eyes begin to lose life tossed about

 

in the mainstream; an acceleration

of a mechanical nature spans time.

(imagine lives driven only by rhyme).

We saviors within our own affliction

 

must then resort, balance upon virtue.

When in the heat of salvaging mind

would battling truth a constant we find,

recall sweet the elixir – living true.

 

Don’t ever let we might somehow release

sweet imagination, a twilight peace.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2020

The Strength of a Statesman

obama

Last night I couldn’t wait to hear what former President Obama would say to our nation of 2020 graduates. He has always, since that first stump speech, tried to provide a positive perspective on our lives. Whether people would like to simply reduce his words to only rhetoric, the fact remains they are his own, whether rehearsed or spontaneous. I think it is important to recognize how a public figure in our lives can become a Statesman, and just how much strength that gives them in respect to who they are today compared to a past life so often referenced.

I noticed on social media last night and this morning all the raves and support President Obama received after his speeches yesterday to the “graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and to the high school graduates of 2020” (Wanda Fleming Notebook). I heard people say things like, “God I miss him” or “so down to earth” as he once again put words of possibility into the young hearts of America.

The students listened, and we do all continue to listen to his words. Certainly there will always be disagreement, and I respect that; however, if done in malice then all we do is break down what anyone tries to say no matter their capacity before our lives. I think with Obama we get the true nature of a man who knows how to work a crowd, but when given the opportunity does it with character and integrity. There isn’t a wow factor in his words as much as a hope and promise. He would like people to find a way, again, to smile and realize there is much to believe in ahead of us all, young and old.

To me, those are the components of a Statesman in our country, and what is important to realize is that this person or any persons who can reach such capacity are not going away. Their words still remain, it is up to us to listen or pass off. Last night I listened.

In my life I have watched many people in positions of power become Statesmen in their next lives as we speak to everyone’s newest chapter. When President Carter left office, he was quietly ridiculed by people that were the seeming nuts and bolts of governmental machinations. He went silent into the distance, and then became the gentle giant he is today, as one of our more powerful Statesmen in the country. One of his foundations, ‘Habitat for Humanity’ has a sublime history supporting our impoverished and homeless not only across the United States and America but the World. This all happened because of the passion of a man that believed in his country, in the fellowship of man. President Carter believed in doing what is right for society, not himself.

I believe I have seen this in nearly every President that has left office after having an either illustrious or embarrassing experience as the leader of our country. I have always believed myself to have moderate views on politics, most would look at me and shout liberal, very few would imagine conservative. Maybe it has to do with the clothes I wear, the length of my hair, my own insecurity with a philosophy, but the fact is I believe in people far sooner than I do any political affiliate. I feel for the human condition long before I attach myself to any religious orthodoxy. I think our ability to remain open to everything that happens around us is a key element to surviving not only this life-changing pandemic but everything we experience in our lives.

I watched as President Nixon became a criminal in the eyes of America, and then years later began to receive acknowledgement with his prowess for foreign diplomacy despite his alleged personal perils running the country. I will not believe he passed on in disgrace, more a Statesman. President Kennedy really didn’t get a chance. I reference him only because he was the first President I experienced as a toddler. I became increasingly aware with age.

I have watched both Bushes become recognized for not simply their philanthropy but their kindness toward what we find to be our world. I never thought I would say that about either, certainly not ‘W’ but now today, I do, because I listen to who they became and have become since leaving office. Perhaps they don’t stand before a podium nearly as often as some, but when they do, their voices are heard and they are respected by everyone. Will we be able to say that about every person that leaves the most visible and powerful position of office in America? For me, that reality is what caused Obama’s words to so resonate yesterday evening.

Even Ronald Reagan left an endearing legacy while his mind struggled to pass gently into the night. The thing about Reagan is he was the same man that entered the office of the Presidency that later left. He did not attempt to make himself something that he was not.

A person does not have to agree with politics to recognize the beauty in human nature. For two decades I lived in a neighborhood of mostly conservative republicans whom today I consider close friends well beyond our political views. We can even talk about politics together without upsetting each other, undermining one another, abusing our right and privilege to exist in and around society together. I thank my family for that attitude because from the moment I could speak, I learned how to defend myself and listen to others with true passion.

I think the values that have allowed us to carve out some niche of who we are today, do evolve from listening to those speakers. They are not just ‘holding the codes’ are capable of ‘pressing the button’ on our survival or demise. True speakers in my lifetime are the one who long after their visible duties have been retired, continue to embrace a world with words of logic, of consciousness of kindness.

Last night, I believe that was President Obama’s motive, and I am grateful. During this time of confusion, hardship, fear as doors begin their opening, there are a lot of posts reflecting what life will be like when we do re-enter society. Please do not imagine for a moment that people’s struggles today are temporary. It is a frightening prospect to know what this pandemic has done to so many lives already struggling long before the outbreak occurred.

Despite fear and the unknown, the strongest belief I wish to hear day in and day out is – Be Kind.

I believe that was Barack Obama’s motive yesterday, and he wakes with the same today.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

Wanting Relief

Last night I listened to the winds howl in melody

seems they were speaking, warning of a parody.

So quickly our lives, my own, grooves self importance

wanting only to observe, less patience more chance.

 

I speak in my head a constant life of simple romance

that sort that would suggest our lives live in a trance.

The famous writers who could travel in love’s pain

a prowess with words, retelling always the reader’s gain.

 

I wondered how long it might be in this state I remain

whereby my actions would prevent me feeling the rain.

Where simply do we go when the winds to pull us under

An impossibility, our minds will not be want of wander.

 

Last night I listened to the winds howl their melody,

A certain peace is Her vibrant reminder the ready.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2020

The Monster

He walked alongside,

non-descript,

hoping to be noticed

in order to quell

such is the pain inside

of an insecure mind.

 

Started as a child,

one day he lost all hope

in the manifest of

life over death,

or the cruel hand of God

in what we call a miracle,

yet absurd,

inside the fear

is simple departure

of the one we love.

 

That internal flame,

became ignited

virtue of a confusion,

the wonder of why,

the angry response

to losing someone we love

at the hands of innocence,

where that person,

that wonderful being,

is cut short.

 

A woman recently,

suggested I take the knife out of my back,

its is a long line to

understanding

why we carry the demons we do,

when in reality,

if we could just live our lives,

we might

discover

a certain peace,

the one we see

in the eyes of those

we may never know.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

Thoughts in a Covid-19 World

I haven’t felt like writing for quite some time, but today I received the inspiration I was pleading, and so it goes that I want to talk about this Covid-19 crisis that we will seemingly endure for quite some time. It will change our world, our lives. The number of positives today reach 169 in Minnesota alone, not to speak of the enormous numbers across the world.

Our lives are impacted as we all get used to this self-quarantine in our homes. The temps outside are just shy of my desire to take my bicycle out, though newly tuned, I am thinking at least a short ride in the late afternoon when the temperature peaks. That would seem a freely healthy move inside this isolation.

I am a coffeeshop guy and I went through early withdrawal with the words of our Governor shutting down any inside seating. It makes frightening sense to me now as I watch the numbers and their daily rise. It is important to recognize these are real people and not simply numbers. People’s lives across the world are changed, forever. People have lost loved ones like a germ warfare attack throughout Europe and now having reached the states, it is clearly an epidemic not seen since perhaps the Polio outbreak.

I’m a teacher so I don’t have to go into work. We are planning to go online with our courses in a couple of weeks, not only finishing a quarter but perhaps completing the school year online. I haven’t wrapped my head around that. At the same time I appreciate the time off to get my head straight with my own personal life, I realize our work, as experimental as it is, so vastly impacts the lives of our students. I hope to give them a solid foundation for their education in both core and elective classes.

I run a  theatre program that will shut down for the spring if these effected lives do not begin a downturn in the weeks ahead. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. As I sit here with a mild cough, I get nervous, and wonder about the thousands of lives in Minnesota already infected. Again, I’m only focusing locally, because really that is all my brain can muster right now. Looking out my window, I know that on everyone’s mind outside that walks by, is the virus. We are living a summer blockbuster. The only difference is it is real.

I think as a teacher, someone said recently, maybe now our profession will be appreciated when families are stuck at home rather than sending their children to school. Well then I would say all of those people in all professions need to be respected for the impact staying home has on their livelihood, and then don’t forget the medical personnel in all capacities who are dedicating their lives to curbing the spread of a virus that they cannot even clearly see a vaccine that will brings this to a halt.

My car has 12 miles of gas left in it before empty, and I am not in any huge hurry to go fill the tank. There really is no need, unless I decide to just take a drive and never get out. That might be in the near future if the temperatures don’t rise and my bicycle remains hanging in the garage.

I wish everyone peace during this very difficult time. I hope you may all hold your family and friends near your heart and soul. I hope those alone don’t feel completely invisible to our society and world, and realize there are many in the same circumstance. I hope people may find their peace of mind within themselves and use faith and prayer, your chosen method of processing this incredible violation upon the human condition..

On a lighter note, I hope Netflix does not shut down.

Peace everyone,


@ Thom Amundsen 3/2020

Critical Circumstance

We do measure

our lives

our accomplishments

a steadfast ability to compete with

ourselves.

If might our lives not be

so easily swept by the tides of societal

expectation

what then might be our

end game.

Would we survive if we came

to realize

nothing else really mattered

beyond the satisfaction of, inevitably,

ourselves?

 

Oh so we are told,

or perhaps

in the manner of a scold,

to look to ourselves,

yes, us,

not beyond the measure of our soul,

only to recognize

the deeper commitment of our own

personal salvation,

must always be in the realm

of some

internalized realization.

 

Our lives,

who we are,

the world in which we have lived,

is based upon action,

only,

not philosophy,

more aptly

in the end,

it is truly the strides

we have taken in our own

efforts to not compromise what we believe,

instead we do try

to emulate

the beauty around us,

the simple freedom of appreciation,

rather than that criticism

of who we are,

what we might have been,

where we shall travel in our

long extended remaining

steps along some

theoretical

path in our lives.

 

We live to see tomorrow,

therefore is it presumptuous to believe

a next day matters less

than what has promised itself to be

the beauty of our past.

 

Forge ahead with a passion

this is the matter of such is wise.


© Thom Amundsen 1/2020

Pieces of Me

Wish I could find

smallish memory

wrap them in twine

drop them in the sea

Then might my eyes

witness some effort

now questioning why

an absorbent support

Will their history

rather sink than float

farewell this century

shadowed life he wrote

Above water may I not abhor

Pain left living on the ocean floor

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