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

Letting Words Become Our Own

Have lost the day of the week,

my pen is dry of ink,

for the pattern of time did

dissipate and all mention

of passion did deteriorate.

 

In a wild search, looking

everywhere around us,

in our dreams,

daily routines,

a hot summer day,

a cold bitter frost,

every occasion

that man somehow

seems to need

to feel alive,

all containing words

just out of reach.

 

So instead there is a solemn

reaction to a lacking inspiration,

we seem compelled

to ask for attention,

rather than forgiveness.

 

Our own contemplation

of who we are,

where we have been,

how come we, this,

when did that last horizon

leave our own ambience

upon what once

is a consideration

of a stand alone

personal reckoning.

 

Where did they fall out of reach,

how will these ever match up.


© Thom Amundsen  7/2020

Finding One Door

IMG_0177

This matter of doors,

talked about in quiet rooms,

where two people, maybe four, three

could openly speak

closing doors, reasons why,

open doors, easily cry

for there is some certain avenue

allows us all to find our way,

if we choose to be

the person we might

want to

speak someday.

 

I remember a year ago,

saying I wished I might not live another day,

exhausted,

it was a similar hour of night,

this seemingly special occasion,

where I

the leader or the exhibit on display,

wanted nothing more

than to go away.

 

Yet here I am today,

celebrating some reason to explain

how it might I came to be,

this life,

this scrutiny

that only I control.

 

Oh I may allow others

have a hand

in my own dismay,

but it is in those darker

moments,

I can begin to

explain away,

the tragedy of my own

today.

 

I met someone once,

she touched my heart,

we spent hours into the twilight

talking about who or what our psychic meanings were.

I remember wanting only to

kiss her,

and yet so compelling was her ability

to sway the judgment of my play,

I listened,

and the hours flew by,

suddenly sunlight peeking through

her apartment drawn shades,

the two of us laying comfortably apart

together,

opened our eyes,

smiled,

suggested

what a day this will be

today.

 

So tonight,

just after midnight,

I look again into that open door, a space

just kind of waits,

and yet there are so many stories about

that man in the chair,

who looks like yesterday,

or maybe a little like his mom

whom as he weeps in

a sweet silence,

he imagines or hopes,

dreams on occasion,

if he did stand up,

and walk through,

there would be she,

and all of the questions

that have rocked his mind for over

half a century

might suddenly

come to life,

what some could easily pin upon

the afterlife

 

Yet why is that even as we try to blend

the pallet of our fantasy,

why do the same entrances tease our mind,

the darkness will always prevail

until that moment,

when trying to be,

might only become

the aftermath of

we in the some triggered response

to ending all of the confusion

that inherent blend of

mystery

the human condition.

 

Safe in my distance, I do imagine the other side,

and just wonder if a  picture will ever help me decide.

 

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.

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

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