Today is the day…

I start my Poetry Fundamentals class. I’ve reviewed my readings (which is a crap ton of poems by poets with funny names) and my assignments: analyzing object and list poems and discussing them with my fellow classmates.

And I have two poems due by Sunday for my portfolio.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But I’m hell bent at becoming a refined poet so I’m hungry for this knowledge,

Ready for this challenge.

Alsooooooooo….

My first day of substituting is this Wednesday.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But there’s this woman in my dreams who I aspire to be. She’s been teaching for years, has numerous publications under her belt and has a consisting posting schedule for her website.

These are just some of the steps I’m taking to get to her.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to feel like I’m in the right place at the right time with the right people.

I’m on my way.

– B. Brown

I’ve Returned

and where’ve I been?

easing from under the shade
of my apple tree
whose roots have broken concrete,
whose fruits have fallen
too soon
from the faintest winds,

where have I been?

cowering amongst rotten cores
and tics disguised as seeds
hailing Mary
every time I thought
I heard my mirror speak…

but my reflection wasn’t my own
not that I could even recognize
myself without a tight scarf of smoke

my reflection wasn’t own
I learned that my demons
could shape-shift at will
and they will

where I’ve been
is seeking sanctuary
in the calloused hands of hope
savoring grains of salt
praying that the price I paid
to uproot everything I know
will return to me
seven-fold
and glimmering
with the honest of golds

and truth be told
where I’ve been
now seems eons away
and dozens of crates of mold
I was cheaply sold ago
before I chose to make
that harassing Holy Ghost
my home

home,
here, amongst potential
around the influential
facing a promising venue
of what I could do
what I should do
and will do

I’m here,
found again
never to be lost again…

– B. Brown

[image courtesy of Pinterest]

Journal: This Morning

This morning, she asks me,

Is she in heaven

with Babydoll?

 

Probably not together,

I tell her,

your grandmother

didn’t like snakes.

 

Cats?

Yes.

Doggies?

Yes.

 

I love her, Mommy.

Yes, honey, I know.

 

She loves you too.

 

– B. Brown

 

Just leave it to our children to remind us how special each day is.

 

(art by Carl Wilhelm de Hamilton)

 

 

 

Pilgrimage

I didn’t know how turbulent finding myself would be. It meant that I had to shift through all the bullshit that was blocking my intuition. It meant I had to be honest, and accept every element of myself and my history. I’m remembering dreams I’d forgotten, emotions I never dealt with and a state of being in which I was born to be.

I didn’t know what that state of being was until began working on a project that is demanding every ounce of reserves I have left in me. I thought I didn’t have much to start with but so much is pouring out of me, and just when I feel like I’ve gotten it all out, more flows and crashes against my mental stability.

It was nerve-wracking, diving into the rabbit holes of my consciousness. I didn’t know if I was ready to face the rawest, darkest parts of myself. Have you every felt as though you were exposing yourself, to yourself? And what you’ve come to see is enough to question your own reasoning, your own perception? It’s like strategically operating through a midst of mania. Yes, I say mania because I want you to know how senseless it would still all seem to me without the platform of poetry.

but this mental instability, it seems required because none of my academic awareness or logical reasoning can comprehensively explain what happens when I translate bits of my being into formulated stanzas. It’s not just my mind and hands at play here

and this intensity that reverberates within me, it drives me the longer and harder I cultivate it, elevating me towards heights within myself I couldn’t get to when I was stuck in an egotistical limbo.

it’s why I’m okay with being a little unsettled. I was too solid and stubborn before. To be open for everything, you have to be prepared to feel anything. Inspiration, love, wisdom, the truth, they’re supposed to break barriers and make you a little uncomfortable. It’d be difficult to pinpoint where we need improvement if it weren’t for emotions like pain, irritation, anger, sadness, resentment and others.

so far this project has taught me to respect the duality of my human nature. That, all of our emotions and senses, negative or positive, are meant to guide us through life, not to keep us from living a fulfilling one.

– B. Brown

(image: painting by Maxime Sabourin)

Remind Thyself

I like to think that I am among the favorites because what were the chances that I could be here, where I am today, instead of somewhere under there where that hurting gentleman is or anywhere over there where that drained lady is. I receive little hints throughout the day to remind me that I am loved, so loved that I am spared so I can proceed with my life-forwarding endeavors. I know that I am fortunate in a lot of ways so I try to put my allowance to good use.

My mind doesn’t always wake up as it should, though. Some days, I slip out of bed with a minor case of amnesia, I beat myself up so bad the night before. I question where I come from, who was I intended to be or what am I supposed to be doing here? Why are these things happening to me? And under that, a sense of homesickness. My soul has the presence of mind to know that I’ve strayed a bit into oppressive conditions, but my mind, my mind lags, recovering from shock.

Then I look around and things start to feel familiar. This gave me hope and that gave me drive. He gave me space and she gave me pride. He gave me resilience and she gave me acuity. He gave me regard and she gave me dignity. I grew up deciphering the tides, an anointed navigator given the stars, moon and sun as my reigning guides. I was put in a hole and not for punishment, but to become attuned to my senses, those which are suppressed by trivialities ringing loudly.

I wasn’t expected to stay standing through every earthquake, I learned. Some were intended to make me crumble because it was about that time to rebuild. It’s then that the most important piece is shaken free and it all comes back to me as a long awaited reverie that resurrects me from my burial. I am pulled from the rumble to see my sacred grounds settling. And yes, more life awaits me, as far as I can see. I am a sum of love. The hardship just comes symptomatically.

-B. Brown

The Kapuas

In 2005, a new species of snake was discovered around the Kapuas River in the Indonesian part of the Borneo Island. The snake expert that caught the reddish-brown, poisonous snake put it in a container and when he went to retrieve it, the snake had turned almost completely white. This skill is noted in the reptile kingdom but it’s rare to see in snakes. It’s ability to change colors is what kept it from discovery until then. Camouflage makes them all the more difficult to find, as if they weren’t already master escape artists. The Kapuas Mud Snake is one of thousands of newly discovered species. It amazes me that Mother Nature still has the juice to surprise us after all this time.

Now imagine – without looking it up to find images of it – a chameleon snake? I imagine a large, hefty serpent with jaws wide enough to swallow a pig. It’s shockingly long and it’s black scales glisten as it moves in an ‘s’ pattern towards the river embankment. Its scales begin shifting, ripening until it flushes out into the muddiest green. The snake glides into the water, under the pressing moonlight, noting the chill. It shifts again to a time-weathered white, almost glowing just under the surface. It becomes another ripple in the water, as a guest in the Kapuas river.

I don’t know if the Kapuas Mud Snake has just any color on tap when it needs it but it’s rare ability is intriguing nonetheless. It still possesses an advantage that fooled other animals and humans. I also imagine that the skill affords it to explore more places undetected. How far could a Kapuas Mud Snake go if it wanted to travel the world?

None of us know where this lifetime is going to take us so it would help to add as much to our pallets as we can, while we can. We’re less likely to have our travels interfered with if our awareness isn’t struggling within an inch of its life. We all know that phrase ‘knowledge is power’ but it’s also safety from the negative forces that try to trip us. It’s why we should strive to boost our awareness. To nourish our budding kens.

What are some ways you keep a steady flow of knowledge in your life?

JE1

He was waiting for me on the balcony yesterday morning. He smiled awkwardly and I said, “Oh, that’s right. Your bag.” I went back inside, struggled with a black duffle bag and brought it out for my neighbor. He didn’t need me to hold onto the bag anymore. I didn’t ask why. He nodded, then thanked me and I watched him scurry back to the empty apartment. I had to ignore the knotting in my chest because I was running behind.

But I still thought of him and his family as I drove, knowing that most likely, I’d never see them again.

I should’ve said goodbye in person. They were only a few feet away from me. But walking to their door to knock and say goodbye would’ve been another blow to the little girl inside me.

They were one of the few things stable in my life. After everyone had left, they’d stayed. They’ve witnessed everything I’ve gone through since the birth of my child. They were always present, concerned and willing to help me when I needed it. They knew of my misdeeds and still treated me, and my daughter, as loved ones.

I don’t know how to take a hit. Saying goodbye… I just couldn’t bring myself to say it to their beautiful faces. The three children were so bright and lively. They brought me so much happiness even as the rowdy children they were. Their mother was the sweetest soul. She kept that house clean and their bellies full. Her husband was a hardworking man that ran two convenience stores, he gave me a free bottle of organic honey one day. They were a traditional Muslim family who set a positive example for me. They reminded me the importance of teaching our children faith and discipline with a loving, unwavering hand. They were a light in our lives responsible for a lot of the warmth we were receiving.

And they’re gone. Off to somewhere in Texas. And I didn’t realize how much I missed them until know, until I saw their empty parking spot. There aren’t any shoes outside of their door anymore. Their little girl’s chalk hand print has been cleaned from the door. And I’m just now starting to feel these blows. I’m going to be aching for a while…