Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer
As we’ve continued to discuss the link between the personal and the political, our lives have also continued. We focused our writing attention on gratitude but also discussed the changes in all our lives and how writing and poetry helps us both mark and weather these changes, giving space for our identities to hold these changes and become them at the same time. It’s complicated. Most of the time, we say we’re freaking out. We can all handle more than we think. In pieces below communicate this both through their content and the overall strength of the writing.
I who have died am alive again today
My life is two parts.
I am two people
with two faces,
past and present,
before and after.
Then and now…however you like to call it,
good and evil.
It really and truly was, and still is, a spiritual battle.
The past, the before , the then, the evil; still
creeps up and takes the leading role.
The claws of this entity dig deep and direct
my into darkness. It’s defeating and I cry out,
making it known. This is the part of me
I am not fond of these days. At one time
I didn’t mind so much, but I know now there’s
a whole different realm to be a part of. I don’t
have to exist in the darkness.
The present, the after, the now, the good…
this is where I thrive and I am most alive.
You have to understand it was in the darkness
that I have died. That part is gone, for the most part.
With that vacancy, I have filled with light, the most illuminating,
beautiful light. It does not dim. I does not go out.
This will guide my path from here on.
This will show me the way to something greater.
Let my spirit shine.
Let me live.
LIFE AND LOVE
This is the birthday of life and love
finally being free from this cage
starting fresh with my kids and family.
This is the birthday of life and love
leaving everything in the past
pushing for a brighter future
letting go of the old and looking towards the new.
This is the birthday of life
the feeling of change and triumph
Time to be the woman I was meant to be.
EYE OF MY EYE
Dark, burning, lighted the flame within me.
A canker, a searing, raw, weeping sore
curled tight and stubborn, shadowed changeling.
Dark, burning, opening my eyes to the flame.
An acid, burning, corroding, etching passion
all-consuming and desirous, villainy, and revenge.
Dark, burning, candle to my mirror’s dark.
Confiscating, glittering, starry-eyed dream of the end,
perpetual, inescapable companion, twin, twined, mate.
Dark, burning, flaming eyes wide.
Truth, crucifixion carried daily, shows at 6 and 11,
rivers run, red and clotted, fish-choking, floating, stench.
Dark, burning, burn it all and watch with glee,
dance to destruction, partners change,
blood, wine, and sacrifice, journey never ending.
Dark, burning, blister and char my skin.
Penalty, penalty, every step an agony, endless litany
of sin burned into mind and heart and skin.
Dark, burning, ashes and sparks fly free.
A mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,
soundlessly screamed by a voice already long gone.
Dark, burning, dervishes spread inferno and children.
Whispered venom, poison pen, a Google search,
no starting over, no second chance.
Dark, burning, eyelids seared away.
Secret places, a room of my own, solitude
ripped away with peace by hands marked, “Justice.”
Dark, burning, bring me to the stake.
Make a martyr of one in my own mind
though you and yours will call it well-earned.
Dark, burning, the ropes will bite.
Hold me up, display me, my cart through town.
throw refuse, scream. Sharpen the Guillotine.
Dark, burning, light the flame that burns me.
This. This is your motivation. Not that you
should burn me, but that I should burn myself.
Dark, burning, ashes, ashes, cinders, and soot.
Nothing left, no spirit, no fire, no merry,
pyromaniacal light in eyes gone dead.
Dark, burning, wind scours runnels in sodden ash.
Echoes, footsteps, and voices giving voice to long
dead echoes, the light will burn my eyes.