Sunday, March 31, 2013

Silence's Invitation

Silence intrigues me.
Silence is never about absence or nothing, it is the presence of something.
Something that is not necessarily named
Something that often slips unnoticed in the spaces of our lives.

I have decided to challenge myself for the month of April.
My challenge is both simple and daunting.
It is to write on the subject of silence for each day of the month
It is the discipline of both noticing and writing.

Today, the first day of April it is


Silence’s Invitation

Silence
Quietly enters
Slipping between the cacophony of unrelenting sound
The clamour of persistent noise
Undisturbed, unperturbed yet with gentle insistence
Silence waits

When sound grows tired
It’s waves grow faint
And clamouring fades away
Silence stirs
It’s shimmering diaphanous presence
Delicate through me flows

Ethereal though it be
Silence embracing, wraps me
And in those spaces of my soul
I feel the alluring stillness
The fascinating presence of silence
Inviting

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Certainty? Certainly Not!


We look for certainty.
To assure ourselves
We have a place
A room within universal immensity
Where sovereign in our confidence
We reign, the center of our selves.

We look for certainty
To convince ourselves
Loved and cherished
The center of all that is
Deemed by deities
To possess immense potentialities.

We look for certainty
To prove to ourselves that we are right
And in our rightness and our correctness
In our perfection
We judge those who


Have no certainty and sureness


And perhaps
The uncertain and unsure
Are right
Perhaps
The point of certainty
Is the space between the question and the answer.

For the problem with the question
Is whether it is the right question.

And the problem with the answer
Is it might be the answer to the wrong question.

Perhaps it is in the vagueness of uncertainty
That we are most certainly ourselves.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Neurotic Love


He loves me
Well, he says he does.
Perhaps he doesn’t really mean it
Perhaps he’s being nice.

I wonder how I can be sure
You just can never tell
Perhaps if he says it just once more
I’ll know it’s really true.

He says he loves me
But he seems busy
Perhaps he’s growing distant
What can I do to make him love me?

Perhaps I’ll make him angry
Cause then I’ll know
That he thinks I’m worth fighting for
But what if he walks out the door?

Maybe I’ll make him feel guilty
Then he’ll come back to me
I’ll hold him in my arms
And he’ll be glad he’s with me.

You see it’s not that I’m anxious or insecure
I just need to know for sure
He loves me, really loves me
Really, really loves me

And when he’s gone
And I’m alone
I’ll know he didn’t really love me
And once again I’ll hunt for love

I’ll hunt for love
I’ll find that man
I’ll take him in my arms
And hear him say he loves me

This one will not escape
For in my arms entwined
I’ll know he loves me
Caught in my embrace

And when sucked dry
Wilting, withered, wasted
I’ll know he loved me
He really, really loved me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

To All Sons


To sons
Wounded by fathers
Stunted, struggling
Convinced by his animosity or distance
We are flawed, defective, imperfect

To sons
Who learnt to retreat
From the scournful look
The silent unseeing stare
The hostile, sneering glare

To sons
Who learnt to keep our distance
From flailing fists
Well aimed hits
With hands or tongue

To sons
Who learnt to keep invisible
Silent, soundless
Good children
Who hid their shame

To us who are the wounded.
The sensitive despised by our father’s rationality
His straightness afraid, revolted by our sexuality
Our interests foreign, unusual, loathed
Further evidence of our failure to be men

To sons
Who learnt to hide our wounds
Behind the trappings of success
Who struggle to appear to be
What we thought our fathers wanted us to be.

To sons
I say enough
Our fathers could not give us what we sought
It was not theirs to give
For we are the sons who must father ourselves

To sons,
Weep; grieve for what we did not have
Howl for what we could not have
Cry your loneliness, your fear
Add your tears to the sea of all sons’ tears.

Then having grieved
Stand
You are a son who has survived
This was never about you
For what was done to you was not a product of yourself

Your father imprisoned by his chauvinism
Incarcerated in his fear
Castrated by his judgements
Confined in the walls of his prejudice and loneliness
Wounded and enraged, he took it out on you.

To sons,
It was never about us
Our sensitivity
Our sexuality
Our perceptions or our thoughts

So sons, stand tall
Stand, sickle in hand
Gather your fear
For so it is from times of old
Kronos, the son must his father defeat

We are the sons who have survived
Stand tall and proud
Your father’s wounds no longer need impale you
Your grief no longer overwhelms you
No longer the keeper of your father’s misery and judgments

Take pride in your courage
Revel in your diversity
Fill the world with your intensity
You are a son
Live in your uniqueness

For it is in your uniqueness.
It is in your courage
It is in your diversity
That you the son
The father will defeat

We are the sons
We have survived
We say to sons still struggling
Courage, do not despair
Stand tall, you are a son who will survive

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Open Letter to Fathers

You hold in your arms a tiny life, you gaze on your creation, amazed and filled with a sense of awe at what you have created.

Welcome to fatherhood.

You are now called a father but have yet to earn the right to be named a father for the skills of fatherhood take many years to learn.  Fatherhood is a skill, learnt by watching your father like apprentices of old who learnt their trade by watching their Masters.  If your father was not skilled then you will not have that benefit but all is not lost for you can teach yourself the skills you need.

You have just begun the most difficult journey you will undertake in this life.  A journey more difficult than the challenges of your daily work life.  Learning to be a father has the potential to strip you to your core, to wound you, to tear down your carefully constructed artifices behind which you hide and remake you a different man. 

Many men give up, turning their backs on their young preferring instead to maintain the illusion of fatherhood.  They are present yet absent, professing to love, they criticize, and ashamed of themselves they push their shame onto their children to carry for them.  Yes, the courage of many men will falter and in their lack of courage they will wound their sons and daughters. 

So enjoy this moment when your son or daughter lies peacefully sleeping in your arms for you have just begun the journey of learning to be a father.

The first lesson.  You do not need to be a perfect father; you only need to be good enough.  Many men determined to be perfect fathers set themselves up for failure by their anxiety and fear.  It is not perfection your child needs; it is a father who is good enough, good enough to last the distance of staying with them through thick and thin.  Fatherhood is not a sprint, it is a marathon.  It is a marathon of 20 years or more so do not expect to receive applause for being a father for 3 or 5 or 10 or 15 years.  You need to be good enough to last the distance with humour, laughter and kindness.

The second lesson.  Do not presume you will necessarily love your child.  Those soft, endearing emotions of the first few days that mix of awe at the gift of life and your sheer amazement that in a climatic moment you were able to perform and create life, those emotions while necessary are not love.
Love needs time to grow, and in those early weeks when sleep deprived the sound of squawking baby sets teeth on edge and nerves unraveling you will wonder whether you do or did or will love this child.  Love is learnt in learning to calm yourself, to gather unraveled nerves and unclench your teeth and cradling that squalling bundle, calm another.  Through the squalling of their fear, they need to hear the deep soothing sounds of your voice, the quiet reassuring beat of your heart assuring them that all is well.  This is a skill you will need to often repeat.  As your child grows there will be many occasions where they will be filled with angst and fear, when life for them will seem insecure and you will be filled with your own fears, in those times you will need to place those fears aside and once again cradle your child.  They need to learn from you their father, that fear is part of life as is trusting life enough to overcome fear and face the challenges before them.  As you learn to soothe your own fears so you teach your children how to soothe theirs.

The third lesson.  Your children need to know you see them, really see them in all their chaotic, jumbled potentiality.  Caught up in the pressures of your life you assure yourself that what you do is for your children.  You love them because you provide for them, each day you put up with “dip sticks” and people who annoy you so you can provide for them.  Yet, your children do not see that, nor do they care.  They need to know that you their father see them and in that look they will know they are loved.  So shut down your computer, turn off your phone, the world will still go around.  You are not so incredibly important to the universe but you are to the little life before you.  Do not ask them to be a perfect reflection for your glory.  They will embarrass you; they will do things that make you cringe.  That is their role in life yet in those cringe-worthy moments, when they have come last in that race or dropped the ball in the game or scored a goal for the opposing team or mis-stepped in the ballet production.  In those moment let them know they are seen and loved by you.  For that gaze of love will remain with them and in the future when as adults life turns hostile they will know some resilience because their father saw them and loved them when things were bad before.

The fourth lesson.  Let your children test their strength against you.  Fathers, you sons need to test their strength against you.  It is in the safety of your relationship with them your son becomes aware of his growing strength and you and your son take pride in this.  If he does not learn to do this with you, he will seek it elsewhere in forums and spheres that may have more disastrous consequences.  Do not always defeat your son or play to win, allow him the pleasure of winning, for there will come a day when your son will be stronger than you.  A day when your son will defeat you.  That is the way it must be.  Those little defeats allowed by you prepare him to win and prepare you for that day when you can graciously step aside.

The fifth lesson.  Endure the adolescent years.  These years will test you to their limit.  Do not expect your child to necessarily love you or like you or want to be around you.  These are the years when you must choose your battles carefully.  Not every issue is worth the risk to you relationship with your child.  Choose carefully, what battles you will fight and having decided and engaged you need to ensure you win.  As much as your child will resist and fight they need to know they are loved enough their father will enforce and establish limits to protect them.  They need to know you will stand behind them and where necessary stand up to them.  These are the years when your children will most test their strength against you.  Do not resent this or feel you are being hard done by.  This is necessary but be warned these may not be easy years.
Then there will come a day, an unexpected day when some small thing will make you realize you child is now an adult.  They do not seek your advice; they do not even need you for they have stepped upon the stage of their own life.  You will watch them as they stride confident and with grace and in that moment filled with pride you will know you are a father.

The name you were called when first you held that little child is now who you are – a father.  You are not the man you were.  You like some old lion, battled scared can stand with pride for you have learnt the skills of being a father and far, far more importantly as you watch your child you realize the ultimate accolade of being a father is your child can father him/herself.
Have courage

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tortured by Righteous Verbosity


Stripped by the consistency of your logic
Flayed by the certainty of your arguments
Imprisoned by your judgements
Inferiority grows with tidal wave intensity

Fed a diet of your perceptions
Thirst enraged with the heat of your certainty
Torture exquisitely calibrated
To maximize my inferiority

Brought before the bar of your verbosity
Judged by my hesitancy
Condemned by my lack of certainty
Sentenced

I stand unheard, unseen
Whipped by the ferocity of your righteousness
My self withdraws
Before the insistent infallibility of your views

Self hidden, waits
Bloodied and bruised
Will blossom in its beauty and integrity
In all my glorious uncertainty

Soldiers of the Terrace



Soldiers of the Terrace
Marching with firm tread
Shielded in your suits
Striding with assurance
Unflinching in the daily fray

He sidles down the footpath
Guerrilla-like in small diagonals
Slipping in the footsteps striding soldiers leave

Matters of business
Conquests, board room battles
Take over’s; treaties of defeat
Spoken out loud
To IPhone grown ear

He murmurs to his friend
Substance of his mind alone.
Unseen slides whispering beside him

Soldiers of the Terrace
Straight marching men of business
Hands grasping Ipads and pads,
With fierce tenacity
Nothing breaks your stride

No IPhone he requires
To hear the voices in his ear
No bad connection breaks their sound

Impervious as he slips by.
Imperial intent on important things
Blind to his shy, sly grin
No second thought, no backward glance
As you march by

He turns and grins
Silent laughter
Shared in the spaces of his mind

Straight marching men of business
You with him
Do share a common thread
Delusions wrought in mind and thought
Of wealth and glory
Have yet to learn
To greet and smile at your illusions.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Of Hands Held - a Song for Matthew from his Dad


Newborn fingers curled
Tiny potentiality of what would be
As you sleep
Trust held
In the gentle clasp of your hand on my finger

Hand held
Lost in the soft encircling of mine
Trust growing
As we walk
Hands held in protective embrace

Hand pressed in gentle play
Hugged in firm grip,
Trust flowering
As you laugh
Carefree in the game we play

Hand encircling mine
Potentiality grown strong
Grasps, presses, time reverses
In laughter the unspoken knowledge
Of son outgrown father

I hold your hand
While you drift in restless unconsciousness
Washed in your fears and my tears
Our hand entwined grasping at life slipping
I sit in choked silence.

Your hand grows cold
Lifeless, limp, slips from my grip
Time in shock stills
Emptied handed now
A memory is all I hold

Still sometimes
In the gentle wisp of wind
As it curls its way around me
Your hand brushes mine
And I smile in recollection

Of hands held.
___________________________________________________


I used to play a game with my children when they were young – it was a simple game of squeezing their hands.  They would squeal, laugh trying to pull their hands away. 

As my youngest grew he would periodically play this game with me, testing his strength against mine, seeing if he could squeeze my hand and crunch my knuckles and win against me.  He would end up laughing and giggling too much to squeeze my hand e too hard.

But then, Christmas 2008 after pudding while I was sitting on the lounge he came and coiled his lanky frame on the seat next to me,

“Hey pops” he said

And as I watched he grabbed my hand.  Stunned at how his hands were so large my mind went back 24 years to when as a baby those same hands were so small, so tiny, so beautifully formed.

He grabbing my hand squeezed, we laughed while I tried not to wince in pain at the strength he had but in that laughter we both knew the line had been crossed.  He was now my equal, more than my equal.  My son had more strength than I.

Four weeks later he was in a coma, eight weeks later he had passed from this world.  As I sat for those four weeks in Intensive Care holding his hand, my mind returned to that day when my son sat down and said

“Hey pops” and I knew my son was a man.

Matt this one is for you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Courage


I took a step today
Just a little step
More a shuffle than a step
A scuffle than a stride

That step took courage
I could have stood
Stock still
Frozen and fixated as I was.

That step exposed me
Uncomfortable and vulnerable
I could have stayed
Hidden and disguised as I was

I’m pleased I took that step today
Not much you say as you stride by
Defended in your suit of armour
Lest life impale you as on you stride

I smile, for having been impaled by life
I had the courage
To take a step today
I’m neither where I was nor where I am to be

Courage is not in striding forward
Impervious and strong
Courage is the pluck
To take again another step

I took a step today
That step took courage
Tomorrows step is still to come
I’ll have the courage to take that step


Monday, March 11, 2013

And the Word Multiplied


 I work in a profession where words are important, vital, and crucial.  What I find interesting is the greater emphasis placed on words the less communication takes place.

Sentences are lengthened, added to, doubled.  Letters become three, four, five pages long.  In the attempt to converse and explain fear and anxiety create fortresses behind which people try to hide, determined to prove they are right.  The proliferation of words ends up imprisoning rather than liberating.

There is more to communication than words, there is the empathy of silence; the compassion of shared experience and the sacred hesitancy of recognising the “I” in the other.

_______________________________________

Words gathered, collected, solidified
Made concrete
Word by word
Sentence by sentence
Paragraph by paragraph
Fortress built, by armies of words

Tower of Babel repeated
With modern arrogance
Refined, streamlined
With lawyerly exactitude
Words placed precisely
No judgement of confusion.

Tower of words carefully constructed.
With meticulousness and precision
Defended by its supremacy
Secure in the proliferation and propagation of speech
Confined behind words
This human stands protected

Until the word arrives at the full stop
Halted by the miniscule
Fortress breached by space.
Foundations crumbling in the silence of that mark
Lawyerly precision imploding
Self doubt violating arrogance

In the silence
In the stillness
In the space when words dissolve
In the quietness after the tower has been breached
In that place
Humanity seeks out humanity.

Groping to give expression
Words hesitantly spoken
Space compassionately created
In the look of understanding
The nod of sympathetic perception
The “I” in me, affirms the “I” in you.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Am, My Thoughts


I find it interesting how we often allow our thinking to restrict us.  A thought, a neural impulse, repeated often enough can restrict and constrict our lives.
How often do we live constrained by our fears that have no basis in reality just the simple fact we have lived with these fears for so long we identify with them?
If we can jolt the solidity of our thoughts we often find we have more possibilities and options than we thought possible.
The following is an attempt to capture this.
_____________________________

Neural impulse
Given shape by senses
Embodied by perception
Gives rise to nascent thought.

Thought formed
Recurring, gains life
Given substance by repetition and memory
Grows, solidifies

Concrete thought
Dictator of future options
Constraining potentialities within its solidity
Despotic restriction of possibilities

I am, said thought
I am my thought
A loyal subject to the despotic reign of its solidity

A crack,
A space between concrete thought
A jarring of solidity
The impulse of potentialities.

Thought transmuting to nascent dreaming
Restrictions imploding
Possibilities emerging
Senses and perception re-awakened

I am not, said thought
I am not my thought
I am free subject of possibilities

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Need A Partner


The Wolf and I were sitting the other evening, philosophizing about relationships and what we look for in them.  We both know of people who seem to lurch from one relationship crisis to another and were reflecting on that phenomena over a glass of wine.  The following came to me from that discussion.  

One other clarification may be necessary I am not a religious Badger.  While I do believe in a Divine Power I do not believe in a personal God so "God" in the poem below could either be a request to a Divine Being for that partner or it could be that phrase of frustration "God!"  I leave it to you the reader to decide which you prefer.
__________________________________

God, I need a partner in my life
Someone who will listen when I whinge and complain and moan
Someone who will not point out that I am whining and complaining and moaning
Someone who will take my misery as seriously as I take it myself.

God I need a partner in my life
Who will not bore me with their whining, complaining and moaning.
Who will not always make it about them, their issues or concerns
Who will get over themselves and not take themselves so seriously.

God I need a partner in my life
Someone who knows what I am feeling before I feel it
Someone who is happy when I am happy and sad when I am sad
Someone who gives me space for me.

God I need a partner in my life
Who will not expect me to be happy when they are happy or sad when they are sad
Who will not tell me what they are feeling because then I might have to care
Who has the decency to go and find their own space than take up mine.

God I need a partner in my life
Someone who knows when I like to be intimate
Someone who knows exactly how to arouse me though I can’t be bothered to tell them
Someone who will make the bedroom all about me

God I need a partner in my life
Who will not make demands on me
Who will not expect me to know how to please them or tell me what they like
Who will have the decency to realize the bedroom isn't all about them

God I need a partner in my life
Someone who will see my brilliance
Someone who will tell me I’m wonderful
Someone who will delude me with the delusion of my grandeur

God I need a partner in my life
Who is not as brilliant as me
Who is not as wonderful as I am
Who has no delusions.

God I need a partner in my life
Or perhaps just a very small planet
Inhabited by me!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Perfection and Phallus


I used to attend a gym and always found it interesting to observe people's behaviour.  The men who gaze lovingly at themselves in the mirrors and those who stare at anything but the mirrors.  Men who flex their muscles in the mirrors to see how big they have grown from yesterday when they were doing the same exercises.

I often thought and still think that the image seen in the mirror is seldom the reality.  Being a skinny and underfed Badger for most of my life I was often envious of those men who were muscled and finely formed yet these days I'm not so envious for while the muscles are often very much on display we do not see the potency of the man.  Often the potency tells a different story.  Of course for me, potency is never just about sexuality although the phallus is a good metaphor for potency.  Potency is the ability of a person (for potency also applies to women) to rise to the challenges of life and engage with life rather than avoiding life's challenges.  The following is just some of my musings on the phenomenon of desire, physicality and potency.

____________________________________________

The object of desire
Manicured muscles watched in mirror image
Let no-one come between me and my likeness
I gaze in loving entrancement
In the heat of excitement to cold steel.
I am my object of desire

Smooth muscle, built, developed, repetition by repetition
Skin, soft, supple, stretched over the engorged form
Of rippling muscle
Downy hair shimmering with the sweat of excitement
Brought on by the mechanical repetition on repetition.
I am my object of desire

The object of others desire
Observe, stare and be envious
The potential of potency
The symbol of virility
The heat of maleness your excitement
I am the object of others desire.

Desire splintered by rage
The potential of potency a shattered mirror
Betrayed by that muscle, my phallus
Lying asleep and shrivelled
It will not rise in proud glory
Virility unimpressed by the object of desire.

Desire now embittered, will not let go.
I will build a bigger, better body
My muscles, sculptured, carved, marbled
Will swell, engorged and fill
While my potency lies undisturbed, asleep
And I, the object of my desire am bloated with the coldness of embittered desire.