Tag Archives: coping

Grape Harvest

If it doesn’t work out,
If I don’t get to have her
In my life,

I will save myself from despair;
I will go to the grape vine,
Find some grapes out of reach.

I’ll tell myself lies to ease my pain:
“It would have never worked out.
She’s too young for me.”

If she is taken from me by another,
Or if she is taken from me by fate,
I’ll cherish what time we had;

I’ll make sweeter still, and keep near,
My fond memories of hands and heart;
The low-hanging fruit: I’ll recall the butterflies.

Harvesting Grapes, Finding Spider Egg Sacs

Harvesting Grapes, Finding Spider Egg Sacs

If she is taken from me by fate,
Or if she is taken from me by another,
I’ll soothe my heart trying to harvest sour grapes.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

Protected: Secrets

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Caterpillars for Lunch

I’ve got to stop eating
Caterpillars for lunch.
They keep loitering on my lettuce;
Skulking in my sprouts.

When I put a fork in it,
They race to the back of my mouth.
I try to spit them out,
But they parachute down my throat.

Maybe they crave
Warmer temperatures inside;
Perhaps they thrive
On acid hydrochloric.

But faster development they find,
Until ’round dinner time,
I find I can but barely speak
For the butterflies trying to escape.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

Growth

In years past I oft
Agonized
Over conversations
And situations

That didn’t go as planned—
Botched—
Then wearied family and mates
As I over-analyzed:

“If only I said this,
I should have said that.”
“I wish I hadn’t done this,
I’m sure I should have that.”

I still over-analyze,
But recently reflecting
On recalled responses,
I see a change:

Where before my
Wrenching
Was over how I felt,
The impact on outcomes for me;

My thoughts of “if this,”
My self-lecturing of
“I should have that,”
Have to do with the other:

If I had done this,
It would have helped him feel more comfortable.
If I had said that,
She would have been reassured.

Self-introspection is fun
When you actually grow!
Now to learn from myself,
And help others be comfortable, reassured.

“Let’s talk again soon,” I say to myself.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

Red Eyelids

Bass Clef mid-F, in eighths.
Bass Clef mid-F, final quarter.
Salute completed, we stand.
To the left a head panned.

Those eyes contained
Unmistakable pain.
Pain at my performance?
Pain at my conformance?

The show must go on.

Standing, Bass Clef top line, staccato,
Then drop an octave, staccato; final note.
Applause.
But still the pain gives me pause.

It was the dry throat,
I tell myself.
It was the sloped chair or stage,
I want to believe.

But my lips, not the stage,
Missed the notes.
My finger, not the chair,
Depressed the wrong valve.

Show concluded,
We pack up and depart.
I watch for those red eyes,
But they don’t look at me.

My silence? Unintended;
Trying to fathom
What I cannot see.
Do I misunderstand?

Rough knuckles,
White back of hand,
In close proximity;
Moment in time ever on my mind.

Copyright © 2016 H.K. Longmore

Monster

Ages have passed
Since I faced this monster last.
Enshrouded by his shadow,
Dark thoughts filled my chateau;

Imagery of death or cage
Filled the breadth of each page.
Monster driven away, gone at last,
My wounds I left in the past.

Free for three-quarters of a score,
Now I hear his distant roar:
My scent has reached his page.
Enraged, he rattles his cage.

His shadow engulfs the meadow,
Darkens my porch, touches my door.
I tremble as my struggle I recall;
Knowing he seeks to even the score.

So I cling each day to the bright souls
Who know only happy care-free me.

© 2016 H.K. Longmore

Parting

Questions

Questions pour from his brain
Into the cup below.
Questions about the coming change.
They pile up and overflow.

Soon the saucer can’t contain;
The queries reach the picot.
Not to worry, they won’t stain;
Though covering the table they go.

Questions pour from his brain
Into the cup below.
But from partaking he’ll refrain,
From the cup he’ll not swallow;

Should he the cup drain,
At the bottom is a plea: “don’t go.”

The Means and the End

Somewhere there are brothers
Who didn’t know how to say goodbye.
They chose to alienate
Rather than shed a tear.

On one occasion, one gave a fist
To his son as a parting gift.
It happened unexpectedly,
In the face, among family and friends.

Another time, the other gave a threat,
Fist held chest high,
Waiting for the right moment;
Begging for the right provocation.

The provocation didn’t come,
In time the fist dissolved into a hand.
So long ago, it seems another time,
Another land.

Withdrawl

Refusing to be provoked,
Another who has difficulty
Deals with imminent departure
Antisocially.

His problem is not the violence of fists,
But the violence of silence,
The hand-to-hand of withdrawing.
He chooses to “drink alone”.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

An Ode to Wistfulness

Oh, wistfulness!
What treachery lurks
beneath thy maudlin smile:
Sentimental without guile,

Yet if I set a place for thee
At my table,
A welcome guest in my mind,
Thou wilt bring me to naught.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Checking a Pulse

Author’s Note: the following came about due to first hand experience with the subject matter, which I discuss below the links. This discussion will be somewhat Kunderian, i.e. giving up a small portion of my privacy of my own free will. Feel free to skip it if you don’t want to know me any better.

To some it’s a number,
The rate at which atrial and ventricle chambers
Contract and expand,
Supplying oxygen to feet and hands.

To others, it’s that but more:
They want to know systolic
They are interested in diastolic;
These three form the western core.

The western core
Is but a faint shadow,
A distant memory
Of Oriental grandeur:

Nearly thirty modes,
Taken at several nodes;
The modes must be learned
Before experience is earned.

Using three fingers,
At the nodes they linger,
Evaluating Qi until the practitioner
Is satisfied with his role as diagnosor.

Some modes can indicate the reaper nears,
Others can indicate fear,
Fear of things outside one’s control:
Anxiety is the name usual.

And some indicate good health,
That the patient is generally well.
If you doubt my tale,
I don’t mind if you quail.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Links

My experience with Chinese medicine

I went to a Chinese doctor that is also an MD, to get some treatment for bronchitis (or rather, to prevent a cold from becoming bronchitis, which is what has happened far too often over the past six or seven years). The treatment worked: my cold that was starting to become bronchitis went away; the beginnings of bronchitis subsided. Almost a year and a quarter later, I went to him for something that had been bothering me for a long time, but I just figured, “It’s a single symptom, there’s nothing wrong with me otherwise, I’ll just deal with it; Western medicine won’t have anything for me, and they’ll want to run a bunch of expensive tests, with the best result being that they give me some drugs to manage the symptom, not treat the problem.” I finally decided to see what Chinese medicine could do for me.

I told him of my condition (excessive phlegm in the morning, and sometimes during the day—ew, gross! I know, right?); ultimately he gave me some herbs to treat it, and I started doing acupuncture as well. After I told him of my condition he took my pulse, once on the left wrist, once on the right, basically following what I described above. He said, “I detect a phlegm pulse, but also a slight depression.” (On my next visit, he added some other conditions that I had not told him of, that were a result of auto accidents.)

“A slight depression!? How could he tell that from my pulse?” I asked myself. It was at that moment that I realized he was right: I had been in denial about it, but I’d been dealing with a mild depression since the end of January / early February 2014. It was brought on by something that went drastically differently than I had expected, and some of the aftermath of that event. Many times when I did things that I hoped would put an end to the depression (though I wasn’t calling it that then), things still went differently than I expected, and ofttimes just brought me further down (sometimes because I’m just too sensitive, which is why I usually build a wall around my heart and don’t let people in). But now I realized why most days since then I give a sigh before entering my workplace; why I sigh every time I leave the building. These are just outward expressions of my depression. So, there, I said it. I’m mildly depressed, and I have been for a while. I had a nice reprieve on a couple of vacations, and there have been days when I have thought things were looking up, and days that most definitely were looking up; nevertheless, it’s still there. But, “I have my books, and my poetry to protect me,” and I treat with exercise, with drumming, with playing other musical instruments, learning new ones, and with listening to music. Would that I could reverse what brought the depression on, but that is outside of my control. Thus I’ve also been feeling anxiety related to all of this, which the good doctor also detected in my pulse on my second recent visit.

Okay, that’s enough voluntarily giving up my privacy for one night. I’m going to go back into my “fortress deep and mighty” now, tell myself I am a rock and an island, despite the fact that “a rock feels no pain; and an island never cries,” and I’ve felt enough pain, and shed enough tears over the past while that I know it’s not really true. Yep. I’m going to go lie to myself. And maybe shed a tear or two.

Biological Upgrade

I got an eye upgrade today:
A new model
With anti-tear capabilities.

It was fast to install,
Only took ten seconds.
I almost can’t tell the difference.

Almost.

The firmware is version 1.0.
You know how the first version goes.
There’s always some rough spots.

No, no spots on my eyes.
But the anti-tear capabilities
Haven’t been perfected yet:

If I want to let them,
The tears will still fall.
There’s no override;

I can’t set it to “No Tears,”
And have the setting stick,
Ignoring what e’er may come next.

Also, the anti-tear module
Requires a steady input
Of hard rock to function properly.

But so far
My ducts are dry.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

The Cupboard in the Corner of My Atrium

My Atrium is no ordinary shop:
No wares are peddled,
We don’t do consignment,
There’s no cash behind the counter.

Here behind the fence
Of my serous pericardium,
You’ll find, if you request,
Emotions—free of charge.

But if you want an emotion
From my Atrium,
You’ll have to step up;
Step up to the counter and ask.

But if you want jealousy,
We’re fresh out.
Well, that’s not right:
We no longer stock it.

Jealousy is messy,
It gets in the cracks,
Turns the grout green,
Stains white things black.

Jealousy does not produce
Manliness nor masculinity;
Those are both best
Grown internally.

So when we find
A trace of jealousy
On the floor
Or oozing down the stairs

We fetch the mop
From the cupboard
In the corner
Of my Atrium.

So, what will you have?
What will it be?
You’ll have to step up to the counter
And make it known.

If you’d rather get your fill
From some other,
That’s your choice.
There are other customers at my till.

But the portrait I painted
While you stood outside
Window shopping
Is etched into the wall.

And there it will remain—
Whether you give your wants a name,
Or never come to my counter again—
In the middle of my Atrium.

Now, where’s that mop?

©2014 H.K. Longmore

The Antisocial Experiment

When two people converse
But always on the second’s turf,
How does the first know
Whether the second cares?

They conduct an experiment—
Be their own turf king,
Stop conversing until where
Changes, not when.

But what if all conversations
Between the first and the rest
Are because he initiates?
How can he know the problem wasn’t just him?

And so was born
An innocent experiment:
He shall begin no conversations
No not one.

The antisocial element
Is quite perverse,
But perhaps this verse
Will wipe away the tears

Should it prove that the problem is him.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore