Tag Archives: empathy

Music Moods and Alternate Views

As I was heading to get dinner after a community orchestra concert, I found myself pondering how I listen to different music depending on my mood, or the mood I want to be in:

Hard rock, usually performed by Australian bands, for when I’m agitated or want to be, or when I care too much, so I’m building a hard wall around my heart to keep me from feeling the pain, in an “I am a rock” way (and yes, I have my books and my poetry to protect me, in case you hadn’t noticed 😉 ).

Jazz for when I’m in a happy-go-lucky mood, or wish I was, or whatever I’m feeling, it’s like water off a duck’s back, and it’s not that I don’t care, but it’s all good, “everything is awesome, everything is cool when [you’ve got that swing]”.

Classical for when I’m at peace inside, or am trying to be, or when I am willing to let my heart feel those feelings that are flowing through me instead of building a levy out of back beats, distortion, and power chords to turn them away from my heart.

As I pondered, and decided on where to get my late dinner, I found myself driving to the place of my most serious accident. I didn’t do my annual pilgrimage on the date of the accident this year, so I figured, “why not?” I usually follow the path I rode my bicycle on, but tonight I came from the other direction. A whisper in my mind said, “Tonight you are the car.” I knew it wasn’t meaning I would hit someone, so I drove the path the car took. As I passed through what must have been the point of impact, I was hit with emotions (I was listening to classical, letting myself feel emotions) I hadn’t anticipated.
Auto-pedestrian accident

Grief, for how frightening the experience was for the driver. Relief, that to the driver, it appeared everything was fine, that despite the force of impact and despite my lack of a helmet, I was not unconscious, I was not comatose, and finally, that I was not dead.

I’ve always considered the miracle it is that I lived through that from my perspective (but of course). But now I realize there was a miracle performed for the driver as well! Tears escaped from my eyelids again, and I was glad I was taking the long way to Kneaders, so perhaps my eyes could merely be moist when I arrived at the counter.Sun shining over trees in park

© 2016 H.K. Longmore

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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

Break Free

Trapped!
You feel stuck inside.
Turn the knob and pull.
Breathe in, break free;
Wide open spaces,
Fresh places and faces,
You can see for miles.

Step out into the unknown,
Let your inhibitions go,
Enjoy the ride.
Take a step inside;
Close the door behind.
As one door closes another appears,
Turn the knob and pull.
Turn the knob and pull.
Turn, turn, turn the knob.
And pull.

Step inside, come inside.
Here’s a nice jacket for you,
Your name on the door.
What you’re about to see?
Don’t panic, it’s all in your mind.
Lay down as you shrink small.
Strap yourself in, follow the hare down the hole.

Do you follow the white rabbit
Wearing your white jacket
In a room with white padded walls
Where no one answers your calls
Strapped in to save from a fall?

Let go, let go,
The doors you’ve opened
Lead nowhere worth being.
Breathe in, break free;
Leave behind the soft cushioned walls.
Open the door, return where you were,
Leave behind the thrilling ride—
Your lonely cage.

Best not to start, but no matter;
Return where you came from,
Return from afar.
There’s balm in a basin,
There’s tears on those faces,
The faces who knew you, though marred.

We can’t tell you how long
Until you’re free from the scars
But trust the promise, it’s not wrong.

Distrust on the rise:
You see no blemishes here—
But that’s proof of His promise sublime.

© 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

Betrayed

When words threaten, threaten to destroy
The secrets you keep in your heart—
Perhaps about a girl, perhaps a boy—

When Double Entendre and Hidden depart,
Torn by some innocent ploy,
Leaving in their place a sting that smarts;

Let not your fortune steal your joy,
Find a new plan, make a new start;
Seek a new muse and remain coy.

© 2016 H.K. Longmore

The Hardest Prayers

Some may think it kind
To pray for others success.
But one may come to find
In that prayer, distress:

He wishes her success in her goals,
He prays fervently for it, but there’s a toll:
Much to his dismay,
Her goals will take her away.

Can he secretly hope she fails,
While praying she gets that letter in the mail?
No, ’tis selfish, ’tis not love.
He’ll send a unified message above.

Each time her departure is spoken of,
Part of his heart withers,
And though it goes against his druthers,
He’ll hope for that which sorrow comes of.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Sigh

She stood, waiting;
Fingers busy,
Eyes focused.

She inhaled,
Her lungs expanded,
Their physical volume deceptive
Of the depth of her emotion.
She exhaled.

Her sigh was perhaps one second long.
Considering the history of the earth,
Her sigh was infinitesimally short.

But by the depth of her emotion?
All the oxygen in the atmosphere
For an infinitely small slice of time
Was drawn into her lungs.

When she exhaled, the universe exhaled with her.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Afternoon Shiver

It is meeting time.
Distracted by passers by,
Listen and observe.

I observe this one
Coming and going again.
The meeting goes on;

This one goes again.
My body soon shivers hard;
No explanation:

I’m indoors, it’s warm;
Winter has yet to strike here.
But still I shiver.

She returns once more,
A sweater now adorns her.
Shivering explained?

7-11 at 11:13

I turn the corner
And spy in the dark,
In the shadows
Behind the seven eleven,

A man in pajamas
And a warm jacket
In the cool March night air.
He swings his foot forward;

Not a graceful motion,
But swift: he kicks
A rock on the ground
Or perhaps just the air.

It brings to my mind
The way I feigned
To kick the wall
After a lost point in racquetball.

Perhaps it was the maudlin song
Playing at the grocery store,
Or maybe echoes of my heart or yours,
But I feel the ache contained

In his silent outburst
In the shadow
In the dark
At eleven thirteen.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore