Tag Archives: resilience

An Ode to Paul

An ode to Paul, Paul who was Saul, I write.
I write in free form because
Paroxymal Choreoathetosis
Is too long for iambic pentamemter;
Too short for haiku,
The subject too serious for limerick,
And not yet requiring elegy.

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh
“Lest he be exalted above measure”.
Some say his thorn was seizures.
Paul bore it well, in adversity took pleasure.

If only I were as upright as Paul!
Perhaps then my thorn
Would not fill me with gall.

After I did my time
In magnetic medical caves,
And doughnuts crossed with x-rays,
Sleep-deprived, electrodes on my scalp;

The diagnosis was given:
Paroxymal Choreoathetosis,
Or some other paroxymal disorder.

Nine years passed
Before a medicine was found to control it,
Too late for the lass
I took to the Christmas dance.

As we danced, a seizure struck.
We left the dance floor,
Roamed the school halls
While I explained my condition.
We returned and danced some more.

Dance over, headed home,
She was dropped off first.
She got out, I was to follow.
I tried but twixt the car and ground
Another seizure took control.

I could not move,
Was near to falling.
My friend, the driver,
Grabbed my coat,
And pulled me in;
Kept me from a serious fall.

Seizure ended, I looked for the girl,
And found her as she realized
I was not walking her to her door:
She ran the remaining distance.

My heart ached for her.
But too embarrassed,
Too socially awkward,
I did not call, write, or visit.

I did not heed my parents counsel
To select one of these to apologize.
Instead, as time wore on,
Through mutual friends I planted
Seeds of information,
Until the thing was understood.

I once found a dictionary
Sufficiently large to define
Paroxymal and Choreoathetosis.
I remember now only that
It had to do with seizures
And lack of oxygen.

Three medicines later, life seems normal.
You wouldn’t guess I could be
Just hours of sleep deprivation
Or poor nutrition,
Or too many forgotten pills away
From a return to that life.

And still my thorn threatens to return;
The threat now seems most often to come
When I’m about to do something
I know deep down I shouldn’t.

But the knowledge that oxygen helps
Means you’ll know I’m battling it;
You’ll know by sudden changes
In my breathing depth and pace.

I ask not for your sympathy;
Your empathy retain.
I tell you so you’ll understand
Should you see the threat of my thorn.

What you won’t know, I’ll never tell
(Not unless we talk of it),
Is the pleading in my mind:
“Oh, Lord, please, no!
Don’t let me have a seizure now!
My God, help me breathe,
Don’t let me lose control!”

Oh that I were as upright as Paul,
And my thorn was to keep me from boast.
I could then glory in affliction;
Privately enjoy my views of heaven.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore

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What lies beneath

Uncomfortable in his skin,
He vowed it would never happen again.
He claimed mostly he was disappointed in him.

But allowing time for reflection,
It turns out he lied.
Yes, he was disappointed—
Even in his self—
But more than that,

Disappointed he didn’t act
When the timing was right,
Sorrowful for the confusion,

And heartbroken at missed opportunity.

The Cocoon and the Butterfly

Oh, return to me, my cocoon!
In days gone by I tried to flee
Thy protecting wall;
Enticed by a beautiful butterfly,
Beautiful, smart, and cunning;
Who passed by to catch my eye.
Confident you were holding me back,
I tried to flee, but it made my skin crawl.

One day I fled, I pushed through thy barrier;
I was free to pursue the dazzling beauty.
But it took time for my wings to dry.
As I waited she passed on signals,
Intended or no, that she fancied me.
At long last, my wings dry, I tested them.
They felt strong, they felt beautiful.

I sought an answer to the paradox
That to know whether I’d like to fly
On a long journey with her at my side,
I’d need to spend more time with her;
Yet making the request could rend her desire.

I forgot lesson learned, and sought
A simple answer to a simple question.
I fluttered and flew ’til I came to her;
The air around was warm,
Warm as the day man discovered fire.
I asked if she would for a time fly with me.
But lo! I took too long, or she forgot,
Or she was filled with treachery, I thought.
I play no games, words at face value take.
My beauty was sufficient, she had already revealed,
But by her words she chose disinterest,
And I, I nearly froze.

Come back to me, my safe cocoon!
Bring back the crawling of my flesh.
Protect me once again, and I’ll grow,
I’ll grow more beautiful than before.
Let her do whatever she will;
I will emerge when metamorphosis completes,
A grander thing with prettier hues.

Can a butterfly enter a second time into his cocoon?

I spent a sleepless night, defenseless;
Vulnerable as I tried to find you, my cocoon.
I carried on with my life, sad, solemn, painted smile,
Until time and circumstance provided that simple answer:
Her response, “Why would you ask me that?”
May have meant something else to her,
But for me it is the pointing finger of rebuke:
By asking that simple question,
I lost a slice of honor, and with it beauty,
As the missing honor reveals my inner caterpillar.
Treachery it was not, but her wings fluttered
More true than mine, flailing and ripping from caterpillar me.

I look about to find she has fled,
Distancing herself by degrees;
A dream I had while still cocooned,
Before I ever saw her, stands partially fulfilled.
In the dream after she fled, I could not find her,
And I became a creature most reprehensible.
Oh take me back, my cocoon,
Heal my self-inflicted wound!
Let me not arrive at the fate foretold.

But can a butterfly enter a second time into his cocoon?
I can’t seem to find you, my cocoon; gone as the butterfly.
So I seek building blocks of water and bread, flesh and blood.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore

Gone As The Year

Gone are the days when she parented me,
Saying, “You should come with us sometime;”
Should being a parenting word,
Not a word for use with an equal.

Gone are the days when she talked with me,
Free as the dawn, bright as a butterfly.
Plauged with constrained conversation,
No give-and-take reciprocation.

That year is gone; now I get the silent treatment
Or paying no attention to me,
Only to others around.
A test of jealousy?

I feel no jealousy, only self-respect.
Of him, nor him, nor him am I jealous.
Rather, I respect myself to enforce this condition:
Pay attention to me, talk with me, be an equal.

Today the condition is not held.
Today she has only deliberately ignored.
Today is filled with inequality.
So I fill my heart with disregard.

Tomorrow I’ll try to disregard today.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore

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Cathartic Ventures

The whistle of a teapot
As the painter adds another spot.
The spillway with water flows
As the writer pens some prose.

Steam exudes from the dryer vent
While the poet works out what he meant
And what he said from what he intended,
For fear the meaning was upended.

But tonight well after dark,
This guy, he was a madman in the park:
Singing at the top of his lungs,
A full concert was sung.

He sang some old favorites, some new
In full pursuit of cathartic stew.
Twenty songs later, he left for home
Solely because his smartphone battery groaned.

Copyright © 2013 H.K. Longmore

Why At-One-Ment Doesn’t Involve Time Travel

Have you ever longed to go back in time and change just one choice so a life event would turn out differently, or a relationship could be preserved or never started?  I have certainly had wistful thoughts along those lines.  No, I lie.  I do still have wistful thoughts like that from time to time.  I went hiking a couple of weeks ago with some of my family.  My sister had spent three summers working at a camp in the area, and took the lead.  We headed toward that camp, then down a dirt road toward the trail head.  We passed a small stream flowing down the mountain and she remarked that the old trail went up the stream, but people kept littering in the (watershed) stream, so the trail was moved, and the old trail blocked off.  A little further down the road, and she indicated for us to turn off the road and head up the hill.  In the winter, this hill is part of a ski trail; in summer, it is covered with wildflowers.  My sister pointed them out, acting the part of trail guide.  Up the hill we continued, until we reached a spot where there was a spur of trail running to the stream.  My sister was wishing we could go up the old trail, so I told the others I was going to explore the branch, no one had to follow, and I would come back and let them know what I found.  My sister said to make sure it went up and not over, because over would lead into the camp.

The branch lead me across the stream.  A short distance further I found another spur that lead up the hill.  I took it a short distance to see where it led, then returned and informed the others of what I had found.  We headed that way.  The spur going up took me back across the stream not far from where I initially crossed.  I waited there to help my nieces and nephews find the best path across if needed.  While we were crossing, my sister had gone a bit further from the spur and found yet another path that led up.  She instructed that we needed to go up that way, so we all headed over. Continue reading

Soft Theft

Copyright © 2013 H.K. Longmore

Confidently I will tell you
Of the crime I witnessed at noon.
The thing occurred sometime between
When she stole a glance at his jeans
As she stole away to get lunch
And when she her last bite did munch.

Confidentially, it was hers
But he stole it away with ease
He didn’t try, needed no keys
His touch was so soft—soft as furs.

Confidence—the thing she now lacks
Which he fain would return if asked
(I asked him if he had realized
Her attempting to cauterize
The wound, stealing backward glances,
But by her eyes he was entranced).

Consistent, compliant, softly
Now he seeks to her to restore
The confidence he never took
And I wish to tell her before
Her confidence by him was shook

This well-worn sagacious two bits:
If she’d have, in time, her druthers,
Never give it to another;
Only she has power o’er it.

Hey buddy, can you spare some change?

There’s that famous saying about changing those things you can and accepting those things you can’t.  What it doesn’t detail is what to do to help yourself accept those things you can’t change.  Or perhaps, those things that you could change, and want desperately to, but are bound by duty or by honor to accept.  This latter case is especially difficult compared to those things you just can’t change.  So what does one do?  I leave it as an open question for my readers (all zero of you 😉 ).

Today I have found I am grateful that I never did put that old racquetball away; taking it out of my car and slamming it against the cinder block wall at the back of the building was the vent in my teapot.