“Oh, my pillow, my soft, absorbent pillow!
What words of comfort have you for me today?”
Cheer up, all is not lost.
“And what will be the cost?”
Two drops is all.
“And what can I get for five?”
You are loved, even if some mistreat you.
You can have the pair for six.
“And how much for a verbal hug?”
Now that’s a tricky one,
A difficult task for a pillow.
What’s it worth to you?
I’ve saved up a lot,
Over days, weeks, months.
I wonder how much I should offer.
Would a cup be too much?
But as I start to pay
The dam bursts,
The stream won’t be held back.
“Is this enough?”
©2014 H.K. Longmore
This is an older piece, from what seems a lifetime ago, if not a different life. It describes in part the difficulty of returning to a place where all that you thought you knew about a person and their relationship with you was turned on its head. In the “Aggression” alluded to, I managed to hold my tongue, and prevent an assault from becoming assault and battery.
I returned to the place of Aggression yesterday
Though it still seems like today,
As parted have my pillow and head been, torn
The Aggressor was not there.
If he were, to go I could not bear.
Forgiveness he would have feigned
For a time, on a day I felt alienated.
In his heart
Real forgiveness had no part.
He wanted to keep his reign
He called that day to apologize
For the way he antagonized.
Wishing to talk to no one, warned by caller ID,
I left curses unsaid and receiver on hook.
The place is haunting now,
Full of darkness and shadows
Everywhere I looked.
I tried cursing a chair
That it might break—doing no harm
To the person who’d sit in it.
Let the La-Z-Boy die in retribution
For my suffering.
No pattern or form to follow,
No magic incantation—
Only me, my mind, my movements, imagination.
Break or not, I don’t care—
I did it, that’s what matters.
Enough about that, lest
My heart get left
In the darkness in the basement, in the theft
Of my pleasant memories,
At the time of the Aggression.
©2000-2014 H.K. Longmore
- The Shame of Going Back – Henry Lawson (I love that the Google search for “henry lawson the shame of going back“, without the quotes of course, currently has my old page from my undergrad days at the U as the top result.) Lawson’s poem describes a different situation where returning can be difficult.
Posted in poetry
Tagged assault, atonement, consequence, coping, Henry Lawson, poem, relationships, resilience, self reflection, shame, timing
Emotional pain I truly disdain.
To feel it completely would crush my heart;
The resulting torrent would fill my lungs
With that saline solution from my eyes.
So I aim to transmogrify the pain:
Change its form, numb the ache, preserve my heart.
I run ten miles having not run for months,
Just my muscles and bones, sinews and fat:
There’s no water station for hydration,
And no supplemental source of glucose.
At eight-point-three my quadriceps seize up;
My pace is so slow I switch to a walk.
With every step my pain turns; legs now burn.
Sun gone down, the air grows chill, my hands numb.
But let this not raise a flag of concern:
The pain tastes better the second time down.
©2014 H.K. Longmore
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.
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
If you’re installing a sink, and you have to do this to get the pipes to connect, try another way. That way, those coming after you won’t curse your unknown name.
A small metal spoon slipped silently,
Submerged beneath the suds,
Into the dark abyss of the insinkerator,
Of waste: from a garlic press,
Or catered scraps of ‘tater;
From recipes now deemed duds
As the baker sighs gently.
The proverbial china shop
Guards against the bull.
Upon learning of his coming,
The owner clears all his stocks.
But his plan the bull mocks;
His hooves, incessant drumming
With which he breaks societal rule.
Now comes the owner’s son, armed with mop.
A pickaxe-wielding ‘niner,
I strike my core and rock the spike:
Am I ever the bull,
Or am I at times the spoon?
Do I stop the disposer’s tune,
Or as a bull—as a fool—
Do I others psyche,
Yet think I am the china?
Copyright © 2013 H.K. Longmore
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
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
Posted in essays, journal
Tagged atonement, auto accident, become as a child, consequence, coping, Family, hiking, impressions, introspection, Outdoors, Recreation, relationships, resilience, self reflection, sin, timing
Last night I was pondering recent happenings in my life, which included what could have been déjà vu if only it weren’t clearly a separate and distinct occurrence. I came to a conclusion that should be fairly obvious, but it took two data points, and several years transpired before I acquired the second. When I am passing by or walking away from someone, feeling hurt or slighted but doing my best to bury the pain, and in my mind I tell them where they can go or I visualize the synapses of my brain firing such that all my phalanges form a fist but for one finger, it is a sure sign that my relationship with that person, whatever that relationship may be, is in peril. And thus applies this quote:
“But of bliss and glad life there is little to be said, before it ends; as works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see, are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for ever do they pass into song.” – JRR Tolkien, The Silmarillion
Which is great from the perspective of me being able to write some potentially great poetry. But if I could choose between the relationship being “in peril or broken forever” versus never writing a good poem about that relationship or that person, I’d choose the latter.
A corollary to this conclusion is that at such times, I should probably just let myself feel the pain and stop trying to numb it by the commands I mentally issue to the other person. Otherwise I start a downward spiral that, if not quickly corrected, spills over into other relationships.