Smile

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I’m not sure when I scribbled this poem on a loose sheaf of note paper (now in the “Final” file along with empty cans and banana peals as all illegible scribbles later clarified end) that suggests there was at one time more to it. Still, it stands on it’s own as a contemplative piece.


Smile

Fall
Through memory
Catching on the web of it
Hurtling through the thick of it

Down
In to the past
Hanged on every word of it
Passing through the heart of it

Hurt
By the act
Bleeding with the pain of it
Shooting past that part of it
To someplace better

sometimes
I find
that stepping to the side
of the ongoing ride
to watch it rolling by
while I
frozen in a space
about the size of nothing
and staring
at the slowly melting something
leaving just the core
while the unreality of it all
falls away
just makes me want to smile

 


 

Image: “Orion” by Liu Yu

One person at a time

 

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As published in Elephant Journal 8/5/17

 

I see a young woman punished by a mind that differs from my own pushing a shopping cart through the dregs of society.

The aisles of humanity staggered randomly like blockades of sheeple that spite or ignore or pretend she does not even exist.

She winds carefully through the labyrinth. A test of the gods. A test of her worthiness that she believes she failed long ago.

I wonder: What test? What god would be so cruel to allow this woman, who carries the spark of the divine itself within her breast, to live like this? Why threaten to extinguish the gift of that spark?

I step in front of this woman, only occasionally glancing behind, and part the cascade of ignorance like Moses in a sea of flesh so she can make her way to the hovel that is her home.

I see a man on a corner with a worn sign that says “will work for food” and I know, without a doubt, that he has neither worked nor eaten in far too long. I watch the constant flow of people pass by like a river of wealth that is just beyond his reach while he slowly dies from dehydration.

I wonder: Why should he work for what the planet gives freely? Why should he be reduced to begging for that which comes naturally?

I step into the closest convenience store, a place convenient only to those with means, and spend what little is left on my debit card to ensure that he will not go another day without that which is his right, and I bring it to him with one request—that if he knows another who has not eaten, he share it. He looks at me and offers a portion, and I gently refuse because I have a job.

I see an old man struggling to carry his meager supplies to his humble home. He staggers under the weight of the few small bags that are his sole source of sustenance for the next month. His “retirement” is barely enough to pay for the two rooms in an ancient building that could, at any time, be condemned and leave him homeless.

I cross the street, add my own bags to his, and carry them all to the crumbling facade which represents the dreams of his youth. Without a word, I leave all the bags, including my own, at his door and walk away in silence as he speaks the only word we shared in those six blocks, “Why?”

I wonder: Where did he work so hard that I can see the memories of his past etched deeply into his face? Why did the system he paid into for so long leave him with not so much as cab fare to transfer a true month’s worth of food? Why would my actions, which seem so natural to me, leave him questioning my motives?

When I return home, I see myself in the mirror: this man that proclaims love, who shares it freely with the hungry, who widens the aisle with his imposing figure and intimidates the sheeple with a glance so the meek can pass, who carries the bags for those who are too weak to carry them, and leaves them with more than they started with—where would he be if not for the love and care of the one person who first offered the very same compassion that he feels for others: his Self.

I see their faces in my reflection. I feel their pain, know their suffering, and, in fact, share it.

Where would I be? Exactly where I am now—with them.

I quietly acknowledge my gratitude to a universe that gave me the gift of this vision and know that I am home.

If you want to change the world, begin with yourself, and then carry that change into the world one person at a time.

~

~

~

Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay/quinntheislander
Editor: Travis May

i am the wind

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Upon red shores
Of bloodlet hearts
The manifest Divine
In search of a single soul
Deserving
Of the love promised all
Seeks
Not gods in the heavens
But man
In the sands below
While I
the wind
Caress her

 

I am Yours

Mariel.Milan.Cruz.meme

Beloved,

I love you
Completely
Entirely
With every cell in my body
With every atom that makes up every cell
With the nucleus and nucleotides that make up those atoms
With the strange, quarks, and I forget what comes after that in my body

I love you with my soul,
that instrument of the Divine
which,
on it’s own,
is but a note in the song of the Universe,
but which plays a melody so sweet,
so ethereal,
so in harmony with yours
that my body,
this vessel,
this prison,
howls with the venom of monsters only witnessed in movies,
for release and blessed union with you,
My Beloved,
to endlessly play
an ever evolving song

I long to taste you in my mouth
and when I do
your taste lingers like a chemical burn,
like frost bite,
like that fucking numbing you get when you push too hard,
when you extend yourself so far,
so much,
that the energy that normally flows
with ebbs and tides
like an infinite ocean within Our Being,
for certainly we are now
and always will be
a single entity with distinctly separate bodies,
evaporates and leaves us both
so nearly breathlessly spent
and soft
and willing
and hard
and passionate
and wanting for more.
Oh, please, more!

I want to lay you in the grass by the pond
and gaze in quiet contemplation
until my soul is satisfied
and my body aches
and admire your beauty
in the same way that I adore the songs
of the hundreds of birds,
the swallow and loon,
crow and robin,
the hawk,
that ever present watcher of my soul,
and the black bird that is it’s sworn enemy,
and I want to add our song to theirs.

I want to write great love songs and poems
that proclaim your poise
your strength
your beauty
even when you are ninety
because when you are ninety
you will be even more beautiful
for having spent your life
loving and being loved
until there are so many
that I could spend all day
every day
for a year
reading the poems
and playing the songs
and still have not gotten through them all.

I would carry you across a burning desert
to protect your delicate feet
I would call down a wind
and command a rain
to keep you cool
and I would build a home
from the sand
and mud
to keep you out of the sun
and we would live there forever
because it doesn’t matter where we live
as long as we are together.

I want to make your life better than you ever imagined
and in doing so
make my own life better
and thus create
an infinitely building loop of betterness
for us both
and I want it to overflow from us
and spill into the world
so that it becomes better.
I want us to be the example
that people point to and say
“I want us to be like them.”

I want us to grow old together
and hold your hand as you pass
because I promise
I won’t ever leave you alone
and after you have taken your last breath
I will join you,
there,
in infinite grace for eternity.

I am yours

Always

 

Image by Mariel Milan Cruz

As published in Elephant Journal

Author: J.M. Greff
Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron