Friday, July 14, 2017

The Deer


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I know what it is to be hunted,
to be the thing that someone wants to destroy
because it will make them feel better about themselves.

I’m not sure how I learned to be this thing,
this thing that is okay with that. I’m not a martyr.

I am an offering.

My challenge is to make peace with
never knowing
what for.

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Saturday, July 1, 2017


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

A container full of berries
is a measure of time
and effort,

and something
else that escapes the
lid and is the sweetest.
I could say more, yes,

but I want you to
find out for yourself
how summer frees

things. It can be hard
to remember.

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Freyda's Poem

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

She was walking along the country road,
plodding with sullen eyes that, upon my
arrival, lifted, somewhat, and asked:

“Is this more pain coming?”

And, daringly:

“Could it be hope?”

My open palm offered her the kibble
that I keep on hand, in a jar in the truck,
for just these moments. They are often
enough. She took it into her jutting ribs,
and then went for the pile I put on the
passenger seat. That was my hope.

That’s how our story started.

There’s some part of me that understands
the texture of abandonment better than
most things. I could tell you stories, but
I can’t explain it to you. It’s one of those
tangible mysteries that defines us.

We are the legacy of the dispossessed.

What makes a being disposable?

I wonder about this when I pick a dog up
on a winding country road, although, sometimes,
it is a cat, or several. And, too, there are the
men with cardboard signs on the street corners,
all having written imploring words with a thick
black sharpie.

Once, it was two young women. We talked.
They had abandoned themselves. They said:

“It is less painful this way.”


Rumi wrote to his beloved that:

I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ‘round the corner.

And, then went on to add:

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper

What is the opposite of abandonment?

Is it this?


I decided to call her, Freyda.

It means, joy.


I think:

If we want to know joy,
we can find our way home.

Anyway, that’s my hope.

©2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

I'll Trade Places with You

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The blind man entered the metro car.

“Are there any empty seats?”

“No,” said the man sitting next to me,
in front of the sign that reads:

Priority Seating. Federal Law Requires
that These Seats Be Available to
Passengers with Disabilities and to
the Elderly.

Quizzically, again,

“There are no empty seats?”

“No. There aren’t any empty seats.”

He didn’t even glance up from his phone.
Didn’t look him in the eye.

Arising from my seat, the words came,

“Here. I’ll trade places with you. A little
to the left. Okay. There.”

I’ll trade places with you.

I stood, gripping the metal post, my
sight coming to rest on the clearance badge
around the neck of the face-to-phone

Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs?


I couldn’t work my way to anger,
couldn’t get to a place where I could
speak my mind,

grief for this world arose so thick,
it was disabling.

I’ll trade places with you.

When did they stop teaching kids the
game in which they try to walk in
each other’s shoes?

I remember it. I had the biggest feet.


I don’t know where we are going.

There’s a part of me that wants to get off.

But, I am still standing here, holding on.


The blind man wouldn’t give up his seat.

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

No Matter What

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The morphine made her mean. We turned her friends away,
sparing them painful memories. But, we remained, bedside.
In her dying days, we learned how to push love out through
tough skin.

Today, at her grave, I found myself thankful for this:

How I can love this world
no matter what.

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Water and Stone

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The Earth is showing you how it is done,
water and stone; what is hard is warn
away by the long flow of persistence.

Stay the course.

Know that tears have their purpose, and that
nothing is permanent. Have that long cry,
whether or not there is a shoulder made
available to you.


When I was a little girl, my best friend was
a brook. She taught me about the power of
subtle movements all heading in the
same direction.

I remember a bullfrog tadpole who had
figured this out too. I watched his tail
undulate. He created a tiny current.


In recent memory, I sat on a boulder next to a
mountain stream and the waters talked to me.
They said that voices are like water, they can
change things.

I started to speak more truths.


When it rains, we can say to ourselves:

“We are doing this. We are working together,
all of us, creating something that can become
something formidable.”

I’ve always had a special fondness for storms.
Have you ever made love during one?

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From “Truth and Beauty”

To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Roosters

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

“Wake up!”

“It is time to rise!”


One morning, I awoke from a dream in which
roosters were crowing, and there were
still roosters crowing. I didn’t have roosters
at the time. Well, I didn’t when I went to
sleep the night before. I caught them by
the stream, near the road, in the pouring
rain. My legs were cut by the mountain laurel
and bleeding. It felt like childhood.

I loved those roosters. They lived with me for
eight months before they decided to try
to kill each other. I put them in my shower
to wash all the blood off and then nursed
them back to health. I gave one to the lady
who works at the post office and kept
the other one – the orange one that got
along well with the dog. The fox ate that
one while I was away. It felt like having
something precious stolen – like adolescence.

I loved those roosters.


I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking
about waking up – how we have a delicate yet
powerful moment gifted to us in which we can
imagine our way into everything that is to follow.
Every day we get the chance to emerge from the
darkness and take a dream forward to an
anticipating sky.

Somewhere, in my adult life, I have found a
grand responsibility in this – in waking up.
I miss my roosters dearly, but I no longer need
their reminders.


“Wake up!”

“It is time to rise!”

That’s my voice you are hearing.

© 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty"
To be published by Talking Waters Press

Feel free to share