Friday, December 30, 2016

Up!




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

She was standing in front of me,
to my left side, wearing a white dress
trimmed with lace, tiny flowers printed
upon it, head cocked, arms lifted and
reaching, little fingers wiggling in the air.

“Up!”
“Up!” she said.

This meant something; she had been
dropped so many times before.

~

What’s worse than having
to hold yourself all the time?

Falling from the arms of the
one you trusted to hold you.

No.

Becoming convinced that bruises
should be expected by the vulnerable.

No.

Avoiding vulnerability.

No.

Forgetting that you are always being held.

~

Once I rescued a tiny black-and-white
kitten that someone had thrown into
highway traffic in order to end his life.
His little organs were badly bruised
when his soft body struck the hard
black pavement. Touch hurt him.
Thus, all we did to help him, hurt him.
He didn’t want to be held. Not for
two years.

This morning, when he looked up
at me from the kitchen floor, I lifted
him to my chest and stroked his
soft fur. He was still for a moment,
then sighed. He wedged his head
in under my chin. He began to purr.
He kneaded.

I had been holding out hope
that he would someday know
of this possibility.

~
I know something of the little girl’s
story. Some of her bruises have had
odd colors and shapes, some shaped
like animals. I remember one looked
like a kitten.

~

I find myself wondering:

Is she, us?

~

Have you ever been afraid to look to the
heavens and ask for what you need because
you don’t trust that you will be held?

~

“Up!”

“Up!”

~

I am held.

You are held.



© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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There Are Some Mornings

















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

There are some mornings when
the world does everything possible
to get you out of bed, to draw you
into the curve of the emerging day.
On those mornings, this being one
of them, I think that it is wise, maybe
even a playful thing, to wonder what
blessing is eagerly awaiting
our attentiveness.

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From “Wonderment: New and Selected Poems”
To be published by Talking Waters Press
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Friday, November 11, 2016

The World's Voice

















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

You can hear it on some nights...the world's voice...wisdomed
yet also astonished, asking a question that is meant for us. "What
are you doing? This your life." Tonight is one of those nights.


(c) 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What is the World You Want to Wake Up To?
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


What is the world that you want to wake up to?
I want mine to be colorful and rich in texture.
I want to hear children laughing in the woods
as leaves crackle under the scamper of bare feet.
I want to sit in awe of the faces of people
who have grown old enough and wise enough
to wear their storylines.

I want to be able to sit on park benches with
my friends in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran
and so many other places
and hold them close,
to cry on their shoulders,
and to wipe their tears.

I want to hold food to my mouth and know that
it is nourishment for this, my body.
It is the only body that I have.

And it is my body. Of this I am certain.
And it is a most sacred temple, not a commodity
to be traded in the market places or
put to work in order to carry out
deeds that indefinitely burden the soul.

I want to be awakened at dawn by the voices of
tiny birds that traverse continents
and be wooed to sleep by streams and owls
and coyotes who are telling me that
they have nothing to fear of my kind.

I want to have faith that the young ones who
will be making decisions when I am weary and
wrinkled are well educated in the school of
worldly experience, and dearly love
this planet that is their inheritance.

I want to call you my Brother,
and you my Sister,
and have no doubt that you see me
as family irrespective of our
differences.

I want us to live together in wonderment
of this heart-cracking world,
not in terror of the skies or the oceans
or the earth beneath our feet because
we collectively betrayed our own Mother.

Sigh.

This is all I want.

This, and to wake up knowing that you
too have your eyes open enough

to go place your vote for the world
that you want to wake up to.



© 2012-2016/Jamie K. Reaser

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Protect What Matters




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I want to live in a world in which people
protect what matters. The simple things.
The lovely things. Things that grow in our
hearts and feed our souls. We have it here
and now, the chance, that chance. It
won’t be here tomorrow. This won’t be
here tomorrow. Tell the children, or
step up, speak up, protect what matters.

This land is our land to reap and sow and tend.
Tenderness is how we become human, it’s our humanity.
Step up, speak up, protect what matters

Under skies, under rooves, stories get told and beliefs get made.
If we believe we are enough, we don’t need more than this.
Tell the children, or step up, speak up, protect what matters

Anything good is worth attentiveness.
Anything good is worth saying no for and yes to.
Step up, speak up, protect what matters.

Step up, speak up, protect what matters.

This place is maybe or maybe not, you decide.
This choice is a future in the making, make it well.
Tell the children, or step up, speak up, protect what matters.

I want to live in a world in which people
protect what matters. The simple things.
The lovely things. Things that grow in our
hearts and feed our souls. We have it here
and now, the chance, that chance. It
won’t be here tomorrow. This won’t be
here tomorrow. Tell the children, or
step up, speak up, protect what matters.



© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mists in the Morning
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


How can we get so lost, banter
on and on about such frivolous things?
The mists lift every morning so that
we can see what is behind
the thick, heavy veils.
Sigh if you are sad. To grieve for what
is lost or broken is an act of attentiveness.
All I ask is that you don’t let them take
your soul. Remember this, please:
you inhabit more than
one world.

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From “Wonderment: New and Selected Poems”
A work in progress

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Late Summer Day
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


I had many things planned for this precious life,
but I’ve since learned that planning is a binding,
a tether, a grip that, when taken up in earnest,
keeps us from freely roaming all of the grand
possibilities. Like old mountains, and cricketed
fields, and long, edgy shorelines.

Now, not knowing is my practice. It works okay.
On most days, and some nights. The dark-skied ones.

I think that mystery is the only medicine for the
wild soul that nags at the feet restlessly;
predictability and sameness pain its true nature.

This, I understand.

Summer is going somewhere, but not in any way
that we can imagine. I could tell you things:

A battered white moth will lose itself to
the chill surrounding a porch light.

The sunflowers will hang their heavy
finch-beaded heads until their bodies snap
and they lie there, welcoming the molds.

The bird voice that was your awakening for
four straight months is gone, but you will be
confounded as to why you overslept.

And, the bear, the bear cares about nothing
more than its belly. You’ll come around a
sharp curve in the trail and, startled by
form and scent, halt. The bear’s head is in
thick duff and acorns. You don’t matter.

Keep walking.

But that won’t be it. It will be something else
entirely; more bold and more subtle.

Yes.

I want the next day to be that for me.



(c) 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Right Place
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Some know what they want. Yes, maybe it is to be among the trees. Or, to be in a garden in some place where a garden is an act of defiance of something.

You advise: Try to find the right place for yourself.

But, I don’t think that’s it. I think we want to be found. I think we need to be found. That’s harder than finding, don’t you agree? To be found, you have to be still. You have to be vulnerable to something that wants you. It could be dangerous. You’re lucky if it is.

People are not alone, but they are lonely. The body has forgotten what it is made of. So has the spirit. I watched a meteor shower last night. I’m not going to go into the details, but that’s some of the stuff.

Here is a good place to be, especially when I take notice of the fact that I’m breathing and muster the gratitude for it. When was the last time you heard your breath? We were given ways of knowing that we are alive and well.

When I talk to the gods, they don’t say much. Why utter lies? I think they are well aware that we are not yet ready for the truth. It’s an interesting thought, that.

The experts say that when you are lost, you should just stay put. Sit. Wait. I haven’t been particularly good at waiting. Maybe that’s because, up until now, I hadn’t really realized what I was waiting for.



© 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

It Will Be in the Silence
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Sometimes you come upon a place that
beckons you into silence: an old stone bench,
a lake shore, a certain time in your life. Nothing
small can reside there.

I’m looking for that place now, the kind of place
that puts clocks to rest because something must
come forth to reset everything. I don’t want to
follow these rules and constructs anymore -
written, not written, felt.

Something is asking me not to, and it is wise.

Reason doesn’t have roots that run deep enough
to tap the place that I am longing for, that place
where obvious things cannot be explained. That
place that is called sacred even by those who
have never used the word before.

I want you to sit and wait with me, away from the
noise and the voices of those who speak only to rob
you of your name. What most needs to be heard
hasn’t yet been said.



(c) 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sunrise
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

What it says is this:

"You are here.
Make the most of it.
I'll offer you something,
but not much.
Lovely colors. A bright form.
An idea, perhaps.
You must be brilliant about it.
Make thoughtful observations.
Commit your heart.
Do something brave.
Make it an act of love.
You won't get this day again."

(c) 2016-2017Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Ponies
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser; Kris and Chris


You wonder if this world will grow kinder eventually,
if there is a piece of some yet-lingering God inside each of us
that has a desire to make something beautiful, or
something beautiful happen, even a little something.

The ponies must have known how the veil had thinned,
how they had already become meat and glue and hide in
the eyes of the auctioneer. “How much to end these
lives?” Bid. Bid high. Sold.

The slaughter truck’s gate-mouth was wide open, its belly
waiting to be filled with the sound of hooves on metal,
fear: its acrid scent, and questions about what a soul
is worth on any given day.

That’s not beautiful. For God’s sake, it is not.

Do you want to cry?  I do cry. Does your heart sink and
crumble because you struggle to live in a world
that has coined pain as currency? I struggle.

The stock yard was growing eerily quiet when they left,
the trailer gate locked behind them, no choices of their
own available. Owned.

In truth, I wasn’t actually there to see it. Someone told me
the story about a month later, on the day that I went to meet
the lovely ponies and place kisses on their soft muzzles.
There was so much life in their eyes.

You see, the Gods had conspired to get a few strangers and
a few dollars together, and something beautiful happened.

I wonder about kindness, and what else it can do.



© 2016-207/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Song for Summer




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


In the days that creep toward summer,
have you noticed how the flowers 
have become practiced at rising into  
the sky and give no hint of the  darkness
from which they emerged? They choose
to be bold. And do you think about the
trees hosting all the little cupped nests and
the little cupped nests holding something
precious that will have to make its way
into the world by taking a risk on an impossible
dream? Can you hear the humidity like I can
hear the humidity, coming alive, growing its own
body out of nothingness? Some people complain
about it, but not me. I know this shroud and
how a woman is to wear it. A dragonfly crosses
paths with a butterfly down by the pond
where the green frog sits edge-wise on
a stone in the sun. Into the night the bats take insects
on wing and the barred owls speak out the only
question they know. This is where I live: in this
place of welcoming and celebration. Summer is on
her way. I will meet her on the porch steps,
wearing my shroud.


(c) 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Pond Lilies














Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Do you ever wonder what Monet thought
of the lilies? The ones there in the dark-watered
pond on a summer’s day. Those petals and pads
working their sweet way into his soul.

How is it that we have forgotten this art of
intimacy with the other?  I stand here on the
edge, a thousand voices inviting me to go
deeper.

There are lilies floating.
White vessels for the sky.

Oh, yes, what in this world is perfect?
What resides without wanting to lead
us to the pain of knowing our true selves?

I think the answer is either nothing or everything.

I happen to be someone who finds perfection in
what is broken. How lovely.

A lily broke me open today.



© 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary
To be published by Talking Waters 

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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Trees Speak
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Those who can hear the trees speak have never
had a thought of loneliness. What they know
is joy, and something of grief.

Trees tell amazing stories. Stories told by
generations of trees. They pass them along.
Wherever it is you stand now, there is a tree
that knows the story of that place.

How do I know these things?

I’m crazy enough to ask. That’s all that
this delightful world requires of us:


to be crazy enough.


(c) 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Blue Iris




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


But, what if it is the blue iris?
What if that is all we need to speak
to God, or the gods, or some other
form of the sacred?

I try to pay attention. I piece words together.
This is prayer, yes. But, more so, it is ceremony.
I want to hear another voice. I want a reply.
I want to know that I’m not alone and that
all of this matters.

May I put it in a vase?  May I decorate my home
with it? It is beautiful.

Could I be worthy of something
that I love?



© 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Mother Was




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


My mother was the purple iris,
sometimes a peony, but never
the carnation. My mother was
red lipstick and a big, bright smile
that sometimes lied about how
much she loved her life. She counted
her burdens and could recite them
with ease, but she said that you
could make things better with a bag
of peanut M&Ms. Green ones, especially.
You don’t forget, not all of it.

But when you bury someone
in a blue ceramic jar
near the old boxwoods
and walk away,
things start to become
hard to remember.

I don’t know the meaning of life.
But, maybe, it is simply to take notice.



© 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Flowers




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

We only lived in that house for a year
and I was only six, but I remember
things. Like, Mom planted a row of
flowers along the walkway to the
front door. They were red and
yellow and orange and shaped like
rooster combs. “Cock’s combs,” a
neighbor said. They fascinated me,
how a flower could look like part
of a chicken. I watched them for
endless minutes, like I expected
something to happen and didn’t
dare miss it. I knew something of
magic then. Perhaps, I simply
expected they’d become chickens,
scratching about the yard for seed
and small insects. But, maybe it
was something even more
miraculous than that. Maybe, it
was some bigger knowing that had
possession over me. I’d put some
in a pot on the stoop of my first
house. For no particular reason, I
thought. And, there would come  
the day when I’d be standing in the
Amazon and meet a field full of the
ancestors of Mom’s flowers, as tall
as me, and I’d feel an odd sense
of family and want to tell someone
about it, but there was no one to tell.
Then, a day would arrive when I’d
have my very own chickens and
while watching them strut, cluck,
and scratch, I’d remember being
a little girl watching flowers, and
realize that I was still watching them.

We shouldn’t underestimate children.
They become something else.



© 2016-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Plant Songs" (a work in progress)

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