Still Life

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Arranged meticulously,

posed purposefully,

captured faithfully —

life not as it happened,

but a skillful composition.

Sliced pomegranate,

with a few loose jewels nearby,

a vase full of poppies,

wine glasses half full,

a fresh loaf of bread

a steak knife flanking

an empty plate.

We stand on the outside

looking in,

a window to a moment,

forever undisturbed —

not life as it once was,

just an arrangement.

Take this with you,

only in memory,

no flash photography.

Sycamore

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Winds of change,

carry me away,

I will spiral

as I ride the currents,

to still waters,

to green pastures.

The gale will wail,

but I will not falter,

it’s fury will take me

somewhere new,

I have faith.

I will put down roots,

I will stand as tall as I can,

from midsummer,

through first frost

but, here, I cannot stay.

Winds of change,

I will follow your lead,

I fear no obstacle,

you have carried me above them.

Though you have set me down,

I will not rest,

The sun sets in the West,

I will face East,

and take in the morning light,

no matter the hand I’m dealt.

Winds of change,

carry me away,

I wish to see the world,

carry me away.

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Life’s Lemons

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Half-empty,

or half-full,

just remember to drink deeply

and you will feel refreshed

in either case.

Every drop in the bucket,

contributed

to its current state.

A smattering of shattered glass

can lead to

angry wails,

or end with

a beautiful mosaic.

Sit down and do your scales,

I guarantee you

with dedication

you will be able to play more

than “hot-cross buns”

and “Happy Birthday.”

Today is worth it,

not perfect,

because the best way

to find a beautiful view,

is to keep climbing.

When life hands you lemons,

fix yourself a drink,

and add some zest

to everything you do.

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Reflections From the Wind Tunnel

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The abyss looked through me,

and I had no answers for it.

But I couldn’t just walk away,

avert my gaze,

throw my hands up

and call it quits.

“Assert yourself,”

I commanded,

The wind caught my words

as they left my lips,

and sent them somewhere

No one could hear.

There was only so much I could stand,

So I marched again,

and I marched again,

I marched until I was beaten back

to where I started.

The Ravens croaked above

coasting on rising thermals,

and they looked down on me

holding still.

Someday I’ll be airworthy.

Today the abyss looked back at me,

And I’ll look back on the abyss fondly,

For all it taught me.

Wading For It

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Beware of any oasis,

because nowhere in this world of oddities,

will you cross the same river twice.

Try, try, try, as you might,

leaning into the current,

cannot bring you to the past-

grasping for the rain drops,

will not help you

stand steady and weather a storm.

No matter how torn,

you may feel,

there are times you must leave it all behind,

you’ll know it when you see it.

But so be it,

and fear not,

you never have to leave green pastures,

if you can bring them with you,

in tempests and torrents,

deserts, meadows, canyons, summits.

So long as you’re still going,

you are always exactly

where you need to be.

If you’re a fish out of water,

I really hope you’re a mudskipper.

DECLASSIFIED: Vestigial Structures

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Click here to read the original poem.

Life can make a person feel dreadfully small.

The very act of realizing that your body is a number of well-refined subsystems acting in accordance with one another is just one of them, and one I find myself drawn to every so often.

So I may be, in essence, a machine but how finely-tuned? How well-oiled?

I function, with some minor hiccups here and there. But I’m only human, and humankind is not evolution’s crowning achievement.

Evolution is not necessarily “survival of the fittest.” Evolution is throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. It is a game of inches; it’s about finding the rules of survival and bending them into a pretzel. It’s about how heavily you can game the system.

Humans have some kinks to work out, for sure. Our minds are powerful and flexible, but there are vestiges of bygone eras long since past encoded in the way we organize ourselves (I.E. tribalism), and process the world.

No human alive NEEDS their tonsils or their tailbones. But they also don’t impede the way we go about or business enough to be dealt with by the drip, drip, drip of natural selection.

But we have what we’ve got, regardless of our ability to use it.

This is what inspired me to write Vestigial Structures. Those bits of me left over from when I definitely wasn’t human.

Northern Life

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Lapland has it’s ups and downs,

as static as it might seem.

Friendly people and bitter cold,

a lonely taiga with polar wildlife, plenty of fish to eat,

also the sun sometimes shines through midnight.

You take the bad with the good,

because even the blackest night,

filled with every far-away,

twinkling,

long-dead star,

can erupt with sudden energy.

Swirls of shimmering turquoise,

undulating orange ribbons,

crashing waves of purple,

meet swinging arcs of neon green,

all before disappearing,

like steam blown away from a cup of tea.

Ribbons of light,

electrify,

the air,

while pristine snow,

about your feet,

grounds you,

like white space on a canvas.

You take the good with the bad here,

just so long as you can witness all of it.