Trending away.

Great minds speak of ideas
          average minds, of events
     small minds, of people and things
But me? I speak
          of the idea of us
     two people
          and what we did
          and what we had

Blatantly ignoring the signs
          I assumed it was me
     and I was wrong
But on the drive home
          that February afternoon
     you asked for forgiveness
          that wasn't mine to give
          I gave it anyway

Trending always away from
          what I thought we meant
     of what it meant to be us
But I was confused
          there was no us
     how could there be?
          there was only me
          there was only you

We played at 'us' as best we could
          never breaking character
     always saving face
But when it was time to leave
          there was always 
      someone else
          waiting for you
          waiting on me

And looking back now on it
          it shouldn't surprise me
     although it always does
But if I had it to do all over
          I know in my soul
     that my heart would be
          yours to break again
          forever and ever

You will always come first
          you will always be the one
     yes, that surprises me, too
But the past does not lie
          nor does it tell the truth
     it just is
          and continues to be
          never changing

Trending always towards
          what I thought we meant
     which was nothing
But I am confused
          and to tell the truth
     you never chose me 
          it was always someone else
          it was always somewhere else

So I should pour another drink
          cheers to us
     and what we never were
But the bottle is empty
          and it's far too late
     for me to brave the cold
          of this Autumn night
          for another drink.

Another Day by Debbie Vandenberg

A good friend of mine, Debbie Vandenberg, shared with me this beautiful poem she wrote this morning as she was enjoying the sunrise from her porch, and has given me her permission to share it with you...
Another Day

Sunset gently waking me
Kissing away the night before
Wiping sadness out of my eyes
Then teasing me
To play some more

I take a sip
    hot
    strong
    creamy
I can taste the opportunity
In the warmth
Cup to my mouth
Toying with me
As I hold it in my hands
To make the best of this day
That is all it knows
And this, too, I understand
My clothes hit the floor
I need to be ready in an hour
So the shower takes me in
Washed away
Every ounce of sorrow
Then like a mad man
I let the water go cold
As the shower
Boldly reminds me
It is up to me to decide
Hold on, or let go

My chair wants to be one with me
It is the softest
Space I have
So I bring my legs up from the floor
And relax every muscle that I have
My breath I begin to watch
Breathing in, then I release
A sweet sense of joy surrounds me
My chair shows me how to find peace

It is time now for the mirror
Without the above
I could not face
In there I see lines of wisdom
And eyes that have seen
What it is to find grace

Now I am walking out the door
The world is mine to
Explore
I thank the
     sun
     shower
     chair
     mirror
For waking me,
Cleaning me,
Holding me,
And letting me see the truth
Now I have the power
To face another day.

-Debbie Vandenberg, October 2021
©2021 Debbie Vandenberg 

at sea

and I've battened down all of
     the hatches
and I'm sailing too close to
     the wind
and at times I've been dead
    in the water
and at times I've held fast on
     the right tack

at times I've feel her shot
     across my bow
as it screamed and it tore
     through my decks
and at times I've trimmed
     my sails eastward
in pursuit of the leeway lost
     to the west

a loose cannon that meters
     deep waters
given a wide berth to pummel
     the shoals
three sheets to the wind, maybe
     four, maybe five
in dead water it is always
     sink or swim

and from atop the lofty
     crow's nest
yet again I hear the cry
     of land-ho!
and I trim to the aft
     just to find
the mirage of the sea
     once again

and so by the board
     all at sea
and sailing toward that
     distant horizon
the shimmering sea that
     beckons the brave
and equally the cowards
     like me

the salt air and a sail steady
     is all I can ask
as I search for the source
     of this call
a siren in red who gestures
     from close quarters
as the crow flies it is
     unimaginably far

as the storms whips my sails
     thunder clamps down
and the wind is brutally,
     caustically fierce
but I dare not set sail for
     the safety of home
there is nothing for me
     in that lonely port

better to batten down all of
     the hatches
better to sail too close to
     the wind
and ignore what it is that
     I am becoming
ignoring what I might
     have been

prisoner.

I remain a prisoner
     my own jailer
trapped in a tapestry of
     my own tastes and
          my own desires and
               my own self
a self that doesn't exist

I have freedom, to be sure
     free to act how I wish
     free from constraints
     free to think 
          to act
               to believe
but I am still a prisoner

and left to my own devices
     my own preconceived
view of right and wrong
     of good and bad
     of black and white
     of shades of gray
I remain imprisoned

victim of my own thoughts
     my own fears
          my own dreams
prisoner to my own view
     absent of clarity
     absent of context
chained to my day

while freedom is just a
     breath away
I reject the notion that
     I can just let go
as hard as I try, my
     attempts end in vain
and move forward

for even in the letting go
     there is expectation
     that does not dissipate
it eats at the fringes of
     my restful mind
     questioning all
doubting everything

never reaching that
     blissful, settled state
that promises relief from
     doubt
          fear
               anger
                    angst
busy, monkey-mind
won't release its grip
on the banana

whirling around in circles
on to the next stop
     when this one is
          incomplete
always starting
never finishing.

bed.

awaken to the sound
     the gentle swell and release
of the ocean just outside
     my window
of the ocean just inside
     my phone

smell the coffee brewing
     thank god for timers
the scent of vanilla
     wafting up the stairs
the scent of cinnamon
     filling the house

log in and grimace
     so much to do
take a deep breath
     but the stress remains
shut the laptop
     drink the coffee

randomly chosen mug
     I watch the words
resolve to a sentence
     and I think
me too, mug, me too -
     I'm definitely 
           going back 
               to bed
                    after this.

20820

as I begin the long, slow
     slog towards fifty-eight
          (and beyond, hopefully)
     with a mind that is clear
and a heart that is full

(or at least more clear
          than a year ago
 and at least more full
          than yesterday)

I have learned to not
     look back in anger or
          resentment or fear or
     melancholia or 
          wistfulness

     what happened yesterday
or last week or month or year
          is set in stone
     unchanging
and I can gain nothing from it
          but to learn from it

I have learned to not
     worry about the future
          adopting a fluid view
     of what can be and
         what cannot

     and so as I start
day two thousand eight hundred
          and twenty
     I breathe in and note it
and focus on the now that is
          foremost in my mind

(at least more so
     than a year ago
 at least more so
     than yesterday)

and let go of the anger and
          worry that they lied
               to us, for
     they promised us jetpacks
and yet I remain grounded
     here on earth.

fifty-seven.

one more book
one more drink
one more song
not so much to ask

one more guitar
one more practice
one more gig
not too much to ask

one less argument
one less headache
one less heartache
not so much to ask

one more day
one more walk
one more kiss
not too much to ask

one more trip
     around the
          sun
with you.

party.

hey, good evening
glad you could make it
can I get you a drink?
let me take your coat and
introduce you around

this is my best friend
Anxiety
she's a bit of a mess
but she means well
usually

this couple over here
Intention and Distraction
are constantly fighting
endless arguments
always at odds
I don't even know why I 
invite them to these things

this is my co-worker
Motivation
he's a bit of a talker
so steer clear
unless you have an hour
or a day to waste

I'm not sure where she is,
Peace
I know I invited her
at least I think I did
ah, it doesn't matter
she rarely shows anyway

oh! you'll like these guys
Clarity and Concentration
they spend most of their
time in the kitchen
they like to keep to themselves
but when they pop in
to say 'hi'
you'll remember it

man, this guy, though
Sarcasm
(he thinks he's much cooler
     than he actually is)
watch your step around him
he'll piss you off then
wonder why you can't
take a joke

and finally, my new friend
Mindfulness
we're just getting acquainted
and we may hate
each other
or we may be in love
really, it is
too early to tell

anyway, welcome to the party,
the party of my direct experience.

practice.

a blank page
is not the goal
it never was and
it never should have been
what good would
that do? why was that
even a thing?

concentrating on the
rise and the fall, hoping
for the clarity that will
sweep me away in
its beauty and surprise
but its really not like
that, is it?

do I count?
do I note?
equanimity escapes me
as it always does, so
with a tone of
self-compassion 
I begin again

striving to do what
I love, but why is it
simultaneously
so easy and so hard?
so difficult such a 
simple task,
it can never end

but there is joy in
the enjoyment, in
the attempt, in
the breathing, in
the practice

the recognition is
     the attention,
the failure is 
     the success.


punk.

oh! my literary
     existentialism
bordering on despair
     my whiny and
strangulated vocals
          these towering
     synthesizers and
          guitars are
my cure

this experimental
     new wave of
reggae and ska
     is evidence of
my bad religion as
          I rise against
     the sublime, and
          no doubt birth
this clash

my adherence to
     the traditional
to the culture that
     is my heritage and
is sorely vexed
          I will use more words
     and say more things
          evidence of
my kinks

do I embrace
     this division of joy?
can I stomach the
     social distortion
of all the talking
          heads on my
     television?
          this is my nirvana,
my jam.

couch.

I left my home
     the comfort and serenity
to find the happiness
          that had eluded me
     for so long

I looked high and low
          behind every nook
     and every cranny
to find the happiness
     that I craved

I traveled from town to town
          city to city
     country to country
to find the happiness
          that had evaded me
     for so long

and after I had exhausted
     every means at my
           disposal
     every opportunity
          that I thought
               might lead to 
          the answer
     I returned
home

only to find it there
          as I slumped into
     the couch
there between the cushions
          where it had fallen
     out of my pocket
the night before.

tmt.

touching
 always tempting
  uplifting my soul
   never far from my
    inebriated heart
     appetite with no end

    magical moments
   ardently alluring
  ravishing and risque
 impish and irrepressive
ecstasy in the extreme

tender and thoughtful
 hauntingly heartfelt
  overflowing joie de vivre
   mischievously playful
    adorable and ageless
     seductively her