The Joining

DoveI must separate from the matter and rejoin again; return to the essence. It is more awareness than any knowledge I might have of what I must do; Somehow I know it to be true. All I have now is a muddy connection to people and places; the muddy of murky and cloudy, in no way grimy—though of the earth I believe. Ideas and worn out dreams; I can’t seem to grasp they are any longer mine—maybe they never where. There are those who belong to me, or me to them, whichever—I must leave now.

Some of this has to be me—other than a dream—or else I am nothing. No, the truth lies somewhere else; I am slipping away, something new, well different. No pain now. There was pain once. Yes, there is connection to pain, or rather the memory of pain.

I feel a strong urge to go back, as if I am floating far above some plane, and the string is broken, such that I can never return. Return to what I wonder? Those memories again; before when there was attachment it was real; now, they stretch into the distance. Yes, memories best describe them.

There is weeping and laughter, perhaps in another place, for I cannot make out who the emotions belong to; that too has slipped. Is it because of having separated? I am but a watcher and a seeker, both adrift in some place of impossible rest and peace. No need to search, still an urge pushes me on; on to where I cannot even imagine. I need to be more than the watcher and the seeker. I must have all of what I was supposed to be.

A new string, no, a series of strings stretch before me and I grasp each one. They all pull me the same way. A flood of happenings wash over me.

First there is the Druid. He protects the children from the barbarians. They sit in a circle now and listen as he imparts the ways of nature and how they best survive. He keeps them hidden in this woodland, lush with plants and berries for eating, plentiful in herbs for medicinal purposes, and teeming with creatures of all sorts. The air is fresh and the gentle breeze that brushes the grass by the waterfall is warm and intoxicating with the many fragrances of flowers, a most wonderful place to be if not for the terrible danger.

Next a vast ocean, a deck-hand perhaps. No, someone with much more freedom to roam the massive ship as her sails rattle in the wind and her bow crashes into the waves that come rolling in from one side. She is making for a new world where hope and opportunity blossom. It was by chance I found my way on-board. One of the Wild Geese, it was not my choice to be here. My comrades insisted my time there was long past the hangman’s patience.

Two red moons dress the night in light. Endless stars fill the sky. I am sitting on a floating disc, no sound from it. It hovers just feet above the fast moving stream as the water gurgles and cascades over the shiny moon lit boulders on either side. I am playing an instrument and singing the song of the magic swan, a bird with the power to change between an animal and a marshland creature—of which I am one. My lover is sitting on the bank of the river, his feet in the water. He bids me come down where he might teach me things about the moons. I tell him he must wait until the song is over.

“Oh my. There you are. It’s been so long.”
“Oh, that was not what I meant to say.” Some connection still to what I was so soon before.
“Yes, thank you. Merlin, you were the best of Danes.” Merlin sits upon my lap as he was prone to do. All enjoy the reunion. Here there is no master. We are two venturers.

It is all in focus; I am no longer adrift.

“You are welcome. I could not have hoped for better.” Some here were part of my particular last garden and now reach out. Others are joining as I am once again, and opening up their experiences that we all might touch, even as we hold onto our own.

This group was formed as the Gardens of Matter-born, not dark matter; instead earthy, carbon, things of stars in some universes. Our group is never complete, as many are away, visiting one such garden or another, while the many of us return here to add and grow.

So much to share and learn. Old friends, family, extended family, lower forms rising, higher forms pulling us along. It is good that time has no meaning; there is so much to be accomplished. All that we have even been can be accessed. Still it is very much like a new unfolding as all that has happened in my last garden has been added to what I was; and all that has been experienced by the others who are part of the Gardens of Matter-born has been added for each to weave with their own.

Such wonderful things to do and share with all to who I am joined. And so much, much more to come. “Yes Pal, I love you too.” His memory licks my face—the reality precious.

An Ending

sunrise

An Ending

A touch of wind upon my brow
No sounds, perhaps a cricket early to the evening choir
Funny stains upon my hands, little spots
And skin that stretched less like skin I used to know
Oh you could say it is the melancholy of evening
The sun withers against the darkness to come
It has always amused me when the soothsayers sing
That morning is best for everyone
I linger now captivated by what I had to say
Knowing well the stager of age and reason
Will leave me somewhere soon along the way
A stony shell of having to be pushed forward
And pried backwards to nothing I would have
Should I until the end be master of myself
A tear that needs no wiping
A smile that needs no eyes to judge its mirth
A touch that lets no print upon its finder
A breath that well must be the last

Snow

Winter

Snow

by

Russell Loyola Sullivan

It’s been some time when last I admired mounds of snow,
Limbs bending; hollows all around the trees where snow refuses to go.
I wonder about those holes.
As a child on crusty snow we would steer clear of such obstacles,
Sailing over the icy surface left by a cold rain upon the blessed blankets of snow.
Still, a bad turn, a slip of the runner on the slick surface now and again, gave us up;
And we would have to be pulled out from the jolt.

Long icicles droop down from the eves, evil things that point to heat loss.
They look like tons of weigh that might drag the whole house down.
I wonder why they changed.
Even with a mittened hand we would pull one from anywhere we could reach,
And savor the coolness and the refreshing wetness against our thirsty acceleration.
They were pure and as welcome as candy, one to be had whenever we wanted.
Water and ice came freely then.

Perhaps I compare too much; then again I might remember too little.
I feel the stillness and the great cover it gives to all that rests beneath it.
But there is an urgency pulsing inside of me that I must get back to life and living.
I should but understand there is nothing to get back to. I am the interruption.
When I am gone, and all who follow my way have gone,
The snow will still give up its beauty and its special gifts.
Perhaps then the snow will find who best to share its nature with.

One Last Time

sunrise

One Last Time

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

We walked the shores
I was yours
And you were meant for me
But the work of life
Is a two edged knife
That cuts with sad decree
One edge seeks to carve a path
To where the love might be
Gives the other edge a desperate need
To slice each lover free

Big sailing ships
Must sail
And sailors must roam free
When lovers part
Tides pull their thoughts
To much that cannot be
Seasons turn to memory
And lonely is the soul
Who waits each day by a dreary sea
A loving heart grows cold

Ocean storms
That howl the nights
Lay restless on her mind
Too many times
Down to the shore
Some piece of him to find
One cold grey dawn
Only wanting to be free
She let the waves that crashed the shore
Tell her love for me.

One last time to the Ocean side
One last time to see
One last time let the wind and tide
Bring memories to me

The Prison (Emotional warning)

pigPerhaps they don’t know I’m here. She looked down at her feet; the matted pieces of straw mixed in with the dirt on the floor. Bars on all sides, inches from her body. It was a cage of some sort, she could not remember being put here, or why she had been captured. All of her sisters were gone, and her mother; not a glimmer of what had happened to them.

She conjured a glimpse of having being placed here; well, not placed, she was thrown in, slammed against the bars and then had passed out from the ordeal.

There was little light; maybe it was night.

The time rolled excruciatingly by. The dim light offered her a total inability to recognize as any one day rolled into the next. It took only a few weeks before she lost track of time all together. The food she received came intermittent at best, and was always the same. No room to move, her food soon mixed with the feces and vomit, her young body reacting to the vile circumstances. She was never taken from her prison; a jolt of water spray would wash away the evidence of the inhumanity each time it piled up.

As the months registered the steady cruel monotonous repetition of filth and deprivation, her mind mercifully blacked out any trace of who she was. She would chew on the bars until blood rolled down her chin-never enough to end her misery. Even the aches and pains of not being able to stretch or move merely turned into a dull acclamation and acceptance that life was far from being precious; that life was nothing more than a mad dance with sublime loss of reason and spirit, a grueling multiple of continuing torturing days on a poor soul lost to existence, forgotten, alone, yet made to endure against all of hope.

By the time she was taken from her cage, it matters not. She no longer recognized the sun or the ground she stood on for the first time since being caged. Movement was a strange and difficult ordeal. The sores on her side  long since ignored in their festering now healed from something they had given her. She noted briefly in the next few cycles of feeding she got only some water and a pricking sensation in her side from what they stabbed her with. The slop she was usually served was no longer being given to her – not really missed, just a last notion of a life never lived.

She arrived at the pig slaughter house and gave one last cry; and she left behind her misery.

ESCAPE

Book A Novel IdeaI want nothing more than to escape.

I don’t mean I’m going for good. I just want to escape for a short time. It’s a little like Friday night, or maybe Saturday morning. There has been five days of work and routine, playing by the rules; and now it’s okay to let things slide. A few hours out with friends on a Friday Night allows escape; a slow Saturday morning with family does that; a good movie does that; a fixed set of favorite tunes does that.

It’s also why I write. Okay, I know the little pieces that I post to my web site won’t take you far from reality. I do hope it suspends your serious matters in life for a few minutes. In those few minutes I pray to present a different thought, a different view of some matter that you might  allow to brush across your mind—maybe ponder and smile. If you do that then I have stirred your imagination, your view of the world. I know that will not change the world, but hey, it says we now have a common experience, even if your view might be different than mine.

I hope an entire novel allows an even greater possibility to escape and explore settings and people who might make different decisions than we ourselves might make; and give us a moment to set aside our life’s struggles, maybe even envision other possibilities. I say ‘hope’ as I cannot speak for everyone. I only know that when I write I want my reader to let go for a few precious hours and find a different place to be; find characters who they might love or hate; find a place to sit and rest a bit from the tribulations of life; get immersed in possibilities for change and understanding, struggle and growth. Yes, these are the things of our very lives; although I believe reading about it gives us assurance that we are not, after all, alone; that we are all connected and share many of the same experiences; hopefully on a lesser scale that what is required from the characters we read about.

Two Faces

opposites_attractThere is a raw unsettling awareness which rips the very fabric of defense away and leaves a body open to the dread of utter annihilation. It is so much more than a foreboding of calamity and disaster; for it gives not its moniker – it just is. It sweeps in quickly as if a polar wind had been plucked from the cold Arctic tundra and somehow sent swirling angrily into a sunny afternoon where at once the calmness of a summer’s day becomes a mad frigid dance with death.

What’s more it cannot be explained away. Indeed, it cannot be explained at all. Hope is immediately abandoned. Purpose has no purpose. All that sits with relevance and importance now pales against the absurdity of living, the useless maniacal struggle to move one leg in front of the other, one thought to follow the next, one day to follow another, a mundane repeatable procession of forgettable events and situations, soon lost to antiquity. Only despair remains. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.

There is a euphoric bewilderment to all of creation. Love itself seems plucked from the bosom of humanity and now wrapped around your soul. You are joined to the oneness of it all, the grand design, the sparkling threads of humanity, the eternal bliss of being. The connection is willful and real, such absolute knowledge of being together could not be conjured by mere desire

It cannot be fabricated by a wish. Nor need it be; for it comes when it is least looked for; it sits there and pounces on those open for its arrival. There is no end to how magnanimous its sharing, and no matter how much is taken there is always more. All it asks in return is the jubilation, the perfect feeling of serendipity, the mad embrace of a returned lover, the gushing fullness of a life with purpose and design. It is preordained as the sun might shine, the stars might twinkle in the evening sky, the air itself might allow breath.

Into the Darkness

snow stormLanding was but one of his concerns. The second winter storm of the year had come riding in on the cold artic air some hours ago. The whiteness filled the skies as darkness fell upon the land. Those trees of summer, slight against weight, had long ago dropped their leaves in anticipation of such a happening; only the stoic evergreens stood tall and straight, boughs flush and thick, well insulated against the storm.

The first of the snows skated across the ice along with the bone chilling wind, and clumps of snow piled against one side of the huge lake, doing all it could to clime the banks and move further into shore. As the storm grew in intensity, small islands of snow mounds formed on parts of the frozen vastness, and now refused to move at all. This was the darkest time of year, and the coldest.

Of course, he saw none of this below. He found himself in the midst of the swirling storm but a short time ago. No GPS. Why bother now after all these years—full speed ahead to a destination that required his attention. Plus, he knew enough that the danger was slight, if impossible to predict. Most people would be home, warm and safe, tucked in their beds. Besides, his worrying about place and circumstance would be nothing more than a distraction. He had to do what he had to do.

He also knew enough, that getting there was a certainty of sorts. He had never failed before; and sometimes he even wondered if the travel had anything to do with him at all. It was not like he was alone, though there be no one else to talk to at the moment. Still, the mission required a team. He might be the one responsible to find an entryway; but not unlike a car race where the driver looks to be the only necessity, all the preparation, the skilled maintenance as they drove the race said much about the need for a multitude of people. So it was with him.

He was lost in the reverie of the moment when a jolt grabbed his senses. He brushed the snow from his brow and peered out to where he might be. He concluded the jolt had not been loud enough for anyone inside to hear, and he stepped lightly into the new fallen snow. A smile spread out across his face. He had much to do tonight. He always found it a good sign that his first job involved his traditional approach.

He took the sack and dropped down. It never failed to amaze him that for all his girth he was as agile as a mouse stealing through a maze of rafters. He barely touched the sides as he landed on his feet. No time to look around. He took the cookie from the plate, emptied the sack beneath the tree, and as quick as Jack Flash on a hot stove he sprang back up the chimney and jumped onto the sled.

He was on a mission to steal all the sadness from the world and spread joy and the holiness of giving to all. The red light of the lead reindeer shone through the swirling snows. The old man lifted up his head and bellowed, “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to all.”

Black Oak

me_as_a_raven_night

Black Oak
By
Russell Loyola Sullivan

There’s a Black Oak bending low outside my window
There’s a stone bridge on the river I can’t cross
There’s a road between two walls that’s going nowhere
There’s a place inside my head where I get lost

So I’m waiting for the raven in the darkness
I can feel him close his keen eyes out of sight
  That Black Oak gives him thirty places to hide
He won’t leave until I pay the price tonight

The wind begins to moan in the old Black Oak
To cover up the flutter of his wings
And a Gray wolf howls into a moonless sky
He knows the way to what the raven brings

No use weighing the giving and the taking
No going back to burn a yesterday
I got lost looking for tomorrow
Nowhere to go nothing more to say

Birches

birches_on_sunnydayPoetry is for women.

Well, there was a time before when poetry was for men too, as it is again. The word ‘poetry’ gets a bad rap in how it is aligned with…Roses are red, violets are purple, etc.” And of course, if someone calls it poetry, then I suppose it IS poetry. Some of the problem stems from the all-encompassing nature of the word ‘poetry’; I doubt a book with only three words would be called a novel, or a song….oh wait a minute, “The tide is high and I’m moving on…”

…and poetry is supposed to conjure up sweet things, like, write a poem to a sweetheart. Well, I assure you I could whip up a poem to an old sweetheart, and perhaps they to me, that would make a shiny tin roof, sitting in the hot sun on a sweltering august afternoon, go cold as ice.

I have always had an affinity for poetry. It came from my mother, but it actually stems back to my father. He was little schooled, as compared to my Mom, who was a teacher. He worked the store and the salmon factory that were his Father’s; his indenture commencing at a very young age when school came second to having to make a living. But I remember, on occasion when he gathered in the store, late in the evening just before closing, with a few of his friends. I’m sure a beer or two was being consumed, but I remember best the poetry: The face on the Barroom floor, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Sea Fever, et al.

Grown men, fishermen, with calloused hands and lined faces well before their age, reciting poetry from memory. I have no idea if they recited the entire poem, but I do remember that each went on for some time, and all the others would listen.

My mom would recite bits of poetry now and again. She was a lover of Robert Frost, as I am today.

Poems are like old friends. Yes, old songs stick to you, you could say. But an old poem not only sticks to who and where you heard it, it gathers a myriad of events along the way and creates a small but detailed memory of special moments in your life, not just one.

With little searching I can now take a poem that attached itself to me back when I was a youth, and, rolling it forward, I can linger on a variety of moments when I read it again, or recited it from memory.

Just yesterday my son posted a picture of him cutting down trees, and I remembered the poem ‘Birches’ as it is among my favorites. It immediately casts me back to where Len and I would climb the birched and swing down. I found the poem later in life, and I remember when I was not among trees that poem came to produce them for me. I remember when I knew I would no longer climb trees, and found the words of the poem a sweet memory; and now it marks a time when I find my son as a man who knows trees.

Women have always known the way. We men should learn to ask for direction.