What If?

What if I told you that you could have it all?
But it will cost you
More than you want to spend.
Because having it all doesn’t come
Cheaply. There’s always a price to pay
Or ransom to relinquish-
But this isn’t a case of a hostage:
This is a choice.
An open door-
Cross the threshold and you’ll experience it.
The true cost isn’t lost freedom
Or hopes deferred
Or dreams unspoken
Or love encumbered.
The true cost is simply a payment
Made in leveraged reciprocity.
The door is open-no shackles, no bindings
Holding you back.
What if I told you that you already have it all?
And what if I told you the sacrifice is worth the cost?
And you believed me.

Safety Net

How is it even possible that 5 years ago was only 5 years ago?! What I mean is that when Facebook or Instagram reminds of my memories from that time, it feels like a lifetime ago. You see, 5 years ago I had an awakening. It was like I had been wearing blinders for the entirety of my adult life, and during the span of about 6 months, I shed those blinders. In that time, I began to write poetry fervently; it poured out of me. I also started a fashion blog and took up running every day. My mind and body were in peak condition. I began running as a way to simply get out of the house when I felt cooped up. It was a form of controlled escape, but the underlying benefits were that my clothes were fitting better and I felt absolutely fantastic. My poetry was only subpar, but it brought me joy to write, so I continued with studious diligence.

Up to this point in my adult life, I mostly had lived for the betterment and in service to others: my family, my daughter, my church, my students, my bosses. I was forced to live up to the expectations of the life I had chosen when I was 20 (maybe even younger). I had built my life to resemble the perfect picture I had been shown as a young impressionable adolescent, which is why it was so disheartening to feel this nagging, gnawing sensation that I was living the wrong life. In short, I was completely miserable. Clinically depressed with bouts of anxiety. I had tried everything to cure this emptiness: go to church, meet more friends, host a Bible study, take antidepressants, take vitamins, gain weight, lose weight, serve in the church more, listen to more Christian music, read more Christian books, serve more, do more, pray more, seek counseling; yet nothing could stop the aching feeling that tormented when I was alone. This feeling often would keep me up at night. It would visit me in fleeting moments when I drove my car near a cliff, suggesting that if I simply slipped off the road, I could be rid of this terrible agony that had become my life. My daughter was the only thing that could keep this dark thought at bay. She was the quiet moon in the darkest sky. Her very existence made me realize that life was worth living and that I had to find a way to rid myself of this darkness that clouded my mind. I can’t say that there was one thing that made me change or shed my sorrow. But, I do know this: all of the changes working together have brought me to a place of peace and happiness.

It began with exploration: writing, running, blogging. I was exploring who I really was inside and out. Then, it was about removing things from my life that were seemingly good and positive but that contributed to my depression and anxiety: my marriage, my job, my coworkers, my church. I lost my entire life in a matter of months: stripped away of nearly everything to reveal the real me. Just Jaime. And just my daughter. Once I was emptied of all that I had put into my life, I began to fill it up with new experiences, new friendships, a new job and romantic relationship; basically, a new life. But a few things remained: me, my daughter, my family, and my closest friends. And I realized how happy those simple things and relationships made me.

My mom once told me after I had established my new life that I had jumped without a net, but that God provided the net just when I needed it. I’d like to say that I had faith a net would materialize when I jumped into my new beginnings, but honestly I didn’t think that far ahead. It was like I was in a burning building and the only way to survive was to jump into the unknown. So, that’s what I did. I jumped without a safety net. But God loves us. He loves me. And he provided me with the best net, better than I could have asked for. And maybe there’s the lesson: I used to live my life asking God for things with certainty that I knew what I wanted or needed. Now, I just live my life and let him provide the net when he thinks I need it. And I’m so much happier because of this perspective shift. It’s funny, I don’t really write poetry anymore. It doesn’t come to me anymore, so I don’t force it. I don’t really blog anymore. I do, on occasion, still run and find pleasure in the exercise. I no longer feel those dark feelings or thoughts. I feel free and happy. More than anything now, I simply enjoy my life as it is happening and feel so grateful for the journey and for the net the God provided for me.

Venus

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This evening as I was closing the upstairs window,

I saw her again,

Shining in the night’s sky.

Like an old friend I had almost forgotten

But she is constant, and it is only I

Who moves with the tides of change

Though it is the path I must continue. My road

Is singular and long, but it always

Leads me back to her. The chiastic nature

Of the heavens and the earth always

Affords me the beauty of her companionship,

If I choose to look for it. For, she does not flicker

Or fade or leave her path, and nor do I.

It is for that simple truth,

I smile towards the heavens,

Knowing that all is well and this too shall pass—

As she and I journey on separate

But inextricably linked courses ‘round the sun,

In our alternating orbicular destiny

To fight the battle that has already been won.

 

 

I Love

to my kind and loving husband

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Poetry used to be my escape

But with you there is no need

To run, hide, or bury my heart

You foster a love in me unlike

Anything I’ve ever felt.

I’ve read many a love story

And have always allowed

For that grandsire to be offered

To others, those who do

Not live and breathe

The real stale air of normalcy.

I thought love and romance were relegated

To those hopeless, hapless folks who

Only ever wear their rosy shades.

I come from the ilk of a different kind

I see things for what they are:

Rosy, 3D, astigmatism, every pair of

Glasses have slipped from my nose

To decipher the real truth even if

It’s a blurry mess, I look with

Flawed eyes and see the truth.

I used to feel the jaded sedation

That life is only ever going to get worse.

But you—

You brought into my life a beauty

A Wonder,

A Love,

A Splendor,

That can only be described as real,

True Love.

The beauty of its simplicity is beyond me—

Beyond words and utterances.

It is something unlike anything

I’ve ever felt or experienced.

It encapsulates the true euphoria

I’ve read and seen in other’s lives—real and fiction.

Love is a powerful entity,

Something of which I’ve never

Truly experienced. It radiates

A heat and light that Fills

The voids of loneliness and despair.

Love can make you a stronger person

Love can make you a happier person

Love can make you

The best version of yourself that you

Can possibly strive to be.

I’ve learned so much from loving you.

I’ve learned there is no one else I’d rather

Love.

I’ve learned there is no other that my heart

Could indulge.

There is no other, but you,

My Love,

My Heart,

My Song,

My Strength,

My Everything.

I’ve learned from loving you

That love is enough

And will conquer all

Love is empirically defined

And finally, my heart is able to

Score the volumes of that

Sweet, yet profound meaning—

Of those simple resounding words

My heart, my body, my soul

Sings to you:

I love—you.

I love, you.

I love you

Illuminated

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The twilight of my heart
Rebels against
The dying night.
Like the fiery stars
That litter the
Firmament,
Your love burns
With brilliant veracity
Regardless of the sun’s
Vibrant obscurity.

The twinkling of Your
Love is only intensified
Against a blackened
Backdrop – other forces
Beguile my eyes, but the
Ostensible truth is that
Your love is there – inextricably so.
Whether I can feel it or not.
Whether I can see it or not.
Whether I can hear it or not.
I know it is there because you
Are in everything that is beautiful
And holy.

Folded Hands Unfolding Hopes

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Fill me with Your love
That I may see
With Your eyes.
Give me Your hope
That I may salve
Their anguished hearts.
Saturate my thoughts
With sweet mercies anew
Each glittering day
That I might learn to see
The truth behind
My faults and fears.
Move me to compassion!
Please wash me
In Your empathy
That my innocence
May be marred
In purposeful grief
For those in pain.
Cover me in Your grace
That I might walk with
Dignity and poise — dressed
In Your love’s perfected
Adornments — unashamed
And glowing in the majesty
Of Your holiness.

Incandescent Darkness

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My Splintered heart
Has lost its ardor.
The brownness
Of the edging day –
My love’s
autumnal chill –
Frosts the diaphanous
Pallor of the daisies
Lining the hallway
Of my indifferent smile.

Vapors of inconsistency
Swirl up to the glass
Ceiling of veiled tones
And hushed silences –
Screams of violent,
beautiful hope –
Love’s lunar squall:
Waxing and waning,
Heaven cloaked
In Hatred’s eternal twilight.

And yet, time’s healing
Forgiveness,
In scraps and patches,
Stops the bleeding,
Salves the pain,
And baptizes the darkness
Of my starless night.
Words will find me;
Words like water
Will wash me clean.

 

If Love Is…Then I Am

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If “love is a credulous thing”

And “cannot be cured by herbs”

Then gentle Wisdom, help me sing

Of the folly in your proverbs.

If “beauty is truth, truth beauty”

And that is all I need to know,

Then I shall sift through the acuity

Of love’s stuttering staccato.

If “hope is the thing with feathers”

And love knows no bounds

Then I willingly keep the tethers

Of your soulful words and sounds.

Poetic Tendencies in Paragraphed Pondering

half clockThe sleepiness of today is marked by my affinity to stare placidly at nothing in particular—including but not limited to the computer screen, my soft black boots, the whited walls of my inferiority, and the hopeless wonder of my future. Life becomes a series of musts and nevers—a pendulum of yes and no. The ticking of my clock sways with each heaving sigh. A spatula in the road forked by life’s quizzical infinities—it’s never as simple as the compass pointing due north toward the shredded wheat that we are told never to eat. So, my eyes look to the sun marring the horizon line of my heart. The glow of its wonder leaves my mind to turn over your words again and again—in a Ferris wheel of possibilities—life’s sweet stomach-churning, butterflied mess that I never want to tidy up. Instead, I let it clutter the surfaces of my heart and mind, which arguably are one in the same. The mind, the center of a man or woman, is the lodging of both logic and love; there is time and space enough for each to make its residencies permanent. So, I let the slicing pendulum slow its whetted pace to a dull passing. The austere dichotomies of monochromatic love engender the maladies of my conundrum’d heart. Black. White. Tis not so simple, for I “doth protest too much” as Gertrude insists is annoying, and I tend to agree with the good woman. But still…as Hamlet reassures his mother, “she’ll keep her word.” And so, I do—I keep my word locked away in life’s endless timepiece where there is plenty of space. There is room enough for variants of grey in the black and white world of my sleepy youth. There is room enough for a clock that no longer ticks or tocks. There is room enough for reason and passion. There is room enough—

 
 
 

Words Like Daggers

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Sticks and stones
Thrown into hope’s
Dwindling fire —
My broken heart!
Scattered tipis
Of bones and ash
Hurling love’s insult
To my added injury —
The sharpness
Of your envenomed
Affection
And your words —
Like pointed daggers —
Bleed the fire
From my lips
Dripping with sin.
Spread the compost
On piety’s
Dying embers,
And watch it
Blossom into
Violence.