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.

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.

I Am That I Am.

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I am Mara.
I am the bitterness you taste
In each sip of your morning
Coffee.

I am Rahab.
I am the lust burning in your eyes.
I am the harlot of disquieted imaginings.
I give and you take. You give
And I crawl into my dreams.

I am Sarah.
I am unbelief. I am mistrust.
I am the joy leaving your lips
In your sweet, soft laughter.

I am Mary.
I am the sainted wonder
of His fire. I am the bearer
of life and splendor.

I am Martha.
I am the dishrag hanging
From the hooks of your heart.
I clean. I scrub as you keep tracking
Mud into the waxed floors of my mind.

I am beauty —
I am hate —
I am strength —
I am frailty –
I am…
I am Redeemed.

I am more than my name.
I am more than the labels I give myself —
I am more than the stickers and gold stars
Of approval from other broken
Maras, Marys, and Sarahs.
I am who I am because He is
Who He is – the great and mighty
I AM.

Ready? Begin…

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I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

I say this pledge every morning. In unison with my students, we stand with our hands over our hearts in respect and reverence for the things we are to remember. I wonder if they are fully aware of the profundity of this pledge of this allegiance that tethers us together as Americans — as citizens of the great United States. I think not. They are roboting their voices in unison – monotoned, droned, Novocained to the impervious nature of these paramount utterances. By saying these things, does that make you any more or less American if you actually mean it when you say it? Sometimes I try to recite it as if it were the first time or as if my voice wasn’t metallic and inky, but the struggle with that is timing – pacing – uniformity. We MUST stick together or this whole thing falls apart. Is that really true? Who am I to say in earnest or even in true honesty because I, myself, am a fluxing flowing void of psyche and obligation. One MUST say this pledge. One MUST stand with hand over heart and RECITE from memory – from five years of age until you no longer bleed blue. Well, I bleed red, white, and blue; but I don’t like saying the pledge. Does that make me a bad person? No, of course not; but I can’t help thinking that it is a slap in the face to those who have fought for my rights for my un -, sub -, or under-appreciated freedom – it’s nothing to sneeze at, but these poppies keep pollenating my sinuses. God bless you! No, let’s leave Him out of this, shall we? Can we? Is that at all possible? I think not. What if I lived like I truly believed in this pledge? What would my day look like? Would I do things, say things, appreciate things differently? Or would I continue to robot my way through the unsatisfactory endeavor to achieve what Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman couldn’t? That elusive, slippery little lie – the great American Dream of happiness and contentment…I haven’t found it from saying things, from mere recitation. Perhaps, I must put my money where my mouth is…but the casting shadow of Lady Liberty is long and wide in the sunset of my dreams. So, I will continue to perform in the most allegiant of efforts to entertain, sustain, maintain the proclivity and profundity of that Star Spangled Wonder hanging in the corner of my classroom and my heart.

Hourglass

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In the infinite splendor of the cosmos,
Comprehension eludes me
In form and shape – a box? Put it all
In a box and see what comes of it?
Pandora won’t stand for it and neither
Will the Fates! They snipped and tied
Their strands with such synchronicity
Things cannot be replicated – unless
In the blipping form of déjà vu…

So, out of the box we go and into the
Unparalleled wonder of destiny’s
Hold — this microcosmic entity of reality:
Time. We can’t force it to stand still
As much as youth would covet
That chance. Nor can we compel
It to speed up; she drags her tedious
Heels through the sloughs
Of hours, minutes, seconds…
An egregious summation – a torturous
Grind when true love must wait
For her soul’s reflection to return
From the rippling wave in the waters
Of the firmamental deep – torrential oceans
Of pictorial magnificence — constellational
Glorification in undulating rhythms
Of perfected, harmonious love –
Waiting – yearning – hoping
For True Love’s reciprocating kiss
From across the dusted stars of dreams.

A box? Put it all in a box? Time and space
Won’t warrant such an occurrence
As desirous as it might sound to have control
Of things. A hand, marching in circular form,
The gradual agony of the slow ticking
From one numerical prison to the next –
It’s an eternity until your voice fills the void,
And seemingly a lifetime passes in the night
Without your form next to mine –
But, in the context of heaven’s
Wondrous crown – the paralleled Ether
Of stars and moons, of clouds and suns –
It is a mere celestial moment: a small granule
In the hourglass of cosmic measurements
Until I am with you – Boundless and free
From infinity’s fateful grip. Forever satiated in
The fullness of your love’s glorified aeonic embrace.

 

 

“Speak Again, Bright Angel”

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Guardian of love and light
You fill me with your peace.
Transfusing your soul in mine
I am made complete – I am healed
In the divinity of your love’s brilliant
Prodigiousness – your impassioned words,
Your tender voice, your fervent love,
your intoxicating devotion…You are
Everything — the perfect recognition
Of my soul’s second self – the better
Portion – fill my cup and drink from it
The waters of love’s splendor.
My Angel, my protector, my love –
You have brought me back to life.
Words – in all their healing power –
Could only do so much to resuscitate
My comatose spirit, but you breathed your
Love, your passion, your very being
Into my soul and revived me — You are
Love’s glorious incarnate form!
A new life of ardor, alacrity, and of adoration —
A true and pure divine love
I never thought could exist
Outside of fairytales – but you are
More real than the beating of my own
Heart – for it is the beating of yours.
Bright Angel, you are here, with me
In every word,
In every breath,
In every thought,
Today. Tomorrow. Always. Forever.

Wonderland

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Sometimes I feel a bit like Alice

Half expecting the inanimate to share

Their thoughts with me –

Namely my cat. She looks like

She has a great deal on her mind

In those knowing looks we share —

Yet through the pages of books,

Words – audible ones – written ones,

They ostensibly are enough for me.

How odd it seems to think that

Many lives go on without the proper

Use of these wondrous forms –

The manifestation of thoughts

Fired synapses of the profound

And ordinary. Dinah, what would the

Flowers say if they could talk? Would

They sing – would they lecture me?

Their allocutions of rest, peace,

Simplicity, beauty, fragility –

Could I ever comprehend it?

Following the white rabbit to find

My Looking-Glass Bliss

Is the only proper way to hear

Him: to hear Her…to quiet the noise

In my mind’s ear, to fall down the rabbit hole

Of the unconscious mind. In the stillness

and splendor of that Bliss, I listen with my

Entirety – my Essence – my Soul.

I am nourished by the wonder and replete

With its luster — the glorious profundity of words

And the magnificent power of their silence.

In truth, the flowers already speak

In lilts of fragrant beauty. And my cat

Says more to me with her eyes,

Than mere words could ever convey.

 


These flowers, sitting on my dining room table, served as the inspiration for this piece…along with my cat and, most importantly, the wonder of words and their importance to us — especially in this WordPress community of writers. I found myself, not unlike Alice, lost in thought of my own wonderland…this little poem came from a combining of those thoughts….now back to the everyday words like: laundry, cooking, cleaning, packing, and, of course, READING!

 

 

Stemmed Possibilities

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Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, is it?
And if it were a bowl of cherries, let’s just say
That some of the those cherries would be
Overripe – others under, not quite ready for the taking.
And each of those ambiguously, flesh-covered
Cherries of varying forms of freshness could have
A seed in them – Oh the possibilities that each new
Bite brings! Pulling at stems – pulling apart the
Gathered and bunched fruit – tear into it and see
What it has for you – ripe or rotten – seedless or
Virile. Each new taste colors the truth you once
Held fast to – each fresh flavor nourishes a fantastic
Fluctuation of life’s fluttering finite beings. Cherries —
A whole damn bowl of them! Stop letting your eyes
And mouth water at the wonder of it all — just grab
It by the stem and savor it.

 

 

Proud Teacher Moment…sort of…

Dear Reader,

cropped-books.jpgToday is the day that I both look forward to and loathe. It is the day the AP scores come out. I try not to get wrapped up in it, but it’s difficult for me. You see, I am a perfectionist. And when I strive for something, I expect results. It worked beautifully in high school and college. I was number one in my class…I wanted it, so I worked for it and voilà! I made it happen. Although it may have come as a surprise to those who knew me in other capacities…Let me explain with a brief (and braggy) anecdote: I remember walking into my high school graduation ceremony with my special sash and medallion that signified my class ranking. I ran into one of my schoolmates (we never had academic classes together, but we were in the same drama production my junior year). Anyway, he greeted me with a hug and then asked me why I was wearing the valedictorian sash and medallion. I thought he was being playful, so without batting a lash, I told him I found it in the quad…but he was serious. I had to set him straight, so I told him that I was, indeed, the valedictorian. And this, dear reader, was his dumbfounded response (pun intended), “but you’re a cheerleader, and you’re blonde, and you’re hot.” I winced (trying to make it as much of a smile as I could because he was, in fact, being sincere…offensive, yes, but obtusely complimentary). That tautly pulled smile (more of a grimace really) was the only retort I could give…tis best not to say things we regret to people who are less than intelligent. All that to say, when I want something — I go after it, and usually I can achieve my goal.

When I became an AP teacher several years ago, I wanted to be the best damn AP English teacher to walk the halls of my school. My first year…well, let’s just say it was cropped-open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-books.jpgnot so great; I went back to the drawing board. I went to summer trainings and revamped my entire curriculum. And in the following years, my students began to pass their AP English tests with flying colors! This year was no different! My entire AP English Literature class passed their test!!!!!! (These are my AP seniors…I love them to pieces and still cry a little when I think about not teaching them anymore…they are all going to amazing colleges, so at least I know they are in good hands).  Now, I’m trying to stay humble about all this, which is pretty easy to do since my AP English Language class did not do so well on their test, but today, I am celebrating my successes and forgetting my failures (don’t worry, I’ll go back to the drawing board and revamp things later this summer for AP lang). I have a colleague (a fellow AP teacher) who wisely told me: “I get too much flack when the students don’t pass, and I get too much credit when they do.” I try to keep that perspective, especially on days like this.

In closing, I will tell you what I told my AP students: “The AP exams are 6103.jpegimportant, sure, but they don’t define who you are. It does not determine how smart you are or how successful you will be in life. Remember you are more than your AP score(s) – that is just a number based on one morning of your life; instead, measure your success in the day in, day out moments life offers you. And never stop reading; never stop learning.”

My Best to You,

Jaime