head rush at 2:45 a.m.

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asking what composes
the music of my post-midnight madness has been
the past week and a half
is akin to attempting to play a trumpet
underwater

i suppose
it’s all the times that i should’ve listened
to my fears in the past
walking back and gripping my shoulders
like relatives who’ve traveled many miles

the blood is sensitive
singing underneath my skin
like altos in Sunday choirs with no fans
and you wonder where sleep is to be found
as minutes drag the sunrise from its bed

asking what anxiety
comes before one sleeps
is to shine a mirror into the corners of your spirit
untouched
hoping that you can meet the gaze

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The Refined Power of Patience Through The Eyes of Elders

MidnightTrail_adventures_IlichPeters

It’s been a minute since my last post, and Christmas is
almost upon us(for those who celebrate). High time for
a bit of real rap to share with you…

Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that patience
is power refined. Even when it doesn’t look like it. Patience
is something we all have, but some have made it a gift to
themselves. And others…not so much. The “cool” thing
now is to dismiss exercising patience, to throw it to the side.
The thing is, as I’ve said before – look at who and where you
see that suggestion coming from. If it’s a source that would
gain from your impatience, from you being irrational, don’t
pay it any mind. If it’s from a source that could stand to exert
a little patience in their own lives or situations, work on your
own stuff.

For me, I had to re-learn the value of patience in dealing with
the fact of having both my parents enter their senior years.

It’s a hard thing to see your parents age. It doesn’t matter if
it is a fact of life. Your parents are the bridge from one world
to this one. Especially your mother. Now, for those who know
me more personally, they know that my mom gets called “the
most righteous woman I know.” This woman has done so much
in her years that I can only hope to accomplish a third of. And
as she gets older, I see and hear the frustration she encounters.
I hear her talk about her various aches and pains. The soreness
in her knees from surgeries. The recurring pain associated with
her bulging discs. I’ve heard the despair in her voice. It rips at
me. At times, she will ask me for my advice. Sometimes, that
will be more than once. It’s as if she doesn’t trust herself, or
wants to go on auto-pilot. I will listen and offer my opinion, but
then it becomes a back and forth. Which will leave me a bit
frustrated. Being that I am a bit demonstrative with my emotions
more, it shows. Once she asked me, “why are you losing patience
with me?” after I was trying to help her with something on her
computer. The question made me stop. It was a tone of wonder,
but of sadness. I uttered a quick apology, helped her and found
myself having to excuse myself because tears had come to my
eyes. From that point on, I have tried to be calm and monitor
my own mood and tone when I help her or try to answer a question.
Since then, things have been more smooth.

With my father, the struggle for patience comes because he is
both independent and stubborn. He’s the type that will press on,
even when he has chest pains. Which has happened a couple of
times. For him, he gets impatient if, for example, you offer a
rebuttal to a point he’s making . His sensitivity is different in that
he feels as if his opinion is unwarranted or worse, unwanted.
He lives by himself, and I’m certain(although he’ll never admit it)
that there is a loneliness there. So I make it a point when we do
talk, that I offer rebuttal but not in a manner that may make him
feel like it’s talking down to him. And given that our relationship
has seen some rough waters, it’s been a great achievement to have
that rapport with him.

In dealing with both of them this way, I gained more empathy with
a good amount more patience. I understood more about what they
must be feeling being elders. I thought about all their years and those
memories within them, the hopes, the fears. Not just for them, but
for me. There was an Italian commercial that one of my sisters
shared once, where a man was irritated by his father asking if it
was the same bird chirping. The man snaps at his father, who doesn’t
say anyhing. Instead, he goes to his study, and brings his son a
journal, open to a specific page. The son reads it aloud, and finds
that it is an account of how many times he asked his father a question.
He reads how his father dealt with it – by kissing him on the forehead
each time. In that way, he reminded himself of the love he had for
him and diffused that momentary burst of frustration. That commercial
really made me think about how our elders enter into another age that
makes us think that they’re like children, but they aren’t. I was raised
to have respect for my elders that is not wholly subservient, but contains
enough reverence for their knowledge. With that, comes empathy. And
a higher level of patience.

I know now that patience bolstered by the good intent and
heart in most situations, can be a teacher. I make time in my day
to just go calm, to bring myself to a place where I can mitigate
any stress carried over. There are times where mediation helps
towards bolstering my levels of patience. It can be a healer. It’s
not a cure-all. There are those times where it can’t be enough.
But these days, what I’ve found in my relationship with my
parents is that it isn’t patience that’s the  virtue – it’s the
active use of it, especially with myself that is.

Until the next time, thanks for reading…walk good.

a fear by any other name(for 9-11)

for some of us
the flag isn’t a suitable bandage
for some
its been ten years
in a wilderness of ‘why?’
wondering where truth and lies
meet and exchange information
you can cover the scars
where towers once stood as twins
with polished marble and steel and glass
but no one
can create a mausoleum
for the walking wounded

for some of us
this isn’t a day to hawk flag pins and ribbons
guzzle cheap chardonnay with cheaper sentiments attached
for us
you shouldn’t prostitute this pain
but politicians get their foundation
while waiting for interviews and collect money
and vultures swoop in
to pick profits from the ashes
hoping your mind is still clouded
like the choking grey dust
and that it coats your lungs to dull your protests
when they send Crayola alerts
and send out the badges in trucks

for some of us
this day
doesn’t need incessant reminders
the walking wounded remember their scars
named Ground Zero and Shanksville
and the spirits of those lost
make their homes in the rays of the sun
note how they’ve burned that much more since then
for all of us
it was no ordinary pain
but don’t tell us to never forget
we won’t
we just refuse to pander
to a fear by any other name.