Friday, April 30, 2010

Trauma Like A Tick

Out of the blue,
most times unseen.
Catches you off guard.
Shocks you.
Buries deep into your skin
with a vise like grip.
First reaction, crush it.
Don’t panic.
Acknowledge it.
Don’t rebuff it.
Accept it, it may be diseased.
With help
grasp firmly at head
pull firmly and steadily
until the tick lets go.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Conscious Contact With God

At 12:30 we gathered. A couple of us had stopped in, (half-hour and cup of coffee) to the 12-noon AA meeting at a downtown church before walking down the hall to the Centering Prayer Group. The group meets every Wednesday (12:30) and has about fifteen regulars, half of which are in recovery.

We sit in a semi-circle, business men/women, professionals, teachers, therapists, phys-ed instructor, and us, the usual spectrum of alcoholics. Since we begin the session by saying a few words about why we are here rather than who we are we can only guess as to who we are and what we do. Really doesn't matter, we all definitely feel as one spiritually.

Our routine is a spiritual reading, half hour of silent contemplative prayer, twenty minutes of playing a DVD by a spiritual leader followed by twenty minutes of comments. These spiritual readings and DVDs are generally lightly laced with religious jargon as the group is attended by folks from different religious persuasions.

It is not surprising that the comments afterward are generally dominated by the alcoholics since the purpose of the Contemplative prayer, like meditation or contemplation is to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God.

Think about it; the AA program is a spiritual program. It is suggested that we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious (personal) contact with God. We (AAs) in the group feel right at home talking about spirituality and God in our personal lives. We keep it simple and also know about witnessing endless spiritual experiences in others.

I love the 11th Step because of the hope that it instills that it is possible to have a conscious contact with the God of our understanding if we just seek it and the 12th Step because of its promise of a spiritual awakening as a result of practicing the Twelve Steps in our lives.

There is also the promise that there is a God, no matter how we understand God, that is big enough to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us if we simply make the choice to accept and maintain it daily.

One of the women in the group has started an 11th Step meeting in our home group across town as a result of this group.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jekyll and Hyde

At last poetry group meeting it was suggested that we write about our entry into high school. After all these years its still vivid. It took me sixteen years to seek help with the Jekyll and Hyde thing. Still working on it without the alcohol.
A note on the poem :
Our town had IC railroad tracks that split the moneyed side from the poor and working class. One saying on the rich side was "the air even smells different across the tracks."
Not true.
Even though there were a lot of us Frenchmen we bathed more than once a week and didn't pee in the streets.

Across The Tracks

Not here ....
Not this nerdy
barely thirteen year old.
Didn’t belong.
Not this shy French
West side kid.
They think me different,
knew it the first day.

Not here ....
East of the tracks.
not in this co-ed class.
seated next to rich Phyllis,
her jet black hair,
perky cashmere and all.
Not this altar boy, this
Catholic all-boy-
school transfer.

Not here ....
in this elite
high school,
with its polished floors,
uppity kids,
teachers aloof and snooty.
Never make it

Not here ....
dressed in surplus army fatigues
from the wrong
side of the tracks.
Six dozen steel ribbons,
Of Illinois Central tracks,
Dividing city into
“right” and “other” side.

Not here ....
Out of place.
What to do?
Get accepted?

Here ....
Show them
Go out for football,
quiet your trembling nerd,
unleash the alpha dog.
Make varsity,
play hard, party hard.
Make big-boy buddies,
seniors, returning
hairy-chested WWII vets.

Here ....
Show them.
Jekyll into Hyde.
Make them notice,
screw the studies,
chug-a-lug with the best,
date the cheer leader.
Live it up.
They thought me different,
I'll be different.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fear of Failure

The other day I received a notice of a poetry reading at a local coffee shop.
I thought I would read a couple of my poems but…
You would have thought I was planning on scaling Mt. Everest rather than just traveling across town to stand up before a hand full of amateur poets. The argument between my ears took on legs. It reminded me of old thinking and of making mountains out of mole hills.
Called in my HP and was able to shut the arguments down.
I did go, I did read and lived to write this piece.

barely see it
there shrouded in the
mist., feel it, hear it calling,
know it’s there, your
next summit
and bliss.
love to go but,
too far, too high, too many
twists and turns, take too long,
path not marked, never been there.
What if I get lost, run out of
rations, get stranded, break
a leg? Where will I
take cover?
What if…….
there’s nothing
there. What will I do?
People will think me foolish,
call me a dreamer. Forget it! There’ll
be predators, boulders, rivers,
ravines blocking
the way.
Too chancy,
not worth the risk,
wouldn’t make it anyway.
Waste of time. Better to settle
on familiar ground.
Be practical. Stay
the rutted
no...No! I’ll do it. What the hell.
C’mon, shut down the chatter between your ears,
admit you’re scared, grab God’s hand, get off your butt and go do it.
In spite of your fear.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Love ---Flash Friday

Detroit—Wayne State, football scholarship, 1951
Street Cars clanging up,down Woodward, Gratiot Avenues
First date Snows of Kilimanjaro, Pizza afterward,
fell in love with homecoming queen nominee.
Mid-semester, draft board requested participation in Korean War.
Proposed, flew to Fort Lauderdale, married, children, grandchildren,
What a life! Love still growing!
Always my homecoming queen.


Procrastination -- Change

Another push to put the finishing (yeah, right!)touches to my manuscript. Makes about the umpteenth time, but who's counting. I'm even looking at a couple of covers; one serious, the other with a touch of humor. So far everybody goes with the humorous one. I agree. As to the book itself we all agree it's almost there. Not camera ready but close. However the OCDs and critics in the crowd probable will want changes made to the text and the covers will end up looking completely different.

I’ve got to remember its progress rather than perfection, I wish they would too and give it up already. Who’s they? Actually it’s as much I as they. They come in many different voices and guises. See I/they have done it again. I/they have me arguing with myself about placing the blame. It's a ploy to justify my procrastination (resistance to change). Well I/they have succeeded, wily little bastards.

Okay,okay, now that I’ve caught myself, I will own it and move on. Others can do be critical, they can give their opinions and suggestions. I need them, they're vital. It's a love/hate affair. I can't get along without them and its hard for me to agree with them. Left to my own devices I would never agree to changes or improve.

This little ole posting started out about changes and criticism about my writing it's plain that it's a statement about my life in general. Oh well, back to the drawing board. I can't turn my back on my constant companions, change (resistance to)and procrastination, for a moment.
Thank God I can start over daily or as many times in a given day that I want. Enough already, get on to making the changes.NOW!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Went to Writers Guild last night. Quarterly board meeting with monthly membership meeting following. Had a speaker, a writer with more than 40 years experience and sixteen books published. Quite an unusual man. Published his first book, one story at age nine. It was a children's book complete with illustrations. He had the newspaper clipping to prove it.

His has been an exhausting career with most often two of more "projects" on the grill at the same time. He was quite entertaining with enough tips on writing to fill a book. No,it's one book he hasn't attempted preferring to travel when and where ever to perform in person.

I sat there wondering how he has kept up the pace over the years. Where did he get all the time? I didn't have to ask;he clarified it for me. He explained that his whole life is his writing, then he gave us one of those "don't try this in your home" ... if you aren't single bits.

I was relieved. As much as I would love to have more time to write I am grateful and happy that my life is such that I must fit writing into my life not my life into my writing.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inner & Outer 55 Flash Friday

warmed up
passed down the line
out of breath
changed over
drank water
mindless chatter
match over, exhausted.
breath control
child's pose
half lotus
downward dog
sun salutation
shoulder stand
deep breathing

Monday, April 5, 2010


It has been a couple of weeks of physical and emotional intensity. Been aware of HALT and took measures to stay balanced with meetings, meditations, sponsors, sleep and eating right.
However the ole bod feels like its been "rode hard and put up wet". Ok it's an old saying from horse and buggy days but the one that most apply says it for me. My sleep has been interrupted by protesting bones and muscles.
Which led me to this poem.

When awakened
I embraced a bliss,
a calm untold,
for behold
not a hint of pain
in torso, limb or soul.

Yes, I did question
am I awake and sane?
I hugged the bedclothes-
a fluffy cloud
devoid of pain.

At seventy and seven
truly amazed
to be in comfort, oh so real.
At first the truth to tell
I half expected-
that final peal.

If this is it,
do not disturb, please
use no ploy.
Just lay here, wallow in
all this comfort
peace and joy.

With breaths of air
now slow,
a mind a grinning,
a body a humming
my soul did glow.

a spoiling thought
that appeared.
I lay silent and
enjoyed the pleasure of
this respite from toil and fear.

In life’s frantic race
I can attest
rarely since a babe
such a bliss have I embraced.
jamesfrederickm 4.10