Pinksteren

On a tiny boat,
they spent three days in early summer,
eating fresh bread,
watching the ducklings next door,
tending to their delicate love.
He called that place home a long time ago and
remains moved at its traits.
He, still, fits right in but stays
just that bit on the sidelines;
humans aren’t made to go from inhabitant to visitor – or passer-by.
She, too, has this nostalgia for times and places long ago and – lost.
For these two, home has become a state
of mutual understanding.
On the day of tales, talks and fire,
there is still hope that
even if this state is never permanent,
its promise lives.
And sure enough, it comes around from time to time,
never knocking,
always leaving the door open.

the tide

from a Belgium beach with the ladies

to Brussels Plaza here with a Shanghai friend

onward through Berlin, running into two pals,

back to a Boston catch-up at Frieda’s nook,

adding the Washington connection on the terrace,

and dinner-dating my man at home

before headed for the north on the weekend.

the week isn’t over yet,

and not every one can be like it,

but right now, the tide rolls in

and it’s good.

 

art in Cologne

whether they are large or small,

shrill or quiet, abstract or quite tangible —

they only have in common the large white walls

upon which they hang and our wide eyes

looking upon them.

and perhaps the fact that they, too,

started blank.

we walk out and a man collapses in the train station.

it is a football kind of day, with beer gushing harder

than these first spring rains.

some stop, some help, some pass.

we only have in common the ground we trod on

and our eyes seeing and the fact that we, too,

once started blank. sort of.

on days like this, I am just so glad that

art wins. art is not yet algorithmically controllable.

it is still shaky, still insecure, still true, still more than its little parts,

still grand, waiting to be interpreted and

always to be made anew.

just as each of our encounters.

 

architectural

a Cathedral among women,

she is there for you and me always,

with light shining in

and music moving feet.

built a long time ago

for an entirely miraculous purpose

and sought out by many ever since,

she stands firmly in a shaken, broken world.

happy birthday, mom.

this and that

these days were filled with this and that,

here and there with these and those ones.

there were cups of coffee sipped in the sunshine,

grandma visits, dad and mom lunches, sister chats,

a chilled beer on the corner with the friend,

phone calls, bike rides, newspaper articles,

redecorations, spring cleanings, card writings,

long runs, sexy times, Bach at night.

little, calm, unplanned joys were sprinkled throughout,

leading toward this celebration to usher in

the season of the spirit.

the shadow of death will not last,

the curtain will rupture at last.

we too will rise

and fly on eagles’ wings.

oh balloons

If I’d seen him walking out

of that prison into the arms

of his wife and the photo which

the journalist posted, I’d have

sent a bunch of balloons up into

the skies, polka-dotting the firmament

with colorful fingerprints of freedom,

to celebrate this day of commencement.

freedom is always a long

way coming and remains a rocky

road. Now I, too, know and there is no

turning back. The birthing of it all

only ever goes one direction.

So up they flee and fly and spread and

disappear but travel on and on in my

imagination to remind me that out there, it

is solitary and vast but it is so, so very

promising

most of all.

Letting in

“Fitting in is when you want to be a part of something. Belonging is when others want you.” (Brené Brown and very wise middle schoolers)

I want to be very precise here:
Integration, inclusion starts with the
majority, the powerful.
And the invitation is, always,
a spiritual posture
of grace and peace
toward each other
in our inextricable interconnectivity.
Then, we can meet with
humility and courage
and make magic and meaning
and make it matter.

three ladies

one is sitting at a laundromat

way past dusk in the dark

in the middle of the metropolis

with half a glass of white

waiting for the load to be done.

one is on her way to belly-dancing class,

stuck somewhere out there in traffic,

putting past her the death of a friend

while making sure her pup is safe

and not taking apart her apartment

while she’s gone.

the third of the bunch is on the couch

with half of the bottle gone,

gazing across the frozen fields

to motivate daring with dust

and distinguish king from kin.

these three are separate, it is true,

but they’re connected at once as well

by loss of much and learning of more

and friendship way beyond it all.

and so it pulses and pulls and pushes on

toward a common arc

of justice and joy and jubilee

and good news for once and for all.

 

karneval

our sink is splashed with plentiful colors,

our apartment inhabited by friends,

the streets pulsing with all the masses

and this town claimed by music, beer, and joys.

my love is first the hottest prince

of tulips and all the orange

and then a bear with beard and ears

and cuddly fur all around.

we walk, we drink, we dance, we talk;

it’s all a massive movement,

for them, for us, for everyone

to plunge and drown and splash.

it’s odd at first for this one here

to let go and let it be

and smash the window walls at last

and step out of the ivory cage.

but the muscle memory sets in,

alas! and saves her from the past

and pulls her into these beats and sounds

and expands her lungs and skins.

later, she walks home alone and calm

with the Dom in sight so bright,

and once she’s taken off bow tie and hat,

it’s as real as it’s ever been.

this time she’ll get it right for sure

and strive for participation

because as different as it looks each day:

the mission is urgent — and alive!

so she sleeps with the roaring all around

of cages and walls falling apart

freeing all of us from averageness

and positioning anew the spotlight.

and in the morning a new season shall begin

or the day after that, if it may

as long the as the dust stays shaken up

there’s hope and change and:

 

a really very splendid good day

it didn’t start this way and it didn’t end this way either,

this day and week and even month, but

everything beyond the bells and

responsibilities reminded me of the fact

that in the absence, there’s a presence.

the One who once gave all of it to us

and entrusts others and also me with other skills and

knowledge and anecdotal value wants

every one of us to glow and shine and float.

it is then on us to do with it what we must

and can and want and will to multiply

what we have been given and share

it among the lowest.

so I take my bags and travel under sunny, crisp, blue

skies afoot and humble and sobered

and supremely excited as well

just to grasp yet again and this time for good that

it’s massive and it’s vast and above all:

it’s all love.

ff

there’s an exhaustion that only ebbs, I know it.

and then there’s this: fatigue, finally, which flows.

the former comes from fraud committed against

one’s purpose, the latter from flowing in the midst of it.

and tonight, out there on the wooden dance floor,

with every old tune the DJ put on, with every offer,

with every smile and every new and fleeting bond,

with every turn and every twirl, with all the sweat,

with every sip of water and the shower pouring down,

it all came crashing back into the halls of this being

that seeks kin and kindred spirits in this time,

or perhaps simply the spirit

to make matters matter

once again and for good.

from one to

so this past weekend, a goldfish

jumped out of a glass bowl and into

the ocean. the more it was jumping,

the smaller the bowl seemed and the

larger and promising and sun-flooded

the vast blue appeared. while all of this

was unfolding on the screen before

me, the more those glass walls were moving

in on me too, and have been ever since.

so as the fish hiked up my tears flowed

down and the drama mounted to barely

standing it in the middle of a pew in

church. my neighbour handed me a tissue.

and then some time passed (as it always does)

and I slept some and worked some and called

such good friends and ran a bit and broke

my no alc-in-jan-vow and drank some red

wine. and then the other night a winter

thunder storm woke me at four in the morning and had

me sitting up straight and silent to simply listen to all

the extravaganzas happening all around me all

the time. and with the masses of snowflakes

zipping around very unladylike, my ocean rose

again higher and higher until it swept across

without apology or purpose. and there it was

again and didn’t end and had me

startled finally once more. and that’s what

it does: it comes and it goes and it ebbs and it

flows and sometimes I sink and sometimes I

swim and sometimes I sit and the beach and

just watch.

it’s a bit control and

all grace.

getting this right

some started this year with goals such as to

drink not, ban sweets, jog more, perhaps be kinder, too.

all four are on my list, going strong on day 11.

then I had a flashback the other night,

with bitten lips, sweat-stained clothes, a given-up blanket

of a different time

that perhaps has never been.

either way I was woken up

for hopefully the rest of the year

to sell my stuff if I need to, write a book if that’s it,

move to a trailer or barn, sleep in nothing but hay,

consume none and invest only,

climb the tallest mountain, buy that one-way ticket,

study that foreign language, take on the brass and the blues,

dance until morning sun rises, make pottery pot and cups,

sweat more, love harder than ever, risk it once and for all.

Jump, leap, fall, fly.

Goals are for grown-ups.

basics

so into the new year

we hiked up the snow-covered mountain,

vertically, far away from paths,

and shelter to hide from the gruesome gusts.

the name of the mountain

resonates among colorful childhood memories

of my dad and aunt

and therefore radiates a majesty

that it doesn’t have

merely on the map.

so as we drew upward

through knee-high frozen slopes

not elegantly, quite impatiently, increasingly exhausted,

I was reminded of the book

in which a hiker barely makes it

onto Mt. Everest

only to return to more clarity, humility, love.

Then a thought of my friend`s brother passed by

slowly and saddening

only to remind me that mountains don`t wait,

nor do they wail

in case you don`t make it.

the peace out here,

or is it ambivalence,

the brutality of them,

or is it their consistency,

it all is still there to be pondered about

with every step I make,

it is still there,

even after step after step after step.

the only thing that changes

with every step I take,

is this body of mine

as it burns through energy reserves

yearns for water

hungers for rest

catches all the air it can,

always reaching for more.

I`m no pro,

but I can still read the signs:

These limbs change faster than the mountains.

These thoughts change faster than the seasons.

Other things change faster than my mood

and than my winking eyes.

So as a dot on this spectrum

I, too, keep the balance.

And therefore,

I must

keep

going.

radio tune

for Christmas mass this year,

we went to our local church

made of red brick and village gossip.

everything went as usual

to the point where leaving the club

still seemed to be the most sensible option.

not even the organ was playing along very merrily,

even though its date was female.

but then, all of the sudden, to the surprise of us all,

the old priest (is there any other kind?!)

took out his old radio player, hit play

and introduced the entire congregation to his favorite song.

the tune was probably from the 80s

and his singing training probably from the shower.

but, with every stanza that he firmly presented to us

in spite of Parkinson’s pains,

the situation slowly got turned around.

ostensibly, the man was touched by something

that didn’t per se touch anyone else in the pews,

but I was moved by his being moved

and that moment was real.

so — even if my Eve didn’t involve a baby born

in the midst of a revolution against a regime,

it involved inspiration growing from the dark.

and what could be more real

to a beginner in this life

than true vulnerability

shown by a representative from the most stoned artefact.

the moment was embarrassingly small at first,

later potently real

and certainly suitably embedded

in a neighbourhood of the only Americans

who came to attend the service

and sat down next to me.

the three of us

bonded over the fact that we all

are strangers in this place

but that inspiration, when it strolls by,

looks like this:

an old tune

sung out of the dusty radio

of a lonely man

to the sea of searching souls

in the middle of the night.

confusions

last week I joined Twitter, solely

for professional matters. (…as if

I could just take off my private

parts like a coat. oh no.)

it claims to be the place where it

all happens all the time, though

I see no flowers blooming, no provisions given.

anyhow, I joined to represent and connect, it is done

for now, let’s hope I can

distinguish moths from butterflies.

and then another night came, luckily.

we met up at a Turkish place

run by an Iraqi man

in a conservative German town,

the love, the friend, and I.

the friend, he comes from Syria, always reminds me

that the past tense of to flee isn’t he flew.

sitting there, surrounded by bearded men and

garlic and Arabic and wintery nighttime,

one thing became so very clear.

I must not confuse two things

that our time has branded as one:

audience isn’t community.

the former — a thrill for every extrovert,

a fix, addiction, recipe for reputation, inevitable curse.

the latter: people who help picking up the pieces

when vulnerability visits these barren lands.

so – both needed and valid.

one momentarily more seductive,

one eternally important.

let’s hope I don’t miss the mark

and there’s no-one left

to remind me of the fact

that I did.

 

The First Quarter

If it so happens, graciously,

that this is the first of four quarters,

then the prospect is a mighty good one.

And if there’s a succession of auxiliary verbs

that clothe our quarters,

however long they are woven and written and given to last,

I just crossed the finish line of “ought”.

During the last 25 years, I was introduced to

values, norms and habits,

customs, convictions and conventions,

rites, rituals and rights,

and to cultures from which they all grow.

I looked through lenses of living

and formed one for myself,

testing and probing and leaving

and starting anew yet again.

So with this pair of glasses,

there’s an almost clear vision installed

on the spheres that I am from.

When grouped as the next quarter awaiting,

then the next 25 years out there

will fall under auxiliary verb “is”,

symbolising the real, the immediate, the now.

With all that I was given,

the knowledge that I learned

and skills which I have earned,

and the trust that I keep,

it is now time to plunge on forward

into my surroundings right here and right now,

and to do my very own part

from dawn to dusk and past,

in the littles and the bigs

to create, make happen, realize.

And, in all of it, all the time,

keeping the sine wave flowing,

keeping the rhythm that connects

all of this, just like a beat.

At halftime, then, there’ll be champagne

and wrinkles and poise alike

and gray hair, perhaps, and summersaults, too,

and kids and books and dances

and mindfulness and gratitude

and many trips to the ocean.

And now the prognostics stop, alas,

because the third era, “can”,

will exhibit itself

what’s possible out there at all,

probing anew any boundary.

The final season, named “will”, some say,

will ring in the worlds gone by

and those out there and yet to come,

but that, even more so, is a far-away time.

And this is now

and plenty to catch

and hold and cradle and form.

collecting

our new apartment,

which isn’t actually brand new anymore,

but still occasionally feels this way

when I commute back to it on the designated free days,

holds up the roof of the house

with massive, old timber.

the beams stand tall and saturated

with rich browns of a tree’s strength

transcending death brought upon man’s axe.

now, when these old swing tunes swell through the night

this place turns into the old wooden barn

located on Tuxedo Junction

somewhere down South

sometime in the hottest of summers

with smells of sweat tea bourbon roaming the roads.

there, far away and long ago,

a part of this soul was once born

and faithfully committed always

and long lost ever since, too.

in this barn, built with hay and clay and hands,

a love grows.

it’s occasionally inhibited,

frequently overwhelming,

then also overflowing,

rarely discouraged,

usually infantile

and always infinite.

…by the way, en passant,

a part of this soul speaking here

was also born

long ago

in the French fields of purple and gold,

also in the summertime,

with a well nearby

and chatter all night long

and wine and bread on the table.

it’s all a mystery, most of all,

and, just as I am,

it, too, is just as out of place at times,

most of the time anyway, as far as I’m concerned.

so between the deep South

and these French fields,

this soul oscillates and flees and frees

itself from homes and homages to these many,

knowing it won’t last anyway, either way.

so here it roams, perpetually poised

by sights of windows and winds,

this schizophrenic soul, willingly admitting always,

and utterly, madly so

to something it’s never truly held

but always sort of known.

it’s a funny, foolish admittance,

but the only one worth grasping of

until it all unfolds.

 

good work

it thrills and ignites,
it swears and it sweats,
it also bows and vows,
it moves and it shakes,
it stretches and bends,
it serves and it lends,
it hopes and it lets,
it enables and creates,
it transfixes and transforms,
it borrows and returns,
it grows and expands
and it surely never ends.