Tougher (60yrsb20yrs)

comin’ up fast don’t fuck with me
twenty years older than dad ever got 2b
doc says my blood looks fuckin’ good
livers living good
bloods pumpin’ good

got nothin’ 2bitch about
no tears 2cry
someday in 40yrs i’m gonna die
’till then just get outta my way
’cause nothing you do is gonna
stop, stop, stop me

im tougher at 60 shit
than ive ever been
been fucked with
fucked over
and still standing and strutting
not being knocked down
so fuck you, you, and you
for thinking im gonna stop
or even take a dive
to make you feel good

still kicking, alive, screaming
bloody murder and never
gonna give up my path
’cause im tougher now
than i ever ever have been
’cause 60 is gonna b my 20
more is comin’
just you watch
just started growin’
watch your back
watch your ass
im havent even started
with you yet

copyright 2020: all rights reserved

photo: 1cufflink 3wedding bands 1set of ivories (Herdic Inn, 2020)

Stillness Now

stillness in the form
of the hawk circling
above aging headstones
and my timeless love

warm sun embraces
the tops of my bare feet
and the grass–their grass
tickles my toes and soles

i am here now with them
meditating at their resting places
breathing with none
of the urgency–of the fear
they had so freely given me
when they walked Earth

the sun drifts lower
as evergreens and the hawk
protect me and my breath

yet i feel safer with Mom and Dad
hearing them speak
directing me to tell
my brother how much they love him
sharing that greatness
is headed my way
confident that my ex
will do well in her new life

hawk, trees, sun
all breathing with
my bare feet resting
in the warm cozy grass

literally grounded right now
i re-affirm my pledge
to not get wrapped up in doing
and instead endeavor
to embrace being

stillness now
forever now

I Am Not (The Empath’s Moment)

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I am not the energy that flows through you
When you awaken in the morning
And embrace the fresh day’s energy

I am not the hunger that fills you
Or your stomach when it aches for food
Or your heart when it aches for love

I am not the hands that touch you in passion
Or the arms that hold you so tightly
Or the fingers that glide across your skin

I am not your ears that hears the singing birds
Or the tattered voices of the lost and struggling
You encounter during your day: I am also none of that

I am not your organs functioning
Or malfunctioning as you live
Or fall ill
Or stumble toward death
I am not the pain in your in your body
Or soul

I am not the sensuality that fills your daydreams
Or the desires that drive your passion and your glory
Or your orgasms that arouse your senses
Or your lovers
Or your spouses

I am not the sunrise that warms your soul and face
Or the abundance that surrounds you
Or the love you send into The Universe
Or you send to those who mean the most to you

I am not your desperation that lurks in your most secret fears
In your darkest moments
Or your hopelessness
Or your rage and rebellion
Or your self-pity
Or your compassion

I am not the bliss that makes your life worth living
Or your faith and your hope
That nurture your strength;
I am not your strength

I am not the ravages of age and time
I am not the illnesses that claims your abilities
I am not your physical pain
Or the accidents that befall you and your family

I am not your healing
Or your growth through evolution
Or your achievements
Or your enlightenment

I am not the innocent love of your child
Or the beacon-like smile it gives your life
Or the cruelest hatred of your vilest enemies
Or the hyper-vigilance they make your every moment

I am not the serenity that stills your troubled heart
Or the inspiration that drives your grasp closer toward your reach
Or the ambition that fuels all your dreams

I am not that floor collapsing under the weight of all your troubles
Or the ceilings that prevent you from touching the sky
And dancing with moon and stars

I am not the mistakes that you have made
Or the follies you have invested in
Or your regrets
Or your sins
(Your lust, greed, envy, pride, gluttony, sloth or wrath)
Or your redemption

I am not your triumphs that line your sacred space
Or your skills, abilities, strengths, and gifts
That you employ on your warrior path
Or your struggles as you evolve

I am not the fists that have hit you, the taunts that have wounded you
Or the insults that have made you cry so deep inside
That you had nowhere left to hide

I am not the one who betrayed you
Or deserted you
Or back-stabbed you
Or humiliated you

I am not any of them
Or any of those
Or any of that
Despite feeling
And experiencing moments
Each and every one as my own
Before or while you do
On my path to knowing you

 

Copyright © 2018 John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Into The Woods (Cogan Station: May 22, 2018)

Thirty-Nine Years On

 

July 14 2015 Sedona and Phoenix 093

 

How broken me nineteen
Bits of pieces scattered around
A room, rented
Out of money
Out of home
Out of love
Out of time
Nothing but a razor in my hand
And determination to stop being

No hero me
Just a child felt tossed away like scraps
For the flies and carrion birds to feed on
This homeless victim orphan drop-out

T-shirt faded
Wrapped ‘round my bicep
Shiny razor in hand
Scratching, scratching, scratching
From wrist to elbow to wrist to elbow
Steel and skin waiting their final
Dance into oblivion

Eyes mine saw hand upon my steel
Mine all mine all mine all mine
My choice my action made so ludicrous
Just then and then and then and forever

Hand mine holding death’s instrument
Like a pen in search of my blood’s ink
This is what I am doing to do what I must?

Homeless orphan drop-out failure loser me
Put down that blade
Loosened the stained t-shirt
Felt blood flowing just then
From wrist to elbow to wrist to elbow
Still within my veins beneath that scratch

No disappearing that day or nevermore
No matter labels no matter wounds
No matter pain no matter losses
No matter solitude no matter fears
No disappearing that day or nevermore

Turning pain into prose poetry
Suicidality into intuition empathy wisdom
And all that into abundance love bliss
From weapon of self-destruction to warrior
From self-hating to sending healing
From lost in darkness to flying into sunrises
Living each day each moment each now
Even during this glorious anniversary
Thirty-nine years on

Copyright © 2018 John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Sunset Rainbow (Sedona, July 2015)

The School Bus Ride

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Lifetimes ago, school bus children
Chanted, “We hate the Highams,”
And I watched the driver drive his bus as if none
Of it mattered because those were only words
Don’t you know?

Like a weed that burst forth from fear
Fertilized by my family being different
In a land of assumed homogeneity,
We undoubtedly earned the right to be hated
And this hatred to be made part of our bus ride
Back and forth to school each day
Its own daily lesson in humility and restraint.

And, the driver drove, saying goodnight and smiling
At every stop; even ours, because he was so kind.

Did the kids know how we prepared for their attack
On our home in the woods?
Did they know how I trained my brothers
And ran our house like a military camp
For what my psychotic mother and I
Knew would be their final violation?

I doubt it. After all, they were merely teasing
Pleased with the reactions they were evoking
And how each of the six of us dealt differently
With their incessant barrage. They watched TV
In their homes each day and never mentioned
Their ride, I’d guess.

These little children and their foul little mouths
Taught me the gift of stillness, the gift of awareness
In the here and now. Those lessons lasted only as long
As the bus ride home, then the hell they had sent to us
Erupted in the home once the bus had left.

We watched TV in our home and fought with punches
And kicks, slamming doors and breaking walls.
A child hated easily finds enemies, even among family,
Because such a child wants peace and harmony
And love that flows as naturally as each breath but feels
Instead too alien in the world that now drags him down.

Therapy, meditation, and living in the here and now
Transformed such trauma into numerous evolutions
Still evolving in so many directions: I do not recognize
That angry self-hating child I was on the bus ride.

But still, I must ask: Are we on another school bus ride?
Have the schoolchildren become adults?
Has the teasing turned into denunciations and accusations
Fertilized by mutual disrespect and intolerance
Coupled with an unwillingness to communicate?

And, will this driver stop and hold us accountable
Or, will he merely drive to his destination?
Can we who are denouncing and accusing instead
Silence ourselves and remember that we are
All riding the same school bus? Can we share the love
We have for ourselves with people who live differently?

If not, it doesn’t matter who drives the school bus for soon
We will all be hateful little children fighting each other
Instead of investing our energies into our shared destiny.

© 2017 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Eagle and Strength (Sedona, October 2016)

Finding the Twelve (Becoming the Thirteen)

img_2984-modified-for-finding-the-twelve-1-14-17

Upon awakening,
Not with my body, but with my soul
When the sunrise not only painted yellow
The gray belly of the clouds but also exposed
That beauty in the darkest of my day.

What miracle must dislodge me from this holding cell
As I live on the edge of one life ready to jump ‘cross a chasm
To the next? What miracle allows me to bid goodbye to so many past lives
Refusing to crossover, their reminders lining my way like polite ghosts
That excuse themselves when I accidentally bump into them?

Finding the twelve, yes, as that will make me the thirteen. I look for them
In the soft eyes of those patient ghosts: I’ve told them that they won’t
Be coming along except in nostalgic memories held in now fading pictures
Of people, places, and things of lives I’ve finished living so long ago.

Rising from my soul’s bed, I set out to find the twelve like jurors
Picked to judge all my life up to this point: See them sitting on their chairs?
The Father, The Son, The Mother, The Fool? See them given absolute
Judgment of all I was as they alone determine all I will ever be
From their daily verdicts onward?

Twelve I need walking into my life in perfect order,
A most rewarding combination to unlock all my potential
And free me from my darkest delusions of self-doubt and worry:
I need them to march in as six perfectly-matched couples
Though I know that all will be as it must be I pray, indeed,
That they will be exactly as I know, exactly as I predicted,
Exactly as they should march down that aisle in the chapel
To be wed on a special day that only the twelve and I know about,
Making me the thirteen.

Do you know those perfect twelve pairing into a perfect six,
Making me the thirteen? Such worlds beyond math transmutating
With chanting: I find such solace here upon awakening building
In hope that such an evolution would ripple through my consciousness
As it upends my corporeal world on this day that must be the day when
Miracle of miracles takes place and I am accelerated even faster
The rocket that I am and have been and will always be.

See, thirteen is the number of death, of change, of revolution, of moving on,
Of moving beyond all that was and is no longer but has still managed to find its way
Around my soul like tenacious vines intertwined and permeating my being.
Death to this time, to this waiting life will come and is coming though will not
Announce itself until I have found those twelve and have myself become the thirteen.
Then the endings will end, the beginnings will begin, and the waiting life
Will become nothing more than another hovering ghost offering polite excuses.

© 2017 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Curve in Winter Rain (Liberty, PA 1/12/17)

Along Jordan Trail

img_4789

With the sun high
And the house
Feeling more like a cage
Due to endless paperwork
That nipped at my consciousness
Like a bitchy dog,
I set out for Jordan Trail.

Against the mountains of Sedona,
I started off,
My mind letting go of
The empty world of reports
The empty world of deadlines
And other foolishness.

The trail uneven, my feet now
Uncomfortably accustomed
To a world of flat and level surfaces,
I contemplated walking sticks.

I had sent a pair to my son.
I had a pair in Pennsylvania
Too long to pack, even when
Collpased:
My hands and legs missed
Those past companions
As I hiked alone.

Rapidly, my mind
Started figuring ways
To send a pair to Tempe
So that I would have
A pair out West
While I continued building
Another part of my life.

And, then I saw it
Leaning against the tree;
The most perfect stick
The most perfect staff
Along Jordan Trail.

I received this gift,
Embracing it as my stride
Lengthened and the my confidence grew;
How quickly I now embraced the mountains
How quickly I now embraced the trail
As stick and I became one.

My mind, it raced
At my agility and renewed spirit
In the dry desert air and sun
As I meditated and walked
In time with the timeless land,
Wood clicking a rhythm against rock.

Stick in hand
I recalled an earlier time
Decades ago
When I found another stick
Along Pine Creek
And made it mine,
Even decorating it with old pieces
Of boot leather.

Might I take this very one back to the house
And celebrate this miracle of abundance
Beyond happenstance and desire;
A triumph of seizing what was to make what is
Now mine for evermore?

I asked the mountains
I asked the sky
I asked the sun;
They laughed and told me
That the stick belonged not to me
Not to the mountains
Not to the sky
Not to the sun
But to Jordan Trail.

Amused by my folly
I thanked The Universe for its gift
And at trail’s end leaned that staff
Along its tree
For the next traveler.

 

Copyright (c) 2016 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved

Photo: A Gift from The Universe (Jordan Trail, Sedona, AZ: September 2016)