Victory

Lillian 8 19 2017 Chimney Rock 1st

My battle won marked by the calm of surrender
No celebratory words or songs did I shout
As the oppressive miraculously became inconsequential
Layers of pain melted away and flowed like dirtied waters
Off my skin
Off my soul
And became forever purified
At these moments of ascendancy
When bells were to ring in celebration
And my soul would discover the highest mountaintops
On which to spread my new-found and infinite bliss
Would make my once dreary world
Would make my once dreary soul
Dance with a child’s delight

Victory
Sweet sweet victory
How I had waited with all my endless hope
All my rabid persistence and obsessive planning
To even see any sign of you emerging from life’s hellish fog

Victory
You had intermittently exposed yourself
Before desperation and despair had obscured you from my sight
To prevent you once again from accompanying me
So many conditions everyone everything told me
I would have to meet
I would have to know
I would have to be
Before
Before
Before
I could have a fleeting moment
Of hearing your voice
Of even feeling worthy
Of your briefest whisper
Of your encouraging word
Before evil and despair
Resumed their suffocating siege

Victory, now that you have made yourself
So clearly my eternal companion
And all evil has been
Defeated
Chased
Transmuted
Transcended
Annihilated
Re-framed
Forever condemned
From its perches in my waking world
And its numerous thrones in my dream world
Where its myriad grotesqueness stared me in my every face
In all the lives I lived was living and planned on living
To now merely squishing under my feet like warmed moist beach sand
I am lost, lost, lost
In a land of sunsets and pleasant surprises
Tranquility and love

What becomes of this warrior
When all my battles have been won?
When I have calmed my roughest of storms?
When I have transformed my deepest of fears into karmic punchlines
And my loving adventures have
Exterminated my fears and hyper-vigilance?

This redemption I do not know
For so long the weapons of war
I have held in my hands
In my soul
That my not grasping them feels odd
And renders me naked, vulnerable
And not nude, innocent
As Victory embraces me

Victory, how odd your warmth feels
Against my skin
Against my soul
In our forever embrace

© Copyright 2017 by John David Higham. All rights reserved.

Photo: Lillian’s First (Sedona: Chimney Rock Trail Looking North: August 19, 2017)

I Get to Fly (I Get to Love… Again)

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On the Empire Builder at Edmonds, Washington (October, 2015)

 

I get to fly,
Like a bird of a feather.
I get to walk
Through crowded
And
Deserted terminals
And
Watch people
Running, walking,
Riding
On their way
To,
On their way
From:
Too, I get to walk,
Run, and ride
With them
For at least a bit.
I get to fly
Somewhere;
I get to love… again.

I get to watch
Them sleep on planes
And sofas
And against each other,
And stand with them
Outside of airplane lavs
And make small talk
And feel how
They respond
To the bumpity, bump,
Bump of turbulence
At 39k feet.

I get to see
The excitement
In their souls
As they approach
Their vacations,
Their loved ones,
Their homes
And I get to embrace
My anticipation
That comes
With standing
At the arrival area
At PHX
In the dry heat,
Texting Kathy
As I walk toward
The street
On which she will arrive,
Knowing that
Her warm touch,
Our crazy loving moments,
And champagne bubbles
Await.

I get the red eye,
The short hop,
The puddle-jump,
The upgrade,
The check-in,
The baggage check
(And the fate it brings!),
The shuttle,
The economy lot,
The Lyft,
The ferry,
The train,
The valet,
The lounge,
The priority lane,
The frequent flier miles,
And the recited take-off
Instructions:
I get it all in 2200 mile commutes.

I get to talk
To strangers
About their passions,
About their families,
About their dreams.
I get to listen
To their words
And feel their hopes,
And share myself
As I click pictures
Of my views,
Write poetry,
And edit my works.

I get to wait
Outside
The terminal
And
Watch people
Hugging and smiling
As
I text my wife
At the end
Of my
Cross-country commute
And
We navigate
Around all those
Frickin’ idiots who parked
In the loading zones,
Laughing at them
Becoming impatient
At
Having been blocked in!

I get to love… again.
I get the pillow talks,
The facetimes,
The “coolness,”
The Olans,
The tooth things,
The “Bitches,”
The selfies,
The passion and the romance,
The bliss,
The abundance and the miracles;
I get it all:
We are The Lovers.

I get to fly
Out of the cage
That was once my life,
That felt like my death
But was really
Just my incubation.

At times,
I float like a butterfly,
Fluttering in
Love and light
Flowing over my wings.

Other times,
I soar like an Eagle
As the spirits
Of love, possibility, and hope
Of faith and surrender
Lift me
Far above
Who I once was.

Still, at other times,
I am the owl
Perched above
The darkened world
And seeing everything.
Or,
I am the crow
Shifting shape, time
Shifting place
From the here and now
To
The there and then.

I get to watch
The sun set,
The sun rise
Above the country
I had taken a train across,
I had driven across
So many lifetimes ago.

I get to love
Again; this time for keeps
With no returns
Or intermissions.
Forty thousand miles
Into this love
And I’m even more excited
About loving,
About flying,
About life’s
Endless miracles.

I am bliss now;
I get to fly.
I get to love… again.

Even TSA routines
Makes me smile,
As
Does the airport food
And
The little DH-8s,
The 757s sans WiFi,
The cramped A321s and A330s,
And
Taxicab drivers
Scaring the shit
Out of me as they race
A crappy yellow mini-van
To the Bainbridge Ferry
On a chilly Seattle night,
Or speaking in some language
Unknown to my tongue
In a Philly rush hour.

Hell, it all makes me smile:
I get to love again
After having known
That experience for so long
In only bits and pieces,
Living voluntarily in
Intimate relationships
Where I rescued
And lived lives
I thought others wanted.
My own co-dependent fool
I was then,
Grounded
And caged by my fear
Of being me,
Struggling to be
Someone else’s
Idea of the man
I could never be.

I get to fly
In this love
Like I’ve never flown before,
Like I’ve never loved before.
What a sacred journey I am on
With the self-awareness to match.
I get to grove on the feeling
Of fifty thousand pounds
Of thrust as machinery
As large as a house
Rises into the air,
Yanks me off the ground,
And allows me
To once again embrace
The Angels’ view.

I get to smile
And laugh with glee
At those moments
When the plane and I are racing
With all the universe’s might
Along the runway
And into the infinite sky,
And into our infinite love.

I get to fly,
I get to love… again,
Each moment of both
Warming my soul,
Freeing me from the ground
That I once stood on
And the past me
Who once held me down.

 

© copyright 2016 John David Higham

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Wheels down at sunset: Chemung County, New York (April, 2016)

I Am Here

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I am here
Like the sunrise
That is above
The raging storm,
Shining the golden light
Of promise
Without fail.

I am here
Like the owl
In the night,
Always looking out
For danger
Even as you rest.

I am here
Like the gentle rain
Nurturing your soil
So that you
May continue to blossom.

I am here
Like the quiet voice
That calls
Across the miles.

I am here
In every word
I write from
My soul to yours.

I am here
In your heart,
In our love;
They are larger
Than this world.

I am here
To love,
To protect,
To be yours
In all ways
For always.

I am here.

 
© copyright 2016 John David Higham

Love Should Be A Celebration

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Love should be a celebration;
A banquet with endless courses
And various flavors.

Love should be symphony
Filled with movements
And variations on loving.

Love should be a circus;
Three rings of entertainment
And stupendous wonder!

Love should be a poem
Exposed on the page
For all the world,
But its true meanings
Known only to The Lovers.

Love should be an orgy of two
Building on their shared love;
A secret world with
Only some parts shared.

Love should be an infinite moment
Of the two now made one
In thought, emotion, and soul.

Why Living in the Country Sucks

I’ve lived in the country for most of my 55 years. Ten years ago, I moved to rural Pennsylvania as a result of falling in love, literally following a dream, and wanting to provide my second wife, Rachel, with her fairy-tale small farmette.

Fairy-tale and small farmette notwithstanding, country life sucks because of my woodstove. I have heated with wood for most of this decade of rural imprisonment. During this time, I am proud to admit to having accidentally started one chimney fire and two separate grass fires. The fire department put out the chimney fire. Rachel and my children helped me put out one grass fire; I extinguished the other. The fire department arrived too late for both grass fires because they couldn’t locate the house.

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In the coldest part of winter the woodstove heats the basement to a toasty 80 degrees. Because I live in a split-level house, it’s common for the upstairs temperature in the winter to remain a barely inhabitable 60 degrees. Part of the reason for this disparity is that the house is surrounded by farmland. It’s common for my place to be buffeted by winds to the extent that the few trees on my property have a significant eastward lean. Here, rain never falls straight down. I also have a micro-climate; in the winter it is not unusual to encounter three foot-high drifts during a puny (six inch) snow storm. Such drifts are not a problem for most of my neighbors because they own tractors.

After I filed for a divorce from Rachel and she moved out with her AWD vehicle, I bought a snow blower. I ran it for a year before daily winter use resulted in my breaking the transmission linkage, the directional chute, and the tines. Even on a calm winter’s day, I have to battle drifts. I’ve experienced numerous days when I awoke at 5 AM, blew out my two hundred and fifty foot drive and left for work only to find it drifted over when I returned after dark.

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From November through April, I am chained to my house by the woodstove and my driveway. I eloped last year and entrusted the place to my 23 year-old son who works thirty miles away. I flew to Edmonds, Washington to visit my soon-to-be third wife, Kathy. When I returned to Pennsylvania, my son greeted me in the partially drifted-over drive; he looked like am Andean plane-crash survivor. He hugged me, packed his car, and left.

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The country also has pretty animals, like deer. These graceful creatures dash out of the bushes as if fleeing a meth lab raid. They are beautiful even as they leap out of the deepest woods in front of my car. Late one summer night, one creamed my passenger door, stood and seemed to smile at me before it sprinted back into the woods.

Chickens are another animal best appreciated from afar. I enjoy brown eggs and Rachel suggested that we build a chicken coop. I found plans and built one with nesting boxes, wiring, and a nursery area. Our chickens laid delicious brown eggs, but there was price to pay. One night our 20 feathered friends went bitch crazy and pecked out the brains of six of their sisters. Worse than that, they pecked out a single eye of two more. Those one-eyed hens should have crossed over, but my wife insisted otherwise. For several months through winter we kept the wounded pair in isolation and nursed them back to health. Out of gratitude, the menopausal birds celebrated by trashing my flowerbeds and pecking my siding.

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Country people love dogs. These uncivilized beasts chase cars, soil on everything, and bark at invisible deer. I don’t own one anymore. I once shared my house with three: they jumped on furniture and had to be taken out several times daily. And they needed to walk. A lot. About a mile a day; rain or shine. Walking a dog in the country means being fully prepared to be dragged along the road as it pursues small animals and passing cars.

Deer, chickens, and dogs are not the country’s only annoying creatures. In Pennsylvania, we also have the woodchuck or groundhog. Though celebrated as some sort of fat and furry fairy godfather who can predict spring, it’s actually an ugly and useless DNA gob. I’ve several living beneath my garage. My efforts to shoot them are testimony only to my horrendous marksmanship.

“Chuckie owns the lawn,” I whispered to Kathy one morning as she watched in a strange mix of fear and awe while I drew a bead on the world’s largest woodchuck. In my eyes, Chuckie stood four feet tall after he had crawled out from his lair. I tugged at my trigger. No shot rang out because I hadn’t deactivated the safety: Chuckie waddled through the tall grass back home, the entire fiasco affirming that guns don’t kill groundhogs and neither can I.

September 16 2014 386 FINAL

Now I spend my time between Windfall and Arizona, where Kathy lives. Our new home is 2200 miles wide. I’m leaving country life. Not because of the woodstove, the snow, or the animals, but because I realized shortly before my second divorce that I’m not a rural person. I also realized that my first two marriages were about my trying (and failing) to be perfect. Actually, living anywhere sucks when I’m trying to be someone I’m not. At my 35th high-school reunion, several ex-classmates asked, “How do you like Manhattan, John?” I laughed because they knew me much better than I did.

Anyone interested in buying a beautiful country home nestled on four acres with spectacular views and teeming with wildlife? If so, please contact me immediately. It’s heated by an economical and cozy woodstove and comes complete with appliances, weather station, generator with low service hours, and snow blower. It’s a great place for writing, communing with nature, raising children, and embracing solitude.

No reasonable offer will be refused.

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One Year On (This Path)

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One year on (this path)
Boredom has evolved into stillness,
Solitude has blossomed into love,
Desperation has evolved into miracles.

Evolving, evolving, evolving
Beyond the interpersonal
Beyond the material
Into even more spiritual.

From monk to spouse
A 2200 mile wide house
Not big enough
For this love, this life.

We see with our DNA
Angels lining our path
And we hear their gentle whispers.

One year on (this path)
And our way is not plotted
Though it’s so much clearer than
It’s ever been.

One year on
Of Fox and Owl,
Of “coolness,”
Of “fantabulous,”
Of “dude”
As our path
Went from
Windfall to Tempe,
Sedona to Seattle,
Philadelphia to Maine,
Santa Fe to Niagara Falls:
She and me to The Lovers.

 

 

 

 

One Foot In, One Foot Out: Our Cross-Country Passion

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One foot in,
One foot out.
Our cross-country passion
Defined by adventurous love.

Guided by The Spirits
Bound by Our Love;
Crazy, crazy love,
Crazy, crazy laughter.

Miles (2200) are nothing,
Moments (infinite) are everything.
Spirits (infinite) are dancing,
Hearts (2) are interwoven.

One foot in,
One foot out,
One life here,
One life there.

Throughout our marriage
Our essences mingle,
Our words exchange,
Our love grows.

When together, we cuddle.
When apart, we touch.
Always loving, we evolve
As she, me, and us.

So many transcended hells,
So many shattered loves:
Now just memories
And fully-embraced lessons.

One foot in,
One foot out,
One life here,
One life there:
Our love lives
Everywhere.

BeDoKnow (A Chant)

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BeDoKnow                                                Love
KnowBelieveBreathe                            Love
BreatheEmbraceFeel                            Love
FeelLoveNow                                           Love
BreatheLoveNow                                    Love
KnowLoveNow                                        Love
BreatheLoveNow                                    Love
BeLoveNow.                                             Love

BeDoKnow…                                             LoveLoveLove

This Place We Call Love (To Kathy)

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Caught as we were
Between then and then
Between them and them
Moments made into nightmares
We so often left behind.

I am
Writing on the wind
As
You sleep
Miles below
Miles behind,
Your smile inspires me
Your touch calms me
Your words calm me.

We are The Lovers
We are this path
Regardless of its turns
Regardless of its challenges.

We are The Lovers
Living in this place we call love
Loving across the miles
Bound by our hearts
Bound by our souls
Bound by our love.

As I now sit
Spread out across three plane
Seats,
My computer dimly lit
As
My fingers again
Unabashedly proclaim
My love
Your love
Our love,
I hear your laughter
From
The quiet
Of
Our nights
Erupting from
Inside jokes,
Body noises,
The challenges of our world,
All
Dealt with lightly and with wit.

This place we call love
This place we call love
Has no limits of space
Has no limits of time
Has no limits of being.

This place we call love
Is ours
And
All ours
For an eternity.