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)

four-1 (yrs) on no1 2tell

stories told
days left empty

four-1 (yrs) on no 1 2tell
re: battles fought
victories claimed

success i 8
shoveled on my dish
w/o rhymes or metre
2 make cents
out of nonsense

all that flow, flow, flowing
throws me out of kilter
words splinter my soul
visions unknown

seeing all i believe
believing all i see
me 2 believe in me

so mean rt now
full of btw
thrown like darts
missing bulleyes
missing battles

losing lost (again)
finding new challenges
living new stories
told in
four-1 (yrs)
2 no1

copyright 2019: all rights reserved

photo: Rt 549: 41 Yrs on. (Mill Creek, 12/19)

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

Sister’s Voice (Heal)

January 11 2016 PHX PHL WFL 673 Modfied

The night that brought me sister’s voice
Was dead quiet and still as those
Midnights when Mom made her terror all mine
Over four decades and two dozen lives ago

Sister’s voice was also as quiet and still
As she talked about fear and death and failure
Just as Mom had when calmly referencing hitmen and demons
Though instead of sitting on my bed in Fassett
Her voice was thousands of miles away

Prayers and love and concern sent with all my might
Could not erase that fear from her voice
Any more than my aggression and abuse could
Calm Mom’s rising fears and pervasive terror
All those years ago

Sister, sister where have you gone
Why are you back in the hell we once knew
I couldn’t protect you then and I can’t protect you now
From the you running deeper into your darkest head

The growing split that tore her from reality
Made perfect terrifying sense to her
Just as mine did 41 years ago
When I knew in fear Tony would kill me
If he only had the chance

When I heard her voice over the phone
2018
Did not become
1997
Did not become
1973
Because I no longer am just an orphaned son
Made into the Man of The House
Burning down all around my family
Because I am stronger now
In feeling and being loved
Because I know
About hormones PTSD
Medications TIAs CVAs
Such letters and words
Part of my cells’ memory
Angels told me Sister would emerge
They spoke of turbulence
This warrior I am now summoned
The Universe to help her heal
Quieting those voices that became her fears
As wisdom slowly seeped onto her path
I did as I was told and advised from afar

Sending in Angels
Speaking in Tongues with spirits
Conversing in jargon with siblings nurses
Prayers, chants, lessons, consults
All the time knowing her voice
Would soon heal and return

Sister sister heal now through love
Wisdom flowing through me to you
Across our thousands’ miles
Strengthening your Inner Voice
As I sit alone and meditate
Unlike when I was a child
And could only hear
Hell’s voice inside Mom’s head

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Infinity (Lehigh Tunnel)

Without Pen (No Life I)

There calls me
Solitude needs me
I need nothing
I need no one

Pen in my hand
I am complete
Soul bursting to leak out
Without Pen
(No life I)

Words, approximations
Of here and now
Moments lost
Like unrepentant ghosts
This soul I bleed
Through my pen’s point
In life’s forests

Without a word
(No life I)
Instead living without description
Sensing without meaning
Flowing into a void
So lost so dead

My letters are my words
Are my sentences are my paragraphs
Are my pages are my books
Are my collections
Are my soul are my essence
Growing to places beyond
The ground scraping
My belly and the sun
Burning my skin

I am
I am me
I am you
I am us just then
In that blessed union
Of pen to paper
Of fingertip to keyboard
Of words
Of worlds
Joining me to you
Though no one can compete
With all those worlds
Inside my head
That I keep discovering
While contemplating
No one living being

Still I shall
Leave you crumbs
Shaped like letters
On the floor
Of this forest
Read my words
Embrace your worlds
Hurry hurry
Hurry before
Ravens and crows
Eat them all

 

Copyright © 2018 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: EXIT 152 (July 2018)

Mothers Three

Mothers Three May 13 IMG

Mothers three I’ve had this life
The first from who I emerged
Fought and fought and fought to live
And did so but for her shortest decade
Before paradise crumbled all around her
And she called my name in darkest night
To protect her and her other children
From all the Hells Dad and her imagination
Created and re-created in worlds real and deluded

Before she crossed over, I knew her fate
Though remained her loyal son at all costs
Believing the unbelievable
Accepting the unacceptable
Controlling the uncontrollable
So many bruises my fists did make
Upon both flesh and souls

Mother Two loved Her Jesus
Blaming Mom for her own death
And saw us six kids as sinners to be rescued
Through neglect and abuse
Justified in her mind when converting
The Poor Higham Children into Christians

Her hands I grabbed when she tried to hit me
Her life I held in mine just then at the top of the stairs
Balancing her just so ‘til she promised to never hit
Never try hitting me again during that Summer of Hell
Wise in her terror, she backed down and I too softened
To her words though remained on guard until
My siblings and I could find another mother

Mother Three was there as best she could
When I was desperately lost and called to her
When all my pain roared forth and threatened to end me
In my freedom that became my Hell that only she could stop
Though when she later ended our relationship I laughed it off
During my three-minute visits at her office
Filled with conversations planning for arrangements
Destined to never take place

On this Mother’s Day I know Mothers Three
Each did their best to love and nurture
On my path I now see bits and pieces of each in the mothers
Who come through my office with their troubled children
Trying to make sense of the illogical
Trying to be wise in the face of chaos
Trying to show love toward the hostile

Their paths are never easy and their burdens are many
This I know in more than a few ways as I
Send in The Angels to their lives their souls
And to the Mothers Three

Copyright © 2018 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved

Photo: Mom (Circa 1945)

The Home I Grew Up In

The home I grew up in
Had no roof
So that the sun could shine through
So that the moon could cast its glow
On all that I did
And
So that the clouds could cover the sun
And the rain
And the snow
Could water my body
Could water my feet
Could water my family
Whenever they needed it.

The home I grew up in
Had no exterior walls
So that wind could sweep
Out all the dust and cobwebs
Whenever they needed sweeping.

The home I grew up in
Had no doors
So that everyone living there
Could come and go
Whenever they needed coming or going.

The home I grew up in
Had no windows
So that my eyes could see
So that my ears could hear
My neighborhood
And it could see
And it could hear
As much of me as it wanted
Whenever they needed seeing or hearing.

The home I grew up in
Had no interior walls
So I could learn never to lean
So I could learn never to back against anyone
So I could learn never to back against anything
So I could learn never to be cornered
Whenever I desired leaning or backing or being cornered.

The home I grew up in
Had no floor
So that the earth could hold me
When I stood
When I ran
When I slept
When I crouched down
When I leapt with all my might
Far away from that home.

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

Exodus

Angel Sleep 6 16 15A life left behind on country roads
whose names grew from mere letters
to places to memories to triggers
Childhoods and adulthoods passing by
with each mile clicking
with each moment ticking

So much lived in an open-space world
kept simple by poverty and humility
through boom and bust of wood, coal, and gas
through boom and bust of love, hope, and faith
Outsiders and other fools lie when they claim that time
stands still there for it instead rages in torrents
energizing and eroding the body, mind, and soul

Exodus after so many decades of longing
and making the best and the better
than the prisons fears and failures created
I do not leave ashamed as I might have once
or so fearful that not even darkest night
could provide enough cover
I do not escape or avoid but instead
flow toward and fully embrace
a place only partially seen beyond the was

Passing through worlds
a thousand moments a mile
each flashing past in slow motion
past lives and deaths I’ve lived and died
like an snake eternally shedding
Miles and minutes only approximate
tears and smiles only convey triumph
of knowing exactly when to depart

I arrived there a man in a child’s body
departing here now a child in this man’s flesh
A multitude of my lives and deaths resting
in peace on country roads
sunsets and sunrises watching
storm and wind knowing
what they have written into my soul

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

Photo: Tree (Windfall, June 2016)

Deepest Night

img_3629-1-27-17-deepest-night

In the deepest night when the dark is darkest
The roar of the wind threatens to blow away the world
My dreams have been chased away by nightmares
The mouth made cold by words I cannot speak.

The eyes can only see the diabolical
The skin turns so brittle that even a butterfly’s touch
Makes it crumble
And dissolve into the desert sands.

I would be lost if I moved, but instead I freeze
Or worse, turn circles counterclockwise as I try twisting
Into the barren sheets in search of elusive sanctuary.

Waking alone, blue skies postponed and cancelled
Memories now prisons and plans now absurd fantasies
Flaming wreckage from all my tumbling castles
Obliterating the path and hindering my progress.

My house no longer a home in my empty bed
But still I rise and find that day, find that sunrise
That only I can see, that only I will celebrate.

May you never suffer my deepest night
The eternal strength it gives me
The optimism and hope growing stronger
After my every infinite sojourn through Hell
And re-emergence with soul and scars glowing.

© 2017 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Desk (Windfall, PA: January 27, 2017)

The School Bus Ride

img_7148-2-the-school-bus-ride-1-20-17

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)