Cutters, Huffers, and Suicide Kids

September 20 Kueka Wine Trail 1311

cutters, huffers, and suicide kids
look at me over toys scattered ‘cross my office floor
as we start helping them to forsake the shelter that comes with hurting

to them, i’m “Mr. John” or the bald guy in the suit coat
who has the cool toys and asks the billion questions
that they don’t have to answer if they don’t want to
despite what their mothers say or instruct or admonish

am i not the first hope and not the last but one of an endless string
on their paths from a devastated childhood toward their ultimate hopelessness?

no, i never feel that way, not even when the budding sociopath
makes the hair on the back of my neck turn into tiny knives
when he smiles and calmly says, “hitting animals is very wrong”

i’ve seen their parents
or, at least have heard about them
fathers who beat mothers, fathers who executed mothers, homeless families evading CYS and the police
the molesters, the Meagan Listers who were framed by the state,
who bathed their girlfriend’s sons and daughters, who didn’t know
that girl was 14 because, man, she knew what she was doing

and, the mothers
mothers who have children with each new boyfriend
before the men magically disappear after sowing seed through before delivery, their time away measured by the length of the PFA
and discussed with the DV victim in terms of the child’s age

i’ve met the foster parents
who brave the fears their families have voiced
and opened their hearts and homes to these children
as these new-to-them parents embark on missions to provide structure
consistency and nurturance to little hearts so badly broken
they can’t fathom lives beyond cutting, huffing and suicide


copyright 2109: all rights reserved
Photo: Healing Hands (Keuka Lake, NY 2015)

Sister’s Voice (Heal)

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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
Did not become
Did not become
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)

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)

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)

I Am Here

I Am Here 8 26 17

I am here
Alive and ready for this path
No matter the joys the pains or how often
My feet may pause or my tongue may become still
Though my eyes may not appear to see
All going on around me on my path
And my ears my not seem to hear the laughter the crying
And my hands may not move to heal pain to defeat evil

I am here Smelling the trees as they quietly grow season to season
And looking over the grasses and the flowers and the skies
And sending joy out to all who look upon such scenes
With their eyes with their imaginations with their memories
As they seek refuge in their darkest night or to make their noon brighter

Together, we grow our strength ever beyond strong
Fed by hope and love even as whirlwinds uproot lives all around us
And give rise to fears from hellish pasts or intimidating futures

In the stillness of our souls as the power of The Universe
Cleanses our every cell, flowing through us replenishing us
No matter how far apart we are measured by mere miles mere lifetimes
As we remain eternally joined through our souls

We are here
Alive and ready for our intertwined paths
As The Universe’s DNA

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

Photo: Meditation Landscape (Lewisburg, August 26, 2017)

Sky Eagle River


Don’t be afraid to be the sky
And share your beauty and inspiration
So that all will look up at you
And see themselves

Be endless in your passion your life
And see the love in all
No matter if your mind makes them
Of your above of your below

Be boundless in your life your space
And open to others being within it
Breathing in your air
As you breathe in theirs

Don’t be afraid to be the eagle
And show others how to fly alone
Even before they’ve grown their wings

Be generous with your gifts your wisdom
And stay grateful to receive all things
From all who you encounter
While you soar

Be patient in your flight
With those who aspire as you did you do
Hope and aspiration
Lifts many an otherwise grounded wing

Don’t be afraid to be the river
And quench the thirst of those who drink
And cleanse wash their wounds
That would otherwise stain them

Be patient when they block they impede
And instead bounce off
Always cleansing always connected always flowing

Be willing to join others
Yet know when you need to transform
Evaporating up to the sky
Crashing back down to Earth

Don’t be afraid to be the mountain
And stand firm in your storms
Remaining formidable to your foes

Be open to allowing others to explore
Your vistas your dark crevices
As you both discover your mysteries

Be fearless in allowing the river
To erode your valleys your gorges
And turn your stone into rich soil
That helps feed others you may never know

Don’t be afraid to be the wind
And blow away fears while bringing passion
To those in the doldrums and caught in their webs

Be forceful and present in your passion
Be quite and still in your solitude
Carrying voices like secrets
Accepting that they are not yours

Move around move over
As obstacles mean nothing
Though beware the collision of hot of cold
That can mold you into a tornado
That can mold you into a hurricane

Don’t be afraid to be the rock
And allow others to balance on your firmness
To see beyond their worlds beyond their limits

Be resolute and know when to yield
Accept that you must become the soil
And be transported by the wind the rain
As part of your journey off your mountain

Don’t be afraid to be the sun
And illuminate both your path and those on it
With your abundant hope and optimism

Shine light accept light
Others give off by just being
No matter their universe
Illuminate their darkness your darkness
Heat your cold their cold

Sky eagle river
Mountain wind rock and sun
Be each at your time
Know each in your day
As each calls to you

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

Photo: Being at Thirty-Five Thousand Feet

I Am the Sun


When the sky darkens
With the approaching storm,
When the sky darkens
With the fading day,
I will not retreat.

When the shouts drown out the smiles
And children stop being happy,
When sadness becomes infectious
And metastasizes into gloom,
I will not despair.

When the numbers overwhelm
And all feelings become scary,
When all lose forever all hope
And desperation paints all into corners,
I will not surrender.

When heavy rains turn creeks into torrents
Of heavy brown turbulent mud
That erodes both earth and lives,
I will not get swept away.

When death and its stench
Foul the land and our nostrils,
When sobbing is the only
Sound greeting the morning,
I will not stop living.

I will not succumb
To all the hells that have been
To all the hells all around me
To all the hells that will be.

I am burning bright even in darkest night
Glowing above the most terrifying storm
Not dimmed by events on Earth or in sky;
My eternal joy, hope and optimism burn
Stronger than mere dogma, fear, and power.

I am the sun.

© 2017 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Sky, Sun, and Earth (Windfall Road, January 21, 2017)

I Don’t Know You (But I Believe in You)

PHL to SETAC to Sedona 3 20 16 413 FInal

I don’t know you
But I believe in you
Not because I’m being flirty
Or because I want you to like me;
My faith in you arises from seeing the you
That you can’t or won’t allow yourself to see.
That you can’t or won’t allow yourself to embrace:
I sense your greater self in your words, your gestures, your eyes
And know that soon you will look in your soul’s mirror.

I don’t know the details of your pain
But I know that you will heal
Not because I can’t deal with your trauma
Or because I am an incurable optimist;
My faith in you comes directly from the you
That has healed so far beyond others who have succumbed
To pains so much lesser than what you have sojourned through.

I don’t know your face
But I know that it will soon own a smile
Not because I want you to be fake or insincere;
My faith in you comes from sensing your child-like innocence and hope
That is alive and vibrant at the innermost core of your soul.

I don’t know your fears
But I know you will render them useless
Not because I have an agenda for you;
My faith in you comes from knowing you through your vibration
And seeing The Angels all around you waiting to give you bliss.

I don’t know your hopes
But I know you will realize them
Not because I dismiss your obstacles;
My faith in you comes from knowing the you
That can survive and thrive and become
Even more open to manifesting miracles.

I don’t know how to teach you
But I know that you will continue to learn
Not because I am bored or uninspired by you;
My faith in you comes from sensing in you
That your wisest teacher is in your mirror
And that your brightest pupil is in your shoes.

© copyright 2016 John David Higham: All Rights Reserved

Photo: Reflections (Poulsbo, WA: 3/16)

I Get to Fly (I Get to Love… Again)

Edmonds Oct 7 2015 058

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
Deserted terminals
Watch people
Running, walking,
On their way
On their way
Too, I get to walk,
Run, and ride
With them
For at least a bit.
I get to fly
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
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

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
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
The terminal
Watch people
Hugging and smiling
I text my wife
At the end
Of my
Cross-country commute
We navigate
Around all those
Frickin’ idiots who parked
In the loading zones,
Laughing at them
Becoming impatient
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.
I am the crow
Shifting shape, time
Shifting place
From the here and now
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,
Does the airport food
The little DH-8s,
The 757s sans WiFi,
The cramped A321s and A330s,
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,
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


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

I Am Here


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