A New Beginning

An insomniac Easter Spin in Four Acts

Act I: The Spin

My thoughts spin at the pace
my daughter’s heart
used to race
Too many shoes have dropped 
for my fearful flinch 
to be stopped

Act II: The Search

I long to find once again
that solace place within my soul
That place of rest
where the spinning stops
That silence in which
the only word is “love”

Act III: More Spin

It is hard to believe in happy endings
when, like a boxer over matched,
I can only wait for
the next blow

Act IV: The Find

I cling to the belief that
suffering and pain can be,
no, will be redeemed.
I cling to that lifeline
with every fiber of my being.
That hope is what pushes me
out of bed every morning, that
Easter message saying:
There may not be a happy ending,
but there damn well will be
a new beginning.




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Looking Forward

The voice of the angel

cries out “Do not be afraid.”

And yet I tremble.

Fear tracks through my veins

Even though the comforting voice of

the Spirit speaks “Peace”

Fear is a pull or push

away from.

Away from others

Away from self

Away from God

The voice of fear says

“Isolate, insulate, build walls,

Use preemptive self-defense.”

Fear says no one is on your side.

But the messengers of God

Always say “Be not afraid.”

The voice of God says

“Fear not.”

“I am with you.”

“When you are forsaken,

I will pick you up.”

Fear sticks us, makes

It

Hard

To

Take

Another

Step.

Makes it hard to believe

there is a future

To look forward to.

Yet we are called

Out of fear

To look forward to

A future in the presence

Of ultimate love.

Into Focus

My recent poetry writing has been deeply personal and I have felt some trepidation about sharing it. My therapist thinks that these may help others with similar experiences find words that help express the struggles. I hope she is right.

For a moment, clarity.
I actually know what needs to be done.
Quickly! While the knowledge is still there
Get. It. Done.

Oh shit...focus is lost.
What was it I needed
to do, to finish, to write,
to hope, to dream, to get done?

Out of focus it goes, and
I feel like I am lost
Unable to follow through
on what is right in front of me
that I can't see through
the blur.

Can I ever accept the out of 
focus me, the brain that
slows to a trickle?
What I could do is sometimes
tantalizingly in reach
for a moment,
a single moment
of sublime focus
fading in and out.

Identity Shift

Who I am changes
     beyond my control
Neurons fire
     in new pathways
Around old traumas
                      new pains
                               insecurity
Around my fear
               of not being
                    enough
Enough for my family
                             my faith
                                    my friends
My mind in its healing
     moves in new ways and 
          stops me from taking
               familiar paths
Drawing me away from
     things which brought me comfort
Instead I am forced to
     stop and listen
I act from new, unfamiliar paths
     and try to fight the
          paralyzing fear and
               often fail


Bottom of the Well

As I reach new plateaus in my climb out of the trauma and depression of the last two years I have started processing the experience through poetry. I am no longer in the state described in this poem, but I know many of you would like to understand the space I have spent time in. I also hope that you who are, or have been, sojourners in the dark lands of depression find some language that speaks to your experience here. 

The light goes out.

The candle dims and darkens,

the last of the wax is burned away.

The darkness closes in.

I can see nothing,

I can do nothing,

I exist in nothing.

The nothing whispers.

It says “This is all there is,

everything else is illusion.

Nothingness is truth.” 

It takes everything I have left,

it hides me from everything,

 including me,

including truth.

The darkness is more than I can handle.

I give up.

I gave up.

I didn’t want to!

Part of me was screaming.

Part of me knew the dark whispers were lies.

But I had no fuel.

I had no light left,

no energy, no spark.

I wasn’t in the pit,

I was the pit.

A black hole of need,

craving the light, but

too dense, too compressed,

turned absolutely inward.

Unable to seek what wasn’t in me

at the bottom of the gravity well.

Gilbert George 2018 all rights reserved

I See You

To my wife and the wonderful women in my life who have been friends, mentors, colleagues, pastors, and teachers.

I See You

You are.

That is where I must start.

Too often you are overlooked, ignored, taken for granted, passed over,

unheard, unseen, discounted, and dismissed.

Too often you are defined not by your being,

but by your physicality, surface traits, and usability.

Too often you are treated as property,

as secondary to, as an adjunct, as second class citizens, as a receptacle.

I see you.

A glorious bearer of the divine image.

Not only worthy of love but worthy of respect.

I see the pain repeatedly inflicted upon you.

I see the small traumas that groom you for big traumas.

I see the normalization of disrespect.

I see the efforts to extinguish the divine light within you.

I see you shine

brighter than the lies of those who fear your light

and blame you for the darkness in others.

I see you rise

again and again and again.

I see your strength and courage.

Your anger and rage

Your fire.

I see you

I hear you

I believe you

 

Long Term Effects of Trauma and Depression

It has been a while since I last posted, because depression, insomnia, and nightmares don’t really assist the creative process. Thankfully, I have some good therapists on my side who have helped me begin the slog through the PTSD that has come as a result of my head trauma and past traumas. One of the big difficulties that I have been dealing with as my brain heals is that things I had successfully suppressed have come bubbling back to the surface.  The most significant traumas, not including the aftermath of my accident, are the murder I witnessed at age 12 and having my house set on fire in the middle of the night because of a contract put on our family when I was 13.  These hard memories have come back with none of the filters I had successfully used to emotionally distance myself from them.

My times of silence are mostly marked by my desire for distraction from what pops into my head when all activity calms. I have tried attending meeting for worship, but the silence was a deep struggle as I wrestle with my reawakened demons of the past. It has been nearly impossible to enter the silence without the past traumas filling my mind, but now I feel ready to begin again and seek the quiet center. I desperately want to hear the inward voice which calls me to live into my humanity as a bearer of the divine image and to bask in the awareness of divine love. My healing process led me away from participation in worship after the manner of Friends for a time, but as my healing progresses I am finding more of that much needed emotional energy to enter the deep soul silences.  My healing journey may last the rest of my life, but now I feel able to take the next step and pick up my calling again.

One of the ways I process emotions is through poetry and song, and I have started writing poetry about my traumas. At the end of this post is my latest which. This poem, describing the memory of a murder as it comes to me most nights in my dreams, helped me recognize the essential loss for me in this event. What follows contains imagery that could be disturbing to you and could trigger traumas related to gun violence.

Reality Fueled Nightmare

That sound,

like a backfire…but different

more metallic somehow

Out on the balcony looking down

at two men crossing

from a red van towards another with beige stripes

both pull away

a figure… laying,

weakly trying to move.

I run down the stairs

The door opens and I begin to cross towards.

A carmine pool spreads from him

and Denny waves me back. Tells me to go inside.

Stunned, I go inside,

back to the balcony

where I shake and cry and watch.

I see the blood, the dirt, the ambulance, and police.

The dirt where his body lay

absorbs the blood

and with it, a piece of me

my illusion of safety, gone

never to return

in an instant of forced maturity.