tiny worlds.

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Okay. Okay. Wow. Hmm. Okay. It’s okay.

Those were my thoughts on a Monday morning.
Two of my best friends, terrified and excited and worried and exhausted.
Their details, I won’t share here, but the circumstances had me holding back tears on the line.

“I need sides on 48 and 12!” I would holler out to my buddy, also cooking on the line.

I would pace back and forth, heart beating and trying to keep it together.

After things settle, and my heart is more at ease, I start focusing on my week, getting things tucked back in, like tapping a stack of misaligned papers on a table.

Tuesday, Work and Ramen night. Visit friends in hospital.
Wednesday, Work and Cater Captain of Zeus party. 13 hour day.
Thursday, Work and Prep for private catering gig. 13 hour day.
Friday, Cater private gig. Clean. 10 hour day.
Saturday, Record day of lunches at work. Cook gumbo for Mardi Gras event. 12 hour day

More often than not, I would say to myself, “Okay dude, don’t freak out. It’s going to be okay.”

My friends, so heavy on my heart, and so many other hearts.

I did what I always do to clear my head.

Clean.

After my private catering gig, my kitchen was horrid. Tomato sauce splattered everywhere from rushing around in my tiny space. Pots and pans stacked and my oven was a mess. After visiting with my friend, I came home and put on some music. I steamed my windows with the heat from the water and washed dishes till my fingers were wrinkly.

I get my steel brush and scrub the tomato off of everything. I remove my burner tops and scrub scrub scrub. I scrub it all away. I tear up a lot. I take deep breaths.

On my knees, I’m scrubbing my floor with a towel, enjoying how easily the dirt just washes away.

I take out the trash, let out a sigh and turn off the light to my kitchen knowing I will be doing this exact same thing again in 24 hours. I am okay with that.

I don’t mind cooking for people. You have to know that deep down, they will not know how much work goes into the food you cook. How much you have to clean up afterwards and how serious you are about your craft.

It is, at the end of the day, about the table we all sit at. That place I write about so often where we sit and talk about hard things that make our necks tight with fear and also the place we fall in love again and again with the people we share our tiny worlds with.

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I think about the breath of a new baby, and its cries that are as natural as breathing. Cries that make you believe in God again and restore in you that there is something bigger that ties us together, even in the midst of small nightmares and restless nights.

The truth is, you never know when the world will crack beneath you. You live in the terrifying moments and exhausted moments as you would when waking up next to a warm body, while the rain taps against your windows.

We live in all the moments, and we breathe life into each others worlds.

We are all, like I always say, small galaxies, floating infinitely, capable of such deep love and pain and beauty,

Birthed from the bellies of our mothers, and the mothers before them,

breaking water. breaking bread.

discovering again and always, the sacred life of the Beloved.

enough.

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January is just too long.

It’s a recovery month, I think. At least that’s the way I see it.
Everyone is adjusting to a new year, and regaining some composure after the blast of late year holidays.

I, however, am in the midst of some funky stuff.

When I was in counseling and seeing my doctor regularly, I was picking up tools to use. Granted, it would be nice to have that sort of thing here, but Mississippi lacks in what I would consider a more holistic style of healthcare. But the tools I did gain, keep me aware of my body processing the world.

What I ingest, both physically and emotionally, takes a huge toll. I keep that at the forefront.

The sad parts of my being are craving physical touch and connection. I’d say more of a longing than actual sad, sad. Though I think feeling sad is important. I think there’s plenty of poetry there, some marrow, and perhaps a bigger part of our life force.

Restlessness is something I feel.
As a person who is in constant thought of something bigger, I have a hard time adjusting to the slower seasons.

Lately, I’ve been learning to adjust to my own expectations. Of basically every damn thing.

My cooking. My attractions. My belly which has been eating a lot of carbohydrates (read: delicious things) the past week.

More so, my expectations of what falling in love looks like. I’m having a hard time separating the things I know of that kind of love. Granted, I am not in that season and don’t imagine it happening here any time soon, but what I have been noticing is my fear of intimacy.

I feel some fear in my belly. For losing someone again, even though I haven’t much made an effort to pursue. I am influenced heavily by the elements that surround me. I get knocked down a few pegs when I feel a little too confident and remember why it’s so good to be humble. I enjoy who I am. Truly.

I don’t own much. I don’t make much. I don’t need all that much.

I’m in the in-between, as far my spirituality goes. I crave that Great Mystery, but for some reason, I cannot grasp it. Like some pit I’m falling into, trying to grab hold and it’s just too slippery. I feel it may be my undoing some days.

Not God-fearing enough.
Not confident I am tough enough to handle this industry.
Fear of being an asshole, because I have asshole thoughts.

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I am a messy form of a human. I know we all are, at least I know that’s probably what you’re thinking. But I want my beliefs to be a bit more firm. I suppose seeing more of the world, and more of the worlds of people, I am swayed to believe that we are all floating forward towards the same sorta thing.

I float around not really conforming to this or that. I will not judge you for your lifestyle, as I hope you won’t judge me for eating a Christmas tree cake even though they are out of season. (Which, in my book, is never true.)

I can tell you that I love fried catfish, and a nice medium rare steak.

I love eating hash browns on Sunday with poached eggs and hot sauce.
I love being there for people.
I have a hard time taking without the weight of giving back.
When someone orders food when the kitchen closes in 10 minutes. Ugh.
(But really, it’s fine. Really.)

These things are true.

There is nothing I enjoy more than learning how to cook better. Hanging my head over a pot of kombu and dried shitakes, wondering, “Is this right??”

Maybe that’s the idea that I’ve known all along.

A longing of sorts, of tasting and nodding.
Adjusting,
Adding,
Taking away,
asking,

is this right?

I’m not quite sure.
But I’m always asking.
Always tasting.

And today, that is enough.

metamorphosis

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Today is a day I feel I don’t quite belong to —
but hopefully the next.

Missed cues,
dropped plates,
small insults
and a bed with too much space.

I lay there, now, with a book on my chest,
full of people who have said it better.
(And to be honest, didn’t have the luxury of choice)

But I do.
I have so many choices.
So many ideas of change and movement,
like some impatient larvae anticipating
the metamorphosis.

I cry out,
and shake my head
and pull a bit on my shirt.

What is this thing I’m doing?
What on Earth am I learning about being lonely,
except maybe being a little scared from time to time.

I’ve never been a fan of scared.
In the deep recesses of my mind,
I come across a tiny ruin.
It is there, I imagine a person like Job,
picking his scabs with broken pieces of pottery,
but singing, “G-d is great!”

Oh, I am a fool for so many things.

When I close my eyes,
I see a tree on the horizon.

It is a silhouette against a big red sun.
I am there, again,
pulling slightly on my shirt,
explaining,
“I don’t know how else to be…”

Like some form of confession.
Like these things don’t already know.

I crumble. I melt away.

I come back.

I let whatever it was hanging on my hips,
return to where it came,
which just so happens to be a place I left long ago.

The place where dead things live.
The place where I shed a ghost or two.
The place of the old shells and skins and
skeletons.

I lean forward into the horizon
and allow myself to float free
of the old wineskins.

I close my eyes,
and fall asleep to the rain outside of my window.

weapons

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I wonder what would happen if we laid down our weapons today.

For just a week, maybe.

Warlords.
Soldiers.
Police.
Citizens.

Oh, we will all still get angry at one another. There’s no stopping the friction that is caused by needing to be right all the time.

You’re wrong, I’m right.

The absolutes are killing us.
This or that.
Or else!
Our lack of self control and

patience and
kindness and
understanding.

We are products of what we see and how we are made to feel.
We move in patterns left before us by our parents and grandparents.

We repeat history over and over, because we’re afraid that maybe we just didn’t get it right.
Like returning to a bad lover because you want to believe things will be different.

War and death and injustice carve up this world.

Scars.
Deep dark wounds.

I usually just throw my hands up, or shake my fists at the heavens.

When really, I should lower them and place them on wounds.

Of my brother and my sister
In hopes that one day,

they will do the same for me.

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Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other-that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still need tanks and generals? – Mother Teresa

fear of spiders

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at my feet, I saw you working.

hind legs, whichever ones,

busy.

pulling sticky silk to form

the kinds of things you were built to make.

 

I jerk my leg, only momentarily.

In all fairness, you are a spider.

But in the moment, I recognize your place.

Really, you have no intention of bothering me.

So today, I have no intention of bothering you.

 

I watch you work so hard. And so fast.

I become aware of my place. My power.

My ability to wash it all away, knowing good and well,

you will just start over, because it’s in your nature.

 

To spin and and release your web

when their is a thrust of force

or mighty wind.

Yet here you decide to work.

 

To be fair, there are these fruit flies.

I feel a little insulted.

Like maybe you’re telling me something

I don’t already know.

 

To not leave out my apple peels on a warm day,

or sweet milky tea before I sprint out the door.

I know, I know.

But life just gets to be so busy.

 

Especially so for a spider of your size,

maybe a little bigger than a green pea.

Yet smaller than a dime.

Your design is nothing short of flawless.

 

Spider web 1

 

We are all here for balance.

I recognize that if I take more than I need,

especially in my space,

I am taking more than I require.

 

The life of a spider seems to be one of constants:

movement, spinning, letting go, small moments of excitement

and repeat.

Much like mine.

 

Today though, it is our space.

You spin yours.

And I, mine.

moving. spinning. letting go.

 

indulging in the small moments that give us both life.

rise and fall.

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More than anything, I feel like we are tiny oceans.

With them full moons, bellies breakin’ water,

delivering new life under that perfect, magic light.

 

some people actin’ a fool.

“Every time there’s a full moon…” they say.

I notice it.

I notice the rise and fall.

Scattered pieces,

like jetsam and flotsam.

some of it belonging to bigger things,

others are a just a by-product of what they used to be.

 

I look out and see,

glasses spilt.

people, a little wobbly.

Like tiny hurricanes,

and grumpy neighbors who want more space.

 

You see, our bodies are mostly made of water.

mostly.

And like the tides, the water in our bodies

moves us.

To big places. And into cracks,

and little rivers, constructed via plastic shovel and pail.

Sometimes we rise over rock walls

and flood the marshes.

Sometimes we change things.

 

I don’t know about you,

but there’s something in that big moon.

Just far enough away.

Dimpled.

Our satellite.

Our sweet Sister Moon.

Pushing. Pulling.

Dream-like.

 

I look up when I see Her,

thankful for how she pulls me into a dance,

where I’m clumsy and awkward,

or quiet and centered.

And I realize I am not the only one

who’s able to fall in love again.

101

 

holy day

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baby laughs and sunday pot roast

a familiar memory runs through my veins.

the feeling of normality and ritual and calm wash over me,
regardless of the noise and the sound of toys scraping floor,
this was something I had been missing

ketchup, mustard and ice cream,
the things these kids are made of,
that, and their creative restless minds
learning how to build bigger towers
with more and more colors.

the sounds of mom clinking spoons on the sides of pans
dinner rolls, last to come out of the sparkly clean oven,
an inside joke from the years of waiting on bread.
we are always waiting on the bread.

I know that most see these things as they are.
I can’t help but to see them as something I might miss again someday.

so I soak it up when I can. 
and when I’m not toiling away at a day’s worry.
When I decide in my own heart that all of this is so very important. 

the pot roast.
the little head nestled under my chin
with mashed potatoes smeared above his
little lips drenched in drool and baby noises.

God, I’ve missed this.
The toils and the messes and the quiet afternoons.

baby laughs and sunday pot roast

a holy day if I ever knew one

legos-on-floor

the mystery of other worlds

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Sometimes, when I look out into a room,
or when I sit at a table,
I imagine tiny universes
sorta, spinning around.

I see them give and take,
smile and nod and reach,
as though they are trying to understand another world
vastly different from their own.

I understand this.
At times, I am the one who helps facilitate.
I am the one who keeps their glasses full
and their plates warm with food.

It is not the burden of Atlas that I carry,
but the weightlessness that comes
with noticing the invisible things
and the gravity of a new discovery.

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I’ve always enjoyed space.
I love the mystery of other worlds,
which is why I love the mystery in you. As you.
This unknown galaxy swirling like the Milky Way

Don’t let this time go to waste.
You only have a few moments to be this connected
and to discover!
and to explore!

I remember watching the sun shine on your skin
How it glowed, and also its shadows,
the way it allowed me to stand in wonder
as I do always, when I stumble upon a world not my own,

a little universe
with its own fiery suns
as swirling stars.
there you are,

sitting and falling,
moving with intention,
all with a slight lean,
as different worlds do,

drifting into their own forever.

walking with giants

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I am not afraid of your pain, dear one.

there is a wounded healer in all of us.

intertwined and tangled in the dark and light.

some days, I’m not sure which side wins.

 

if it’s even about winning.

more so, making room and acknowledging both sides exist

as do you,

and even though you think the pain is too much, which it will be from time to time,

you will grow, like a weed,

as you do.

 

I’d like to say I’m sorry.

for all of that hard and gritty noise.

It sort of bounces and echoes through our bones,

like screaming into a canyon,

and sometimes, I absorb it and it resides in me

 

but like I said,

I’m okay with the weight of your ghosts.

I’m not afraid.

Secretly, I am more afraid of my own depth

 

sometimes it starts as a trickle and moves into a great flood,

I think, “..even Noah struggled with the Arc.”

some things are lost. some things die.

what blossoms in spring, dies in the winter,

(but it’s not really dead, you see?)

 

it is your ability to create and move,

to nurture and grow tiny things.

that is how we rebuild

 

giving new directions a chance to grow on us

a chance for our narrative to take a turn,

like trying to sell a donkey, and in exchange,

a few seeds we don’t know are magic,

until they grow

and we find ourselves walking with giants.

 

Jack_and_his_Beanstalk_by_DickStarr

 

thunderstorm

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electricity fillin’ up the sky

one mississippi two mississppi

a low rumble down the ways

two miles, I say half asleep

 

I wake up to a

thump, thump, thump, thump

drips from the roof tapping my window seal

cool, wet breath on my face

and the trees slowly touch one another

 

reminding me of that brilliant dance

with her,

half way touching

and moving

 

electricity, again

one mississippi two mississippi three mississippi

quiet rumble, like the sound of water rushing over your head

a little less awake I say,

‘it’s moving away’

 

trees sway less

I am aware of the stagnant air

that now fills my space

but I smell the dampness

it is comforting

 

the storm, it is gone for now

but I am asleep

one leg in, one leg out

to keep the balance of warm and cool

 

I miss the sounds of storm

of wind making trees stretch

wet road smell

 

but then there is bright and breeze

a bird singing its dream

and I am awake.

with a big breath and stretch,

Yes! I am awake, now.

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