Catching my breath…

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” 
Robert Frost

 

Hello, Lovelies.
It’s been an emotional few days for me. One of our community lost her partner to suicide on the weekend. Another, her teenaged son. Two unexpected deaths. Two families left behind, broken and powerless and emptied out of reason and hope. And I have done my best for them, to bring comfort and support and to be there as friend and witness. To hold them in my meditations and prayers.

With the energies of the past few months, and the intensity of the full moon, it’s been hard for many sensitive souls. It’s been harder than usual for people with mental illness. So I’ve been busy. My psychic senses have been working overtime. The past two nights I’ve woken suddenly in the early hours and somehow found myself at my computer, or on the end of a phone, talking to clients who were suicidal. Reaching out to others too, who I knew were doing it tough.

Each time I woke unexpectedly, with someone on my mind, and sent a message out into the world so I could check on them. There the person was – in a world of pain and darkness, ready to end things except that now I was talking with them instead. Talking and holding space and helping them come back to themselves, helping them to know that their feelings were momentary, and not worthy of a permanent action they would regret.

Fulfilling work but exhausting too.

So this morning I will walk on the beach, I will sit beneath tall trees, I will let the sunshine and rain fill me up and empty me out. And I will read Bukowski. Many years ago this poem helped me through some of my own dark days. We all have dark days. It’s part of being human. Know that they will pass.

Bukowski was right. Bless Bukowski, and bless all of you.
You are precious and dear to me, and your life matters. I’m here for you.
There are many others who are here for you too. Seek them out. Ask for help. Talk to someone. Connect with someone. Know that things will change, and that you can change too.
Sending so much love, your friend, Nicole ❤ xx

‘The Laughing Heart’ by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvellous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Travelling With Bukowski

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I always travel with a book. Sometimes several.

But this trip I decided to load e-books on my kindle, as well as a few audio books, and bring just a journal instead, to save space.

It worked for a while.

And then suddenly it didn’t.

 

In a bookshop in Manila I found the English Language section. They stocked a broad and eclectic range, and the books were mostly cheap paperbacks with impossibly thin pages and thin covers and several of every copy, impenetrable in their plastic wrapping.

I excavated a thin poetry book that was hidden behind new editions of recent best-sellers. The protective cover was gone; the small book was so well read that the cover was creased almost in two and every page was soiled and marked. Like all of the travellers before me I stopped and dipped between its pages for a moment. The world stood still as words fell around me like rain.

I dug around the shelves some more and then I found it. A volume of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. The cover was soft with wear. It was well read and loved already. It felt good in my hand, like I belonged to it, and it to me. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I just held it tight, and stood in front of the shelves a little longer, pretending that I might choose something else. Wondering if I could take it home.

I couldn’t see for tears.

Once, long ago, I took a journey to another far-away place and forgot to take a book with me. I was living in the Kimberley then. The remote Australian outback. A terrible place to be without a book.

Not long after I arrived a group of American tourists camped at the station. It was their last adventure before they caught a plane to Darwin and then home. On the morning of their departure they dumped whatever they didn’t need, to lighten their luggage.

Later that morning I watched a cleaner empty the trash from the men’s toilet. Among the papers and bottles and debris I saw a book fly into the bin. Before I could stop myself I ran from the office and snatched it up. I didn’t even stop to read the cover. It was a book, and I was a junky starved of words.

I wiped it clean with a corner of my shirt and carried it home triumphant.

This same book.

For days back in that wilderness place I couldn’t even open it. I just read the cover over and over. The title said ‘You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense – Charles Bukowski.’

I felt like Bukowski was talking to me. I knew and he knew.

And as I chose and read a single poem, rationing them to every other day, I came to know that poets exist to sing breath back into our bodies when we can no longer breathe for ourselves.

I lost that precious book when we moved from the Kimberley. But now we have found each other again.

I read one randomly selected poem aloud each day, to entertain Ben and to nurture myself. It’s like travelling with an old friend.

It’s like coming home.