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EMPOWERING YOURSELF TO CHANGE THE WORLD


“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” 
~ Margaret Mead

terrorism

Each and every day precious orchids wither in the garden of life, and die. They never have the chance to fully bloom. These orchids are the men, women, children, soldiers, police, and innocent civilians whose lives are cut down by senseless acts of crime, violence, war, and terrorism.

We awaken daily to see promising lives and futures swallowed whole behind cowardly and senseless acts of terror and we, the survivors, caretakers of the garden, begin to struggle behind the unanswerable:

“Why?”

grief 2

Each and every day nations grieve after having once more stared into the bloody, gaping maw of death and destruction visited upon their cities: Munich, Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Benghazi, Misrata, Ferguson, New York, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Baghdad, Basra, Nice, Paris, Grozny, Mumbai; the list seems frightfully endless.

Man’s incredible thirst for the blood of his fellow man seems, at times, unquenchable.

Each and every day we see nations rally around the families of the dead and maimed, embracing their brothers and sisters with mournful tears and desolate prayers that fall from their trembling lips upon blood soaked sand.  We witness unimaginable suffering in cities and communities everywhere and find ourselves caught up in what seems like and endless loop of rebuilding and healing.

Those of us who are unscathed physically (though mentally savaged) begin our struggle for an understanding that never comes. We seek answers to enormous questions that can’t even be framed. And tragically, we begin to doubt ourselves. We doubt our ability to navigate the futility and despair felt in connection with these continuing acts of horror. In our collective grief and sense of powerlessness, we quite naturally turn to our God, by whatever name we call Him, and tearfully cry out for mercy.

Prayer

I realize I often turn my own readers off when chastening them not to look too earnestly for God’s mercy in times like these.  It isn’t that I don’t believe in God. I most certainly and devotedly do.  I just don’t think He’s as merciful as we lead ourselves to believe.  I believe God expects us to be the channels of that mercy.  We look to Heaven for answers, yet fail to look within ourselves.

Mercy
We keep searching for God’s mercy whilst withholding our own.

More often than not, we sit by almost catatonic after each horrifying act feeling helpless against the enormity of it all.  And yet, the question inevitably arises:

“What can I, just one person, do to make a difference?”

I’ve asked myself that very question every time a new tragedy unfolds. And for too long, I sat there, likewise, feeling powerless and defeated.  Yes, I also prayed for strength, understanding, and mercy.  But like so many others, I felt my prayers fell on silent ears. They were seemingly unanswered, or worse, I feared, unanswerable.

It was a restless night a few years ago, as I was writing an article on first responders to the Boston Marathon bombing, with utter clarity and intensity, I was compelled by what can only be described as a stream of consciousness – a phrase that kept repeating itself in my brain, much like a song you can’t get out of your head.  And so, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. It was like that lost piece of a puzzle that perfectly fell into place. I came to the amazing realization that this was the answer to my prayers.

Pouring like clear, fresh water from my pen, I wrote it down:

We are closest to God when we extend compassion;
we are furthest from Him when we withhold it.

Compassion

I had to ask myself the hard question: what was I doing to extend compassion?  What was my role in the solution in the face of so much pain and suffering? Then it finally dawned on me.  I could write.  That was my gift.  My blog reaches over 170,000 people. If I could write something that could comfort, inspire, or motivate just one of those readers, I could make a difference. It isn’t much, and I’m not the best writer, but it is one thing. I finally came to the realization that even the smallest spark can yield the greatest fire!

I began searching on the internet for examples of what others have done to make a meaningful difference.  As I was debating whether to offer up examples of iconic individuals such as Jesus, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, etc., I came across an incredible discovery that was too perfect and too awesome not to share with you.

Milana
Her name is Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub, an Uzbek American actress, comedian, writer, and producer who is best known for playing the wholesome character Lily Adams in a series of AT&T television commercials. But more importantly and relevant to this discussion, Milana is also the co-founder of CantDoNothing.org  (#cantdonothing) an incredibly successful online organization that has offered thousands a pathway to “individual” empowerment. Her message is simple: doing something, no matter how small and inconsequential it feels in the moment, for it is better to do that small something than to not do anything at all.

Milana is tireless in her efforts to show us that individuals can make a profound difference. Through her own work with Syrian and Turkish refugees arriving by the boatloads into Greece, she clearly demonstrates that feelings of powerlessness that leads to inaction is a false construct created by generations of war-mongers and power-hungry bureaucracies as they attempt to marginalize the power of individuals, of social activism.  The power of one individual helping another, Milana shows, can affect an incredible sea change of good that can and will alter the lives of thousands over time.
Cant

Doing “something” produces ever expanding ripples whose reach extends far beyond one individual act of charity and compassion.  Doing even the smallest thing, Milana demonstrates, can ultimately change the world.

I confess, I have been generally suspect when it comes to feel-good solutions to complex human problems involving suffering and pain. But the more I dug into it, the more I found endless examples where one individual has done something which can, in time, alter the course of our human experience.  You may never hear about these people. These are not well-to-do celebrities or Ivy League business moguls (although many of those do wonderful things) but rather they are your neighbors, the man or woman or adolescent next door, the lady mechanic fixing your car, your child’s teacher, a college student with a bold idea. They are often hidden in the shadows of our everyday lives, but their lights shine brilliantly within their obscurity and their power is undeniable:

Jorge Munozhttp://moralheroes.org/jorge-munoz# Jorge Munoz’s humble efforts and his heroic commitment to feed his needy neighbors equally inspires those who need help and those who can help.

Aki_rahttp://www.cambodianselfhelpdemining.org/  A former Khmer Rouge conscripted child soldier who works as museum curator in  Cambodia, Aki Ra has devoted his life to removing landmines in Cambodia and to caring for young landmine victims. Aki Ra states that since 1992 he has personally removed and destroyed as many as 50,000 landmines.

The Choshttps://www.onedayswages.org/ Self-described as an ”average family” from Seattle, WA, Eugene and Minhee Cho state upfront, “We would never ask anyone to do what we would not do ourselves.”  They founded #OneDaysWages to show others how to combat global poverty by creating their own personal campaign to alleviate extreme global poverty.

Kathyhttps://theliftgarage.org/  Kathy Heying founded Lift Garage, a 501c3 nonprofit aimed to move people out of poverty homelessness by providing low-cost car repair, free pre-purchase car inspections, and honest advice that supports our community on the road to more secure lives.

150417133321-edwin-sabuhoro-poaching-headshot-super-169https://vimeo.com/154614207  He is literally turning gorilla poachers into protectors. , Edwin Sabuhoro came up with an idea to help gorilla poachers make a living — a plan that didn’t include killing wildlife. “I thought of an idea of turning poachers to farmers,” says Sabuhoro, who took all of his savings — $2,000 — and divided it to poachers to rent land, buy seeds and start farming.

There are hundreds of heroic examples like these, enough that I can almost guarantee you will find one that provides an avenue for “your talent, your gift.” For me to feel a broken, aching heart for the victims of a terrorist attack across the globe, yet remain blind to the suffering and pain of those closest to me while doing nothing is a cheap, selfish emotion.  I assure you, I am better than that.  So are you.

What I learned by researching what others were doing to make a difference, I finally understood that In my own life, the line between “grace” and “disgrace” is simply the difference between “doing something” versus “doing nothing.”

I put together this small list of suggestions that might help provide you, as it does me, a pathway toward identifying how you can make a difference:

9 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD

  1. Hold onto the faith that what you can do, and are willing to do, matters. Nothing matters more. You are not solely responsible for the solution. Bite off only as much as you can chew and trust that it will be enough to directly and indirectly feed a multitude of others.
  2. When you do pray, pray for purpose. I promise you, the answers will come.  They may not come in a way you were hoping, but they will come in a way that you need.  And you may not see that your prayer was answered until you look back one day and see how all the answers fell into perfect place.
  3. If you don’t do so already, make time to meditate. Oftentimes, we are so deafened by the noise of our own hectic lives and the demands pressed upon us that we drown out the quiet whisper within ourselves that reveals our inner compass, our hidden strengths, and our unique gifts.
  4. Recognize that the person most in need of comfort and support may well, at times, be you. Allow others to do for you what you cannot in this moment for yourself. In accepting love and care from another, you allow other individuals to fully actualize their humanity.
  5. Empower yourself to change the world. Each of us, individually and magnificently, can do something by simply reaching out and offering the gift of comfort, assistance, and love for that one person who cries out in need.
  6. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves our paying attention “on purpose” and in “this moment.” Marathons are more easily won if the runner can simply focus on putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly, and in equal measure. They are generally lost when all the runner can see is the 26 miles stretching ahead.
  7. Accept the reality that you are not powerless. You are infinitely powerful. The answers you so desperately seek are within you. But do not confuse power with purpose. Power is simply the fuel necessary to propel your purpose.
  8. Look to those closest to you in need. Discern what your “gift” is and extend it to others. Resist any temptation toward personal recognition or reward. Empowered individuals are in the business of sowing, not reaping.
  9. Believe that what you do not only matters, it is essential. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but you just might inspire another who then inspires another who then inspires another.

This last point is a beautiful example of the Butterfly Effect; the concept developed by Edward Lorenz in 1960 suggesting small causes can have extremely large effects over time. The butterfly effect simply states that small events can lead to big changes.

Butteryfly-Effect1-400x266

The phrase was started by the Lorenz’s hypothesis that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could influence a hurricane half way across the world.

For the purpose of this post, I have borrowed from Lorenz’s  butterfly effect to demonstrate that even the smallest gesture by a single individual, say a gesture of compassion, mercy, or love, extended to just one other person in need, could ultimately reshape the world into a more compassionate, merciful, and loving place.

Consider this: every instance of great change in the world began with a single person. One person. And it all begins with self-empowerment. It begins with believing that what you think, or what you do, can shape the events in not only your life, but the lives of others.

butterfly-effect.jpg

Keep in mind that in empowering yourself, there is no fixed end point. Self-actualization and empowerment is thus not a location or a stage of development, but rather a state of being, an awareness of who one really is in relation to others. A realization that in this relation to others, you can be the catalyst for significant and far-reaching change. An acceptance that your single gesture of compassion, mercy, and love can, theoretically, set into motion a ripple of correlated events that could one day prevent war and terrorism.

We are not angels, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do angelic things.

And why shouldn’t that someone, somewhere, somehow, be you?

 

Lovers in Flames

OUR BURNING LOVE by D.L.McHale


How long will  our love be kept waiting,
our trembling hearts anticipating,
yearning reflected in half-closed eyes,
refusing sleep when passion lies,
with spoken words clearly stating –
how long will our love be kept waiting?

For love is purely mesmerizing
we tightly embrace as the sun is rising,
come fill  this man’s heart with joy,
for daylight brings my heart’s envoy
in nature’s work there’s no disguising,
what we share is purely mesmerizing.

Your burning love makes my shadows bright,
and carries us through to dawn’s first light,
dancing circles turn around,
feeling the Earth’s beat underground
on this blessed day and shortest night,
the sweetest love makes shadows bright

BE STILL, MY LOVE… by D.L.McHale


image

Be still my love.

Shhhh…
There now, can you hear it?

Quietly,
within the shadows
of our mingled selves,
softly rising upon
the rhythms of our breath.

Rest now,
sweet angel of love.
Lie spent upon my breast
and listen;
surrender to the
symphony of our souls.

Feel your senses
dancing
to the chords
of desire’s keyboard;
delicate fingers
upon colored notes
within the crimson chambers
of our dream-soaked hearts.

Hear the song
echoing;
muted passion sirens
lilting lightly across
the dim-lit chasms
of our melded minds;
musical interludes
conducted
in sigh-minor.

See the trees
swaying;
laughing willows of lust
sweeping low over
our embrace;
bending sensuously to us
in morning’s whispered light.

Taste the waters
flowing;
melting fantasies
washing over our
quenched, naked forms,
cascading into deep pools
of ecstasy.

Smell the fragrance
rising;
desires fully blossomed
with petals of relief
falling, simply drifting
from the branches
or our love.

Touch the ribbons
floating;
colors blending
behind love-clenched eyelids;
blinding pastel visions,
stretching, softly binding
soul to soul in evening’s brief rapture.

Sleep deep, my love.

Carry this lullaby
into your hazy slumber,
and rest.

In the cool, gray light of morning
we will write another.

Angels and Demons: An Affirmation of One Woman’s Life by D.L. McHale


image
"Woman Reflecting" (charcoal and ink) Dennis McHale, 2015©

There is much power and beauty in her world, yet her soul is divided into two houses:

One is spare and darkly decadent, surrounded by high windowless walls; there is very little color to break the monotony, and its gate is usually locked.

This house is full of decaying art – the crudely painted memories left by people who felt their life had been changed by divine intervention, offering eternal love for her with promises that were falsely laid.

II.
The other house is rich in colour, its thick outside walls washed in strong blues and reds.

In this house, the gate is flung wide open, and on the patio outside there are clay pots and plates all decorated in a kalidescope of vibrant, living colours.

Inside is a tiny virginal bed with a mirror above it reflecting back the inconsistent themes of her life.

III.
She wears her silken hair in ebony rivulets cascading in loose waterfalls down her gently curving back; she takes great pride in the delicate scar across her upper lip, a reminder of the evil that dwells in the angry guts of jealous men.

Her clothing echoes her hair – she dresses in embroidered shirts and wide floor-length flowing skirts, swirling in the warm summer winds of her womanhood.

All of this colour and dynamism reflect her conflicted character; the turbulent and contradictory life she lives.  Her own story is both tragic and uplifting; the essence of her more provocative, daring and strange spirit.

Indeed, in some ways the dichotomy of her life are chapters in a long autobiography, paralleled and matched by her inner angels and demons.

This internal schizm is refracted through the broken shards of a glass imagination, a constant yearning to fill the void within her. And in that complex yearning, another looming presence which was impossible to escape.

IV.
Her secret love, her one true love, is a huge man who looks even more enormous beside her diminutive body. He is a constant (but not faithful) companion.  She both loves and loathes him, in constant and equal measure.

The relationship between the two is fraught with conflict and anger. So it might be strange to see the two lace cloths embroidered with their names lying across the pillows of her bed.

There is in her life a curious blend of love, betrayal, hope, and long-sufferring sentimentality coupled with a harsh frankness about herself – a combination that seduces many people – not only him.

V.
Each night, she gently and quietly untangles herself from his sleeping embrace and makes her way by moonlight to her gray, colorless house with the locked gate.

She indulges in intense relationships with faceless women and men, offering her backside to conventional morality. But in the cool grey light of morning, she folds herself once more into the warmth and safety of his arms.

This constant terrible pain is a permanent feature of her life, yet it does not restrain her. In some ways it makes her wilder and more uninhibited. For much of what compels her life is about pain, and the terrible fragility of her body compared with the resolution of her mind.

Each day she deals most explicitly with the paradox of excruciating joy and exquisite pain.

VI.
Her alter egos are attached by fragile vessels which are not easily cut – hence the bloodstained scissors resting on her white dress. The lush landscape of her dreams seem inaccessible because of the thorny brambles around her neck.

While she might appear, with her beautiful traditional dresses and her tiny broken body, like the ‘perfect doll’ that all men and certain women desire, she is nonetheless fulfilled in her own right, and pursues sexual fulfilment and monogamous peace with equal fervor.

A ribbon around a bombshell.

She is inexplicably wrapped in endless  layers of the full spectrum of human experience and the unbidden possibilities in human understanding.

She senses affirmation in the enormous potentiality of both houses and the unique power of being a woman once freed from constraint.

She is fighting a revolution within herself.

VII.
Hers is a life of two-way narratives. Of unimaginable passions and failed restraint. An existence made all the worse by sadness, distress and a brutal sense of betrayal. Made all the better by the wanton surrender to the possibilities and potential of a woman’s body.

This is the permanent consequence of her life. Yet the often violent and disturbing intersection of her two houses within her soul provide ironic affirmations of life; there is beauty in both, not only in the qualities of conventionality, but in the power and strength of the life itself.

She is full of curses and imprecations interwoven with lyrical images and fragments of poetry. Her dualism defies fatalism with their colours, their endlessly surprising meetings of image and meaning, their powerful assertions of her womanhood.

VIII.
She is both madonna and whore, and she is perfect in her imperection.

Full of hurt and pain and yet equally bursting with life, defiance, and rebellion.

She is an ever-evolving act of defiance, a challenge, a continuing affirmation of life itself.

light through trees

Love Fulfilled Beneath a Dying Light


When the sun sets, when its dying rays
filters through my bedroom window
I get the full brunt of this powerful star.
It is beautiful and blinding.
I feel its warming fingers softly caressing
my cheek; it dries the last traces of my tears.

Today, as the sun came into its latitude
to be shining directly on me,
I closed my eyes beneath its warmth
remembering brighter days.
Was this the same sun that kissed us
on our first walks upon the beach?
Was this the same sun that cast
its light on our wedding day?

Many people have expressed their love
to both of us throughout this process,
and many people have let us know
that it may be God’s will this, or God’s will that.
And it may well be.
But I know one thing.
We were both born of this organic, living universe.
Star matter is within us. We are forever connected
beneath the arch of its healing light.

I have never felt more in the presence of the supernatural
than today, with this mighty being shining on us,
me here, in my thoughts, you, there, wherever you are.
I can almost see the last breaths of our togetherness
in the stardust that once showered the idea of “us”
being pulled back towards that Sun.
It is as if the Sun had decided to choose this moment,
to envelop the two of us in divergent beams of light,
and take us back, separately, back to the stars.

In a way, it is beautiful.
This Sun, our Sun, reminds me
to live more fully, more appreciatively, and more happily.
I won’t think of a marriage that has died.
I’ll think of those moments we had to dance in its light.
With much love and sadness.

Do Not Be Afraid


embrace

Do not be afraid
to lose yourself in me.
My hands are strong,
yet gentle
and, if need be,
I shall carry you
within the calm shadows
of my love.

Do not be afraid
to laugh with me;
the warmth of my love for you
I gather from the
rainbows of your smile.

Do not be afraid to cry with me
when life overwhelms you;
I will gather your tears
within the well of my understanding
and pour them carefully
upon the fires of your fear.

Do not be afraid
to live with me;
I will build for you a home
with floors of tender mercy,
Walls of compassion,
ceilings of hope,
and windows of promise.

Do not be afraid
to die with me;
I will lead you through
the dark forests of your doubt
until the bright meadows
of forever rise beneath our feet
and the cool waters of eternity
swallows our souls, together.

Lover’s Delight


Image

With desire spent, we leave the night
Our bodies bathed in morning’s light
Our limbs entwined like climbing vines
Our kisses sweet like summer wine

Our spirits soar, our hearts set free
Beneath a verdant canopy
Of flowering trees and running streams
Of fragrant winds and lazy dreams

Such sorrow shall we one day know
When either you, or I, shall go
And leave the other to sorely miss
This warm embrace, this soulful kiss

As the sunrise drives away the night
and sunlight fades to starry light
So does this love, in ardent gladness,
Dispel the weight of parting’s sadness

But let us in this moment know
One final bout in passion’s throe
And leave the morrow to the night
This moment now is our delight

 

Omnipresent Love


Image
If flowers bloom when summer ends, their fragrance rising, too,
These I, on bended knee would give, and even more to you.
Celestial stars and distant moons I’ve gathered up for thee –
And as the angels sweetly sing, profess your love to me.

The tides should rise and surely ebb with every breath you take;
Each heartbeat to mine own entwined a passion full awake!
Softly pressing palm to palm, our fingers tightly laced,
Pulling closer, closer still, a warm and tight embrace.

Each minute to the hour unwinds, and still the night unfolds
Timeless and eternal as we lay in sweet repose.
The morning comes on the rising sun, our love in warm reflection
Whispering low, we are even so lost in introspection.

Such is our love, so tightly stitched, the seams appear transparent –
And to the world our vows are writ in verse now made apparent

FRANKENSTEIN


Unfortunately, many people will relate all to knowingly to the poem. Re-posted from a talented poetess I’ve collaborated with in the past (https://dlmchale.com/2013/02/06/in-remembrance-of-sandy-hook-elementary/) Her work has an brutal, often naked truth to it. Please visit her blog for this and much, much more of her incredible writing at: http://hastywords.wordpress.com/

Promises


“Just so you know, despite the darkness and despair of some of my poetry, here’s a glimpse of the more hopeful and soulful affirmation of my personality” Anyone laughs, I un-follow!

images (2)

PROMISES

You ask if love’s forever
A promise I can’t make
But if I could, or thought I should
I would not hesitate

I’d promise you forever
And then a day or two
If I were free to guarantee
Forever loving you

But promises are born of doubt
A doubt that’s seldom real
The love we know can only grow
In trusting what we feel

Yet, I’ll promise you this moment
If words can still your fears
Just hold me now and show me how
To love you through the years

 

Without You


To my wife, Kerri….my eternal muse.

“Love at first sight is grossly underestimated: a single glance can take the whole person.”

Kerri Portrait

WITHOUT YOU

Without you, nothing seems possible.
Every beautiful thing this world has to offer
Revolves around you.
When I am sad, happiness is in your smile.
When I am afraid, your arms calm me.
When I can’t find my way, your eyes lead me.
Without you, I simply drift along.
There is no color in my world, until you come home.
If I am tired, your laughter lifts me and I am whole again.
If I yell at you, you sigh a little.
If I don’t’ come home, you die a little.
If I fail you, you patiently what until I find my way again.
Where are you now?
When I cannot speak, your lips consume me.
When I can no longer stand, your love exhumes me.
You are everything that makes me live.
Every dream begins when I draw near you.
Every hope demands a path clear to you.
Loneliness does not exist when you are in my life.
I am lifted up, drifting up to heaven above you.
When you whisper you love me,
Stand fragile before me,
I am transformed and need to pull you close.
I know you could walk away, but you never do.

UNREQUITED LOVE


Image

Unlucky you, who didn’t come last night…
I took the bed’s hard wood post for a man!
You sit and write all night and I lie here
like a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.
Am I too old? I’d rather die than have you lie
that you’re afraid to kiss me. Do you miss me?
Leaving me in my nakedness, sprawled
across the unslept bed, open like a blossom
spreading beneath the sun,
offering her nectar but left to wither on the vine.
The night possesses you,
the unfinished verse obsesses you,
but don’t say I won’t give you a kiss.
I offer all of this, but no, you have your Muse!
That wretched bitch that sucks the passion
from the very air you breath and pours her
empty promises in your goddamned poems!
Do her words comfort you; can you find
your release in her couplet or a metaphor?
Does a well turned phrase caress your face,
or stroke your thigh, send shivers down your spine?
I offer you the whole of me, yet you prefer a simile!
Who am I to you? What am I to do?
Come to me! When the morning’s light
pushes the night away, come to me.
I am the ending you are looking for!

 

A Poet’s Affection


Image

The phases of life, the marking of time;
I lived two weeks, four months,
six months before moving on.
There were no long-term relationships –
one night, maybe a week, perhaps two.

Love was too expensive for a traveler,
much too heavy to carry in a bag or box.
I put my days on paper, ending one story,
another poem filed away, me moving on.
There would always be another day,
another pretty face, a warm body
to hold through another cold night .
True love by the hour or day, I could afford that.

That’s what I thought at the time.

I sold my poems, sad stories, many years ago.
I didn’t sell them for money;
it was always a trade , a fair exchange I thought.
The perfect and ideal love
burning so bright, but not very long.

 

Love in a Coffee Shop


coffee

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.
Yet, I’ve sat here all morning
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer,
drinking in the realness of her,
sipping the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.
I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.
Every few minutes she looks
off into the distance
with a blank and distant stare,
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.
I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.
I also know that I love her,
she, who I do not know,
and she who no longer loves
in return.
She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

Beneath These Stairs


Imagehttp://alastairsphotofiction.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/photo-fiction-sunday-june-16th-2013/

photo by Alastair

These are the back alleys
where destitute meets despair
and this is my journey.
The stairs call me from the bowels
of my misfortunes, beckoning me
onward and up…I shall not go.
At the top of these stairs
humanity stirs, and I am long
since far removed…my face
cannot bear the light, my fate
lies in the shadows of this alley.

I fell from these stairs years ago,
awash in drink and drug…I found
my refuge in this shaded vale
beneath the mortal blow,
below the pain and affliction
stirring far above.
My world is diminished,
as am I,
though the day will come when
when my tired bones ascend,
when my body fades upon these
cold stone steps.
Then, and only then,
shall my soul ascend,
Then, and only then.
shall I find my peace.

Supriya


9

I think a while of Supriya, and while I think,
She’s the reason I write poems with India ink
To make permanent my words, my thoughts, my love
For this beautiful vision sent from heaven above
“Greatly Beloved” is what her name means
Angels whisper her name, or so it seems
She’s the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon
Her grace floods my heart like a summer monsoon
Her poetic heart understands my desire
Her songs and poems do my muse inspire
For she is that link between heaven and earth
She’s the reason for my laughter, my joy, and my mirth
I don’t know from where she draws such beauty and grace
I only know she hides behind a beautiful face
In my heart, in my soul, to the center of my core
And all that I ask is a few minutes more
To have and to hold her in my faraway arms
To protect and to love her and keep her from harm.
She’s the reason I write such words on this day
For she’s entered my life and carried me away.
For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak
But only thinks and does and continually seeks
To lift up my spirit past the stars up above,
Supriya my friend, my hope, and my love.

 

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wpid-wp-1442603153771.jpg

The Absence of You


I want you every second,
every minute, every hour of the day

I am flooded by an agony…
a physical longing for you…
brought to my knees by a craving
for your nearness and your touch.

Through tear-clenched eyelids,
I try hard to imagine your lips on mine.
If I could only hear your laughter,
the sound of your voice once more!

Nothing and no one, anywhere or anytime
could kill the love I have and hold  for you.
I have surrendered my individuality,
the very essence of my being to you.

I have surrendered to you my body
time after time to treat as you pleased,
to tear in pieces if such had been your will.

My spirit never seems as joyful
as when I remember the kisses you gave me.
All the hoardings of my imagination
I have laid bare to you…
There isn’t a recess of my soul
into which you haven’t penetrated.

I have clung to you and caressed you and slept with you
and I would like to tell the whole world I exist for you.

What strength have I that I may bear it,
that I may endure the absence of you?
Is my strength the strength of stones
that can wait for your return?

You are my mistress and I am your lover.
Kingdoms and empires and governments have tottered
succumbed before now to that mighty combination:

“I love you” –
the most powerful of sentiment
and words ever uttered in this world.

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The Visitation


rose

 

Gray shadows fall upon my face
Here within this sacred place;
The stone so cold, and roughly hewn
Beneath this waning winter moon

The air is thin and so am I
My heart is heavy, I start to cry
Each letter of her chiseled name
Is lit as though with golden flame

My fingers trace the shallow grooves
As though with touch I could disprove
She is no more, and I am less
Without her voice and soft caress

Bereft and full of memories
I rise up from on bended knee
I place a rose upon her grave
Each petal but a kiss I’ve saved

Now, slowly do I turn for home
Only now, I walk alone.

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Omnipresent Love


Beautiful-Couple-After-Making-Love

If flowers bloom when winter ends, their fragrance rising, too,
These I, on bended knee would give, and even more to you.
Celestial stars and distant moons I’ve gathered up for thee –
And as the angels sweetly sing, profess your love to me.

The tides should rise and surely ebb with every breath you take;
Each heartbeat to mine own entwined a passion full awake!
Softly pressing palm to palm, our fingers tightly laced,
Pulling closer, closer still, a warm and tight embrace.

Each minute to the hour unwinds, and still the night unfolds
Timeless and eternal as we lay in sweet repose.
The morning comes on the rising sun, our love in warm reflection
Whispering low, we are even so lost in introspection.

Such is our love, so tightly stitched, the seams appear transparent –
And to the world our vows are writ in verse now made apparent.

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To Love Once More


kiss

She whispered softly in my ear
such tender words to ease my pain;
soothing verse to calm my fears.
Though, she was gone when morning came,

the essence of her love remains!
Here even in my darkest hour
soft echoes of her song sustains,
which fills me with a lasting power.

Where has she gone? my life unwinds!
If I must die, I’m so resigned,
for dying unites and gently binds
my heart to hers, two souls entwined.

She filled me with a lasting breath;
Once more within my arms I hold
the height of love, its width, its breadth,
spanning dreams that now unfold

So cast me down into death’s abyss,
But allow once more her lips to kiss.
I shall not pray for more than this –
Once more I love…eternal bliss.

 

Love’s Transforming Hand


heart_in_hand_by_warfarelieutenant_thumb3

I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand,
But I can’t deny what’s plain to see –
Loving you is changing me.

As a child walking on the shore
I saw the ocean…nothing more.
I cried, “Oh God – what senseless waste,
This vast expanse of liquid space.”

Yet now, with Love’s hand touching me
I feel the life within the sea!

I built myself a one room home
And dared to live there all alone;
It wasn’t that I did not care –
Just felt I had not much to share.

But now, beneath Love’s soft caress
I live, I love, and share my best.

I once viewed stars as nothing much –
Cold, distant worlds beyond my touch.
I had no need for cheap sensations
Built on simple constellations.

Then Love’s hand touched me through your kiss
And I knew that stars were more than this.

No, I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand,
But I can’t deny what’s plain to see –
Loving you is changing me.

oh, how she cares for me


embrace_by_agnes_cecile-d32c9nw

oh, how she cares for me
suffers my moods
and prepares for me
a life full of love
and warm tenderness
forgiving my faults
with a soft knowing kiss
she hurts when my dreams
are awoken and shattered
and tells me she loves me
and none of it matters
when I fail in the moment,
she patiently waits
‘til I gather myself,
and she won’t hesitate
to lift me up
when I’ve no strength to rise
or, when I wallow in doubt,
she’ll look in my eyes
and gently remind me
of all that I am;
she’ll hold me and whisper,
“you know that you can!”

you rescued me


rescued
you took me in when i was broken;
bound me up with soft words spoken
healed my pain with a gentle touch;
held me tight when it was too much
dried my tears with your velvet hair;
showed me just how much you cared
you offered hope when i had none;
and warmed me better than the sun

you sheltered me when i was alone;
whispered words i had never known
and took away the worst of me,
then filled my life with ecstasy
you gave to me the best of you;
took broken dreams and made them new
you gave to me so many chances;
and overlooked my circumstances

i had built myself a one room home
and dared to live there all alone
no windows out from which to see;
a lonely, empty destiny
you tore it down and rescued me;
unlocked my soul and set it free
you lifted me beyond the stars;
took the universe and made it ours

The Skirt


red-skirt

 

You laid your plaited skirt

on the foot of my bed,

neatly folded as though

in doing so you could somehow

retain your virtue.

 

In the midst of our fleshy thrashings,

I kicked it to the floor, and you began

to cry, deep sobs that rattled

the mattress springs.

 

I moved, too reluctantly, to retrieve it

but you said, “Why bother? You’ve ruined it.

You’ve ruined me. You’ve ruined everything!”

 

Making love doesn’t always

mean making sense,

and so I threw my feet to the floor,

pulled on my jeans, and looked back,

although I would never be able to see.

 

“So that’s it?” you sobbed.

 

In affirmation, I buttoned my shirt

and turned toward the door,

and as an afterthought, picked up

your once plaited skirt, tossed it

carelessly over my shoulder,

 

and left.

 

Love in a Coffee Shop


woman-drinking-coffee-in-restaurant-outdoors

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.
Yet, I’ve sat here all morning
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer,
drinking in the realness of her,
sipping the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.
I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.
Every few minutes she looks
off into the distance
with a blank and distant stare,
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.
I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.
I also know that I love her,
she who I do not know
and she who no longer loves
in return.
She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

dreams

DREAMS by D.L.McHale


Dreams infused with wild abandon
Dancing naked in the midnight rain
‘Neath Cupid’s bow I drift below
Pierced with joy and free from pain
I’d rather feel what isn’t real
Than the waking loneliness I bear
When I’m awake all but dead
Alone and frigid in my bed

Each night I seek within my sleep
A bright and burning sexual flame
To find perfection in sleep’s deception
Stark-naked passion…so sweet insane!
These lovely dreams may be so fleeting
Behind clenched eyes two lovers meeting
But morning thrusts a waking sorrow
So from these dreams my pleasure’s borrowed

Perhaps one day, when daylight rises
I’ll share a real and lasting love
She’ll lay and rest upon my breast
While songs of angels I’ll sing thereof
But ‘till that day, like roses bloom
I’ll toss and turn from night to noon
For fools like me, or so it seems
Can only love within our dreams.

Love Is A Many Splintered Thing


platter

Love…

Whole platters of
Expectation
Handled timidly by
Waiters
and
Waitresses
of desire.

Carelessly slipping
Through now
Trembling fingers,
Once bold and sure.

Tragically
Tumbling beyond
Last moment grasps,
End over end,
Sadly spewing its
Delicious contents
in a hopeless
Death spiral.

Nothing remains
but a shattering
Introduction
to the the cold, hard
Floorboards of reality.

Love is a many
Splintered thing.

 

My Lover


tumblr_med787bImB1rvaaqfo1_500

I’ve spent my nights in silent yearning
For a beautiful love that will not perish
And she who will soon come to me
In the time of soft plum-blossoms
When the air is full of songbirds singing
And the sky is a delicate caress;
She will come
With a mist of stars about her
And great beckoning plumes of smoke
Upon her leaping horses.
And she will bend suddenly and clasp me;
She will clutch me with fierce arms
And stab me with a kiss like a wound
That bleeds slowly.
But though she will hurt me at first
In her strong gladness
She will soon soothe me gently
And cast upon me an unbreakable sleep
Softly forever.

Morning Love


Beautiful-Couple-After-Making-Love

How long will love be kept waiting,
our trembling hearts anticipating,
yearning reflected in half-closed eyes,
eschewing sleep where passion lies,
with spoken words clearly stating –
how long will love be kept waiting?

For love is purely mesmerizing
tightly embrace as the sun is rising,
come fill this Pagan’s heart with joy,
for daylight brings my heart’s envoy
in nature’s work there’s no disguising,
something purely mesmerizing.

Morning love makes shadows bright,
caught on the breeze at dawn’s first light,
and dancing circles turn around,
feeling the Earth’s beat underground
on this blessed day of shortest night,
the sweetest love makes shadows bright.

 

Beyond the Blackened Veil


Homeless Man

The long days,
the forgotten nights,
have left me scarred and depleted;
I’d consumed my fill
of sour cabbage and cheap whiskey
and slept on damp piles of rotting leaves,
wrapping myself in regret and self pity.

There were, of course, lucid moments;
when the wind would caress my cheek
softly, like the touch of an angel,
and in those moments,
I made vows not meant for keeping.

My coat, now threadbare
and reeking of last night’s vomit and rain,
has been my home;
I dwell deep within its folds,
seeking some comfort there
and finding none, toss it to young mulatto boy,
who will be dead before winter finishes lashing
his heroin scabbed flesh.

But listen, my friend –
I have known joy and love,
and those in copious measure,
when I was young and foolish enough
to believe that even the wilted rose retained her charm.
I have lain with princesses and chambermaids
with equal passion,
the rusty moon of autumn casting
night shadows upon our secrets.
I once handed out ten dollar bills
because the roll in my pocket was so big
it chaffed my thigh.

Now, the cold jingling of pennies and a nickel
mark the cadence of my stumbling gait.

In my youth, and folly, I read Yeats and Eliot
and took solace in their pretty tomes;
they hung bejeweled words around my neck
and filled my boyish mind with infinite possibilities.
They lied, of course,
but still I welcomed the deceit
and even scribbled a few haughty poems myself
on love and other falsehoods.

Don’t misunderstand…
I do not rail against the imbalance of life.
Some ride the festooned dragon across velvet skies,
while others bathe in the shit and piss
of their miserable existence;
and certainly we will all go down – together –
beneath the broken sod.

Today,
I just look for a patch of yellow grass
upon which to lie down,
close my blood stained eyes,
to catch my final breath
and let this bitterness go.
I have no fight left for this life or any other.
I am weary and resolved that there are
new worlds and better poems
beyond the blackened veil.