OFTEN I AM THERE
Often I am there, at water’s edge
clear crystalline, as brown trout
move below, aware of my shadow cast
then taking an unmarked trail across
rocks, boulders from an ice age
climbing to a naked polished peak
of schist and granite wind smoothed.
Often I am there, as the waves repeat
long lines of breaking white turbulence
dissipated as they stretch upon the shore
bringing food to pecking pipers that scurry
in the spume, wet sand sticking, warm sun
tanning, salt in eyes, on lips, day´s savor.
Often I am there, white swans floating near
preening feathers, diving for green
men of change sat here, contemplated
revolution, read philosophers, vital life
meditation before the storm, lovers spent
the night, lake lapping to beating hearts.
Often I am there, sitting on a stage
staccato beat, tremolos, chord successions
of a culture´s voice, fingers moving strings
mind following an art of ages to express
inner feelings, troubled mind, hope shines
deep fire of primal sounds, faith abounds.
Often I am there, giggling children´s
arms around me, I love you, holding
on to the only safety that they know
or with my parents, Sunday afternoon
sun streaming into our living room
warm dreams, my mother’s cooking
watering our large yard of flowers
eucalyptus leaves, ice-plant clinging
draping hillsides ever green banks.
Often I am there, in the dark alone
marsupials moving in the trees, eyes
on me, a river´s water to my knees
carefully crossing over hidden rocks
maybe a crocodile sleeping near
on the trail again I feel more secure
not much further to walk from here.
Often I am there, midst rows of books
thoughts in pages, greatest minds
left their eternal print, guides to go
beyond, know the beginning, to shape
tomorrow, courage extra to borrow
explore into unknown parts, foreign
lands, new perspective and ways
of looking at things, other wonderings.
Often I am there, on my knees
head bowed, weakness humbled
supplication, in need of help
ever thankful for little things
good health, air and water, sunshine
birds that sing, friends near by
not ashamed to hear me cry, nor share
a prayer, dreams or a sister’s care.
Often I am there, counting the minutes
for class to end, date, time and place
in my textbook noted, all seems slow
but fifty years ago, now later, a flash
spot of light, in my mind and memory
but the restlessness is ever there.
Often I am there, where false hopes
break promises, money due, debts
unpaid, desperate need, somebodies
greed, plead for help, disappointing
to those who love you, your death
seems an appropriate escape, yet
deception drives abandonment of
that idea, Jan, time to start over again.
Often I am there, nervous before
a presentation, stirring discourse
argument in Court, mind reviewing
one last time, outlines, main points
circumstance and facts, doctrine
textual evidence cited, human side
for empathy, do I look my best
can I control quirks, make it work.
Often I am there, with who, my love
Amie metaphor for amour, women
that fill my other part, Anima
walking through dreams to hold
a course for me, weak, cast out
lost without her heart beating
with mine as one, forming words
new orders in exile, revealing home.
Often I am there, before white billows
cumulus turbulence illuminated
lightning flashes followed by booms
of thunder claps shaking the skeleton
of sky, dislodging accumulated water
vapor falling in torrents, intense
bombardment of rising tides.
Often I am there, in the highest seats
my ego smiling, wanting to wave
wool and cashmere western symbol
phylacteries cut and fitting tight
how have I come so far, loaded
as cannon fodder to expand the reign
in file with noble troops, marching
to our orders, onward to a world
waiting to be saved from flames.
Often I am there, the Water Otter
swimming out to sea, diving down
through kelp beds, waving grass
bobbing as the swells go by, salt
and iodine, halogen invigorating
ocean looking back to shore, far
having come, too beyond, outer
monuments, limits of caution are.
Often I am there, sitting in the Park
cement bench, painted and placed
then you leave me and go away
like a flock of parrots, green funnel
in the sky, darting through palm
frowns, drooping leaves, Iguanas move
heads in delight, unaware of my plight.
Often I am there, questioning in debate
what life is worthy of my mark, initials
on the tree: business titan, ingenious
clever lawyer, millions of something
in the bank, assuring comforts or
a simple scrivener of events, poet
who tries to find the order of things
but alas I’ve failed if humble kindness
patience, charity, faith to carry on
are never earned, what inheritance
I bequeath to those I leave behind.
Often I am there, passing faces
I have seen, streets I have walked
people I went to meet, geography
stored in remembrance, standing
at ocean front, diming orange light
staring at that thin line, as the sun
drops from sight, turning to night.
Often I am there, leaving friends
waking early, bathed and packed
waiting for a ride to the airport
in cool dark morning air, some
people on the streets, going to work
or somewhere, sun’s faint glow
in the East, seal to imprint a lonely
journey on my brain, as sleepy folk
wait to board the day’s first plane.
Often I am there, to meditate upon
the incompleteness, irrational
nature of my place, a variable
in a field of possibility, a unique
symmetry group contained within
a frame of muscle and bone charged
with the breath of life but limited
in understanding, incomplete, dim
insight, trapped behind a veil of time.
Often I am there, you are with me
as a catalyst of thought at the border
of nothingness, having left behind
religions and philosophical unions
the economic solutions, dynamics
that drive, free from psychic debris
cultural impingements to merely
hold hands and relax before the view.
Often I am there, at the border
of insanity, losing a grip, slipping
away, momentary derangement
of faculties, questioning existence
coming to know my jailer, what
is the correct path, the way out
of here, the simple purity of love
embraced by one waiting for you.
Often I am there, wondering what
tomorrow will bring, waking early
to see what news there is, offers
offered, friends in need, new hope
movements of my children, children’s
children living out their dreams
forming dimensions of their destinies.
Often I am there, juggling syntax
devising new semantics for existence
filling non-empty sets with new twists
axiomatic theories, paradoxical truths
aphoristic mysteries hidden in numbers
building strange shapes, ivory towers
glass menageries to hide and seek in.
Often I am there, behind the years
looking back, trying to find unknowns
for X and Y, the reasons folded in
why decisions bend directions foul
yet, what might have been, our ace
up a sleeve, held on, to still believe.
Often I am there, in zany moments
conquered only by intuitive insights
Zen of contemplation in my zodiac
turns me to silence, deep thoughts
that zoom me up to thinner, eclectic
atmospheres, unique propositions
leading me to ethereal zones of zion.
© Jan G. Otterstrom May 19, 2014