Airport Hustle

Airport Hustle
by Louise Gallagher

The world is on the move
masked faces
eyes watching 
smiles
frowns
furrowed brows
checking…
Where’s my ticket?
Wallet?
Hand sanitizer?

Suitcases rolling
wheels turning
clicketty clack 
clicketty clack 
people walking
people standing
milling about
beneath glass ceilings 
soaring high
pouring light
upon bustling crowds
gathered
around touch screen kiosks
checking in
printing out
baggage tags
and boarding passes
people on the move
conveyor belts
rolling
clicketty clack 
clicketty clack 
carrying baggage
to distant ports
clicketty clack 
clicketty clack 
in the hope 
it will arrive 
at the end of the journey
in the same shape it began.

 
Long lines
snaking through
security barriers
laptops tested
carry-on scanned
passing through
to the other side
leaving behind
going towards
new horizons
home turf
everywhere
busy
busier than its been
through an invisible microbe’s
demands 
the world limit
where we go
and who we see.

The world is on the move 
faces masked
eyes watching 
people moving
wheels turning
clicketty clack 
clicketty clack 
airport humming
with life
and people
travelling 
holding on
to the hope
that when they reach their destination
they will be home
free
of an invisible travelling companion.

Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

I am home again. My heart full. Memory overflowing with joy.

See you soon!

The Best You Can Do

The Best You Can Do.
by Louise Gallagher

You ask me to believe
you are doing your best
even when your best

is not true
for another.


And I do

believe
you are doing
your best.


And I do wonder,
can you believe

that in doing your best

you are limited 
by your belief
your best

is true for others?


What if

your best 
could be better?

What if

you stopped believing
you know what is best
for others?


Would you then choose 
to believe
what is true 
for another

is best
for them

even if it’s not
true for you?


Would you then choose
to believe
their truth
is the best way to create
something better than
what you believe
is the best
you can do?




When Life Hit Hard – a poem

No. 2 #ShePersisted Series — They said, be quiet. She spoke up.

This poem came to me this morning as I sat at my desk watching the river flow past.

Earlier, my daughter and I and our pups had walked at a park near their house and while walking along a trail through the woods came upon a large encampment.

It wasn’t there just a few days ago when we walked the same path, but now, it is well ensconced and easily visible. A bright blue tarp is draped across trees providing both shelter and privacy to the occupants. The smell of food cooking on an open fire permeates the air.

I understand the desire to build such an encampment, particularly if someone has no place to call home.

But there are challenges and dangers.

Community residents might not look favourably upon such an encampment and might decide to take matters into their own hands. Or, might call upon the City and insist something be done. In the past, this has sometimes resulted in City Parks staff dismantling and removing the encampment without showing much concern for the belongings or needs of the campers.

And, an open fire in the dense woods where this encampment is situated is problematic.

We are fortunate in Calgary to have the Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) and the Encampment Team through Alpha House Society, an agency serving vulnerable, at risk Calgarians. Their focus is to interact with individuals where they’re at, and to support them in addressing their needs. The Encampment Team, in partnership with City-ByLaw, supports ‘rough sleepers’ to help them address their safety, well-being and housing needs.

For Calgarians, the benefit of these teams is that it gives everyone an opportunity to reach out and support someone in distress or in need of housing supports, knowing the response will be compassionate and humane.

I have phoned the Encampment team to alert them of the situation. I know that their response will honour the individuals involved and provide them support in a way that reflects their humanity and their needs and their rights.

If you have concern for someone on the street in Calgary who is intoxicated or in distress, please call the DOAP Team first. The number is: 403.998.7388

If you have a concern about an Encampment – call the Encampment Team. Their number is: 403.805.7388

It can be hard sometimes to know what the most humane response is. The DOAP and Encampment Teams are the right response.

And… if like me you need to give voice to what you experience, witness, hear and see, write a poem, speak up, volunteer…

And support the agencies doing the work on the front lines. They need our help to do the important work they do supporting vulnerable people in our communities.

When Life Hit Hard
by Louise Gallagher

When life hit
     hard
she stumbled 
and fell
     hard

She got back 
     up
and when life tripped her
     up
again
she fell
     not so hard
this time
but getting up
     was harder.

Life kept happening
and she kept falling
until the falling
     down
     was easier
than the getting up
until the staying 
     down
     was safer
than trying to find
     a way 
     to stop
falling
.

She no longer
     cries
     out
for help
when she falls

She no longer 
     reaches
     out
for help
to get back up

Trapped
between the fall
and getting up
she lies
     silent
dreaming
of a hand reaching
     out 
to help her
     get back up.

A Kiss Like No Other.

There is something magical about walking along the river in the early evening of a warm Spring day.

Magical.

Mystical.

Mysterious.

Birds twitter in trees, the soft trill of some unknown (to me) species. The chattering of the chickadees mixing with the gossiping of squirrels. Ducks quacking from the middle of the river where they float lazily by while overhead, geese fly low, honking and calling out to one another.

Divine.

Delightful.

Delicious.

Leaves rustle on trees as if, released from the tightness of their buds, they have much to share about winter days gone by. Grasses turn green, eyeing one another as they whisper amongst themselves the secrets they’ve dug up from deep within their roots.

Luscious.

Luminous.

Light.

Fairy dancers spinning tales of magic on sun-dappled water. A fisherman casting his line out where he stands, thigh deep, in the running waters. A fish jumps just out of the water, splashes down as if to say to the erstwhile fisherman, “Catch me if you can!”.

Stories woven out of air, spun upon a gentle breeze catching a whiff of something exotic simmering on the fire where a family gathers to share time spent laughing and playing and eating by the river.

And I walk along the river’s edge and Beaumont chases the ball and stops to sniff some unknown scent and then he lets the ball fall into the water and he follows it with a splash into the river and I sit on the bank and watch and smile and listen and savour the pure delight of being alive in this moment right now.

This is spring in the city. My viewpoint focused to this moment in time where I sit and watch the world float by. No destination. No To Do list calling. No ‘have to’s’ waiting.

Just being. Here. Now.

This is all there is.

Love.

Joy.

Beauty.

Life.

______________________________

This post is in response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt: Viewpoint

Your Weekly Prompt Viewpoint – May 13, 2021.

Your Weekly Prompt –Viewpoint – May 13, 2021.

Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. Please keep it family friendly. This needs to be a safe and fun space for all. Prompts close 7 days from the close of my post.


Link your blog to mine with a pingback. To do a pingback: Copy the URL (the HTTPS:// address of my post) and paste it into your post. You may also place a copy of the URL of your post in the comments of the current week’s prompt.

Responses posted prior to the next Thursday prompt release can be included in the Roundup.

Let’s be creative and have fun!

-Eugi

https://amanpan.com/2021/05/13/eugis-weekly-prompt-viewpoint-may-13-2021/ 

I Am Not Broken

The painting I’ve used to illustrate this poem is from my She Persisted Series. When I wrote this poem yesterday, I considered going into the studio and creating a painting to go with the words (but after six hours of cleaning the garage, I was too tired! – Not sure why I thought it would only take a couple of hours but hey! I’m always the optimist.). I still may do that but this painting, which is No. 37 in the series, felt ‘right’.

I AM NOT BROKEN
by Louise Gallagher

I am not broken
though I do have cracks

I am not cracked
though I do have wounds

I am not wounded
though I do have scars

I am not scarred
though I do have cuts

I am not
My breaks
Or cracks
Or wounds
Or scars
I am not my cuts.

I am beautiful.
Whole.
Full 
of incomparable
broken places 
revealing
cracks 
healing
wounds 
bursting 
into wisdom 
scars strengthening
cuts that cut deep
to forge 
beauty from
the ashes
of the places
that have shaped 
me.

I am not broken.
I am.
Beautiful.
Brave.
Bold.

I am woman.
I am me. 

I hadn’t intended to write two poems yesterday morning but… having spent much of my life learning to heed the muse’s urgings, I could not ignore her call to write this one out.

And so… I did.

Brave Beauty

Brave Beauty

Late spring snow
melts
velvet purple petals
preen
eager green grasses
shoot
out of winter moist soil

And the seasons turn
and the sun shines
warm
and Mother Nature
dances
as my heart
expands
to embrace
brave beauty
budding
up
out of the ground.

As I sit at my desk this morning I watch two robins chase each other through the trees. An opportunistic squirrel, taking advantage of what I assume to be their amorous intentions, raids the birdfeeder while chickadees hop along the fence, tweeting and twittering. I think they’re telling the squirrel to get lost.

A man in an inflatable raft drifts into view on the river. He drifts with the current, a fishing line trailing behind him as he uses one oar to gently guide him along. He passes in front of my window, under the bridge and out of sight. I imagine him full of hope.

And the trees stand still. Yesterday’s breezes gone. Buds are appearing along their branches, tiny shoots of hope leafing out in possibility.

High above, the blue sky is dotted with islands of fluffy white clouds that lay seemingly motionless, like a warm woolly blanket covering the earth below.

And I awaken.

There is much to be done today. I am in spring cleaning mode.

The deck. The storage area in the back of our basement. Both done.

Today, after my prerequisite morning walk with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, I tackle the granddaddy of all cleaning chores. The garage. There are closets and cupboards that also need my ministrations but they can wait for a rainy day. The weather folk have promised a warm, almost hot for this time of year in this northern clime, day. It’s a good day to clean the garage.

Later, after I’ve soaked off the dust and grime from the garage in a leisurely bath, I shall venture into my studio and keep working on pieces for an art show I’m in this June.

I have a lot to do. My body of ‘saleable’ work not yet big enough.

I used to joke that you could always tell when I was writing. My toilet was sparkling!

It was my avoidance tactic.

And I wonder…

Is cleaning out the garage (or scrubbing the toilet for that matter) avoidance or preparation?

I’m choosing to reframe it as ‘brave preparation’.

Creative expression requires presence.

Presence requires full embodiment in the moment.

Embodiment calls for ridding my thinking mind of clutter.

So… I clean and clear and declutter.

It is a brave thing to do.

To create I must dare to release myself from thinking mind directives and allow myself to flow, unguided, along the river of creativity that courses through my veins and the air around me. I must allow myself to be carried on the current, like the fisherman in his raft. Trolling for nothing but a little nibble of an idea to seed itself in the fertile soils of my imagination.

I am cleaning out the garage this morning.

I am stepping into the beauty of brave creativity.

Good for Nothing

Several years ago, I volunteered teaching personal development classes at an adult emergency homeless shelter where I worked. One of the processes I used was to invite attendees to think about someone in the world they admired, and then to name the things about that person they most admired. The person could be a famous ‘real-life’ or fictional figure, past or present. Or, someone in their life.

One day, a young man who had been staying at the shelter since being released from prison 6 months previously, shared how the only person he could think of who he admired was his grandfather. “He always treated me nice,” he said. Not like his mother whom, he said, constantly repeated to him what she’d said the day he was born. “This one’s born to be bad.”

At the age of 24, his six months at the shelter were the longest stretch of time since turning 18 that he had not spent in jail. He was determined to keep his stretch going. I want to prove her wrong, he told the class. I want to be a better man.

As part of the exercise, I invited the attendees to write a letter to themselves saying all the positive things they wanted/needed to hear this person they admired say to them. There was no expectation of sharing what they’d written, I told the class. Just that they write out what words they most wanted/needed to hear about how wonderful, kind, intelligent, amazing they were. No negativity, I told him. These are the words that celebrate you. That inspire and applaud you.

The class wrote their letters and when finished, the young man whose mother had predicated he’d turn out bad asked if he could read the letter out loud to everyone. When I asked the class if they wanted to hear it, they all said yes.

When the young man was finished reading his letter out loud, there were a lot of moist eyes in the room, including mine.

This poem is written in honour of that young man and his courageous assertion that he was not going to be his mother’s predictions. That he would do whatever it takes to break the cycle, both of her abuse and his history of getting into trouble. And, it’s written to honour the thousands upon thousands of men and women who enter a shelter’s doors, who like that young come, arrive carrying the burden of a lifetime of being told they are good for nothing, they do not belong, they are not loveable or worthy or wanted.

Words matter. Let us think about our words. Let us use our words to create a better world for everyone.

A Gift of Life
By Louise Gallagher

The first time she saw his face
wrinkled and wet
with the vestiges of its journey 
through the birth canal
visible upon his skin, 
she closed her eyes. Tight.
“You’ll be good for nothing,” she whispered
to her newborn son
as if she could divine his future
by the marks her body had imprinted
upon his skin
through a past
she could never face.
And everyday, as he grew
from toddler to teen to man
she reminded him of his future
adding the back of her hand
across his face, for good measure,
she told him with a laugh
as she lifted a grimy glass of gin
to her lips.

She taught him things no child
should ever learn
gave him a story
he did not deserve
of a desperate future 
where he would always be 
good for nothing.

It was a harsh and brutal story
 no man could carry
without defending himself
against a past
that had branded him at birth
and kept him living his 24 years
as good for nothing.

Twenty-four days out 
of his last incarceration
he declared, Enough.
Enough of living out a past
he’d been born into
and was always told was his
only path to becoming a man.
Enough of being the kind of man
everyone called good for nothing.

On that day
he took his life
into his own hands
but not before
willing his heart and lungs and other organs
to give life to another.
At least that way, he whispered with his final breath
I will be good for something.

When she heard the news
of his demise
his mother laughed 
and lifted her gin,
her fifth or was it sixth of that day,
Good riddance, she said
to the empty room in which she sat
on a threadbare couch
surrounded by discarded bottles
and dirty dishes.
I always said you’d be good for nothing.

And still, his heart beats on
a gift of life 
creating a world of something
better for someone.

The Trees Are Not Silent

The Trees Are Not Silent
by Louise Gallagher

The trees are not silent. 
They whisper the stories 
of the wind as it passes 
through their branches 
holding on to the tall 
tales and chronicles 
of life passing by 
as time writes its memories 
into its bark.  

The trees are not silent. 
They shelter birds 
and their nests hidden 
from preying eyes 
that would steal away 
new life reaching  
for food and 
stretching wings 
on outstretched limbs 
gathering courage to take flight.  

The trees are not silent. 
Their roots dig deep 
into the earth 
collecting the stories 
of those who crawl and scamper 
beneath the surface 
digging up the soil 
drawing its rich effluents 
up into their sturdy trunks 
etched with stories 
of who loves who 
and those who no longer do.  

The trees are not silent. 
They are our story gatherers 
Our memory keepers 
Our secret bearers 
Our wisdom holders 
Our connectors into the web 
of nature that binds us all  
to this tapestry of life.  

The trees are not silent. 
Listen deep. 
They have stories to tell.

Awoke – a poem for hope

Awoke

by Louise Gallagher



Unseen

stealthy
like a stream

invisible
to the world above

the earth
weakened
by its waters
flowing underground

permeating my thoughts
with dark forebodings

of what might be

if this tiny 
invisible

to the naked eye
microbe
found its way
under my skin.


This fear
invisible and stealthy

has stalked my thoughts
for a year now

clouding my senses
eating lustfully at my joy
and banishing those I love
from my presence.


It is waning
this fear
lulled to sleep
like sleeping beauty
pricking her finger 
on a needle
jabbed into my arm
protecting me 
from its presence.


It is waning

under the influence
of one jab
of hope
flowing
free
as if kissed

by a prince
awakening beauty
from the spell
that cast her asleep
for a hundred years.

Awoke
I walk 
buoyed up

by a powerful potion
casting
fear 
into the waters 
of life

flowing
free
of fearful thoughts
of what might be
if this tiny 
invisible
to the naked eye
microbe
found its way
under my skin.

Since getting my vaccination a couple of weeks ago, I have been thinking about this fear that has stalked my thoughts like an invisible intruder for the past year.

I can feel it easing, feel the lightness of being present without its presence shadowing my every thought… what if I get it? What if my beloved gets it? Will it be the end of us?

One jab of the needle changed all that.

Now, the knowledge that even if one of us gets it, the likelihood of death or hospitalization is greatly diminished has replaced the fear.

There is hope. There is possibility. There is life.

I am grateful for the thousands upon thousands of researchers, scientists, biologists, epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmaceutical companies and everyone involved in making my ease of mind and breath possible.

Thank you.

Accidents Happen

On Monday, the wind blew fierce through the trees where Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walk.

It was scary.

As we walked, my body bent forward into the wind, I wondered… on days like today, does the wind blow so fierce because the trees want to dance with wild abandon?

Do they plead with the wind as it blows through their branches telling the stories it has gathered on its travels around the world?… “We’re tired of being rooted to the ground,” the trees wail. “Tired of just holding your stories in our branches. We want to live them. Feel them. Dance with them. Come, blow fierce and mighty through our branches. Let us bend and bow, swirl and sway as we devour every drop of wonder you carry in your mighty breath.”

And does the wind, heeding the calling of the trees’ desire to dance wild and free, rise up and howl in delight, as the trees throw all caution to the wind and dance with abandon in the ecstasy of the wind’s breath?

I decided not to throw caution to the wind and shortened our walk. The threat of being hit by a falling tree limb separating itself from the canopy of naked limbs dancing above was high. Prudence was the name of the game.

The next morning, as I got ready for our walk and closed the door of my bedroom closet, it hit me.

Literally. The door hit me in the forehead. It was propelled by our dresser mirror which, since moving into this house three years ago, had not been mounted to the two wooden bars that should/could/would have kept it in place.

We’d known the movers hadn’t reattached it. Didn’t seem like a big deal. It was relatively stable resting on the dresser. Until it wasn’t.

It’s a big mirror. The force of it hitting the door knocked me to the floor. It also resulted in a gash and lump on my forehead as well as a black eye.

Fortunately, I broke its fall. I’m sure my mother would have said (she was extremely superstitious) that breaking a mirror that size would have required more prayers than even she could have managed!

After two days of doing little, I feel a little more normal this morning – though I won’t be driving to Vancouver as planned to help my daughter and family.

This accident could have been easily prevented had the mirror been properly attached.

But then, many accidents can be prevented.

It’s just, sometimes, we don’t take care of the small things which, left to their own devices, can become big things.

Like a mirror falling on my head and giving me a black eye and a scar to remember it by.

Time to refocus, reassess, restore balance.

Time for a time out…. Perhaps, now that the wind has stopped, I’ll go lie in the winter dry grasses under the canopy of filigreed branches that stretch up towards the sky seeking the sun’s warmth.

****************************

I haven’t had the capacity to focus on writing the past couple of days.

However, as April is “National Poetry Month” and this month’s theme is ‘resilience’ I wanted to start the month off right with a poem – my intent is to write a poem a day for the month – I am not committing myself to it. I am allowing myself to simply be present within the intention – body, mind and spirit – allowing it to happen, or not.

I did however, want to honour the wind and trees and their dance…

Wild, the wind blows fierce
Naked limbs dance in delight
Birds seek safe harbor.

And…. this post is also a response to the weekly prompt posted at Eugi’s Causerie.

The prompt is to use the word ‘canopy’ in any of its forms, in a post.

To read more, and to participate — please do check out the blog — it is full of delightfully delicious words and images and ideas to set your mind a wandering and your spirits soaring.