Every day is Woman’s Day


SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHairline Cracks in the Porcelain

I come from a long line

of born-again porcelain cleaners.

I am a tidy-bowl expert,

know the brush and flush, polish and rub,

I am a woman, well trained by her Mother.

I tried to put girlhood aside,

leverage being eldest

to escape wrinkled finger tips,

upright vacuum white-noise,

dusters made of outgrown undershirts.

When I failed, I glared out bungalow windows

at my brothers cutting lawn and raking in the benefits

of shared manliness with Dad.

I had no choice. I was taught

to bake and sew and clean proficiently

as an outcome of my femininity

and with all this evidence to the contrary,

one day my Father says to me,

“All things are equal.

You can be ANYTHING you want to be.”

So fast forward to University

and what appears to be a level field, free

from reference to my body’s ability

to bleed, grow breasts or hips or, God forbid,

bear children. Sex lives, no, thrives

in residence rooms fuelled by pub crawls,

still what we do does not define our gender.

I earn my degree, my idealism, my zeal,

I am a self fulfilling prophecy

with EVERYTHING I want. Until…

Fast forward in circumstance, when Providence

unleashes a mind-boggling-paradigm-shifting-revelation

of upside-down proportion,

all my notions of equality expanded

yet reduced to this…moment…

this…holy annunciation…

I am pregnant!

What?

Now?

What now?

I have to choose?

I choose.

He and I choose together, and my body

blossoms in maternity, my mind

rises like a phoenix

in blazing pride at this innate ability

to create and birth new beings.

Miracles… of possibility

through pain of labour, first one,

then two boys arrive…my joys.

And then…SHE becomes unexpectedly.

SHE is something else entirely.

SHE unearths renewal in me.

FEMALE…we share more than DNA,

SHE is somehow hope and legacy,

SHE is the epitome of another chance

at THIS…AND…in feminine form.

But who am I to say…

I step back and let her find her way,

that dance, step in only when she asks.

Fast forward with my growing girl

my grateful orbit of her world. She says

“I might get married one day” and with a smile

“maybe I won’t have a child…”

Together we unleash our wild “I AM no man.”

I watch her unveil her spirit, truth,

and the beauty of no shame,

strength and intellect, all hers to claim.

She is powerful in her personhood.

(pardon boasting like I did something good)

Now she is gone from me,

like I knew she would be, eventually,

and we both thank Skype technology

for staying close with video chat.

I ask…I breathe one thing for her constantly…

that SHE finds space enough to BE,

to hold everything, all possibility,

glorious, wide and open…

Lesley-Anne Evans 2016

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What is Asking to be Looked At


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You are turning away again,

you know you are.

Call it what you will –

balancing the check-book, work,

sock-matching-sock tucked one inside the other,

there, there, almost done.

You check your email often,

tell yourself surely there is more,

something else that needs tending.

 

Meanwhile, right there,

just outside the glass and

watching with shy eyes from the shadows

of the old yew that needs cut back again

to let in the light, there is something –

asking to be looked at,

asking to be spoken.

 

It will not be revealed without tenderness.

It will not scream for your attention

or grab your knee like your brother used to

creeping down the stairs

and crawling under the Yamaha while you

repetitiously practiced scales.

This will be a slow unveiling.

 

Go outside.

Stand very still.

Wait. Listen. Ask.

Maybe now you will say

warm breeze, or good morning,

or sunshine on opening tulip. Then slowly, tenderly

you might rename each thing, one by one by one,

a crescendo of words pouring from your lips, glorious and unending…

and there will be no pain as your heart rips open.

 

LAE2017

Every life is a poem…


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You may know that I write poetry, but Buddy Breathing is not usually where I post it, if at all. You will find a small selection here on my author website, but the timing is such that I am going to post a newish poem here today.

It’s a poem I’ve been scratching away at since I first was accepted into the Northern Ireland 2014 ~ Storytelling, Music, Art, and Peace experience. Thanks to Gareth Higgins, Karen Moore and David Wilcox, the wonderful co-leaders of this trip, poet, priest, philosopher and scholar John O’Donohue’s legacy of mindfully walking the Irish landscape will be realized once again for a small group of most fortunate people, myself included. The long call of home to my birthplace, to talk and walk and open anew to understand… in just a few short days I will answer what has been percolating inside me for years. I sense changing coming.

Maybe even before I knew of this pilgrimage I’ve imagined myself arriving in a place like that described in my poem. A wild and desolate place, perhaps the middle of a wide and endless field, or the top of a rounded barren hill (not a mountain as I’m not that kind of adventurer), or an abandoned once inhabited place grown over and melding again with the earth. Any such place I’ve seen in movies or aptly described in a book or glimpsed in reality or dreamed myself to… are somewhat liminal spaces between here and somewhere, between what is and what could be.

For me landscapes best describe how it might feel to stand physically and/or metaphorically at a transition, an edge, and to feel the pull of such a place… and so in this spirit the poem began. It is, as always, a work in progress.

Edge

Take the path up
through the stinking mud
and tufted grass barely rooted
in barren. Keep on up
to the cliff top, lean
into the wind, tears
pulled from your eyes and drained
down stark lined cheeks. Up, up
to the edge where all that lies ahead
is North Sea waves half ice over shipwrecks,
selkie dreams dashed hard
on the jagged shore. Look north,
out where the sky meets mossy
undulations of standing waves,
where looking back at yourself you are nothing
but a speck of possibility. Look down
at shoes muddied and scuffed, wild
brambles hitch hiked to your old wool coat.
Reach out your hands,
ridged nails on fingers
wrinkled staccato with terror. There,
and only if you dare,
open up your life,
widen your lungs to salt mist, your veins
to the pulsing hum of thin places.
Steady yourself, eyes up, up,
your heart a fast cloud in the groaning gale.
Feel the heft of surf’s begging boil
beneath you. But stand your ground.
Sing. Sing.

Lesley-Anne Evans

 

 

Tuesday poem 006


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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a poem. Almost a month.

Forgive me.

I’m linking this poem to today’s Poetry Pub over at dVerse Poetry, answering host Victoria Slotto‘s request, “to post a descriptive poem in which images are used to describe a feeling, a truth you hold dear, a person, using primarily surroundings—in other words, an imagist poem that has an embedded message about whatever…”

This time

This is what it feels like –
first step, splinter of ice,
eyes fixed on the gleam of going,
no clear way out.
The walls tight
like winter,
hands bruising the throat of spring.
You blow halos on the frosted window,
birth pains to a small voice.
The air opens to your giving,
you can almost say the way.

Lesley-Anne Evans, 2013

What I want to say…


That Certain Sound

There’s a musical chord called a ‘unresolved suspended chord’, a series of notes played simultaneously on the piano that hangs in the air, like you know there is something coming after, it sounds unfinished musically.

Last night, after I prepared dinner, I sat down at the piano in the peace of a dusk filled room, I sat and played something I’ve never heard before, it spilled out. The melody was filled with suspended chords, the room with music and sighs and a days worth of unresolved thoughts of you.

I dropped by to see you earlier in the day, and you were sleeping, somewhere between two worlds, perhaps already there and longing for your body to catch up to what your soul has been craving for the last few weeks. Someone told me you are ready now, tired of the fight. I have seen you hero against this damned thing, seen you fight with all you’ve got, alternative means as well as conventional. Through it all you’ve dispensed hope to everyone around you, offered us a God-perspective and God-love. You’ve turned it on it’s head, your love blessing us rather than the other way around.

Which brings me back to the suspended chord, the haunting sound of music that kept repeating though my hands on the satin keyboard of well worn keys and in my thoughts until now. I found in that chord an echo of Gods voice, as if God had placed all of earthly life into that one musical chord of waiting, leaning, hinting, suspended until the day when we lean into his final resolving chord and all shall be as he planned it, just as he saw in the beginning, his eyes wide as the horizon. Sometimes there’s a hint of it at sunset, a lingering sense of it in a certain fragrant bloom, a combination of  words, the eyes into another human heart. We can’t help be drawn, our souls longing for that final transformation, for release from this suspended waiting. I sense that you feel it too, perhaps more strongly now.

And this thought, this small revelation of God’s way in the face of so many things I do not understand, and the great and heavy sadness that losing you is laying over my heart, suggests that you are indeed the lucky one. As we wait in this suspended place called earth and count the days of our existence here, Heaven is preparing for you, a celestial celebration is being laid out to welcome you home, dear and faithful one.

So I think of you, wrapped in a gossamer garment of light. I think of you, dancing in the most gorgeous designer shoes you’ve ever seen. 
I think of you, altogether lovely and perfect and laughing in the presence of the King of all Kings who delights over you with singing. While we continue to walk this dim lit pathway toward what you will soon know beyond doubt’s shadow.

You will be in that place of eternal music resolving absolutely everything, knowing and being known, face to face with your Jesus.

And I will miss you here. I love you, my friend.

 

Tuesday Poem 004B


Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro (Photo credit: stevelyon)

Those of you who are writers or poets or musicians or artists know what I mean when I say we work on our work, and we often wonder if it is EVER done. When I’m in the middle of working on a poem it bounces around in my head while I’m doing everything else unrelated to writing and suddenly I’ll have this word pop up and I have to go write it down because it’s EXACTLY the word I was looking for in the first place but couldn’t find it. Sometimes this type of brain pop happens when I can’t write down the word or the phrase and I’ll pray, “Please, please don’t let me forget this before I get to pen and paper.” And sometimes my prayers will be answered, sometimes I just plain old forget whatever I thought of.

In any case, a couple of weeks ago I posted the poem “The Precise Colour of Orange”. It was a draft poem, still I felt I could share it with you here. And since them, today specifically, there have been new words and phrases and ways of writing lines that have changed my original draft somewhat. I haven’t turned the poem on it’s head (which I find incredibly hard to do and I’m waiting for some guidance from an hard core poet friend of mine on this type of editing being good for me rather than feeling like death). So, here’s the new draft. I like it more than the first. Is it finished… nope. Will it ever be ‘finished’. I doubt it.

I hope you enjoy this work in progress.

The Precise Colour of Orange

We sit in the driveway, he slaps the steering wheel
of his Dad’s Camaro Z-28, punctuation marking
my small indiscretion, my attempt at last words.
In this way he teaches fear. Visceral, unexpected grip
where I don’t know what hit me, ‘til he’s long gone.

I make a point, slam the car door, run down the
road half blind and furious, hindsight like Lot’s wife
with similar salty consequences. By the time I’m back
I know I’ve settled. Lines I draw for hard hands make
way to soft. I don’t know what else to say. I could say

time, like dry ice white-hugging a concert stage, obscures bodies
and connections. I could say gravity holds its breath while
I hold tight against the chill. All I know is I am anchored
arms wrapping knees on cool sand, sun smoothing brow
of round topped Monashee, while Lesser Scaups gather Grebes

float out to meet the dark. I could say a florescent orange
mooring float is a garish substitute for unsung hues
of a sky set on fire.

Tuesday Poem


Speak in now

Speak in now
immediate, common vowels, consonants.
Let slush piles smolder. Is cracks the surface
ripples out and out again, meets
edges of sweet tansy, yellow iris, squirming dens
of otter kits along the muddy banks. Choke

back prophecy, promise only tangible. Wrench
now from ragged throat barbs of bloody words
that mean something. Now is red and pulsing
delicious. Like the split second when snowflake
bites flesh, when what was and is becomes
ice lake in open palm. Tongues of fire to

tease cracked lips, fill parched mouths with
epiphanies of I Am, white and wet and pure.
Speak in now
immediate. Purify mind of conjecture, possibility
be still. Tame body of moving, striving
be still. Speak in now
and know.