Jericho

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It seeps beneath the walls
of our defenses
Finding weakness that
is really just vulnerability
undermined by uncertainty
and fear
It goads us into
retaliation
Or collapse,
Knocking the legs out
from under our confidence
and leaving us gasping
and searching
for a lifeline
As the panic sets in
And we recognize the
shadows were locked inside
us all along
We scream in secret silence,
hide it all with
brave smiles,
Take a breath, and another,
Open our eyes to find
Hope shining through
the cracks we thought
only pain knew;
Reach out a trembling hand
cry out with anguished heart
To discover the Light
conquers the demons
With renewed promise
each time we
Let down our walls.

-KJ Roe

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This Isn’t Going to Work

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“Yeah,” she says,
“I got it,”
As the black hole
Opens wide
With its visceral pull
Like a painfully
Deep yawn
That never quite
Completes; then
She strengthens
Her spine, and
Looks him in the eye,
And walks away
With her head high,
Crumbling inside.

Frankly, My Dear…

People say they don’t like drama. But they love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world.

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Olivia de Havilland as Melanie & Vivien Leigh as Scarlet in Gone With the Wind; image via charmofthecarolines.com

“You’re a very sweet person, but…”

It’s never a good thing when someone starts out a conversation like this. Like they’re trying to soften the blow of whatever it is they’re going to say next by building me up, by acknowledging one of my better traits. But what they’re really doing is discounting it. Saying, You’re a very sweet person, but it doesn’t matter. You’re a very sweet person, but it’s not good enough. Not exciting enough. What they are saying, in essence, is that the best of me is just not “enough” for them.

Really?

People say they don’t like drama. All the time. But they are attracted to it. They love the Scarlet O’Haras of the world. People like the one who draws attention in a crowd, who draws the eye and the ear. They like the one who argues and slams doors and expresses their opinions – loudly. They think that a person who doesn’t do these things is weak and uninteresting. Those ones – the Melanies – are too sweet, too quiet, too – boring.

But the Melanies of the world are tough.They have been hurt and suffered more losses than many people know. They don’t expect other people to carry these burdens for them. They carry their weight. Melanies hold their own cards in this game of life, and they work with whatever hand is dealt them. They keep their poker face, playing each round without throwing in or throwing down their cards. What good would it do? They’d just have to pick them back up again.

Melanies take care of themselves and their families and their homes. They are the ones who give quiet strength and direction to the Scarlets when the Scarlets can’t find their way. They bring presence, observation, and sometimes wisdom to a situation. They have depth and perspective born of experience and introspection. Where a Scarlet brings excitement, Melanies bring peace. Scarlet may be fire, but Melanie is the mesmerizing glow of the coals.

Given the option daily, I choose to be Melanie.

So I don’t drive the drama train. I don’t command the room’s attention. I have opinions, and I will share them, but I will not shout them or demand that others agree. I will not expect that everyone drop what they are doing and focus on me. Why? Because it’s not all about me. I choose to be considerate, to stay positive, and to take the path of kindness. I will be the coals, lambent with the heat of heart and soul.

People don’t have to like it. Heck, people don’t have to like me. If my being “sweet” doesn’t work for some people, that’s fine.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Afterword

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Like dust in an old house,
The bustle and busyness settles.
Quiet takes over as
Loved ones take their leave.
Flotsam emerges in colorful bits
Of tinsel and paper
As he wanders through
Empty rooms.
Shadows of melancholy
Edge the memories kindled today;
Loneliness waits in the wings,
Ready to take over the night.
Then your Spirit speaks to remind-
Love is the “why” for the occasion,
Eternity is the gift,
And “alone” is a myth.