The fear of success

Fear is a strong motivator, not the best one, but one that works. It connotes a propellant from behind, an evil to avoid. On the other hand success is an aim, a catalyst for forward movement. At the intersection of fear and success is a stalemate – an unnamed source for  procrastination. I think this is where I have arrived. 
It could be that I’ve negotiated myself out of the regular excuses for ignoring my passion, but I am recognizing this as an avoidance tactic. The thought that my ego, narcissism, and laziness will show up once I have “arrived” makes me not even attempt the journey. Usually, I do not think it is helpful to write about identifying a problem without presenting solutions, but I’m stumped. I’ve seen it happened to me, to other people, and I am afraid to lose myself. Talk about first world problems! I haven’t written here in months, but I’ve been inspired and 
helpful to other writers. That fuel should build steam and extinguish this phobia. Here’s to embracing the future, the inevitable stumbles and progress. 

Do you come across this phenomenon? How do you deal with it?

Burn: April PAD – Day 19

REFINED

It happens when you’ve been rubbed the wrong way.
It’s simple physics: building friction, harmful diction, sparks may fly.
Tension and confrontation pound with the potential to be abstergents
for your character, if you so chose.
Baptism by fire fissures into a schism where you must decide
who you are: burned and scarred, refined and cleansed, pained or marred.
The flame lacks mercy, discernment, and phlegmatic disposition,
but your burn carries the memory of hurt, healing, and action.
Let it smart till your heart finds the salve it needs.
Let it burn till the flame no longer breathes.

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How are you doing with your poem-a-day journey? I have been writing, but offline. Sorry I haven’t kept you all in the loop, but you’re getting to read the best ones.

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I write about fire a lot. Do you think this would be a good theme for a collection?

In Case of: April PAD – Day 11

In Case of Heat

This heat between us
curls up, asleep in its turmoil
blowing spits of recycled air
at our toes. This heat manages
a space that should not exist
between the narrow flanks of a single bed,
but yet weighted we boil, stirred by
a breeze conditioned to burrow
and tarnish the hollow ground
on which we totter.
This heat beats our words
in a tongue-race, pushing silence
and miscommunication into our night
time prayers, blanketed with layers of
the unsaid –snug, content, complacent–
it lies here between our backs
as they face each other a bedtime standoff
after a passive disagreement, though we
should not call it that. The heat allows
no combat or fireworks to identify
where there may be bleeding,
but blood is here, sweltering between
our parallel spines as this unbearable heat
conceals our withdrawn weapons in sweaty sheets
and releases murmurs about the morning maintenance.
The heat reveals no fix this malady, no wrench
to lessen this wedge, no ice to calm its destruction.

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So much catching up to do!

Love of Poetry

Happy National Poetry Month! It has been a week of poetry reading and writing and revelry. I hope you have been enjoying the increased awareness and poetic events in your local communities. Shout outs to Serena at http://savvyverseandwit.com/ for orchestrating this blog tour.
I used to get annoyed with people who said that they don’t like poetry, that poetry doesn’t make sense to them. I wondered how they saw the world and questioned their ability to appreciate beauty. Ok, fine, I still do that sometimes, but most of the time I realize it’s not my concern. There’s beauty in small moments like the fluttering of a baby’s eyelids as he wakes up, or the struggle of a monarch butterfly during its emergence, or the simple recognition of love in another person’s eyes. Poetry highlights these gems of life in language that speaks to my heart. For the love of poetry, enjoy this love sonnet by Pablo Neruda:

XVII (I do not love you…)
Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

An editorial note by Leslie Pockell postulates that the love he speaks of in this poem is what he experienced with his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. “Something passionate and profound, but also easy and natural….” What speaks to me is the reality in a solid reality, words that aren’t inflated, words that are accurate, words that create an exact image. Sure, I’m a sucker for love poems, but I especially like ones that begin “I do not love you…”
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What kind of poetry speaks to you? 

Instructional: April PAD – Day 8

CHANGE DELIVERED

No one tells you how it will come.
It may arrive in an envelope,
tattered from its travels
or severely stark and crisp,
and just like this,
it begins to change your life.

No one tells you how it will come.
Line after line of anticipation
till you read of their regrets to inform,
their approval or denial,
their pleasure in receiving
your correspondence.

No one tells you how it will come,
but come it will, and there you stand
staring at a tri-folded page
considering the age of your wait:
the one gone or the one to come–
incoming or outgoing patient.

No one tells you how it will come,
but it arrives with a prescription,
a list, and maladies to avoid:
inaction, complacency, fear.
No one tells you how it will come,
because no one knows how to prepare.

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Check out http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2013-april-pad-challenge-day-8 for today’s challenge attempts. Leave comments on the ones you like :)

Tentative: April PAD – Day 3

POTENTIAL DANGER

The cauldron that is the midst

of the earth topples its contents,
everything molten makes a run
for the exit,
the tilted axis gets its turn at choosing
an outlet. Today’s mountain,
tomorrow’s mole hill.

Tonight’s volcanoes always begin
as something else,
pride in a pack of peaks,
protrusions against a pristine sky
until the tilt, the spill, the hiss
of ash strikes its featherweight blows
at today’s mountain, tomorrow’s mole hill.

The curtain that is the sunrise
will stain of dirty soot from a hidden place,
though it’s washed in a thousand Tuesdays
what’s beneath finds its way out–
a tentative arrival, attentive destruction
burning through today’s mountain,
tomorrow’s mole hill.

The heat beneath searches for relief
and though it flows like oil over skillet,
a cool breeze ignites its permanence.
Rock covered wasteland that once wore
icecaps in its majesty can find
redemption in dormant restoration:
today’s mountain, tomorrow’s foundation.

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I literally got out of bed to complete today’s poem. Had a very busy day so I only checked in just now and was unable to read through many of the poems at Poetic Asides. I miss that part of the PAD Challenge, reading others’ attempts.

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Has the past ever come back to haunt you in such a way it changes you in the present?

Bright/Dark: April PAD – Day 2

A LESSON ON DIGNITY
She was a stranger who pretended 
to be a friend for the weekend,
but she knew I was weak.
She knew my bright smile
hid my dark eyes,
and she knew I was weak.
She knew that my promises 
were shallow, my deficits deep,
and she knew I was weak.
She knew that my sorrow was limitless,
so I threw my limits away.
She knew I was weak.
She caught me falling from grace,
she helped me back to my place,
she knew I was weak,
but still she slapped my face
and told me to never–ever
scream a man’s name
down an empty hallway.
She knew I was weak
and there was more strength in silence.
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Second day of National Poetry Writing Month. No one has been hurt in the production of these works (yet) and so, tomorrow is another day. I used both prompts today (Write a “bright” poem/Write a “dark” poem) and rolled them in together, but they have little to do with the story. 
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Leave a comment linking to your poem for Day 2! I’d love to read them :)