The Invisible Season

Wisteria, brittle and stripped bare of color,

clings to the weathered fence post.

It’s on pause, like the seasons,

and in the space between half dead, half alive,

something breathes.

In the hush, seasons wrestle,

bump borders.

Canary-colored weeds prosper,

parade along roadside ditches

ready to trumpet in spring

or mourn winter’s passing.

Either way, beauty is awash,

waiting its call.

–Lisa Froman copyright 2021

Breathing In 2020

We took a deep breath under dark skies.

Standing six feet apart, we began to calculate the loss.

Some spat, others cursed, my sister prayed.

What was gone was gone.

Mourning would come later,

when children were washed clean of ash.

Fires burned wild the west,

emptied closets and cupboards of their wears/wares.

Some stood in soot, traced their address in dust,

and wondered, what was left to lose.

The breath.

It left in gasps for some. Others, one long, aching good-bye.

We froze in place,

covered our eyes with fingers at the scary parts

so not to notice the thinning of the herd, the empty chairs at tables.

(How do we prepare the fields for so much death?)

And when there is more to steal?

More to reveal?

More spit for the eye?

Hurricanes blow angry winds south in these times,

blow out windows, blow down fences, pour out grievances into night air

and return with a Greek name to break more glass.

The breath.

It comes and goes.

Daylight brings more dying to some.

When a man stands on the neck of another, he stands merciless,

and the breath and the words stolen, forever a haunting.

So, we said—enough! To the dying.

Robbed of excuses, we see through our own veils now.

Still, some go easy into the night,

cloaked in fear,they inhale and pray for safety.

For another breath.

For mercy.

       

The breath.

It’s harder to catch a virus, to breathe in masks. But it’s easier to avoid ventilators.  

For now, we mold in seclusion, hunger

for food, ordinary days, the smiles of strangers.

Rooms empty of politics.

A bar room fight.

No more victims, I say.

We know loss.

Can we instead raise a toast to hope?

Clap and sing, bang pots at 7 p.m., in cheer again?

Can we end with a new beginning?

ghost our despair, tie up our dogma?

Can we sow a new spring, and play in the clover?

Can we listen to the pause, the sounds of silence shuffling our fate,

the hum of tomorrow making known its beat?

Can we pray, like my sister,

for all that was lost,

and for the breath left, to create from the ashes?

Lisa Froman

Dec. 2020 copyright

The Bridge

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Yesterday, I was on a bridge leading to the small town where my mother lives. Near the top of the bridge, I saw police cars and flashing lights and a young man sitting on the edge of tomorrow. I prayed for him all of the way to my mom’s house. Later, I learned he jumped. Like many others, I was his witness on this day. And for me, it means something. This poem is for him, and for all who are struggling with despair. I believe suicide arises from a deep longing to be validated, to be “seen.”  May we all bear witness to the light in one another, friend, stranger, foe or family, through this journey of life.

Cradled in hope
a chapter in someone else’s story
you played little league, chased fireflies
hid in plain sight on the highest branch
you could climb.
Starbright, you polished the skies,
once you were
light burning over the darkest of deserts.
You belong to the mist now
but I saw you
sitting on a ledge of aching steel
in a halo of headlights
none able to measure your brightness or despair.
I saw you,
sent up a prayer ahead of you.
I hoped it would find you,
buckle you tight in a mother’s caress.
I saw you,
a flickering light, someone’s phantom son
on that bridge, lost,
but inches from hope, a stranger’s hand.
I saw you,
light releasing itself into orbit with a punctuation mark
before you disappeared
into the mist and over the bridge.
I saw you. I saw you.

2018-copyrighted.

(If you are interested in more of my writing, check out my book, Tao Flashes, on Amazon.)

Serenity Under Fire

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Downward dog turns into corpse pose
breathe in calm
breathe out fear
serenity under fire.
Synagogues, houses of faith,
find no escape
serenity under fire.
Grocery carts pushed by shoppers of color
don’t always get filled for dinner, mother.
Serenity under fire.
Places of peace,
places of sustenance,
places to pray and duck.
Home to us all, ya’ll.

 

(Copyrighted 2018)-

(If you are interested in my writing, check out my book, Tao Flashes, on Amazon.)

A Starry Night in Sedona

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Leave me here on the hardwood deck,

head up to a darkening Sedona sky,

heaven’s stage stretching high above the red rocks of old,

higher than the land native spirits roam.

On this starry starry night,

I think of home, wherever that is.

I see stars cluster in community,

hear the beings talk in lights.

Their words don’t work with humans

but I read the curve of constellations, intentions

scattered like so many galaxies

across a hopeful stage.

How many wishes can one star hold?

How many promises can a sky keep?

My faith, dressed in Sunday best,

keeps me looking up at a cathedral without walls,

on this starry

starry night.

 

 (If you are interested in more of my work, check out my book, Tao Flashes

on Amazon.)

Four Hours

 

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Four hours to travel to that little café not far from the Vatican

Four hours to drink my coffee and roam through the halls of another’s life

Four hours to read Wendell Berry

Four hours to talk to Alex, my son, my mom Grace before she puts on her face

Four hours to rearrange words like a puzzle that never completes

Four hours to rescue the children from a heartless empire

Four hours to listen to the hollow sound of the wind, the hum of my computer

Four hours to rub blueberry jam on my bread and wake to what’s old and what’s new

Four hours to Sunday.

 

2018 This work is copyrighted.

(If you are interested in more of my work, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.) 

Children of Neptune

The children, see how they are growing,

palms in air, atoning.

They are arising.

 

Neptune’s offsprings,

they water our lawns with tears

and carry our conscience in their levis.

Not far from the mother’s breast,

they dream

of undoing what’s been done.

Voices, raised like thunder,

they pluck and plunder

the rot they’ve been fed.

 

Sweet day, our children have come to charm us,

disarm us with our own mirrors.

They live in borderless towns, they do,

 stepping in tune

to times that are not.

 

Marching over yesteryear,

yellow tape,

they come to police profiteers of pain

with their sweetness,

a lethal weapon.

 

The children, see how they are growing.

Palms in air, they are arising.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds,

they carry the jewel and the nectar,

 the peace offering,

the means for the end of it all.

 

This work is copyrighted and cannot be published without permission.

 (If you are interested in more of my work, check out Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.)

 

Independence Day

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Liberate the truth,

unbind Her from the corset

that has cinched her flesh and breath,

cracked her ribs, and

           created curves to please the eye

at the cost of truth.

 

She is a        hostage

held in sacrilege,

              a body most high.

A body of water reflecting sky’s longing,

but also its clowns, and eagle shaped clouds

                               that curve and shapeshift truth.

That turn Her into a paper doll,

            Barbie

manufactured from our longing

for super heroes, white horses.

Liberate Her        from all this nonsense.

 

Let us see Her wardrobed in idealism,

injustice,

let Her reflect the truth of who we were,

             who we          are

and finally, who we want to be

                 naked, in our mirrors.

 

Let sunlight impress itself on

Her,

and let Her reflect back its gold glory

           but in truth as borderless as sky.

 

Let Her be uncloaked from lies

that have choked Her neck of expression

                            with the fat fingers of history.

Let us see with eyes        anew

the shadows we cast

so we can open wide the window of this day

to greet the birds of despair with new hope.

I am                              free,

you are                free,

together we uncork this truth

and drink of         it.

 

Give Anger A Facelift

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Like so many, I have been in a fog, a wet haze, as I have watched the world turn itself upside down. I have retreated, withdrawn myself from the madness and mayhem in hopes of reconnecting with my own knowing. This takes time and discernment…and the grace of fortitude to keep me from the fray.

I have been following sage Buddhist advice by walking away from the spectacle. At this time, there is no winning in discourse, no matter what righteous side or angle your view. Even the most righteous today drink from the well of anger.

It is inevitable that anger begets more anger and as we are exposed to it, we spread it generously like cream cheese on a bagel. It’s nuclear. So picture yourself walking around with dandruff-like nuclear particles which have rained down from the atmosphere.  We are becoming radioactive.

I know it, I feel it. In these months of quiet, I have listened, watched and read the anger and righteousness out there–and I can tell you both have the same energetic intensity. So within, so without. As we digest a daily diet of anger, bubble and percolate in our nasty stew, we begin to express it ourselves and it takes shape in our world.

We are all giving IT permission to exist. We may dress it up real pretty in politeness or  righteousness, but anger in candlelight is still ugly.

What do we do?

To paraphrase the sentiments of Forrest Gump and Keats, beauty is what beauty does.

Be beauty. Do beauty. Take your anger and your convictions and give them a facelift. Turn them into action, into grace. Leave the drama, the spectacles, the talking heads invested in stirring anger, and go and create from your calm.

Create from your passion, your convictions, your love– not your anger. When you create from fear and frustration, what you create is rooted in that. Stop spreading the seeds of anger, inciting hate disguised as something else. Your thoughts have power. Your words are instruments of love and destruction.  What will you create with them?

The world is sideways,
unsure what to do in rain.
Every crevice of earth,
damp and fertile
is ready for planting.
Do we allow anger to mold into ruin?
Do we spread fear like peanut butter and pack it for lunch?
Or do we plant lilies and restart our clocks?
The womb is wet and warm, seeded for life.
The climate, fertile for growth,
either way.
I think I will plant lilies,
dropping seeds like my favorite jelly beans,
licorice,
and watch the sweetness take root.

–Lisa Froman (If you are interested in more of my work, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.)

The Way

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My lungs dilate,

weighted with love for

               the way

the crepe myrtle flirts with the birch,

              the way

the dawn greets the grass with wet kisses.

It is too much for my lungs to love.

 

My lungs dilate,

weighted with love for

             the way

the cobweb hangs on a dare,

            the way

the lizard turns invisible on stone,

            the way

the vine climbs the trellis with no arms.

It is too much for my lungs to love.

 

Still, my lungs stretch for more,

more purple skies, more black birds dancing on a wire.

More spiders weaving their way.

My lungs are forever

greedy,

for that is 

           the way.

 

(Lisa Froman, 2017-copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without my permission)

If you are interested in more of my work, read my book Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace, available on Amazon.