How much of our time do we spend in mind, body and soul numbing tasks? How many of us will spend the majority of our lives in a state of disassociation? I hear a lot of buzz about “living” and I think the permutation of the meaning of this word is interesting, it has become synonymous with “significance,” however “living” is really just the normal function of our bodies, our physicality; significance, or meaning in the acts that we perform in daily life is where we begin to find the connections that we seek with the greater forces at work in the universe. Meaning, as it were, exists in tasks as well as in stillness, but it requires presence in the moment to find it.

How do we find presence?

I have assigned triggers to remind myself to be present, for example opening a door, touching a doorknob, feeling its state of solidity reminds me to take notice what is happening around me, to recognize how I feel, what I am thinking and finally how I am connected to all of it…seems like a lot to assign to one simple function/act, but this of course occurs in a split second once it becomes second nature to you.

Why bother? For me, it is a reminder of the importance of all acts, of how everything we do has an impact, even the inhale and exhale of breath changes something, blood oxygen levels, clarity of thought…you get the point.

If we recognize the importance in all acts whether passive or active, then we should recognize our responsibility in what we do, passively or actively. If we come back around to the disassociation that has become common place among the majority of people, we can begin to see why it is vital that we awaken presence in our lives and in our consciousness. The lack of presence has removed our responsibility in our actions or at least the sense of it; we must recognize that responsibility still exists, it is simply a matter of whether or not we actively engage presence and responsibility or disconnect from it completely.

So, the next time you have one of those moments when you can’t recall what you’ve been doing for the past few hours, rather than trying to retrieve what you’ve glossed over, use that as your “trigger” and take a moment to be present…eventually the habit of presence will become first nature.

A first time for everything…

On August 1st, 2014 I did something I haven’t done before, I always said I would only do it once…I got married.

I married a man I dated a long time ago, a man who lingered in memory just below the surface of recent events, I revisited our time together so long ago, over and again because there was always something different about that time. Maybe it is just my own tendency to romanticize life in weird ways but I just don’t think so…I traversed nearly two decades to find him again, and he, me…if there isn’t significance in that, then I don’t know where significance exists.

It is easy to forget many things because the inundation of life, the stress that happens with it, and the chaos buries much of the past. We should pay attention to the things that surface over and over, the gods, the universe is trying to tell us to listen, to pay attention.

It sounds cliche to say it, but I feel lucky, I feel blessed because that thing that I knew I had, a real, and a true soul connection, though abandoned so long ago, has been found; how many people get a second chance like that?

I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t have asked for better, though I have asked for him repeatedly over the years, to have him return and see that what we had still exists despite our both having turned from it, it has changed shape…forged itself a new place within us…we are both better for it and deeply grateful.

Help this blackbird!

He was a phantom, a man I conjured from thin air and was disintegrated by an east wind, my phantom became an ache, an absence, a wisp of memory.

Astride a great white stag, traversing the depths through which no light can reach, I whispered into his ear, “why have you brought me here”?

“So that you will see…wake up, love.”






Recently a “friend” tweeted:

Dear Desire,
Please leave me alone.
Sincerely, Soul

How many times have I written that letter, prayed that prayer, uttered that mantra beneath my breath, begging for desire to go?

Desire drives me, it is not something I am particularly proud of, mainly because I want to believe that my motivations are less base and far more lofty…the sad truth is that desire IS what motivates and drives me.

Desire to find that one thing that works better than anything else I have tried before. The desire to find someone who is truly compatible with me and my myriad quirks, desire to write the perfect poem, you know, the ONE poem.

Then there is the desire to help others, the desire to infiltrate and fit in where I normally would not, and this never ending desire to eat pepperoni for every meal for the rest of my life.

So, as I meander through this weird thought-trap, I can’t help but wonder, what would happen if desire left me?

Do I want desire to leave me alone? And to my “friend,” (I use quotation marks because we have not formally introduced ourselves) Todd Garlington, I ask you, what would you do if desire left you alone?

Jet- by Tony Hoagland


Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel 
with the boys, getting louder and louder 
as the empty cans drop out of our paws 
like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars. 
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead, 
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish 
and old space suits with skeletons inside. 
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,

and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

And now the crickets plug in their appliances 
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation 
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex 
someone is telling in the dark, though

no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet 
we once came from,
to which we will never 
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.

by Tony Hoagland ( from Donkey Gospel)

The Flipside

For the other woman who sought me out in desperation, in an effort to understand what was happening to her, I am truly sorry.

You and I have spent months, years, trying to figure out our compulsion for the same person only to be left with no answers and our lives wrecked, yours more significantly than my own. I had the luxury of living far enough away.

It didn’t stop me from pining for him, it didn’t stop me from wanting to be at his side, from being willing to take whatever he might dish out. I don’t know what drives us, but I can be certain that you and I were not driven by the same things until we met him.

Take care of yourself, be good to yourself, leave him to the past, it is the only way you will be safe.

Sinking your darkness into night.

We’re all broken, right? In one way or another we have bits that are twisted up like train wrecks that, short of a miraculous ability to undo damage, remains twisted from point of impact; but what makes the difference between revulsion and the desire to help someone or even expressing empathy? 

All jokes aside, that man, whose sickness reverberates like a bullet on bone, has cut a swath of destruction through the lives of many people, and yet I feel sad for him. I feel sad that the only way in which he can identify with another is by controlling every aspect of that contact. 

Disbelief occupies the space which was once filled with desire, it feels better, more distant and the ache has ceased.

Little Patuxent Review

A journal of literature and the arts


Mixed Messages in Media (and More)

The Fluid Raven

A creative space.

Literary Movements // Manifesto

Course Design, Research, Archives: Ruth Ellen Kocher © 2010


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers

%d bloggers like this: