January 26, 2014 by scratchtype1
If a person runs, it can be meditative. There are some runs which are especially so, the rhythm is comfortable, the steps flow like water and the thoughts likewise. Then there are some runs which never achieve that, they end up as slogs. I don’t think, though, I’ve had a barefoot run which was a slog yet. Some weren’t particularly joyful and free-feeling and freewheeling, but I still would get that reassurance by the tap of the bare soles over the surface of the earth.
One strange sensation from having returned to running is a sensation that maybe, slowly, bit by bit, dust particle by dust particle, I might be finally hearing that voice again, that voice which would come when I could write poems or poem-ish enough that I didn’t feel obligated to hit delete. It’s been absent now almost 4 years. During which time I’ve slowly pieced the heart back together again and silently wept that I could not bring voice to the grief I felt, which haunted me through my ribs, around my heart, down my spine, in the tenderness of the fingertips. Nothing. Just frustration at no metaphorical pen to paper moments where the paper got to live and not be burned.
Then came last year. Those first unplanned barefoot steps. A world of sensation I had not known. Stone, grass, mud, tree branches, asphalt, chip-seal, under the soles of the feet. What new world was this and how was it that it had been there all those years without me knowing. But it wasn’t grief over lost opportunity, of not knowing. It was curiosity and joy, to have been blind and see colors, to have been deaf and hear sound, to have been emotionally truncated and now feel love.
Run. Breathe. Live. Run. Sing. Dance. Run. Over and over again, til each foot is doing all those things, til every step becomes a dance, til every stride becomes a brief flight away from earth the lover and then the light kiss back. So slowly I’ve been coming alive again and I feel purposeful and emboldened. I’ve been mute so long, too long, and I’m finally beginning to find voice again. It’s a voice that speaks from the feel of the feet to the earth. So maybe there’ll be poems or things somewhat poem-ish again. I’ve been rethinking a poem I wrote many years ago and wonder now if I’ll rewrite it somehow.
Yesterday summer beat us
all back inside to gloom and shadows.
Night didn’t turn out
much better, we suffocated
even when stretched out naked
on a bed without blankets or sheets.
The west opened up some time
when you were dreaming about ghosts
who come back without permission.
There’s always a graveyard within
a mile or two. You just need to know
where to look, behind a church
or maybe underneath the large rock
with moss on the northern side.
Damp and cool, that is death.
I would like it so much if in a dream
I went to speak and morning glories
burst forth from my chest. What a story
for one who cannot speak. So today
the weather cooled, relief at last
with its dark and distant heart
beating underneath — winter comes soon.
The corn will fall and shrivel, the crows
will flee and there’ll be digging again
for funerals until the ground freezes.
When that is so, the gravestones will
shine with frost on a distant hill.