Does It Matter?

Does it feel this way for everyone?
This darkness, this temptation, to look away,
to step away, from a silent fire.
I have been burned.
I am vulnerable.
I am afraid of speaking out.
I hold these heavy thoughts back from others (don’t they have their own concerns).
What do I keep away from myself?
Does it matter?
Couldn’t I simply amuse myself
with lighter thoughts, or gentle distractions – wouldn’t golf become
a more useful game – where the object, intent, and goal is so simple?
Who am I to think my purpose or intention is more important, or
I am simply missing the point?
I am hurting.
Am I ignoring the hurt?
My eyelids are heavy;
is it from seeing too much, or is it from trying
to keep them shut?

© 2018 j.g. lewis

Still Swallowed By The Cracks

I can’t say any more, yet I can’t feel any less.
What is happening on this planet, right now, continues to weigh heavy on my soul.
In my attempt to put it into words, I recognized familiar phrases as if I had written them before.
I had.
From February 2017. . . little has changed.

Globalization was once the buzzword of politicians, business leaders and various masters of the universe; a term used to signify the potential for growth and prosperity sold to us, at one time, as a most favourable destination.
   We, as a society (and not only that of the Western world), bought into the theory, the practice, and then the reality. We began to think past local, provincial and national, and began to look globally.
   Now, amidst the expansion and contraction of rationalizations and realizations, we can only question if we have come too far too fast. The stress cracks have been noticeable over the past few decades as economies merged and borders vanished.
   At one point everything looked good and the potential for peace and promise became more than possibility. We began to see the world respond to the tragedies and calamities on the other of the globe. As technologies increased and access to a greater range of media became more readily available, we began to see results as everything, everywhere, became virtual reality as swiftly as it was broadcast.
   There was a wave of kindness and charity countering a tsunami, and worldwide aid rushing in response to drought and famine, and terrorism. You could, many times over, have greater faith in humankind, and could believe, over and again, that the world was growing smaller and we were becoming this global village often talked about.
   Our virtues and values were fortified. We both celebrated and commiserated with strangers. Commonalities with people of other places, faiths, and circumstance, became obvious and readily available. ‘Friends’ took on a new meaning.
   But with any group of people, in any limited space, the walls started closing in. We now see, at closer range, the faults of our newfound brethren. Jealousies, differences, and indifference, grew more common as forthright opinion filled our minds and media.
   We could see it, hear it, loathe it, and then (with such easy access to this amazing thing called the Internet) complain about it.
   Day to day in the globalized news, we are bombarded with concerns, conspiracy theories, innuendo, false truths and alternative facts. We quickly learn about this planet’s atrocities before the blood stains have even dried on the sidewalks or prayer rugs. We listen to the firsthand hatred of the bigots and bullies with the frequency of weather forecasts.
   And if you listen to it long enough, or deeply enough, you become sucked into the realm of anxiety and fear.
   The cracks on the surface have never been more obvious and we find ourselves wondering where it can take us, and what should we do.
   We can’t turn it off, it seems. Those who want to make their views known can do so with the do-it-yourself social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and they can do so with an unwritten protocol and unpronounced shame.
   I, too, can and do, right here. But, I like to think I exercise responsibility if not common sense and respect. I can’t say everyone has the same sort of moral compass. I can also be ignored, or avoided, if that is your choice.
   It is difficult to avoid the proliferation of bullshit and bad judgement that seeps through the cracks of the conveniences we have come to rely upon. It is impossible to think of simply steeping away from the virtual behaviour that has become an integral part of our lives. We source our news online, we shop online, bank online, we communicate and carry on online.
   Now, while this planet is screaming with pain, is not the time for complacency, but more a time to be more selective with what you read or follow. There are things happening that will impact our lives in ways we cannot fathom, and you should not be swayed by image and entertainment value.
   Take stock of what is important to you. Find channels or themes that might bolster your spirits rather than deplete your emotional well-being. You cannot settle with only what is on the surface, but don’t get caught in the cracks.


© February 1, 2017 j.g. lewis

Meaning Comes With Age

   Summer doesn’t speak;
it whispers a conscious melody
to high-heeled fashionistas with open toes,
sunburnt brats with runny noses, and
old men who know
evening air is sweeter
when dusk has had its way.     Humidity.
Sweat of the glass,
                                 Tangueray and tonic
will take away the pain,
Mosquito bites, lonely nights
sitting on an ever- creaky veranda,
Dinah Washington crackles from the speaker.

Suddenly you appear. . .

   Any other day
flowers stand taller, like
the younger women strolling by,
getting younger by the day.
Watch them
                      and wipe
the perspiration from your brow;
the once-crisp handkerchief has
soaked up many nights of lustful thoughts.
Old men just grow older,
the meaning comes with age.     Humility.
Summer lasts as long
as a savings account wastefully spent.

Then you are gone. . .

   Over time
most of the flowers will perish
well before first frost,
mostly from neglect.     Naturally.
We will all grow tired
of looking at them,
                                 or forget the beauty.
Our minds go to other places.
Yet summer, in its capricious wisdom,
will breathe again
to those of us who will listen.
To young women
and older men.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

Watercolour painting by Kevi Remple

* selected lyrics from Invitation.
Written by Bronislaw Kaper/Paul Francis Webster,
the jazz standard was memorably recorded
by Dinah Washington in 1962. Has desire ever
been captured more sensually in a musical state?