Exulansis

“Exulansis: the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

I’ve stood outside stone walls built out of conformity several times in my life

There was no effort to throw down a rope ladder

Or extend the draw bridge

I was outside

That was very clear

I’ve been caught 

Talking to myself

Out loud

Trying to run through 

explanations 

Of why events took place

Why options were limited

Why my life wasn’t as perfect

As you so clearly saw it could have been

With broken windows

Cuts and bruises

Children crying in the street

None of this should have happened

Because all you have to do is work hard

And pray

Well, I’ve been on my knees

Talking to God 

But he lays burdens on people’s shoulders 

That he loves the most

People He wants to use to see the invisible

I see you building up walls again

Shutting people out

Because they didn’t follow the formula

Despite not having the same ingredients as you

I see them standing there

Talking to themselves

Out loud

Trying to explain

I can’t imagine what lives they have lived

But I’ve talked to God 

And I can’t communicate what He said 

At least not in words you’re willing to hear

Because a lot of times we confuse definitions 

Of who people are 

Making good intentions

Dirty words

That symbolize hypocrisy 

Instead of the most giving of loves ever shown

I know I’m not the only one crying 

There is a reason

The drought is almost gone

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Lachesism

“Lachesism: the desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

We lock our doors

Set our security systems

Fasten our seat belts

Put on our helmets

Mark the exits 

Receive emergency alerts by phone

But there are times

We long to hear the screech before impact

To see our lives go up in flames

To brush our fingers with the gates of heaven 

And glimpse

God’s face

Only to have a chance to start over again

Gain inspiration

Be forced to shed our old skin

Finally feel uncomfortable with routine

We need disaster

In order to have the chance to rebuild

Sometimes we need a wall

To learn how to dig

Sometimes we need oppression 

To realize what we want

Sometimes we need carnage 

To remember our empathy

What curiosity we must be to the animals

That observe us

Crashing and thrashing and throwing and yelling

They simply live to survive

And enjoy a moment of peace when it arrives

We bask in our privilege

And throw bombs to remind ourselves we are alive

Kuebiko

“Kuebiko: a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
I have felt a hand around my throat

I have been fearful for my existence

I have felt pain from words that were meant to puncture the skin and leak their venomous tip into my veins

I was not in a battle zone

I was not in a forgotten war-torn country

This violence is next door

It is in the bedroom

It is in our neighborhoods

Burrowed beneath normalcy

And fake facades

It changed me

Inevitably

Accidental caresses

Feel like brutal collisions

Passing in a hall

In a grocery store

At a library

My metal defenses go up

Turning

Ready to fire back

The confusion that meets me 

Reminds me

This hostility is not normal

It is not necessary

It is the symptom of a dog that has been beaten

Yes a dog

An animal

A loyal friend 

Who has the least amount of evil intentions on earth

Yet is kicked and punched and set ablaze

For entertainment 

For a release of anxiety 

I am tired

I am exhausted

From the memory 

Of so much pain

Memories are lost for a reason

Why do some stick to the creases in the brain like unwanted plaque? 

I will floss tonight

And spit out this aftertaste 

Of betrayal 

And broken flesh

Ellipsism

“Ellipsism: a sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
I told the world things would change

I told the world I could fix their problems

I told the world to step back and watch

Reality

What can I control?

I can’t control the wind spreading fires

I can’t control people spreading ignorant hate

I can’t control people lying

Hope

I can build a structure out of stone

I can treat people with kindness and love

I can speak the truth and shine spotlight on those who don’t

We never know if what we build will stand for centuries 

Or

Be torn down as soon as we fade away

But all we can do is plan for the future

Do what is good

Do what is kind

Do what is right

Selfishness is fruitless 

It leads to war

Causes destruction

If you want your legacy to be a wasteland

Keep stamping your name on everything you touch

Vemödalen


“Vemödalen: he frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

I’ve seen this

You’ve seen this

We’ve all seen this

But oh my

How it does capture my eye

And my breath

And my imagination

How it takes the particles of my being

And spreads them out over the earth

How it moves me over places I’ve never been but always wanted to be

I’ve been stuck in the middle of the ocean

But all I saw was salt

And water

I didn’t see the way it meets the surface

How it makes love to the sand

How it moves the edges of society where it wills

Not where it is wanted

But where it demands its presence

It has been seen

and admired

And photographed 

Since the beginning of time

Etched into stone

I wish I could have been the first to see its magnificence

Following the sound of vibrations that would inspire a renewal of all that is

We are drawn here

And each wave is a new beginning 

To what could be

What will be

I will be here

Watching as the sun sets

And the world begins again

Anecdoche


“Anecdoche: a conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening” – John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
The most important comes first

Followed by the one that makes a good point

Followed by the solution

Followed by the answer

Followed by

Confusion

A question 

Still unanswered

Ears are closed

As the walls crumble 

The foundation 

Disintegrates into the waves

Crashing against a weathered cliff

That held the truth

We speak louder

Now yelling over voices that don’t know what they are saying 

But struggle to exist 

Above the crowd

Of arrogance

And pompous self importance

That will win awards

And elections

And hearts

Before it implodes the carriers from the inside out

A ticking time bomb

That rode in 

Inside the horse

A gift of friendship that was greeted with an important speech 

Talking 

Talking 

Talking

STOP

Listen

To the sound of your silence

Listening

Beyond the mechanics of the cochlea

Processing 

Comprehending 

Building understanding beyond yourself

A room full of speakers

Is just noise

Chrysalism

“Chrysalism: the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm” -John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
I understand your anger

Let it rage

Let it consume the horizon

Let it crack open the sky

Light up this parallel universe that pretends to care about what it does to you

I will cover my naked body with the soft warmth of a pleated duvet

Being therapeutically entranced by your righteous anger

Bringing flashes of the future into my room

I feel the passion you stomp into the earth’s core

It makes me feel humble to observe your gracious tears that comfort the tortured landscape

I will not interrupt

Or attempt to block out

This much anticipated devastation

I will respect all that you have to show us

From within this hollowed frame

That shields me from your wrath

Jouska

“Jouska: a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head” -John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
I play it over in my head

Explaining what I did

But I don’t think even I fully understand

I don’t even know if it was me

I was following a lead

But I was smart

At least at the start

Then he shuffled me to the exit

I forgot to look around

Cover open drinks

I’ve explained it

Over

And

Over

And

Over

In my head

When I’m driving

Waiting in line

Sometimes my thoughts become mumbles

Below heavy breath

Crazy comes to mind

That inevitable sense of overthinking into insanity

But I wasn’t who I planned

Not for that little bit

That turned my life upside down

And defined myself to people I thought would understand

And intervene

At least wait it out to make sure my body floated to the surface

But I came to safety isolated

I guess that’s why it felt like I had done something wrong

Why the abductee needed an alibi

I’ve been told to have empathy

I’ve been told I’m doing it all wrong

I’ve been told to give birth in a field if I couldn’t afford to do it on my own

But that was the past

And that’s where it remains

But sometimes my mind won’t stop

It replays it

And revisits it

And rewinds it

And tries to explain it

Life is something we can’t always define

And it’s valleys can become an abyss

But once we’ve climbed to the top

Sometimes it’s okay to keep looking up

Moving step by step closer to home

A new place we have created

With new faces that don’t need it all to be explained

I close my eyes

And let the memories come and go

Watching good and bad

Pass like cars on the road

No judgment

No decision needing to be made

Life is good now

Isn’t it okay to just let it be?

Mauerbauertraurigkeit

“Mauerbauertraurigkeit: the inexplicable urge to push people away; even close friends you really like” -John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

You said those words
One

Two

Three

You to me

Love between

I didn’t return them

Not right away

Not because they weren’t felt

But I had to figure it out

Ask myself how

Could it be

That you could sincerely mean

What you said

It made me mad

Now I’d have to let you down

What else could be next

Disappointment

Broken promises

Growing resentment

That’s the love I’ve seen

So I smiled and nodded

Left my thoughts under cover

Avoided seeing your face for a while

You never faltered or missed a beat

You followed me slowly

While pacing your steps

I let my thoughts wrestle around

Pointing and judgments

Found insecurities to reprimand

I saw you

After a while

Eyes like home

You stood there and smiled

Purity is the love you emanated

As you kissed my neck

I evaporated

All doubt was gone

I saw myself as I was being seen

Never felt more wholly beautiful

“I love you too”

I meant what I said

I don’t have to ask

I know you did too

Kenopsia

“Kenopsia: the eerie forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet” -John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Footsteps echo

In eerie absence

Performing pirouettes

Shadows fool the mind

There was life here

Once

Memories fade

Stories are created

About what was

Never quite as dull as reality

In all its ubiquitous routine

The absence of what was

Leaves a contradictory feeling

Of bereavement

And satisfaction

There was a suspension of hostilities

An armistice in life

A chance for an evolution

A new beginning

We recycle our way of life every day

Hopefully becoming something

Wiser

Braver

Kinder

These halls are empty

But just as wildflowers refuse to stop spreading

Life will come around again