The Poetry Bar

Beachcombed further… beachcombed free

I always loved it,
watching the tide –

always my rolling, go-to place.

Then all of a sudden,
it all fell away,
far beyond windows that looked onto walls…

doorways with guards on,
disclaimers to sign…

pieces of something I don’t want to die in,
kicking me
right where I live.

But just with a moment,
a whisper,
a clasp…

you find me again, pull me back in.

The movement…
the texture…
the churn,
so restless, like my own…

so vast
and rippled,
and free…

a touch,
soft enough to rest in…

to dive into breeze and soak my dreams in…

a space,
vast enough to float my soul in…
wild enough to weave my words in…

a rhythm to set my sea-lit heart by…
a combination,
torchlit through dark
and endless blue…

nature’s clockwork,
melting into stories on my tongue…

teasing my passions to speak again.

The fence at the edge of my world will never hold me,
as long as there is a tide.

And what of yours?

Where do your breakers roll in?

Where do you find you?

The real you
that sits in the core of you
and rebuilds itself when anyone wants a piece of you…

If you’re in an alley full of dross and there’s no way out,
can you find it there?

If you’re sitting in an office being talked down to,
can you find it there?

If you’re waiting in a blank little room,
curled up and broken in a blank little chair
while they prod you with answers and strategies…

while someone who can’t ever know you,
or see,
still tries to tell you what not to be…

If the walls are collapsing around your heart,
can you find the part of your heart that doesn’t need walls –

the part that builds bridges in sad, sacred places,
and raises cathedrals that sometimes only you can see?

It’s a scary thing to hold in your soul…
and lonely
and painfully free –

rolling ashore on the gallop of waves.

But you know they can’t shoot it.
You know they can’t jail it.
They can’t simply steal it and lock it away.

Whoever “they” might be…
whatever they might say…

however deep their splinters…
however tall their fence…

they can’t simply sanction your tide out of churning…
or sanction your heart out of being what it is.

This is the ocean that churns into you.

So crash through those walls when the stone tumbles down,
rip out those splinters
scream with the sea

and sing in what holds you that one time you’re free…

‘cuz this is the fence at the edge of their world

and this is the ocean that churns into you.

I’m John Hulme in some circles… Woodsy the performance poet in others.
I guess I have also always been kind of a beachcomber – though it wasn’t about collecting shells and pebbles.
This is one of those pieces I love to perform, because I see the recognition in eyes that have stared into the same tides.
These are scary, traumatic times, and I think that’s where a large part of my motivation  comes from. I want to go places I’ve not gone before, stand up in front of faces eager to pull the passion out of me and fill the room with stuff that’s desperate to be spoken…
because, as I keep finding myself saying (and people keep telling me to keep saying), the scariest stuff to say is often the most precious, beautiful stuff we have to say.
Especially now.


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