maintain your optimism: turn the knob and open the door (classic)

Here’s another classic post that seemed appropriate
to bring out for another round. It originally appeared —
with a different Landsat satellite image — on March 19, 2009

Von Karman Vortices, NASA Landsat Image July 2002, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

This is what I lay at your feet:
The elevation of your sin above my joy
Your immutable commitment to your own swirling Charybdis
Your lust to live a life predicated on lies
And an insatiable appetite to manipulate
Every tender expression
into a gamble against unbeatable odds.

This is what I own:
Enchanted by sugarspunfine words and misguided supplication
I willingly unshrouded,
Exposed crystalline layers to malificent tundra
Shook the heavens in fervent self-immolation
Stripped bare to bone,
I led myself to the altar time and again
And bled a distillatory elixir for the delight of a desiccated crowd.

This is no place for angels!
They fall under the muddy wheels of a dispirited populace
Unavoidably drawn to light’s incandescence
Lost souls parade their moral ambiguities through the center of town
Stripped of inheritance, the meek plod to the slaughterhouse
The strong crack whips against a blistering wind.

Keep moving!
Mighty forces hanker crazy to drag you down,
Hold you in a tangle of sucker-bearing arms
Suffocate your senses with a vague elixir somnambulant
And cloak your eyes from that which is your birthright to behold!

Do not lag yet walk without destination
In circles labyrinthian, ovalis, volution
Terra firma rests on her haunches, receives your every step
It is now time to push from within!
You have labored wearily long, hard
Protected your precious offspring, fruits of creation
How deeply will you dive?

This is where the tale takes on a different hue
The table is laid for those ready to break bread dripping with honey
For you who have maintained the thread of connection against all odds
For every soul who has drawn back the veil and held steady gaze
Upon the city on the hill.

The original dawn calls your name as it rises from pale horizon
Tear away the drapes,
Awaken from your golden slumber!
The mastery that has eluded you waits on the threshold

Turn the knob and open the door.

The Optimist, Kalahari Desert, Namibia

“The Optimist,” Kalahari Desert, Namibia

On the edge of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, sand dunes are encroaching
onto once-fertile lands in the north. Healthy vegetation appears red in this image;
in the center, is a (barely visible here) lone red dot.
It is the result of a center-pivot irrigation system,
evidence that at least one optimistic farmer continues to work the fields
despite the approaching sand.

The original post garnered a few Comments
that were poetic waxings in their own rights, as evidenced here.

6 thoughts

  1. Matt,

    While I get some other things taken care of, you might want to check out two posts I did back in 2008. They don’t answer your questions directly, but they will give you a bit of a feel for how I regard my relationship with words and my writerly life.

    Meantime, I’m pondering doing a new post, though I’d rather focus more on how aspiring writers can find their own paths, and less on the facts of my own, which are, of course, entirely unreproducible and, quite likely, highly unattractive to others. Know what I mean?

    We’ll get this thing rolling. Thanks for being curious; I appreciate the opportunity to give you words worth chewing on.


  2. I love your poetry! It is incredible and I can see how you have become a professional! Is there any chance I could get your e-mail and pick your brain a little for information on how you became published? I have been recognized for a lot of my poetry, but don’t really know how to take that next step. Anyways, thanks for the read.


    1. hey Matt,

      thanks for the kind words. I’d be happy to chat with you, though I, too, am always wondering how to take the next step. My creative life is pretty organic, not so easily articulated even though I seem to have this wonderful relationship with words. Hmmm, I wonder if we might actually do the brain-picking here on the blog? Maybe others would find it interesting, too. Whaddya think? I’m out the door right now, so it may take a bit for me to get back with you.


      1. Yeah, that would be great. I think my main inquisition is what avenues you took to become a published writer? How did you go about it? How long did it take? What was the experience like? Those sort of things. Thanks!


  3. Hello,
    I really like the abstract art in this post. Speaking of abstract art, I recently took a proposal to my city council to teach more abstract art in elementary schools. Abstract art in all its beautiful simplicity mimics the spontaneousness of nature, allows everyone to express themselves in one way or another, and what’s even better, does not discriminate by ability.


    1. Hi Shaun,

      I love these “Earth as Art” photos from NASA, and tend to use them with some regularity. They so often have the look and feel of contemporary abstract art, wonderful colors, and they’re readily available without going through a lot of red tape. Perhaps best of all, they don’t need to strive to “mimic the spontaneousness of nature” because they ARE nature.

      Best of luck with your proposal. How refreshing for public school children to experience a freedom around personal creative expression — rather than struggling with more representational forms and techniques that can block the unfolding of innate tendencies.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment,


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