A Minute with Michael

A topnotch WordPress.com site

The Tyranny of Damaged Ego

The Tyranny of Damaged Ego.
The misunderstanding of self.
Who we perceive ourselves
to be when compared with the
societal expectations placed upon
us by others or what we expect of ourselves
in a social setting.

Classic Ego, Freud would say, was just
your conscious mind and how you
distinguished yourself from others.
This is “me”; That is “you”.
Yet, it seems to this conscious mind;
Ego is easily corrupted.

Corrupted by childhood traumas,
accidents, punishments, embarrassments,
jokes gone awry, lies we tell ourselves to feel
better, beliefs we clung to despite being proven false,
and perhaps not being understood by the people that
are supposed to understand us.

That damage, causing a misrepresentation
of ourselves, to ourselves, leading to feelings
of inadequacy, failure, fear, panic, anxiety,
depression, and long-winded poems about
one’s sense of self in very trying and
emotional times.

Damaged Ego is a tyrant.
Ruling over the hemispheres of our
minds like some golden idol from history,
bent on total domination through
the tactics of, suspicion, division and doubt.

A smiling tyrant wielding a globus cruciger
as we wander in the no man’s land of
self-pity and self-incrimination, searching
for some normalcy in the ever-pitched battle
between me and mine.
A tyrant to be defied often, even defeated.

Defeated and defied, buried away, giving room
for the true self: the happy, go-lucky, self-satisfied
person I want to be. The genuine me who I want to be
when not in the throes of some exasperated emotional
state brought on by the most infinitesimal of troubling events.

That Damaged Ego Tyrant, buried for a time
in a tomb, unearthed and revived occasionally,
by some bumbling archeologists who knew not
what they were doing. Unleashing something
like a cursed Mummy, set to take revenge on those
who woke it from its slumber.
Rising up from the dust, to start the battle again,
over and over.

We mange our perceptions of self as
best we can I suppose. We fight the tyranny
of the damaged ego.
We falter, we eulogize, we apologize,
we cry, we laugh, we struggle, we fight on.
Always hoping that after each battle,
the misunderstanding of ourselves is
lessened.

I Know What A Rainbow Is

I know what a Rainbow is.
Raindrops in the air act as tiny prisms.
Science has explained it.
I believe in Science.
Therefore, I know what a rainbow is.

I’ve seen them throughout my life,
in the sky, doing exactly as science
predicts, refracting light waves at the
correct angle to diffuse the light spectrum
and display the colors of our world.

Scientifically, pretty mundane.
Just another thing that happens,
just another part of life on this
planet. Just more of the things that just
“are” as we spin around the Sun.

And yet, regardless of the boring
science of refraction and the speed
of light and the spectrum of color,
there is some curious underbelly of
majesty, an aura of mystery and wonder.

I can’t help but stop, look and marvel
at this scientifically mundane event and
think to myself (often times out-loud)
“Wow, would you look at that!”
And I am impressed.

Impressed with the miracle before
my eyes and recognize,
It’s not just boring science,
it’s undeniably beautiful.
It’s incredible.

I’m lucky enough to see such
a thing, I’m present enough to realize
how precious this moment is, to see
the sky emblazoned with all the colors
of the universe.

To know that I am not seeing it alone,
I am not there alone.
It is everywhere.
We are everywhere.
And it is magic.
Maybe that’s what a Rainbow really is.

If I am to be Loved

If I am to be loved,
how is that supposed to work?

I have often been told in order to
be loved, you must be yourself.
I have also been told that in order
to be loved, you must love yourself.
I have been told that in order to
be loved, you must sacrifice yourself.

Am I supposed to be myself?
The best version of myself?
The version most liked by others?
The version I like in the quiet?
The version liked amid the noise?
The version I like least?

If I am to be loved,
who am I supposed to be?

The fiercely independent one?
The mildly co-dependent one?
The sad one?
The happy one?
The loud one?
The one blistered by experience?

Won’t I be loved if I am just
who I say I am?
Without accommodations?
Without having to change everything?
Am I not worthy of love as I am?

If I am to be loved,
what do I have to give up?
Why do I have to give it up?

Aren’t we supposed to be loved,
by someone who accepts all our parts,
the independent, the co-dependent,
the sad, the happy, the loud, the blistered parts,
in a beautiful human package, wrapped
in a bow of contradictions?

If I am to be loved.

Ladybug

The Ladybug scared my young cousin.
He screamed when he saw it and jumped back.
I told him to calm down and that it was okay
as it was only a ladybug.

He wanted to know what
the ladybug would eat.
I explained they don’t eat people or little children,
just plants and leaves.

I said ladybugs are pretty nice
as bugs go. They don’t mean us any
harm and just want to go about
their ladybug business.

We peered in closer as the ladybug
crawled along the edge of the outdoor
mat, just outside the back door.
The ladybug, oblivious to us watching.

My young cousin was no longer
nervous of the ladybug as I again
explained that they didn’t mean us
any harm at all.

He wanted to go back inside anyway.
I opened the back door and let him in.
The ladybug, never the wiser of our
whole conversation.

The rest of the day, I thought about
what I was afraid of, what made me
jump back with a fearful shout and
whether those fears would eat me.

Or rather; what my fears do eat.

Bottling

I’m a bottler.
I bottle things.
Inside myself.

The bottles are hidden.
Sealed and stowed.
I hope they don’t explode.

The bottles are full,
of tears and torments,
rages and pains.

Stacked in glass.
Delicately, one on top of the other.
Clinking.

A rumble too far.
A jostle too much.
A shove.

A tip or slip in the wrong direction,
they all come tumbling down,
shattering on the floor.

The glass cuts.
The contents spilling, flooding,
nearly causing my drowning.

The broken bottles.
Glass all over the place.
Dampness seeping everywhere.

I’ll sweep.
I’ll mop.
I’ll clean.

Find the unbroken bottles.
Get new ones to fill.
Stack them again.

Love on an April Afternoon

So many letters, words, sentences,
lines, paragraphs, stanzas, books,
and tomes dedicated to the very single
idea of love.
It is impossible to comprehend the amount
of verbiage spent on one little, tiny, word.

We think it about all the time,
even when we don’t know we’re thinking
about it. It’s in almost every word we speak
and in every action we take.
That love thing.
Always in what we are doing.

Even if we’re doing the wrong thing,
perhaps it’s self-love, perhaps it’s stealing
bread to feed our loved ones, perhaps it’s
just love of possessions, love of a high feeling,
love misinterpreted by a mind starved for
that miniscule word. Love in anger. Love lost.

I love this or that,
I love them or those,
I love thinking of him,
I love thinking of her,
I love her nose,
I love his face.

We love.
We devote ourselves to it,
we pine for it,
we search the skies with telescopes
looking for some validation of our love,
we want it as much as we want to give it.

That one, single, silly word, that looks
sort of funny – LOVE,
Sort of skinny and fat at the same time,
lanky and short, pretty and hideous,
made and maker, taker and breaker.

Love on an April afternoon,
on the Nile, in the dark, on the shore,
in the space in between, on my mind,
out of my mind.
Put on this Paper.

Department of Resurrection

“Department of Resurrection,” said Sherry as she answered another call. The call center was alive with phones ringing and lights blinking and various phone operators all repeating the same scripted dialogue.
“Oh, you again,” said Sherry.

Sherry rolled her eyes as the voice on the other end of the line began to plead their case for Resurrection. This was the seventh call from this guy and he just wouldn’t take a hint. Sherry leaned back in her office chair, the good one, the XP-709 lumbar support Executive. She worked very hard to get it. It was amazingly comfortable. The sort of comfort and support she needed for this call. She sighed and closed her eyes. The voice on the other end kept going.

“Yes, I do understand that is a horrific way to die, but I’m afraid without direction from upstairs, we just can’t snap our fingers and just make it happen,” said Sherry.

She looked at her co-worker Sandra, all the “S” named women seemed to work in the same section for some reason. She was sure it was sexist and misogynistic, but she was normally just to busy to think too long on it. Sandra mouthed the words, “Him again?” and Sherry nodded deliberately. Sandra smirked and shook her own head in exaggerated agreement.

“Yes. Yes. I am listening to you, but I do need you to listen to me now. I’ve given you ample time to explain your position and I would hope you’ll do me the same courtesy. Thank you. Now, as I have said, we need specific direction in writing from the supervisor in order to grant your request. I understand that you feel as though you are currently in peril however, I can say with a great deal of confidence that it is entirely unlikely you’ll need the services of the Department of Resurrection. The circumstances you are describing are highly unlikely and…,” said Sherry.

The voice on the other end screamed loud enough that Sherry had to pull the headphone away from her ear. Sandra took notice as Sherry reacted.

“Sir,” said Sherry, “I am going to need you to calm down. Sir… Sir…, Sir, yes… that’s right, please lower your voice. If you want our help, yelling is certainly not the way to obtain it. I understand.”

Sherry covered her mouth piece and leaned towards Sandra. “He said they’re whipping him.”

Sandra shrugged as she was dealing with her own call for Resurrection. Sherry took a deep breath and uncovered the receiver. “Sir, here’s the best I can do. I can re-submit your request, put a rush on it as best as I can, but it’s highly likely you won’t receive a response for at least three days. Yes sir, three days is the standard minimum,” said Sherry.

“Okay, then that is what I will do sir. I will re-submit your request as soon as we get off the phone. Yes sir. It’s honestly the best I can do. Okay then. Alright… thank you. Yes sir. Thank you. Good- bye,” Sherry hung up. She groaned once the line was cleared. She started typing the Resurrection request slip out and clicked the “Submit” button. Her phone rang again and she answered.

“Department of Resurrection…. yes, the standard is three days. Jewish king? Sorry, there’s no exception for royalty. No sir,” said Sherry as she leaned back in her chair again. Thank God for comfy
chairs.

Castle on the Sand

The madness.
The meanness.
The unfathomable hatred.
Woefulness too ugly to bear.
How can we still be here?
How is this still a thing?

I can’t comprehend it.
I don’t understand.
We can have no agreement,
no reasonable discussion.
It’s only thoughts and prayers.

It has drained me to my depths,
to the very marrow of my bones,
with no weeping left in me,
replaced with exhausted stoicism,
I can’t make much more of it,
yet it won’t go away.

Over and over,
no lessons ever learned,
nothing is gained,
treading water in the ocean,
castles on the sand,
a ceaseless loop of inactivity.

I asked her what day it was
and she told me, “Today.”
I did not chuckle or smirk.
I thought it was a mean answer,
smug and condescending.

She thought she was so funny,
though. She smiled at me.
“No, really, is it Tuesday or Wednesday,” I asked.
“It’s Wednesday, I think. I don’t know
anymore. I stopped keeping track,” she said.
“I’m going to say it’s Wednesday,” I said.

I was hoping it might be a day
we weren’t killing each other.
But I’m not sure about it.
It’s too early to know.
I’ll have to settle for Wednesday.

Putting Your Irish On

Putting your Irish on
is how we seem to celebrate
the religious persecution of
the native religions of Ireland.
Seriously.

Sure, we all love green beer,
green outfits, and fun Irish themed
tee-shirts with fun phrases about
how much of a bunch of drunks
we Irish are.

We love our Parades and bars
filled to the brim with Irish cheer,
music, dancing and copious pints
of our favorite libation.
We do indeed.

Yet, lest we forget, this Holiday
(one of my sincere favorites)
is all about the Roman Catholic
Church subjugating the Native
Irish.

Those snakes St. Patrick drove
from Ireland were not literal,
they were the Druids and other
home grown belief systems in place
long before dem dirty Catholics.

So, if you do celebrate your Irish
Heritage with a few pints, I just
would like you to keep it in mind
that this day, St. Patrick’s Day,
is more a day of subjugation
than Irish Pride.

However, if your celebration is
all about how happy you are your
ancestors rose up out of the muck and
mire of Irish poverty, crossed the pond,
and built a new life for the future and
future generations, then have at it.

Raise you glass in a toast to the Irish
blood running through your veins and
remember all the struggles of your
ancestors, be it through religious persecution,
poverty or a desire for sweet
freedom, made you who you
are today.

Celebrate that with a pint
or two, or three perhaps.

Sláinte!

The Parlor Games

I watched her eat. 

She delicately lifted 

each forkful of the 

French silk pie to her mouth. 

She took dainty bites. 

I blushed. 

I felt silly watching her. 

The parlor games of flirtation. 

She knew I was watching. 

She knew I was in the game. 

I blushed again. 

The embarrassment of my desire filling my face.

The orderly entered the 

day room.

“Okay old folks, TV time,” he said.

I turned in my seat and reached

for my cane.

She wiped the corners of her

small mouth with a napkin

as another caretaker wheeled

her wheelchair away from the table.

I won’t see her again

until breakfast time.

I hope I can watch her eat

her scrambled eggs then.

The game never stops,

the attraction never wanes,

I imagine her and I together,

being young, instead of old.