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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

 

 

Once I would say “table,” and mean

“table.” Once, I would say

“broccoli” and mean “broccoli.”

I would say “stone” and mean

“stone.” I really did believe

that things were separate.

And nameable. Now,

every word that comes

out of my mouth, no matter

how many syllables, no matter

the tone of voice, no matter

my intention, I’ve come to understand

that every word

is really just a translation

for thank you,

thank you for this moment.

And every silence between the words,

regardless how brief,

is really just the sound

of one hand in gratitude clapping.

 

 

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Years later I wake in the night and remember

the way he banged on my bedroom door.

He was drunk and he begged me to let him in.

 

I was in my dorm room bed, and my best friend

was visiting. The interruption angered her

and she hissed in the dark, Don’t you dare.

 

I told him to go away. He didn’t.

He pounded and begged and shouted.

Please, he said, before I heard him crumple

 

at the base of the door where I believe

he fell asleep. By morning, he was gone.

It wasn’t only my door I had closed,

 

it was my heart. I didn’t understand then

that I was too frightened to let him in.

I didn’t comprehend how our fear

 

makes us small. Years later, I want

to open the door. I want to meet him

before the drunken night and tell him, I hear you.

 

I want to thank him for bringing me his heart.

I want to tell myself, You are capable

of sharing difficult feelings. I want

 

to write a new night and walk with him

through the dark, the only pounding

our fragile hearts.

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that everyone, even the driver in the white jeep

who cut in front of you, yes, even

the elegant woman in the dairy aisle and

the man who seems lost on the library steps

and the child sitting alone on the bench, yes

everyone has a story—fears and hopes

and something to learn and someone they love

and someone who’s hurt them and someone

they long to hold. And though their stories

are mostly invisible, they’re always

more complex than whatever we project

and they’re every bit as real as our own.

The woman in the dairy aisle smiles at you,

and though she is wearing diamonds in her ears,

she looks lonely. Or is it you, who is lonely?

Is it all of us? All of us longing for someone

to truly see us. And that driver you’re cursing,

don’t we all sometimes feel as if we need

to move forward any way we can? And that

boy on the bench, notice the empty seat beside him?

Perhaps you could sit there, too, in the sun.

Who knows what might happen next?

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with thanks to JT

 

all day leapfrogging

from known to known to known

missing the feelings between the feelings—

ten thousand mysterious spaces

waiting for us to fall in

 

 

https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p05sn4xx/the-untranslatable-japanese-phrase-that-predicts-love

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And after the boy

hugs his sister

and tells her

she did a great job,

 

after he wipes

her tears and holds

her and wraps her

in his awkward arms,

 

after she leans

into him, their

sapling trunks

sloping toward

 

each other,

I want to tell him

how proud I am

of the ways

 

he is growing,

want to affirm

how much depends

on love, want

 

to say I see his tenderness,

but the soil beneath

them is unstable,

precious, and my voice

 

is full of heavy clouds,

so I wait until

they sway apart,

then I walk closer

 

and manage to say

through invisible rain,

It’s time.

Let’s go home.

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tossing my gloves

to pull carrots with naked hands—

this, how I long to speak with you

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Just as the sun enters the room

and changes the feel, the warmth,

and the power to perceive,

 

the right word, too,

can be a beam, can shine

into an evening, bring

 

glimmer, tidings of light,

make even the darkest corners

shine. Yes even one word

 

can become a prayer,

a gate we pass through

to find ourselves luminous.

 

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Inside

the

wall

between

us

there’s

a

very

thin

room—

let’s

take

two

chairs

and

sit

in

there—

not

on

my

side

nor

yours,

but

wholly

in

the

place

that

divides

us.

I

wonder

how

much

more

clearly

we

will

hear

each

other

without

that

wall

between

us

?

 

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We are entering turbulence, says the captain.

This plane does not do well with turbulence.

 

His voice crackles over the loudspeaker

just after the plane has begun to jostle in the sky.

 

I am not particularly worried about the plane.

The young engineer next to me in 14E has already

 

assured me that when considering safety factors,

the designers will double what is actually needed.

 

I am more worried about the captain’s choice of words.

It matters what we say to each other and how.

 

The ride will be turbulent, that would have sufficed.

Or perhaps, The ride will be turbulent,

 

it’s nothing to be concerned about.

The toddler in row 11 is screaming.

 

She would not feel better, regardless what

the captain said. Perhaps it is the mother in me

 

that longs to disregard the safety belt sign and go comfort her—

not so much for the child’s sake, but for her mother’s,

 

she looks so careworn and tired. I want to tell her,

It’s okay. This is just a short chapter.

 

I settle for a nod and a smile.

The truth is the world is full of turbulence.

 

The truth is it’s hard to hear anyone cry.

The truth is our work in the world

 

begins with comforting the people next to us,

strangers only until we take the first step.

 

 

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What if

we spoke

about how

we can’t

speak to

each other,

and by

other, I

mean other

versions of

our selves,

and what

if, as

the words

crashed on

our lips

like ocean

tides that

won’t be

held back,

what if

we realized

that our

speaking about

not speaking

is a

starting shore,

sea water

collecting on

our cheeks.

 

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