24 November 2015

Survival Count

The Bobo Doll Experiment

Every day I am a survivor.

I know before reading the news
by counting throbbing eardrum beat,
touching shoulders and feeling feet
as soles reach for partner soul’s warmth.

Human desires exceed our grasp, the dead
remind us by daily absence
and by the count out from silence
of daily lists of casualties.

Why do we not count down the survivors?
World meters dot info turn-churn
10 more births per second over
seven point three million living—

But they do not subtract the toll
of daily suicide bombers,
inescapable drones, numbers
of children drowned, sacrifices.

They don't record fatalities hidden
in homes or enforced legally
so women pay unequally
with rape, battery, slavery.

Not numb yet, I visualize cartoon
pop-up character Road Runner
and Wily Coyote’s ever-
more complex killing schematics.

The weak outwits the strong but never ends
his life.  No Bozo, he waits, he
bounces back, like fall-winter nee
the spring-summer, he cycles on.

Wake up slowly, no number than before,
number ourselves among the in-
evitable ever living
spirit striving on despite all.

We let our reach exceed our grasp as much
as possible—much more as led—
beyond our own living and dead
to where we wake a difference
every day we are survivors.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

23 November 2015

Reach the Top Shelf

Image result for SIgnage: Don't dispose of feminine products in the toilet

The sign says “Don’t Dispose of Feminist
Products in the Toilet.”  Oh, it once said
something completely different, but it’s
been years since speed reading femi- led else-
where than to this woman’s way of knowing.

And I nod-grin every time the words
enter my consciousness.  Thank you, Sanit-
ary Workers of  America!  Unite!  We need
reminders to hold Self and Thought and Voice
precious whether alone or together.

How long have I left mine on a top shelf? 
Most recently Black-Lives-Matter actions
bid me take mine down, dust them off and use
them.  Please forgive me, Friends, I say. Help me
to honor truth and faith as in the past.

The sign says “Don’t Dispose of Feminist
Products in the Toilet.”  I nod-grin and
unbend my creaky back to stand upright.
How good to see young people lead, I think,
How good to follow truth as it stands up.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

20 November 2015


The physical therapist
leaves to “grab” some heat.
Her favorite verb is “to grab”
and she says it passionately:
grab the box, grab the chart,
grab some time and grab some water.

She’s choking and needs to sip—
and I try to count clam shells
while watching her and using my pelvis muscles.
The backs of my hips hurt
like muscles awaking and saying
Wheee! Look! At! Me!
as I turn on my stomach
for leg lifts: one two three
down, two two three down

and so on, one set of ten
on each leg and then an extra five
if I’m not too tired.
As instructed, I grab a little rest
before finishing,
before the ice pack
reduces swelling and I grab
the elevator down
to my car
and ride home.
How energetic!
For years my favorite verb was “to do”
and suddenly that seems passive and staid.
I don’t do exercises—I exercise. 
I grab at life with legs, hands and
hips—maybe even with teeth.
And when I have vitality back,
I’ll grab it and then hold it
in the curve of my fist.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

18 November 2015

Happy Haiku

Tree Silhouette | by Simmo1024
Tree Silhouette by Simmo1024.

A little mercy
raindrops slowly weeping on
drought-opened ground cracks

Patiently dousing
fire-cleared forests bringing out
shades of black and brown

Snow will cover sleep
healing hot with cold and
dry with wet relief

Dream of waking, friends,
rising slowly with roots deep
as bodies are full

Returning mercy
for harm, nurturing all un-

For  my prompt at 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mercy

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

15 November 2015

Life's Journey

Two Women Sitting at a Bar _detail__ Pablo Picasso_ 1902_ Blue Period_ Royal Academy of Arts_ London_ UK
Two Women Sitting at a Bar (detail), Pablo Picasso, 1902, Blue Period, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK** 

A long Twelve Steps to freedom from
dependencies of every kind—

Mine was emotional when I
was young and is independence

Now: Go figure! Approach-retreat
like falling-rising-falling is

Existence-rhythm, breath and heart
to jam with in or to resist.

I used my drugs to build up walls
that I delight in smashing now

The choice: sledge hammers or e-rose
shun, non-violent emergence

We start at stair bottom, our tread
both light and heavy, with or lone

And often find ourselves again
in rise or fall and never done

Illusory, our outward acts
as if inward were not on top

As if we could do more than work
on self, at every moment

What you see is the clich├ęd ice-
berg tip, not always present fire

Crucibles of the spirit burn
to light the way forward 
and our time.

**Image Found at Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation on 12-Step spirituality which inspired this poem.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

14 November 2015

Becoming Seedlike

File:Florists' wholesale catalogue. - seeds, bulbs, plants, &c (1911) (14781263421).jpg

Mindfulness meditation takes away
the stress of waiting. It develops roots
instead of frown lines while core muscles train
to hold my spine again (without quitting
before the day is done). I watch you seeds
hold still until your time. You make it seem
quite easy, but you have more practice.

Besides, I am not old enough to be
content with s-l-o-w gratif-ica-tion. I
expect ready to wear, to eat, to move
into as fast as I can say “Google.”
Imagine raising sheep, collecting wool
and carding, spinning, dying, knitting all
to wear a sweater! Imagine waiting.

I watch you seeds hold still until your time.
Fresh from the fruit, you yawn ready to sleep
until the sun consents to warm and ground
decides to moisten you this year or next.
You wait, while I locate my core and move
as if I could make healing faster. Ha!!
I meditate to be patient like you.

This seed you plant in me—desire to change—
intrigues, and makes me want to garden, too.
First stillness then modeling then ideas
from heart and root—seems easy not to push
but simply wait while something incubates—
I’ll have to practice (when I can find time).

Now, how did you make me give it a try?

For Poets United Poetry Pantry

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast