A Poem for Niles

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This post was written for a dear friend.  Happy Birthday, Niles. You are the calm to my storm. The voice of reason to my insanity. The jitter to my bug. The Niles to my girly Frasier

Without further ado, I give you my ode to you.

There’s once was a guy from Macon
who like to shake his bacon
his hips, yours for the taking

Kidding….

but seriously….

Still Waters

While other men measure success by titles and cash
He dreams of making text dance over the crevices
of uncharted pages, imaginary characters alive in his mind
He longs to breathe life into figures he has never met.
to fire his own artistic semantic round.
to pen The Great American Novel,
with sophisticated soulful prose that linger

While other men play golf and women
He’s happier with his nose in a book
Getting lost in CS Lewis and Hemingway
Sliding between his world and theirs
walking chapters to be read. Again and again
He lives in the land of mystical lions,
not fearing the tolling of the bell,
finding his lifeline in fanciful excursions

While other men long to dominant and control
He strives to be gentlemanly and bold
A silent nod to a picture page
Old world charm, lost in a photograph
Shaking the dust off his top hat
He welcomes chivalry anew.

While other men court surface friendships,
His quiet still waters run deep
As deep as the tea he seeps
He puts his shield away
Cast the armor aside
Content to share the secrets he holds inside
He caters only to a select few
Kind beyond fault to those he holds true

While other men drown in the noise of a fast paced life
He’s busy taking comfort in starlit skies
Content to linger by the stream with Whitman and Thoreau
Green fields blooming. His soul dances in the yellow light
He smiles at the passing herd, wondering if the sheep
will ever open their eyes and see?

While other men are slaves to convention
He marvels that his soul is as free as a feather
No guise needed, a peaceful mind is on his side
He travels on, marching to his own tune
with steadfast authentic steps and exquisite simplicity

-Tosha Michelle

Alternate ending

He travels on, marching to his own tune
with steadfast authentic steps
and visions of Norah Jones
alive in his bed (Note from poet, I couldn’t resist)

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Watchmaker Analogy (Out of Sync)

fragmented

A toast to the last sip of sanity,
to a friendship, I thought would never end
Drink from the bitter flute of regret
as chaos and mistrust oxidize
the palate of life

Cheers to a relationship
swallowed whole by anarchy
The struggle of bosoms buddies
maderized on sea of lunacy
Kindred spirits no more

Raise your glass to a hint of
false truths, fair-weathered faith,
famished reason, futile declarations
Assumptions paired with judgment in excess-
verbal checkmate.

Here’s to “Judas’ daughter”
Dante’s stage prop, a sterile cross,
and a refermented simulacra Jesus.

-Tosha Michelle

 

 

Absent Song

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I imagine you in a coffee shop.
Somewhere along the West End.
Sipping your mocha
Eyes transfixed on a book
Lost in words and silent meditation
Gently tapping your foot
to some obscure tune in your head

I am but a distance speck
a muted memory

For me, you are always there
cannibalizing my thoughts
dancing in my dreams
your scent lingering
on nostalgia’s breeze

Impressions locked away
like the sweetest wine.

I recall when our days
were governed by
a smile and touch
where we ran through
the meadows of life
without a care

The grass green
devoid of tears

Summer days where we were
as wild as the flowers in bloom

I recall the pub we stopped in
to take shelter from the rain
me, with my diet coke
you with your scotch
We warmed to the sound
of hushed laughter
laced with serenity

We raised our glasses
to friendship and love
even the clouds
couldn’t shatter
the beauty of the moment

That was a lifetime ago
These days I go on with living
content with what was
Missing what can never be

I’ll always love you
and wish you were near

Perhaps, one day you’ll
look to the sky
and reflect on
a girl with golden hair,
and feel the silence
of her absent song.

-Tosha Michelle

Friendships, reality, perceptions and a guy named Bill.

Are online friendships “real”? Is anything really real? It all comes down to perception. Don’t we invent our own reality? Does absolute reality exist? Isn’t matter completely invisible? Isn’t our reality defined by our sense perception? If reality is invisible, and we give it form; is it real? What does it all mean? I haven’t got a clue. I’m paging the great Dr. Mark Kingwell, philosopher on call.

Let’s take the word “real” out of the equation and focus on what friendship means. (Perception)

What constitutes a friend? It boils down to an individual’s needs. For myself, I am not a people person. I don’t need a constant physical presence to feel fulfilled. To me, a friend is someone who gives emotional support, who is there to listen and, with whom I can be myself. I choose quality over quantity. I have many associates but few friends. I’m very selective with whom I open up to. Some of my friends I have yet to meet in “real life”. However, I have spent countless hours on the phone with them. I’m always there to lend an ear. I support their projects. If they needed me, I would be there. We share our secrets, our woes, our highs and lows ((there second nature to me now) Friends are a source of growth and enrichment. Other friendships have started online and ended up offline. I’ve been really blessed. I’ve met some truly amazing people. There’s a closeness there that supersedes the physical.

In our contemporary society, making friends online is the new norm. Social media has changed the landscape of friendship. The ease now in which we can keep in touch is incredible. What I do online and offline are completely interwoven. Intimacy now develops in both the physical and online realms, often crossing freely between the two. The beauty of online friendships lies in their mutability in my purse, on my screen, in the comfort of my home. As time goes on, I think the distinction between on- and offline friendships will dissipate. That doesn’t mean that we are doom to a life, of tweets and emails. It simply means that the person we meet in the virtual realm is no longer a stranger, but someone we know and trust.

These Foolish Things

3

Oder?/Nicht?

Narcissistic and solipsistic
Perfected persona
Brilliant promotion
The Egotist HIM
Reflecting- illuminating
The Parasitic WE

Uppercase Conscience
lowercase nothingness

Exotic occultation
Discarded drapes
Faded facade
Man behind the curtain
Revealed and released

Introverted and reclusive
Urbane and well versed
Boyish and charming
Sly wit- understated grit
Ridiculously insane

Weirdly sublime
Quick to opine
Abstemious but salacious
Burlesque without the bourbon
Cranberry juice- No wine

Awkward and nerdy
Suave and dirty
A foreign culture
One of a kind
an original high

Overtly domineering
Covertly controlling
Maddening manipulator
Lunatic generator
Mischief maker

A shadow rider
Crossing lines

Chess master
Playing minds

A comedy of errors
A tragedy of wills

Mistaken missteps
Decimated land mine

A predisposed assumption
A steadfast exclusion

Forward drag

Seductive reincarnation
Poetic crossbow
Taking aim
Semantics rounds
No error in form
Story crest
Bowed illusion
Target hit

Unfulfilled ghost
Evaporated time
Miscarriage of intent
lies between you and I
Psychological filler
Masochistic reiteration
Empty leads
Bridge-less divide.

Demarcation erased
Dwindling mirage
Mind fog-lifted
Visual adjustment
Heart muted
Watch out
Back to reality I climb

Until..
of course…
next time…

-Tosha Michelle

Miss. Nothing

download (3)

1. Real beauty- the kind you find in museums and great literature- is eternal. True beauty comes from the soul and touches the spirit. Note  to all the jerks out there- it’s not about cup size or the shape of the thighs. It’s about the condition of the heart and the state of the mind.

2.Pet peeve- Fickle people who are only interested in the next best thing. Human beings are not expendable. Sincerity and genuine affection carry much more weight than false flattery.  I don’t understand having an ADD-like mindset when it comes to friendship. End rant. Cue silliness.

3. Do people who use the expression “cray cray” know how “stew stew” they sound? (ugh)

4. What’s up with the smiles, Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish? We are so going to eat you! Cue philosophical thought

5. Don’t wait on people to love you. Lead the way. Be a compass of kindness and compassion.

7. The authentic you is beautiful. If you want to impress, be yourself. Trust me, “realness” is a precious commodity. I strive to always be genuine (at times, to my detriment)

8. Speak your truth. Love without conditions. Live without limitations. Count your blessings. Life is fleeting.

9. If you can’t be polite, kindly keep you mouth shut. Manners matter.

10. On Monday, I get to speak to one of my favorite intellectuals- Author and Philosopher -Professor, Mark Kingwell The nerd in me can’t wait.. He doesn’t have a pretentious bone in his body. Mark a true delight to listen to. It’s going to be a fun and illuminating hour. (stoked)

Tune in here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/laliteraticarpelibrum/2015/04/27/the-return-of-philosopher-and-author-mark-kingwell

Miss. Nothing.

Final Thoughts:

The mark of a true rebel (to me) is a person who fights against apathy, who embraces their humanity and looks beyond the surface. It easy to be mean spirited, selfish, materialistic, and shallow. It takes heart and tenacity to embrace traits like honesty, integrity, compassion, kindness, and loyalty.

It’s not about taking the moral high ground. No one is better than anyone else. We don’t all have to believe a certain way or be a certain way. But it sure would be nice if everyone could embrace love, forget about hate, and learn to live in harmony. Hey, a girl can dream. By the way, my rebel wears a suit, smells like Dior, and is handy with a wrench, a pen, and frying pan.

Anyway, gather round, children. Let’s all hold hands and sing a rousing rendition of Kumbayah.

CAPTAIN SCARLET

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-193

 I wrote the poem below for my mentor and dear friend Colin Smith. He had just turned fifty the time. I wanted to honor this milestone in some way. You see Colin has changed my world for the better. His guidance and support have been invaluable. He has taught me to see the sublime in the ridiculous, to slow down, to breathe, to be at peace with the world. (The world is easy; it’s me, I still struggle with). Mr. Lovely has been instrumental in awakening my rebel spirit, a spirit that no longer sits meekly and quietly in the background, paralyzed by fear and insecurities. I have found my voice and purpose in life. .We are not meant to be stagnant. We are meant to move, to be, and to give back. We can change the world for the better (Tosha 2016. Rock the vote).. I’ve grown and blossomed so much through my interactions with this soulful Brit. Colin will always have my undying gratitude and affection. He’s a bit of a paradox, a punk rocker and an academic Ph.D. in one hand, guitar in the other, Professor and hellion. This poem attempts to chronicle his journey it’s not my best bit of poetry. I warned you. It may not be a work of art, but it was a labor of love.
Note- the quoted lines are lyrics from Colin’s songs.

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CAPTAIN SCARLET
ByTosha Michelle

I

“Every since I was a child all my dreams been running wild”

A baby is born with the heart of a warrior.
A restless spirit, a soul full of magic
In need of a place to call his own.
Into his life walks a beautiful woman.
Singing to him her sweet motherly song.
He will be her son now, and she will be his protection and hope.
These are the days of security and peace.
A blessed refuge and reprieve, but alas not meant to be.

II
“Hate is like a battle, love is like a war”

A little boy grows feeling lost and alone.
Clinging to his mother, she alone is his home.
Escaping from his father who is militant and mean,
Berated and bullied it’s always a scene.
He loses himself in rockets and dreams.
These are the days of fear and survival,
Where contempt and abuse are his arch rivals.

III
“My adolescent dreams are nightmares in the streams.”

A teenager he becomes, defiance his mantra,
He’s out on the streets, looking for peace.
Drugs and needles he seeks. Hedonism and Dionysus he meets.
A life on the brink Chaos and havoc he reaps.
These are the days of excess and rebellion
A manic season of an outlaw and hellion.

IV
“We’re the kids from the block we know how to rock.”

Adulthood finds him a punk rocker with the band.
Girls and guitars, he’s pissing on czars.
His future looks grand. A rebel is taking a stand.
JJ, The Cardinal, -The Blood is the plan.
These are the days of desires and extremes,
Fighting the establishment and rocking sweet, sultry things.

V
“Loving you religiously is doing in my brain.”

A man full grown now at 25 he’s half-way to today.
The girl of his dreams, a bonnie lass is she,
He takes as his bride and a life of passion they lead.
In a few years, a daughter comes along.
Filling her daddy’s heart with song
These are the days of stability and chaos,
Anguish and bliss, and love not without risks.

VI
” I don’t want fortune. I don’t want fame. I want a piece of history.”

A time of changes comes on strong with 30’s drumbeat marching on.
His mind begins yearning as he develops a hunger for learning,
His thoughts, they are a turning, his soul burning.
Off to college, he goes. The seeds of knowledge sown.
These are the days of highs and lows,
Of books and enlightenment and he grows.

VII
“The bouquet of insanity left me a wreck, but I won’t forget.”

The 40”s find him on his own; his family gone.
Somehow, somewhere, someway it all went wrong,
Some things in life are not meant to be.
Sorrow is all he sees, but time moves on.
Through adversity, he finds his strength.
The depth of his spirit, humanity is his link.
Finding his Magna Charta, he realized his purpose.
Justice and liberty become his new song,
A magnum opus for us all.
These are the days of devotion and emotions,
His soul for humanity is causing a commotion.

VIII
“The road less traveled, it’s the one I’m own”

At 50 now what will be will be.
He has miles to go before he sleeps; He cannot rest life is still a test,
But his future is anything but bleak, His spirit far from weak.
Riding out the highs and lows, Tempering the desires and extremes,
Ordering security and chaos, Challenging the unchallengeable dream.
Understanding from experience, he fights the true outlaws and hellions
Humanity his devotion.. Lost in emotions

These will be the days of Renewal and Survival. Rebirth and Revival
A rebel causing a commotion, a life in full motion.

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Goodbye Neverland

 

This is a poem I wrote about the loss of friendship.See below.  At the time, I wasn’t ready to embrace letting go.  It’s funny how we meet certain people and just know they are fated to be in our lives forever, but the universe has different plans. Reflecting back, I now understand that not all friendships are meant to last although every friendship has a purpose.  Friends come into our life for a reason. They offer us just what we need at that particular moment in our lives..They help us grow…that growth could take a week, 6 months or years, but when we have arrived at our spiritual destination it is time to move on, time to let go..Letting go is never easy. It hurts!  But the best thing we can do for ourselves is to keep looking forward and believe that everything is as it’s meant to be.

Letting go means letting go of fear. letting go of guilt, and letting go of blame.. Don’t be afraid to move on. People will always fall away, and hey sometimes they fall back.. However, we have to live in the now, to know that for the time being we’ve learned all we can from them. Don’t grieve for what is lost but rejoice for what was. Friendships are sacred and they reflect who we are. Just as we change so do they. Things don’t happen to us. They happen for us.

If there’s one lesson life has taught me is the only constant in this world are the hands of time and change..Roll with it…

Goodbye Neverland

Sunny days, walking along the beach

Collecting fragile seashells and memories;

That must not to be overlooked or forgotten.

Sitting and basking in the sublime breeze

As the tides rolled in, lulling us with a sense of peace.

We talked about books, politics and philosophy

And we argued about the latest trends;

All the while we reflected on life in all its intricacies,

As we marveled at the crystal blue waters;

Like a marvelous friendship that never seemed to end.

Blanketed by serene winds belonging to no land,

I sat with my lost-boy from Never-Never-land.

The dreamy landscape forever expanding

We were taken away to mystic distant realms afar.

Suddenly the clouds rolled in,

The wind turned cold and the sky dark and gray.

I reached for your hand thinking,

We will run and hide from the rain together; but

You were nowhere to be found.

Left alone with the ominous sounds of waves

Crashing on the shore, I called out for you, but

The thunder cracked the air, silencing my breath away.

Where did you go my friend?

I need you now to guide me home.

Who will help me board up the windows?

I cannot secure the house all tight alone all night.

Was it just an illusion, thinking you would stand with me and fight?

How could you leave me alone battling the storms?

Consumed with pain and fear for our friendship so fragile,

That it could not withstand mere earthly elements.

Just like a storm, we grew together, raining our tears,

Until we ceased to be; just as a storm ends bringing about

The inevitable clear blue skies of fair weather, friend.

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The Tangled Web-My Journey to the Center of the Internet

My darling friend Jane wrote a web log about her experiences on the internet last week. It is a must read.  You can find it here. 

 

http://jerphila.wordpress.com/

 

Her musings have inspired me to write about my own internet saga.  Let me set the stage for you.  The year was 1999 and I was still very much a baby, at least emotionally. You see, I had always led a cloistered and sheltered life, a relativity happy life. Blessed in many ways. . It’s as if I had stepped right out of an Austen novel However, this was a difficult year for me, the hardest of my life in fact. This was the year I walked straight into a Bronte narrative, Emily’s not Charlotte’s.  I was struggling both emotionally and physically. My situation made me a hot mess of crazy (as oppose to my usual quirky mess of nutty) My emotions were all over the place and the quarter life crisis was in full swing.  Good times, y’all.

 Have I set this up enough? Do you get the picture? Imagine “All About Eve” meets “Brian’s Song”. It was the year of my discontent that I discovered the web and all its mysteries. I was like a kid in a candy store, a very innocent and fragile kid.  The internet opened up a whole new world for me and I met some really interesting characters. One would become a lifelong friend and to this day is like a sister to me. The other came into my life for a season to guide and teach me some valuable lessons about myself and the world at large. Lessons that took awhile to take hold, I’m nothing if not stubborn. This person taught me to be real with myself, to be honest.  They helped me find parts that were lost, they showed me parts I had hidden away, they exposed things I did not wish to look at yet needed to and they encouraged me to believe in myself.  Through their support, I learned to stand on my own two feet and found my voice. I learned I had more courage than I thought and discovered an inner strength I never knew I possessed. I learned to appreciate what I have and to live life to the fullest with no regrets, no excuses and no looking back. They also taught me how to let go of fear, guilt, anger, and the hot mess crazy side of myself. On a trivial note, it was from them that I acquired my love for “The Princess Bride”

 

Both these people were my anchors and life lines. They helped me reconnect with my authentic self and discover new levels and depths to my personality. Of course they had to put up with a lot of drama and angst too.  I will forever be grateful for their support. I will always remember their kindness and how they were a catalyst for major changes in my life. All for the better. 

 

It was also through the internet that I met my friends, Jane, Niles, and Mr. Lovely himself Colin. These relationships have morphed into real life. What a blessing.  I am forever indebted to Jane for always being a sounding board, my soul sister and partner in crime. She makes me laugh and amazes me with her tenacity and spunk. She’s beautiful inside and out and the ying to my yang. Niles is my brother from another mother and my eternal introverted bibliophile buddy. He’s a quiet, gentle soul full of knowledge and kindness. Then there Colin he is my mentor and a myriad of the mystic and profound. It is through him that I have learned so much about humanity.  He inspired me to become an advocate, to do more, expect more and be more. Of course there was also the eccentric and magnetic Dr. Suglia but that’s a blog in and of itself.

 

I suppose with any good, there is always the bad. Sometimes the angels become the demons. I have had my fair share of bad experiences on-line. These have occurred over the last few years. I had a cyber stalker. This person created a fake page and used my name and pictures. They wrote horrible things on it. They also tormented my mother. Nobody messes with my mama. GRR! It was absurd and ridiculous. Thankfully, we had a good friend who was able to help us deal with the situation and put an end to it.

I have also come across a few users who prey on kindness. You know the type of people who have an agenda and seek you out to use and then discard. They suck you into their twisted game of deception all under the guise of friendship. Scamming and scheming is all they know.  These people are masters of deception, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They appear sweet and unassuming but much like the holly at Christmas they are poison They leave behind only carnage in their wake.   They take hot crazy mess to a whole new and terrifying level.

My Granny always taught me to make sunshine out of rain. In some ways even the negatives are positives because through these experiences I have become more enlightened. I’m not the same gullible, sheltered waif I once was. My eyes are wide open. The girl that longed to see the best in people is still alive in me.  I hope I never lose touch with her, her childlike exuberant sustains me. She’s just older, wiser and more in tune with the ways of the world.

I’ll end my saga by saying the internet is a paradox full of wonder and lackluster. It can be the great equalizer and the great enabler.  I love it tremendously and abhor it whole heartily.  It will never take the place of reading a good book, a walk in the sunshine, a glass of sweet tea, traveling the globe, a warm hug, or spending time with those we love. But, it can be a place to connect, communicate, learn, create advocate and be entertained.

Oh and watch adorable cat videos. Meow!

 

 -The End