onefootintheclay

Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Month: December, 2015

A New Years Blessing

And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
She is trustworthy, as all new things are,
she is unspoilt, unstained, unbroken,
she has never once let you down,
she is waiting.

And though you will undoubtedly muddy her waters,
still,may you pour yourself out within them.
May you give yourself to the unfolding.
May you hold yourself up to the audacity of believing that things
can begin again,
no matter what has been, no matter who you fear you have become,
no matter the broken or the stained or the spoilt,
no matter what the past year has been,
may you find yourself
and learn to trust the person that you meet.

It is a new day, new year, the old has gone,
kiss her goodbye and do not make a new years resolution,
a list of things to improve on the outside.
There is a way that is larger.
It is called surrender.
The giving over of who you are now,
into the hands of the person you are becoming.
Listen, you will hear her out ahead, calling,
you should recognise her,
she looks like you, sounds like you, she is you.
Trust her. Trust the quiet voice. The beckoning.
You are becoming who they said you would never be.
You are becoming
and isn’t she beautiful;
You are becoming
and isn’t she worthwhile;
You are becoming
and doesn’t it feel like it should.

So may all that sits unsettled and undecided within you,
may all that weighs heavy upon you,
may all that grasps and all that grabs and all that demands,
may all the loud voices and the persistence of self-doubt,
may the fear and the frozen and the fractured and too-broken,
may it all,may it all, may it all
wash from your skin
and out into the night,
to never
be able
to hold you
down again.
It is a new day, new year, the old has gone,
kiss her goodbye.

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Yelling at the Rain

The clouds came.
The boy and I stood beneath.
We yelled. They listened.
Took away the heat.
We walked inside soaked
and happy.
It is amazing how only moments of rain
can wash away so many days of heat.

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On Vomit and Poo and a Mundane Existence

I talk a lot more about vomit and poo than I ever used to. Its true. The joy of parenting. 3am spew flowing through fingers in a somewhat hopeless attempt to avoid changing a bed sheet for the fourth time that night. Bucket lying somewhere on the floor. Wife throwing up in the room next door. Pregnant mothers with morning sickness (that really is all day sickness), they are superhuman. The next morning our boy is playing and holds up the bucket and pretends to vomit in it. Just like mum does. He laughs his head off as he does so. This is who we have become, I think to myself. Vomit and poo. They have become a consistency in my life. Often more so than writing and poetry.

And if its not these bodily explosions than its hour after hour of reading the same book over and over, the hungry little caterpillar, he has eaten through planets worth of food by now. And there can be no lying down for more than ten seconds before being pulled up from the couch to play games and to chase the boy around the house and its one more load of washing and the lawn that needs mowing and dirty dishes in the sink and this play ground followed by that one and its a crying son and counting down the hours till mum gets home and this, this is life. This is all life. The mundane kicks you in the balls sometimes. Leaves you exhausted.

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And I don’t just see it in my life as a parent. But it’s there for us all. Behind the instagram photo and the Facebook post there lies reality. Mundane reality. Vomit and poo. We spend our lives running from it, escaping from it, but its always gonna be there. Even for the full-time poet, or the famous singer or the actor or the travel photographer or the…(insert any glamourised vocation). It is all filled with the mundane. So I figure we might as well own up to it then.

Your life is not that exciting. Sure there are moments of exhilaration worthy of the movies. But most of the time its working hard and cleaning dishes and answering emails and dealing with annoying people and problems with your bowels and a friend who is depressed and its eating and pooing and buying groceries and getting sick and insect bites and self-doubt and crippling loneliness and suffocating families and watching countless hours of TV. There is no escape. Life can be so darn…boring.

But I do wonder if it has to be. I wonder if boredom comes only when we give ourselves to it. I wonder if boredom comes because we have lost our sense of wonder. Wonder at the small things. I wonder if learning how to wonder again is a way out of this. I wonder if I have used the word wonder to many times in this paragraph.

But could I find the wonder still at 3am cleaning up vomit? I am sure it must be there. Possibly in the knowing that I have a child and this child looks like me and he came out of the love of my wife and I. And I know so many people who cannot have children for one reason or another and actually how blessed I am that I can clean up his vomit and if need be I could take him to the doctors whilst so many sick children in the world do not have any access to medicine. This is life. Beneath all the mundane and all we are tempted to be bored with and escape from, I do wonder if there is always more to it.

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Sometimes, these days, I envy those not ‘tied-down’, the single poets who don’t have to provide for a family of soon-to-be four. Those able to get up and tour the world and perform and have fun till all hours of the morning, through all seasons of the year. But its not my season now. Not for that. I envy them, until I remember, how hard the reality of touring life is. I still get to take part in it, maybe not like other poets right now, but I still travel and tour. It just has to look different for me. But regardless, whether I am home with my child full time, or able to travel away on weekends or whether I have the ability just to be a free spirit and travel where the wind takes me. Everyone. Everywhere. All of us, we are still faced with the mundane. Hours lying on the ground in airports or hours trying to put my son to sleep. Cold, sterile hotel rooms or a home dripping with love and sameness. The grass seems to be always greener. It never is. So I call BULLS#%T on the ‘tied-down’ lie. I call it for what it is. A lie, a taunt, thrown at others by people wanting to feel better about the season of life they find themselves in. Rather, let the rope that ties you down be the anchor that holds you in the midst of storm and circumstance.

Perhaps the trick to this thing called life is to find the wonder right where you are. The grass on which you stand. Right where I stand. The grass on which I stand. Vomit and poo from a son who makes me laugh more than I ever have. Countless children books carefully crafted from extraordinary artists. A wife that I still call home who is soon to give birth to a Melody. Clothes hanging on a line in the yard of a house that keeps me warm and safe. Dirty dishes washed after eating delicious meals with the family and friends. Time to write. Like right now. It may not be as much as I would like. But it is there. This is life. This is all life.

So may we delve beneath the facade of the self we want to project out to everybody else. Let us not seek to escape from the mundane reality that we find beneath it. Boredom is the curse of a generation who has been given too much. Let us see if somewhere in the midst of it all we can find the wonder again. The grass is not greener on the other side. Let us find meaning in the mundane. Beauty in the boring. Enchantment in the everyday. Positivity in the poo. The virtuous in the vomit. (Ok that may be taking it too far:). This is never easy. This will not be easy. It flies in the face of societies conditioning. Especially with something so ridiculously selfless as parenting. But surely it is worth trying. Whatever season you find yourself in.

So here’s to life in all its glory and all its ordinary. I’ll see you there, in the midst of it all, probably with red tired eyes, vomit stains on my shirt and poo beneath my fingernails.

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Loneliness on the Road

We pressed ourselves against each other, bodies touching, the swell of her womb soft through clothing. A Melody between us. A plane flies overheard and I am running late. We do not do this enough. The pressing. The holding. The sinking into each other. You can feel it in the way we peel away, like contact paper, I do not want to leave. Her body is home. After 11 years of marriage, her body is still home.

I have seen her laugh more with our son
then I have for some time now,
and how I hope to God
that adding one more little girl shall only deepen these lines.

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I feel the loneliness. As soon as the car pulls away it presses in, the swell of its womb, soft through clothing, bodies touching. Loneliness. I do not want to leave. My son stares through the window, his lips mouthing one of the only words he has learnt to pronounce, “Daddy.” I cannot hear him. The blur of his face and he is gone. Lonely.

And its one more plane ride, one more taxi and one more conversation.
It’s one more hotel, one more gathering and one more lamentation.
One more
and one more
and one more
and one more.
Her body is home.
I am flying away.
Lonely.

You can usually tell within a moment if the person sitting next to you on a plane is the type to converse or to block out the world. I can be either. This day I block it all out. I do not want to meet another stranger. I do not want to make another friend. Headphones in ears. It is the same as hanging ‘Do not Disturb’ on a hotel door. Glen Hansard sings to me of sorrow. I think of my son.

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He has no idea how long this shall be
and though seven days is a short time,
seven days
plus four days
plus three days
plus five days
plus two days,
they quickly add together.
It is a long moment of pause on this family.

But he doesn’t pause. He is growing everyday. New words. New motion. New connection. He stumbles less and runs more these days. Climbs over everything. Has learnt to have an opinion on what he wants and what he doesn’t. He loves making his parents laugh. Loves trying to get strangers to pay attention. He clings to his Mum every time she enters a room. They drive home together. I am flying away.

And its new lands,
new bands,
new stages,
new words,
new friends
and none of it matters if he misses his Father.

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