White board

Every day she writes
the day, the date
the schedule of events
to help him remember

Every day
she erases the day
watches it pass
with one, maybe two
swift strokes

Gone
there it went
another day in their life together

How many more
she wonders
as she erases another
how quickly the days of a lifetime pass

The whiteboard is blank
swept clean
her heart too it seems

Stillness in the blankness
a distant ache
for something
anything
to be written

She stares into the space
waiting
wondering
with no particular image
or vision

Feeling into Blank
a strange sensation
of nothing in particular
and everything at once

--Patrice Ficken, 3/17/17

Black board

Hear the chalk scraping
on the black board of Life

Tapping out equations,
permutations
the universe of all possibilities

Matter and Energy
Thought and Will
exert influence
converging, merging
moving through

See how
this plus that
times this
Equals
then subtracts
erases

Start again
more permutations
emerging, evolving
disappearing

Stand and watch
Listen
Tap, tap, tap
writes the chalk
until it too disappears
worn down by time
the Eraser
leaving only film,
a trace of residue
fine chalk dust

Until there is only You
and the blank black board

You
the Possible
the passing of Time

You
solid, strong
standing on the Ground

Testimony
to what is
and has always been

Infinity itself

--Patrice Ficken, March 17, 2017

Koan

“What did your face look like before you were born?” Thich Naht Hanh

My face
beams rainbows
glitters stars

My face
has no beginning
no end

My face
vibrates
sings
sees all

My face
contains nothing
and everything

My face
smiles to eternity
its laughter
makes the earth spin in its orbit

My eyes
reach far into canyon depths
vision high above mountain peaks

My nose
breathes in
the very breath of life

My mouth
breathes out
sea breezes and desert winds

My smile
lights up the sun

-- Patrice Ficken, June 2014

Removing a Thorn Bush

Let me tell you
about all those twisted thoughts
so tangled up together
hard to tell
where one ends
and the other begins

Removing a thorn bush
I learned
only small cuts work
mid-way between thorns
to make space to grab hold of
without drawing blood

Slice and
pull free with the clippers
be careful

I learned the hard way
trying to make quick work
by grabbing hold with my hands
ouch! prick! red ooze stains my gloves
sharp thorns stuck to my sweatshirt

The struggle got personal
forced me to get real quiet inside
focused, patient
intentional with my clippers

Piece by small piece
I followed every twisted pathway
right down to the root stem

Then I took my shovel
dug it up for good

-- Patrice Ficken, June 25, 2014

Go Home, Wilder than the Road

Go home
wilder than the road
Forge new pathways
bush whack through thick brush
thorns and thistles

Feel the squeeze
the pressure of limitation
press your face
against cold, wet stone

Fall into the dark, dank cave
of misery
beg on your knees for mercy
for a ray of light

Wander alone
into the silent land
listen
crave the slightest stirring
feel lost
for a very long time

A door appears
never where you look for it
at the dead end place
where you had lingered
lost many times before
and found nothing

This door, once a solid wall
will open
inviting you to cross the threshold

As you leave this road behind
take one last look back
to behold the beauty of your journey
the perfection of each and every step

-- Patrice Ficken, December 8, 2015