Poem: Shattered Summer Dreams

The sounds are unmistakable
Frozen in the soundtracks
Of so many steamy Summer days
Baseball striking bat
Baseball slamming into glove
A recorded out for the scorebook

Every player on the field
From outfield, infield and dugout
Dreams of catching the last out
Hitting the game winning home run
Scoring the winning run
In the bottom of an October ninth

All those shared dreams
All those shared memories
Of summers gone by into the mists
Recorded in countless scorebooks
Part of a dusty, unspoken history
Remembered by so few into the future

Only a special few make it to the Show
The basepaths that they have traveled
Littered with the shattered dreams of others
The sounds of crushed fastballs gone
The screams and shouts of the victorious faded
The tears of the losing side, long washed away

Poem: Labeling Theory

Everywhere one looks there is a label to see
One proclaiming that you might get cancer if you use this
Another stating every ingredient contained within
Calorie and nutrition declared for all

Then there are the labels that are not seen
The ones we all attach to other people
Particularly when they do not conform
To the balance of our own outlook in society

We categorize everyone everywhere
By the language they speak, their height
Their weight, the color of their eyes
Even the color of their skin

By their religious beliefs, what God(s) they worship
What church they do or do not attend
The car that they drive, how much money they make
What sports team(s) they root for

Categorize, attach descriptive, and all is known
No need to communicate, no need to talk
No need to discuss, no need to really know
The label does all that work for us

Perhaps Detective Spooner was truly correct
“One look at the skin, and we think we know just what’s underneath.”
All thanks to a simple descriptive that masks strangers
Into faceless, nameless entities

A product of our social environment
Or an example of lazy analysis?
I cannot say completely for sure
But it certainly is apt for our faceless, nameless humanity

Print it, peel it, stick it and forget it
Anytime you need to know, just look close

Poem: The Whirlwind of Voting

The whirlwind can be relentless they say
Air agitated to the very edge of its existence
Pushing, clawing, ripping at they who stand against it

The same can be said for the world around us
Rumor, accusation, words agitated to their edge
Utilized as weapons of destruction against others

Moving through that whirlwind of words
Invites a destruction of one’s own soul
Left naked against a whirling reel of razor blades

Yet, we step forward into this tornado of vitriol
Every year we slid the curtain aside in the voting booth
And mark our choices with dripping blood from the cuts

Poem:The World is Watching

They stand there in peace
Carrying the “weapons” of words and hands
Speaking prayers aloud or in silence
Looking to stop the long black snake

Because where there is danger in the world
There are protectors standing…

You bring pepper spray, rubber bullets and attack dogs
Unleashing violence and harm in response
Swinging batons with harmful intent
Demanding subservience to your methods

Because whatever you think you are getting away with
There are people watching…

Many brought their bodies to offer
Upon the burning pyre of your anger and hate
Others brought cameras and microphones
To record your vicious actions

Because no matter where you think you are
The world is watching….

The winds carry a mournful sound today
A song for those injured from your actions
But soon the wind will howl a different tune
One of retribution, anger and a cry for justice

Because no matter who you think is watching
The Gods certainly are…

Poem: Somewhere Someone is Unaware of Experiencing

Somewhere Someone is Unaware of Experiencing
Robyn Birchleaf
11/1/2016

Somewhere there is a happy person in this world
Someone who does not see the politics we see
Someone who does not see the corporation rape we do
Somewhere is a person living a life happy and unaware

Unaware of people fighting one another over ideology
Experiencing all the beauty that sunrises and sunsets provide
Experiencing a life filled with peaceful purpose and calm
Unaware of the anger and violence propagated to make things right

Someone is out there, finding all the aspects of what we seek
Unaware of the anger and violence that surrounds them daily
Experiencing life as everyone else should, as an equal in peace
Somewhere – they could even be on the bus seat next to you

They Are Real

People have chided me for believing
Scolded me for walking my own Path
Banished me to a place I do not believe
All in the name of being who I am

Far back into the time of my youth
I read about all of you in textbooks
Goddesses and Gods, great and small
An everyday part of a superstitious Past

When I stared out the library windows
Looked into the branches of the trees
I saw what I never could have believed
Goddesses and Gods grinning back at me

“Soon enough” I heard in my ears
No one else made a movement
No one else had seemingly heard
I sat there, alone in my confusion

“Wait. Read. Soon enough.”
And then I saw just the branches of the tree
The silence of the library’s walls
Rushed in to deafen my thoughts

Many years later in a moldy reception area
For an antiquated mainframe system I toiled on
The voices returned, whispering that it was time
Time to step outwards and meet them

One Summer afternoon, I did just that
I got into my car and drove west
Away from where I lived and worked
Out into the western Texas scene

Passing small towns, down seemingly forgotten roads
Stopping at a small grove of mesquite trees
That sang my name in unison as I neared
A few moments later, I found Them

…and was surprised that They were nothing I had imagined
They were REAL…They ARE real

I am TommyElf

It took them a while, but my Crow buddies have figured out that I now show up at work coming from a different direction. This morning, I was finally fed up enough with work to walk out to “get some air”. I wasn’t gone long – maybe ten minutes at most. All I did was walk down to the pond near the tennis courts, and sit at the dirty, little gazebo that overlooks the waters there — and the flotilla of ducks we have there. For the past week or so, I have felt a bit “out of sorts” – if you will pardon the expression. Much like Crow buddies, it took some time for me to realize my new pattern.

While I was standing out there, with a yellow pad of lined paper in one hand, and a pen in the other – it took me three minutes to write this short poem.

Stepping out the front door
Into the morning dew
Clouds in the sky
Heralding a return of rain
Rain, heralding a moment
Where focus comes back
To where it should have been

Eye on the future
Ear to the ground
Listening to the whispers
Of Gods, Ancestors and Spirits
Pulling me back to center
Away from the Edges
To where I am meant to be

Moving up here was supposed to put me closer to work – to cut down on a drive that was nearly an hour in one direction. To give me time to do the things I have been wanting to do for over a year now. Focus on my Pagan studies, write in my journals, write in my notes…relax. And I have done none of those things.

Walking on Wild Horse Island in MontanaI have done none of these things, because I am once again falling into an old pattern. One I was in since 1986 – and was given the chance to break out of when I was unemployed. Putting my job before everything. Allowing that to be the definitive description of who I am. No offense to my employer, but I am not an Assessment Analyst. I am not a “stats guy”. I am not a “data whisperer” for a motley assortment of database systems. That’s what I do to earn money to pay for the things that I have.

I am a Pagan. I believe in the Gods and Goddesses. I communicate with them from time to time. Some more often than others. But they are real. They do exist. For those wishing to argue about a singular Entity that they believe is the only one. More power to you, but I am not here to argue. I am here to handle what they set in front of me. Arguing with others over Their existence, or trying to convince other people that They do exist — not part of the equation for me. I am not called by a particular tradition or pantheon. I am not worried or bothered with the idea of cultural appropriation. For me, the Gods call to who They call to.

I am a Druid. Specifically, I am a Druid working through my Bardic Grade in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Everything in my life revolves around a set of connections between myself and the Earth, Through the elements. Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Yes, I consider Spirit to be an element. And yes, I consider each element to be the basis of how I connect to Nature and all aspects of it. Yes, I believe in the Web of Life. Yes, I believe in the Circle of Life. Yes, I believe in how every connection – no matter how small or large has meaning.

I have my Circle of very close friends. I have blood relatives. I have friends that I have a very loose connection with. Be they Christian, Pagan, Buddhist, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist, or what not – each has earned my respect for who they are. I love them no less for whatever Path they follow through Life. Each, in their own way, connect with me on some level – and through that connection comes my respect, admiration and love. I have their back when I can. They are my tribe. They are my people.

I read. I listen. I watch. I love. I learn. I am. Some may have a problem with me over these beliefs that I hold. I truly don’t care. That is their own Path to walk, their own manner of understanding the world around them – to the degree that they can or are willing to do so. Try to impede me or my tribe on our individual and/or collective Paths, you will be in for a fight you have never seen before. Try to take an individual’s freedoms from them, and you had better be prepared to fight them to the end of their days (or yours) in this life, and the next.

I am Pagan. I am a Druid. I believe in many Gods and Goddesses. I seek my own inner peace through connectivity with everything around me. Everything has a distinct life and awareness – some at levels we are not capable of comprehending for whatever reason. I have a Tribe that is my family – not necessarily of blood and DNA, but family nonetheless. If any of that makes you think less of me, it may be best for you to simply move along. I wish you no harm. I have no quarrel, argument, debate or fight with you. But I will protect and fight for who I am. I owe that much self-respect to my Tribe, to my Ancestors that have come before me, and to myself.

Pagan, Druid, polytheist, animist, tribe member. That’s who I am. That’s where my definition comes from. I am who I am. I am defined by who I am – not by what I do. I am TommyElf.