poetry

The Power of Ten Thousand Gods. {poetry}

 

Standing on a busy city street, and despite the numbered, bright green street signs, I find myself lost.

This is a city I have lived in for most of my life, yet I can’t seem to get my bearings.

Suddenly, my eye catches the quicksilver of a bar stool and then its red seat covering, and I have been found. The chaos reorders, and I am back in my body, my swirling mind sorts itself.

It is that one orienting object that we need when we are lost. That familiar guide that not only has grounding powers, but that can lift us into the air with the providence of the heavens. One thing, because that is what it really is, can give hope, direction, power.

The poet, Charles Bukowski, caught this power of a single object perfectly.

a single dog
walking alone on a hot sidewalk of
summer
appears to have the power
of ten thousand gods.

why is this?

Not only is this holy symbol orienting and ordering, it offers hope, possibility, a new view. It truly has “the power of ten thousand gods.”

How do we find these treasures? I was walking through my courtyard and happened to look down. There in front of me was a small doll with brown hair. The adult troubles that I had been wrestling with fell away. I was back, a child, playing. Joyful. Creative. Blessed. Just one unexpected figure had the strength to bring me out of my darkness and back to innocence, light, and possibility.

The object is the center of a poem. It starts quietly and quickly begins to speak. You can build castles or shacks around  one solitary block of misshapen wood. There it is, an invaluable form, things begin to swirl, connect and, finally, build. It is like magic. You start with a white cloth and suddenly you have a bird.

The process is organic, unplanned because we can’t control the vibrations and energy of that one original object once it connects to our mind and creativity.

We can’t force these gifts to appear before us. The beauty of them is they just offer themselves. Sometimes when we need them most. They are blessings from above, messages from above. And they speak loudly.

***

A Key, a Dead Bird, and a Squirrel

The key was there
at the bottom of a basket
I hadn’t looked into
since moving back to Philly.
That key meant everything
in that moment
a sudden answer,
a secret door.

I had nowhere to go
until I found that key.
It fit a door
that hadn’t been considered
it fit a lock
that might save my life

I put it deep inside my pocket
determined to find its match
that key made it easier for me
this time,
to walk outside in the courtyard

past the dead bird,
so still on the pavement
I wanted to pick it up
and kiss it
breathe life back into its
sad, discarded body

Once past the dead bird
I knew there was a dead squirrel
all the dead wildlife
had made me feel desperate
I wanted to save every bird
every squirrel
that lives in this horrible city

But today, I had a key
I touched it with my fingertips
somewhere we would be,
where it would slide easily into the lock
and the bird, the squirrel and I
would be free.

***

Marie Turco is a poet. That is it. Her poems stand up on the page or get spat out. Trying to cut out the distractions as much as possible but needing to pay rent, she is also a psychotherapist. Her apartment is inhabited by a German Shepherd service dog, a Boston Terrier, and two cats. It is all about the writing now.

***

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