Sunday, November 1, 2015


You ever watch children
straining to get at things they want?

They don't care
how out of grasp
their desire is

They'll stand on their tippy toes
stretch both arms
outta their sockets
reach and curl
like they're doing yoga
and wiggle their fingers
while panting
and pushing out a succession
of pint-sized, laborious breaths
as if the extra three feet in height they need
to snatch it down
are gonna magically appear

have you watched  them?

When they get tired of that position
they'll start looking for something
to stand on:
a stool
a chair
a table
a counter top
the dog's back
all they know is
the thing is up there
they're down here
they gotta have it
and come hell or high water
it will
be theirs

Didn't snag it today?

Back in the game tomorrow
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
mentally brushed off and suited up
like the previous day's defeat
has been hypnotically erased
from their brain

They keep coming back
the next day
the next
and for as many days
of reaching
and concentration
as it takes
to get their mitts
on the thing

To hell with anyone
who says they can't have it
that only makes 'em
stretch longer
focus better
dig their puny heels in
that much deeper

is an entire foreign language
until it springs from their lips
they understand it
speak it perfectly
cuz they don't care
what you're talking about—
the thing!

That used to be us
every day as kids

When we were after things
we were bold

No matter how many times
we fell over
got banged up
missed the mark
or were dragged away from the scene
kicking and screaming
our hearts were swamped
with all the commitment
we couldn't even
spell or define
at that age

But as we got older
something changed

Maybe there were too many falls
scars and failed attempts
too many adults
breathing their panic
and limited perceptions
of us
and our abilities
down our necks
grabbing at us
pulling us from our stance
trying to force us
into what they felt were
less dangerous boxes
of quests

When did we start listening
and obeying?

When did we start letting
a little distance
between us
and our goals
be a concern?

When did "no"
become a word
that suddenly made sense
in everyone else's language
while on our tippies
in relentless pursuit
of our targets?

Why does hearing it now
make us think twice
take our eyes off the prize
lose our delicate balance
of faith and courage
and tumble into a space
where our desires look more like
complex word problems
with too many variables to solve
than unlocked doors
sporting "Enter" signs
with our names next to them?

When did we start
looking at our dreams
with loss in our eyes
like watching a bouquet of balloons
with all of our intentions inside
floating out of our scope?

In what corner of our childhood
did we grudgingly stuff
our persistent optimism
like some taboo habit
we were told
should stay behind
on our way into adulthood?

It doesn't belong in our then
it should be anchored in our now

So let's all go back and find it
it's still there
buried in that corner
with our conviction
and the heap of people's "no's"
we're no longer fluent in

So the next time "they"
try to interrupt your mission
with "no"
make sure you look 'em
square in the eye
with your hands
arms and heart
open wide
in full anticipation
of your success
while you tell 'em
with that same child-like fire
in your glare
that you understand every word
in their language

that one

©2015 Charlene E. Green
From my upcoming book You Betta Write!