… And a Dance

Two dragons,
Each composed of two grown men;
Another man dressed as
A large, golden Buddha.
They progress around the room, pausing
At each table
To spread smiles
And bring cheer
To their audience.

On the stage, they dance
And twist, flashing colours
Before our eyes,
Filling our vision with rainbows
Of red and gold.
However long they spark amusement,
Time flies by at double speed.

We see ourselves as strangers in our homes,
Outsiders looking upon
Our own cultures, wondering
Just as we are marvelling,
Viewing Christmas lights
And Easter eggs
And media obsession with royals
With alien meaning and intention,
All understanding lost. For this
Is who we are,
Watching the dragons dance,
Observing without knowing
Blind although we see.

It makes the moment
No less beautiful,
The evening no less enthralling;
We have no bias, existing
Purely to enjoy
And nothing more.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

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Tet: A Meal …

Lunar New Year is a time
For relaxation, celebration, salutation
And great joy for all. Flags unfurl,
Hanging from every building,
Swaying with the same energy that infects
Everyone below.

We take a break
From all our efforts, joining
Together to observe the celebrations.

There’s a large meal put on
For all the teachers, organized
By our boss, enough
To impress
The stockholders. We inhale
The scent of good food
And our stomachs answer in earnest,
Begging to try everything.

Tables laid out in perfect design,
Each a splendid replica of the last;
Vivid pictures in our minds
For years to come.
Melting on the tongue,
The food takes centre stage,
Lighting up our mouths with
Unique and wonderful flavours.

Then the drums begin
From somewhere behind us,
Confusing our ears
As we search for the source
Of the sound.

Thud, thud, thud
And thump, thump, thump
And rat-a-tat-a-tat;
They make our fingers tap.
The sounds infect our bodies
Until they feel as though
They come from inside of us.

Where is that noise coming from?
It grows in volume, intensifies
Until we could explode
From the vibrations coursing through us.
Then through a door
That bursts wide open
Comes the evening’s entertainment.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Anh Part One: The Philosopher

One morning as I sat inside my classroom
Watching the students engage lazily with their task
With empty hearts (For none of us desired this,
But the school had insisted nonetheless;
To what end, I cannot say, perhaps merely
To bore the students), I thought to myself –
Like the dog thinks before it fetches the pheasant,
Or the cat before it ignores its owner and returns
To sleep, that there was nothing more than this.
Alas, time went no faster. So I pictured in my head
Some almighty teacher, somewhere, who with
A look of defeat in His eyes watches us solemnly,
Asking what possessed Him to give us this dreary task;
Wondering why we all make such a fuss.
Why, He questions, is there not a better choice?
All of His students begin to ask the same, until in turn
They begin to question the teacher’s judgement;
The lessons turn worse. The students become unruly,
Making a sport that they practice time and time again
In which they pretend the teacher is nowhere to be found
And that they cannot see Him in the classroom.
Once one student has begun, so the rest will follow
Their poor example, until the world is but destroyed;
There’s nothing but students with nothing to learn
Because they do not consider their lessons worth learning.
As I sat there watching one student scratch her head
In her confusion over a badly-worded question
Which even I had hoped not to attempt, I considered
Standing proud before them; ripping up their tests papers
As they cheered me on with glee. Yet that, I could not do.
The school was my Master and the wage my chain.
I owed allegiance to these two; no other did I serve.
So I knew then, in that moment of understanding
And shared pain, that this imprudent student was me:
I had ignored the presence of my teacher for too long;
There was nothing left for me but Master and chain.
The key to my desperation was held in the cold hands
Of the insistent preacher who had first felt the need
To present my students with such tedious tests.
If I had gone down a different path, and abandoned
My intellect, who knows! For I shall always question whether
That might have brought me closer to my teacher’s lessons;
In a life that could have been no less fulfilling
And perhaps more happy, I could have been sitting
In the marital home with my precious children,
Thinking that it was time for them to submit themselves
To their role as students in that soulless institution;
In a place to teach them how to read and write and think,
Though not to feel or understand their fellow man,
They could have been like every other student, discouraged
To grow as individuals, until some sorry morning when
Each child became a perfect replica of the last,
Though in their innocence they would never be trained to know.
Or I could have been working on a checkout somewhere,
Wondering why the customers were purchasing
Such strange items, such weird collections of goods,
Feeling desperate to shout that the designer brands they bought
Failed to make them any more important than me.
Alas, the more I dreamed the test away the more I saw
It mattered not what I might have done with my life,
For still in each outcome I could imagine I knew
I would have neglected my teacher, in times of
Bitter strife, for the ones I had avoided in my youth.
My devotion to that great teacher was no good.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City of the World”

I really hope you enjoyed this poem, it’s one of my personal favourites from City of the World. Part 2 will be up soon!

If you’d like to know more about this book and the others I have contributed to, please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Mui Ne, A Break From Teaching

Some days pass by without a hitch
My senses never have to twitch
In anticipation of a struggle;
Working hard, my pressure doubled:
Time to avoid potential troubles

Then there are days when nothing goes
As in my plans it is supposed;
Before I can predict disaster,
It zooms towards me, even faster
Than me, something I cannot master

So there was a decision made
To pick up a bucket and spade,
Transfer from the city to a beach
Without a lesson there to teach
No focus on work, no goals to reach

A hotel in a secluded place
With miles of quiet wandering space
To walk around and celebrate
With free gifts on the special date
When I was born – and a free cake

It’s good to have a mini holiday,
To find the time to break away
Though I cannot stay for long:
The peace and tranquility feel wrong,
In a busier place I belong

When it’s over, my concern:
Do I want to stay or return?


© Laura Marie Clark

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a copy of my book “City of the World” this month! This is another excerpt from the book – I hope you enjoy reading it!

If you’d like to know more about this book and the others I have contributed to, please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Messenger

I wrote my name
Amongst the stars
Alongside yours;
Together we traced
Our fingers
Through space, between
Planets and moons
Suns and asteroids,
Amazed by the intricate details
Of those impossible places
Never touched by man.
I dispersed my being
Across the sky,
Every flaw exposed
And hoped
That when you looked up
At that sky,
You would see my message;
Wherever we laid our heads,
Whatever misery
Our separation brought us,
I was still with you.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Broken Down

She stopped
In the middle of a three-lane motorway;
I pulled her over,
Took her to a pair of dodgy
Repairmen on the corner
Who charged me over the odds;
I watched them
As they took her apart
And examined her,
Discussing the repairs with one another,
Her flaws and how to fix them,
Right in front of her
Without a single thought
For her feelings.
She stood there and took it all,
Every harsh word
Every snide comment
Every rude insult;
She acted as though she could not hear them
And remained still and silent.
She knew they were unaware,
Or that they did not care
Of how their words
Would make her feel –
And she could fool them,
But she could not fool me;
I paid them with reluctance,
Grasping for the notes
That slipped through my fingers
And could hear her
Questioning her value
As the money was transferred.

I bit the cheeks inside my mouth,
Forced myself to smile:
She did not need to know
That I had forked out too much
For her repairs;
I took her home
To console her there,
Let her cry out her frustration
With a low rumble
Over their cruel conversation about her.
Their words had pierced her deep
And she never went
The same again.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

YouTube Tuesday: Brought Together

It’s Tuesday (again), which means another poem from YouTube. Here’s one from my book, “City of the World”.

Brought Together

Brought together
By a common bond
Though we were born
Thousands of miles apart;
Here we are
Seated together,
A circle of faces
Of various races
Working and living
Side by side,
Pulled into one another’s lives
By the thrill
Of promise;
A desire to learn,
To know
Something more
Than everything
We have ever been taught.
We collide
In this spinning city,
Vibrant and chaotic,
Forming friendships
And relationships
Out of nothing
But a dream;
In and out of love,
In and out of sight;
We have all shared
This wish,
Looked up at the stars
And begged with our hearts
And our eyes
In our most intimate moments.
There is no rule
On who you are
Or who you have to be
Out here:
The hermit greeted by a lion,
Roaring with pride,
Standing strong,
His confidence encouraging
It to break out of its shell;
He rules the night
Without a pause for thought,
Defiant and fearless
Unlike the hermit,
Who comes with reservations
And a lack
Of the lion’s authority.
What they do not share in mind,
In spirit
Are the same;
Drawn into the same sphere
Of want
And belief,
Wanting to seek out
The unknown;
My family of strangers
With ambitions of
Pure delight,
United by our quest
To pursue something
Far greater than ourselves:
There for every celebration
There for every fall.

© Laura Marie Clark

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html — or find it on Amazon

YouTube Tuesday: The First Lesson

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! Today’s poem reaches back in time to November 2013, and the first time I ever taught English – to a class of primary school kids, who still somehow managed to terrify me. Please check it out below, and let me know what you think either below or on YouTube.

The First Lesson

What great fear paralyses you?
There are those who fear spiders,
Innocent as the majority are;
Others who feel faint up high
When they look at the ground below;
Some whose concerns are amplified
By the close proximity of a crowd;
Mine strikes me down when I need strength:
A presentation leaves me with chills.

So why then did I gravitate towards them?
Teaching, whatever age the students,
Is all about presenting information:
Public speaking I have always despised,
But I try never to flee from a challenge
And, aware that my uneasiness had
Total control over the person who I was,
I chose to force myself into a position
Uncomfortable to me, so I could master fear.

I would be a liar if I claimed
That it had been easy or enjoyable
To teach that first lesson, when not only
Did it frighten me, but I also had
No skills, no practical training to speak of.
But if life is not for diving in head first,
Then what is it that we’re living for?
I worried, I stumbled, I quaked from head
To toe: my hopes of victory seemed pathetic.

In a moment gripped by our fear
We can be quick to condemn ourselves
To fates most unfitting, early deaths, or
Embarrassment that we imagine to linger.
And so in that first lesson, I believed
That my time was already up.
But afterwards, observed what errors
I could look to correct – and had proven
To myself that fear can be defeated.

© Laura Marie Clark

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html — or find it on Amazon

Estrangement Isle by Stacy Gleiss

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I live on the Isle of Estrangement,
mourning the one who sent me here,
with the words “I’m cutting you off.”

The mainland Normalcy–
a place where people forgive and talk things through,
is sometimes visible through the haze.

If I thought I wouldn’t be turned away,
I’d attempt to cross the frigid straits,
As it is, with no beacon, the one with the boat must return.

In the meantime, I worry all those who visit,
this private space where I grieve,
will tire of my sad face.

So with a sense of desperation I teach,
of how it was I came here to exist,
hoping they will stay a while,
on my island of exile,
this place called Estrangement.

About Stacy

Stacy Gleiss has lived a life immersed in Japanese culture—a culture vastly different from that of her home state of Michigan. In her experience as the teen bride of a traditional Japanese man, Gleiss found inspiration for her memoir, The Six-Foot Bonsai.

Visit Stacy’s blog here: https://thesixfootbonsai.com/

And here’s the link to her book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Foot-Bonsai-Soul-Lost-Rising/dp/0692773134

YouTube Tuesday: Moving In

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! I’m really enjoying posting my poetry to YouTube, it’s a new challenge that lets me revisit old poems and look at them in a different way. This week, I present “Moving In”, from my book of poems “City of the World”.

Moving In

The thunder of busy roads becomes a constant reality,
Litter on the streets attracts a plague of misery;
Unwelcome guests can crawl inside underneath your door
A padlock is the only thing that keeps your home secure

There’s a three-lane motorway at the end of the street,
A shopping centre down the road with great places to eat
From western favourites to untried eastern delicacies;
All desires catered for with exquisite recipes

This narrow street feels separate from everything around
Lonely motorbikes and busy chatter are the only sounds;
Drive up the ramp into your house, park it in the front room,
Four or five bikes stood together in the gloom

The building is four stories high, a balcony at the top
The spiral staircase in the centre seems to never stop;
Ceilings high, spacious rooms, simple decoration,
Designs that do not fail to suggest a temporary location

This is not a place where you would have expected to live
But the more time you spend here, the more it seems to give;
Empty walls provide no more than a room to rest your head:
Your time is spent out in the city, occupied instead

A hotel home shared with others, also there to see
Everything that is on offer in this vast city;
Possessions few, a suitcase full of clothes and favourite things
But within this community you will feel like a king

Money aplenty to spend on food, on fun, on booze;
You’ll be surrounded every day by a world to amuse
And once you’re comfortable in this intriguing place,
You’ll find it hard to picture anywhere else as your base

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html — or find it on Amazon