Workshop: “Symbolic Life,” by Diane M. Laboda

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laboda poem

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Workshop: “Where I Write,” by Diane M. Laboda

Where I Write

Every minute I write in my mind, gather words
and scattered memories—happy, sad, troubling, fierce—
tie them together with a zest for wonder.

I sit at my small desk, pen and paper in hand,
and move out of my own way, back the critic up ten paces
and open up to whatever comes.

Word after word, line after line, the ideas
that I’m meant to know appear—as if words choose me—
to inform me, complete me. I write these on my heart.

A cosmic window opens, revelations and secrets drop through my pen
and imprint in my journal. Sometimes stray lines and odd thoughts
appear on paper scraps, napkins, the palm of my hand.

I write on the floor where spare words argue and fight among themselves.
I write on the ceiling when I want to get God’s attention,
explore my faith, Her benevolence, our next move.

I write on the wall, a flexible story on Post-it Notes—
an homage to change, in mood, in expectations, in fears,
in victories, in joys, in courageous protestations.

I write lines in the dirt of my garden, notes to Mother Nature,
prayers for harmony, green and shade, and clean rains,
for sustained health . . . with apologies for apathy and greed.

I write big and bold on placards and signs. I write justice
on the lips of the world. I tag moral decency on the walls
of the courthouse. I cast letters in the wind that only spell peace.

Diane M. Laboda 9-2-17

Workshop: Diane M. Laboda’s “It begins with…”

It begins with…

months of fighting
the good, expected fight
with doctors and drugs and tubes
and chairs that move by themselves.

And then it all stops.
Her last breath is the moment before
and then it isn’t.
I am no longer a child with parents.
I am alone.

I never expected the sinking feeling—
even with her long illness that drags on
and gives me time to prepare.
It puts me in a deep, dark pit
with little will to climb out.

I try to claw my way up for air, light,
but my crushed heart inflates
ever so slowly over decades.
No one else sees and no one cares.
No one conjures words of comfort.

The world keeps spinning past
in a blur of rote motion. I wobble along
imperfect, disabled, empty.
I will forever keep trying to gather
myself back together.

by Diane M. Laboda 8-26-17