Intentional Peer Support Poems

Who you think you are

and who I think I am

is similar to wind and trees

we sing songs of sixpence

we table our woes

so we can find them again someday

on the same table, for we never moved them,

still we are surprised to see them in the same spot after all these years

of sorting pepper shakers and salt shakers,

cayenne and black,

sugar and cinnamon,

we thought we had it all figured out

yet felt so enlivened to know we didn’t.

We were so alive once

when we knew nothing

of expert and student

doctor and patient

helper and helpee

even the very simple me and you.

 

The water streams down the rocks in any case

the wind blows the trees,

and then in an earthquake, perhaps,

the trees impact what we call wind.

 

Yet what we call wind is simply air and the forces that move it.

What I call me is a body and a spirit that moves it,

moves me to leap, to collapse,

to celebrate and mourn

all in the name of equality

whether it seems that way or not.

 

All in the name of mutuality with every single particle of existence

there ever was and ever will be

and every particle of life that is screaming

for liberation right now-

 

for example, an ant crawling across a field of grass–

 

I might call that ant slow, but how will I connect with the ant?

By watching, suspending my agenda,

and knowing that the spirit of the ant has value

is a gift for its existence alone.

 

It is existence right now that

liberates some cells in my heart, some

ineffable parts of me–

etheric, ethereal, and for me the most real,

for the ether is more expansive than the earth and

doctor/patient

helper/helpee

expert student

are figments of our collective imagination

as we circle around our very own version of an ant farm,

or so it may look like from above or afar.

 

I’m whispering all these secrets to you to move closer to now

to move closer to a we that is not you or me–

yet what troubles me is when I lose this very magic

when trauma takes over and grips me,

telling me there is no now,

telling me safety is in a bottle or a can

or a title or a billfold

or a binder or an embrace.

 

I cry sometimes because my safety always comes

in the form of an embrace or a feather,

something so far from the future

and indifferent to the past

 

yet there are things from the past that come back to save me

there are tears I have yet to cry,

for this love we moves towards,

it takes time.

 

There’s so much to unravel, even when at moments all is simple

and straight, blissful and heartfelt

there are more knots to untie

as we have all separated so much,

 

the hierarchy can look so real

my tears get delayed

in the name of “sanity” or “reality” or

the honest word: conformity.

 

I am a conformist like any other

yet when I cry, I cry for the piece of each of us

that is not.

 

Connection is this,

this “insanity,” this

wildness, madness if you will–

this love that will not stop at anything

and knows the “we” I yearn for when I play any role.

When I sing any song.

 

 

II.

Tempting it can be to correct or deliver “peer run services”

yet peer once meant two individuals with a similar world view

and now it means nothing

and perhaps the word “peer” was never anything

but an assumption,

an evaluation,

an assessment that you are like me

and perhaps we are exactly alike in one way

and completely different in another.

 

So peers must be all of us or none of us

so doctors are peers

teachers are peers

police officers are peers

ants, babies, blades of grass…

where do we draw the line if a line must be drawn?

 

It’s always all or nothing

 

yet it’s never all or nothing

 

and reality can contradict itself

so many times it becomes madness

and we diagnose objective reality itself

as quite insane and schizophrenic

making the label holders closer

to the truth of all things

 

that lies within all things

and is told in so many stories

felt in as many ways.

 

To diagnose one person is to diagnose reality itself.

 

To diagnose reality itself is honest

and beautiful

for if reality were not schizophrenic

or multiple personality

or bipolar

or anxious

or manic

there would be no us,

 

no dynamic interplay of forces coming together

and apart,

there would be no beauty

no movement

no nothing.

 

By splitting off and becoming mad, reality

has always been moving towards a diagnosis

of Love.

 

Or Love and Disorder as the DSM may have it.

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