Authentic

Study people
They are baffling
There is no manual

No history book
No way to guess

Who they really are
Who they wish to be
Who they project to be

In the current moment
Are often all different

Society blasts us with messages
Advertising self-dissatisfaction
So we will buy their products

How to remain authentic
It is a harder road
Road less traveled

Someone once smugly said
The road less traveled
Is less traveled for a reason

Get over yourself
Get real

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, June 2017

New Moon

Peacock perched
Overnight in the tree

Its magnificent train
Eyed covert feathers
Invisible in the new moon

Pearl in mollusk
Pried hinge
Oyster knife

Murky water
Lotus emerges

Can you see it?

Crack the geode
Grey hard exterior
Purple crystal heart

Do you seek
What is hidden
Out of fear of smiling faces

Once you find
What you dig out

What you thought
Tick or sliver or boil
Is none of these things

What then?

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, August 2017

P.S. 2017

Dear Friends,

In 2013, I lost most of my belongings to fire that incinerated my loft apartment. Included in that was the electronic versions of most of my writing. Remarkably, all of my hand-written drafts and two 3-ring binders with printed versions of different novels survived. They have some water and smoke damage but are still legible. Fire is funny that way, random in its violence.

That year profoundly changed my life and in 2014, I made the choice to start this blog: cmmounts.com. Although I continued to write, I only got seven blog posts written that year. I just couldn’t keep it up. I had put pressure on myself to only share my new and best writing. I wasn’t writing fast enough or with enough regularity. Cycling long distance is funny that way, consuming all your time.

By 2017, I finally got tired of not sharing my writing in any kind of real way. I started to participate in open mics around the Twin Cities. I finished and published my friend Todd Park’s memoir, my first effort as a book editor. I made the choice to post any of my original work that I thought was decent, whether written recently or not. And I tried out writing a travel log for the first time- which I guess for a nomad like me is better late than never.

I view my blog as a self-published catalog of my different styles of writing, a tool to hold myself accountable to my goals, and a way for my fans (what!) to enjoy my work. And what fans I have! For many blogs, my statistics are modest but in 2017, I posted 42 times and attracted 730 visitors who made 1,178 views. I gained 56 new followers and not all of them were my mom! Actually, I do not know most of you and that blows my mind! Thank you so much for reading my poems, stories, and other ramblings… I am humbled.

In 2018, I will continue to post my work to my blog. I will continue to read at open mics and look for new opportunities to share my work. And maybe most importantly, I am working on a draft for a fiction novel for the first time in ten years. I hope you will continue on this writing journey with me. The best is yet to come!

Happy New Year!

Christine

What is yours?

What is yours?

It is an hour before. With pen and paper, you sit as you always do wherever you are. A bartender stares at you when you order a beer and asks, “How cute are you?” You think, ‘No, you can’t have my number’ but say, “Thank you.” Writing and editing in a bar keeps men away. It’s easier to figure out what you’re after. It’s not them.

What is yours?

You look at your pens as if they belong to someone else, borrowed, unwanted so you picked them up. You look at your journal as being second hand, disregarded by its owner, so you picked it up. Where does this come from?

You bought each. You chose each. They are your tools of self-expression, of deliverance from a muddy mind and heart. This is your pen box. This is your ‘unlimited’ access to paper and ink. This is where the fire glows.

What is yours?

Your glasses. Your handwriting. The box of half used tissue. It is your tears that they wipe away, no one else. You are driving a meat wagon too that others seem to think they have some dominion over. They have no power over you, none that you don’t give them.

You have chosen the life of a worker. You pursue other activities once all your energy is spent. You can barely participate in anything else. You have no companion. You were not a good one.

What is yours?

This pain. This sorrow. Longing for a lifetime, for approval from someone wholly incapable of accepting themselves. Why are you surprised that they cannot accept you as you are? Why do you concern yourself with the behavior, the absence?

You carry so many heavy things. The wall of silence pressed down upon you for so long that it stole your words, your tongue, your expression. What are your rights of passage? Who celebrated with you? Who ensured that you knew that you mattered?

Now when people look at you and say, “Get over it,” they do not understand that the eruptions into the light are new. You have not dwelt upon this. You have been silent, silent, so silent. Your words are backed up, a packed colon of blackened pain. Your hopes feel unreachable.

What is yours?

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, November 2016

Baggage

“Excuse me, is that your bag?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “that’s my wife.” The woman’s face wrinkled in the familiar expression of disdain I have become accustomed to from that same said wife. The stranger scoffed and walked away muttering, “Jerk.” I guess most people cannot appreciate my humor. My wife can’t. I stared at the woman’s back and wanted to call after her, “Hey! Why don’t you mind your own business, you busy body!” I held my breath instead. I looked for my wife.

She had wandered off from the shopping bags to browse some antiques. She expected me to stand there and protect her purchases. It was just another example of how disconnected we had become. She didn’t notice when I was gone. I didn’t notice when she was gone. Yet we stay married. I think she hates me because I never gave her children. I think I hate her because she is chronically ill. Just another detail that makes me a jerk. You heard the lady.

This flea market is the one habitual activity we meet up for every weekend. She likes to shop and get bargains which she fills our house with and gives away as gifts whenever family comes to visit. They don’t come often. I think she is filling up our home as an external attempt to fill the space in her heart where she wanted her children to be. Too many trips in and out of the hospital. Too little energy to chase a toddler.

I work too much to have been any help to her. I thought more money would make her happy. I thought taking care of her frail body so she never had to work would make her happy. I thought buying her all this crap would make her happy. All it has done is make me old and bitter.

If she left me to find another man because I’ve turned into such a jerk, I would likely never find another companion. Because I am such a jerk. And she is an old bag, stuffed with crap she doesn’t need but won’t let go of.

Maybe that’s why we stay married.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, July 2008

Closing time

They orbit
Whatever their reasons
Looking for easy access
Fascination freak show

Mysterious familiarity
They love or hate or both
But cannot reconcile

You act as a prod
Sore spot
They’ve been rubbing
Their whole lives

Draws them near
Pushes them far
But always in orbit

Never coming
Never going

There is an opening
They cannot see it
Until it is closing time
Until it is shut

Wonder years later
What happened
Another sore spot to rub

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, August 2015

 

1st World Problems

Long distance running
To where, exactly?
Persistent roar
Dissatisfaction

Expressed through
Various media
Punctuate an otherwise
Mundane life

“Ain’t nothin’ going on but the rent”
Wisdom from a black woman’s mouth
I do not understand
Explain it to me

Yes, nothing going on

Work and home
Work and home
Weekend and beer
Work and home

Punctuated by anxiety
Of my friends and family
Set on uneasy ground
Sold self-dissatisfaction

Told to blame their neighbors
Different ones
For whatever their current
Woes may be

I cannot change the world
I can only change myself
Only in small ways

I can focus on the
Gaping maw of greed
Ever hungry for what
My flesh
Can and will produce

Or, I can

Sit by a hospital bed
Hold the hand of the helpless
Tell the people I love
I love them so

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, August 2017