“smiling on the inside (holding on)” #poem

[poem about where i was, where i am, now – and not letting go, for various reasons & dentistry]
+ Smiling on the Inside (holding on) +

Dave Thorvald Olson

Closing loops of past lives
errors & eras alike
epochs – at the time
now, defunct addresses on file

Accidental safe houses
Each with a similar go-bag
Essentials: postcards, pens, inky stamps, pipe, various disguises
Importantly: toothbrush and floss

Despite all of that,
a goofy grin'd & metal-free mouth
now features a Grand Canyon
- verily, unwanted

“Oh nimble fingers of well-educated and highly-skilled women, patch me up with porcelain and drills"
Then maybe dust off the front
so i’m not biting my lip in snaps
[Yes I know: late night snacks, Chinese medicines, endless cappuccinos, something something]

Yes, I disappear from time to time
I pretend to share it all,
But I don't – this of course is obvious
There are parts of me unreconciled
“i'll assume you are the same, because assumptions are underrated”

For your correspondence:
“country by country”
Former ‘homes’ (mostly demolished), crash pads, storage lockers, mail drops, way-station, guest-houses & occasional warm-water bed-sits

I collect the items and artifacts
file into files
despite Buddhist insistence about "letting go"
Blerg! Ole Buddha, i’ve seen you on the currencies of temples and banknotes

Yay, I am a maximalist! A curator of ephemera
{justified by creating things from the materials cast aside}
*Everything* has many lives until reaching a perfected exalted state, ergo:

The hotel stationery, the coasters, the match packets, well-stamped postal covers with such dreams and intentions written in my native language yet a script which I can't quite figure
These were created with affection and I would be unaffectionate to cast them into a bin or decomposition

Amongst, most salient:
Notes to future self
The "when written, unaware"
When opened, the ringing of a bell
the thwack of a read stick imploring zazen posture
when legs are too numb to carry-on

So i composite
Substrates upon items
In reverse
though various, nothing is random
Everything is an intentional act

Little Bay, Pacifica, Olympia (Washington and Greece), Esquimalt, Alas Manis, Victoria Drive, Phitsanulok, Pokhara, Aqaba, Karapitiya, Thrippunithura
– all not lost yet certainly un-found
Until Tsuchida

So, paid the ferrymen the extra cargo charges
willingly, for safe return
of memories & materiel

Artifacts required to answer:

How well did you love?
How well were you loved?
How well did you let go (of the things which did not serve)?

I say rather, "how well did you hold on?" Or “did you *at least* hold on?”

Letting go is easy, I try often-desperately daily to "not let go”
(ignoring the incident at Royal Jubilee)

You've heard me scribble,
"We are the stories that we share"
As such, “through chisels in Tenino, pencils in Providence, scissors and glue in another hospital and so on” are all measured with the same weight

I've made a song and you have too.
Old Uncle Walt call it "a song of yourself”
Yet "letting everything go" means that even old Gautama's musings would've faded with
an unapplied patch, without indexing, without copying and pasting

Without required updates in communication medium,
The message is not for simply: Existing

So, well-stocked with what appears – at first blush – easily replaceable shoeboxes
Requiring labels, folios and drawers for sort-ganizing
I remind: I’m here forever, my address will remain unchanged
I'm not going to come visit, but turns out the ships and planes both go both ways


Last night before bath
I wrote shodo ink for wife
teaching beloved tea ceremony
in English (practiced several times exactly a year ago with folks who came to Okayama rather than just asking for "what are the best things to do in Japan in three days")

Accompanied by a tiny version of me
Rambunctious, swinging with thoughtful inquiry
[We eat cheese and crackers, warm milk and sit close together in the bath, 42° C]

Rocking gently, magnetic smile
“reminds me of his mother and his grandmother” the one he won't meet,
and reminds “me of me” as reminded by bold love
and packing a variety of poses which he declares as "Mine"
// off-limits to use without permission, only verbally granted

Now for me (and you in my satchel in a field notes book)
after oatmeal, comes a bus ride, earplugs and an eye mask


The items are sequestered
In a solid storehouse
Blessed by a Shinto priest
white robes and a fabulous hat
Awaiting katazuke
best with records and incense

Yup, less pretty for a minute
“nothing is temporary, nothing is forever”

Sure Love, be loved,
and – critically – “You Must Hold On”


53 years, a big goofy grin
A mouth, proudly full