Cook Book

Such a marvelous moment happened today.

In the truest sense of what one could stop and marvel at, deeply searching through seconds to find the resounding why. In the face of overwhelming news and unexpected circumstances, how do you outset a new and cleanly-adapted life?

Through meticulous planning and watchful performance, the brunt of the work will be done. While important, and in fact completely crucial, to the process of overcoming, there is an underlying critical element outlining the entire recipe.

The true prescription, as it flows, shined on me today through the song of sun and sky. It spoke and revealed the preeminent ingredient–to have outstanding faith in my ability to overcome.

And why open the book at all, if faith didn’t exist? To trust in the method and execute the actions–only to finally understand some single part about what it means to believe in myself.

Disparity

I woke up today feeling strong.

I woke up today and for some reason, baggage looked different and carried in a more meaningful way. It’s not to see the dents and scratches as ugly or undesired, but instead to appreciate the impact those wounds had, or may still be having. I look at the weakness and pain that plagues many hours of the day and I refuse to see it as frail. I condemn the sickly idea of accepting this state as procedure, seeing only a problem or distracting annoyance in my path. There is no way forward, no ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. There is no tunnel, and I am not moving through it. There is no tunnel, and how could there be, when there is light shining all around from a vast ocean sky.

I woke up today and felt strong because I accepted my weakness as strength. I welcomed the idea that grace and mercy reside only to empower my inevitable growth.

I woke up today knowing that I am strong.

On Strawberry Muffins

I ate a strawberry muffin
That was so dense
It seemed to fill my shoes
With every teething bite
Thick and grainy
As if to chew on memory foam
Chomping and mulling
Into paste between my gums

I ate a strawberry muffin
Plastered with leaves of crimson
Skin curled up round edges
Slashing the bread in berry red
Blood—sweet and tart, dripping
Oozing across rose petal pockets
Flecks of orange zest squirm
Cheeks to bitter-sweet

I ate a strawberry muffin
A fusion I hadn’t tried
I found I much prefer them
As strawberries
And muffins
Than blended in a baker’s tie

How much longer?

Prose Poem Written By Christian J. Ashliman

If I had known that day would follow the track that it was destined to, I might have curled up in a tight, little ball, hiding under the thick, woolen blankets that draped my bed—for it was a day lived in the clouds, floated through as I scraped for solid ground, trying to make sense of a change that felt too sudden. We were together now, motoring down the highway towards a preschool where it was doomed to crash, bound to deteriorate into a child-like match of show-and-tell, featuring all of my infinite shortcomings, breaking way to a wave of wrenching realizations of losing the one. Tears, anger, frustration and guilt—emotions swirling around in a boiling chemical cocktail, using my imploding skull as a chalice. In the classroom of a dark, dingy schoolhouse, the jet-fueled spiral broke, dragging me kicking and screaming into a new reality, no matter how intensely I wished to wake up.

The River

Poem Written By Christian J. Ashliman

Familiar waters gushing between rocks
Crashing around every boulder
A sound growing in volume
To encapsulate a waking nightmare
A time when he stalked her
Watching her every move
A slip, an error
The world comes caving in
Beneath knuckled fists
To live in fear
Is to not live at all
A guilt, a sadness, a creeping smile
She was glad she had done it
Stone after stone, tied with thick, raspy twine
Cast into an abyss of cold, wet darkness
Dragging the evil away with it
He couldn’t hurt her anymore
Not down there

Futility

Poem Written By Christian J. Ashliman

A warm, dawning glow reflected off my cold, pale skin
The morning air stands frigid; frozen to the influence of surrounding life
Something stirs within; an opposite of the outside world, warm to the touch
It is both familiar, and yet, foreign; wanted, but forbidden
It has poisoned my thoughts; seeping into every corner of my mind
This place is dark, filled with the torment and anguish of regret
Here, where life’s episodes are replayed endlessly
There is no consolation, leaving me with the thought of what could have been

Never again, I take the vow
Searching for some way to forget
It’s nagging, gnawing presence fails to cease
Ignoring my command, giving way to one final affliction
Useless in solving my own mystery
Futile is my quandary, as there is no meaningful end
To which I can say, I am satisfied