Heart of Hearts: poem 7

My father’s heart fell victim to heredity… 
Here you will find the rest of poem 9 of the poetry marathon. 

Heart of Hearts
Posted on August 14, 2016 12:02am EST by pgerber

My father’s heart fell victim to heredity four years ago.

The surgeon placed a stent in his aortic valve to brace

the walls and keep the blood flowing.

I imagine the stent shaped like a bridge to strings,

like the one that bolsters the cello

in the corner of my room collecting dust.

But even before that, he couldn’t pass the physical

to join the Korean War–his heart murmured

something the doctors did not like.

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My father’s father died of a heart attack, or

maybe complications of diabetes that betrayed his heart.

He was a musician and a piano tuner,

who sometimes imposed a cello lesson on me,

firmly pressing my fingers to the finger board

nearly 45 years ago on that corner resting cello.

All of his 8 sons played musical instruments.

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The 21 year old I work with at the sweet shop,

whose name may be Rob or Mike or John,

is someone I would say has a heart of gold,

but for his laziness, though still an amiable sort.

He has a pair of friends, twin brothers, who

come to pick him up from work and take him home.

One told me that Rob-Mike-John had five heart attacks

when he was only a sophomore in high school.

His doctor said he was lucky to be alive.

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My mother’s heart is strong, always has been.

Her mind and body are ravaged by demented

disease, forgetting to allow her to live, but her

heart beats resoundingly under her ribs, her doctor says.

And though the cuffs don’t hurt her any more,

too little flesh on her arms, her blood pressure rocks.

Sans word, thought or flesh, she is pure pulsing heart now.

Shhhh…

  
Shhh…don’t tell anyone.

I have a long, torrid relationship with her, my mistress and master both. I submit to her daily, as she owns me now. Though it was not always that way. She once hurt me badly, my heart and body, which caused us to part ways for many years, close to twenty, in fact. But I realize now that she had something to teach me, a lesson I needed to learn about myself–and her–before we could be together, merge our lives seamlessly into the desire and need we are about today.

I met her as a teen with big ideas. I was sixteen then and drawn to everything and everyone I measured as cool, earthy, and spiritual. I read about her in a book I purchased second hand from a used bookstore, and I was immediately lured to her mystique. There was something there I did not understand but wanted to know more about. So I read and learned about her, imitated her every move to earn me my cool. Until one day, I met her.

She was all she was cracked up to be at that first meeting: sexy, lithe, strong and flexible. Muscular and compact, she appeared the picture of youth, while she breathed ancient wisdom, emitted it from her pores. I was astounded and flustered in love.

And though our meeting ended then, we met again, and then again…for awhile…until the pain. 

I had to learn the hard way, as I always have. I was arrogant and needy. Not one to be forced and taken, controlled and overpowered, she left me howling, bedridden for months, depressed and injured. The love affair ended in the slow drip of time it takes to heal a body and mind.

When we later met again, I had changed. She had not. But my approach to her differed then from the earlier times. I did not need her, merely wanted her. I penetrated her eye to eye, then bowed. That made all the difference between us.

We co-exist now, as one. Since our reunion five or six years ago, she has never left me. We live with and through one another.

When I am down, face down to the ground but hips high to the sky, she takes me, makes my breath grow steady and strong; she makes me weep sometimes like this, too much to hold, my arms arrested for the weight of my body. She buckles my knees sometimes, how she holds me in her grasp, in her heart and her embrace, me and all who love her, whom she loves. And she loves.

 
credit:  http://ih1.redbubble.net

“The Coolest Thing About Gratitude”

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I have no idea which researchers substantiate the science in this article, which I have copied in its entirety because it is short and contains a poem by Pablo Neruda, a personal favorite, but I sure love the idea.

By now, most of us have heard the news: grateful people are happier, healthier and generally more fulfilled.

And while these are all really great side effects of gratitude, for me, one of the coolest things about gratitude is the way it affects the heart. The heart creates an electromagnetic field that expands up to five feet from the body. Its electrical field is 60 times stronger in amplitude than that of the brain.

Studies show that when people cultivate positive feelings, the heart’s frequency changes and its waves become smoother and more consistent, while anxiety or stress caused waves to be shorter and less organized. Though most positive feelings were capable of affecting the heart in this way, researchers noted that gratitude changed the heart’s rhythm more easily and faster than any of the others.

What’s more is that this frequency can even “entrain” hearts and brains nearby. It’s especially likely that the heart with smoothest, most “coherent” frequency will be the heart that other people sync up with. So if you’re cultivating gratitude, it’s probable that you’re changing the feeling state of those around you for the better too.

Basically, even when we aren’t aware of it, our heart is constantly communicating with those around us. But as complex as it all may seem, intuitively, it seems that humans have been aware of this chatting between hearts for quite some time.

It may be the reason we say we’re having a “heart to heart” with someone when we’re engaged in an intimate, sincere conversation.

Researchers have reported that hearts between lovers sync even when the lovers aren’t touching or conversing. The same goes for heart frequencies of unborn babies and their mothers.

So when Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” he made an interesting point indeed. Our bodies are talking. And physiologically, it’s gratitude whose message is the loudest. We’re affecting each other in ways we may have never even pondered.

Choose your company wisely, but find comfort in the idea that gratitude has a way of trumping all. Keep gratitude flowing in your own heart, and you can change the world around you without lifting a finger.

Ode to Thanks
by Pablo Neruda

Thanks to the word that says thanks!
Thanks to thanks,
word
that melts
iron and snow!
The world is a threatening place
until
thanks
makes the rounds
from one pair of lips to another,
soft as a bright
feather
and sweet as a petal of sugar,
filling the mouth with its sound
or else a mumbled
whisper.
Life becomes human again:
it’s no longer an open window.
A bit of brightness
strikes into the forest,
and we can sing again beneath the leaves.
Thanks, you’re the medicine we take
to save us from
the bite of scorn.
Your light brightens the altar of harshness.
Or maybe
a tapestry
known
to far distant peoples.
Travelers
fan out
into the wilds,
and in the jungle
of strangers,
merci
rings out
while the hustling train
changes countries,
sweeping away borders,
then spasibo
clinging to pointy
volcanoes, to fire and freezing cold,
or danke, yes! and gracias, and
the world turns into a table:
a single word has wiped it clean,
plates and glasses gleam,
silverware tinkles,
and the tablecloth is as broad as a plain.
Thank you, thanks,
for going out and returning,
for rising up
and settling down.
We know, thanks,
that you don’t fill every space-
you’re only a word-
but
where your little petal
appears
the daggers of pride take cover,
and there’s a penny’s worth of smiles.

~