A little less than a year ago, I was at the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming, writing my new poetry book.
As the weeks passed, it became very clear to me that this book was the second half of the story that began in ‘Crisis’.
Then, one night while making dinner (Ok, Madelin was making dinner; I was drinking wine), we got into a discussion about the requests I’ve gotten to record an audiobook and my radically fast speaking voice. Post-dinner, the idea hit me like a lightning bolt in the shower (where all the best ideas occur) and today I am happy to announce that I am in the finishing stages of a multi-media work called:
THE RELEASE AND RECLAMATION OF VICTORIA KERYGMA
Featuring the talents of Sean McHugh, Vito Viscuso, Christie Insley, Heather Wood, David Atkinson, Justin Lee Dixon, Arno Nurmisto, Justin Hoekstra, Madelin Coit, Anthony Pinata, Mary Zimmer, Nancy Atkinson, Stephen Lyons, Renee Piechocki, Grace Méridan, and myself, this is the largest collaborative work I’ve ever undertaken!
The audiobook will feature BOTH Part 1: Crisis, and Part 2: Revelation, PLUS my new original song entitled Resurrection, produced by Arno Nurmisto. Also included are original art pieces by Justin Hoekstra, Anthony Pinata, and Madelin Coit, three of the incredible artists I lived with for a magical month in Wyoming. 🙂
Cover art was hand-drawn by my dear friend and multi-talented artist himself, Nesto Rhea.
Audio production has been beautifully handled by Vito Viscuso
THE RELEASE AND RECLAMATION OF VICTORIA KERYGMA
will be available in digital AND hard copy, so stay tuned for the release date!!!!
The wooden cross loomed through the windshield as we turned onto the rural street. Surrounded by balloons, candles, and teddy bears, its bright colors belied a dark secret.
But that’s why we came here.
Thin green branches snaked across the inscrutable path…. I hadn’t expected thorns.
Yet they scratched at my bare arms, then my fingers, which were slapping away the voracious mosquitoes…who would willingly come out here?
We picked our way across the mud and weeds, past orange tags tied to trees and bushes. I paused once to stare blankly at discarded blue rubber gloves in the brush. The tiny trail opened into a clearing…was this it?
Instinctively, we hushed and stared at the stamped-down, hardened ground. I strained my senses for a hint of you, but any trace that might have once been there had been excised by searchers and police. I shuddered, remembering how I’d heard that the volunteers had found you by smell…how long had you been out there?
And then in a rush, all the other questions came: Had you suffered? Had you been frightened? Did you call out for help? What happened? Who is responsible for the grisly scene that warranted that wooden cross?
As we slowly extricated ourselves from the overgrowth, we built hypotheses. But as we followed each one to its conclusion, inevitably, a piece would fall away, and the whole construction would crumble. Every theory had holes; no explanation held water.
Back on the pavement, I shielded my eyes against the Texas sun and surveyed the landscape. Suburban homes, green lawns, washed cars…A place where neighbors were neighbors. How had your absence gone unnoticed? So many claimed to have seen you walking, as you always liked to, up and down that very street…did it not seem odd to them when your trips stopped? How had your body decomposed, undiscovered, for a month in a woods so small it took us ten minutes to walk the length of it? Why were we able to? Wasn’t this a crime scene?
Everyone here mourns you, yet no one knows you. For if they did, they would know the girl who survived. They would know how you weathered all the rain life threw down on you, and they would never believe that you suddenly succumbed and walked into the storm.
Like we know.
But that’s why we came here.
We brought with us everyone who loved you, laughed with you, cried with you, and misses you. We’re all here. And we’re not going anywhere.
Until we all know the truth, we will stay. As long as it takes. You are NOT a faceless urchin, lost in the woods. A nameless example of arbitrary evil. You are a redhead, a bassist, a giggler, a teenaged child of Christ, and you ARE:
They can’t make me; I’ve been here before.
I’ll show them all out there.
It can’t be worse than this constant war,
I’m better off out there.
Because I know it won’t be long,
They’ll be sorry, and things will change.
They’ll see the ways that they were wrong,
I’ll come back, and things will change.
That’s what I thought the day I ran,
And what I truly believed.
I remember how it all began,
What I naively believed.
The longer on my own, I guess,
The more I felt the pain.
I grew used to the loneliness,
And came to love my pain.
I slipped away when they come close,
I didn’t want to be found.
Let them imagine I’m decomposed,
Decaying, never to be found.
And soon that wasn’t far from truth,
They’d hardly recognize
The hardened life that stole my youth
Reflected in my eyes.
I drift from street to street out here
My friends, they come and go.
And pass the time, from year to year
With plans that come and go.
Sometimes, I think I’ll find a place,
Safe, out of the wind.
But I learned long ago, there’s no such space,
So I turn into the wind.
For more poetry, visit: Image Curve
We were born with brains and spines.
(And the choice to use them as we see fit)
I experimented with various techniques
Weighed the dangers and benefits.
I struggled through years of trial and error
Of internal peace and war,
And gradually gained a truth worth all the pain.
Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:
When I slouched and let my thoughts run amok
Pain came, filled my body and head.
When I sat with care and reasoned with intention,
Growth and wisdom resulted.
Discipline creates character
And makes a brain into a mind.
And strength is built when we make the choice
To have backbone, instead of a spine.
To read more poetry, visit: Image Curve- VK Lynne
Changing defeating mindsets, destructive patterns, and damaging coping mechanisms is not easy. Simply because none of those things developed in a day, thus, they won’t be dug out in a day.
They’ve grown roots, deep ones, and negativity has watered them well. Sadistically, they’ve granted their host an ignominious identity as victim. Their host has become comfortable with them, to the degree that the loss of them causes a type of panic. “What will I do, who will I be, without these pathologies?”
Taking new, constructive approaches to challenges can feel as foreign as learning to write with the non-dominant hand. Frustration ensues, and a desire to ‘just go back to the other way’ rises up. After all, even if that path ends in hell, at least the landlord there is “the devil you know”.
But what of Heaven? What if, in that new way of life, a path opens up to a place the diseased martyr has never been? A place where both illness is excised and the label ‘sinner’ is replaced with health and ‘saint’? If that is the destination, isn’t it worth the journey?
In the end, there is a choice. For the host, it’s often hard to see that the roads diverge, but if you look closely through strained vision and the low fog, a northern gravel trail will come into view. Narrow and steep, it may not seem as appealing as the clear, downhill highway to the south. It may be unsettling to be ignorant of its twists and turns, when the well-worn side streets of the common route are so familiar. But recall the dead ends. The roundabouts that re-set the trip to START.
Intrepid traveler, your maps reveal what wisdom you’ve earned. The sun is up:
Set your course.
I carry with me the magic of light dancing on a stream in a handful of glitter,
I remember the dusky clouds each time I pass a hand through my sunset hair,
The life and aroma of the hyacinth I keep close to my nose in an unbroken circle,
The beauty of love I carve into my skin, that my heart may be kept aware.
You may not see or hear or perceive the world that I do around me,
Or maybe it doesn’t mark your outsides, like patina, as it does to me.
But all that I am reflects my connection with the majesty and glories of this world.
Yet you look back at me, and say what you see is a person who is clearly- unnatural.
I write about the inner struggles of the individual; the pains of the soul, mind and heart. Is this because I am insensible to the struggles of society? Quite the opposite.
I believe that systemic persecution, oppression and inequalities arise out of damages unhealed in the lonely, singular being. Repair the damage in the man, and you prevent the damage he may do to a nation.
Modern rhetoric, with its dependence on pithy memes and ‘top 10’ lists, homogenizes the population, then offers generalized, flippant solutions to complex dysfunctions. No longer are you ‘John Smith’; you’re a ‘leftist, millenial male’ or a ‘conservative, white-collar Christian’, and once you’re categorized, certainly prescriptive guidance can be offered that applies equally to everyone of your ‘type’.
Our singularity is lost in the generic character of our problem-solving.
As an artist, I focus on the small wound, on the crack that becomes a break. In stories of failure and misfortune, I don’t indict; I console. We have all fallen short. I seek to examine where the trouble began, retrace our steps, and do better next time.
If you see yourself in a character, or hear your tragedy in a song, or watch your inner demons dance in a poem, you know that you are not alone.
And sometimes…that can make all the difference.
In the strictest sense, poetry is words arranged into verse. But for me…poetry is the basis of human existence.
Certainly, the words are the raw material. But they needn’t be written. They can be spoken, sung…represented by drawings or sketches. They can be the thoughts that pass through one’s brain early in the morning, before logic and reason have warmed up their machines to make the cogs run smoothly.
When I came to this conclusion, I realized that I’d been a poet all my life. Not merely once I’d started writing structured verses in earnest. From the songs I’ve composed to the ink on my body, I’ve been searching for and creating meaning out of the occurrences, emotions, and phenomena of the human experience. All in the pursuit of truth.
And the longer I’ve pursued, the more convinced I’ve become of its mercurial nature. Truth is subjective. Truth is malleable. And it is the only thing worth striving for.
Not universal truth, for that doesn’t exist. Hold an opinion of any kind, and you will find numerous authorities and articles to support it. You will also be inundated by proofs to the contrary. So looking for truth from human sources, which are fallible, is fruitless.
You can find opinions that resonate with your own belief system. But that leads you right back into self. What do YOU believe is true? And why do you believe it? What comfort/fear/hope/despair/salvation does it offer you? And is it worth sharing?
This is why poetry exists. To share the truths that each poet has discovered on his or her path. These are as valid as the studies in medical journals, perhaps more; to wit, the scientific facts of cancer bear less truth about life with the disease than does a sonnet penned by a survivor.
Writing poetry is not a whimsical pastime. It is, in fact, perhaps the most important perpetuation of a culture’s humanity. Ideas and ideals that reveal prejudices and passions, sometimes timely, sometimes timeless, bleed through every line of a well- written poem.
I often say that I am not even real, that I am just a metaphor. That my songs reveal my thoughts, that my poems reveal my heart, that my outward appearance reveals my soul. Every part of me is a canto in the story of my journey…and I have miles to go.