Life is Duality

Day 13 “first draft” for NaPoWriMo 2013

Life Is Duality

on catching a glimpse of the Great Mysery

I sometimes get very dark
my emotions get brittle and heavy
– an anger at life swells

every time I dig deep enough
be it on my own
or in a counseling session
I find two constants

they are things I cannot change
but they have left a most indelible mark

one unfolded over a horrendous period of early years
one happened in a horrible flash during my mid-life
both so horrific they changed forever my humanity

try as I do their darkness still surfaces
and my inner light gets smothered
— but I will never stop facing them down
when I feel them getting a chilled grip on my essence

that is what life is
keeping the good fight
and embracing with love and gratitude
the beauty we have also been given
and we have been given so much so amazing

life is duality —
life is balance —
the keeping of it —
and the regaining of it when it’s lost…

if you have lived long enough
is DOES get lost at times – often very lost

but life is an awesome opportunity
an experience of the profound and mysterious
the mystery we are not meant to solve
but rather to celebrate with grace and wonder

peace to all this Friday night
may love touch all of our lives
for love is the gateway to the great mystery

as one of our last great modern prophets, John said —
love is all you need
and in the end
the love you take is equal to the love you make…

so find your lover and make love
with great freedom, abandon, gratitude,
and the energy of the spheres…!!! 🙂

• • •

rob kistner © 2013


This piece deals with the strange duality we all carry with us through life, the unique contradiction between the person we think we are, and the ‘many’ other persons others perceive us to be from their experience of us, as filtered through their differing individual perceptions. Fair or not, convenient or not — we are ‘judged’, and our lives are impacted to one degree or another, every day by how we measure up to each of these interpretations of the “I” we are thought to be. This includes the “I” we perceive ourselves to be. Which one is real, which one is valid — or is any one of them truly definitive? The phrase “I am” presents a fascinating philosophical quandary.

image by René Magritte


when another
tells you of yourself
you’re shown the dance they see
your outward choreography

but you hear not of the music
that rings true in your mind
that leads and drives the steps
for this music they know not

you are shown the reflection
not the light that shines inside
that illuminates your soul
to guide your steps and stride

are we the I we know
the self we see full measure
or are we the other
the one known to another

for if the valid one
be the one most known
then we are that other
the one to ourselves unknown

for surely when compared
the majority story shared
is of the manifest other
the one seen by another

and so we live our life
cloistered in this other
and live this life alone
even when by many known
for the you that’s shown
is the you that’s not your own

• • •

rob kistner © 2012

Perception’s Window

artwork by Jack Vettriano

Perception’s Window

we are infinite beings
awaking slowly
from some infinite place

our coming to be
unknown to us as any mystery
our essence an enigma

learned in stories
in waiting relationships
gradually we open to our identity

awareness dawns
like the rising of a newborn sun
breaking on our window of perception

we feel its warmth
and flow effortlessly into timelessness
as though immortal

we see not over the horizon
for we see no horizon
but limitless eternity

we comprehend no end
immersed only in the now
given of our origin

it is therein exists the miracle of life
we are infinite beings in this moment
dreaming to sustain the moment

• • •

rob kistner © 2012

this piece inspired by this visual prompt at Magpie Tales

Soul Food

Something life’s experiences have taught me: seeing the world for what it is makes you smart, envisioning the world for what it can be – makes you wise…


Soul Food

there are countless contradictions
in the elements of the work we do
and conflictions as we strive
but bring these not to table

for I am you
and you are me
and we are all together
in this constant labor
for our daily bread

and this toil to sustain the body
this does not feed the spirit
this is not our true work

to lift someone in need
to measure well in tolerance
to seek the components of peace
to create enduring possibility

this is the true work
in the final sweep
‘round the face of time

this is what the soul eats

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

linked at Magpie Tales and OSI




to grow up
is to chase off
our innocence
our naïve belief
in the world as a beautiful place
to harden against the magic
of our childhood dreams

but if by chance
we can cling to just one
perhaps we can hold on
to our precious sense of wonder

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

photo: “Alice in Wonderland” by Yuki Valentine

King of Sunrise


King of Sunrise

on the boulevard below
last night’s rain puddles
midst the chaos of metro-clutter
held hostage by tire and curb
as if abandoned by the waters of earth

it shoulders its way through the gutters
in search of mother sea

this day begins golden and crisp
bird songs echo empty sunrise streets

me and the first edition
we sit by this morning window
with coffee and curiosity
quietly serenaded by the 5:00 AM news

I read
occasionally glimpse the screen
grow troubled by our human plight
amazed how we never learn
when the answers seem so obvious

in this moment
the tv drones
my frustration rises
my spirit slips
my mind drifts
lifting on the vapor ribbons
wafting from my steaming cup
until I stare distracted

the announcer’s mouth continues sculpting words
but I’ve fallen deep into my thoughts
imagining how different it would be
if I ruled this world

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

linked at Magpie Tales




I now move in the world unseen
I am transparent
a fading glimpse
caught in the darkened corner
of an ever dimming eye

where once I blocked the sun
I am but a shadow
moving between shadows
at the edge of light
without form

once a voice
that thundered ‘cross the distance
called all near to listen
in doing so was heard
now hardly just a whisper

my footsteps
shook the ground in passing
now leave but faint a trace
barely form and then are gone
as if I am no longer here

yet here I am
worn thin and weary
not strength to hold the hands of time
not sound to bid a fair goodbye
quickly disappearing

dissolving into the dust of age
gone before I’ve left

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

The Revenant, 1949, Andrew Wyeth

linked at Magpie Tales

The Sync


The Sync

to make contact
searching for the sync
the heart of the matter
in this solitary journey
from womb to tomb

a stranger
on the bus of days
seeking distraction
chatting them up
to suppress
the voice of isolation

immersed in the small talk
of love
and accomplishment
to drown
the incessant murmur
of alienation

the chant of abandonment
ever there to remind
that we board alone
to make our way
toward an enigmatic destination

to a vague vision
of home

to disembark
as we began

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

collage entitled “The Sync” – by: rob kistner © 2011


linked at Carry On Tuesday and Magpie Tales

Fret Not

…written for Day #30, NaPoMo 2011…


Fret Not

people are consumed
by endings
speak of their finality
their permanence
their absoluteness

but I say no

in this age of recycling
endings are not absolute

eventually inevitable
but in that
they are not so special
not unique


these are unique
these are absolute
they only happen once
they are not inevitable
not guaranteed

they require a complex
set of variables
to come together
perfectly timed
properly executed

and in that
they are singular
very very special

so let us not fret
nor dwell
nor waste emotion upon
something so commonplace
as endings


let us seek
let us anticipate
let us celebrate

these amazing culminations
of elusive possibilities

they are so full
of promise
of potential
of mystery

so worth our wonder

• • •

rob kistner © 4/30/11

Skye Fyre

…written for Day #12, NaPoMo 2011…


Skye Fyre

the grand sunset gun
hunter readies his grip
as the great golden orb
returns weary from his trip

quicksilver moon
embarks on her night’s course
hunter fixes sharp eyes
steady on the source

gaia reaches gently
into vast quiet space
diamonds of stars
gaia sparkles in place

hunter locks the horizon
solid in his sight
his important grand task
still remains on this night

to set the late sky ablaze
before he goes to sleep
in patterns most bold
in colors quite deep

he aims his sunset gun
and blasts overhead
a riot of corals
ambers oranges and red

with a grand brilliant flash
the heavens are afire
in rich vivid hues
burning hot with desire

this dusk color festival
has fully begun
so hunter retires
his job is well done
but he first locks away
his grand sunset gun

• • •

rob kistner © 4/12/11


…written for Day #11, NaPoMo 2011…



we are infinite beings
awaking slowly
from some infinite place

our coming to be
unknown to us
as any mystery

learned in stories
in waiting relationships
we open to our identity

our essence
an enigma

awareness dawns
like the rising
of a newborn sun

we feel its warmth
and flow effortlessly
into timelessness

we are as though

we see not over the horizon
because we see no horizon

we comprehend no end
immersed only
in our beginning

it is therein exists
the miracle of life

our infinity

we are infinite beings
in this moment
to sustain the moment

• • •

rob kistner © 4.11.11

The Keepers

The Keepers

from the spark of cognizance
at the dawn of awareness
through the ions of fire and conflict
forward past the dark times
beyond the ages of change
into these centuries of new growth
they have kept it

locked in their hearts
burning in their souls

the keepers of the secret

and now
on the threshold of actualization
realizations unfold

its safeguard is the catalyst
it must never be told

• • •

rob kistner © 2011

Emerge In Grace

…this tanka was inspired by prompt #26 at Writer’s Island,
and by prompt #139 at One Single Impression


Emerge In Grace

go down in trial

endure the tribulation

emerge rapt in grace

steeled by the tempering fire

molten molded pure and strong

• • •

rob kistner © 2010

For No One

…this piece is in response to prompt #17 at We Write Poems,
and prompt #69 at Carry On Tuesday,
also the September 1st prompt at Three Word Wednesday…

For No One

the cadence
to which I tight step
in my heart

it is my coursing vital
stirs my spirit
steels my resolve
drives me on
into the fray

“to thine own self”
the chambers
of my soul
as the song
of angels

if one is not
of the life
one lives
it is
and its essence

it is my pen
scribes my epitaph

the spark
must be authentic
or the fire

the flame
that burns within
is mine

do not expect
I will ignite
for you
or blaze
to your vision

you are not
my flint

do not attempt
to chart
my course
I search
my own

do not
contain me
I live

do not
seek me
on the surface
I break deep
the negative

do not
summon me
to your queue

yours is not
my grid
or file

you are not
my piper

I know

I stand in line
for no one

• • •

rob kistner © 2010

artwork by Aynaku, embellished by: rob kistner 2010