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What steps do we climb
         with creaks and groans?
What ghosts have passed our way?
         When was I meeting mine?

         Life is like that,
         often passing us by.

What creatures have crept my way
         swaying with the bridge over a stream?
I fell over the ridge into my dreams
         into the bleachers where dragons play.

         Life is like that,
         often like a dream.

What is it we climb upwards to gain?
         Warm hearts? Outstretched arms?
It wasn’t like that on the farm.
         Tobacco, alfalfa, and all that grain.

         Life is like that,
         duty bound and sometimes not much rain.

A spiral ladder – where to I don’t know.
         To meet the challenge a toehold on the next rung,
Somewhere into the clouds of snow,
         To keep my balance and be bold, a song I sung.

         Life is like that,
         sometimes we need to let go and just sing along.

Feeling high, feeling low,
         My heart leaping in bounds.
The sun is sinking low,
         A long way looking down.

         Life is like that,
         in orbit going round.

Wandering through the mall, from store to store,
         A neighborhood tomcat, going from door to door,
So many purchases, so many chores,
         That and nothing more.

         Life is like that,
         sometimes so dull

From nine to five, punching cards,
         Going from dive to dive, interrupted aria
Coming home, closing the door – all alone.
         Ending up looking at the stars.

         Life can be like that,
         wondering for more.

Late at night when most have entered their cocoons,
         Out of sight – some seek saviors in saloons,
Wanting to be swallowed in a room of rumblers,
         Leaving those sleeping comforted in their slumbers.

         Must life be like that?
         Say no, say no.

A light, a beam, a torch is my plea.
         A watchtower to see across the broiling sea
Flickering lights – blips on radar to see,
         Anything but me.

         Life is like that,
         beginning with one’s very self.

Clashing with ghosts I have read
         about churning windmills, Humpty Dumpty and his
Our brains are mysteries – gigabytes and all
         Messing around with the hypocampus in our heads.

         Life is like that,
         not just brains and brawn,

My ears – echoing sound bouncing back,
         My fears – trembling round roaming packs
Of hungry wolves in the wake.
         So many regrets and memories that ache.

         Life can be like that,
         our own museum of pain..

I flee the ghosts of war, still distant and far
         Across the waters churning salty red.
Their blood for all of us is shed.
         So many must live with life-long scars.

         Life is like that;
         sometimes it stinks like the drain in the sink.

Oh for the cat’s sense of
         detecting the opened door.
A cat knows, my cat knows.
         He feels it in his nose,
The breathing of an open door.

         Life is like that         doors open and close.

Watch the balloons rising in the air.
         You can see them at the fair.
Green, yellow, red, black as a bear.
         Floating higher and higher, stormy weather and fair.

         Life is like that,
         Not always fair.

How we grapple with floods
         Of tears and disappointment,
Finding ourselves in the mud,
         Sliding down an embankment.

         Life is like that,
         needing hope to cope.

I tell myself it’s better not to fear.
         It doesn’t matter, what is real.
It’s better not to fear.
         Fear is real but not of what is real.

         Life can be like that,
         full of fear and insecure.

The wind is blowing, the cows are lowing,
         standing in muddy waters, changing weather,
Pushing the sails across the salty waters.
         Living is slow when the winds aren’t blowing

         Life is like that,
         never standing still,
         Sometimes we need a tug or shove.

Little girl, little girl, take my hand, come with me,
         Dream the dream of your dreams
Barbie dolls, chocolate cake with ice cream, and Barny.
         Why are you crying in your stream of dreams?

         Life is like that,
         not all cream with peaches.

Dying is our final act – one all our own.
         Le Morte d’Artur, are we the author or pseudonym?
We no longer consume our place
         And others come and sing their hymns.

         Life is like that
         not consequences of sin.

Life did not begin with a fall
         And humans are not born in stalls.
In the spring come new animals.
         And the harvest ends in the fall.
         Life is only that –
         when we can say HERE I AM.

         – Ben Gieske, July 17, 2007