Meeting Point of the World

Sparkling high risers made of glass, steel and reflections of concrete:  Is this New York? Downtown LA? No, it is Frankfurt on the Main, meeting point of bankers, lawyers, brokers and traders. With the exceptions of the few tourists strewn here and there, conversations circulate around equity markets, banking and capital investment.  Since Brexit, foreign banks have relocated Frankfurt.  Compared to London, the city reminds one of a provincial outpost.  The license to operate in Germany (and elsewhere in the European Union), is attractive to non-European banks: Instead of negotiating 27 bilateral agreements to do business in Europe, they would only have to negotiate one. 

Engulfing the main train station is the Bahnhofsviertel.  It is by far the most diverse district in the country.  About 58% of the population are migrants from other cultural backgrounds and upbringings. 156 nationalities live here side by side.  Yesterday I wandered through the streets, lost somehow, but also open eyed towards the life around me.  One discovers the Persian grocery store, the African hair dresser, or an Indian cleaning lady at the Turkish bakery, chatting to the owner about her family in German. 


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In the city center, a Syrian family sings a song from their old homeland with joyful and resounding energy.  Their journey was a remarkable one.  Like many others, they made it to Germany by bus, train, ferry, but mostly by foot.  When they arrived in Munich, they were greeted warmly and ushered to Frankfurt, the meeting point of the world.   

There are problems here - as there are everywhere in the world - but Germany's approach is not to isolate people, but to toss them right into the colorful life. Yes, we can say plenty about the German rules and laws, the petty bourgeoisie and the narrow-mindedness, but I also feel a certain pride... Germany like no other country in the world has accepted more than a million of refugees and is working hard to integrate its new citizens into society.  (Source: Amnesty International)

Germany certainly has its dark sides, but if you look closely you can see humanity - once lost during the Second World War - sprouting from the cracks of the past.

Water Under the Bridge

It's water under the bridge
And it breaks a solid dam.
This is a land of few words.
We got our guns,
And our get away cars.
We remain on the run.
Until we meet our shadow
In the mirror of a friend.
Choose your battles.
Change comes at dawn.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.





Meeting Point of Two Lives

To know how to get close
To find you
After all this time
To know when to let go.
Meeting point of two lives.
No, it isn't strange.
After change upon change
We are more or less the same
After change we are more or less the same
I don't have to explain.
I am older than I once was
Younger than I'll be.
And you, you are still the same.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

No Easy Answers, only more Questions

Lets talk about Lady Justice. Her scales date back to the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: Anubis weighs a Decedent's heart against the Feather of Truth to determine whether to grant passage to the afterlife. Blind-folded, but with a powerful, raised sword in her left hand, she greeted me every morning on my way to court.  As litigators we present one version of the case, our story, and attempt to discredit the other side’s story.  As mediators we strive to balance the stories by digging for shared interests beneath positions.  And then there are days, where we struggle to define justice all together.

When discussing the art of the question, negotiation and finding a compromise, mediation is an art.  Its designs do not speak to everyone. Those of us with a pragmatic and factual approach discover that it is not always about the nail. Others of us who attempt to talk about feelings may find themselves on the other end of the spectrum: “Don’t talk to me about feelings. You have no idea how I am feeling!”  

Mediators can learn and practice the art, but the process remains a balancing act.  Where does that leave us? Like everything else in life, we discover there are no easy answers, only more questions.  Some things cannot be explained, some things are difficult to understand, if one can understand at all, and some things cannot be taught.



Checkmate

Game of black and white
Chase of shadow and light
Two lefts don't make a right
Situations, complications, constellations
Steering clear of direct confrontations
Underestimation leads to intimidation.
The white queen can take the black rook
We are long past the rules of the book.
Your reputation is compromised
Don't look so surprised
You can't tame a wild thing 
I am taking your king.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Words

Some words are nothing more than
Complicated hybrids of emotions.
Repetitious variations of
Germanic train car constructions.
To go forward you have to come back
Where you began.
One thing leads to another,
And sometimes
One thing leads to nowhere at all.
Arrested and overawed attention.
Did I mention
"Selfie" made it word of the year?
Not yet, perhaps not here,
But in the end, and somewhere like this.
That is what it means…
Communication gone mute.
Our lives contain multitudes.
Arms stretching farther and farther
To encompass more people, more life...
Out of curiosity, of imagination, of love.
Can you see me?
All of me?
Probably not.
No one has.

 © Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Los Angeles Love Letters

On numerous occasions, I have tried to grasp this beautiful and heart-wrenching city in writing; Los Angeles’ ethnic essence, its strange lessons in propinquity and its many conflicts would not let me go. Aside from the obvious imagery, the stereotypes and the clichés, how does one describe Los Angeles? This is another attempt.
Sunlight tapping on moving cars and dazzling on skyscrapers, fleeting glimpses of a city in constant traffic, crass architectural differences shown in barrios, beachfront mansions, the interactions of immigrant workers, struggling mothers and generations wrestling with too few resources - far beyond the confines of two-dimensions, every inch of the diverse, ever-changing landscape is part of a story of this city.

Lost and found souls, trying to find their way through Los Angeles’ uncontrollability, take comfort in the chaos. As the city grows on the characters, they grow with it. Small villages inspired from memories of life abroad pop up everywhere; street signs and storefronts in luminous Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji symbols welcome visitors - beyond the touristy Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo, new Asian enclaves have put their pegs. Polished vinyl-tiled corridors under a string of skylights, crème-painted walls, numbered flush doors, each with a plastic nameplate fastened to the wall beside it.
In Pasadena and Glendale several neighborhood blocks make up Little Armenia, the home away from home for Armenian families. The little ones attend a private Armenian pre-school and meet their friends at a church community center. Commonly found are Armenian bakeries: The wonderful aroma of yeasty bread and the window decorations of delicate, mouth-watering sweets seduce the senses.

In the east side of city, by the Los Angeles river, conversations shift to Spanish. A smell of chili and grilled cheese lingers in the air. The walks are littered with wet paper, crushed orange-drink cartons, broken glass. Some rusting car bodies, compacted into cubes, are stacked behind a steel-mesh fence. Large murals of arrested moments, astonishingly three-dimensional, appear to leap out of the worn-out white-stucco barrios with windows piled with cardboard cartons and ordinary wood doors with weathered brass knobs and key circles, as if the tantalizing reality of the vanished moment might somehow be seized and the first nearly imperceptible movement detected. Everywhere, as far as the eye can see, streets, signs, murals and shops remind of travel sights from abroad.

Life happens, we all have our favorite L.A. stories, which have influenced us, shaped us and helped us to discover who we are. Young voices contribute fresh perspectives. Retro comes back into style with a twist that makes them feel new all over again. In the image-making capital of the world, adding our footprint in a city that is constantly reinventing itself is maybe purpose enough.

The journey is in no way finished, the story continues…

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Stranger in the Mirror



He read in Umberto Eco once
That the mirror captures the truth.
It captures the truth inconceivably.
One look into the reflection glass,
And folks drop every illusion
They may have had before.
The man saw a reflection of him.
So far he could rely on the simple fact
That it would be he,
Who waved back inside the mirror,
Night after night.
The man liked the mirror
As it was a reflection of a life fully lived, and
He liked seeing he was still there.
The man cut a face
To iron out his wrinkles.
He stuck out his tongue and
Ran his fingers through his shaggy hair.
So far this has always worked.
Faithfully the image inside the mirror copied
Every move.
But today something was off,
Today something was different.
Today the image inside the mirror
Hardly moved.
It remained motionless and unimpressed
To the man's playful gimmicks.
The man took a step back.
"Who are you?", he asked anxiously, because
Whoever looked out of the mirror tonight
Was a stranger.

© Colleen Yorke, 2020.




Smoke Signals

Somewhere out there
Miles down the road,
Above the reflecting kaleidoscope,
A secret code 
Communicating to you, and you alone.
In another dimension
And time
Smokey rings intertwine,
Carrying your answer to the skies.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.



Beyond the Horizon

Sometimes you don't know
You crossed a line
Until you are on the other side
Sometimes you know
You crossed a line
Because you wrote the warning sign.
Sometimes you cross a line
And you realize
Something beyond Cloud 9
The line has shifted
The side has drifted
Something new to define.
What was a line
Is only a blur of white
What seemed a fall
Isn't one at all.
Sometimes what seems to be the end
Is only the beginning.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Goal Line of the World

Not yet.
But soon.
Inch by inch.
Open-eyed.
On the goal line of the world.
Light of a smile.
Years go by.
Giving in another mile.
To get it right this time.


© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

You Can't Fall Out Of the Universe

I can't imagine the adventures you are on.  
Wandering,
Blown in any which way
The light catches the dust
Places words can not reach
Each wave a breath
Of a thousand grains of sand
Busy fiddler crabs darting
Back and forth by the stream
Caught between reality and dream
Primal parts of the world 
Not yet colored in
Orchestra of a night theater
Colorful details that hold the eye
In the daylight
Pocketful of secrets at night
You can't fall out of the universe.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

An Edge to Walk

There is no path.
The path is made by walking
Or running.
Trails are lines of thought.
They meander,
Crisscross each other,
Fold,
And flow off in
Odd directions.
Emotions are no more visible
Than the wind,
Until they touch something.
There is nothing
Out of place here.
How could there be,
It's nature.
An edge to walk.
Or run.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

All Your Tomorrows Start Here.

All your tomorrows start here.
Adrift on the open sea.
So close to heart, and yet out of reach.
Standing on my hands.
Love letters in the sand.
Caught in a half-way world,
Exploding stars
A multitude of feelings
Owning none.
A cup for the soul of the world.
© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

City of Angels

Sunlight tapping on moving cars, 
Neon lights circulating in black bars.
Dazzling skyscrapers lit from within,
Words poured into a glass of gin.
Dreams and nightmares,
Truths and dares.
Broken hearts, broken minds,
Overnight successes of all kinds.
Chinese characters, a Kanji letter,
Translations lost for the better.
Pasta and poultry,
Chili and cheese,
Fish for me please.
What else is good?
A town shaped by 

The make and say of Hollywood.
Generations of strong, creative forces

But too few resources.
Life in constant traffic,
Hoping, waiting for something big.
Far beyond confines o
f two-dimensions,
And lost centers of attention,
Headlines and cultural tensions,
Strange lessons in propinquity,
The ethic essence of a divided city.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.


Equidistant

He was looking at something
That which, by all rights, should not exist.
Everything he thought he knew about her 
Turned out to be
Nothing more than memories.
She was no longer here,
That much was certain.
She was, in fact, not here.
The man cleared his throat, then fell silent.
This was a definitive silence, one to judge
The qualities of other silences by.
To find himself equidistant between two points
Gave him the funniest feeling.
She had decided to forget everything.
She had already lost what she was supposed to lose.
There was no other reasonable explanation possible
From such unreasonable circumstances.
He decided that a long time ago.
His fate was, and always will be, that of a dreamer.

© Colleen Yorke. 2020.

Serendipity

Strange serendipity
Out of odds in this city
Shaded colors of daylight
Stepping into the night
Sphere of life
In continuous strife
Light synthesis
With no clear dividing line
Or memesis.
Bold branches, strong roots
Silent sounds of walking boots
Thinking outside the box,
Fleeting sight of love on the rocks 
Melody of an echo close
Just when a moment froze
Thought encounter unexpected,
But standing corrected
Out of odds, no explanation
For this strange vibration
Of gravity's causation.
 
© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

A Little Bit of Everything

Between expression and illusion
Reality of error and light of fusion
Touched by the phantom of truth
Vintage fountain of youth
Headlines of the hour
Buildings of power
Tangled trees

In the chilly evening breeze
Skaters with red cheeks
Poetry on the ground
Diverse street sounds
De todo un poco
A little bit of everything
A seat on the side 

Of a circus ring
No apparent reason 

But in due season
Swift and startling conversion
Colorful immersion
And personal association 

With a particular occasion
A quick peek, hide and seek -
A mother sneaking up on her child.
Two delighted squeals,

Little sneakers with blinking heels,
Chasing across Pershing Square
Remembering a moment so rare.
In the center of the park,
Captured like a punctuation mark
It suddenly dawned on me,
This was the place to be.


© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Always Running Against the Wind

Far across the cornfields I go
Little twigs nipping under my feet
While my heart is at home

Underneath a road so steep
Surrounded by fog's mask

But up to the task.
Can't remember when it was dark
When the sun came up

A folded pocket somewhere
Holding your stories close
Ghosts they reappear
In mountains stacked with fear
Said I could not get anywhere

Though far away
We are still the same

Beyond the blind jungle
Signature of a rainbow
My heart is at home.

© All rights reserved. Colleen Yorke. 2020.

Origami Memories

Please excuse the mess
The children are shaping memories
Using paint, crayons, clay to express
What only they know best.
Scraps and crumbs land on the floor
Something I once wore.
We all have been here before.
Looking at the rest of a dress
Knowing you didn't expect any less

Collecting little pieces nonetheless.
Memories come in all shapes and sizes
And stories colored with new surprises
Wide-eyed wonder and adventure 
An old memory and a new venture.

© Colleen Yorke. All right reserved. 2020.

Lines in the Wind

How do we get from A to B
Can not be up to me.
In the storm,
Beneath the stars,
High waves on a lake,
Here we are ...
Lives in the wind
Caught up in a breeze.
If this is a dream,
Could somebody wake me up please?

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Tints of Vanilla and Rose

Chocolate on my hands
Tints of vanilla and rose
Flour on my clothes
Exotic notes
Taking me to foreign lands.
Grandma is looking over my shoulders
She would have laughed aloud
But I know she would have been proud.


© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 20120.

Stroke by Stroke

Homage to a friend and a teacher:
Dots of red corn roses
Sketching happiness in doses
Wonders of life under your spell
You taught us well 
The stories you fed
The strangers you met
The face they couldn’t forget
Words and words
Line after line
Stroke by stroke
You took note
To speak what no one hears
To write what no one reads,
To retouch a life seized
In black and white
To recolor
Piece by piece.
You played your part
In a lifetime captured by art. 
© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Prism of Light

Colors of the night parted
Prisms of light
Not for the faint-hearted
Reflecting the dispersion of an affair
Saying that now you are not as you were
The frontiers are not north or south, east or west
A nervous matter at best.
The renewal of broken relations 
Lock safe with a million combinations
A thousand scientific equations
Undiffused, separate and rigidly alone
House of one room, piled up stone
The corner of creation
Shines through a temperament 
Framed for another time
The sentiment is evident
Given the image of what is actually seen
Forgetting everything that has been
And the best and the worst of this is
That neither is to blame.
The answer remains the same.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.


Sticky Truth

The ecstasy of hallucination, 
Patience of an eternity
Hanging onto
The frown of a clown.
Breathing in a moment
Without a sound.
A brief high
Sugary trip along some brim
Until gravity kicks in.
Et tu, Brutus? 
Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.
Dancing along a balancing beam
Towards the horizon's gleam.

© Colleen Yorke. All right reserved. 2020.

What the Fish Taught

A spider web
Sticky threads,
Absurd at best.
Cut through the haze,
Long past the daze,
Not much left of the maze.
A dragon to replace
The torn space.
Smile of a bird.
This isn't a first.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

On the Outside Looking In

Images on a screen
Traveling a time machine.
Picturing him in between
Hearing his heart beats
And his silent screams.
He left his door wide open,
Point of no return,
He tells her she doesn't understand,
But she could learn.
In a corner, trying not to blink,
On the outside looking in.


© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Hidden Forces

The wind sings a song 
Of man's passions and desires.
The starry skies keep quiet
Of man's dreams.
And every snow flake 
reminiscent of a tear not shed.
The total silence
We surrender to only rarely
It is filled with unsaid words,
not shown gestures,
Denied propositions of love,
Unspoken curiosities.
In secret kept, in silence sealed
Lies our truth hidden:
Yours and mine.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Ghosting


It seems to be a curse of our generation.  Surely, emails and text messaging have contributed to it.  We make friends, we become intimate with someone, and then we stop talking.  The urban dictionary provides a word for that: "ghosting."  

"Ghosting" is when our partner ends the relationship by cutting off all communication, without explanations nor forewarning. Every attempt to connect gets the ultimate silent treatment.  Someone we laughed with, cried with, hugged and tasted the world with suddenly disappears without a trace.  We dive into our deepest insecurities for answers, not quite believing what is happening - wasn't he or she the one? - and we resort to inner conversations with ourselves, trying to rationalize our feelings.  And then there is that faint beacon of hope that we will see them again, that it is all a short-lived, bad dream, and we look to the door, waiting for the person to walk in, because in the end love conquers all.   

There are psychological reasons why someone ghosts; at its core, ghosting in its essence is avoidance – wanting to avoid confrontation, difficult conversations, or hurting someone's feelings. However, this choice is probably the worst outcome a ghost could hope for – for one, too often emotions, frustrations, misunderstandings are blown up disproportionately.  Stepping back a second and putting ourselves into our partner's shoes place things in perspective. Instead, the ghost clings onto an one-sided view of things, overthinks something said in the heat of human dimensions – and easily fixed in a face-to-face conversation.  An insurmountable mountain of "problems" ensues, and the ghost vanishes.  Unsettled feelings remain, often for years to come.  Maybe we move on with our lives, and find someone else to fill up the void, but at what price?

People are not mirror images of each other nor should they be. 

© All rights reserved. 2020.

Snapshot below the bridge

The old man, wearing a hooded jacket which covered up half of his face, tattered along, heavily relying on his crutches underneath the dark bridge just below the freeway.  

I sat in my car waiting for the red light to change, my heart aching with every step the poor soul took. As I looked on, I fought with my inner spirit to just pull over and offer the old man a lift. God knows I would have, had I not known the risk of a single white woman in Los Angeles stopping in the middle of the night to let a strange man, whose face she couldn't see, into her car to be greater.

As the light turned green, I looked back over my shoulder one more time, wondering, if I was doing the right thing and feeling pretty certain I wasn't.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

Suitcase Heart

I carry my heart in a little suitcase
Through time, through space
Through mad banners of wind
Holding the secrets of a dear friend.
I carry my heart in a little suitcase
Walking through empty streets and 
Through rain
I am soaked from love and pain.
Hearing the crumbled pieces of my own. 
My cover is blown.
Planting the roots on the shore,
Knowing I have been here before.
Passed the street of your heart,
Closed gate and a security guard.
Stood there for a minute or two,
Watched your dark window.
And heard the accord of a piano.
Then the cops came around too.
I am too early or too late.
I wrap pieces in a little suitcase,
Keeping a steady pace.
Balancing on my toes, 
Tip point of the world,
Basking in the moonlight.
Tonight I am traveling light.

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2020.

All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this blog are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. © All rights reserved.