Voice Poems

 

By Tony Page

October - November 2001

 

 

___________________

 

 

Take a Wish Walk

 

 

Take a wish walk

Today. Right now

Through the tall

Proud

Empire you work in

 

 

Take a left fork

At reception

Past the smile talk

Deflection

Through the back of house

 

 

Wear your spectacles

To see close up

All the obstacles

Crap

We all endure

 

 

Sense pent-up feelings

Heavy silence..

.. masked, concealing..

..frenzy

Covering what we want

 

 

Start to wish for

Something lifting

Feel it, believe it more

Not resisting

The idea we can have it

 

 

Approach someone and ask

What are you feeling now?

Penetrate the vast

Concealing shroud

To find their pulse

 

 

Notice the rising force

Melting isolation

Sexual metaphor

Potential creation

That makes sense out of work

 

 

Take a wish walk

And you'll find

People want talk

Mind

Engaging....

 

 

Purpose gripping

Fear diffusing

Right now concocting

The taste of an organisation

We want to work in

 

__________________________

 

Change in a nutshell

 

Could we more happily address

The whole painful process

Of change?

Rearrange

Our minds

Re-"cognise" the signs

 

Maybe like this…

 

Once disturbed

Emotions push us head first

Into blinding fuss

Change changing us

Slogging together through hell

In a nutshell

 

If you deeply, deeply yearn

Then the flames don't burn

It's only lonely change until

You've voiced your firm farewell

After that it’s natural force

Shared ambition gushing from infinite energy source

__________________________

 

Lines

 

There is in every airport

A line where that country ends

Cross it and you enter open sky

 

There are in every building

Walls where one room ends

And the next room begins

 

There is in every garden

A fence where one home ends

And Nextdoor begins

 

There are in every meeting

Invisible lines where each person ends

And other people begin

 

There is round every person

A skin where public-me ends

And another private-me begins

 

Lines and lines and lines

 

Is a line a barrier, never to be crossed?

Or the edge of an adventure promising gains as well as loss?

For leader learning is noticing lines

Our work entails exploring, getting lost and redefined

 

________________________

 

The Free-Will Game

 

Design a game

Thousands play

Within a frame

That you create

 

Condition A

Free-will low

People wait

Nothing flows

 

Until you drive

They loll around

Useless lives

On rotting ground

 

Condition B

More structure, rules

Organisation tree

Directing fools

 

Slowly grinding

Cranking through

People finding

What to do

 

Hypnotic habit

Blind to drift

Smash and grab it

Market shifts… to precipice

 

Forces crisis

Change of pace

No one likes it

Feeling fazed

 

Passive foot drag

Lack of faith

Costly time lags

Work not play

 

Leader voicing

Message clear

Mines the feelings

Finds the fear

 

Condition C

Hard level to reach

Free-will released

Provided you teach

 

Find sense of purpose

Walk thin line

Work within "musts"

And autonomy high

________________________

 

Truths out of sync

 

Silence

You speak what's true

And I react, missing you

You try again

To give me what's real

The earth shattering injustice you feel

 

But you've set me off

Now I'm excited about

A different earth shattering injustice I feel

 

And you are frustrated because I can't receive

But I am frustrated because you can't hear me

Silence again

 

Let's recap

 

Silence

You said A to me

I heard B

You repeat A to me

I repeat B

Silence again

___________________________

 

 

The boundary between us

 

The whole world outside me

An infinite universe of potential

 

A vast world inside me

Of memories, current relationships and sense of potential

 

You are outside me

But as my friend I let you peek into my world

And you let me peek into your world

For brief moments

 

Voice is the channel

 

When you speak heartfelt truth to me

Fireworks inside ignite in a chain reaction

And just a little part of this shows

In the reacting truth I Voice thinly back to you

 

My life-work is at the boundary of me and you

To Voice more of my reaction

Make it larger, more truth laden

For a brief moment

 

My life-work is at the boundary of you and me

To draw your reaction through your Voice

Let my fireworks ignite yours ignite mine…

In an infinite chain

For a brief moment

 

Until it is time to close

Which being the way I am

I do more easily than opening

Re-establishing what's mine and yours

 

Be careful with throwing me your anger

On a bad day I'll stay closed

On a good day

I'll show you it's yours not mine


 

___________________________


 

Seeing the larger pattern

 

Bolt your back door

Hide away

Fear to walk the street

Imagine a suicide bomber round every corner

 

Since the Pope against the Infidels

History stained with Crusades and Jihads

Crazy religious wars

Atrocity, then outrage and hitting back

 

An eye for an eye

Across the world

Two world wars then

Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Vietnam, Chechnya

 

In every war, the same pattern

Copied in corporate wars

Fear turned into righteous bloody quest for dominance

Not comprehending one-ness

 

Can we now assemble a different army?

An army of experience

That defeats the reflex to retaliate

That stems the flow of hatred

 

Gandhi and Mandela saw a larger pattern

Today plunging into a black hole

Destroying economy, jobs, income, lives

Can you make the difference?

 

Can you unlock your back door

Walk the street, stand tall

Face your enemy

Without hatred, fear, threats or violence

 

Armed only with Voice?

 


___________________________

 

The pressure to split

 

When you said that's pathetic

I filled up with anger

When you said get on with your job

I shrunk to an angry child

 

And with each remark

Without either of us knowing

An invisible cloak

Hid what was happening

 

Me hurting, you moving on to other business

The me in me, was split from you

So if you had said (and of course you didn't)

Are you feeling OK? I would have said yes

 

But the truth would be an unspeakable no

Since you have the power

Over my project, my job

My money and my life

 

I don't know

That you know

Or care about

The damage you could do

 

So you see the pressure

To split

Hiding my truth from you

Is huge

 

And no matter how open

We say we will be

I just can't trust

It's OK to be me

___________________________

 

 

I'll check for you…

 

Hanging on

Long pause

Splendid tune

Reduced to thin wallpaper musak

Pause again

Yes we can do that for you

Mouthful.

Customer service script.

 

You can fly back

One day earlier

At the airport

Revalidate ticket

They'll tell you

If there is an extra charge

Can't you tell me?

No!

 

Mildly irritated

I forget

Probably OK

Just a small change

 

At the airport

Smart blue uniform.

Can I help you sir?

Formal, creepy mouthful.

 

Non-endorsable sir

Upgrade to business

Sounds good

Or is it?

Do I have to pay more?

I'll check the fare rules sir

Pause. Calm.

Deep breath. Chill.

 

Yes. Business outward sir

Economy return

Unless you want

Business return sir

Both braced for the moment

I have no choice

We both know

She coldly does her job

 

This is ridiculous!

Yes I understand

You're not changing outward sir

But there are the (fare) rules

All you have to do

Is sign here

For the extra payment

Sir

___________________________

 

 

Not getting through

 

It's horrible not getting through

On the phone

Or in the conversation come to that

Getting through is what we want

 

Through to who?

From me to you and back to me

Or the other way

Through to each other

 

Blocked by what?

Holding

Holding back

Holding down

Holding in. What?

 

Through to each other's what?

Truth

Heart

Energy

Passion

Meaning

Source

Or something

Close enough

Alive enough

To trust is truth

 

Instead separated

Alienated

From each other

Polite conforming

Playing the role

Pompous, correct, serious

Not easy

Not laughing

 

Until I muster courage

I ask

I try

I challenge

Myself and you

To tell me, show me

What is true

___________________________

 


 

Have you been on your holidays?

 

Feeling OK

Taking time out of the day

Sitting down, unprepared

How would you like it?

Jolted

Suddenly anxious

 

My life in their hands

Well my head anyway

Do they care?

Or understand?

A gulf between us

Do I know how to cross it?

 

Give me the words

I'm one of those

Who can't say it out

Do you know how you want it?

Sadly no

Help me find out

 

Don’t decide for me

Yes, now I know what - something real

Me: I want a conversation

You want me to talk to you. OK. Lovely

Oh no!

Now I'm not sure about this

 

Here we go.

Ding ding!

Hold tight

What do you do?

Look at me reflected over there

Impassive. Stony face

 

Dumb at the simplest question

Go on. Say something

What do I do?

You don't seem very talkative!

Oh God, I suppose I talk

For a living

 

Sounds daft here

For God's sake

Wake up

Horrible day isn't it?

Typical, we're on the weather

Oi! Get out of that arrogant, superior place

 

Look again

This is unusually fine

There's no clever game

No hidden agenda

No politics

No selling ploy

 

Ah, curiosity

A real question to a person

Me: Do you like cutting hair?

Not today. It's too stressy

Sunday's OK. Much calmer

Oh! Contact! That felt good

 

We escaped

From role

Into something real

Momentarily

A gift to each other

Maybe that's enough

 

I did go away

On my holidays

But now I'm back

Do you want to look?

Me: It's fine!

How would you like to pay?

 

 

_______________________

 

Outside - inside

 

Outside me is the plane cabin

Outside that clouds and sky

Inside me thinking this

Inside that wondering if we'll arrive

 

Outside is a crisis meeting

Outside that is a struggling firm

Inside me rebasing expectations

Inside that is stomach churn

 

Outside is a person

Outside that is a setting

Inside is me thinking, doing

Inside me thinking, doing, is me fretting


___________

 

Our armour plating

 

Defending myself

Why?

Protecting family and health

Without trying

Almost unaware, getting by

I'm on autopilot

 

Fighting manfully

How?

Proud and skilfully

Polishing image now

Both covert and out

It's unending

 

Deflecting

When?

When it suits, not affecting

My cosy mind set

Rock solid. Get

My admirable determination

 

Projecting my weaker stuff

Where?

Onto victims, while I puff

Myself up, rough there

Pretend fair

To appear invincible

 

Introjecting too

What?

Swallowing with attitude

Not questioning that

Just do, go at

Whatever the company expects

 

Retroflecting

Uh?

Dividing myself, bisecting

Into good, angry person fed up

With person two: bad chap

Hopeless making me fail

 

Losing identity

Who?

Blurring the boundary

Between me and you

Which keeps me true

To who I am

 

Coming out of this

What for?

Tired of heavy metal-ness

Seeking comfort

Possibility of more

Just to know from you that I exist

 

And you doing this to me

Lets our team be

Happy and productive

Our company alive

And our shared world a place

I'm enjoying.


______________________________

 

Voice Arising

 

Pause. Breathe

Count to 10

Feel your toes, gut, chest, head

From the inside

What is bubbling there?

 

Pause again. Breathe

Count to 10

Look around the room

Where are you?

Who are you with?

What reaction do you feel?

 

Pause again. Breathe

Put it together

You inside. The room outside. The people with you

What happens?

What are you aware of?

What do you feel moved to voice?

 

Three possibilities

1.        Nothing. Response: OK. Sit with it

2.       Babble. Response. Stop until you can voice the feeling behind the words

3.       A message. Felt. Important to convey. Response: Deliver and draw the reaction

 

Voice your reaction to the reaction

Now their voice has entered your voice.

 

_____________________________

 

First find your wound

 

Take a brave and honest journey

Back to where you formed

The child in family early

Feel the homely norms

 

Not forgetting joy and fun

Riffle through to key complaint

Find a deep hurt you had done

Alive still as personal pain

 

This character flaw that’s dogged you

Denying what you crave

Arising from first feeling fog

Will be with you to the grave

 

Unless you learn to love it

And in making friends explore

How the raw emotion crusted

Covers up your energy source

 

Crowded out in noisy household

I kept my voice inside

Instead of telling, being told

Seeking something but denied

 

Striving quietly to earn attention

A perfect little slave

I never learned to mention

The thing I really craved…

 

… even to know what it was

Lacking this left me lost

Cut-off inside from goings on

Playing along but feeling bossed

 

Sadness is my surface feeling

Behind this an anger fuel

Kept away from fire revealing

A fear of getting ridicule

 

As I confront what life gives out

I'm happy all the way

But noticing I want to shout

And extend the role I play

 

Unravel the knot inside me

Struggle to release the part

That’s been imprisoned feel

The powerful upstart

 

Who entertains and laughs aloud

No worrying about loss of face

Who feels and plays the crowd

Who shares and claims the space

 

Violent eruption releasing

My shocking primitive voice

Scattering listeners fleeing

It grates but I've no choice

 

I seem quiet and conforming

But that's just one side of me

I'm also feeling, loud, reforming

Powerful, knowing I am free

 

(That's my primitive, needy voice)

 

Reclaiming my side that feels

Brings a new calm and power

Doing this the wound can heal

A new bud begins to flower

 

Go back

Start to unravel the knot at your centre

Tap into the raw energy

Enjoy your primitive voice

Feel the joy


________________________________

 

 

Four Infectious Human Conditions

 

 

Fear

Slight prickly sickly doubt

Cuts? Takeover? Skirmish? Rout?

Fear rising. Frown. Find out.

 

Is it the big fierce bogey spirit?

Eyes scan warily. Could be s***!

Gut churning grips and twists

 

Knees wobble. Hands shake

Grabbing support, unbalanced state

Paralysed. Helpless. Suffocate.

 

Anticipate horrible end

Poised on the brink, rend

Piercing scream at the next dark bend

 

Panic. Run. Must hide

Find a safer place inside

A person to shelter beside

 

Pain etched momentarily in your face

Flashes danger signal, lightening races

Round the entire workplace

 

The fear persists, drifting unbound

Still no specific enemy found

Becomes normal, toxic background

 

Work from the assumption of attack

Corroding insecurity. Lack.

Always ready to fight back

___

 

Anger

Turf burglar.

You dare invade

Steal my oxygen.

Trash my space

Don't diss

You're in my face!

 

Child fool.

Irritating me

Defying

Cruel tease

I snap

Inhibition free

 

Sucking leech.

Clinging tight

See me fierce

Alert, alight

Aerobic rage

Evict you right

 

Ignorant colleague.

You cut me out

Invisible

I fight and shout

Grabbing

You by the throat

 

Once I'm dissed

Rage insists

I tell you

It and I both exist

You'll calm me only

When you acknowledge this

___

 

Sadness

Missing a train

Is a failure

Against plan

Disappointing mess

Easy to forget

 

Losing a friend

Is a deeper

Descent

Into darkness

And regret

 

Unspeakable loss

Uncountable

Cost

Waves of sadness breaking

Over heart broken aching

 

Nostalgia persists

Comforting

Twists

Between sobbing and ease

Fails to release

 

Changes at work

Deep unnecessary

Hurt

Because feelings buried. Tension.

Silence, not safe to mention

 

Brave faces are set

Immune to

Regret

Hearts numbed to pain

Hidden energy drain

 

Don't talk about that

It makes us feel

Black

Wait. Feel new light tone

And the gap start to close

 

___

 

Joy

Bask in

Sumptuous glowing

 

Beam forth

Inner warmth

 

Contract won

Workshop done

 

Aftermath

At fire hearth

 

Happy face

Gives team grace

 

Tribal bond

Sing song

 

Fills us up

Together with love

 

Ecstasy

Boundless new possibilities

 

Spring in step

Effervesce
_____________________________

 

Creative Eruptions

 

An eruption, like a volcano

Producing unformed, raw

Molten lava

Of ideas

 

When I try to voice

To describe the eruption

Words fail me

But I persevere knowing

This is creation

 

Only when voiced do I gain

A reaction from you

Through naming, connecting

Limiting

We create truth and discernment

 

The creation forms

Into a practical, tangible

Clear idea

Almost like an object

Easier to react to

 

From here it gets easier

The idea finds its way

Through more conversations

Contracting and enacting its way

To practical impact in the world

 


_________________

 

The fight to "we"

 

Hot

Adrenaline

Pumps

Fuelling

 

Eyeballs

Weapons

Defences

Locked on

 

Killing

Each other

Fierce opponents

But brothers

 

Attacking

Straining

FLASH! DURR BRAIN!

Hold with passion draining

 

Knowing

Now

Newly

How

 

Destroying

You

Harms me

Too

 

Dooms

My family

To fight

Eternally

 

Realising

You and me

Belong to

We

__________________

 

Chill Pill

 

Bus diverted round a bomb

Passengers locked on

Chill pill

 

Interrupted by my daughter in mid flow

Don't disturb me no

Chill pill

 

Rottweiler bounding up

Pull it back I've had enough

Chill pill

 

New virus on the hard disk

Precious files at risk

Chill pill

 

Flight home delayed

Stuck abroad late

Chill pill

 

Client cancels workshop

Revenue drop

Chill pill

 

Wife shows her rage

Husband badly fazed

Chill pill

 

Stuck in traffic jam

Cut up by white van

Chill pill

 

Passion taken as attack

Opponents hitting back

Chill pill

 

100 times each day

Threatened and afraid

Chill pill

__________________

 

 

Fighting and forgiving

 

Your scalding

Acid words

Burn through

My flesh

Etching

Deep into

My vulnerable

Centre

_______

Inexplicable

To me

Abusive

Ear splitting

Echo

Jackboots thudding

Into

My heart

_______

Refusing

To collude

In my own

Killing

I protest

"You got

Me Wrong!"

_______

Both now

Down

On our knees

Slugging it out

Until

I say

"No more"…

_______

… and close

The shutters

On this dark night

Reopening

Put off indefinitely

To next fresh

Bright dawn

_______

Forgive

For what?

For an end to the numb throbbing pain

For release from the all pervading tension

To refill the empty deafening silence

To stop the war

To transform the terrorism

To recognise my own face in the mirror again

To reclaim my stake in us

For lightening our hearts

For refreshing our souls

Forming the next new thing to happen

To reboot our operating system

To restore communication and community

Energy flow

Love of life

_______

Forgive

How?

Entrusting my fate to the universe

Prizing my fingers from the tight grip of blame

Vulnerable now

What to do next?

Find an olive branch

A simple gesture

Shrug

Oh well

A word

Sorry

A calm look at you

With compassion

Raise eyebrows with a question

Well? Shall we?

Another word

Yes. A nod

Draw a line, but first

Acknowledge you exist

Respect your experience of it

You felt what?

_______

Now at last I've got it

How we got here

You were overwhelmed

Engulfed by a horrible

Sinking

Crushing

Disappointment

_______

Deflating your confidence

In me, us

And you

You winded me

I fought for my breath and life

Not noticing

You were half dead too

_______

This pain

Can be proof

Of passion

Forgiveness

Proves compassion

Restoring me, you

And us

 

____________________________

 

Dealing with Gods

 

When my teacher enraged spoke to me

I forgot what I believed

I only knew how to survive

Was to pretend and contrive

 

I'm sad now because...

 

This is my pattern around power

I don't fight or cower

I placate you with a trick

A simple little flip

 

In the moment of my fear

I discover and appear

To know what you expect

And to play for your respect

 

It happens every time

With bosses, teachers, clients, friends

But it's hurting me now

Because I've realised how..

 

This is stopping me being me.

 

Instead I want my voice to sound

State my feeling, hold my ground

Get you to react and include

Me, as a person, with a view

 

Proving although I'm not a God, I'm still real and equal to you

 

A closing question to all Gods

When you're dealing with lowly sods

Like me, and we say yes, that's fine

Do you believe us? Then you're blind.

 

When you rise up your career

With more power year by year

Maybe all seems equal and fair

But it's a feudal world down here.

 

When was the last time someone disagreed, spoke back or challenged you?

If you don't make this happen, how do you keep your feet on the ground?


__________________________________

 

Four Fractal Steps in the Critical Encounter

 

Your unreasonable concern

Confronts my indifference

Ruffles my smooth contentment

"There's nothing to worry about"

 

As you persist separately, irritatingly

My rising anger explodes

Denying your sanity

"You're out of your mind!"

 

Later, losing my winning touch

Falling results shake my confidence

Dark night of confusion closing around me

"Oh God" How do I get out of this?"

 

Voicing to each other our terror

Rejoins us in truth

Renewing souls re-connecting to source

"Now we're getting somewhere again!"

__________________________________

 

Give me your voice

 

Instead of holding it in

Give me your voice

Raw as it is

Dismiss your censor

 

Trust me, your colleague

To show you in my reaction

The meaning and truth that arises

At the boundary where our voices meet

 

Give me your voice

Then I have a choice

To take in unquestioningly your noise

Or react to it

Creating a truth between us

 

I give you my voice

Then you have a choice

To take in unquestioningly my noise

Or react to it

Creating a truth between us

 

And when we each react

To the other

I know I exist

And you exist

At the same time together

And separate

With a binding feeling between us

__________________________________

 

A Facilitator's Way of Leading

 

Mike the magnificent MD thinks I'm selling to him

But does he know that as we're talking I'm noticing

His unquestioning self-belief, eroding

My previously strong desire for enrolling?

 

Fred the feisty FD thinks I'm overcharging

But does he notice that I'm enlarging

The game, penetrating the muddle

Making the work worth the trouble?

 

They all think I'm starting the meeting

But do they know I'm opening a clearing for speaking?

Do the bossier loud people who jostle and drift

Notice I'm working towards contact and energy shifts?

 

While petite Martine from Marketing speaks

Do we all notice her ambivalence leaks

Through her polished professional spinning

Unwittingly brand equity slimming?

 

Surprised to see his words on my flipchart

Jack notices how it uncovers his part

In a drama of power and ways to get back

Provoking frustration and angry attacks

 

Paying attention but not being heard

Habitually silent not saying a word

Keri tells Mike just how she is feeling

Squashed and afraid, a pattern revealing

 

Now everyone's voice has produced a reaction

A magic arrives and carries to action

The leader lets go and confidence surges

A new set of rules for success emerges.

__________________________________