Chasing Ghosts Around the Corridor

Chasing Ghosts Around the Corridor
by Karen Maeby © 1/20/20

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to receive my life’s report
I’m pay-phoning Buffalo Bill with the old wild west
trying to catch a ride on the Pony Express,

I spy one piece of glitter in the dusty road
among a thousand stories that are told
and nothing that’ll grow old as we journey along.

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor

And then there’s Mary: she carried letters
that became a part of history. The usual story…
Burdened with the age of life, she fell
and now lies at the bottom of the Sea.

A quarter past midnight
a haunting feeling sends chills down my spine
as the clock ticks
and we’re almost out of time

Out with history, out with history.
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor.

I’m chasing the ghosts down the track
following the past dream’s path,
feeling the wrath of emotions.

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to find time, but there is no more.
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to find time, but there is no more.

x

As the Train Goes By
by Karen Maeby © 1/20/20

she watches
as the train blows past…
the trees sway
the dust flies
and she lies there
kicking her feet to the sky
wondering if she should jump
across the train tracks
and hop on
when it stops
and run away to see the world
like a natural born gypsy
to see the lights
to be on the stage
the night life that she was meant to have
she wonders and
she dreams, watching as the train goes by…

Shabbat – a couple of poems, update, OBR stuff – edit

Riddle Song
by Karen Maeby © 1/17/2020

do i write in riddle, or do i write in song?
i have always felt like it was you all along
it’s like – dreaming about someone that is never there
and wondering if they’ll ever be
in present day, in the physical
before death takes us away and we move on
to whatever G-d has planned for us in the future
could the moon, the sun, and the planets
capture the stars that align into place
so we can meet, our eyes–first glance–greet
one another with such pure love, we have know
it was meant to be in some form … future or past
but not the present day, it wouldn’t last
there’s baggage to be gone through,
tossed away, buried, thought about and analyzed
for anything to work… our souls must be clear..
i wish for you, by the genie in the bottle, by G-d’s prayer
i wish for you in every which way and here
i swear, i wish for you my darling, i wish for you
to kiss your lips of pure joy,
to see that beautiful smile again,
intense eye contact that would take anyone’s breath away,
and a hug that would last forever and two million days….

x

I have to give thanks to Rachael Sage for my writing above because I’ve been listening nonstop to her music and it’s taking me to a place I haven’t been in a long time. I’ve read a majority of her poems on her website and it’s like reading my own writing. There were several times I had to catch my breath. I’m going to put out in the universe that I hope that one day we can meet. I want her to produce / write the music to She’s My Jewish Song… one of my most favorite poems I’ve ever written. But anyway, I’ve become very much inspired in writing poetry again… and just generally writing.

Speaking of Jewish… it’s Shabbat–my favorite day–and well I miss, I just miss….. I feel so far away from my own soul’s belonging… how’d it even come down to that? I’m sure it’s going to be that way until I leave. Just a few more months, if not just one. I still haven’t decided yet. It’s a really big decision and it’s all depending on the remainder of this month and what exactly I want to do and can do with what I am given at the moment. Either way, I need to get back in the habit of reading my emails from the Talmud-Jewish Learning, Alma, Aish, Kveller and others… I just had to literally cut out everything due to working this show. I don’t even get to go to Shabbat services again this week due to Fri night performance. I hope there’s some upcoming events or something there, maybe the food festival coming up or that same class day from Jan last year. I know I’ve RSVPed to go to Anne Frank’s Let Me Be Myself life story opening at the Holocaust Museum. I can’t wait to go, experience, and write about it.

And speaking of the show…. We went to V’s again last night. I guess it’s much easier to go have a drink Thursday whereas if we did Friday, we have two shows on Saturday, and it’s not exactly easy to recover for…. so, in the future, I’m going to stick with that schedule. Speaking of drinks, our pianist whispered to me, “Is it okay if I bring champagne to our cast party Sunday?” Oh! AB-SO-LUTE-LY…. we will drink all the drinks. We deserve it. Not only were there a lot of problematic things we had to conquer through, but we have had SOLD OUT SHOWS (or very near to) and this is a huge brand new record for us…!!!! Much deserved.

It is day 5 of being on CBD Oil and I really honestly think it’s working. I am feeling a lot less cloudy than when I had to take (otc-headache/ibp/Tylenol) pain pills every day. For the amount I was taking, it literally makes me sick just thinking about it. What was wrong with me? I hate pills. I was never for them. I can’t believe I was in so much pain that I had to take them as often as I did. With weening off them, and on to CBD oil, I feel my real personality coming back and creativity and not being so blocked off. I don’t have any side effects. Not tired after taking it. I almost feel like I think I felt in 2018 – very energetic and ready to go, go, go and do, do, do. I really hope this continues…because it’s going to be a win for me to get back to the glittery feeling of 2018. I have missed that me… the me that had a ball full of endless energy where I slept very few hours and could get so much done. In another route to become more energetic and hopefully pure – I found a few items like bath wash, hair oil, face wash, oil / serum for face – all with hemp. The bath wash seems to work well along with hot water. I’ve gone green tea, hemp/cbd and coconut oil.

I mentioned in one of the previous entries that I was going to draw a trailer and put one of our actor’s names on it. I did, and he loved it. He put on the dressing room door and then kept moving it around because everyone would sit where he’d place it. It was just hilarious. I just found my notes on my phone of what “continuing” story I was going to write for everyone involved in the OBR. I hope I have time to work on it. It won’t be a real story with correct wording, punctuation and the like… it’ll be something like the character stories I develop during the SOAs but in a little bit different way. I am a little more comfy being backstage and not so nervous waiting for the next scene, so I guess I can start writing then.

by Karen Maeby © 2020

those red lips
i kiss
taste of cherry lipgloss
and you’re wearing a green dress
you’re like.. an unwrapped
christmas present just waiting to be explored
those red lips
there’s a treasure map
i have to follow
every inch of your body
connect the dots, connect to the stars
i wait
and you say i’m ready
and we explore
each others minds on a psychic level
where we never touch
but use our minds
to move around the matter
around us, the Universe, and such
we each smile and we can feel it
we stare across ten thousand miles of ocean
and we can feel each other
as we breath…. as deeply as we can…

Remember the poem I wrote about Mary – the ship – a few entries back titled My Bonafacio? Well. I am so very creeped out … I did some more in depth research today and I found out that THAT VERY SHIP WAS SOLD TO THE ORANGE BELT RAILROAD. How in *THE* world did the FIRST piece of history I ever had a SOULFUL connection to in Gulfport turn out to be a part of THE MUSICAL I AM STAGE MANAGING RIGHT NOW? I’m beyond a little freaked out. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES!!!!!!????? WHAT. But what does it all mean???????????

And, I say “soulful connection” because right where the ship Mary Disston sank is where I had many bouts of inspiration and feelings. Every time I walk that pier. I felt drawn to it. Superbly.

THERE ARE SIGNS ABSOLUTELY EVERY WHERE.

Pay.

Attention.

(I’m going to be a little on edge the rest of the day.)

A Toast 
by Karen Maeby © 1/17/20 
written/dedicated to our pianist & writer of OBR 

We make a toast – 
with champagne, wine, bourbon and beer 
as our talented pianist plays some familiar tune 
that everyone starts singing and dancing to… 

As we have arrived in the 20s again 
we’re in the neighborhood corner bar 
and there’s a million stories just waiting 
to be written about the ghosts buried in the walls. 

There’s a sense of historical value 
placed on our meeting time and place 
and the era of which we’ve fallen back 
to live and breathe for one last weekend. 

We’ve taken a journey to the past 
where the history books got around fast 
and the characters develop over time 
leaving their words of poetic value to rhyme. 

Our pianist delivers–in distinguished ratings–
and our playwright smiles proud of his work 
coming alive before him on the stage–
lights up: the story begins, and will soon end. 

We make a toast – 
with champagne, wine, bourbon and beer 
as our talented pianist plays some familiar tune 
To the Orange Belt Railroad! 

PS – I have some definite gray hair coming in at the direct front of my hair. I am going to blame the group tomorrow and see what they say. ha.

Shoe to Drop (poem)

Shoe to Drop
by Karen Maeby © 1/16/20

Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers?
Asked the psychic next door,
and she told me to consult my dreams:
That the truth lies deep in my intuition. 

I wrap my mind with a cloak these days
as it’s been nothing beyond a cloudy day,
hoping for the sun to shine with glitter again.
Flipping through the book of knowledge, hanging on
to every word and trying to make sense of it all. 

Lyrics stay stuck in my mind–constantly on repeat–
and I stay there instead.
I compare the books of the last few decades
Why is it that the truth of the statement is always there?
Repeating history repeats history. 

Lost the color in my life, it got stuck in the 50s
between the black and white.
My photos are that of sepia
and my words are of operatic value
being sung by sopranos deep in the classical era. 

Ballroom gowns and proper attire,
I play the harpsichord but I’m no Mozart.
I’m just living in his requiem…
Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers? 

Pick the dance: square, hip hop, jazz, waltz.
It doesn’t matter, I’ll get lost any way.
I’m just waiting…patiently
to steal the key and unlock that lock
to live freely again inside your heart. 

Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers?
Asked the psychic next door,
and she told me to consult my dreams:
That if I keep to my soul: I can make anything happen. 

Hanukkah-Based Poems

Burning That Midnight Oil 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Joy, pure joy…that’s what I feel. 
I write–to heal–to share 
to keep my flame flickering longer. 
A writer’s gotta write. The constant need to inspire 
has my spirits running bright. 

Hanukah, Chanukah, Hanukkah
Two thousand spellings 
(well, maybe not that many) 
but enough that I feel like having a full-on discussion 
with Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain or say 
Scott Fitzgerald…. 
as we’re about to enter the roaring 20s again. 

Jazz and romance and glitter and all the glam 
I can just see it now…. 
I’m burning that midnight oil 
sitting here, day dreaming 
about being in a place like France 
where everything has flair and there’s some kind of 
decadence that isn’t where I’ve been before. 

Where there’s style and culture…
Where not everything is the same.. 
Where elegance is part of the vocabulary 
and proper suits and ballroom gowns 
seem kind of normal in this day and age. 
Where being modest isn’t called prude 
but embraced just like being practically nude. 

I can just taste it now: 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s 
black dresses and pearls 
red hair and glitter on all the girls. 
Top hats and pianos and radio voices 
adding up the day’s artistic value 
in a song that would later become famous. 

Oh Chanuka, embrace me tightly, 
the way you’ve always done with the days of eight… 
Throw the fuel to my flame 
and permanent joy within 
to get me through the rest of the year. 

Entanglement of the Soul  
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby

chocolate rich and in love
the sun 
the moon 
the stars

and the candle that’s being lit 
that brightens up the world 
and lights up the soul 


a music box sings somewhere 
as all Jews pray 
to a new day 
to a new day 
to a new day 
latkes and gelt 
and dreidel playing too 
i like both sour cream and applesauce
what about you? 

the clock ticks and the candle burns out 
another night, another night 
we do this all again the next night…..
dreams and dreams, overnight dreams 
about being waking in the world of pure light 
and rescuing you from the darkness
of the entanglement of your own soul… 

i dream i dream i dream 
too much, it seems. 
to a new day, to a new night 
cheers to the candle light 
that’s saved many souls… 
let’s find the ones flickering in the night 
and put the flame back in their light. 

Mixed Feelings 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Sometimes… eight days is just not enough 
for the flame to keep flickering inside my soul
for the rest of the year. 

I resonate with the 1% battery example 
lasting for the 8 days, a true miracle, 
(the meme to explain how Hanukkah feels… 
to those who don’t know or celebrate) 
I only know, because I’ve been there before.

I have learned– 
we humans cannot survive like that. 
I am thankful we are given Shabbat each week 
to rest, recharge, unplug 
even though it’s sometimes hard to do so… 
it’s the only way to survive. 

I have learned 
that stretching myself so thin 
and running out of fuel before I even begin 
yet another project
without taking care of myself first
is a true injustice to G-d. 

I’ve been yearning for the first night 
for twenty days now: 
that same light that changed me two years ago. 
I was almost too exhausted soulfully to enjoy 
the lights being lit before me–the message– 
bringing me to realize a lot needs to change. 

Some Kind of Whisper Song (poem)

It’s already been a long week and it’s only Monday. Check my emails and work and rehearsal and I’ve gone insane. Need to write… poetry. Just a blurb. Just to spit out something. Thoughts.

12.16.2019

you light my candle
when you’re near
you whisper
sweet songs that i’ll never hear
i miss you
but how
you pushed me away
and away
and away
but it was only a dream
only a dream
you say
day after day after day
but how,
after that
am i to believe you
when you were after me
too
i drink
heavily
with lyrics on my mind
sleep heavy eyes
and i write a song
a few
a dozen more
i take a look at my history
and nothing ever compares
to the likes of you
i sip some white wine
and whine
and dine
all alone
until
you come back home
to me
destiny
where is she with you
where is she with me
at a crossroads
stoplight
the music blares
the horn honks
you are in a daze
and almost crazed
because
you don’t know what to do
when
your heart, your soul
or literally say:
you
miss
me
too
but you’ll never tell me
this
and i’ll go
away
away
away
until you want to find me one day
whenever that’ll be
if ever

The Chorus Sings Praise by Karen Maeby for dversepoets, originally written/posted 11/29/2011.

The Chorus Sings Praise (poem/poet chat)
by Karen Maeby © 11/29/2011

fade away
into oblivion
i’m gone

let the chorus sing
praise
she’s gone

burn her –
crumble her up in dust
wipe her away

celebrate
celebrate the day away
unjust, frightful

her face shows
on the wall in the dark
she’s a ghost

she will haunt you
her words will taunt you
you can’t live without her any more

let the chorus sing
praise
she’s gone

she’s gone.

she’s gone.

sing hallelujah – she’s gone.

~

I wanted to cover some of the questions inside of DversePoets.com since I don’t think I’ve said much about poetry as a whole.

Who has the right to define poetry, beyond preference? How do you define poetry? Many have tried, perhaps in an effort to put poetry in a box, but feral animal that it is, it won’t stay caged long. Must it have meter? rhyme? metaphor? rhythm? any number of word tricks and tools? Must we lay it against a ruler and make it one more thing where we make excuses for size? Or is it heart that matters?

As we all discovered growing up, not any two people’s opinions are the same. Sure, there’s a right to define poetry to an extent but the definition of poetry should be kept secret. How so? Any poet writing poetry IS the definition of poetry. There’s no right or wrong answer, there’s no definite feelings. Poetry is like art – there are no boundaries.

Poetry by me will always be non-fictional packed with true emotional feelings. (So yes, I just pumped out that poem above – about me – when I had a sad moment a few minutes ago…)

Poetry flows with the flow of emotions (or whatever you are writing about). I write in free-verse a lot. I feel like it’s forced if every single one of your poems rhyme. Some are done on intention, but your feelings don’t rhyme. Certain poetry writing feelings usually make someone stabby, instead of wanting to write a sing-song with a jolly happy face on.

Almost everything that I do write often include a metaphor. I’m THE queen of metaphors and symbolism. I always like showing a comparison, two sides of the story. I like being complicated. I like people trying their best to figure me out but never doing so. I like mysterious. I like all of the “what the fuck is she saying? she’s crazy!” type of responses. THOSE are the marks of genius, or at least – in my opinion – it is.

Poetry, in the name of the universe, is undefined – but defined by each individual who writes it.

A poet’s job is to paint the picture – but with words. 

Thought Process poem by Karen Maeby for dversepoets, originally written/posted 4/21/2012

Today on dversepoets it’s all about paying debt. This is a great theme for me right at this moment, due to a decision I made a few hours earlier than dverse hour. Below the poem is where I’ve been and what possessed me to write…

Thought Process
by Karen Maeby © 4/21/12

I met my soul at the cash register:

I was unloading every single thought and every single
thing going on with me at the moment.
Pulling each one out and placing it on the belt.

Everyone was looking at me funny
as they watched each shape and size thought
be placed in front of them.

One, twenty, twenty one, fifty, fifty one –
we get to 1,000
and my soul stops the belt. No more incoming thoughts
—— can pass.

“You’ve run out of time,” my soul says.
I stand there, stunned. “But I still have more left to give..”
“Nope. You’re holding up the process.”

My soul stands there, not allowing me
to move on, to add any more thoughts, nothing.

“What’s my total?” I say, worried.
“You currently owe about a million dollars and one lifetime to yourself.”

I am nearly blown away by that amount.
And, I nearly pass out.

Was I alive, still?

Minutes later, a part of me hands me a journal
and an organizer. My Soul tells me that I need
to prioritize my life with work, what I really want
and what I really need to do. Stop with the
meaningless projects, and the things that will not
make a difference. You’re going to be paying
debt to me (your soul) if you don’t.
Finish something,
breathe, don’t take on too much, prioritize what
you take on.

Beads of sweat float down my body,
after the severe chills:
here comes the fever. Medication.

I need the medication
for I am really truly sick this time.

Now, I know what it means
to owe debt to my soul.

Let this spring cleaning happen.

Dim the Stars into the Night, originally posted 4/30/2010.

12.14.2019: So, apparently, I’m going to be taking all of you (and myself) down the journey of a younger me because I am trying to do research on myself to help me and where I’m going and piecing together what I’m supposed to be doing in this lifetime after-conversion. I know that didn’t come out right, but that is the mess that’s inside my brain. Otherwise, the conclusion out of all of this research into a younger me will inspire the older me to create some kind of a book. Whether it’s poetry, non-fiction / narrative, sorta-kinda fiction or maybe a play or script. Either way, I’m kind of having fun looking back at all of the things I had forgotten I wrote. I hope you guys are too. Everything has been sitting on my computer since I downloaded it and I haven’t looked at it in years. Also… I was living in NC at the time of the below post.

4.30.2010:

If a star has a lot of life to live but has dimmed out for the time being, can that mean once it get its needed break, it will know how to glimmer once again? 

Tonight, as I was borderline another crazy breakdown, I had to get to the lake as fast as possible. Fighting within myself, left brain vs right brain – one giving the other a “black eye” – so to speak. That quote above? Was something I thought of while there admiring the water, thinking.

I wrote what I think I needed, I wrote what I needed, I wrote what I needed to do. It was just chatter on paper, that was it, but it was fulfilling enough to make me realize something.

“I need to do what I say. Finish what I start. Retrieve what I’m after and what I really want. I want to die within the soul of music, let it flow like water over my body. I want to write, do good by writing, change some lives. Change my stars, fix them with bandage. I need to know what I want. I need to stop wasting time. The now is here, I need to get my focus on.” – Paragraph of what I wrote there.

I am that star that needed a break {being dimmed down out of the spotlight} but now, after I’ve ‘grown’ completely out of that being dim stage…I’m after what will make me glimmer once again. I AM on the path of that, it just takes a while, yes, I realize and I know. It takes a lot of hard work, I just need to lay out the plan on my steps and take one step at a time to get there. The big ending, final finish, will be well worth the work and wait.

The answer is finding the flame that lights the star
and finding the one glisten of the sun that reflects off the water
and finding out what makes the water flow
and the wind blow…
and the line in the sky

The answer is within me.
Ignite me. Light my fire. Make me shine – the brightest – that’s what I desire.  

Two weekends ago I went home to my parents. I went back for answers. I went back to tie up loose ends. I went back to “find what I was looking for.” I did all of this – alone. I did find what I was looking for, I fixed what needed to be fixed and I even found the very perfect ending to my Push Pin Memories story. I haven’t written about the trip back home, I haven’t even posted pictures or the rest of the videos. I spoke about my vacation on Twitter, if you kept up with that. Since being back, SOME things are clearer, I feel tons of peace within myself for the fixed relationships… and good things really keep happening. I have no reason to be unhappy. 

But still, even after all of this, there just came that breaking point where I needed to go clear my mind… and going and sitting on a picnic table right near the lake did it for me. It’s like I could breathe again. My thoughts weren’t so harsh, my pen flowed on paper, the clouds in my mind went away… I was sitting on a picnic table that was on the dock where the water was all around me on every side except behind me. I felt my soul being flowed from my body to the water… I felt my soul be in the water… felt my soul be the ripples flowing through the water… and it felt so good.  

I needed that today. 

Frozen – in time –
the world moves all around me… as I sit still…
admiring the life being lived around me,
I say, “Peace? Be with me, be real.”  

(Added this poem here because it’s appropriate.)

Stepping Outside of My Comfortable Skin
by Karen Maeby © 9/27/10

I took the six-layer sweater off my back today.
No sleeves, I say; just let me be free.
Free to feel the wind on my bare back.
Oh – not enough, not enough!
One, two, three… there’s so many layers…
I keep peeling them off.

Pretend; I look in the mirror, nose squished.
I always hate what I see.
Put the camera away, zoom down
I pull the bottoms of my pants up
reveal the rock’n rain boots. Today is ROCK!
I smile. I feel angst today.
I splash through the standing rain on the soaked ground
when I’m walking to my vehicle.

I get in and drive.
It’s raining; pouring and pouring and it just won’t stop.
Hasn’t stopped in over two days now.
The windshield wipers wipe away the rain.
Tears? Nawh. Just seems like a day to wipe away fears.
I am, after all, without six layers of my skin.

I want to step outside
and take a little dance in the rain.
WHO THE FUCK AM I? – I want to scream.
I need to step outside the extra skin,
peel back… let my soul out, give in.
It’s tough stepping outside of my comfortable skin.

The Beginning: A preview of the 2017 Hanukkah that lead me down the path towards Jewish conversion.

TODAY marks the two year anniversary of seeing the light that lit up my soul. Wow. Two years, and a lot has happened in those two years. Once again I am writing this from memory and pictures. I almost feel like it’s more authentic in a way. Here goes:

I don’t really remember what time it was, but it was getting dark. I remember lounging on the couch reading The Gabber and reading that there was going to be the lighting of the menorah at the park by the local synagogue. I noticed the time and I only had a few minutes to get there if I was going to go. Something within me told me that I absolutely needed to be there. So, I put on a jacket and walked out the door. (Mind you: I remember feeling lost and unhappy with life and like something was still missing…and Christmas hadn’t felt like it belonged to me for a few years at that point. Something was amiss.)

When I arrived at the park, I stayed back a good distance because at the time I knew nothing about being Jewish or Judaism, and I didn’t know if it was kosher for me to even be there. A few people said hi to me. They said the prayers, sang, and lit the first (outdoor) candle.

I still can’t explain it… but, that first candle being lit? It lit up my soul. I was never the same after that.

I stayed there for a while collecting my thoughts as to what I just witnessed–both inside and out–as I was listening to them sing. Then, I headed home thinking to myself: get home fast, girl, you’ve got some research to do.

This is me… with purple hair… and oh how I miss my long hair… this is also a face full of “what just happened?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?” and a boost of inner happiness.

Can you believe that I still have the screenshots of what I researched on my phone? Here’s what I looked up:

-Jews by choice: in relation to reincarnation of where in Judaism the Jews-by-choice were once Jewish but born into a non-Jewish family and then finding way back to Judaism.

-Kabbalists / Reincarnation

-You might be a Jewish soul, if: G-d felt more real and made more sense than any other, related to Jewish people more, reacted more towards the Holocaust than others, the values are what you possess…

-Becoming Jewish is like falling in love (an essay)

-The Pirate Rabbi Samuel Pallache (for fun, because I was really into Pirates in 2017, ha.)

-I also took a screenshot of some books from someone that was also studying Judaism so that I knew some titles to read.

Also that same day, I started following every Jewish magazine and newsletter that I could find… including Lilith and Jewish Currents and some others I can’t seem to remember. The Jewish Currents that I ordered sent a calendar as well and it was JAZZ and POETRY. It was such a beautiful calendar. I cried when I saw it. (YES I am super emotional about all of this, thank you very much.) I still love it. Very much art. I also looked up Jews and Jazz and found Paul Shapiro. I looked into what was Jewish in the area, and what schools would possibly have Jewish classes. My research lasted forever.

So, that was basically the very beginning. That first night changed my life forever.

Fast forward though the year: I didn’t tell anyone about my finding of Judaism for the longest time. Aunt Patsy was the first one I told, and I absolutely felt like I had to, before she passed away (so that was all in Jan 2018). Also in Jan 2018, I discovered matzo ball soup. I didn’t attend synagogue until June 2018 (with the exception of attending a random one down south while at a boat show in April) and that is where I bought my chai necklace. I started my class in Oct 2018. In Dec 2018: well, you’ll just have to wait for it.

REFLECTION: Okay, so I’ve deleted what I wanted to say about twenty times now because I clearly can’t form a sentence or even put into words how I feel about this. Simply put: I just can’t imagination my life without Judaism. It’s been the highlight of my last two years. It’s kept me going, and when I converted, I finally felt complete. After 32 years of feeling incomplete and like something was missing…it’s a really good feeling, feeling whole. And it’s almost like being born again. In a way, I feel as if I went from old soul to a younger soul. Can that even happen? It’s hard to explain that.

So anyway, I’m going to post below a piece that I wrote in Feb 2018. It’s a poem that explains better in-depth explanation of how I felt. Also, if you read the previous entry, I was talking about making changes and being scared and knowing it’s the end of the line sort of thing… I took my first step towards that changing today. And tomorrow, I’m going to take another, and another, and another… . and march forward until..

The Very Beginning

Nearly every single day of my 31 years of being an old soul on this Earth:
I have been searching endlessly for what my heart wants,
where my soul belongs, and what my life’s purpose really is.
Reading and questioning everything. Why this, why that? What if this, what if that?
I’ve created this realm of philosophical thoughts that led me
to wondering why this often ignited flame inside me dies out?

I am in a much different place than where I was born..…
I broke away from those roots at 21 with a different mindset
by walking down the road less traveled, and I never looked back.
Growing older—supposedly wiser—only harmed me in some way.
My soulfulness of my wondering youth and the youngness of my mind
was nearly erased by the every day menial problems.

Last year in December, around Hanukkah, my soul was screaming.
After not being successful to distract myself with anything else,
I walked down to the local Menorah lighting ceremony on the first day.
Something about being there was magical—I saw a flame that didn’t die.
A million of my dreams as a teen have been realized, but why, I ask:
during the most fulfilling moments of living….there’s still something missing?

The night before my aunt died, I told her a secret: I discovered Judaism.
I told her she no longer had to worry about my soul. I finally found where it belongs.
This is my journey, the one that I will wholeheartedly embrace,
the one that I will choose to carefully walk—not run, skip, jump, hop—and practice
often, for this is something that deserves my true attention and patience.
I cannot ever take this moment for granted because I have found my spiritual home.

My aunt, being of a different religion, replied “A good place to start your spiritual
journey is Judaism. Jesus was Jewish so you can’t go wrong starting there.
Follow your heart and look to God. He will answer all of life’s questions.”
That answer provided me with the stamp of approval.
I sent my letter out to the universe, to the world, to God himself
that I was ready to take on this new responsibility of finding out who I am.

I’ve spent so much time being blinded and sidetracked by the clutter in life,
and in turn, I have missed some of the best moments that could have been.
There are years shaved off my life that I can never get back.
Depression swallowed me whole in the darkest days of my life,
and what I would have given at that time to close my eyes and never wake.
But, I had forgotten: both the good and bad in life serve us with life lessons.

Just this week, I cut back on TV shows, and looked to finding synagogue feeds online.
I found one in New York and I instantly fell in love with this Rabbi’s sermon:
“Gam zeh ya’avor. This too shall pass.”
How true it is that with every breath we take and move along the day, the moments shift
from bad to good and good to bad, back and fourth like a pendulum…
always leaving room just enough for an action or a reaction.

Time is sometimes a lie that we rarely take seriously, and living in the moment
just doesn’t exist anymore when people’s hearts aren’t pure from distractions.
We think we have time to say what we need to say, or do what we need to do,
but we don’t… and we’re almost always gone, even if we’re there in present day.
I’ve had many people—and moments—taken from me as I’ve come to love them.
It’s the constant reminder that nothing is ever permanent.
And to trust the thought that everything happens for a reason, no matter what it is.

These last few months–My discovery of Judaism and the beautiful Jewish Culture–has lit my life’s candle so full of love and light. It’s such an intense feeling that I’ve never felt or seen before. When a person knows, they know. I know I have a whole lifetime worth of catching up on, but embedded deeply in this soul of mine, I feel like I already know it…that I’ve walked the path before in another lifetime. It brings up a lot of loaded questions, and I’ll still be searching for answers come as they may. I can’t even begin to explain how it has completed the largest missing piece of my life’s puzzle, even in this short period of time, even with as little as I recognize I know, right at this given moment.

Visualize this: it’s like when you read a very good piece of literature and the words start lifting off the page, turn into music, and suddenly, you’re singing a song you felt like you’ve known your entire life….but you don’t know how, because you can’t place ever singing it because it just doesn’t make sense how you would have known it…and then, suddenly, the music turns into the most beautiful piece of artwork that you’ve ever seen–like a sunset–and you’re just so much in awe that you stand there for hours upon hours just staring at it because it takes your breath away. And you just want to grab some glasses, pour a drink or two, and make a toast screaming TO LIFE at the top of your lungs….because you’ve embraced life like you’ve never done before and you truly never, ever, ever want it end. That’s where I am. And, that’s where you’ll find me.

~ Karen Maeby 2.21.18

TO LIFE – TO LIFE – TO LIFE

A flash back to Key West.

A couple of pictures showed up in my Facebook memories reminding me that on this day–December 7 of 2012–I was in Key West, and so I decided that I wanted to share some memories of past entries from my two visits to the Keys. However, I was not successful in finding my detailed blog entries, so I am using my memory (oy vey, lets pray), very little pictures that was posted on FB, a small written piece & some poetry.

The first time I went to the Keys (2012 trip) was part of a cruise and had from early a.m. to about mid afternoon to get off the ship and walk around. 55% of that time in the graveyard, the other 45% of time was walking around the town. I wanted to find all of the spots that Jimmy Buffett sang about in his lyrics. I fell in love with how 1970s it felt. It was like everything stopped around that time–the color of the houses, the spirit in the air, some of the bikes and cars and shops, the people / the bars, and I adored the metal mailboxes that were attached to the houses. Captain Tonys was a memorable one–I drank some kind of crazy alcoholic punch drink from, I think it was called Pirate’s Punch. I could not get up for a while, but I walked straighter than I walk when I’m sober. I still just don’t know how that works. I found my favorite keychain “Yes I am a Pirate” and my favorite sweatshirt “A Pirate Looks at 40” in the Margaritaville shop. I remember walking down one of the streets and finding my shadow in a piano and I later wrote the poem “Sepia”. I don’t really remember much else from there, but I’m sure I could if I could find all of the pictures or blog entries or notes or something…

This is me in 2012. I found the sign from Jimmy Buffett’s song “There’s a woman going crazy on Caroline Street.” (Yes, I was about 50-75 lbs heavier than I am now.)

In 2015, I wrote Key West into my vacation (first stop was Fort Lauderdale boat show then the Keys then flying home.) I drove along the A1A for the first time and I don’t think I will ever forget the drive. It was beautiful. So the next paragraph will be sporadic memories and probably not at all in order. I stayed at the Author’s Guesthouse (go figure, right?).

I do remember that evening when I arrived I found a place that served tacos, and that was the first thing I did. One of the days I ate the most amazing salad I had ever eaten in my life from Date & Thyme. I think that’s what it was called. Of course, I spent time along Duval Street, went to Caroline Street, Mallory Square for sunset, walked around the cemetery a long time, took random photos, went searching for those Pirate statues, spent time looking for ghosts, met a friend I had been talking to online for a while, and did so many other things.

One of the coolest things was the sunset at Mallory Square. Everyone stood there watching, and when the sun set, everyone clapped. It was like we were attending the show and the sun was giving his performance.

Here’s a really embarrassing story — I was slowing down for a red light—while riding my rented bike—and instead of my foot making its way to the curb to hold me up, I missed, and I fell into a sea of people. Everyone rushed over to me like OMG are you okay? And get this, I had not drank at that point, and wasn’t planning on heading to Captain Tony’s until later that night….I wish I could remember the conversations, but I know several random people and I talked while I was at CT. They were interesting. The bar was interesting after midnight. I talked to Captain Tony’s spirit. I will never forget riding the bike back through the town in the very early a.m. There was some kind of solitude at that time in the morning.

The day I was supposed to start towards home I delayed my trip by a lot, and went to the Keys bookstore and spent hours there. Even after that, I wanted to delay the trip longer and went to Starbucks to charge my phone before heading home. That’s when I had a stranger to ask to sit with me. This stranger and I had an instant connection (she called me her mini me) and we talked forever, we friended each other on Facebook, and she’s been down in my area several times but it hasn’t ever worked out to meet up since.

One of the best parts of the 2015 trip (out of the memories I actually could find that was written out and besides meeting my two new friends) would be the experiences with all of the animals I met while there:

-Walking into the graveyard and ran into three roosters. They walked up to me, I said hello, and ‘have a good day’ as I walked along. The roosters said something back to me. 

-I made friends with the Author Guesthouse’s cat. I asked it if I could pet it, and responded by showing me its head. 

-A random guy along Duval had a parrot named Margarita, she kissed me on the lips. 

-I got to take a selfie with an ugly fish in the aquarium. 

-On the way back to my car on my last day, I met a really beautiful parrot (not the same as above) and talked to it.

-On a bike ride through a random neighborhood street, I came across an iguana stopped in the middle of a street and a cat on the other side. So hilarious! I took a picture and posted it as “there is a dilemma, do you see it?” 

-I also saw several roosters stopping at red lights and looking both ways before they crossed the street. There is not one part of me that questions why the rooster is wanting to cross the street. 

Now that it’s almost 2020–where I am trying my best to move on from the beach life–it’s so weird looking back at how in love and in tune with that world I was. I am almost like a stranger to myself looking in, or a stranger reading another stranger’s work. How funny–time–and what it does to someone, add in experiences and how fast life changes… is it a sign of loss? or growth? or something more for me to completely block off and out something that I loved so dearly? It’s definitely something to ponder…and the subject has been on my mind for a really long time.

I’m hoping that one day I can find all of the photos and all of my detailed writing so that I can write more stories about this lovely place. What I do know is that the Florida Keys will definitely be on my touring list once I write more books and publish them for real this time. You can count on that.

Glass Fish + Symbolism 
Karen Maeby © 3/3/13 

“Stop and think about what you’re doing 
in Key West” – He says. 

His hand up, pausing you from going on. 

A glass fish vase next to him: 
he’s a statue 
in a window to a shoppe. 
I know nothing of it 
but something 
calls out to me. 

It’s a haunting photograph that I took: 

unfocused

colour 
out 
of 
tune 

a sun spot 

but it still calls out to me. 
There’s just something about it. 

Some kind of symbolism – 
Key West is reaching out to me,
as if the city knows I’m searching for something.