Updated: Jul 19
By Annie Newcomer:
The Flapper Press Poetry Café features poets from all over the world and encourages everyone to discover creative expression through poetry.
This week, we feature the words of a Flapper Press regular contributor, Roger Desmarais.
Roger has written poetry about his experiences as a consultant to executives and their executive teams as a way to more easily connect with the emotional intelligence part of the total leader. This has opened the opportunity to write poetry to define the spiritual intelligence that is the foundation of ethical and responsible leadership. His recently published book of corporate poetry, “Disruptive Poetry: Upsetting the Perfect Corporate Status Quo,” taps into the three intelligences: Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional.
We reached out to Roger to tell us more about his life and the inspiration for his poetry.
AN: How and when did you come to Poetry?
RD: With an MA in Literature I taught poetry in high school for several years. Then with a PhD in Organization, Management, and Organization Development I began to use poetry in my seminars, retreats and off-sites with executive teams. First I wrote of my experience of the struggle executives had to go through to break from their positions of power and greed to sharing the organization wealth with the employees. In subsequent off-sites I shared some of those poems to help bring Emotional, Spiritual, and Intellectual Intelligence to the executive team. I then published those poems t the request of the participants. The poems helped the executives open their hearts to hanger. I successfully managed my consulting firm for some thirty-five years and believe poetry was the primary cause of change.
At 60 I ran a marathon and ultimately experienced a breakdown of my body from replaced knees to various surgeries. As I began to experience the losses associated with aging I turned my attention to the creation of a nurse on “The Gifts of Aging” which I taught at the university, senior centers, and retirement communities. Poetry of course was the primary vehicle for me and them as we began to explore the emotional and spiritual intelligence associated with growing older: of finding wisdom in loss and finding meaning in becoming elder. Poetry touches the heart of an individual beyond the brain and into the soul. AN: What do you hope a poet will take away from your poems? RD: I hope to provide a voice to that marginalized group of elders who have much to say about living - and they can provide models of what that means in their lives and in the larger communities. I would hope that other poets would would touch deeply their emotional intelligence and bring to the surface insights and motivations to enter the spiritual journey of the elderly and help others find the way to a successful and and gracious elder hood. First of all, the poetic form needs to move the individual poet to look deeply onside him or her self and from there move out to others. Obviously the focus does not have to focus on growing older. Poems open the word of beauty usually never touched in the ordinary movement of life. I found that poetry helps people find their way not only at the top of the executive and corporate world, but at the end of life when it is time to savor the wisdom locked in the heart and generated there over the years.
About the Poem:
Our lives are filled with the search for role, rule, and social regulation with which to inspire our world, guide our presence in that world of creativity and production, explore its evolution and mystery, and find meaning in our lives throughout our lives. There is an exhilaration in the bubbling force of life rising up within us through our growing years and developmental days, filled with successes, failures, and insights into reality. Until that life line of living begins to flatten out on our monitor of life, until all the lines of excitement begin to blend into one shade of gray, when our very reason for existing transcends the old bromides of time-honored escapes from the reality of youthful vigor to leave us, again, as we were, newly born with a future completely different from that of the previous life style: the difference between the exploding womb and imploding tomb.
Useless in Space
My world seems strange to me these years
Devoid of so much that used to be vigorous
Filled with so much newness and frailty
Lacking historic supportive belief and vision
Asking the age old question: what’s it all about?
Inside me there is this unquestionable drive for living
Created in the very act of living that long life
That continuous search for the fountain of youth
The research into the various creative ways of becoming
The ongoing competition with oneself to become better
To bring meaning into life wherever it is found
To enjoy the blessings of that life for the rest of that life.
Until now: the end of the rest of that long good life is arriving
The first insight into the road less travelled until now
That path that leads to the other side of this fertile life
Through the darkening forest and into the dark woods
A path not yet experienced except through its absence
Relying on the first taste of letting go of the little things
Gradually building to a significant loss of capacity and energy
Falling into the slow lane of life on the last fast lap through life.
Uselessness is an angry, misunderstood, and useless word
Utterly devoid of care or concern, completely filled with emptiness
The underlying theme supporting discard and abandonment
A ritual designed to separate the ‘worthless’ from the valuable
A final condemnation of any value associated with the object
The ultimate disregard for hidden truths or difference in values
A stedfast shrunken vision of the larger picture of life’s vision
The final observation to expunge the world of ‘old use-less-ness-es”.
The contrast between useful and useless is deeper than the abyss
Wider than the chasm between ‘full’ and ‘less’ - as in ‘empty-ness’
Higher than the tip of Mount Everest from the bottom of the Red Sea
longer than the distance between the Arctic and the Antarctic snows
Stretching imaginations beyond probable and possible, yes and no
Projecting reality and practicality beyond imagination and creativity
Demanding clear answers from the darkness of ignorance.
84 Degrees of Separation
It began a long time ago
It began from the beginning
It began before there was a ’me’
It began after the solid grounding
When there was only my essential self
Before my evolution into a separate self
It began before the sense of ‘I’” was realized
It happened in separation of my “self” from other
The evolution of “my self” from the ground of being
The growing development of my ego in the living world
Leaning how to navigate separated from the womb
Adapting to the rules of nature and of society
Learning to grow and develop into an adult
Developing personal skills that separated
Expanding the separation from mother