Thursday, July 5, 2018

My girl

I wrote this a little while ago: eight months ago, to be exact. Eight months plus ten months plus whatever is to come: these words hold true. Love you, love you, I love you, little girl.

Ten months to the outside world, and fierce as ever. She's rad. A spitfire, a wonderful human, so full of love and curiosity for everyone she meets. She looks openly, stares unabashedly, and watches the world make waves before her. She is joy and love in sweetest human form.

I have not written much since her birth. Admittedly, I've written very little. This surprises Past Me. Even I assumed her arrival would send me to the page. But in truth, it's sent me far away from it, and into life full tangible. I have not felt the need to reach for poetry because she is poetry; she is every word I've tried to write, and every word I've written. She is my heartbeat and my blood, my soul's now-known purpose; she is the freshest of pages, every time I see her. I have not written much on paper for you yet, my love, but I have written you on every surface of my heart.

love, mommy

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

what i would say to you

Your pain will never matter to them.
     You are fodder.
          You are candy for the taking. You are seen as small and sweet
           to greedy hands, to mouths who long to feed, teeth that yearn
           for another bite; bitter tongues that crave the high of another
                    one's unwrapping.

But they don't know you like I do.
They've not seen that you aren't a small thing. They don't know
you are the whole damn store; take as they might, they will never really get you.

Children chase after the instant gratification of found sweets,
but my dear,
you are an entire feast, and their bellies will explode before they reach your center.

I have watched them take

but honey, I've been watching you, too.

I have seen the way you magnify under pressure.
I have seen you rally against fear.
I have heard your bones creak as they grow to the rafters, incapable as you are
of being kept to the ground.

Am I mixing analogies? Let me be clear. You are a giant, my dear. Your lineage was severed because
they are to small to be a part of you. You were birthed and released, so wear those wings with joy.

You are a flame and the moths are drawn to you. But remember, moths can only consume
what is not already on fire, and you are that flame: higher and higher. Your life is big
and your heart has the universe and stars inside it
                       (so reach for those, love, and leave the mud of earth behind you).
                                              Your children rise
                                               to call you blessed
                                               so let the awful do their best, then know this:
                                               they can not touch you.

Thursday, May 17, 2018



Freedom is a choice
in the mind
and the heart will follow

Freedom is picked when it is not given.
When the shackles slam tight
and refuse to let,
and the judgements come
and the hateful bet on your crumbling outcome,

Surprise them.


Freedom from
that tyranny of replication,
of only doing what others think I should, and only then in moderation;
for fear that my assigned tasks will be far-too-done, or not done enough.
I can not win, so I will not try to win, anymore,
 by this ridiculous standard.


Freedom from their loathing, freedom from grief,
Freedom is freedom, and freedom is belief.

Belief is insistent, Belief withstands rain, Belief will remind you,
and again:

Freedom is here now, and has always been

Look! The Eternal Spring.
It was here all along, it did not hide. I, it was I who turned my back on it.
Laughter rises in the soul and springs up as from a fountain whose only purpose
is to bring joy, to bubble up and to delight and to steadily remind us that in the quiet,
in the dark, in the day, and at night, it will be there. It will be there.

Freedom in the sound and the flow of water. Wash your sins in the Truth for once,
and not in the words of another's daughter (she can not speak Truth, it is not in her). Let the
trauma of your loneliness be left. Misunderstanding stands bereft, so look instead
to the Truth. Find who you are, let their fabrications be, take this new day in your arms:

Welcome, Welcome, me. I give you Freedom.


Friday, May 11, 2018

how to be unliked

The great irony of life is as follows: where we fear, we will face it; where we are nervous, we will encounter it; where we are uncertain, we will be forced to decide. I spent much of my childhood convinced that people were only pretending to like me. I was so certain that everyone else was in on a big secret, laughing without me, playing without me, playing nice when I was there. The fear of being unliked was so deep seated, I came to recognize the way it anchored me as: normal.

Fast forward through adolescence, early adulthood, and the like. The fear subsides somewhat, because as it turns out, there are some people who seem to be legit. Friends have sought me out, and by nature we don't seek to be close to people we don't like. Someone chose to marry me, and that's pretty rad. My inlaws dote on me constantly; hurdle: done. My community grows. So I'm thinking, I'm all good. I still waver on the wind of it all, though, because seeking to be liked demands a certain kind of finesse. It's a finicky balancing system; oft susceptible to little blips and tiny cracks. When I find out someone doesn't like me, I am siderailed; when they like me, I'm ecstatic. And on it goes.

Hit that fast forward button one more time. Well into adulthood now. My life begets a story so tragic I can't help but tell it over, and over, and over. Not with anger, but certainly not in secret. Someone I loved deeply who professed that love for me changed the entire melody of our relationship with one final note: I've never really liked you, I was pretending the whole time. If you read that last sentence like I do, it comes out really, slowly. But then, logic and heartache never do go together. This confusion puts our words into molasses.

Recently, I told the detailed story of that pain for, I believe, the last time. It's a funny thing, really, how the pain can be unrelenting, the need to share it, overwhelming. Then, one day, you finish a sentence and the whole thing leaves you. I told the story of this pain and as I trailed off toward the end, I realized it now sounded like someone else's story. I looked at my friend. I said, "I think I just told that story for the last time." I felt calm.

How to be unliked? It doesn't matter. Who I am and where I'll go in life have only to do with truth, and self-confidence, and a whole bunch of other things that have nothing to do with whether or not someone likes you. While distortion campaigns are certainly a hurdle, they are only that. Campaigns, especially those based on hate or discord, are passable, and rather meaningless in the long run.

How to be unliked? Be yourself. The quality of a friendship is based on many things: mainly, what you put into it, and what the other person accepts. If you put something down and someone else decides they don't want it, what choice is that? There are involuntary moments that decide for us what will happen, and what someone else will do is never within our control. So let it go. If you change to match the situation, you will always be changing. This reactive way of being in relationship has a dizzying effect. How to be unliked? Be okay with it.

The drive to being liked or unliked, or the fear that drives us to one thing or another in order to try and facilitate a certain end...gosh, it's as breath-reducing as that sentence. It's a traffic jam for the emotions; lifetimes stuck in an endless battle to move forward in the middle of a stand-still. My advice is to take the scenic route instead. Deviate from the norm, and let go of those who wish to be dead to you. It begins with intention and encounters exceptional scapes like: personal responsibility, purposeful generosity, action, and time spent on things other than yourself.

The scenic route allows you to travel with joy and with others because you are looking outward. You can carry and share because you noticed something needed carrying, or sharing; you can move because there is freedom to do so, you can pause or go forward because out here, that is what we do. We seek to be loving, we seek to invite, to build up and not destroy.

Our family has chosen this route, though we sat at the intersection of our pain for some time. My husband has journeyed this with me and has stood fast as a beautiful human, showing me often what it is to be gracious, kind-hearted, and active in love. There was a time for grief, but now that time is done. So we open on up and let the fresh air cascade over us, tumbling our hair around, sun-squint in our eyes, music playing, singing out loud because we belong with each other. We remember now our melody, and it is beautiful.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

Saturday, April 21, 2018

smoke signals

I am like a fire at night
The smoke is rising
barely visible against the black sky
But I am burning

I am burning

I do not know how to be unliked,
though this is a constant state
and is inevitable
especially by those who can find
so many reasons
not to like me

is it my abrupt manner of speaking
or my lack of finesse, 
does my attraction to difficult conversation
put you off?

Or did I defend my children to a degree you found uncomfortable?

I don't mean to add to the list.
I do mean to ask questions you don't like.

I am on fire, even in the night.

Dark night of the soul,
come find me
(oh, there you are)

Help help, give me something else

to grab on to
right now all i have are the questions
no one likes to answer
the observations too revealing to discuss.

My penchant for finding the issue
under the topic
gets me in trouble 
all the time. But I still can't help it.

I fear I became blank-slated,

formed myself in such a way
so non-offensive,
so delicately polite,
so very careful
to put how everyone else feels above
how I feel

in the moment, I say nothing.

The priority is obvious:

how you feel.
How do I feel? I will swallow it.

I will swallow it.
I will bite hard on my tongue and I'll bleed
and then swallow it.

On the day I burst open, belly full of rot and heartbreak,
and there in the form of questions take my years of silent wondering
you are overwhelmed, and I am vehemently opposed to any 


So lie down and find rest in the beds of your former enemies

because your new enemies don't make you feel as good
as the ones you once named abuser. Lie down and sleep in peace,
but know this: I am waking up. It is too late for us, Compassion.
It is too late, Deaf Ears. You made the bed and I won't lie in it,
you made my heart beat fierce and my soul alight
with a drive toward bigger questions, sticks in the mud and
mouths that speak to the good, toes toward toes until we figure this out.

These words are not about you.

I write because I am on fire.

stunning portrait by Nacho Zaitsev

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Heavy Lifting

The problem with calling myself the Afterthought Composer
Have I mentioned this before?

The problem with calling myself the afterthought composer
is when I have thoughts
but it isn't after.

So in the middle of all the shit
trials, deep dives, soul digs, surface scratches on things so out of the ordinary
that a surface scratch feels like a fatal blow;
through the deaths of loved ones and the life that goes on anyway,
the mid-air of the leap and the swing of the bat before it hits and during the
tumbling free-fall of love as it is best learned,

the compositions are imagined; they are ideas of paintings and they are the avoidance of words entirely. Blank canvases meet and discuss how much I could be doing; empty pages rustle impatiently, the keys begin to click for themselves, if not only to shatter the crust on the dust of my neglect.

I am not yet in the after
of so many things.
But I promise

I still want to land here
on the page, on white space,
on free to say and watch me as I write this, on hopes
made real and doubt deferred and truth;
as letters, sentences, splashes of paint,
notes in the ear, melodies under my breath.

Creation. She will move for you, she will shake you
and free the dust from its cling
Because this is how she does it.
This is her job, and she takes it quite seriously.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ending with a word

From January to December, thirty one days each and the year gone by is...gone. With it, a thousand memories and countless happy moments. I've been off the page, on the grid: both feet on the ground, two hands in the dirt, and life wide open.

I'm squeaking this in on the wire. As I write, it's eleven forty six pm. There are fourteen minutes until another year starts and I leave 2017 for the books. Eleven forty seven.

As fast as it all goes I've learned the trick of it. Enjoy the speed, embrace the change, watch those gigantic waves in wonder. As I've watched my baby girl grow through her first year, I have certainly marveled at the passing of time. But I've slowed it, too, by joining her in it. Sitting down, snuggling her to bits; warm naps under grey skies; kiss upon kiss upon kiss. I kissed her toes every time I changed her diaper for the first six months of her life, and almost every time since then. Six months times six more times a thousand times a day is a lot of toe kisses, and I drank in every one. Now she approaches the world feet first, so sure she is that she will land on grace (she will) and love (she does) and probably, more toe kisses. To put her growth on paper would have taken me from her growth, so I didn't. I'm here now, re-drinking it in. It's eleven fifty-six.

There's always more I want to pen, here. And I will, given the grace of another year and more words. In the meantime,

Pause. Take a minute, breathe it in. There are lights low and high, countdowns marching onward, frosted breath; fire in the sky over shadows on the snow and life is good. Eleven fifty nine and then some.

Happy New Year.