Thursday, April 25, 2013

on a train overlooking the city

we are quite proud to balance our lives on fragility,
fast cars and bigger buildings, paper bills and ticking clocks;
we watch our stocks and hope they won't crash or we will,
knowing the best of who we are is caught up in that cool
tempestuous windmill: money, time, money, time.
the air blows out from that machine and mixes sand into our fingers.
we watch it slip right through, but we live like it's not going to,
love like we know what to, use time like we'll have enough.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


What a feeling. I've very much been holding my breath. In fact, I don't think I've breathed in since my new nephew did; first and fragile, then growing. I'd rather hear his heartbeat than my own at this point. That's the thing about children. They reach out with their little hands and don't let go; they may be small, but their grip is strong. So we focus in, then distract ourselves to cope with our own exhaustion; we watch his growth and admire his lips and toes (oh my goodness....his toes!). The update: Though he came early he is doing well; though he struggles, he wins, and that makes us breath easier.

The breath-hold has been collective, I think. Surely, I can't be the only one with limits on my lungs. It's been multi-faceted, too. When will baby and mom go home? has been mixed with Will I get the job? and Will that man see justice? Different realms, all, from personal to global in their reach, big and small alike, but occupying my mind all the same. On the personal front, I'm up for a permanent spot in a job I love. Hope, in the words of Anne Lamott, tiptoed in to peer around, and much of it lingers as I wait for results. I choose to let it linger. Even though I wore the wrong shirt to my interview.

And though Hope has shown up to trial, it's been given a seat in the jury box of Reality's court room. What harsh reality brings the news; what hearbreak brings harsh reality. There is too much pain in the world and I don't know what to do with it. After researching the trial of Kermit Gosnell I know more than I'd like to, but probably as much as I should, so I research even though it hurts; I read, though it scars. And then darling Rehtaeh, and the many cases like hers, merge into the forefront. Through each story, we wait for the gavel to fall: justice or not, peace or not, redemption or not. We'd begun to collect ourselves, and then someone bombed the family area at the Boston Marathon. After Boston, I saw Hope get up quietly from his seat and place a flower on the bench. Like we're supposed to remember he's still in the room. Like it helps.

Maybe it helps.

Life is made up of anticipation and transition and if the rights fall our way, we get to celebrate sometimes too. So we watch the trials come and go and sit with our hands tied, or at least it feels like it. We breath, in and out, we bide our time, and wait for the answers to reveal themselves. We shift our gaze to the jury box. What of faith, what of justice? What of accountability, community, grace, and retribution? What will become of us? Our final plea can be heard in that question, so we ask again: what will become of us?

Hope, hearing his name, stands up to answer.

artwork by juri ueda

Sunday, April 14, 2013

the air that moves us: hope

Manuela S. Fotographie

hope is an open window
which gratifies the soul
and leads us through the musty rooms
we dwell in, though we know:
the window's on the wall
and all we've got to do is go.

hope is a thing we crack open,
when life steals the air from our homes,
and holds us to strengths we've not tried yet;
hope is the place where we go.

to give our worries room to leave
we must make room for hope.

© afterthoughtcomposer

Thursday, April 11, 2013

as we ignore the trial of kermit gosnell

I know we will all be brought to justice. The time will come when our actions will no longer be tied to the false pride of our own explanations, but will be laid bare for what they are: inexcusable, bad, morally corrupt. Who defines our morals? Who leads the charge? Who do we follow for answers?

How do we research that which has no proper documentation? Do we write the reports ourselves, or wait for the wheel to churn out our daily pablum; ignoring food, passing by the meat and bones of what's really going on.

What's really going on? Let's not look only at the changing geography of the worth of a life (here: not life, there: life), but at the changing geography of our hearts (here: I care, there: I don't care). Do we act only on the things we see? Or do we pursue the unanswerable, invisible, unmentioned? Where are the hard questions that need to be asked? Where are the voices we've silenced? What of grace, and what of retribution?

The lines have developed a cancer. They deteriorate and leave us groundless, playing in the sand like children, scooping up the earth with plastic shovels; paying no mind to the weight we hold in our hands. We make castles when we should be begging for mercy. We are not children, though, and because of us, neither are they.

We've made needless animals of our offspring by turning our eyes away, removed their value from our hearts by choosing not to speak up, and closed our eyes to the sounds they make as we shoot them. We fear politics, we make arguments, we do not progress in conversation. Our fingertips have calloused, so we can not feel the pulse of our own lifeblood. We do not regard the future, beyond our skin or within it. We do not regard the past, before our bodies got here, or what lies in wait because of them.

Our hearts beat and we beat them down. Our mouths speak and we cut off our tongues for fear of rocking the boat. Fear not, boat rockers; we are not on water, but on sand. Like children, playing.