send myself forth

sometimes I almost remember
what it’s like to be

bigger than a room
and smaller than a sigh

scream it into a mirror
this is who I am

close a mouth
swallow stardust

someone left, someone’s here
the observer took the wheel

introduce an avatar
being steered through chaos

questions pour in
if I wasn’t here, would you be?

where is everyone—or was that one who?
do people still listen to shells?

I pour them back out
focus on the day-to-day today

be in the now, not in the know
throw an anchor in the present

and stay
with you

fines

This is fine. This is good. Everything goes just as it should. This is fine. This is fair. Not one cloud in the air. This is good. This is right. Nothing to see, no one to fight. This is fair. This is free. Any questions, don’t ask me. This is right. All is well. Not one secret I could tell. This is free. There’s no fine. Now stay calm, stay in line. All is well. It’s all, right? Fine; goodnight.

sun day

deep in the valley
staring up at the mountains
smiling, warm, giddy
enjoying the local flora, honeysuckle
tiny droplets with a hint of sugar
the peach juice is imported
but it suits the atmosphere and hydrates faster
counting breaths
getting lost in thee double digits
drop a penny in a well
causing ripples and making wishes for ever
the sun smiles
she loves me;
she loves me hot
blanket of stars in my eyes

stand in flow

round and round all tends to go
pendulum and tides
high – low
drought followed by hurricane
poor stand-ins
for sun and rain
stumble, learn to moderate
feast – famine
too soon, too late
reject perfection (and its flaws)
elect connection
and more pause
sitting still and letting all flow
being boulder
no need to row
with time, I will know
and in time, I’ll go

X

when I fell in love

with the mask

it had been worn so long

the wearer didn’t know it was there

either

I made many mistakes and overlooked the peeling

at the edges

her only mistake was underestimation

she grew to understand a self beneath

the mask but wouldn’t tell me outright

hoping I would see through it or puzzle out

what had taken her lifetime

over time, the one she died to become

grew resentful towards my affection

for the facade

believing I couldn’t love the person wearing it

perhaps even that nobody could

I could have

if I had ever met them

that mask was painstakingly chiseled off

whereas mine, less secure, fell suddenly

in an empty playhouse

crashing on the stage

shattering on impact

X marks the spot

wane

as you learn, you will see plainly

a songbird scarfs down a butterfly

whose fragile wings emerged chrysalis branded with a starvation timer anyway

the uneating, eaten by dinosaurs’ heir, with a cheerful chirp

you may be tempted in those eat or be eaten days

to crawl under your bed and supplant the monster there

lurking and snarling to dissuade further injury, perhaps even inflicting

but eventually the mattress gets flipped and you’ll find yourself on top again

fear and discontent maximizing the acoustics of an emptied room

the way is through, the way is acceptance

instead of shying from understanding to prevent jadedness, develop mastery of your experience

observe the back-end workings of former mysteries when they present themselves

and mourn the loss of novelty and ignorance if you must, since society exaggerated their value

then move back into the exquisite space of right now in your own body

once you know that life is, at a minimum, the suffering

of gradual decay compounded by perpetual loss

breathe again and feel warmth on your skin

move your feet through your world with a little more compassion

move your hands through your world with a little more kindness

Like the Wind

I guess I’m glad
I didn’t realize
when we met so long ago
that I would listen some day
to your loud struggle for

every
single
shallow
breath

while I fumble to treat and sooth you
without sure answers or enough guidance

when you huff, puff, wheeze, sneeze, and pant
I barely sleep
but when your breath quiets at night
I cannot sleep at all

you have always been a thorough, albeit impatient, teacher
touch the face, never the feet; pat the sides, never the spine

sometimes I miss my favorite sound: your happy rumble
muted now by the constant, strenuous effort of inhaling and exhaling
I have old recordings, but I can’t bear them

but you, ever clever, find new ways to be a gift
you stay by my side
with your impossible dignity
comforting my heavy heart
thank goodness it was open
long enough
to meet you and
be filled
by you and for you
your whole life
you sweet creature
my Windy darling

My dear contrarian

Never work harder to

convince people

(especially yourself)

you’re right

than you work to

be right.

Integrity is better

than spectators’ support.

Successful negotiation

is harder than,

and superior to,

“winning”.

Collaboration champions

and strengthens

truth,

which changes minds.

Is progress not the end goal?

Perhaps it never was for you,

if you require opponents foremost.

How disappointing.

Interconversion

They say matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed.

That is true of our kind.

When we pass, our essence is recombined into the living.

The deceased are not simply an addition, though;

their spirits multiply our own.

In this way, we not only carry our ancestors forward,

into the future they could not see,

but they carry us upwards,

into such heights as we could not imagine.

Our numbers dwindle,

but our people grow ever brighter.

I wonder sometimes,

perhaps uncharitably,

if your people choose to do the opposite:

multiplying incessantly, but losing much along the way.

Not creating, just repeating.

Not destroying, just neglecting.

full cup

for
the
longest
time

I conflated success with fulfillment
and I defined both with other people’s words
(despite what else I could hear)
it has taken gargantuan effort

to pivot

into
something better, someone brave
but after the tower finished burning
and I evacuated into the woods
I am whole
(which is better than perfect)
being her(e) is worthwhile
after all

Thanks for Fucking Up

And now for a slight change of pace. (And because she likes things that rhyme.)

Thanks for Fucking Up

To all the fumbling hands before me
that didn’t put a ring on hers,
I must speak my gratitude
for every beautiful day that occurs.

Thanks for letting go
of the best you’ll ever know.
She’s the star of my favorite show,
and everyone sees her glow.

You kicked dirt in her face,
then wondered why she didn’t shine.
But these days, oh, she’s radiant,
and these days, yes, she’s mine.

When people meet her now,
they all commend my choice.
When I think of your mistake,
I simply must rejoice.

Thanks for fucking up,
thanks for letting down.
Thanks for sucking, putz,
and not staying around.

Tell yourself it wasn’t meant to be,
tell yourself you’re better off.
I’ll tell myself treasure everything,
while you brood and whine and quaff.

I cannot pity one who ever caused her pain,
So I’ll just say “thank you” once again.
If you’d held on, if you’d held down,
My life’s love may have gone unfound.

Watch

At what point

Should I confess

That I only came here

To witness the end of your world?

I never intended

To fall hopelessly in love

With the Earth, as it died

Or, especially, with you.

How could I know

Something fading so quickly

Could still be so beautiful

That I would rather not leave?

If it lends consolation

You had no choice or chance

This conclusion was drawn

Long before you opened your beautiful eyes.

I will hold you afloat

While the waters rise

And rock you to sleep

As nature’s fury awakens.

I came here to watch death

I came here to study terminal hope

But I’m staying to be part of this doomed life;

I’m staying with you until our end.

you, matter

A statistically unlikely miracle composed of stardust and inexplicable life force,

and just one among billions of sweaty, hairy flesh-lumps of mostly water.

In control of that miraculous, ordinary body, managing it with your very thoughts,

and powerless over countless functions that it carries out within you daily.

Loving, happy, brave, kind, selfless,

and hateful, forlorn, afraid, mean, vain.

Experiencing,

and creating.

Block Text

The thing about most of what what you watch, do, and achieve___in an addictive box___is that most people don’t really care___and while they may humor you momentarily___they are often impatient___to get back to their own little boxes___to do their own little things___but remember that we made the boxes___and we choose how to fill them___and whether to climb into them___hoping to become important in some corner___or else to unbox ourselves___and use them as just one among many tools___that help us address, rather than avoid___the stresses and burdens___of challenges and ideas___that don’t fit neatly into boxes___or comfortably into short sentences.

When I say self-starter

When I say self-starter

I mean that I can (and often do) face the desperate emptiness
of working to finish Something Important

in the margins between daily tedium
and stressed slumber

at an hour I refuse to check
on yet another weeknight

churning caffeine, sugar, and bile
stinking of the day’s labor and self-pity

neglecting a dozen joys and a hundred chores
pulling fumes from my insides

to condense until they form
Something Salvageable

and further distill it until what’s left constitutes
Something Actually Usable, Maybe

without a soul who could rally my resolve
except me.

Refresh

When I need to summon
my divinity,
I prepare a space first,
tidied, cleansed, and welcoming.

Hot soaking water,
icy drinking water,
darkness, punctuated
with tea lights.

Aromas, ambiance, authors.

Sometimes, a visitor,
nocturnal feline eyes like fireflies,
staring uncertainly, whiskers twitching,
a familiar unfamiliar with these rites.

Rose quartz
isn’t a scent.
I drop it in anyway,
watch the fizzling.

Applying rough and smooth,
salts and oils,
I shed the day,
wrap the night around me.

Steam-purified,
bubble-sanctified,
I find myself.
Aftercare: moisturize, hydrate, breathe, rest.