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.


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.


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.

I find myself.
Aftercare: moisturize, hydrate, breathe, rest.


Take comfort, dear.

Do you think it’s a coincidence

Our lives are filled with cycles?

Blink, see the external world,

Blink, see the internal world.

Breathe, take air in,

Breathe, put air out.



Seasons coming,

Seasons going.

On, off,

On, off.

A Good Start

The moth was solid white
like unwalked snow.
I thought it was dead
on top the stove.
I nudged it with a napkin
(similar in color, opposite in elegance)
and it barely crawled on top.
It did not hesitate to try, though.

Better the indignity of this poor man’s magic carpet ride to anywhere
than my brief lifespan wasted in a sunless box.

I agreed and took it outside, but was afraid
that other bugs in the grass might devour it
in its weakened state.
So I tried to let it walk
free on the patio instead
but it, again, barely crawled
limping diagonally—toward the grassline.
I thought it tragically wounded.

Discouraged, it stopped midway,
still as death again.

So I nudged it back onto the napkin
and set them both half upon the grass
and half toward the patio, in case of emergency escape.
As soon as it reached the ledge toward the lawn,
it flew off, fully reglorified.
Perhaps broken legs are more bearable with perfect wings.
It soared so high, I squinted at sunrays while wishing farewell.
It just needed an angled platform

and hope
and help.

you learn some things

I know better
than to call a bad person
a vulture
as if they would do such work
with discarded scraps
care so little
for how they appear
and make such a difference
in this messy world

I know better
than to harm a good person with
a joke
as if masking unkindness
with humor
and a smiling face
could hide true intent
and seem like levity
in these contentious times

I know better
than to ascribe to any person
a label
as if “good” and “bad” were permanent states
with foolproof identifiers
and could not change at any moment
from a single sneeze of fate
or be layered like sediment all the way down
into a molten, ever-churning center

annus mirabilis

It was fortunate that my heart broke in the coldest winter.
I became an exposed nerve and did not want to face
the full force of grief. There was nowhere to go
with layers of snow turning the world into a constricted icebox.
And I wasn’t brave enough to go nowhere alone
So I stayed in and mourned alone instead.

It was fortunate that my heart regrew in the most vibrant spring.
Everything still hurt, seemed wickedly designed to hurt:
even butterflies, even smiling, even people inquiring about my welfare
or whether I’d forgotten the laundry basket outside of my apartment door
for three days.
But slowly, so slowly, the world grew colorful again, as did I.
Weeping rains pattered away and the sun promised warmer tomorrows.

It was fortunate that my heart swelled in a temperate summer.
Under bold yet unscathing rays, I dared myself to do anything
and everything. I did it without accompaniment.
I relished my own choices and audacity.
The heat egged me on, encouraging my escapades and thrills.
The thought of living out my days without a companion inspired fear no more.
I decided, and made peace with, exactly who I am.

Naturally, thereafter, during a windy and conspiratorial autumn,
my new, swollen heart sang loudly
enough to find a songmate. We grew together
as leaves danced down,
flowers closed up shop,
and daylight found progressively earlier resting hours.
We are fortunate.


No matter your beauty, making the
sole source
of your self-esteem
your physical form
over the course of a lifetime
is like buying a brand new car
and treating it
like your savings plan.

It depreciates. Bank on other things.

That’s not to say that you should
treat your body
like it does not matter at all.
There is a difference between people
who take care of themselves
and people who do not,
just as there is a difference between people
who practice proper car maintenance
and people who do not.
(And sometimes accidents happen,
even if you’re taking good care of it.)

All the same, bank on other things. Diversify your portfolio of self-investment.

Your body will thank you
for the reduction of pressure to be
impossibly perfect.
And you cannot imagine yet what
the rest of you will accomplish,
once properly valued.

Bootstraps and Facts

Just to offer an alternative perspective
to this endless need
to prove
that we all accomplished everything
on our own
despite insurmountable odds:
I had help.

I had a lot of help
at various times
from my family, friends, neighbors, teachers, colleagues, managers,
and total strangers
(especially authors).

Once I had help
from a random Uber driver
when I was totally out
of optimism
and needed kindness
like oxygen.

True, some people decidedly did NOT help.
And sometimes the same people
who helped
with one thing
or at one time
made something else harder
or made everything harder, later;
but their help still mattered.

People don’t do much of import alone.
Help doesn’t undermine our effort
or devalue our achievements
because we can do amazing things,
and we are better together.

Hand me your bootstraps, friend.

Let me know if you need anything

“Let me know if you need anything.”

Most people say it automatically.

Some people mean it, with caveats.

A few just don’t know what else to say in order to stave off an uncomfortable sense of helplessness.

But we aren’t them.

When I tell you “anything”, you know.

I will remote order you dinner when you can’t get off the floor.

I will filter and respond to communications to keep your days quiet enough for healing.

I am here.

I know I am far, but I am here—for you.

And if what you need most is somebody to be there instead, I will make my way.

Just say the word, any word—I will listen, always.

Kids’ Night at the Burger Joint

They’re giving out free balloons,

the boy told us eagerly as he left.

RED balloons!

How nice.

Red like MURDER,

he added,

as his nonplussed mother tugged him away.

We went inside anyway.

At the table behind us,

another boy squirmed

screaming at his mobile device


while his parents had cocktails and fries.

Here’s what you should do.


Children listen.

Then they contort.

Social compression goes unnoticed.

Later, they’ll feel the stiffness.

But unknotting is harder than stretching.

Imagine if they had heard “could” instead.

Now adults must unwind balls of stress—themselves.

Wondering, “Is any of me left under these wraps?”

Seeking the answer bravely, or lacing back up in fear.

After years constricted, years may be needed to breathe again.

Years of change, challenge, and—most painfully—the unknown.

Surely the self is in this mess somewhere,

Just wrapped too tightly to call out.

The lines are quite tangled sometimes.

Can it even be done?

Breathe in, breathe out.

Count to ten.

Count back,


night thoughts

I wish I was as still as you

steady, peaceful, effortless

maybe I spend too much time running

or my cradle was rocked too hard

maybe nightmares keep me waking

or the dread of tomorrow’s alarm

yet I’m grateful for your simple slumber

soothing, calm, dependable

undeterred and undisturbed

by my fidgeting and sighing

letting me work through my aftershocks

more tranquil each night

waiting to breathe together again

patient, restful, warm

Lies I Once Believed

It’s hard being a cynic.

Optimists are just naïve.

Realists exist.

I need to change.

I cannot change.

People are good.

People are bad.

I cannot be happy alone.

I’m better off alone.

I can do it all.

I don’t have to choose.

Financial stability buys freedom.

The real world has no place for art and compassion.

Everyone can communicate.

Empathy is not a real skill.

Vulnerability is weakness.

Creativity is risk.  Risk should be avoided.

What I say and do don’t matter.

wake up call

I had a dream not long ago.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

In my dream, a tree had fallen on me.

I remember it slowly bearing down as I wriggled.

I remember the squeezing sensation of my skull approaching its cracking point.

But, most of all, I remember the horrible flight of hope.

The certainty that someone would rescue me melted.

My cries for help caught in my throat.

Then came the irreversible knowing: a freak accident death, a random unfinished end.

My life had no special purpose.

I was embarrassed to realize I’d always thought someday I would do something significant.

Whatever that means in a temporary, unfeeling universe.

I didn’t matter enough for any entity in the cosmos to intervene.

I breathed deeply, trying to glimpse the sky because I would miss it the most.

I woke up relieved, and in horror.

the god of now

You want me to describe my god to you?

I’ll make an effort.

When I was a child, I was given many things.

One was a picture of god as a father and a ruler and a punisher.

He helped me, in those early days, to feel safe and behave appropriately.

But later, when I saw more of the world, I realized he was too small to answer my questions, or infuse my spirit, or quell my true fears – true, by virtue of being grounded in reality, in the horrors and injustices all around me.

When I was older, but not yet fully myself, I resented and gave him up, knowing I could never get him back.

I lived alone.

I tried to fill the emptiness of his loss with people and ideologies, wading through several pools but staying ever in shallow waters.

These pursuits led repeatedly back to a familiar place of disappointment and hopelessness.

Later still, I realized I had never grieved for god the father, god the tyrant, god the security blanket.

So I mourned.

And I wandered alone again.

On no particular day, during no particular crisis beyond prolonged fatigue and sadness, I encountered the god of now.

Only a flicker of a glimpse of the god of now can I hope to convey.

She is she to me and anything to you.

She is the best things in my mind, the essence of authenticity, small delights, enormous joy, gratitude, empathy, and kindness.

She is ineffable but articulate.

She is connection to more, to others and to the earth itself, to the stars beyond, to the memory of my ancestors, to the honor of heroes and the tragedy of lost souls.

She is whatever I need her to be, when I need strength or resolve or courage or compassion.

She allows me to pray but needs no worship.

She is a construct of my mind or an unfathomable external force.

She does not ask me to find out for sure.

She only asks me to live as my full self.

So I try.



I don’t know why people throw away pennies,

But I love finding them with you.


Since I met you, nothing feels insignificant:

not pennies,

not words,

not blinks,

not breaths.


During the past few years, my goals have simplified:

do my best,

be here now,

make you smile,

enjoy our time.


We continue collecting memories and pennies:

pretty penny, lucky penny,

penny dreadful,

shiny penny, honest penny,

penny wiser.


But we cannot pinch them.

Just like time, we can only spend them well.

Trickery, trickery, doc.

Mary had an Instagram, Instagram, Instagram.

Mary had an Instagram that nobody followed.

But everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went,

Everywhere that Mary went, the camera sure did go.

Jack the symbol,

Jack the dick,

Jack dump and dismantle chicks.

Ice cap ridges melting down, melting down, melting down,

Ice cap ridges melting down,

Ignore daily.

Trickery, trickery, doc.

The mice work round the clock.

The clock strikes five, the rats race home.

Trickery, trickery, doc.

Grumpy Stumpy used to be tall.

Grumpy Stumpy’s friend went awol.

All the prescriptions and all of the gin

Couldn’t put Stumpy together again.

Jack and Bill left from the Hill

To find a future daughter.

Jack went down,

They broke Bill’s crown,

And Jill stayed with the orphans.

Who killed black bobbins?

I, said the police,

With my badge and this piece.

I killed black bobbins.

Who saw them die?

I, thought a guy,

Was just passing by,

So turned a blind eye.

All the thoughts and the prayers,

And the trying and sobbing,

Could not return to home

Little black bobbins.

There was a posh woman who needed more shoes.

She passed homeless children; she didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some cloth without many threads.

Then whistled to herself and bought bags instead.

Word Value

Value of Words


Hate isn’t a strong word.

Think about how casually everyone uses it.

No words are strong anymore.

Phrases might be strong, sometimes.

If I say, “I hate you and I hope you die” and you know I’m not being sarcastic, then it might be considered strong phrasing.

Give me a word, any word, and I’ll show you how it has no strength on its own.


Said while staring at a new model of iPhone!


Well, I think you’re going about this all wrong.

Words are strong

-not simply because they are the building blocks of phrases, just as individual breaths are what compose our lives, with few more significant than others, though some may be deeper-

But also because words are concepts made tangible: symbols and sounds that can create shared understanding between otherwise separate minds.

Put two strangers, who barely know one another or who barely speak one another’s language, in a tense situation and one word can become all that matters.


A single word with the strength to convey between two unfamiliar psyches both “I intend no harm” and “please do me no harm”.