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


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,


Collaboration champions

and strengthens


which changes minds.

Is progress not the end goal?

Perhaps it never was for you,

if you require opponents foremost.

How disappointing.


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


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

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.


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.


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.