Monday, December 9, 2013

Who Says...

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Half an hour
maybe twenty minutes
into our first date he announces
in no uncertain terms and with 
deep, deep resignation,
“I’ve given up on finding a soul mate,”
which told me 
in no uncertain terms
that I wasn’t it, either.

I think I may have laughed. 

Yeah, I said, 
I think maybe
we’ve all been sold
a bill of goods about that,
don't you? 

I mean, 
I said, 
who says I have to find
one person out of the gazillion souls
walking the planet
my own private Neo 
(The One)
savior of my heart
some fantasy man
that is perfect for me
and only me?
Who says that
only then will I be happy
only then will I have done
this loving thing right?

I mean,
I said,
what if I’m supposed to love, like,
six more people - I don’t know, maybe 
ten more completely amazing men
in my lifetime and what if
there is no one perfect soul mate 
out there for me and what if I
want to give back
that bill of goods I've been sold
and just trade it in 
for a lifetime of loving well
whoever shows up next?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

One Thing I Hate

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One thing I hate in this lifetime is the way God keeps
breaking my heart open, just cracking it open as if it were
a walnut and He needs to break through the hard shell of it
by letting me fall madly, deeply, instantly in love
with wildly inappropriate people
like the 17 year old with the muscles and the broad chest,
the goofy grin behind the counter at Starbucks 

or the airy-fairy girl with the piercings and ripped stockings
and purple striped hair that makes me wish I was 30 years younger
so we could be best friends, except that 30 years ago
I would have beaten her up because I would have been crazy-jealous
of her cool disregard for other people’s opinions

or the tall, Sufi-dancing carpenter with the work-roughened
hands who in nearly every way is the man of my dreams except he’s
so steady and solid he seems deeply boring
or how about the 35 year old who in some weird cosmic way in one short
weekend brought me up close and personal to the fact that I am
the spiritual warrior with the heart of a poet I’ve been looking for
all my life

or how about the silver haired charmer who, on our third date,
mentioned our honeymoon in Hawaii and the house he’ll buy me if he wins
the lottery, and then there’s the freedom-loving, Harley-riding, hazel-eyed,
boy-man with whom I felt like the one who is too steady and boring because 
he was just trying to survive every day life and the drama going on 
inside his head and so

the one thing I hate in this lifetime is the way God keeps
breaking my heart open, just letting me fall madly for these
absurdly beautiful people, how the cracks in my heart seem to let in too much
light, how God keeps pushing everyone I fall for out of my life and
out of my heart, how He just keeps making more and more room for
Himself.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Metabolism

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I once
not so long ago
dreamt of an old woman
the crone figure folding laundry
in a dark warehouse
endlessly and calmly folding
a man’s white socks
who looked at me
with her deep wisdom and said,

“We always know who is going to hurt us
and how…but we go in anyway.”

I did not want to hear this. 

Even my dream self knew this meant heartache
and sadness and loss. Even now it makes me
weep with despair. 

And yet, when the time came, 
I went in anyway
to love as best I could. 

And in this moment I pay the price
and swallow the bitter pill of sweet sorrow,
begin to metabolize it in my heart and eyes and hips
and throat where it grips for a moment as if
it will never
let go. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Lifetime

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Oh!
To have a whole lifetime
of quiet mornings
alone in my room
predictable and safe
my own little rhythm
imposed on the day
color and fabric
shadow and light 
to hear birds awakening
in gleeful delight
and no one anywhere
wanting anything
from me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Blessing on David Pond

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I wake early and at once
to the still, small Voice 
urging me to, 
"Go to the water."
"Must I?" I ask.
"Yes, you must," it answers.
"Now?"
"Yes now please, and hurry."

I fumble quickly into clothes
stumble fuzzily down the path
rubbing from my eyes 
the remnants of bright and vivid 
dreams, wondering
what all the fuss is about, 
really. 

I climb carefully into the shadowy canoe,
put oar to dark water, the plish of it
the only sound moving me slowly
away from shore,
just a woman in a canoe
on a quiet lake in the early morning,
just obeying the Voice even though
I haven't had my morning coffee yet.

From behind me, from the north,
comes the sound of a bird - I think
it is a plain old duck even though only loons
live here - and as it flies high above me
I hear the bellows of its lungs as if at a forge,
their wheezy sound like a squeeze toy, 
fanning hard the flames of its wings
and when it turns and comes back 

its flight path is directly over my canoe and
with a sudden and endless wave of sound it is 
calling and calling and calling, hooting its
forlorn cry without pause 
in its other-worldly voice
and I am riveted in my seat,
enveloped in a dome of sound, wrapped
in a music that stuns me 
into stillness and silence,
into tears and goosebumps,
a music that 
washes over me 
like a blessing. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Conversation with an 18 Year Old, Or, The Perils of Going to Sleep at 9:30pm When You're a Single Mom

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Conversation with my 18 year old son, whose room has a full bed and a twin in it (but not for long):

Me: Hey, so who stayed in your room last night?

Matt:  Um, my room?

Me: Yeah, I heard a girl coughing in the middle of the night. 

Matt:  Oh, yeah, um, Meagan-and-I-rod.

Me:  Meagan and IRod? What, are they homeless? 

Matt:  Nah, they both have homes, they just needed a place they can be together.

Me:  You let a couple sleep in your room? Isn’t that awkward? 

Matt:  Nah, it was fine.  Like I said, they just wanna hang together. It’s not like they were in the way or anything.

Me:  In the way? That's nice they wanna be together, but this isn’t the place for that, Matt. I’m not running a youth hostel, you know, nobody’s paying me to rent rooms.

Matt:  Blah blah blah, stuff he said I didn’t catch, mostly hemming and hawing.

Me: No, seriously kid, I’m done with taking in strays. 

Matt:  They’re not strays, Ma, they just wanted to hang.  And they made me breakfast and everything.  They left a box of pancake mix and syrup for us. Wasn’t that nice of them?

Me:  Huh.  Pancakes. Nobody made me breakfast, and I can’t even eat pancakes. Pancakes? I’m paying the bills here and I didn’t get any breakfast. (Here I laugh).  God, how am I ever going to have a boyfriend with all this weird shit going on in my place?  [Definition of weird: Strays and quasi-homeless young people crashing in my apartment on a fairly regular basis.]

Matt, looking at me all squinty-eyed:  Mom, are you serious?  You are a cool-ass woman, and any man that’s gonna hang with you will have to be pretty cool, too, all chill and stuff.  This stuff won’t rattle him. He’ll be laid back, don’t worry about it, it’ll be no big deal. 

Me:  Yep, he will have to be pretty cool, Matt, that’s true, but regardless of how cool I am, or how "chill" he is, this can’t go on anymore. I'm not that chill.  God [and here I wave my hands around], I do have standards, you know, and this just ain’t meeting ‘em.  So, no more strays. 

Matt: Ma, they’re not strays.

Me:  Whatever. Enough already.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

On Attachment

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Like a fish 
with a hook in its mouth
I thrash around internally
wanting to lose the metallic tug 
of that twisted awful hook and
I am thrumming
with a certain fierceness
and an unmistakable longing 
to be absolutely free 
and unencumbered
by 
want 
desire 
wish

and I try to let go of the memory
of the sweet darling angle
of the light through the water
as I swam unencumbered
by the pull of my own
want
desire
wish
and yet here I am,

despite my endless attempts
to be non-attached,
attached to the longing 
to be unhooked
to be moving freely
to be doing something other
anything other
somewhere other

than this.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weather Report

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Like an old woman 
whose world has narrowed
I've begun to report 
on the daily weather
in my morning pages:
this day sunny
this day cloudy
as if these changing facts
have some influence over
what I am about to write. 

Sometimes they do. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some Mornings

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There are some mornings
(like this one)
I lie in bed with
the sense of you
sitting by the window
watching me sleep
which you have never done
and the sense of your absence
is more like a fullness
more like a presence and 

there are some mornings
(like this one)
I lie in bed with
the weight of your absence
the weight of your presence
holding me still and I know
I'm a little bit crazy
to allow this to continue for
all these long years, this
wondering how 
I could have blown it 
so badly
wishing I had trusted my gut
and just ran out the door after you, 
leaving everything behind

saying, "Wait! 
Yes, go ahead,
yes ask me,
please ask me," and
"I will,
yes I will,
yes, let's!"


Friday, June 14, 2013

On Being a Monk, an Artist, a Mystic: An Assignment from The Artist’s Rule

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A year or so ago, I found this delightful little book called "The Artist’s Rule, A Twelve Week Journey: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom."   It was exactly what I needed, and total confirmation that I am on the right track, whatever that is.  The first time I read it, it moved me to tears on nearly every page.  It was, as she said, like coming home.  I didn’t do any of the exercises, however, I just read it.  Recently, though, I bought the book with the intention of actually doing them, and so far, I have honored that intention.  One of this week’s assignments was to write a poem based on the title of another, which she suggested.

Whenever I write poetry or a short piece about my own life, it always feels like I am invaded, or inhabited by and filled up with the idea of the poem or the story.  This was a new experience, to write as an assignment. It was interesting to discover that the Muse was with me just the same. The Muse, I am learning, can be invited in.  I don’t have to wait for her. I can’t speak for how good the poem is, but I can say that once I began the journey to write it, that sense of fullness, that sense of the Muse’s presence, was with me.

So here’s the poem:

Like a monk in a monastery, 
I sink into the morning’s silence
and breathe in to its fullness,
letting it fill me to the brim
with its luminous presence.

In the quiet of morning rounds
I listen for the still, small voice
in the whisper of sheets as they glide over pillows,
the hiss and pop of the coffee maker,
the clank of dishes and rattle of silverware
as they are lifted high and returned
to their rightful places.

The depth and roundness of the new coffee mug,
itself a sacred vessel in the colors of Morocco
remind me of the need to empty and fill, empty and fill
ever open to possibility and change.

I decorate myself with fabric and bangles, angles and sparkles,
dance into the day like my own little Mariachi band.
Surrounded by reds and purples and blues, I splash and glue them
onto canvas and fill the universe with my love and gratitude
for the colors of joy and laughter.

On the way out the door to the “real” world, I avert my gaze
from the tangle of amp wires left forgotten under a window
and the messiness left on the counter by hands I happen to love
and remember, instead, the Four Sisters leaning over a stream,
their green leaves shushing as one in a warm breeze,
the four of them enchanted to be in the world
with such delightful, birch-y company.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How I Knew He Was Trouble

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I knew he was Trouble
by the way he smiled
when he learned my name
and put a face and a body
and legs-in-a-dress
to a voice he’d heard on the phone
and how I was,
in that moment,
exquisitely aware that I am a girl.

I knew he was Trouble
by the way he leaned toward my car
with the palms of his hands on the window ledge
and the curl of his fingers over the rim
touching the inside of the door, and
how I noticed the strength and shape of his hands
as the sunlight danced over 
the downy hair and muscles 
of his beautiful forearms.

I knew he was Trouble
by the way his eyes stayed on mine
that color of brown I could drown in
taking in everything about me all at once
in a pleased sort of way
and by the way he was easy in his own body
as he chatted with me and how
the plane of his chest and the curve of his shoulders
held up his shirt that barely touched his belly
and by the way his jeans fit over his thighs.

I knew he was Trouble
by the way his eyebrow shot up
and his nose crinkled disbelievingly
and his hips shifted outside my car door
when I explained why I was in the parking lot
and used the words ‘preschool’
and ‘granddaughter’ and I knew by the way
his eyes looked me over and he repeated the word
‘granddaughter’ as a question 
in a snorting sort of way,
unbelieving.

I knew he was Trouble
by the way I whooped out loud
as I drove out of the parking lot
and pounded the steering wheel
and told God,
‘Now that’s what I’m talking about!’
and the way I laughed at how I always want
the 30-something-year-old
and by the way the image of his glowing forearms
and the shape of his thighs in his jeans
and the color of his eyes as they took me in
kept returning to me
all day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coloring Outside the Lines, Or, The Truth I Live With

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How Dragonfly began
Two nights ago I came home from work and crawled into my new bed with my new deep purple sheets, completely tired out.  I had just finished two major projects at work and recently completed my third year studying for a Master’s in Public Administration (think MBA with a P instead of a B).   I have one more year of studying and did I mention I was tired?
I took my power nap, pulled myself out of bed and went to the window. There was a storm coming. When the thunder rolled and the rain began, I felt refreshed and energized (I am a big fan of thunderstorms).  I thought about the work I do now, which is not a bad gig if you can get it – writing, photography, design, social media, website.  Mostly I enjoy it, but I often wish for a bigger stage, a bigger impact, a bigger paycheck. 

 As I stood at the window watching the rain and thinking about work, I heard a little voice in my head, like from my seven-year-old self, that said,  "But I just want to make art and write novels."   I have heard this voice saying these words before.   So I whispered it out loud just to see what it would be like, and it sounded….weak.  Wimpy. Uncommitted.  False.  Wishful.  I mean, there was no force behind it, no energy or conviction, just a whiny little kid’s longing for play and fun and frivolity.   And so I said it louder, in a stronger voice (do you think I’m crazy?) while looking at the rain:  
 “I just want to make art and write novels.”  Which felt better, stronger, but still sort of...childish.  And so again, in a louder voice: “I want to make art and write novels!!” 

How I left Dragonfly all those months ago
 This time it had some force in it, some conviction, a lot of energy. And the next thought, which came from the same (now excited) seven year old, was this: “So what are you waiting for? Let’s do it!”    And so I pulled out the canvas holding my dragonfly, the thing I’ve wanted to work on for months but set aside on a dark shelf because I've been too busy studying to even think about, except with sadness and a kind of dread, the fear that it would remain undone or worse, that it would be done badly. 


I pulled my supplies out – the glue, the brush, the scissors, the paper, fabric, and oh! The colors!   I started to work and then watched myself as I got temporarily stuck wanting to get it right, to be perfect, to make no mistakes.  I felt frustrated that it – that I - was all too linear.  I’d been coloring in the lines for months, hard, making straight lines and edges.  Newsletters and postcards and flyers and books and 10 page papers and presentations and logical writing require this, they require you to be exact with straight lines and to get it right.  
What I needed now in this moment was to set aside the scissors and the lines, to tear the paper in ragged edges, and lay it down on the canvas with some thoughtfulness but without a lot of planning, the way I worked on my other projects, the way I live my life, trusting that all shall be well and it will all come together.  Unlike the design work I do for a living, straight edges are not necessary when making collage and sometimes even counterproductive.  So I set the scissors aside and just played. I picked them up when I needed to.

The truth I live with is this:  My mother was a woman who taught me many useful things, like these: be honest, show up for work on time, read a lot, read out loud, be gentle, stay open to life even when you want to shut down, and that I as a woman have better things to do with my time than just cook and clean.  But the one thing she taught me that I have to unlearn is that “you can’t make a living as an artist.”  I love my mother with all my heart, and I know she was protecting me from what she saw as the harsh realities of life, and I know she was only passing on to me what she was taught, and that she postponed the fullness of her own artistic life until she retired, but this is a wound that went deep into my psyche and into my soul, because the truth is, in a parallel universe, I coulda/shoulda/woulda gone to art school as a young person.  I could have trained to be an artist.  And the truth is I should be working toward an MFA right now, either studio art or creative writing, but I took another route.  I took the route that will “pay the bills.” Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my classes and I don’t regret my choice at all.  I knew when I made the choice to go to grad school that I would wish I had taken the other route no matter which one I chose.  My top two choices were MPA or MFA (could they BE more different?)  Either way, I would have wondered about the road not taken.  I would not, however, grieve the loss of one as I now grieve the loss of the other. 

Happiness and progress
However, another truth is this:  I made the right choice.  I chose the road that lets me feed my kids, pay my bills, AND make art. I could not have taken two years off from work and taken out oodles of loans to go into a studio and paint and whatever else you do when get an MFA.  Well, OK.  I could have. But I didn't.  Maybe some day I will know what that feels like, maybe after I publish my novels and memoir and get filthy rich, I will know. A girl can dream.  

 In the meantime, the point is this: while I may not be making a living as an artist, I have to make a life as one, because it makes me happy to make art, it makes me happy to write, it smoothes out the rough edges of worry in my mind, it makes my surroundings and physical reality more tolerable when I create beauty, when I play, when I let go of the outcome and just be open to possibility.  It makes me happy when I color outside the lines.

And here is more truth:  I have to make a LIFE as an artist because I AM an artist, and so there really is no other choice.  

What truth are you living with?

 P.S. In case you're wondering, the child is the Boy Jesus, and the clown on the painted red canvas is Trickster, a larger than usual SoulCollage® Council card.  A universal archetype, Trickster has played a larger than usual role in my life and finally demanded acknowledgement of his existence. And all of it rests on a little card table in my bedroom, across from my big, unsullied new bed with dark purple sheets.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Little Green Things

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I don’t know if I can properly explain to you why I needed to be out in the woods on this dark, cold, and rainy day.  If you are an outdoor person, I won’t need to explain, but if you are, say, the kind of person who would rather vacation in a four star hotel than a mountain cabin, then you might think I’m slightly crazy and so it’s probably best that I don’t really try. 
 
As I drove home, I saw the color of the sky and the beginnings of color blushing the trees and bushes and I wanted to capture it, somehow – the dark of the wet branches against the gray sky, the swish of newly minted green against the backdrop of browns, the tiny yellows of the leaves of the forsythia bushes and the weeping willows, the reds of the vines, that sense of quiet and hush of the held breath before everything explodes into color.  This morning I pointed out that green blush to my youngest son on the way to school, but he said he didn’t see it.  I see it. Every year I look hard for it, a little bit afraid it won’t come because winter always feels too long. This winter has, at times, felt endless and dark and cold, and I needed proof today that spring is really here, proof that I can soon shed the layers of my winter gear even if I am still in this moment wearing my winter coat.  

I drove to the place I always walk to from my house, Parker Meadow, and parked in the new lot the town recently made. I didn’t want to go home and put on appropriate shoes because I didn’t want anything to get in the way of this romp, not my warm apartment or the need for light bulbs or a kid wanting a ride.  I had to go to the bathroom and it was cold and beginning to rain, and I guess being out in the rain and the cold and having to go to the bathroom doesn’t sound like much fun, but I can assure you that when the camera was in my hands and not slung over my shoulder, it was no longer about me or my comfort. I forgot my cold hands and didn’t notice the rain and the bladder thing became a background buzz I could ignore.  All I wanted each time the camera came to my eye was to be the camera, to pull in the depth I saw with own eyes, to get down deep in it, the layers of shading and color and texture – the gazillion browns and shapes and twists in leaf mold, dry and wet and life giving, composting and reforming and transforming itself into new life, little bits of hopeful green poking through, growing up and through and on last year’s detritus. 


 It felt so good to have that camera in my hands again, out in the woods and not pointing it at people.  I was out there because I don’t want to miss what’s happening, I don’t want what supports all the new life to be forgotten, all that tangled up sleepiness, dark drifts of branches and vines, brown grass hiding its secrets. It is the old that gives foundation to the new (and that is a whole other post).  I wanted to roll on the ground, to become small enough to be under a leaf, nimble enough to climb branch-less trees and peek into nests, see what’s going on, how they’ve been upgraded this year from last year’s model, see if anyone has feathers of the dead duck that was composting by the pond a few years back late one August.  

 And I was out there to feed the well, to feed the fire and the artist’s muse, to fill up with images and texture and light and turn it into hope and wish and love, and to remind myself again that everything in the world that was once alive will die and be made new again, given the right conditions and enough time.  And I know that I, too, will someday return to the earth (I want a green burial, please) and add my energy to the world’s. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Man on the Train

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So I was riding home on the train after class last night and there was a man sleeping soundly on a corner seat.  It was obvious to me that he's been on the streets a long time and has worked hard to keep himself warm and self-sufficient, and that he's learned a few things about basic survival. The bag by his feet was covered in plastic to keep it dry, but was torn and tied and things were kind of messy and poking out but contained. I thought about what might be in it, and remembered the story I read about the people the cops rousted out from under a bridge in some city, backhoe-ing all their personal belongings into dumpsters like so much trash, photos of loved ones and social security cards and IDs, an extra pair of socks and their blankets and sleeping bags, maybe their kid's stuffed animal, I don't know, all their possessions, everything they owned, which wasn't much in terms of quantity.  I don't know what was in this man's bag, but his boots were black rubber and not very thick, and he'd stuffed newspaper in them at some point for the extra insulation. I only know this because one of the heels was gone and you could see right inside it, and the sole was barely still attached to the boot.

He was dozing as we rode, but not "sleeping it off," because there was no smell of alcohol.  He had a blue jacket on over a few layers of sweaters, a good thick hat, maybe two unless that was his hair, and an old brown leather jacket with lots of pockets he'd rigged up over his thighs. I think his overpants were rubber or vinyl, and they were old and cracked. He looked like he'd been riding the train a while, staying warm and getting some shut-eye, just waiting till the end of the night when the T employees would kick him off at one. Then he'd probably walk a few hours till the sun comes back up, not because he has anywhere to go, but just to keep from freezing to death.  It was cold out last night. His hands looked OK, not dry and cracked like some of the hands I'd seen in the cold of winter, but his nails needed a trim and a cleaning. Last time I was out with The Outdoor Church, it was people's hands that got to me - red and raw and cracked and dry, so vulnerable. For two days I fantasized about going back out with a big jar of lotion to slather them all in cocoa butter, protect them from the bitter wind and the overexposure to the cold, hook them all up with some decent gloves and not the thin little polyester ones we had.  But it's their feet, hidden away behind shoes, that are often a mess. They are vulnerable, too, if you don't take care of them, and they will be ruined by the cold and the damp and being on them all day in dirty socks.  Your feet are everything when you live on the streets, and good socks are so critical. 

As I sat across from this man on the rattling train, wondering what his daily life is like and who once loved him, I had to force myself not to a) burst into tears in this very public place because no one should have to live like this, b) keep my mouth shut and not yell out to the other passengers, "For God's sake, can't we DO something for this man?!" or c) wake him up to see if my boots would fit him, get him to try them on.  I mentally scanned my bag, my pockets, and found I had nothing to ease his suffering, not a candy bar, not a dollar, not a phone number of a place to call.  I found myself eyeing his feet, measuring mine against his, the size of them, and then the feet of the other passengers wondering if THEY had boots that would fit him, because I would have gladly traded them mine.  I didn't care if I walked barefoot out of the train station...that would have been a temporary condition and I had a ride waiting. I would have happily walked through the snow that one time, if it meant he wouldn't have to ever again. Those boots I have are sturdy and built to keep out the wet and the cold. His are not, but I have tiny feet and he doesn't.

But instead of doing any of that, crying or yelling or giving away my shoes, I just sat and prayed for him, asked God to please bless this man, to please help him, to take him Home if that was where he needed to be, but to please just bless him.  And you know, I was very aware that prayer is a really nice gesture and can sometimes be truly powerful and life transforming, but even after my prayers, he still has to walk around in those busted up boots that don't keep his feet dry.  Sometimes prayer is just not enough.

When I got off the train to meet my son, I couldn't hold the tears in anymore because I couldn't help the guy, and because in a parallel universe that could be me, and because it is me and it is you because we are all one, and I was so grateful to have a loving son waiting for me with a car with gas in it, and a home to go to with my kids and granddaughter and cats and heat and food and a bed and love and a job, and that man on that train has a name and is somebody's son, and maybe he's a father and has his own grown kids and grandkids somewhere, who think about him and wonder where he is sometimes, and maybe he, too, once had a home and people who loved him and yet, there he is riding the train on a snowy winter's night to nowhere, alone.  I felt like a fool for crying over a stranger...but my son gave me a big hug even though he didn't know why I was crying so hard, and then when I told him why, he didn't laugh at me for crying.   He just said, "Ma, you're sensitive, you think differently about other people, you care about them. Most people don't."  

And it's his observation that "most people don't" that really, really makes me cry.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is There Anything?

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Is there anything in the world not born vulnerable?

Soft-boned birds hatch wet and shivering
fluffs of wrinkled feathers and wide-open mouths
exposed to the air and its unexpected emptiness.

Trees drop seeds that crack open to the earth
sending skyward delicate leaves easily crushed
ground into soil by boots and paws and claws.

New ideas in a swirl of rainbow bubble
held in midair by the thinnest of membranes
invisible protection between it and extinction.

Horses and cows drop to the earth in a bag of slime
stumble to their feet in search of sustenance and warmth
beginning already their long journey to death.

Butterflies in cocoons and bugs in their casings
crawl to the air and solidify their wings and outer shells
a mockery of protection against those that might devour them.

Human babies, caught by strange hands (if they are lucky)
wail against the cold or the heat or the bright lights
and the sudden aloneness
without fangs or fur or hooves or wings
to carry them to their ultimate destiny,

Condemned to plod madly along the earth,
with no defenses anywhere,
un-fanged, un-winged, un-feathered, un-clawed
only a soft body with no protection
except that which it can make itself.

So I ask you: Is there anything?