Morning

I wake.
There is beauty.
It is not the grandiose type of beauty you imagine.
The distorted reality of a passing cliché.
In a golden sunrise along the horizon.
A gentle sweetness in the morning bird’s song.
That window’s edge.
That bright epiphany.
That sweet aroma carried en masse by an eager wind.
I have found its partner in wake.
Its senses in subtlety.
It is momentary
and the shocking acceptance of what is life.
All is good. What is known.
That at this moment I am in the context
of nothing special, out of a paltry dream,
a life better settled and a failure to plan the
possibilities, a growing mind, stronger
in obstacles. Isn’t it towered upon bittersweet?
The years of contemplation—
to arrive at such simplicity,
to embody surrender, the living and the lost.
Give me the moment.
Can I call it hope?
Becoming I, becoming the beauty,
the subtle rhythms of shared breaths
and interrupted meaning found only in silence,
breaks, contemplation, join fire and water with morning light
and you, my remnant, my souvenir,
replace the possibilities.
Let it be all, all sacred at this moment. Risen.
This anomaly,
this latent premise given only a second to live.
Peace of mind sudden. It is worth a lifetime of understanding.

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For My Brother (The Only One Who Doesn’t Know Them Too)

parentless
movement
bed of thought
I protest, you’re done
here too
sheets small, the sin of the father
the innocent man
only takes women without a ring.

we can never forgive
love helps
only if we’ve been introduced
I met you lonely
take comfort in the friends with pretty names.

no crazy medusa
no headless shark
no bodies to wrap and bury
say goodbye with a heart
it’s too hard to choose which one—the mother or the father.

Poetry for Everyone!

In approximately a week, I will be wrapping up a unit on poetry I have been teaching to some of the important little people in my work life. The last month, exploring poetry as an educator, has been one of the most enjoyable times in my career. Having reawakened my love for poetry over the last few years and now living that love in the classroom has been surreal and magical. Watching young people express themselves through poetry has reaffirmed my belief that poetry is one of the most accessible and meaningful forms of expression.

Simultaneously, I saw playfulness, learning and confidence emerge…one eight year old who is so in love with potato chips, he had to make mention of them in every poem (and he made this work!)…another kind-hearted charmer who used his poems to bring a fresher, sassier side of himself to life…and a young, brilliant musician humming after each poem in an attempt to match her words to music.

There are so many places to go with poetry, so many spaces to occupy, so many people to be and become. Write on friends of all ages and share that love with everyone you know who will listen 🙂

IMG_2762

with a hand on my heart

i pledge allegiance to step forth
when asked to step down, to hold no flag
to hold this generation tight
make them accountable for apathy
(apathy=death) you see their faces everyday.

to remember the children
lost in the name of false allegiance
i pledge allegiance to anger
letting it blossom into something more than fruit
to eat beautiful.
because i know what it smells like to be spring.

one of the lucky ones, i pledge allegiance
to the human body, still attached
from birth to death. pledging for each one
i said i loved until death do us part
sweet sorrow, i lie parallel to you.
you, my country, have no right to speak
on behalf of the world.

I was inspired after reading Safia Elhillo’s masterful poem, Self-Portrait with No Flag. It comes to mind every morning lately when I need to stand for the pledge with my students from around the world. The hypocrisy is striking in relation to our current domestic and foreign policy objectives. So my loyalty is to the small ones, to the next generation. May we teach them to know their own self-worth, no matter their origin.

One Drink

I came to myself
the boiling pot whistling
profane massacres
across the hall.

and I never made tea again
I watched the emptiness
of the sky
and this room the air could pass a thousand
birds through its spaces
for the many days the
living had left.

There must be empty
spaces inside the body
for a single drink that doesn’t scream—
I win
in spite of the world.

Writing and Knowing

I’m feeling inspired by the poetic guidance in The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Presently reading the chapter “Writing and Knowing”… hence the name of this poem.

Writing and Knowing

I know the kitchen, the confines of its smell
sometimes escaping the borders
of acceptable behavior. the waft, the clouds
the cycle sourced from my hands.
this delicate surgery has transformed into
an excellent prognosis, bubbling
but cohesive, wet without being soup
love without being complicated.
sit with your shoulders up. elbows
off the table, on the table—it doesn’t matter.
service is inconsequential, shape is a secondary thought.
we are empty stomachs and full hearts released
from responsibility.
our destiny is no longer in my hands, maybe it never was.