To See

The balance tilted yet she didn’t fall
It was of no consequence
Everything can be mitigated
Dust dry and hot
Wet and flooding
Sleet hail and cold
Her life on the seesaw
Had flatlined
Just keep going head down hand out
Endless debit and electronic cash
Flying through semi-conductor heaven smaller faster just a speedboating
Along the earth

It is round
Until
The day it is flat

She lay prostrate on mushrooming exponential growth
Blindfolded against the fact that
She was not that uniquely special after all
The beam upon which her life was built
Was held up by a sphere
Not the greatest engineering design for stability
Mostly her problem was she did not know how to see
The interconnectedness below her
She behaved as if there was no interplay or entanglement
This was her flat earth view
Living on the flatline there comes a point
When you simply drop off and she did

Oddly the unique thing
This animal
Was capable of eating itself

Into the abyss of having too much and going too far
Thinking she was right
No consideration for those in her view who were wrong
Or different she simply gave them no thought at all
Yet tragically took them all with her
And just moments before they fell
The one in the field asked what?
The one in the saffron robe said it is thus.
The one with the walker whispered why?
The one with fingers laced between the barbed wire cried help!
The one feeding the ducks was too young to realize.
The she simply exclaimed excuse me!

To see
Simply requires
No thought

The Crow

The black crow was actually deep chromatic blue mirrored with emerald green
Its intelligence was something I have long known about
As a child on the playground at recess a black crow
Named Ralph would sit on the edge of the school roof
And say ‘hello’ ‘hello’ then swoop down and eat a rock
It seemed bizarre, crazy, and normal all at the same time
What did we know we were just kids?

Underestimating the crow for most is about recognizing a stereotype
Symbolism and mythologies over the years have given rise to this cliche
Flying around in the 15th Century they were known as a murder
It is easy to think of them in this manner, ‘shoot the crow’ to get out fast
The Greek Apollo was associated with the crow as the messenger of bad luck
In truth, they are excellent at surviving bringing them good luck
They remember the face of people who have harmed them.

Some think this memory is about holding a grudge
Really it is about warning others to beware, they are loyal to a fault
They can make a lot of noise when they get together
Hearing a big crazy party you know where the crows are
They attend each others funerals holding wise vigil
A challenge to befriend yet, if you see one hanging around
Pay attention as they are delivering a message from the universe.

When I looked out the window into the darkness of the night
I saw inside me the shinning feathers of radiant black
Voicing a primal instinct the inky darkness smothered all light
Until, surprisingly powerful confidence and assured verity was revealed
Our innate intelligence is a deep well we dip into only when we are empty
A crow’s freedom is as much about the mind as having feathers and wings to fly
Ralph played with us at recess, he’d say ‘ha’ ‘ha’ ‘ha’ and dance!

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship

We are prepared for anything
Flames and marshmallows
Ashes and dust.

Shoulders of freckles
She has my back
Brown of her eyes
Drop twinkles of tears
I hold my cupped hands
Beneath.

The stars dance
Our son, our daughters
Connected
Woven into constellations
Of our making
Mothers
Blossoms from births
We share our
Bouquets.

We can not control
Character
Ours
Not theirs
Chameleons we can become
But together
Kindred in spirit
With each other
We do not hide.

This history
Pearled together
As women
We may blush
With rage
Or passion
Knotted
Stitched.

We laugh at the waves
As existence leaves its wake
We listen to the endless river
Of our lives.

I think we are prepared
For anything can happen in an instant
Friendship
With us is like that.

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming Lessons on Kempenfelt Bay

Flip-flops on, running down the concrete hill
To the Bay
For swimming lessons
Teeth chattering
Freezing
Knees knocking
Lined up for the dry lesson
Standing with arms held high learning the Front Crawl
Pull, turn, breathe
Then laying down
On the hard pitted dock
Little rocks dig tiny craters
Onto skinny thighs, burning
The kick
With the leg, not the feet
Up and down
Ready
Now the wet cold test
Polar plunging
Off the dock
Stones remain embedded in the skin
Sinking or swimming
Through waves, to the green boathouse
And back six times
Swallowing water and air
Cavernous depth
Fearfully no cheating
Whistles going
Rushing to finish
Coughing
Winded
Racing for towels
Home
Shivering for hours after
Every week
Never missed
Swimming lessons on Kempenfelt Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Convinced

It is my heart and land too
I feel its’ people and their pain
I understand the need for more
I contemplate the importance of less
I am you and you are me
Your struggle is my obligation
I am convinced
Brothers and sisters
We are one.

One for Mom

She claims to be of stern stuff
Made of granite from the Canadian Shield
Filled with the wisdom of the owls eyes
With an elephants heart.

Steadfast stable but always with tears
She wears her inside out and her outside in
Never ever ever does she give up from being Mother
Her heart is pure gold.

She could erupt like Mt. St. Helens when we were teens
She could shoulder a mountain while fighting off a lion
And then she wept, pitied herself, and screamed
She was a warrior.

Cast iron stomach and penchant for serving out good advice
Her intelligent drive credited her with diligent motivated children
She guided them with justice; never put a lesser person down
She pushed them through weaknesses; stand up and make your mark.

She hand-washed dirty diapers in cold water and bleach
She hauled from the lake or pump jack what was needed to bathe
She hung up paper curtains because it was all she could afford
She bought no jug milk but powdered wrapping our lunch in bread bags.

Journeys often begin at the end and her life ended at the beginning
But later she went on to become a star
She dug her hole, built her foundation, put up her home
Paid her bills and the bills of others, steadfast, she is the Ace in your pocket.

Wild water, oceans, and her river define her
Moving with the times, rising when asked to, running wild or
Calmly floating along gracefully and peacefully
The rougher the ride the more she enjoys the grace of the NOW.

How Did We Get This So Wrong?

Looking out of the 17th story window
Where is mother earth?
The street’s pavement
Butts up directly into the concrete sidewalks
Which edge up to the stone buildings.
Who thought this out?
Where will the nourishing rain go?
No ground for it to absorb
Dehydrating everything that lay beneath
Killing all life – poor worms!
I don’t like this plan.
We need to live in nature, not on it.
I see people walking by, many with their four-legged friends
No digging or chewing grass – they love that.
They pee their little rivers onto the hardened rock
At times the whole place smells of urine.
Dog lovers unite – revolutionize the cities into green space
At least for your four-legged friends.
Many young families abound with
Babies in backpacks, strollers, on hips
The older children tagging behind
Pounding their little feet on the hard slate.
Where is the wonder of a butterfly in a field
A frog in a pond, or a grass stain when they fall?
Here, it is a rock hard injury
No risk of falling from a tree
But, everywhere the risk of being hit by a car.
Where are the meandering gravel pathways
And trails of fresh green?
Where can winter snow build-up
And in spring melt into the soil?
There will never be muddy boots in April rains.
Yet, at night this place sparkles like the milky way.
The moon hangs heavy nestled between the multi-story buildings
The illumination everywhere is like climbing a lit tower to mars
Into the twinkling heavens.
But, I am of this earth
And wonder how we got it so wrong?
The city is not a home – with a garden
It is only a room with a nighttime view of the universe
We are of this earth.
We need many urban guerilla gardeners
Planting in every crack, seam, and pothole possible.
What I know is that if we do not learn to grow with nature
The earth will weed us out.
Nature can wrap its roots around the glass walls,
Lifting up streets
Gardens and forests can come back.
Who designed this place on the shores of a mighty freshwater lake?
Deep soils – some of the most fertile land on this planet
Forests of Beech, Butternut, and Basswood, the lungs of our home are gone.
The haunting electrical screech of streetcars,
Running up and down, day and night
Have replaced the sound of the wind in the trees.
I am left to wonder
How did we get this so wrong?

Love Lies Dying

Couldn’t speak to you
It was so uncomfortable
The honest me
Felt like I had to wear a shield of silence

You were dying
My heart was breaking
I love life
Every last ounce that can be squeezed out of it

God
I felt like a fool
‘You look good’
WTFudge-e-o

I want to cringe
When someone tells me this
When I am ill
‘Good’ is insulting

Did I insult you
No, I think not
Admiring
That is the word for so much

My intention for you
Was in my game of charades
Backhoe
A man of doing

You like the small piece of maple I gave you
Smelling it
A sign
Of a real woodsman

When I saw you
Sitting there
It made me smile
Envisioning the slideshow that is your life

Sitting up
Before us
Whispering
I see how love is melding

Fusing into the human nature
Of those you leave behind
You are becoming a part of them
As you slowly slip away

You may rest as you leave
Knowing you are chiseled well
Into the souls of those who remain
Your time together carefully polished

Love lies dying
In a flash, the news arrives
Seven weeks
From diagnosis to dead

How humbling
Is your waking breaths on this earth
How precious
Is your forever-after.


Don’t Hate the Haters

Don’t hate the haters
When they go low you go high
Misandrists scream
You embrace the men and boys you love
Who are kind and dear to your heart
Protect them from this pain
The hate toward their kind
You have the right!

When bad things happen and
You enrage with peace and love
Do not let them call you a
Rape apologist
This is vile nonsense
Connect to their suffering
Offer up love
You have the right!

When they begin to dismantle justice
With narrative and opinions
And the walls of history
Are being torn down
Declare
‘Please don’t take the good
For over one hundred years
It has been the best we’ve ever had’
You have the right!

When guns blast and bats swing
See the frustration and pain
Walk a mile in their shoes
Stand up, build walls holding hands
If you have to
Not with wire and concrete
Learn to keep calm
You have the right!

So often the voice of reason
The resounding middle way
The smiles and the happiness
Is misunderstood as weakness
The haters hate you for it
But you have already passed that way
Decided hate is not for you
Be the calm in the storm
The candle in the darkness
You have the right!

You will not hate
The haters
Even if they
Hate you
You have the right!


Climbing Tree

The Cedar
Climbing tree
Branches ladder up
Reaching
High.
Just three
Chrisy climbs.
Heartbeat buzzing
In his fingers
Gripping
From the top
Looking down.
Eyes full of fun
Freedom
Smile filled with
‘The dickens.’
Suddenly frozen
Gathering below
We love it!
Sister, friends
Cheering
Running to tattle tale.
Mom coming – in bits
She too
Tries to climb
Talking this monkey down
A risky business.
How we loved
Our climbing tree.