A plan – poem

Why do I write all this down?
Why do I document my days, 
catalogue my dreams, my discoveries?
Is it important that I write down
that once again
I went to bed late,
got up late,
was in a rush,
didn’t have time
to write letters or make art
but did have time
to watch meaningless videos 
through Facebook, like I’m
channel surfing for something meaningful
to share to inspire or encourage or inform.

Deep down, I’m not made for this life
of early mornings, of schedules,
of having to be anywhere and do something
like a trained monkey.
It is hard to fit
a full-time life
alongside a full-time job.

Maybe I’m writing up my
escape plan,
detailing the attempts to escape
that have failed,
so I can remember
to not do that
again.

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Idola-tree – poem

Strange fruit comes from
the Idola-tree. 
This tree grows tall and strong 
fed with fear and desire
sometimes pretending to be
love. But love doesn’t feed
this tree. It is a strange love
that looks like greed 
that looks like hunger 
that looks like jealousy. 
It is not a giving kind of love.
It is not an open kind of love
that is filled with 
joy and compassion and care 
for your fellow human kind.
No, there is no kindness 
in this tree. 
Fruit of this tree is bitter,
small, and it chokes 
as it goes down. 
The fruit of this tree will not
fill you up will not 
nourish you. 
The fruit of this tree 
never ripens into anything
other than disappointment,
never creates anything more 
than a sick feeling in your stomach.

Our way – poem

Our way is the way
of the new green shoot,
pushing up
from the cold February ground.

Our way is the way
of the young mother,
laughing with her child.

Our way is the way
of the lone dogwood tree
in the forest
that blooms all by itself
yet in time
with all the others
it cannot
see.

Voyage – poem

My ancestors brought me here 
in boats, in planes, in their bodies.
They walked across the land 
that we now know as Spain
that we now know as France
they swam across the channel 
and they landed in Ireland and England. 
I am an immigrant too. 
I came with them,
invisible, hidden
within their bodies.
However they got here I came with them 
as a promise 
as a secret. 
However they came here 
I hitched a ride 
inside them. 

They had no way of knowing 
I was there. 
Or maybe they did. 
Maybe they hoped beyond hope 
that their dreams would
continue and their struggles
would be worth it. 

It is hard living up to the
expectations of people
you’ve never met, 
will only meet 
on the other side of eternity.
But they too had that same difficulty. 
How many people before me look through these 
blue eyes at this blue world
and wonder 
where to go next? 
How many people before me questioned 
should we go on 
or are we finally here?

How will I know 
when I have arrived? 
How will I know when it is time to settle down and
stop traveling? 
How will I know 
when I have reached the end 
of the race and I have
become the fulfillment
of all their dreams?

The fairytale that is called America – poem

They took all the people, 
all the ones who were huddled and tired and yearning, 
and they put them in 
low-income housing. 
They put them in a box
away from services 
away from bus lines 
away from any help 
any chance. 
They said they were doing it to help them 
otherwise 
they’d be on the street.
They put them in a box, smaller than a grave
smaller than their hopes and dreams 
of a second chance 
of a new life 
in the fairytale 
that is called 
America.

I’m not that fish – poem

People keep showing
their ugly side
their needy side
the side that says
they think they are
no good
broken
worthless
hopeless
and it is
exhausting
to swim
against that stream
to be stronger
emotionally spiritually
to say
I know (you think) you are
but what am I
around you?

So much, so often
people are addicted
to feeling bad,
they’ve heard the message
saying
you aren’t enough
unless you
until you
fill in the blank
and they’ve swallowed it
hook line and anchor
and it drags them
along the bottom
in the muck
and the discarded waste
of our throwaway
culture that says
you aren’t enough
even if
you
fill in the blank
because
you are a blank.

They’ve eaten the
bait and are
getting reeled in.

But I’m not that fish
not ready to be caught
filleted open
gutted.

(Early June 2018)

Respect – poem

Aretha taught people how to respect her,
spelled it out so they could understand.
How can someone respect you
if they don’t know what respect is?
Sure, they might know the word,
but they don’t know what it really
looks like, or feels like.

What does respect mean to you?
A letter of thanks, handwritten.
An invitation to a party.
A gift given just because
and not because it is expected.
Respect is a form of love
you can show anyone
and should show everyone.
It isn’t flirting, or dating.
But it is kindness, consideration,
seeing them
as equal as
and as worthy as
you are.

If they don’t give you respect,
perhaps it is because they
have never been given it themselves.
How can they give away
what they don’t have?
Perhaps it is up to you
to teach them respect
by showing it to them
first.