Welcome the Questions

[Image Description: close-up of dew drops on lawn grass in the foreground, in the background the sunrise is a brilliant orange behind a grove of trees.]

What is it that scares us
so much about questions?

Not asking a question
does not make the answer
less true.

If something is
failing,
crumbling,
deteriorating,
becoming obsolete,
an inquiry does nothing
to prevent.

What is it that makes us
think we can control by
suppressing curiosity?

Curiosity not expressed
does not disappear.

Rather it closes down potential
for connection
for open exploration
for mutual understanding.

Instead of silencing questions,
invite them,
welcome them,
sit with them,
hold space for them,

and let them show you
spaciousness
and wonder
and truth
that control could
never find.

Daybreak

[image description: photo of a stone fireplace and hearth with a wooden mantle that has a canvas painting of the Grand Canyon resting on it. Morning sunlight is streaming through nearby windows making a golden outline across the top of the painting.]

The morning sun
is painting shadows
on the living room wall,
and I know I need to get up
from the couch and start my day,
but the house is still
and the dogs are quiet,
one cozy at my side,
and I feel calm.

I know
as soon as I stand up
I’ll break the morning-light spell
and the next time I notice,
the sun will be overhead
and there will be no
mystical, golden-tinged
outlines above the fireplace.

Then the furnace kicks on
and the other dog
begins whining to go outside
and it’s time to begin the workday,
but my soul is longing for a place
with different,
slower,
unhurried,
uninterrupted time.

Forgetting May Apples

[image description: a forest floor covered in brown, dried leaves in brilliant morning sunlight. In the foreground is a May Apple plant with its bright green leaves still pointing down and partially wrapped around the stem]

Enduring such a slow, cold Spring
you forget the existence

of May Apples and Ramps,
it’s been so damn long

since you’ve seen them.
Everything stripped so bare

you forget tree canopies
and jewelweed seedlings,

that it hasn’t always been
only gray lines and dried leaves.

Persisting so long half-frozen
you forget the reality

of seasons and renewal,
it’s been so damn long

you’ve tried to hold them at bay.
Everything static while

you parsed your bearings,
finally exhaled, surprised

to discover new understandings
and May Apples do exist.

Baseboards

[image description: light wood floor with a gray floor vent along a gray wall with a white baseboard. In the background, the baseboard is newly-painted and bright white, and in the foreground, the baseboard is dull and has multiple places where it is scuffed and the paint has been chipped away.]

I spent the past two weekends
scrubbing baseboards and repainting
after too many years of trying to ignore
dings and scrapes and marks,

not to mention the damage
caused those couple of winters
years ago when we let the kids ride their
big wheels in the house,

because big wheels were fun
and a great way to burn off
inexhaustible excess energy when
it was too cold and gross outside

or I just didn’t have the energy to go
through the exercise of requiring outdoor play
and dealing with the resulting pile of
wet winter clothes that would generate.

So there were days and evenings filled with
the laughter of two boys riding big wheels
around the kitchen table, racing, scratching
up the floor, chipping baseboards.

Boys now more calm and mostly grown,
no more racing about the house
and I relish the quieter days and evenings,
while glad we welcomed indoor racing and

kitchen sink bubble-making,
and all the other shenanigans we allowed
because messes can be cleared away
and baseboards can be repainted, eventually.

immensity

[Image description: a plain, dark gray wall with a white electrical outlet near the floor, with a bright, rectangular, window-shaped outline of sunlight cast on it through a double-pane window, with tree branches making interesting shadows in the light]

The immensity of love,
frustrations, crises, joy.
The way such experiences
can coexist within
a lifetime,
a person,
a moment,
is
a wonder,
a story,
a lament.

Exhilaration,
devastation,
restoration,
intertwine and
sometimes
you aren’t okay,
sometimes
you just breathe.

Other People are Just Trying to Exist

[image description: winter woods, devoid of leaves in the bright evening sunlight, sunburst captured between the fork of a tree, with brilliant blue sky in the background and large, gnarled tree roots in the foreground. ]

Far too many are deluded into thinking
what ails society is other people’s
bodies, abilities, questions, insights,
ways of being,
if those differ from the accepted reality
they’ve acquired from

bad interpretations of their sacred texts,
harmful narratives grounded in domination,
manipulations of power-hungry
pundits,
pastors,
politicians,
public figures.

Walking around
believing self-determination
when what they have is simply compliance
to conditions determined by others,
falsehoods masquerading as freedom.

Convinced those simply moving to
live authentically,
share understanding,
advocate for equity,
impart hard-won knowledge,
are pushing a destructive agenda

when they are the ones with an agenda
to withhold access,
to exclude,
to silence,
to control,
to harm.

So sure that someone
else existing as their true self,
with needs met,
with celebration,
with support,
threatens their existence
that they want the other
to stop existing.

Imaginations impoverished,
unable to understand,
it is their own prison
into which they are wishing
to confine the world.

Terrified seeing those
living in the clear light of true freedom for all,
threatened by radical reimagining,
unable or unwilling to believe
in compassion,
in spaciousness,
in love
that could also be theirs
if they freed themselves
as well.

Scars

[Image description: close up of a dried beech leaf with several holes, against the backdrop of a gray sky and bare tree branches]

Some scars are visible at a glance,
like the one that misshapes
my right eyebrow,
acquired playing tag as a kid
too close to the side mirror
of my dad’s parked Oldsmobile.

Many scars, perhaps even most,
can only be seen by the reverberations
of their aftermath, how they shape
reactions and responses,

how they cause
fight or
flee or
freeze or
fawn,
cause to believe one must
choose between one self-betrayal
or another.

Too many of us think
we have to see,
to understand the cause
in order to accept,
to accommodate what a person needs,
to affirm validity of healing,

as though we must agree
with someone’s navigation
of their own experience before
we deem them worthy.

When truth is there are experiences
we will never understand
because we do not bear those scars,
inhabit that body,
live that life.

Love says we don’t have to understand,
to endure the same wounds
to experience the same challenges,
in order to believe someone’s truth,
to welcome them as they are.

Possibility

[Image description: a narrow woods with leafless trees silhouetted against the sky just as the sun is rising. Along the horizon behind the trees, the sky is starting to brighten golden and the sky above the trees is light blue. ]

We’re told there will be
wars and rumors of wars
and some people look forward
to this possibility,

perhaps opportunistically,
perhaps sadistically,
perhaps from a sense
of pride or heroism.

We’re told it’s naive
to dream that causes
of war, of destruction,
could be addressed,

that power could be shared,
that systems could be changed,
that things don’t have to stay
the way things have been made.

We’re told trying something different
would be a disaster because
some different things have
gone wrong in the past,

as though the way things are
now hasn’t been
going wrong for
a very long time.

We’re told this is how
it must be, as though
people didn’t lead us
here on purpose

with domination,
exploitation,
division,
greed.

Perhaps it’s time to question why
we limit what we accept
as possible to such a narrow
range of options.

Perhaps it’s time to stop
listening to what we’re told
and start living into new
possibilities together.

News

[Image description: cover of a gray book cover that features a picture of yellow flowers in a meadow and white text across that top that reads “Heresy and Other Prayers: Poems and Pictures]

No new poem this week, because I spent all my writing time this weekend working on finalizing the publishing of my book!

Heresy and Other Prayers: Poems and Pictures is now up on Blurb and will soon be available from other retailers. A huge thank you to all my friends and readers who have followed along on my writing journey, and to my family for understanding why I disappear for several hours a week to write.

Until now, I was never certain this book was actually going to happen. It took months to choose which poems and which pictures to include, and then even more time to find and hire a copy editor, wait for the editing, and format the edited copy. I wavered multiple times, wondering who I thought I was to self-publish a book and more than once found myself caught up in feelings of it not being a “real” book because there was no book deal or formal approval involved. And all of this while experiencing multiple life upheavals, including finding and starting a new job in a completely different industry.

But, here we are.

I’m grateful for all the writers, artists, musicians, and makers whose commitment to sharing their work helped me remember the importance of our creative pursuits and for everyone who encouraged me and expressed their enthusiasm for being able to read my work in book form.

Lastly, I will always be indebted to Audre Lorde. It was reading her essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury” that helped me embrace the power of poems and my desire to write and share them.

“But there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves, along with the renewed courage to try them out. And we must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions our dreams imply and some of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only our poetry to hint at possibility made real.”
– Audre Lorde

Moon Shadows

[Image description: the outline tree branches and silhouette of a person cast in shadow by moonlight across snow-covered ground]

Gray silhouettes
extend at angles
across fresh
snowfall.

Winter branches,
awareness seemingly
unchanged despite their
shadows cast by moonlight
instead of sun.

But trees know the moon’s
silvery light contains
a magic echo,
a beckoning to wonder,
a depth of imagination
obscured in bright of day.

Their knowing draws me
into the frozen night,
frosty air filling lungs,
changed somehow by adding
my own moon shadow
next to theirs.