If I was a person
would destroy me.
Good thing then that I am
at peace under your fingernails.
A robin on her nest.
Shining feather grass
waving in the ditch.
at rest in the sky.
And the wind
rolling foam into waves
for the fun of it.
You may be a woman weeping.
You may struggle, petition, march, vote, scream, follow, vent, and lead.
What I see is a creator laughing out loud
on the very worst of days.
I see you.
You may be
by all the sides
I witness but do not feel. Deep down
where my bones are
there are no sides.
Me. I just love this world of ours.
I am this world of ours.
Events don’t change that.
I am here naked and in gratitude.
Only in gratitude do I come to you.
Only in gratitude do I listen to you.
Only in gratitude do I learn from you.
I stand here with you.
I will receive
receive arrogance and ignorance.
I will receive the blood you spill.
I will hold it all
as my own.
I am love.
Try to wash me from your hands and
witness straight lines melting into rivers.
I will turn your rigid bones
the old man up the hill
tends the garden
of the woman next door
the woman behind us
up the hill
donates supplies to schools
the woman who lives beside her
takes her sick dog for very slow, sunny walks
to sniff the life from dewy blades of grass
while ailing pup still can
our neighbor below
home-cans food gifts for friends and family;
took in a toothless, clawless cat
so she’d have a safe and sunny retirement
another neighbor tends to her partner
through poor choices within dementia:
she’s stronger than the strongest battleship in existence
another neighbor devotes her life
and hosting the wandering and lost;
drops food by when she has extra
which is often
walk the perimeter
intending to keep us all safe
all give us tips
for who to call
to get our roof repaired
and where to go
when our eyes need a tune up
and what to do
when the power goes out
our neighbor eagles
cry to each other
when they’re bringing dinner home to baby;
and cry to us
pull forth the child from within us
every time they pass the shore
once I threw on two different shoes
in a rush to greet them
our neighbor deer
teach us to sense presence before we see it
remind us of the unfathomable power
our neighbor rabbits, birds, and insects
leave wonder-inducing patterns
in sand and snow
teach us new-old games as adults
we’d all but forgotten…
our saviors are our neighbors
our conversations, prayers
lands on holy ground
Muse #1: Mine
This is My home
I am allowed to
retreat and rest
speak my mind
make a significant difference
fully embrace grief
Muse #2: Yours
This is Your home
Will you invite me in?
Want me to stay?
Ask me to return?
Muse #3: Ours
This is Our home
Can we all feel this moment
as Mine and Yours and Something Special
down into our bones?
Muse #4: Privilege
Privilege is being stretched while feeling loved.
Any place, any moment, any sensation
within which we’re learning, feeling the edges
–while being loved–
and so can grow
to appreciate differences among mine, yours, ours, and home.
And any moment
within you and without
that you can find a space where you are loved.
This place, this moment, this sensation
today is privilege.
Any moment we can stand up for this place, moment, sensation
for weeping selves and hurting others:
imagine this a given, the default, the real for all
is privilege too. Breathe in and just imagine…
Muse #5: Home
My Old Pal Reflection
Cat Paw Presence
Time for Play
Pakistani girl walking to school
Syrian family fleeing the unimaginable
Lebanese nurse going to work
Lebanese father waiting for coffee
Student, everywhere at once, leading
demanding, becoming, better leaders
Each new voice saying #BlackLivesMatter
Muslim security guard saving a stadium of people
French death metal concert goer and the wife praying for you
Blood-spattered child covering your head, crouching low
fleeing a school shooter. Parent whole-body pressed against a chain link fence
willing life to your heart, your world, on the other side
Bullied gay man
Harassed transgender woman
Korean government protester
Wounded and weeping Palestinian family
Haitian woman reimagining rubble into art and faith into school supplies
Arab Spring protestor
Occupy Wall Street tent dweller
Sobbing Kenyan university student
Man crossing a dangerous border
crossing an imaginary line
risking death for your family
Old woman and man standing together in the rain
protesting corruption and greed behind the war
Neighbor who just lost your daughter
Neighbor who just lost your wife
Mother losing her mind
Citizen, voter saying enough, digging deeper, learning more
changing yourself in the face of overwhelming pressure and fear and outrage
Factory-farmed animal and fish
Pipeline, wage, climate, environment, and freedom protestor
Earthquake, tsunami, wildfire, illness, rape survivor
And the one who didn’t survive
Police officer, soldier, government employee,
journalist, religious leader, politician, guard,
academic, teacher, and healer
trying to protect, to do the right thing
trying to live a just and kindness-filled life
trying to fight despair and growing anger within
inside a massive old system that gives you precious little time for it…
I am breathing more deeply with you
your whole earth, your whole sky, your whole soil, your whole water
I love you
don’t think that the mass media
–controlled by a handful of humans, no matter where we are–
or social media
represents a whole truth here on Mother Earth
or means anything more
than a handful of sand tossed into the ocean
if it forgets you
You are not forgotten.
You are not forgotten.
Every breath. Every experience. Every tear. Matter.
Matter far more than we can know.
Our ears tune to a wider frequency
beyond technology, beyond religion, beyond ideas
of right and wrong and good and bad
I look to my own heart
the physical one
feel it beat
the emotional one
notice that heart connect to the pain of so many others
I feel the frequency of heartbreaks these days
I feel the earth cracking us wide open
I look at the list for whom my heart breaks today
just today. just right now.
and marvel at its infinite capacity
hearts around the world
are breaking for each other now
hearts around the world
hold yours within theirs now
touch your heart
feel it beating
that is my heart
sit on the soil
look at the sky,
feel the breeze
hear and smell the neighborhood
that is my body
oh your heart, dearest one
is the heart of a whole planet
your tears fall upon our crops
investing in shared futures
your laughter lifts our spirits
a salve upon our now
blessed are the forgotten
only we know for certain
I Love You is a wider frequency
1. Pain and Shock
I lay in bed this week
fevered and in pain
throat on fire
tired and sick
while screens around me
surface a young white face
with stone dead eye sockets
murderer, 9 times over
lily white terrorist
with a Dorothy Hamill haircut
imagined into killer
wounder of our heart, lovely Charleston
in my fevered state
I see a zombie
Am I alone in this?
the walking dead
God, those eyes
night of the living dead
2. Facing It
Home Grown Delusion
My People Are Terrorists
These are my headlines.
I write them crying.
Won’t move past them alone.
I called myself sick before but I’m not sick.
I am ill: unwell for now.
I’m drinking juice, resting, sniffling, reflecting
talking with friends and family here and afar
creating something new
I will recover: alive and beyond lucky.
Sick—I notice in his eyes through my tears—is something else.
Sick is stuck.
Unable to move through delusion to see clearly again.
Unable to show up and allow yourself to become something new together.
Sick allows fear to take you so completely that your eyes become stones in sockets.
Ears can’t recognize the voice of humanity.
Sick is a community state. A sludge individuals get stuck in.
A white community
white words, websites
draped in sludge
locked in terror of the other
separated from wider reality
lacking access to more alive humanity
they misplace their own souls
We, not they, Lori.
We have so much sludge here.
Into it we sacrifice too many gentle white boys
raising zombies from pools of vomit instead:
bringers of horror and death
Sick political community, media community, corporate community:
pouring forth zombie pundits
zombie captains of industry believing humans have no innate right to water
wind-up dolls with fake spray-on expressions
pretending at grownup-ness
succeeding only at meanness
Imagining evil with unlaughing faces and unweeping eyes
Not facing their own truths. Let alone Our truths.
Blind Flag Wavers in the face of suffering
These are my people. My people.
This is me. Good God.
3.Three Deep Breaths
4. An Acceptance Prayer
This is us. This is me.
blind flawed clueless biased still learning
Good God, whatever I am
however blind flawed clueless biased and still learning I am
please God don’t let that be me.
Let me not be a zombie.
Let me not be on autopilot.
Let me not separate the suffering of others from my own.
Let me put no symbol, fabric flag, beloved idea, heritage, book, or property
above tender, living breathing beings.
Let me not be a terrorist.
Let me simply value the living and the breathing and the being here together.
Let me allow my judgments to be a step backward into my soul on the way to greater insight.
Let me then trust the words that bubble up within me:
allowing them to wait to come forth, when they want to, and to spill forth hard and fast when they must.
Let me stay soft and weeping and human, even in my hardest moments.
While I am breathing, let me never stop crying and laughing.
5. The Enough Moment
I just sat outside on the ground for an hour by myself.
The ground is healing, have you noticed?
It’s no wonder why people want no part of our big old systems.
Not nearly enough sitting on the earth.
Sick systems. Stuck on repeat. Trapped in delusion.
Human hearts ache for more.
Instead of admitting that we don’t know what to do,
asking for help, forgiveness,
or even just stopping and resting and reflecting,
we keep pumping out zombies.
Sit on the earth. Feel it. Breathe it.
This is the world. Soft breezes, rain, sunshine. My world. Us. This.
I have had enough of the zombie machine.
6. The Words of a Living Being in the USA
The idea that handguns be required in sacred space is untenable.
Beyond nonsense. Delusional leaps to mind.
Not you. Not wonderful, lovely you.
I see that the idea makes sense to those standing in hell.
But I am so very weary of joining you in hell.
I am so weary of dead children and pastors and mothers and brothers.
So weary of blame.
Would you consider joining me here on earth?
Just for a minute?
I propose that we allow handguns and automatic weapons
to be required of us only in unsacred space: aka, hell
This is earth. We are hers.
She is beautiful and life giving and, yes, scarily unpredictable.
But this is not hell.
I am so sorry for your pain. I feel it. Weep with you.
And I can no longer imagine earth into hell with you.
I am done allowing myself to take any part in reimagining her into hell.
I am woman.
I am earth.
This is our home. This is us.
We can imagine better together.
It’s time to live a new story about our full power.
7. A Farewell to the Old Me
Self, if you are saying the same thing right now that you always say,
hearing what you always hear, I’m sorry,
that is not quite wellness or growth or wholeness or love or healing
that is not quite living, and worse
That is not you.
You are far more creative than that.
You may walk into a space with hatred in your heart
but you breathe more slowly then
listen more deeply then
feel something new, think something new,
then let yourself go into new possibility then
awestruck and humbled
you drop the weapon from your human hand
are embraced, welcomed home
you are fed
Nothing better than potluck and forgiveness.
The potential power of our collective heart is limitless.
That is the power that persists in the black American community this week: freer of hearts.
And in the LGBT community this week: freer of brighter, sassier (no, I-won’t-stop-dancing-bitches) souls.
An individual heart can be fooled.
An individual mind can be steeped in delusion too:
faster and far longer than collective hearts can be.
What am I doing right now to tap into the collective heart?
Can I feel it beating within us?
Yes, I can.
Goodbye old us, old me.
Thank you for getting us here.
8. New Questions
How many more zombie generations am I willing to see us raise?
How many more years am I willing to ask black and LGBT American families to stand weeping
on courthouse steps
being the shining examples of human love, forgiveness, and generosity
that I myself ought to be?
Can I face all our fears, pain, history, and dreams?
name them? surface them? feel them? hold them?
be held by them?
Can we wake up from old delusions changed, together, with hearts alive?
Can I allow my mind to be uncertain and open:
completely lost and oddly comforted
to find myself in yet another new place
with even more people who feel like home?
8. This is What Being Well Feels Like
becoming human again
rising to become human again
Looking out with eyes that weep and shine and get frustrated and sparkle together, not zombie eyes
Laughing then crying then laughing at ourselves together.
Rag tag. Imperfect.
We look like chaos and we feel like home.
Remembering our past, living our now, is the same thing
always in mourning
always helping each other
always experimenting and making mistakes
always starting again
together and alone, more certain this time…
9. Imagining What Being Even More Well Could Look Like
More people feeling loved, welcome, home
Fewer early-death- and walking-dead-bringing
Crying publicly encouraged
When fallen or failed within one community,
individuals move fluidly into others
to find their people, their healing, elsewhere
children, musicians, artists, poets
bearing our most precious instruments:
hearts that cannot be fashioned into weapons
A generation of humans saying:
“Mine was the last generation willing to gun ourselves down”
10. My Country, Poetry
In my country, poetry
we value creativity
cherish weird and levity
diving all in
safe, supporting, silly, sensitive
— all the best Ss
In my country, poetry
we are compass
fragile and fiercely open
embracing sorrow and pain publicly
letting go of self repeatedly
wild rose responsible
wild horse free
Here we grow more trusting and trusted with age.
Here we play at being rainbows.
see each other through God’s eyes
hold each other with Goddess hands
weep as humans
part as friends
In my country, poetry
monsters are pulled forth around campfires
reminding us of our past, then
taking off our zombie masks
we join the living in a dance
muddy feet soon find the beat
beneath these now more-spacious skies