Uncover the Sun

Now They Know

Grief is like this:

everything stops

for you,

but not the world

And you can’t believe

every day continues

when even thought

doesn’t work for you

Others are kind, or not,

but life isn’t one long moment

stretched to raw feeling

for them

And sometimes you wonder

if you are alone

because everything continues on,

while you just try to breathe

Now suddenly, everyone knows

what you know,

grief is like this virus

when everything stops

3/13/20

Uncover the Sun

Come Now,

 

There are wretched

fights we could have

over differences of opinions,

we could shout

and call each other names,

prove our points again and again

amid the thump thump cadence

of our too-much-human hearts

 

But the hour grows late,

the climate contrary,

and all the fight in me

would rather grow vegetables

and plant trees

for generations of creatures and people

who may be no relation at all

except by heart

 

The future

will come unbidden

whether we shake hands

and rise to meet it together

or quarrel with ourselves

to the end, so let us

walk in sweet togetherness

rather than bitter separation

 

Come now, the sea is rising,

the earth claps her hands

and rocks the ground,

trying with every kind of weather

to reach her fractious babes,

but we cannot seem to listen

over the sound of our own

terrible thoughts and deeds

 

Haven’t we already proven

that hate makes skeletons

of us all

much sooner than necessary?

And over here, have you noticed

trees are budding along their tips

and the squirrels are basking

in the almost spring sun

 

What a world of beauty we ignore

in order to prove

we are in the running

for a fast race

to the finish line of humanity,

where no one wins, while

the birds sing the sun awake

and new leaves unfurl

 

Come now, there is no reason

more important

than the light sparkling from your eyes

into mine, than your smile

sharing this human story,

there is no reason

more important

than this

Uncover the Sun

Thoughts on Poetry

 

Often when the hour grows later,

poetry’s urgency becomes greater

to visit minds through the ages 

and be inscribed onto pages,

(often working without wages)

 

Poems, once the right words are found

expect us to find them quite profound,

to appreciate each syllable and sound

as we go and write them down

 

If we find them true and deep,

we memorize the ones we want to keep,

and poems accept that honor too,

recognizing it as their due

 

No matter the wit of their lyric bent,

how many metaphors came or went

poems don’t lord it over prose

though they like to keep it on its toes

 

Life relates in mostly prose,

told as a story as one grows,

but when events bring deep pain

we reach for poetry again

Uncover the Sun

Red Rock

 

Sit under the red

rock arches

of the past,

where friends and family

have gone to dust

 

Sift your fingers

through the sand,

tiny fragments

of weathered stone and bone,

and imagine

 

Some day

you too, will be beyond memory,

forgotten by every human mind

until only the earth

remembers

 

And yet, every thought

every breath, every laugh

the world collects

into a whole

that is shared with all

 

You are made of

history, and full of particles

of those you have not met,

every stranger,

self

 

You may try and try

to make your mark upon the world

and yet, without striving

you have already become

part of this earth collective

 

An integral part

of past and future

that someday

someone may sift their hands

through

Uncover the Sun

Walk Through

 

Walk through

that open door of grief

and you may find

a softer heart

and a kindness of memory

 

Under the pain and sorrow

are images

of smiling faces

and moments of togetherness

that transcend time

 

Beneath the wrenching alone

are all of the ways

of connection and comfort,

the conversations between hearts

when they love

 

On days

when grief spills from the door

and overwhelms everything,

sit quietly and remember

before

 

When you walk through

that open door of grief,

you may find

a clear window

into forever

Uncover the Sun

The Fog

 

The fog has slept all night

upon the ground,

barely waking to sit up

and climb the sky

with chill fingers

 

It clings to trees

and ghosts the houses,

thickening the air

with all the words

we cannot say

 

The words that would make

this world real,

real as the fires

that turn acres

into kindling

 

Real as the bodies

curled in sleep

in doorways of despair

town after town,

city after city

 

The fog finally reaches

right into daylight

and takes the long sentences

filled with all the words we cannot say

and says them, says them all

 

Uncover the Sun

Tell You

 

No one wants to tell you

it may always hurt,

your heart, pummeled by death

and swollen and bruised

by years of loss later

 

No one wants to tell you

that as you age

you will meet death suddenly

in hospital corridors

and on roadways

 

No one wants to tell you

that there will be other phone calls

that plunge your stomach down

and bend your knees

in disbelief

 

No one wants to tell you

that you’ve become part of a group

others don’t want to know,

those that have been seared

to the soul

 

No one wants to tell you

that time only blunts the pain

but does not remove it,

and that the missing doesn’t disappear,

only migrates

 

No one wants to tell you

that to be fully alive

you have to look death in the face

again and again, even your own,

until you no longer fear it

 

No one wants to tell you

that accepting

loss as a part of love

is what it truly means

to be human

 

10/6/19

Uncover the Sun

Impossible

 

We think we know

what will come

and then

something unheard

or unthought

or never experienced

plummets us

out of our minds

and into our small bodies

 

This human wear is wearying

and humbling

because just when we think

we are powerful

life fells us with a bold ask

to see more deeply

to feel more fully

to be more than we ever thought

impossible

Uncover the Sun

Past Any Season

 

Autumn is everything-colored

except black and white,

magenta, dark purple,

orange and red and gold,

every shade ever seen in gardens

 

If we were leaves

would we love each other

far past youthful green

into the fallen months

of rusty brown?

 

Would we remember each other

long after we lay

on mossy ground,

slowly darkening

into earth again?

 

Every autumn I picture you

playing in the fallen leaf piles,

throwing them sky high

and laughing

past any season

 

Uncover the Sun

Not Broken

I’ve heard therapists say it about their clients, friends say it about their friends, casual acquaintances mention it regarding someone who’s going through a hard time. And every time I hear, “He’s broken, she’s broken, they’re broken,” I wince. Why? Because broken is a label that dehumanizes, that treats people as if they are machines. Every time I hear this phrase, I picture a person broken down by the side of the road with others walking by glad that it’s not them. And yes, there is a patronizing quality in, “She’s broken,” as if the person saying it is better, more whole, not as prone to the dings and pains of being human.

Being “broken,” implies that we need fixing, usually by something or someone else. And we all do need help sometimes. But if you go out there and break a leg, usually the doctor puts it in a cast, recommends rest and elevation, and tells you it will heal in about six weeks. Your leg may be broken, but no one suggests that you are. We humans have this amazing innate ability to heal, given the right support, education, and encouragement.

Being broken also implies that something doesn’t work, that you don’t work, and in a capitalist society, not working is the ultimate sin. We categorize people by whether they have a “good job,” or not, usually one that pays well, rather than one that brings joy and a sense of service and purpose. People who are not working for money at all, like stay-at-home parents, are considered less powerful in this society. If your life is “not working,” if you are unable to conform, you are considered less valuable as a human being.

Labeling someone, “broken,” puts them in a category of “the other,” and it’s a lot easier to ignore, dismiss, and incarcerate “broken others.” So, no, you’re not broken. You may be going through utter hell, you may have scars from physical injury, emotional trauma, or be grieving the fate of mankind, but you’re not broken, you’re human.