Uncover the Sun



If you travel past the fallen sunset

into the blue heaven

of not knowing what

lies ahead,

you may find music there

and a moving still life

painted by fate in broad strokes

with marvelous detail

that changes

the closer you arrive


If you travel beyond the trees

rooted in every weather

and follow

the curved trunk up

into the branching future,

you may find home there,

where liberty


at the top of the highest reach

of any living creature


If you travel beyond the death

of dreams, and loves

and wishes,

you may find a gift there

waiting for you

not to be opened

only held

and known

and accepted,

wrappings and all


Uncover the Sun



When I was young, I had a hard time switching from a creative dreamy state to a linear, homework mode, and vice versa. I needed quite a bit of transition time between different kinds of tasks. Reading books helped calm down my brain and make the shift back and forth easier. Certain times of the day, like morning, were easier for me to focus my mind on left brain activities like math, and I loved having unscheduled hours from late afternoon into nighttime in which to ponder and create.


After learning to write analytical essays in 9th grade, it became more difficult for me to write creatively. My head actually hurt trying to make myself conform to school work. I got the same kinds of headaches in college while moving between right to left brain activities and back. Years later,  a woman hooked me up to a biofeedback machine. Apparently, I spend a great deal of time in dreamy states of mind similar to small children between the ages of three and five, which explained a lot.


As an adult, I still need transition time between right and left-brain activities. While doing bookkeeping for example, I put music on  and start in the morning. For right-brained activities like art, I start later in the evening after the mundane tasks are finished. It remains difficult for me to shift from doing art to linear activities, for example, but after left brain activities, right brain ones seem like I escaped from jail and made a break for freedom. It is important for creative folks to figure out how to transition back and forth between such different kinds of tasks effectively.


Since I’m self-employed, I am able to establish my own hours and have a lot of freedom to organize my day in the way in which my brain works best. When I tried the traditional, 40 hour per week job, of which I lasted exactly three years out of my entire life, I experienced increased ill health, not to mention frustration creatively.


Many of our societal structures work well for people who can make their brains operate a certain way. But for those who cannot, it is awful. They may be the artists, writers, musicians, and creative folks that don’t conform, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. Some may call it a lifestyle choice, but for many creative types, it’s the only way their brains function properly. Unfortunately, this isn’t a friendly society for nonconformist brains. Or as a woman from another country told me, “Your society is soul crushing for artists.”Continue reading

Uncover the Sun

No-fig Days


Some days

are no-fig days,

no fat fruit

plumply waiting

to be picked


No sweetness


lushly among the leaves,

the pulp juicy

around the seeds


No surprises

beckoning in the garden

to delight the eyes

and pique

the palate


Some days

are no-fig days,


from other ordinary days

except by anticipation


Of fig days,

full of flavor and devourings

and the glory of nature

bearing and sharing

most fruitfully

Uncover the Sun



For the dead,

we swallow past

the lump in our throats


We stand up to speak

in the face of those

whose misery matches ours


We struggle for words

to share our hearts

and our loss


Birth and death dates

are inscribed in newspaper articles

or etched on stone


to become part of a story

of a life that no one

wholly knows


Most of us only meet

in the middle, missing

the birth or maybe the final moment


And every day

and some day

each person here


will have to grieve

the dead or be grieved

by the living


Year after decade

we mourn

and remember


Our rituals for the dead

become love

honoring love

Uncover the Sun

The Third Death


The first death is the physical,

the shock of the person gone,

no longer there to hold

or see or hear,

all of their possessions

no longer theirs


The second death is the realization

that they will not be here

for the rest of your life;

at any occasion of family and friends,

through further losses and celebrations,

they will be missing


The third death

is how they disappear

from most conversation

into the realm of thought and feeling only,

as if being alive is a requirement

for inclusion


The third death

includes the awareness

that most of the living shun the dead

and that someday, we too

will be an occasional thought or feeling


Uncover the Sun



There’s a dream country

unfamiliar, unknown

only reached when imagination

leaps from now

to someday


Like words that send

sentences careening

into paragraphs

and lift an old plot

into something novel


Some dreams vanish

into never,

while others take time,

love, and courage

to create


Such dreams

move us past the loss

of what once was

to fascinating places

we could not imagine

Uncover the Sun

Great Measure


Every soul wants to breathe

in the rich round sound

of true voice

curling up inside the chest

and spilling out of the throat

like the coolest clearest water

drunk on life and love


Every heart wants to beat

more closely

to that first melody

that danced every babe

out the womb into the world,

singing a welcome

to be


Every thought wants to touch

the tune

that keeps open

wonder and hope

and putting the best song forward

into creation’s soft longing

for itself


Every foot wants to dance

in great measure

with the music of the world,

the essence of beauty

in rock and tree

plant and creature,

you and me


Uncover the Sun

Look Up


Look up

through tree branches

to sky patterns

of angels opening to flight

and chubby pears dancing

out of still-life bowls

and rounded clouds resembling

anything mind allows


Look up

through leafy possibilities

high above

any human here

and imagine

the top of your own head,

hair parted and scalp smiling

right into the sun


Look up

past airplane trails

and azure sky

to see every person

you have ever loved

gazing right back at you

wherever you are

right now

Uncover the Sun

Great Measure


Every soul wants to breathe

the air of your true voice

for the rich round sound

curling up inside your chest

and spilling out of your throat

like the coolest clearest water

drunk on life and love


Every heart wants to beat

more fiercely

along with that first melody

that pulled you from the womb

into the world

and made you welcome

to be


Every arm wants to reach

for the touch of the tune

that keeps you open

to wonder and hope

and putting your best song forward

into creation’s soft longing

for itself


Every foot wants to dance

in great measure

with the music of the world,

the essence of beauty

in rock and tree,

plant and creature,

you and me


Uncover the Sun

After Years

“It’s been two years and it’s still awful.” This from a fellow after his partner of over 35 years died. And he went on to say that people think he should, at the age of 86, “be better at getting over it by now.”

It may take years to process the trauma of losing a beloved, including the way the person died, how family members were notified, the behavior of family members, and other peripheral events. Initially, we may only be focused on the fact of death rather than the circumstances. Later, however, we may start to process how we were treated by others at the time, whether we felt like they were present for us and if we were allowed to be there for them. Given that shock tends to insulate us from reality, we might have delayed memories of events that only come to the fore years afterwards.

And those who treat us harshly or kindly during our most vulnerable moments have a huge impact. I will always remember how incredibly courageous one of my daughter’s friends was, to call me, someone he barely knew, to make sure I had been notified of her death. And her friends organized a memorial for her, helped us clean her apartment, and provided many hugs, songs, and stories to comfort us.

Mourners may believe they are through the worst of the grief, and then have it re-ignited years later from subsequent losses that bring up old traumas. Grief has a long memory. We may forget a few things, but our bodies do not. Mourning is an intense process that can impair our physical bodies and affect our mental health. Heart and throat issues, lung problems, and other ailments may be a direct result of loss that goes unacknowledged and unsupported.

I recently overheard a therapist say to a still grieving person, “But it’s been 5 years,” as if there is an expected expiration date for mourning. And that’s probably why so many of us do not grieve honestly and thoroughly. No one wants to hear that you are still sad years later, and may always be grieving in one form or another. Our friends and family members want us to be well. And everyone processes loss differently too, which may stress already shaky relationships.

There is a kind of grace that comes from honoring our losses, while still maintaining hope for the future. And that balance is the tricky part. Focusing only on grief without a break may lead to severe depression, while completely burying the grief in order to “move on,” plays havoc with our psyches. But even the most honest acknowledgement may not keep us from long term pain. Our bodies feel everything, particularly the deep ache of losing those we love most. And we have not only lost a person we loved, but also who we were with them; it feels as if a part of ourselves is gone as well.

Six years after my daughter’s death, I still have people tell me to “smile,” on days when grief is hitting me hard. I have moments of utter joy, and great sorrow. Some days my body hurts despite all of the support I receive. One bereft mom said it very well, “I still grieve deeply, but after four years I don’t share it with others as much. They really have moved on, and don’t want to hear that I haven’t, whatever the hell that means anyway. My son is gone, and I miss him every day of my life, and that’s just how it is. And sometimes no matter how much company you have, it’s a damn lonely business.”