4.18 Knee-jerk

I see us express our sadness
Only to be told told we are sad about the wrong thing
Or that our grief is misplaced
Knee-jerk reactions
To the sense that a perspective is skewed
The wool has been pulled over one’s eyes
Leaving them to weep as babies do
When mommy leaves the room.
How lovely, to be smart enough to know
The best use of other peoples’ tears.
Grief is not a zero sum game,
Nor is empathy.
There is no scale of proper sorrow.
Her dead cat and his dead faith are allowed to coexist.
If anything, since neither exists anymore,
They are more alike than they were before.
Pause before you kick out a pithy reminder
Of how misguided those tears are.
Allow for personal mourning.
At least for forty-eight hours, please.


I found myself really bothered by the backlash on my social media about those of us sad for Notre Dame. One post in particular drew my attention – a smug little tweet assuming that the people weeping for Notre Dame were blind and callous towards the immigration crisis or other tragedies. No. No! Grief is not a zero sum game (the inspiration line for today’s piece). I can recognize tragedy regardless of where it is.

(I know the backlash is more towards the Church / obscenely rich people – fine with that. But don’t lump all the mourners into an ignorant glob.)

This week the poetry has been difficult to find…

Standing in Faith


4.16 Standing in Faith

What I remember most is the weight of faith you carried.
Centuries of faith.
The thickness of it, thicker than the incense
The countless spiritual atoms floating in your space
Made everything seem heavy,
Yet somehow also uplifting.
If there was a place for faith
It was under your grey arches.
There are taller buildings, but none reach like you.
Your frame yearned to be taller, and in reaching
You took us all with you, upwards.
I do not doubt we will look up again.
I pray we will.


One Place to Start Loving Myself


One Place to Start Loving Myself

Today it will be the top of my calf.
It’s a good place to start.
A place to start loving myself.
You’re not so bad, top of calf
You have an elegant curve.
You haven’t been sore today.
You let me jump a few inches off the ground in cardio
With you on my side,
I might not be so bad
So unappealing
So doomed…

It’s a start.

4.7, 4.8, and 4.9 for Good Measure


The past few days, I’ve been toying with free-form verses that have a vaguely hip-hop aesthetic. I’m usually terrible at this, but then that’s the point of practicing, right? And that would be the point of this monthlong endeavor – to practice stretching out muscles and learning some new tricks!


Post-Booze Brainstorm (4.7)

Buzzed with booze, a brain
Firing neurons terrified to lose
The wisdom of cups and relaxed blood flow
Is not done thinking
Chasing the siren song to dawn
Tied to the mast of exhaustion
Sinking in the unknown

Falling in Rain (4.8)

In Japan, it rains so heavily,
umbrellas are barely a remedy,
Rainfall patters out a melody where
I fall like a drop into reverie
Mess with the rhyme scheme
and pay a heavy penalty.
Soon words wild in anarchy
Make forms flown to thunderstorm cacophony
Little April showers ripped of all their piety
Best use that umbrella to fend off your anxiety
Lest you run down gullies of depravity
And settle into puddles of stagnant mediocrity.

Grey day Walking (4.9)

My mind is a Jane Eyre grey
Pinched in, cinched in every way
Until my voice goes quiet
And I lose the need to speak
People become my visual cues
Not to cross the streets
Muted eyes rest on blind sights
Unable to recognize my own fights
With attic-dwelling feelings
And a hollowed chest sounds a lone note
Suggesting fiery heights
Of deeper meaning
Lost in the repetition of day-to-day pattern
I do not wonder or wander, yet I do yearn
And hear the premonition
That the destruction of my worldly goods
Signal a break from Jane Eyre grey
And the woulds, coulds, and shoulds
Give way to brighter days.



I’m eating goldfish crackers

All the way down to the salty crumbs.

Then I eat the flakes too.

Walk in ineffectual circles,

Listen to ineffectual music.

Recite ineffectual mantras.

Because when you told everyone to leave you be,

That today was your “writing day”

Then suddenly you need people

And you can’t bring yourself to ask for help

Or speak of the hurt

Or untangle your necklaces

The only thing you can do is wallow.

Eat all the crackers,

Avoid the whiskey in the closet,

And hold tight to the main mast

Until the squall passes.

Because deep down you know – I know –

That the storm may not pass entirely,

But it will eventually mellow,

Which will give you the space you need

To breathe, to write, to speak,

And push through to to the next, new sun.




Drown Myself


Drown Myself

I’d drown myself in whiskey,
Except I have to drive
And I suppose I’m better off
Sober and alive.

I’d drown myself in kisses,
Except I have no beau
And I suppose I’m better off
With no one else in tow.

I’d drown myself in water,
But that would be cliche
And I suppose I’m better off
Living one more day.

I’d drown myself in sorrow,
Except I have no tears
And I suppose I’m better off
When I can summon cheers.

I’d drown myself in darkness,
But I’m so fond of light
And I suppose I’m better off
With a little vim and fight.

I’d drown myself.
I’d drown myself…
But I have much to do.
And I suppose I’m better off
And so, I bet, are you.

Test Results II


Test Results II

Poetry is such sweet distraction.
But warriors do not dawdle.
Onward, valiant, to the news!


Now, here is an interesting emotion.
False bravado mixed with melodrama.
Despair flowing up to fill a wishing well
The size of my tear ducts.
Yet I am breathing.
Yet I am typing.
Yet I am working.
My dreams are not fulfilled.
And now they must wait till I am greyer,
Wiser, older, crabbier, deadlier.
There were always only two sides to this coin,
And one was going to hurt.
So what to do with the spear in my side?
Small like a splinter, painful like a car crash.
Only two sides, and did I not promise myself
That I would remain intact no matter the toss?
So I sink instead of float.
So I trudge instead of skip.
So I…fall silent instead of sing.
Such an emotion to wrestle with – a hydra of indifference,
sadness, anger, and resolution to do better.

Raise fast the shield of distance!
Quickly now, step backwards and look forwards.
Forward, so far forward, as far forward as I dare.
Out to a horizon where things will be better.
Where I will make them better.

Let despair into your joints and you will never rise to fight.
And fighting is all you can do to right the course.
So up, up warrior!
Pull out that spear and raise your shield.
Don’t dawdle – the next toss fast approaches.
And you had best be ready.