Charlottesville 

Image credit goes to Jim Bourg at Reuters

when the light dims

and hate from the shadows

explodes into rancor headlines

man reveals beast 

our true colors, warped 

painting promises of a dark Prometheus 

they seek rabid rapture in oppression

hollow edged fists bear torches

obscuring our triumph, our passion, our poignancy

illuminating our savagery, our inhumanity, our bloodlust

the racism coiling sinuous leather lies in the name of progress

emboldened by leaders 

hungering for divides and distractions 

they march proudly 

into their sham conqueror’s high

old flags expose ancient hates in new masks

and pointing fingers meet screaming eyes

 

It is not enough to witness

It is not enough to condemn

It is not enough to disavow

Now, we must love

And act and hope and hurt and sob

Unite and fight and thrive and reach 

Revel in every single flavor of humanity

Live beyond our labels

And together, rise

 

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Potential

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Prospects stir within me

peeking through the murk

of disarming doubts

and missed opportunities

to eye tomorrow speculatively

They venture forward

brushing aside

clinging fragments of fear

trailing shreds of futures

from restless dreams

shedding past selves

and stowing their baggage

in the corner

My possibilities

jockey for position

as they thrum restlessly

at the starting line of my soul

waiting to gallop off

and be chosen

as the one

who could change everything

Remembrance

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towers, forts, pillars

we took refuge in our

symbols of strength

money and might

two of our favorite keys

draped across the mantle of the world

until the day came

when lives slipped away

like too-fine sand

our symbols stripped bare

and burned from the inside

grief-spilled faces

could only watch in disbelief

a planet stutter-stops

while

fear & hate

are met with honor & love

and yet

the horror remains

a subdued scar

scraping at the surface of civility

reminding us all

that nothing is invulnerable

so everything should be cherished

Image Credit: Culture Travel Reflections http://nicoletteorlemans.com/2012/09/

Dedicated to all heroes, humans and hearts

so gracelessly ripped away

on this most tragic of days

Never forget

Crowd

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a blanket of hurry

muffles the impatient horde

coloring the sidewalk

with a reverse rainbow of humanity

intimate strangers

breathing the same air

searching for spectacles

lost in a million million thoughts

a panoply of psyches

people at their worst,

unkind, self-involved, abrupt

ignoring

groping hands reach for benediction

averted eyes pretend not to see

those tarnished by the brush of “not enough”

but also the quiet moments of kindness

that have redeemed us since

before we could walk, grunting politely

at others in nearby caves

millenia later, we still strive for refuge

seeking sanctuary among the teeming masses

the blissful solace of losing yourself

in a sea of people

the wonder of crossing eyes,

skimming through briefly bare surfaces

more than connection

joined vulnerabilities

with someone you may never see again,

and can be utterly free with

*Image courtesy of this amazing new artist and blogger I just discovered: http://myscribbledsecretnotebooks.com/tag/painting-of-kerouac/

Both

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are we oceans or stars?

earth or fire?

clouds or crowns?

sigh skipping breeze

or bold, blustering monsoon?

on the surface

we are urged to

divide,

 divide again

until all that’s left

are labels + shelves

but i say

i’ll be demon and angel both

my flaws are also my strengths

my pain also my joy

so i refuse to choose

i accept my

contrast-checkered coat of arms.

shapeless shades

of red rimmed judgment

no longer shackle me to

the tainted well of my inhibitions

+ deserted back alleys of doubts

now

i stand free

Can Poetry Change the World?

I was asked this recently as part of an ongoing discussion. I think it is a very important question, because ultimately all forms of human expression should be embraced for their impact.

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Where would we be without art? No matter what the forum, it needs to be recognized as more than just creative license. It is actually something that can inspire healing, build communities + save lives.

In my opinion, poetry is nothing more than a snapshot of our souls. Anytime we let ourselves be vulnerable, we invite fear but also inspire confidence. I often write about incredibly raw subjects, from the point of view (as immortalized by Freddie Mercury) of “is this the world we created?”

Hearing that my words touched someone’s heart, and knowing that there will be ripples continuing to spread and possibly effect change… it may be a small thing, true. But a lot of the world’s actions are shaped by small things.

So my long answer is: Yes. I do think that poetry can inspire positive change, as long as we let it happen organically as an extension of our own experiences instead of trying to force it or color inside the lines.

Awake

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after millions of minutes

hiding

soul sleeping

both rapunzel + rip van winkle

yearning for escape

trapped between skeletal bars

now when i stretch

fingertips for the sun

i can feel their shine

+ not the shadow they cast

We Are Not Forgettable

i have a face, but we are faceless.

i have a name, but we are nameless.

health – care= our reality

labels – liability = our diagnosis

apathy redtape + pushedpills= our prescription

we’re sedated to be bleat-less sheep

led by a shepherd with earplugs

conforming quietly to the herd of checked boxes,

waiting for Dr. Bo Peep

while we suffer

while we break

while we scream inside

But i have a Face

i have a Name

And I Will Not Stop

until you see me

for all that i am.

until you see us

for all that we can be.

Perhaps

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different possibilities

laugh + skip across yellow brick roads

creating forever memories

with a thousand thousand

stripped down nows

seeds of unhatched dreams

nearly seeds

nudge for change,

slowly percolating between heartbeats.

i can feel their maybe roots

buried deep down in the

nooks + crannies of knees,

unruffled + exquisitely expectant

waiting to guide curious feet

to an unknown destination

such a brief, sublime beginning

to ripple through me, far beyond me

into the universe

helping the world spin

into a next chapter of questions

as bold new words dance across the stars

Ripple

Dedicated to Anthony Brown, and all those whose lights were snuffed out far too soon. Let’s honor their memory by reaching for hope instead of hate. 

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i wish you’d

use your heel

to scuff out

the line in the sand

between us

instead of

scoring it

deeper

i wish i

could shift

your horizons

free your eyes from

their entrenched tunnels

is it fear, power

or hate

that makes

us all obsess

over each other

our sins

crimes

mistakes

don’t you see

at the end

of all things

nothing will divide us

life, joy, hope, pain, sorrow

are born from us all

no matter what our

wallets or wisdoms

we are all equal

we are one

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