Tuesday Afternoon

My corner eye thought they were birds,

but leaves, just detached from limb,

flickered and flipped a brief migration,

landed at wind’s discretion.

Soon dappled light will be replaced

by straight shadows clacking in birches,

those be-jangled enthusiasts of fall

and its golden, breezy air.

Then they were leaves,

but no, peep-piping birds fluttered,

re-leafing trees, dropping tenderly

onto bare branches, nestling softly

into needled pines.

Sun is softer now, air sharp,

a languid, restless token.

My paddle board caught the wind, too,

a leaf on the water,

detached from shore,

rippling down the cold lake.

I turned to go back.

What leaf would ever do that?

Notice:

I want to shout enough!

ENOUGH!

About the places that we board and we take and we squander.

The women crying out! Listen to them

The vulnerable, the small, the poor,

We steal their right to be.

To speak is to exist, to take up space, to complete the whole.

Enough!

I want to have a tantrum like a toddler

Scream the hurt and pain that lingers.

Why do those in power get the voice?

Why do those with money get the choice?

The woman who sat with her coffee and her paper

The men with their boots and opinions

The women playing mahjong and bridge

They gather, they talk, they interview, they bring

Their family and sisters and brothers

And developers? They say it’s not enough.

Not enough money.

They say you are not enough!

The love of money is evil, he said, and he was right.

We love it so much we give those who have it the right

To decide

Where buses go, good produce, green parks.

The best streets, the most trees,

The beings we save and the beings we let die.

Enough!

These words aren’t enough!

Why do we act from scarcity?

Why don’t you act scared of me?

I am the woman, the athlete, the mother

I speak for the little, the forgotten,

the soil, the air, the mammals warm and dying,

the children, the teenagers, the elderly.

They are our enough!

Give them food and shelter,

Give them beauty and plenty,

Hell, give them money, yes a minimum standard for everyone

to ease the burden, to lift the weight

So they can fly, their imagination, their ingenuity, their creativity

Their capacity

To love!

To experience this world in all its beauty!

Beauty is enough!

Why do we take land from native people and

native flowers and trees and birds and bears?

There is enough!

Stop reaching, stop taking, stop fighting,

BE STILL

Enough!

Why aren’t the voices speaking for love

Amplified like the fear that we hear in the news

In the news, it is not enough, but here, right here

It is enough.

WE ARE ENOUGH

to turn the tide

To stop the hate and the violence and the unjust, the persecution and damning blindness.

ENOUGH I say to administrations that abuse and use and persecute and squander

The beauty that is the immigrant and the refugee,

And the dream that most Americans have woken from.

Enough! Enough guns for they fail

To make us safe, they replace

The words we need to speak

To hear where we hurt, where we are ignored and forgotten.

Walk into the garden, look at the pain the world is in

put your guns down, dig your hands in, sweat!

It is enough!

What words do I need?

Life is too short

Life is too precious

Life is found in forgotten streets,

in quiet meadows,

in trees growing through sidewalks,

in the apartments shoved out

and all the people who made their home

there stepped on, told to go.

Enough, I say,

ENOUGH!

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Is this Enough?

Your voice belongs here, too. Please,

an invitation to

Tell us your enough

You’re

ENOUGH

(hmmmmmmm)

I go outside

and look.

(hmmmmmmm)

The yellow yellow locust,

the red red maple,

the brown green oak.

Color sinks into my chest cavity

 and reverberates

sound effection.

(hmmmmmmm)

After so much time inside

my body calcifies.

It no longer hums

looking at blue screen

instead of blue sky.

The wind moves leaves and trees, reverberates

and reverberates against my skin, my nose and eyes and ears and drums

(hmmmmmmmm)

and in-blows against my chest in thrumming waves, to loosen my over tightened heart strings.

Without reverb, the world is dry sound, strange.

Without sound reflection, life is dampened,

subtle shifts in colors and the murmurs of sparrows muted.

Winter pierces the ear, crystalline.

Spring rises with cacophony

Summer washes languid waves of heat that drown all, but fall,

fall beckons my body to belly breathe in

wet leaves and damp bark exhaling before the winter sleep.

I stop to see Blue Jay flash from pine to pine

Goldfinch alight on fuzzy seeds of grass stalks bent low

a musty moth resting on zinnia petals the color of sunset.

I go outside to reverberate and feel the world around me again and again, past the pain and guilt, to the point where I know what way to walk that day. Quietly. I have nothing to say beyond an apology for myself, for what I have taken without asking, what I have harmed without knowing, what I have stolen from other mothers and daughters in deaf consumption.

(hmmmmmmm)

I go outside

and am soothed

by sound reflections so quick and close as to be indecipherable as individual delays.

We are not individual delays.

Earth’s reverberations thrum

from deep mantle and thin crust,

soundwaves

from high and low tide,

morning and evening,

acorn and oak,

caterpillar and moth,

child and parent,

seed and sequoia,

string and symphony,

you and me

(hmmmmmmm)

Wasp Spa

Tiny, cobweb width limbs reach quickly forward to rub her mandibles. They move on to stroke the delicate line of her left antennae. She starts quickly near the base where it connects with her ovally head, then slows as she reaches the antennae’s end. A tiny curl at the end of her leg (a foot?) reaches it last, bending it oh so slightly at the end.

She is so precise! Every time it is the same, the same motion, the same meticulous timing.

What is she made of, those tiny parts, able to move and bend so quickly without breaking or turning to dust, then springing back to where they came from? As if there were an invisible frame around her tiny body that is made just for her.

She moves on to cleaning her stomach and braces her lower abdomen with her four other legs. The base of the abdomen comes to a menacing point.

That makes me cringe a bit, that point, but if I just look at the top of her I can watch as she fluffs her antennae without concern. Sometimes she reaches up and rubs it with the crook of her little limb (an elbow?).

She moves on to rub her back as if there is an itch or some tiny particle I can’t see.

It’s been 10 minutes now of meticulous preening in the window of this coffee shop. Maybe, because she can’t get out, she is taking the time to stop and care for her own little body while she watches other insects fly by.

Her wings lift, her abdomen now at a ninety degree angle to the sill, stinger pointing up, so much more menacing than before. She turns one wing with her arm, cleans underneath it, rotates it on an invisible axle.

I am paralyzed as I watch this miniature solo spa. That stinger and those bold black and yellow lines keep me on a cautious watch. What should I do with her? Get a cup and let her out? Leave her here?

Maybe she doesn’t want to return to the outside, those millions of children, the buzzing nest. She saw the wooden doors open and slipped in, following the window’s light to this lacquered sill. It’s quiet here, no birds hovering, no other wasps buzzing, nothing to build, no one to listen to, no expectations. Just this. Time to polish her antennae, shine her sub-wings, rub clean invisible particles.

The World Tilts

there is more than one way to mark darkest of night,
Newgrange in Ireland flooded with light,
stone shed in sand lit by starlight and strangers
holding oxen and mule and a child-filled manger.
in Ohio the serpent mound coils away,
Mayans on Tikal still keeping the days,
in Montana a stick thrust deep in the snow,
the Koliada bonfire will grow and will grow.
the birth of the sun and the Son are the same,
crossing from darkness to light in one name
before all the things that imprison our eyes,
all the paper and plastic and things money buys,
was silence and stillness, a coldness and bleak
the slow march of winter on frost bitten feet
Before the slow grip of new electronics,
were birds tweeting carols, celestial phonics.
owls in the twilight, frogs in brumation
soft fur of hare, the bear’s hibernation.
let’s not forget what this slow time is for,
a Light in the darkness, a knock at the door.
welcome! welcome! invite invitation
to come in, to rush in!
A Holy perturbation

Jacques and Sylvia

I’m sure they had their bad days
Mornings the coffee was no good, the ship off course.
Days people didn’t even care that they dove
down, down, into places hardly any other human has seen.
Quietly flying through the sea.

Mysterious and utterly enchanting.

Only to surface to gravity pressing on them, waves slapping at them.
Heaving equipment onto the deck, peeling wet suits off their bodies and trying
to describe heartbreaking beauty to land lubbers.
Falling in love so deeply they couldn’t stop.

Wailing love letters from the ocean like sirens.

And like sailors who can’t be bothered to stop,
we close our ears and refuse to listen.
Sylvia! Name like a silver fish!
And Jacques! An ocean of secrets!

Human, like you and me, in love with the sea.

In love with maternal whales, grumpy groupers, ruthless sharks,
eels, corals, currents and caves.
They dove into the dark and were enlightened.
Sylvia, Jacques, speak to us!
Cry out from the depths of our own sea souls
until we let the water carry us back to ourselves.

Insubordination

The ravens’ wings flashed

In a high sun

Purple blue iridescences

Like a mob of teenagers

Good natured

Unruly 
Riding the sky

Like bicycles
Climbing and coasting

Taste testing freedom
Carefree-ing exhilaration
Squeezing dare

into every fibrous feather

Resonating flares

Into every hollow bone

Riding invisible drafts higher

And higher
Bold and fierce
Plumes of feathers

Cawing, climbing,

Defying

Alive

Kenosis

There are as many galaxies as there are stars
in the Milky Way
Millions upon millions upon millions
Points of light
Beautiful chaos
Emanating heat,
Burning
Sprinkling organic molecules like fairy dust throughout the universe
And giving us oxygen and hydrogen to breathe
Nitrogen to build
Carbon to move
And in all this glorious energy
In all the unbelievable scale of cosmic happenings
There are more empty spaces than solid
More blank than written
Dark matter

Here, a mysterious fabric
A mysterious emptiness
Here, is where Love spills
Like water and light
Breaks like waves—as waves
Here is where we find nothing and everything

We know form is only temporary
Time fabricated
But Love, Love, the impetus of creation
Asking nothing,
Giving everything,
Making room

The space large enough for a billion galaxies
to create, live, die,
And be
reborn
Never losing or gaining matter
Here Love ignites the universe and earth,
earth is the audible expression of that same
all empty, all-encompassing love
Fragile, delicate, part of the magnificent whole
We find our relationship to the universe and each other
For Love surrounds and moves us all

Measure

Am I wave or particle? Light or matter?
Maybe it all depends on what we use to measure.
We measure and measure and measure.
Our instruments get finer, more accurate, deeper and deeper
into mysteries created by the very act of measuring.
We are in awe the further that we go.
Perhaps we will get to a point where all of our re-searching fuses—
geometry, physics, biology, poetry, theology—
into something we cannot behold, and we will be back
to where we began,
at the pin-point of all curiosity and wonder and awe.
I heard a quantum physicist on the radio, John Polkinghorne.
He said that creation—birth, life—happens on the edges.
An edge that is not completely random
and not completely predictable.
If this cloudy edge, like a coastline or a fractal, is where God brings into fruition—
which is also the point where we plant seeds, compost, and bake bread with wild yeast—
then in terms of human communities, it is the margins where we find God
to partner and bring into fullness of life, the place where life is uncertain,
where people are more dependent on earth and each other for survival,
which is, in its nature, both rhythmic and unpredictable.
That is where we are alive!

Splinter

To fully experience the earth,
the moon, people, music, love, God,
takes all of us.
I mean ALL of us.
Splintering into stars, into dust.
We are splinters of the same star story,
so we need all cultures, all faiths,
all stories, all living beings
to catch even a glimpse of the whole.
Newborns are splinters of parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on,
never diminishing but increasing in complexity and wonder
with every splinter.
Darwin’s great insight was the splintering
of birds, fish, insects, humans.
A recipe book splinters food, people, memories,
liked stained glass, mosaics,
like sun through a prism,
we are all splintered and it’s OK.
That’s why we need each other,
why we can never
know fully,
love completely,
if we insist on being alone.