The White Way

Lemon sour with bitter bite

Promises we’re safe tonight

Underestimated loss

Overlooking violent cost

All stop signs exploded

Brother’s blood denoted

Sister’s cries devoted

Patient’s quickly bloated

The poor brown villified

The rich white justified

Lady Justice turns blind eye

Media oversimplifies

that lemon sour with vomit bite

will keep their promises tonight.

The young man and “The Pensive Woman”

The Pensive Woman, 1932 by a German Artist (I can't find the name of the artist)

The Pensive Woman, 1932 by a German Artist (I can’t find the name of the artist)

I rounded the corner from bronze dipped metal spoons that didn’t stir my soul

to observe a lost lamb separated by his emotions from the flock of chittering as a whole.

He stood slouched, small dreads pointing to the sky, bandana tied artfully at his temple

staring at the sculpture trying to understand something I couldn’t see; Sentimental?

I greeted him with gentle voice, encouraging interaction. I explained without pause

“I was in the other room observing several that didn’t move me because

The spirit requires recognition of matching vibrancy to vibrate frequently

Why this one? What drew you to her?” I asked the young man evenly.

He thought quick, deeply, spoke with certainty, “She’s so sad.”

“When art speaks to me, it speaks in bright colors because I’m, as a rule, glad.

Do you understand her sadness, too? She was created by a German in 1932.”

He wavered momentarily as his emotions washed his face quickly, efficiently.

For a moment, I thought I’d lost him as I waited patiently.

“She reminds me of how I felt when I learned my father had passed away.

I locked myself in my room, curled in a ball and cried to myself all day.

That he was gone was hard enough, it went against my every plan,

but I remember wondering, “Who’s going to teach me to be a man?”

His eyes looked at me just like hers. I gave him “Always Beautiful” as I abided

“You are not alone.” I comforted in synonymous tone as he’d confided.

He smiled while hefting the weight of a million gallons of un-cried tears

that will ebb and flow

wax and wane

light and darken his years.

I loved him deeply, truly

in all his pensive human beauty

as much as I admired that German artist of 1932

accidentally gifting me that one on one in bronzed blues.

The trumpeting herald

Trumpet Swan

Trumpet Swan

I drew my face of happiness upon my colored mask

I hobbled down two decades of steps that led into my past

I touched the ground at mother’s knee with my wings reborn

Straight from devil’s flaming pit stabbed forward by his horns

But I arrived with soul intact despite the battle fought

For I was embraced in cherished state, learning as I taught

With patient hands on comforting arms, I heralded the news

There are always both sides of the story that always comes in twos.

The fading mask falls to the floor in porcelain jags and breaks

To see my own reflected back challenging age old fates

Have I truly conquered the demons that once hunted me down?

Have I earned my place once again in this familiar alien town?

What will be the price I’ll pay for rebuilding from my past?

Will it be worth rejecting anything that ain’t kick-ass?

I know who I am now but I’m curious to see

if the world to where I physically birthed, is ready to meet the real me.

The leak

I’m leaking proof of a former life onto the new lawn.

I followed the hose all the way back to the beginning

but I can’t find the place I need to repair yet.

If you hand me a tissue, please, I’ll dab the melancholies

with a brush of orange tint a ballerina’s blush

I knew the sacrifice made will be larger than I expected

but the gifts and blessings I’ve become familiar with grow

They’ve landed on healthier soil, soaked in similar whiskey

aging better than most I’ve known but the hose is leaking

I just pray it doesn’t kill the grass.

These Are My People: ORUUC

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

I’m not a religious person. I don’t classify or call myself anything in particular except maybe leaning towards spiritual. It’s not because I don’t believe in “something” but because I see validity is so much. A few years ago, I felt a strong push as I heard a loud voice tell me to go to the ORUUC. Over the course of two years I found the family I’d been promised by the winds. They didn’t come in the shapes, sizes, or ages I expected, but there is not a doubt in my heart or soul they are my blood kin.

From the youngest children, such as Rayn, to the oldest of children such as Miss Marge, I was blessed with knowing, learning, and understanding some of the most beautiful people I could have asked for. Outside of the confines of the church there were some people whom could meet my level of tomfoolery, but never in my adult life have I found the encouragement to be everything I was meant to be as I did there.

But how can I say that an entire church is my family? A church? It hardly seems possible. What I learned from them, will follow me everywhere I go because I value the life-lessons I was given.

Be Passionate

When I first started going to the Unitarian Universalist Church, I was wisely advised to take my time in selecting what I wanted to do because everything has passionate players. They weren’t kidding. I watched the different volunteer positions to see which I felt I could be enthusiastically involved with. I discovered I loved to greet people, loved to protect, and loved to serve. I ended up joining the safety team, co-leading the hosts and greeters, as well as serving as fifth Sunday usher. I even did coffee a couple times. Find what you’re passionate about and without excuse or what-if’s, jump in and do it.

Learn Names

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning was to be greeter. I have a knack for remembering the names with faces I see often. I could greet nearly everyone in our medium sized congregation by name as they approached the door. That I could do that, hug them, welcome them, demonstrated I truly was glad to see them. Learning people’s name that you see every day no matter who they are is key to discovering some of the coolest people you might never had opportunity of doing so if not for that small effort. When you remember people’s names, they know that someone in the world knows they exist. I believe that’s crucial to mental health.

Talk is cheap, Action is richer

Many times I’d listen to people in the neighborhood where I lived talking about how unhappy they were with where they lived (I was one of them for a while), their circumstances, their addictions, their kids, the etc. What I noticed was that none of them were doing anything to change any of that. They just noted it sucked but continued the same behaviors. I learned that it’s okay to complain because, really, that’s just an acknowledgment that an issue exists.

Once you’ve realized there is a problem, making a difference is the only way that problem will go away. You can kick sand over it, behave like an ostrich, or pretend it doesn’t exist, but once you know it’s there, it’s the Universe’s way of nudging you to make it better. Terry Goodkind wrote in his Sword of Truth series (loosely quoted), “You already know what the problem is, think of the solution.”

I saw solutions pouring out of the people at ORUUC far more than I saw problems. It was the most collaborative group of people I’ve ever worked with. Even when hackles got ruffled, which happens in any large group, everyone worked to make sure that the final solution was a balance. Do what you need to do to bring the positive changes into the world because happiness is worth it.

Fool for love

Pastor Jake Morrill’s closing words for the services he gives are ones I took to heart. He says, “Be pilgrims for justice and fools for love!” What profoundly simple words with such an enormous responsibility behind them. If he chose a different closing, I’d walk away rather bummed because I truly took on the challenge when he would use it.

I believe we should all fall madly in love with the world every day. No excuses, just open your eyes and fall. Even the people or things that irk your sensibilities the most are worthy of love. It’s not for you to choose who is okay or what is okay to love, just do it.

I’m not in any way implying that you can’t have preferences, nor that you should eliminate safety measures for the sake of love. I’m saying that when you look at the world as if it were your intimate lover and you its muse, you’ll find a different kind of kismet with the divinity that is everything; The atom of begin times, the eve of creation.

To clarify, I call everything the Universe, because as a rule, we can all agree there is one. If I called the Universe God, then that specific version that you know/doubt/reject/hate/don’t believe in, would negate this idea. BUT! If I call it the Universe, we can meet at whatever version of that ultimate we accept.

Using this idea, be the fool for love because love has a transformational magic that can be witnessed where two hearts meet in unison. Thus, if you’re falling madly in love with the world every breath you take, does it not then make sense that love will rule your world? And further that love will light your path to happiness because love doesn’t hurt? Indeed. As I was taught by those who love me there, be that fool for love.

A village

A short while before I moved away, I received an email that reminded the Sunday volunteers of the roles they promised to step in to fill. A reply to that email was astounded at the amount of people that took responsibility to make the service appear to be without effort. It made me giggle a bit because I was actively involved in the volunteer activities. I knew how many people it took because of that.

Sidenote: My husband would get really frustrated with me because I’d try to do way more than my body could handle. He’d have to verbally remind me, “Mare, you’re not Atlas. You don’t have to do everything yourself.”

It’s the same when facing life’s many challenges (like moving out of state with a weeks notice). You’re not Atlas. Just like sharing your great experiences with your friends, sharing burdens makes them easier to bear as well. Nothing limits you to only putting on your good face. Being a human with All The Bumpy Bits is by far more deeply satisfying overall in my experience. When you find people willing to be human with you, that’s a rare and beautiful gift. Shine for them even from your darkest places. It’s worth it.

There are so many lessons I’ve learned from the beautiful people I am honored enough to call my friends at ORUUC that I couldn’t possibly cover it in one writing. I hope you will bear with me as I process this tremendous life shift. Together we can be incredible humans together on this wild journey called life.

Where am I?

The weeping Southern skies can’t promise to choke me humidly.

The rising stars refrain from performing to crickets and frogs.

Abandoned is the sinkhole of basal intent to protect!

I lay unfamiliar in a bunk bed I don’t own; reeling

I am packed tight in the blankets like my luggage.

The air (thank you Kay) is different here; archived scents

I watch walls blooming colors warm with sunset, not Volunteers

My breath keeps coming but I’m still holding it,

The weeping angels of Southern skies wave; I love them

I blow a “kiss my ass” back at those who stole illicitly from me

But that’s barely a toot of air forgotten after a pizza bird

The process will digest as slowly as Mayfield milk gravy.

Herb and Plow CSA Week 8

WHOOSH! It’s Eggplant!

Last week Tuesday I asked my Michigan living parents how they felt about becoming landlords. This week Thursday my entire Tennessee household is stored in their garage and I am still reeling. So far, I’ve learned that things can change faster than the blink of an eye. To reflect that, here are two recipes that will take you about 30 minutes or less to prepare.

Simple Eggplant Curry in a hurry

Recipe By Sushma
Eggplant is one of those vegetables which is very easy to cook and takes on the flavours very well.  This recipe is for one of those week nights when you don’t have enough time or energy to make something elaborate but, want to eat something tasty, healthy and easy to make.
Ingredients:
  • Eggplant – 2 cups
  • Onion – Sliced thin and long – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato – Chopped fine- 1 cup
  • Cilantro – 2 table spoons – finely chopped
  • Coriander powder – 1 table spoon
  • Cumin powder – 1 tea spoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tea spoon
  • Garlic – finely chopped – 1 table spoon
  • Salt – 1 table spoon (add per taste)
  • Red chili powder – 1 table spoon (add per taste)
  • Olive oil – 1 table spoon
  • Water – 1 cup (add additional per desired consistency)

Method: To a pan on medium heat, add onions.  Saute till translucent.  Add Tomatoes and saute till soft.  Add all other ingredients and close the lid.  Cook until the eggplant is soft.  This will take about 15 minutes.  Serve it with some Chapati, Roti or Rice.

Quick Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe by Jessie:

“This eggplant goes well with some steamed green beans and French or Italian bread. Although the recipe calls for seasoned bread crumbs, you can use regular bread crumbs if you wish. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your taste.”

 PREP  5 mins /COOK 10 mins /READY IN 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs, seasoned
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a small bowl beat the egg and water together. Place the bread crumbs in shallow dish. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture then in crumbs, being sure to coat thoroughly.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add eggplant slices and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and tender. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over eggplant during last minute of cooking to melt.
  3. While eggplant is cooking, combine spaghetti sauce and pepper flakes in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and cook at high power for 2 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Top eggplant with sauce and Parmesan cheese and serve.

Quick, fast, to the point. Meals on a tight time frame because when you least expect it, life happens right now.

Herb and Plow CSA