The Fragile Human

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

whose eyes may not see

the expression of your sexuality

as a sign of repressed individuality

because I may be jaded by my misogyny.

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

and I am terrified to be

the openhearted embracing destiny;

to stake my claim on my personal history

as one not bound by mainstream society.

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

I am unafraid to be

every breadth and depth of clarity

a shining hope against disparity

standing human by human in equanimity

Be gentle with me,

for although a fragile human I be,

I have stepped outside of me

the one they knew can no longer be

because who I am, I was born to be

And I can no longer hide

I AM FREE!

Holy Water

pitcher

I have a Baptist church pitcher of holy water on my counter

I don’t know how many Sunday’s it witnessed

(Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters?!),

but I celebrate the holy water it gives and they gave me.

The preacher arrived bearing a coffee cup filled with good will

opening their church home to me with an invitation

I accepted.

I didn’t accept because they were giving me something

I did, wanting to find a church home, with loving heart

Sunday arrived as did the parishioner to cart me to redemption

There I sat in a church so big, cold, overly puritanical

The ceilings dripped chandeliers over the congregation

I sat through the service where the nice people smiled nicely

I sat through bible study which didn’t feel much like home

I hugged while exchanging pleasantries

with a half-promise to return and a Baptist pitcher in hand.

About a week later, the pastor, accompanied by a scary believer

showed up just in time to help unload my chicken coop.

We shared our views where we sent one another away in love.

But I think of them every Sunday when I nurture my plants

as well as every night when I set the coffee pot with holy water

The Curtained Room

In a room with one window,

colorful curtains against the dim

holiness was born anew

as a breathy release prayed again

suspended between tender bruises,

indulgent heart, and reflections mirrored

in cultured ceremony, societal grieving,

a confusion of emotional hymns

sung toneless to the dim, enraptured heart

refused warmth or comfort, only respite

in a room with one window.

Historic Healing

The sugar cookie pink dogwood sprinkles bridal paths;

creating instant asphalt chapels.

The scent of innocence found in clover and black walnuts

admire the buttercups, grape hyacinths, and forget-me-nots

I inhale the pastel afternoon of 72 degrees, skirt weather

rising sun peeking the treetops looking for reflections

The yellow skin blanket warms the earth,

nurturing the robins, crows, and a fashionable pair of bluebirds.

In the dark margarine yellow window boxes,

purple pansies assort themselves presentably.

There are four square pillars looking like an estate;

updated but settled into a routine of security.

A squeal of young girls holding a picnic at the curbside

interacting by taking turns instead of having a leader.

They worked in tandem, familiar with their abilities.

A nap in a hammock sounds incredibly plausible, but

I return to the silence of a squeaky cat and gentle spirit

A Yard of Tennessee

The singing tree is abuzz with pollination

Beezus kneezus

They are tuned to lawn mower and cultivators of grand design

Twirtling whistles calling attractive charps.

I hear sky calling trills and thrills with a distant dog barker- carnival style

Deep fried in a crispy batter with enough calories to kill a small town faster than Walmart

Frogs are ritting and roting a love song to be begged generations long

Chattering bamboo charms cardinal directions hovering home

Guns ranged into collapsing sound; whips cracked precisely

S-s-s-s-sisserig rus-s-s-s-s-s-stling leaves and branches

Seabird seabird seabird bird bird trill

Barn Owl haunts the blue jays battle while carpenter beezus kneezus

Mourning dove calling sadly the droning plane cruising altitude

A Year of Firsts

This is a time for lasts, as we say goodbye,

but this is also a time for intensely real firsts.

A time when the reflection upon our own mortality

comes to the forefront, peeled away into puddles of grief.

The firsts that haunt the memories

are those that ask, “How can the birds be singing?

Why does the traffic keep moving?

Don’t they realize my world just stopped?”

Like a delicate flower praying in amber

First, there are the beginnings found only at the ends,

then there are the lasts that can only be found

looking in the rear view mirror

as the year of firsts steps forward

begins.

When it first comes home that there isn’t any

physical shell to go sit with,

to hold hands with,

or look into their eyes on this day or any more other days,

the comprehension of our provisional lives

settles like “dust-we-meant-to-get-to-until-things-changed.”

The sound of their breathing or their laughter

has begun to fade and yet, they show up

unexpectedly fully present as echos of last being.

What they don’t warn anyone about

are the May 4ths, the June 13ths, and the October 27ths.

The ordinary, every day chores laden heavily

with surprisingly unpredictable waves

The first meal alone, knowing they aren’t there.

Using the last of the coffee you bought

on your last shopping trip when you didn’t know;

While there was still hope you would shop again.

Packing the clothes they used to wear catching

a whiff of their cologne

that sparked the memory of their hugs.

The realization that along with your firsts,

you also experienced unwittingly, your lasts.

All of the things that seemed so mundane,

ordinary when they were around,

even through challenges,

suddenly become

…absent.

And although they never leave us

their love woven into our cloak of shared life,

everything seems suddenly out of sync;

off kilter; out of phase,

unraveled.

When we think of the deaths of our people

The ones we knew inside and out,

We brace ourselves for the celebrations

because we’ll go through the motions

We’ll go through the first motions of knowing

with all of our people, but one, we’ll be grieving.

Whispering ‘Bless their hearts” reverently,

We’ll be eating funeral sandwiches,

served in hushed tones after the nice service.

We’ll make motions of Christmas, Thanksgiving,

their birthday, your birthday, and the first anniversaries.

It’s the days of confetti we go to like holy sacraments

feeling gawked at and sacrificial; awkwardly naked.

But smiling politely with a discreet exit

helps to survive through the first holidays.

This is a time for new beginnings, letting go of goodbyes

but this is also a time for honoring that which has been before

A time when the reflection upon our own mortality

comes to the forefront, inspired by the love

which brought blessings and comfort throughout the years.

May peace be granted to you as it has been to My loved one

Home at Kawphy Hill

My favorite part of my home is if you stand

at the bottom of my kitchen steps

looking towards the front door at around 8PM

when the traffic returns home from their workday

my disco ball chandelier confetti’s my foyer

with dance party festivities.

My favorite part of my home is

if you sit on my back deck under my ancient oak

while the chickens are bathing in the dirt or

scratching where my Hosta’s used to grow and bloom

you can hear St. Thomas on one side, 4th Reformed

greeting midday with their church bells

My favorite part of my home is

if it rains, any amount at all, the basement

because of the slope of our just under quarter acre,

floods rudely sopping the carpet

but not the floor unless it’s a ridiculous amount

which you’d know nothing about here.

A favorite part of my home is found,

almost as much and as frequently,

as the obligatory Kawphy

served in: brewed, pour-over, cappuccino, or Keurig,

because one type isn’t enough when you love it,

are the multitude of teas that can be brought to life

nearly as instantly as the hot pot can boil.

My favorite place in my home is my mailbox.

I feel like “Walking on Sunshine” knowing maybe…

That today might be the day that one of several

who write me frequently may have done so.

They never fail to lift my spirits, bring me joy,

remind me that I matter in the great white north,

in the deep rainy south, in the breezy southwest,

No matter what or where, I am uplifted in their love.

My second favorite part of my mailbox is the flag.

When I see it up, then down, knowing maybe…

they will also know they are loved by me unequivocally.

Another favorite part of my home is my studio

It is my place of solace and solitude

where I can stretch my head and heart

to write whimsical or paint darkness.

I can embrace the mood of muse intimately

without pride or caution as she warms me thickly.

But what I love more than any of those things,

what gives me purpose to breathe life into the walls,

to shovel out the walk for the fourth time today,

to sort the recycling and the trash every Wednesday night

are my family.

Punky the Chihuhua, Herbie the turtle,

Louise, Fifty, Julie, Roy, and Maude the chickens,

(Two of which are indoor and wear diapers)

Our pet Human, Will, that I found on a street corner,

guitar strapped to his back as he headed out to busk

one freezing sunny snowy Sunday morning a couple of years ago.

Back then, he asked for a warm place to sleep for the night,

he’s never left and I don’t want him to, neither does Ben.

Without Ben the Great or me, we aren’t the we,

that make our Home at Kawphy Hill