Liberty Stolen

My body, this I be (My country tis of thee)

Peace, Joy, Affinity, (Sweet land of liberty)

Youth’s fountain springs (Of thee I sing)

Blood on my mother’s thighs (Land where my father’s died)

Gifts of our sister’s sighs (Land of the Pilgrim’s pride)

At every hearth reside (From every mountainside)

“Hestia, we sing!” (Let freedom ring!)

The Traveling Heart

My soul was lost, floundering without purpose

Gypsy feet wandered human nature

The Sedona Red Rocks of Arizona

Showed me the intense beauty of desert isolation

Reflecting my sun glared eyes

Sunburned skin – husk of an old life shed

Revelation of the raw and openly scored spirit

My feet turned towards the forest loam

I walk deeply, mindfully, into the Ponderosa stand,

Dripping regrets onto needles that violate

My feet and legs, creating a tenderness

That feels like Christmas morning

I climbed mountains to witness the freedom

Of flight

But found the rocks resistant to my wings

Forbidding me entrance;

With courage forged in the fires of trauma

I ascended.

Flinging myself into the swirl of eddies

That couldn’t hold me

I plummeted into the icy, unforgiving river

Where I forded from embankment to water’s edge

Directionally challenged as I

I fight against the rushing waters

Until I’m exhausted and finally relent

To the inevitable flash flood of grief

It washes me onto the shores

Of the roiling ocean waves

Under a full moon gleaming

In sacred silence

I left immediate footprints of ideas,

Beliefs, and yet more solitude of a different depth

The winds of change hurricaned me east

Lessons abandoned, like me,

At the foot of the Great Smokey Mountains

Phoenix-like, I refused my ashes

Reconstituting in my power

Hear me, my friends, those who feel outside

Those who feel forgotten or invisible,

Those who feel created to endure tribulations

Those who arrive precisely on time

Into my company: exhausted, panting, sweating

Sopping in voracious victory

With reciprocal love we bond

Dancing with wild abandon

Intermingling

Pressing our heartbeats together

In loving embraces

With you I’ve found my way home.

Call of Gift

Mother God, benefactor of all that is holy.

You have led us to this place together as a community and bound us to one another through faith.

In the beginning of this Advent season, may we remember your unexpected appearance among us in the birth of a child.

You make yourself known to us again and again but we sometimes are deaf and blind to you. Help us to clear our ears and open our eyes to your word

God of Peace, whose ways are not our own and whose coming among us cannot be predicted, we dare to welcome your surprises, seeking to be awake and alert, and to fully embrace the unexpected. That we might be changed by your appearance and transformed into loving vessels with radical acceptance.

Now let us feel your presence as we live as you taught us and pray as you taught us: Lord’s Prayer

Left-hand turn

The loneliness isn’t in the silence, it’s in the absence of commentary.

My “Silent but Deadly” litany chants in my head

“Don’t open your throat, let the demons be fed”

I want to reach out. I want to be heard. But…

Reality isn’t where I want to be disturbed

My brushes lay colorless, lifeless as corpses

My observances from the corner, bodily divorces

I’m running like hell hounds know my name

The bridges start smoldering in fingers of blame

and they all return to me. Their rejection is plain to see

If I’m not them, I’m never good enough as me.

Not Old Enough

Turbulent Life

I won’t mourn you while you’re still here making choices;

choices of where you’ll breathe last when the time comes

decisions that are yours, and only yours, to make. Always.

I will, however, laugh with you until you can’t any more.

I will support your choices, defending your life at its last.

You’re not old enough to go, but I know that’s not up to us.

I won’t mourn you while you’re here, but I will love you,

my friend, brother to my sister-in-heart, brother of my brother.

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 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