White Flag

Resignation is a cold,
unsatisfactory peace,
arriving only when you’ve given up,
given yourself over to the harpies,
put your head on the vibrating rail,
and waited, too weak to whimper.
It is an uneasy surrender to
not a truce.
Empty, meatless,
it will not sustain you.
At least anger gives off heat.

Parole for Good Behavior

Finally releasing the habitual,
serrated myth that I was defective,
I have not yet relinquished the idea that what’s good certainly can,
be made better, and better, and better yet.
To stop kicking yourself becomes, bit by bit,
a more brilliant idea, and,
in the celebration of the end of the bruising,
it’s quite easy to miss the fact that you
are still walking with a limp,
caught in the trip-wire of outside applause you crave
to define yourself, to defend yourself, to extend yourself
between the tattered pieces of living soul that remain to you.
Ambition is the twin of childhood grief
as we beggar ourselves to reimburse those we fear we’ve disappointed,
those we’ve yet to impress, those who reneged, or refused to give,
even though we are the ones out of pocket.

Through the Lens of Rain

Living in the desert,
where you can discern the weather,
the seasons in the scent of the dust
has given me an appreciation of
the simple magic of rain;
once familiar, ordinary, forgettable,
now an event, when the city stops,
sets aside whatever busies its hands, minds,
and sighs in the cool relief of clarity,
when I open my eyes wide and
see what is
instead of squinting hard to keep out
the light that is too harsh,
that burns too insistently, that makes my head ache,
reeling with unsought vision.


“I have to tell you a story,”
she said as she latched on to my hand,
a new convert gleam in her eye;s
I could tell then she wasn’t about to let it go soon.
As she breathlessly shared what seemed like
ninety stories, few of which I could follow, of half-uttered sentences
and incomplete…
her earnestness hushed my impatience.
It seemed important that I listen, to be a witness to her testimony,
even as my hand grew damp, my anxiety
more insistent.
We are all desperate for someone to listen to us
with more than a tin ear and an iron heart,
and I know that this kindness I could do,
would do as an offering, a karmic bargain
for all the times I chose cruelty over compassion.
It was imperfect, and done with impatience,
but it was a start,
a gift I could afford.