Greetings from WashYourHandsingTon State

You certainly can feel it in the air now, 
each one of us a tesla tower pulling concern from the sky.
Some say it’s too much worry, others not enough.
At the grocery store we briefly make eye contact
and you know it’s on their minds as well—

Nobody says a thing, and when somebody does,
it’s a joke. Or it’s the kid walking down
the sidewalk talking on the hands-free saying,
fuck that man, now’s the time to buy not sell
all the old people are gonna die. . .

Schools down the street are being shut down
so they can be sanitized.
We get texts from our kids asking if it’s safe. It’s
so close now, daddy, is it okay?
Of course it’s okay sweetie, just keep your head down,
pull up your bootstraps, wash your hands
and get to work.

Inboxes have filled up with event cancellations:
PTA, principal’s office, school district,
community events. For fear of low turnout they say,
but schools will remain open, just keep your head down
pull up your bootstraps
wash your hands and get back to work. 

By now we all have these little fears
but we don’t let anyone in on it. 
We wash our hands a little longer, we
nod at the mask wearers, no longer in mocking
voice. A nearby cough
sets off a jolt.

We go about ordering our food, or
shaking hands, even though as we’re reaching
we’re thinking, is this really necessary? Still,
we shake and nod and smile. You just gotta
keep your head down, pull up
your bootstraps wash
your hands and get back to work.

We get a tickle in our throats
we wake up with pounding headaches,
we go to work,
we go to school,
we shake hands and nod and smile
we’re keeping our heads down, pulling up our bootstraps
washing our hands and getting back to work

Traffic has been so light, the drive in to work
has been great. If you work for one of
the big companies, that telecommute, you
don’t know what you’re missing!

*WashYourHandsingTon is a jingle from several years ago to remind people to cover their coughs and wash their hands during the cold and flu season.

Endless Bloom

Could it be that I have pushed away pain and sorrow and failure to the point that I have nothing to gain? That I have dumbly succeeded and that is what drives my misery now. This normal ho-hum day cycling on and on and on. I can feel it, this cycle, I know it exists and that I exist within it, but I cannot see the whole of it. I feel it in my bones, in my tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This habitual energy flows through me. I’ve worked so hard to proliferate this endless bloom. 

To Sons and Daughters

To our sons or daughters, 


You have nothing to be ashamed of, whatever it is that they mock you for, it is also them;
There is nothing that belongs to you that is not also theirs.
The streets are hungry and the alleyways hungrier still, and you will find in your own way that language is only yours and that miles divide us what is right here next to each other.
So don’t be afraid to stand on your own. Don’t be discouraged that they have what you seem unable to possess; if it is possessable at all you too already have it.
Whatever it is you fear that you are, in solitude, alone, know that it was made right here in the interconnectedness of all things, in this world.
Whatever you fear you have made others into, know that you have that capability and choose to make things well;

your pain is their pain, as their pain is yours. 

A Daydream

i had a daydream then,
as i was being drawn to the noose
someone in the crowd yelled,
traitor!
it was so vivid
as echoes on the old stone walls.
the rope squeezed
and i realized
i’ve been traversing
incomprehensible distances
inside my own mind,
while running the treadmill.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

They talk and they
twist memories out
from the aether, spin-
ning them over and
again into new dramas —
three-headed destiny
each one sheds
light; a spotlight
of information. They
are like one mind
thinking over the past
forming opinions,
laughing at long-
forgotten disagreements
finding new ground
to stand on

Prejudiced

It’s lunchtime and here I am sitting in my van
parked in a grocery store parking lot, blowing my
nose in a used napkin. A napkin previously used to
blow my nose. Homemade vinaigrette sits on the dash
in hopes that the December sun is heavy enough to break
through the overcast and liquefy the coagulated coconut oil.
It won’t. And I realize that if I were sitting in my
Prius, instead of my work van, I would satisfy so many
generalizations right now; with my pony-tail, writing
poetry, drinking kombucha. Maybe I don’t need  
the Prius after all. Maybe the Prius needs me.
And the high-schoolers yell at each other across  
the parking lot, desperate for attention, while the stay-at-home moms sit
in their vans, just a little longer, enjoying the silence that comes
from an afternoon car-ride nap. If I listen closely,
the trafficswells become fingertips of the ocean, trying
to pull me back into Her, while the douglas-fir gently wave goodbye.

Forager

I have
a secret
desire
to forage,

to spend
long hours
absorbed

by the hunt.

Searching,
through spray
of stream,

under
plump
drops


from
branches above.

To find that
knowledge
held in
the palms
of ancestors

and
buried in
trunks
of elder pine 

would be
to forage
on the least
likely, but
only proven path.

Please,
don’t tell
my colleagues
or my bosses.


I won’t even tell
Google search.


Only run it
through
the processor

of my mind,

this secret
desire to
return

to the land.