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;
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
Wave after wave lapping at this molecular shore wishing to be dust. We’re gathered on this family bed playing at making each other laugh— her joy and his excitement have no lampshade. We watch each other learn from each other, still these voices echo into some distant future where caves have not yet been painted. I’m gathering all of my attention in order to try to give it to them, yet the best I can do is tell myself it’s not enough, and they don’t think so, but they do think something is missing. They know it and show it in there timidness which is just questioning acceptance. Self-righteousness is innocence refracted. In my head the next morning the scene is something like the end of the world and we’re bunkered in a cave instead of the bed and I’ve got my arms wrapped around them trying desperately to apologize, to make amends, to comfort them and I’m singing in my head but crying while rocking back and forth while plump, fat raindrops smack the windshield and I realize that all of these receptors are also transmitters all that receives also gives.
I woke up this morning to a wrinkled face in the sheets staring back at me, mouth open in sleep. I thought maybe it is the sheets memory of you, and this its performing art. Or is it my performing art and the sheet my stage? I like the way you look when you’re sleeping, because I know you won’t be asking me for something, at least not anything that I’m not already willing to give. If I try to whisper into your ear, or where your ear should be, would the words animate the bedspread, get it to do a little jig? at least that’s what comes to mind in this morning reverie. I haven’t gone outside yet, but I know its likely to be peppermint and whiskers. Like in a dream that’s a memory of a dream, I slide further into the covers and wonder at what it might be like to stay in bed all day. Blanketed by crow haws and blind-filtered light, and the answer comes by the way of cramps and a runny nose. And I sneeze and the sheet- face is covered in snot and spit and now it really starts to get real, I’ve got to jump out of bed, otherwise the day, like this poem, would have no point.
I sat there with her sitting on my lap. Much bigger than she use to be — held in my arms. And I’m watching her and I’m thinking. And I’m thinking. I’m thinking, will I forget this too.
And now I’m trying to remember all those moments I swore I’d never forget. They’re lost in some kind of silence that somehow knows there’s something missing. That’s some scary shit. Because I can see a future where I don’t even recognize the love that got me to that point. There is, however, a little pin- prick of light, a bit of hope in the mess I’m sitting in; I can feel the joy. I can feel the remnants of the joy those memories held, in my bones, those memories, they’re in my heart, and now I think if I were to continue this contemplation the feeling would grow and my rib cage would crack.
Now I’m snapping out of it. Now it’s clear; it’s no wonder I can’t remember. I’m not even here.
Afternoon sunlight through the blinds, a pile of clean clothes on the bed, we do laundry together on Sunday afternoon. It’s nothing we’ve made a habit of yet, but maybe a few years from now it’ll be our weekly chore we do together. You’re great at finding sock matches. I’m shocked by your willingness, and no matter how many times I write it in my head, I know there’s no poem that could do this moment justice.
It’s like solar winds burning away layers of self-incrimination, to make a return to the heart.
the sun basks in the sea-sky, cottonwood flashes in the breeze like water in a stream. we the people wonder, will the river birds show up today?
people sit and listen to the jazz band play jazz with an undertone of funk. while a group of 6th graders holds up the ice cream line.
We the people.
black mothers in sunday summer dresses and their friends in v-necks. latinos conversate;
the caballero with two daughters —one painting a horse, the other a bright pink pig. both meticulously painted.
dad is laying back, but also giving instruction when needed. i follow his lead. he offers his chair to my wife. we smile and make eye contact.
We the people.
the old look after the young, while the young watch out for the old.
two policemen chat, arms folded, sunglasses on, and jump to smiles and high-fives as soon as a kid walks by.
We the people.
dads push strollers. moms walk with toddler in hand.
fire hose spray, a rush of children trying get soaked and the kids and firemen laugh together.
We the people.
the endless river smoothing stones, polishing the light of day. a drifting canoe works it’s way through the languid shallow water.
Dragonflies never seem to stop catching the eye.
We the people We the people We the people
This poem is for those that believe that they can learn something about themselves in the way they read poetry.
I wrote this after our family trip to the annual Renton River Days, a festival celebrating the summer season and the water in general. A part of Seafair, a week long celebration around the greater Seattle area. So much talk about race relations and this group v that group and you go out to a community outing and there is none of that. More and more interaction you have you may start to notice it’s just not there, not the way it seems within the media and political powers. It’s up to us, to you and me -We, to not let the talk run away with us. Thanks for reading!