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. 

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

All of these

All of these receptors are also transmitters

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.

Sunday Morning Reverie

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.

Sitting With The Weight Of The World On My Lap

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.

A Thousand Years of Laundry in a Single Afternoon

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.

River Days

River Days

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


The duck race at Renton River Days

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!