Refuge

Image

When inside

becomes too much

and not enough

I hunt airspace

finding my balance

under stars

where the oxygen freely flows

in ample supply

under the night sky

my anxiety unwinds itself

reminding my fears

how small they really are

reminding my heart

how full it really is

as I cast my eyes upward

the celestial sky

drops its veil

peering back at me

blinking its thousand

silent eyes

Regarding Leelah

(this poem was written two years ago and is being posted in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance)

dear Mr. un-evolved
I am writing in response
to your community press op-ed
last month on Leelah Alcorn
yes, before I begin
let’s get her name straight
her name is Leelah

this is the letter
I do not send
the letter where I am not eloquent
nor patient
the correspondence
that lashes out
juvenile
name calling thrown about

this is the letter I do not send
where I forget my religion
and ridicule your (anything but Christian) chastising
of a young woman
who had no recourse
to defend
submitting under the heavy hand of hate
told she had sinned
because the
G-d given parts bestowed upon her
did not match her insides
because she was made in all of our image
because we all start out as women
because you are less of a man
for picking on someone
not your own size
a child…a child

did you hear your voice when you shamed a teen for being
self-centered
did you read those words
before you hit send
did you know
being a teen
is a contract in narcissism
did you know that if you love them through
the acne
the heart breaks
support them as they are pulled in a thousand different ways
they transcend
did you know the worst you can do is to hurl
shame filled rhetoric
that’s what forces them
to jump in front of trucks
did you know
your blind and narrow view
of what it means to be human
is blasphemous
to the very messiah
you espouse to worship

something tells me
proof reading
is not your strong suit
self-reflection and soul-searching
are past times that terrify you
something tells me
that a real hard truth
would stick in your throat
and consume all you contend to be true

you could never face Leelah’s truth
you can never stand in the light she left behind
it will only grow brighter over time
eventually eclipsing the dark places
until there are no closets left to hide
perhaps that is why
your hate compels you
to compose articles dripping in inky ignorance
to shoot arrows poisoned with arrogance
at a community united in love
perhaps there was once a little girl
inside you
dying to be given
a voice
instead she just died
leaving you abandoned
an empty cliché of a man
so fearful
so sad
so devoid of compassion and full of false pride

no, I won’t send this
but I will write
I will fan Leelah’s flame
and pray
that as the dark night
sets upon your life
may G-d have more mercy
on your soul
than I am able to find

Phosphorescence 

Some people shine

Like a well rubbed coin
They love with abandon

Until their eyes become
Lighthouses, lamps of the soul

Ready to guide the rest of us 
You’ve met them, and

Know them well
They are your children

Your brothers, sisters
Teachers, maybe even 

Your own reflection
Give them your attention

Your only true gift to give

Rebellion 


This flower

is significant, because 

it exists, because

I did not plant it. 

It appeared one day 

in one of many 

neglected pots.

So many ways for to spin this.

 I leave it open 

for your interpretation.

Pride

break the tyranny

of shame

one small moment

at a time

two loving thoughts

for every one

of inadequacy

rise above

foolish voices

these relics of war

and false idols

leave them behind  

and walk, no run

until moving forward

you see a vast

endless possibility

Post Traumatic Election Disorder

Post Traumatic Election Disorder; that’s what afflicts me. It’s personal, because see I’m already ready wired for this. In fact, I’ve found myself horribly triggered since the second debate. I’ve been working, working on being aware and I am aware that there is something so keenly terrifying about watching a man lurk with malicious intent around a woman. I am aware that watching his hands grab the back of the chair I am transported to six years old, to terrified at the dinner table, my father clutching my shoulders and pushing down on them with his hulking frame, his hard catcher’s mitt hands insisting that I eat what is on my plate. While the tears stream down my cheeks, my own body’s salt mixing with the fatted meat as he shoves his fingers past my lips, past my teeth.

I’m right back in that place, only I’m really 43 with a safe home, a gentle man, two children of my own, a successful healing practice with beloved clients and friends who love and appreciate me. I have agency and for now, freedom. I have awareness and fortitude to do what my own mother never could. So, I work through the fear, my anger and tears. I write and tell the world my story. Why I believe we need to actively resist the misogynistic bull fist that is threatening to strip us of our dignity, that fist which opposes all I know of what it means to be human. So, I spoke, I did. I said it out loud, I told them, bared it all. Let it go and damn it, I finally understand that cliche, because it’s not my shame, or hers. It’s not okay. My voice was received.

Then I vote. I dress in all white honoring the suffragette. I channel the memory of my Grandmother, Caroline. I thank her for showing me the way, how to argue with dear friends over cocktails at the club that a woman’s body was hers and hers alone. I thank my mother, though she couldn’t leave when I needed her to she has found her own way to work for change, to empower so many of our nation’s daughters. It leaves me anxious, surprisingly vibrating kinetic dread that turns to stricken as the election results trickle in. I wake at 4:30 am Wednesday to pee and peek at my fucking cellphone screen (that someday I will smash with a hammer) to see the most God-awful headline any rape and abuse survivor could see, “President Trump”.