Refuge

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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

Trail Closed

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The bridge isn’t sound
The one we traversed
A hundred times before
The sign is posted
We’ve been warned
And now a new path
Has been roughed in
One of soft mud
Tender earth
Virgin soil
We are sure to emerge muddy
Should we choose this
Over what we know
Our well worn
Unstable bridge
That one day
Is sure to give way
Under the weight
Of our stubbornness