Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dig

I dig
I'm good at it
I spade
I poke
I prod
I scoop
I shovel
I chop
I grip with both hands
Pound the blade into the earth
So intent on the importance of my effort
Indignantly focused on maintaining my dignity
that I don't see when I chop through my own roots
roots that are in my way
On my way down
On my way down
On my way down
and then
I dig even deeper 

I feel like I have been digging 
for a very long time
I remember 
Digging in the sandbox 
when I was three 
somehow intrinsically 
I already knew what dirt tasted like
But I heaped a spoon with grit 
and filled my mouth with it 
anyway
as if the desert drying
and granular grinding 
was the normal state 
that my teeth and tongue 
were supposed to be in
It seemed like a logical decision 
We come from the dirt
Return to it when we are done
Made of the same elements 
Just visitors of space rocks and stardust
Or maybe it was just that
my body felt like it was full of dirt already

As of late
in the morning 
I dig my feet into the mattress 
Push myself out of bed
Dig the spoon into the grounds 
Push myself out the door 
Dig my toes into the concrete 
Push myself down the street 
When the rush is at its peak 
and my patience is pushed to its limit
a midday moment 
that mirrors 
the desperation 
of a midnight hour
teeters on the edge of depletion 
Its an insistent redundant surge 
of hopelessness stirred
by the futility of endless digging 
Seduced again
by the fertility 
of soft top soil
Finding myself in the dark 
only to look up for the light 
as I realize 
I have burrowed myself into a hole again
I inspect the dirt
Under my fingernails 
and instead of cleaning it out 
I wear it as a badge of work ethic
when really 
its just a resistance to 
coming clean 
Like a child who cries at bath time
Clinging to hiding behind the grime
from the digging of the day
Evidence of accomplishment 
Residue of duty and diligence 
Dirt tracks that prove existence 
Smears of meaning that dry to a crust
and then crack upon the surface of the skin
Traces of mud 
in exchange for the feeling 
that someone saw 
even the smallest grain of sand
Held your worth in their hands 
like overflowing handfuls of garden
or is it overflowing landfills of garbage
sometimes I cant tell
because old habits die hard
instinctually my heels dig in
and it is then
that I dig the deepest 
I dig my nails through my thickened skin
Between the fibers of the overworked muscle of the day
push my thumbs into the thick red clay
of my stubborn heart
Dig through the stories upon stories 
stacked deep within my mind
Wrap my fingers around my bones
Squeeze and shake  
with all my might
Until all the dirt and rocks 
and dust and bugs
and rats and snakes
and trolls and gremlins
and every last thing that could bite
falls out

It is not my intention
to be an undignified ditch digger
making new trenches just to have a path to follow
there is no need for my work ethic
to become my worth deficit
For there are already fields of holes
Yards of graves for the choosing
that I may fall into from time to time 
I don't need to dig more for myself
Instead I need to dig my way out
I tell myself it is with loving gesture
that I claw and scratch 
Cut through the fog of my vision 
Dig through my irreverence
through my sarcasm
through projected self judgement
It digs through me
as I witness it digging through you
Reverence is unearthed
revealed through the realization
that the respect lacking in my words and actions towards you
reflects the respect lacking in my words and actions towards me  
I've learned that
pushing
rushing
running 
forcing
hiding
panicking 
spinning
digging 
really doesn't work
It often makes things worse 
lessons learned better late than never
I just wish could learn them
without the inflicted casualties
and self sacrifices along the way
But I digress
because I don’t know what else I am here to do
but dig through my life
Dig through my dirt
So I keep digging
and digging
and digging
and digging
and digging
and I suppose I will
until I realize
that I will I never reach the bottom
if I continue
to insist 
on digging.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Comfort


Yea, though I walk 
through the valley 
of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
for thou art with me 
thy rod and thy staff 
they comfort me

But now is not the time 
for rods
or staffs 
or comfort
It is not the time to be swallowed 
to wallow in words of anger
that overwhelm you 
to let disbelief stop you in your tracks
Do not allow yourself 
to retreat into 
hatefulness
and self righteousness 
and fear

For unfortunately 
Sometimes 
what we fear the most 
will come true  
Most definitely 
when we need it to 
And it is not that we must not fear it
It is that we must walk into it
Even when 
especially when 
we fear it

I realize the trouble Is
that it is hard to walk
When it feels like someone has been kicking you in the shins 
every time you take a step
But the trouble also is
the way every other country
has seen us 
which is that we are too comfortable  
No matter what our problem is 
in this country 
we are still 
more comfortable 
and well off 
than almost anyone else in the world  
I realize that this thought is not comforting
It is not our job to be more comfortable right now 
There are too many people 
Who have been too comfortable 
with too many things 
for too long
At this humiliating moment
This country is seen  
as the biggest clown car 
on the planet  
And at this suffocating moment 
It is all we can do 
to allow the new driver
to look like a clown 
and hope that very soon 
even his own followers will see
But in the mean time 
It is up to you and me
to show them what acrobats 
and tightrope walkers 
look like  
Show them what elephant trainers
and lion tamers 
look like  
Show them what respect and dignity 
and humility and compassion 
and selflessness and generosity 
and beauty and soul 
and love 
looks like
Show them what self love looks like
in the face of hate  
If you can
take that gentle cemented stand
Root your feet
and branch out your loving hands
you will show them 
how to love themselves 
Which is what was missing 
in the first place

Having a mother to protect us 
is a lovely thought 
It is a comfort  
Believe me when I say
I know what it feels like to want something so much 
you think your heart will explode
You think you will die without it
and in that moment 
when you know you cannot have it
the blackhole that surrounds you 
beckons like a comforting death
However
Sometimes comfort 
does not instill growth 
Sometimes comfort 
does not create change 
sometimes comfort 
breeds complacency and apathy  
2 things that have no place 
in the evolution of this human race 
No soul runs deeper than 
that of a motherless child
And hell hath no fury 
like a woman scorned 
And sometimes we forget
That being president 
of the United States 
is not the highest calling 
on the planet  
Being a mother is  
And a great mother once said 
it takes a village  
But she must have been meant 
for something greater 
and so are we
Let us not despair 
Let us not raise our tempers 
Let us not raise a hand
Nor rod
Nor staff
Instead 
Let us raise a glass
Let us raise ourselves
Let us raise each other

Yea, though I walk 
through the valley 
of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil 
for thou art with me

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Something out of Nothin'

90 pounds wet
is what my mother is
five foot two
eyes of blue
bicepts made of stone
muscle and sinew and bone
which looks like almost nothin'
The space she takes up
while she is alive
will be nothin'
compared to the space that will be left behind
when she is gone
She can't get enough oxygen
the air fighting voraciously for space
in her emphysema scarred lungs
just as the air will vacuously leave mine
when she is gone
She doesn't have enough estrogen
to hold the woman that she is
in within her skin
Her energy
always emanating creativity
asserting a lifetime of maternity
She doesn't have enough teeth anymore
to fill her empty to the core
nourishment to sooth the ailments
that hold her body at 90 pounds wet
Never taught to think of herself as enough
she grew up with almost nothin'
Didn't have enough of a father
so she was her own
Protecting herself
90 pounds wet
she wasn't scared of nothin'
Standing up to any kind of threat
fighting as fiercely as the air in her lungs
with anyone
who dared come between she
and her 6 brothers and sisters
Didn't have enough of a mother
so she was her own  
cooking and cleaning for her siblings
and in turn
learning to do nothin' 
for herself
Then she grew up
and finally had enough
left the nothin'
made a family
built a home
five foot two
eyes of blue
bicepts made of stone
muscle and sinew and bone
made something 
out of nothin'
She is always making something
growing something
baking something
painting something
crocheting something
sculpting something
singing something
smoking something 
She has made herself into so many somethings

I'm so tired
of people telling each other
that they are nothin'
when we are all so much more than even just one thing
We have 10 fingers
yet we claw at each other
because we are told 
from the beginning 
that we aint worth nothin'
We have 10 toes 
yet we run from each other
because we couldnt possibly believe 
that we might mean more to each other than nothin'
We have eyes that can see
but our minds have been filled with visions of nothin'
We have ears that can hear
but efforts made to soften the tone of our own voice
are next to nothin'
We have hearts
that constantly bench press
the multiplied heavy weight
of all these piles of nothin'
because our brains are Jonesin'
on the lie that is lack
on the lie that is limitation
all the while forgetting that 
we have a choice
that even when we feel like we are only
90 pounds wet
and our 'nothin' says its too late
because we have run ourselves 
into the ground
for all of our lives
Every single 
numbered, 
borrowed
gift of a day 
that we wake up 
with another chance to breathe
is another chance 
to make a choice
we can stop listening to the
gut wrenching
self shattering
teeth grinding
mind altering
screams of nothin'
and choose instead
to fill the space 
within our lungs, our homes, our jobs, our hearts, 
within our minds, our childrens minds, our friends minds,
within our parents minds, our lovers minds, 
complete strangers minds
with all the somethings we can muster
and we must
for it is time
to fuckin' make something
out of all
this 
nothin'