Fierce Gentleness

The gentle ones get called

the worst of things

(of course they take it lightly),

and they know victory doesn’t lie

in how loud you can be, how proud

or how abrasive, how brutal.

Authenticity shouldn’t be an excuse

to inflict one’s insecurities

on the unsuspecting. No, the wise are still raw

when speaking in varied dulcet tones,

knowing how to reach people at their level,

how to win an argument without arguing

at all. Real strength goes undetected

most of the time, but humbleness is

underrated besides. Why take oneself

so seriously, when everything

is infinitely meaningful

and infinitely meaningless at once?

Gentleness is no mere trojan file,

but wild freedom to live

thoughtfully, and keep youthful, longer,

watching more than talking.

When did authenticity come to mean bravado

and pride in your tragic flaws?

Othello’s sorry, but most asses aren’t,

as an ass continues to be an ass —

glorifying assery, throwing ass parades.

I don’t have to be loud

to be heard. People will lean in

to hear a whisper, and remember it.

Maybe even treasure it.




A New Shamanism

Spirit knows no time or place

besides everything, everything at once,

all life and all death at once,

all beauty and ugliness,

all passion and emptiness,

everything, everything at once.

Everything that has or ever shall have

spirit are now alive, forever.

It is but a little thing

to slip into this vast river’s flow, visiting

sorrows past and future

to breathe comfort and love

as the spirit guide you are and were and will always be.

Reaching back

to your pain-struck child self, or youth, or adult, whisper:

You’re not alone. You are loved. You are infinite

and wondrous and perfect.

I will come when you need me.

Keep your promise. Face the pain. Visit

until you remember

how a spirit of light came

when you needed her.


Life; Death

Disaster days keep us alive.

We eat the dead. We burn the dead

and build from the dead, a fate

no cry of compassion can quit.

Disaster is the elixir of life, bringing

us to boil with adrenaline

until we feel on fire, so alive.

Complete peace only stagnates, dulls and deadens

as cunningly as poison,

and small sips make us all think we’re immune

but real salvation lies

in the terror of existence, where we live

just atoms away from death, always.

Here, there’s nothing to do but dance

between every breath

that could be our last.

Anything could happen.

It’s the disaster days that throw

us onward through time; it’s death

that gives us life until we die.


More Truth, Less Metaphor

I have carried infants in my womb.

I have given birth,

but not by choice. I was a mother,

strong as a dandelion

gone to seed

who bows to the wind and lets loose

her offspring to fly,

without thought of her own will.

Some seeds dry out or rot or are eaten;

some take root, out of her sight and touch.

Mother dandelion can only ride the seasons,

blooming, seeding,

and does not grieve the irretrievable

or hate the wind

or wish she were something

other than herself.





Song Spirit: Inuit Throat Singing

There is a bird

in my chest, in my throat, since

my first throat-spoken notes

uttered in the shower’s gasp. Hiding

under water, I opened my mouth,

giving lift to all that is rooted

in the unknown realms of Earth

and all that stretches up

to every unbounded sky.


Hum-ma um-ma, hum-ma um-ma,

hum-ma um-ma, hai! hai!


I did not recognize my voice

and that short flight of breath

left me on edge, thrilled with wanting

to leap

again and again,

and forget whether I’m falling

or rising.