Thursday, March 30, 2017

Diagramming Spring

Discover the survivors of winter in a single noun.

Blink in sun-dazed surprise at the verbs that follow.

Write their green tips across a single line of golden light.

Separate the first crocuses from the blades of grass.

Find the songs of returning birds that modify the reborn world.

Dangle them below the perfumes of the earth.

Do the same for every word that sings of new life.

In the long, extended days, trace the endless branches of language
Until there is nothing left but honeysuckle and afternoon walks.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The World Has Entered My Classroom

The world has entered my classroom.
Past and present and future,
Islands and oceans and continents,
Sit in a circle on my classroom floor -
Watching, waiting, wondering, wiggling,
Weeping, quarreling, pouting, giggling,
Pouring their everything into my heart.

War and Poverty fight over erasers.
Famine and Terror fold paper airplanes.
Racism blurts out impulsive answers
While Sexism quietly waits her turn.
Slavery and Suffrage and Civil Rights
And the royal lineage of African kings
Doodle absentmindedly in the margins of their notebooks.

Gunfire and bombs explode from
The grinding of the pencil sharpener and
The fingertips of unthinking playmates,
While lessons drift away on ocean breezes
Lost in the rustling fronds of palm trees
And the scent of orange groves.
The taste of coconuts tangles with the fear of police
As deportation hovers over hunched shoulders
And haunts tired eyes.

The world has journeyed here
Across rivers and mountains and oceans and deserts
By plane, by bus, by foot, by truck,
By rafts and boats and ships
Whose timbers now rot in underwater graves.

The sounds of a thousand dialects tickle
The tongues that chatter away at hard-won silences,
Mingling mysteries and histories of Chuukese and Vietnamese
Iraqi and Cherokee, Haitian and Jamaican and Filipino,
Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru,
Russia and Ireland and Sierra Leone,
Germany and other places lost and unknown
That brought forth these faces.

How can I carry the world in my heart?
It's too big, too big, too big for me.
Its stories sizzle my skin and burn through my fingertips.
Its sadness and cruelty, courage and beauty
And laughter and pain drown my blood
And flood my veins leaving me
Unable to contain the tidal waves.

The world has entered my classroom.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Reeds,   bend but do not break.

Eagles,   soar above the fray.

Swans,   remind us to value grace.

Insects,   break down massive oaks.

Squirrels,   prepare.

Tigers,   attack.

Ants,   collect.

Nursing mothers,   feed your young.

Cats,   protect your territory.

Every soldier has a weapon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ocean: The Women's March January 21, 2017

Our ocean teems
With beautiful, violent life
Stretching past the limiting horizon
We embrace continents,

Wave after wave of us
Ebbing, surging, cresting, flooding
The city streets with our bodies,

Pouring into every open space
Carrying our words, our fight, our sons
Our daughters.

Welcoming wind and rain and snow
Our roaring waters swell.

Stand in awe of our majesty.
Beware our raging storms.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Novus Ordo Seclorum: January 2017

A vague cloud of ether gathers
Spreading its ominous stench.
The sun rises on a terrifying world.
Our spirits huddle, our leaders hide,
Benumbed, afraid, or stupified.

Wake up!

Brew dark and potent change.
Speak incantations that conjure dragons.
Wrestle gods and angels for practice.
Cry havoc against the foe.
Join the battle with pens and pitchforks.
Do not go gently
Into this new world order.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Election 2016

“Tend my sheep,” the master said.
They called him teacher too.
Are you sheep, dear ones?
In times like these, you should be
fierce and strong, pack at your back,
teeth bared and ready to attack.

Rage in the temples if you must, dear ones
for we have let you down.
There is a time to every purpose
and this is no time
for sheep.