11:11

At 11:11

I will make a wish

that one day

my 11:11 wish won’t have to count,

won’t be some far off, preposterous thing,

that being a person,

first and foremost,

is about existing on Earth

and not in someone else’s wallet.

 

At 11:11,

I will make a wish

that all of my future wishes

come true.

Birthday cakes, eyelashes,

four leaf clovers–

send them all my way

and soon veganism will be widespread,

time machines will be real

and life will come with an automatic “pause” button.

 

I don’t want to leave

this time, this place

just yet.

 

The dollars we learned

to put above ourselves

back in 2017, 1999, 1776– they are far away.

 

Nothing to despair over.

 

It’s just 11:11:

four parallel lines

chasing after each other,

and never meeting.

 

August 27, 2017

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“Nature”

“In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it) become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.” –Pedagogy of the Oppressed 

Pedagogy of the Oppressed has been an influential text in my own life and the work that I do as an educator.  But there is another, arguably more crucial way to interpret this term, “oppressor.”

We oppress the Earth through the way we live.  Every single day.  Killing this Earth and the life that lives on it.

Balance is the way.  We cannot take and not give back.

There is no refusing this fact.

We must put our energy into changing the way we live as individuals, communities, as a society as a whole.  For there is no “nature”– the term simply separates us from a whole we could never truly separate ourselves from.  There is simply this Earth and the beings that live on it, all depending on balance and diversity to survive.   No matter what we believe, we must KNOW this to be true.  And we must start practicing it.

Perhaps we are not inherently flawed as human beings; we are simply living a destructive lifestyle.

Sadly, tragically, however you feel about it, the Earth will not turn around and “save us.” It will balance itself as it sees fit.  Thus we, humans, the majority of us living in some form of modern society that takes more than it gives, must turn the quote around.  The oppressor must admit to their oppression and not only restore our humanity but redefine it.  Being human should not be about power.

Perhaps it should be about life.

It is much simpler to imagine ways for an individual to change their lifestyles than ways that an entire society can change.  If you or anyone you know has ideas, please share.

January 3, 2017

Home

The journey

inside a man

will always

begin and end

with a woman.

 

She taught us

to peer up at the sky in contentment rather than glee,

to leave the grass un-trampled, to look for food

where you’d least expect to find it.

 

She is

every shade

of blue and green

and brown and grey

and when night falls

she continues to rise,

moving every current,

every tide.

 

When you awake to the sun

remember

that it is the same sun

that existed 3 billion years ago–

my mother, your mother,

was there, too.

 

In her younger years

she raised her first child,

told them they’d never need to walk alone

that if they fell, to trust her

that if they lived, to thank her

and if they died, to thank her, too.

 

She is never prideful,

ever present, ever strong.

 

She surrounds me

and fills my bones.

 

Earth:

our first mother,

our only home.

 

November 12, 2016

Subway Woman

She looks into the subway car

like a criminal looks into their jail cell

with contempt, with bitterness,

with acceptance.

 

It’s 1AM, car a quarter full,

faint summer air conditioning filling

the air along with her grievances.

 

She resigns, lays back in her seat

after picking some lint out of her hair

she doesn’t know how she got here, either.

 

 

Why this city? Why that man

that made you so tired you didn’t care

to go back to the love you found

beneath the stairs, hand in hand,

balancing the acts of dependance and diplomacy.

 

Plastic bag full on the lap,

eyes closed now, keeping still–

maybe that will make everything less real:

 

“I belong in the subway, now.

This orange chair may backdrop

to a life of longing,

I’ll sit here and nap

until I reach my destination unknown

(probably 145th street).

 

Perm fixed upon me with slight pride

I thought maybe that would help free me

but I guess adding more layers, more chemicals,

more time and energy doesn’t make up

for the enthusiasm my story has stolen from me.

 

How fun it was to lay in the sun at high noon,

park bench, husband waiting. How full the moon

felt when I first read his lips, his eyes, his kiss.

 

The kids will understand;

they are older now.

 

I can sleep in peace.”

 

based on a woman I saw in the NYC subway 

 

July 31, 2016

 

The Human Condition

Alone

in my head

how did this happen again?

Afraid of myself

more than anyone else

afraid of my mind’s tricks

like the devil

part of me runs,

part of me nourishes.

 

External realities

versus internal dimensionality

my vulnerability

got me everything good

and everything bad

trust my mind–

it is strong,

then flies out the window.

 

All I can do now

is observe the mess I am in:

feel the anxiety,

the past pain,

the current waves of doubt

and listen to the monster truck

of thoughts roll through my head

as if it was the last track in the world.

 

Perhaps this is the most natural thing:

to let up, to let it win and lose

and nothing and everything

to let the stories be

to let the suicide be

to let my knowledge free

to let my wisdom bring

me the greatest joy I’ve ever known:

the expanse of life

growing in and out

nothing the same at any moment

love blossoming in my bones

while fear eats my mind–

it’s just one iteration

of the human condition,

is it not?

 

So eat away,

my friend fear…

I’m not sure what role the pills will play

but life can’t get away

simply because experience and temperament

created a shift in my thinking

understand that this is still

my gift of a body

and I respect its reaction–

mind, body, and soul connected–

to the darkest corners of life…

sweet loneliness turned sour

and still with age, abandonment

of reason with one phone call,

one bad dream…

and still the pure light of tomorrow…

the pureness of now.

 

April 1, 2016

 

More than anything, this is a release of thoughts and feelings surrounding mental health and my own struggles/my family’s struggles and experiences (the mention of suicide, a phone call and pills allude to a tragic family event) with the topic.  

You are never alone, no matter what unfolds in your life.  It can be difficult to find meaning out of suffering and loss, but it is, indefinitely, part of the human condition…and through the cracks, love and art can find their way out.