And thus begins a monthly reading wrap-up series. Because I can.
In a world gone mad,
Remember to breathe,
And take time away
Of fresh horrors.
In a world gone mad,
Or try to.
It nourishes the soul,
And what’s more:
The devil cannot stand mockery.
In a world gone mad,
For love requires courage:
An act of faith
To inspire the same in others.
What an incredible thing to give to a person – the knowledge that they are not alone.
Due to financial constraints, I was unable to attend the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. And due to a prior work commitment, I was also unable to attend the sister march in Los Angeles. Even now, after all the dust has settled and everyone has packed up and gone home, that fact still pains me.
But for the duration of that same work shift I scrolled through my news feeds and sought out live updates and coverage from news organizations about the marches across the country and the world. Images and videos poured in from people, friends and strangers alike, who were on the ground, standing up and speaking out for the things that I hold dear. The belief that, in plainest terms, everyone deserves decency and respect and equality and autonomy over their own bodies and lives.
It brought tears to my eyes. A bit problematic, since I was supposed to be dealing with customers, but I didn’t care. Because those tears were so very different from the ones I shed on election night, and the days that followed.
I wanted to cry because I was proud.
Early estimates say that three million people marched in cities all across the United States. And that’s the low-ball figure. It doesn’t include the people from other countries who marched in solidarity. It doesn’t include people like me, who for one reason or another could not march alongside everyone else.
That is a hell of a lot of people. The largest single-day organized protest in American history, or so I’m told.
Do not misunderstand me. I have no delusions. Things are going to get much worse before they get better. A shit-storm of awful is going to be coming at us from every which way and we’ve already seen the start of it. And I know that I must do better to fight it, do more to fight it.
But for the first time since November, that fight doesn’t seem so hopeless anymore.
I hope you feel that way, too. And if you don’t, or forget it in the coming months when the emotional rush of today fades into memory, remember this:
You’ve got three million people and counting in your corner.
You are not alone.
Ominous clouds, dark and threatening,
Smother the horizon.
Lightning cracks and thunder claps
In the roiling, encroaching shadow.
The earliest touch of its winds,
Its furious gale, have already
Knocked her flat to the earth.
But try as it might,
It will not keep her there.
She will not let it.
She picks herself up.
She digs in her heels.
And she hardens her resolve
(Yet never her heart)
Against the coming storm.
(NOTE: I wrote this shortly after Election Day 2016. I thought it fitting to share today, on the day of the inauguration. Though on an entirely different note, I am once again noticing the theme of inclement weather in my poetry. Not sure what that says about me. I’m sure a psychiatrist could probably explain it.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness and empathy recently. About how we could use a lot more of it in the world. About how we need a lot more of it in the world. I wrote these three haikus a while ago, but I found them fitting and wanted to share them today…
Kindness instead of fear; what
A world that could be.
What is compassion?
A helping hand to those who
Cannot stand alone.
A cruel word born in
Anger, bitten back, cannot
In a break from my regularly scheduled programming of short stories and poems of my own concoction, I wanted to do something a little different today. It should come as no surprise to those of you who read this blog (all five of you) that in addition to writing I also love to read. A lot. So much, in fact, that last year I decided to keep a list of every book I read to keep them all straight in my brain.
I read 31 books in 2016. That’s a lot of books to keep track of.
And here they are, in the order I read them!
Drink in the tonic
Of the air and be still to
Calm a frantic heart
Do not let your
Fire grow dim.
Do not appease
The whims of those
Who’d snuff it out
If they could.
You were meant to shine.
They know this.
They fear this.
They fear that you know this.
For they know
In their heart of hearts:
Inspired by Daily Prompt: Shine
…you’ll find what your heart has lost. Imagine him and he’ll come to you,” the old crone says.
I take the mirror she offers. I picture your face, warm and open, and suddenly you are there before me, arms outstretched, beckoning.
I run to you. It is only when I reach you that I see: your arms speak not of welcome, but warning.
“Run! Go back! Before she steals your soul, too!”
I turn, too late, and stare through the backside of the glass, the witch’s sharp smile and cold eyes gleaming from my own face.
(NOTE: I wanted to see if I could write a story in exactly 100 words. No more, no less. Including the title, which is really just a segue into the story anyway, I did it. Hooray for flash fiction!)
Another poem, also related to weather. I am nothing if not consistent.
The moon – a glorious and distant thing.
The moon struck me by its beauty on a crisp winter night,
And he gave me moonbeams in exchange for my lullabies.
But the moon, ever-waxing, ever-waning,
The ever-inconstant moon
Left me one night to the cold and the dark.
The wind – such a fickle, wild thing.
The wind swept me off my feet one bright spring morn,
And carried me gently to distant, glistening shores.
But the wind changes, as they say,
And the once-gentle wind
Raged away, leaving me to the silence.
The sun – a fierce, a passionate thing.
The sun kissed me goodbye on a warm summer evening,
As it sank down below the horizon. “I’ll return for you,” the kiss promised.
And the sun, loyal and loving,
And so bursting with life,
Kissed me in greeting when the dawn came.