to strive

the year is killing people—

that’s what we’re saying.

 

it’s been a tough year, for

sure. some of us have felt the

 

killing of our spirits, of our efforts

and voice and purpose in this place.

 

but every year, people die.

every year, people kill

 

each other, themselves. and

every year, people rise up, with-

 

stand hardship, come back to

life and reach out a hand to each

 

other. this year is just another year;

another man-made construct in

 

time and space. it is what we make

it; it is what we choose to honor and

 

remember and take with us deep into

the next phase. this death is just another

 

death, which is just another door. let it

not be said that the year is killing people;

 

nor that people are killing years. let us stand—

tall and alive—as we take the floor, as we take

 

back our spirit, as we cherish the memories

of those who have passed, the touch of their

 

tragic-beautiful lives living on in us and through

us as we continue to live, to love, to strive.

 

i used to be

to take the edge off,

at least during the day,

at least during waking, non-

 

working hours; to go about

your routines, together but

alone, talking past each other:

 

slipping out to the ledge just to

see where it could all end; looking

back at where you’ve been because

 

you can’t imagine what hasn’t

happened yet. eye contact is a

commodity;      to hold it      is a luxury.

 

 

and the creeks don’t rise

in every dream, a house;

in every room, a hole: a

broken floor, an exposed pipe, a

gaping window wanting to be a door.

 

at the end of a life, last words

are overrated: i’m so confused;

i’m in trouble; get the hell away

from me. it’s not like the movies.

 

you better hope you made your

amends, exchanged embraces,

made your love known while there

was still clarity. the last gasping

 

moments are not made for love.

 

 

 

 

 

free-dom

you make me

feel my bravery,

 

my body

memory.

 

how many centuries

have we climbed

 

together? you hand

me the spy glass and

 

i chart our course: over

too many thoughts and

 

too few feelings. we

are always seeking,

 

always forgetting where

we’ve tread; always reach-

 

ing for a brand-new match-

ing set: heart and head.

 

things are not what they seem; things are not what can be seen

joy ride,

woven women,

diagonal snow like

tiny meteors,

stone sober,

an aura

laid over like

milk, wearing

makeup into

surgery, drawing

cream from a

tree, yellow jacket

of gravity,

a gold light,

a silver bell,

the magnetic shell

between.