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and when

the larkspur

petals fall and when

the fall begins to sing

and when the song weaves

through the loss and when

the loss dyes

everything, when

everything is

emptier and emptiness

is whole somehow, when

whole is what a life

does, when life is

what is now, when

now is

ever changing

and changing knows

no end, when

any ending

I might seek is

just another

when

So In I Go

And if I felt into that dark ache

in my gut, would it cover me

with its stench? Would it stick

to me like tar, like muck, like pitch?

Would it suck me in like quicksand

so that the more I tried to save myself,

the deeper in I would sink?

And if I waved from its depths,

who would save me?

And if I don’t meet it at all,

what if I don’t meet it at all?

Three poems of mine came out today in ONE ART: A Journal of Poetry, an online journal that I love to read. Please check it out–it’s a great place to find other poems and poets you’ll love.

Hello, Fear

How does she do it? She hitches a ride on the blow, a stowaway on that which brings her down.

            —Teddy Macker, “The Mosquito and the Raindrop”

There I was, making tea in my kitchen,

when fear hit me like a school bus.

I didn’t need a scientist or therapist

to tell me it hurt.

I screamed: Arghh! I shouted: No!

But after smashing into me,  

fear just opened the folding glass door

of the bus, yanked me on,

then plopped me into a green vinyl seat.

I’m scared, I said.

Yeah, fear said. ’Cause I’m scary.

Yeah, I squealed, as the bus careened

through the couch, through

my bedroom, through the splintering

dining room table.

What if I lose everything? I said to fear.

Yeah, said fear, what if you do?

And who will I be when everything changes?

Yeah, said fear, who will you be?

Then he opened the door

and shoved me off the bus

and I was standing again beside

the familiar green counter,

tea cup in hand, not a drop spilled.

Who will you be? he shouted

from the half open window.

I took a deep breath,

not knowing how to answer.

Good, fear said, as if uncertainty were a gift.

And who, fear said, as the bus peeled away,

who are you now? Who are you, really?

One Long Story

hovering over

the generous blank

the pen wonders how to improve

on all that potential—

oasis without a trail

Astonished

            with gratitude to Corinne Platt

In the dream, I am flying

over the red dirt roads

of the desert, flying through blue sky

beside dark cliffs and I realize

I can choose to fly right out of

the dream’s landscape

and into my life,

and though I’m scared,

I do, fly through blue until

I’m flying above myself

walking through aspen,

flying with no effort at all,

flying wide awake

with no fear of landing.

flying without a single should,

astonished to find

I’m enough.

I meet her at the Peace Garden gathering

where she’s singing and dancing for peace.

It’s September 11, and her belly is round

and moon-ish. She has no wrinkles yet,

no flashes of gray in her hair.

She is so sincere as she recites poems,

as if with right words and right songs

and right moves she could help

create a peaceful world that her baby will enter.

She’s a month away from her due date

and I don’t tell her those cramps she’s feeling

are contractions. I don’t tell her

he’ll cry for a year. I don’t tell her

about how they’ll laugh too loud together

how they’ll both thrive in the small night hours,

how sixteen years later she’ll marvel

at how love rules her life

in the fiercest and most tender ways,

how the boy will have grown to six foot four,

how he will teach her about fast cars and graphic cards

and forgiveness and humility and apps.

Sixteen years later, she will be less herself

and more something larger, more

driven by love than ever, though it

is nothing she could have imagined.

No, I just say, Nice to meet you. You look familiar,

like a woman I used to know well.

And she smiles in a dreamy far off way.

She thinks she knows what will happen.

Yes, I remember that well.

Have you ever wanted to be a SECRET AGENT??

Perhaps you’ve already joined Secret Agents of Change–perhaps this is your first inkling that such a covert organization exists, but in all cases:

My friend Sherry Richert Belul and I invite you to participate in a very special four-part mission: Operation Love. We’ll be hosting secret missions on the 11th of every month through the end of 2020. Here’s the bottom line: For every mission I will share a poem and Sherry will offer a heart-opening, simple, surreptitious prompt to send you out into the day with purpose and love.

We’re hosting an Emergency Secret Mission on Friday, September 11th and we hope you’ll don your agent’s badge and join us. The world is in need of your love, light, and stealthy way of adding doses of compassion wherever you go.There are two ways to participate: 1.  Live! Join a live Zoom call with me and Sherry on Friday morning from 7:30- 8a.m. PDT ( 8:30-9 a.m. MDT, 9:30-10 a.m., CDT, and 10:30-11 a.m. EDT) and we’ll not only share a poem and announce the mission, but we will also roll up our sleeves and get into action–together! Please join us live if you can; we’d love to see your beautiful Secret Agent faces and feel your stealthy, loving, ninja awesome agent energy while we are on live. Or, if you prefer to join audio-only or lurking-only, those are just fine, too!(Note: please bring paper or a pretty notecard and a pen.)  2.  Via Replay! We will post the 30-minute video and you can participate anytime on Friday or over the weekend. If you are on our secret agent mailing list (join here), then you will receive an email with the video link + we will also post it in our Secret Agents Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SecretAgentsOfChange). (Note: the poem and mission will be in the first five minutes.)No matter which way you participate, you’ll report back in our Facebook Group to let us know how your mission went.No matter which way you participate, we love you and honor you!Zoom details down below our signature.Gratefully your Spymasters,Rosemerry and Sherry

PS: If you have friends whom you think would enjoy these kinds of missions, please have them sign up here: https://simplycelebrate.net/secret-agents-of-change. The more the merrier! We will notify everyone via email when the next Operation launches! Also, make sure you send them to our Facebook group if they want to join in Friday’s LOVE!How to join the live call: Topic: Secret Agents of Change:  Operation Love  2020Time: Sep 11, 2020 07:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)Join Zoom Meeting by computerhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84910769888?pwd=S28xZFBBSVBQUGd4M3FBUkIwUDNBUT09Meeting ID: 849 1076 9888Passcode: 438699Join by One tap mobile:+14086380968,,84910769888#,,,,,,0#,,438699# US (San Jose)+16699006833,,84910769888#,,,,,,0#,,438699# US (San Jose)Join by phone:Dial by your location        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)Meeting ID: 849 1076 9888Passcode: 438699Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kpcDeqeO9

By the Numbers

Then let me measure my life

not in days, not in years,

but in how many sunflowers

grew in my gardens

and how many times

I stopped to notice

how beautiful they were.

Let me measure my life

in lines of poems

that slipped me

more deeply into the world

and in cups of earl gray tea.

Let me grow old

on belly laughs.

Let me know my true age

in kisses. And though

it is a finite number,

let me lose count.

In hug years,

let me be ancient.

In fist years,

let me always be young.

And let me measure my life

in songs that insisted I sing them.

May it equal the number of times

they were sung.

Playing Family

for Grace

I’m too grown up now to play family,

says the six-year-old girl. But I hear

in her voice that part of her

still loves the game.

I long to tell her that now,

at fifty, playing family is still

one of my favorites.

I’m less wild about the version

where I’m the mom telling the kid

no, they can’t get the toy they want.

But I like the game when I sit on the couch

and say to my son or daughter,

Hey, come snuggle in, and they do.

I like it when we stand around the kitchen counter

laughing at whatever we’re laughing at.

I like when we’re driving in the car

and I say, Hey, sweetie, how was your day?

Sometimes, I play dress up in my own clothes

and wear what a mother would wear.

I even make breakfasts and lunches

and hide the M&Ms.

And I laugh to hear my own voice say

what a mother might say:

Clean up your room, please.

Time for bed now. Now.

You have got to be kidding me.

I love you. Oh my, how you’ve grown.

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