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Posts Tagged ‘news’


 
 
Somewhere I’ve never been
reaches across the ocean
and wrenches my thoughts.
I don’t try to push it away.
I let the ache in,
let sorrow do its terrible
work. It slices in
deeper than I want it to,
but I do not resist.
All day I think of the small child
being pulled from the rubble.
All day I think of the many hands
reaching for small frightened body.
All day, I am softened by
grief, ravaged into tenderness.

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Thanking the Christmas Cactus




Tonight, for a moment,
my world shrinks to the size
of the Christmas cactus,
which, despite the storm
that even now blusters outside,
has opened dozens of voluptuous
red blooms, as if to say,
Here I am, blooming midwinter,
and you can do it, too.
There are days when
the news makes me doubt
the value of blooming—
when the headlines alone
twist hope into a crumpled,
unrecognizable heap.
But then some snippet
of beauty finds me—
a scarlet flower,
a handwritten letter—
and breaks any scale
I would use to interpret
the world. It’s not that the terror
goes away, no. But for a few
moments, I am blessed
with the certainty
that even the smallest beauty matters
and that it is my job
to meet life however it appears—
petal, bomb, sweetness, pain—
grateful for my humanness,
vulnerable and tenuous
though it is.

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Proxy

The woman who knows what to write

did not show up today. Perhaps she’s gone

hiking amongst the blue larkspur, or

maybe she’s pulling weeds in the garden.

Perhaps she got a job as a counselor or a priest,

or decided to run for political office.

I wish she’d show up again. Sometimes

it’s not easy to face the blank, to believe

there are any words worth writing. Like today,

when I read about how the abandoned fracking wells

are leaking pollutants. How today will be

the first federal execution in seventeen years.

How there are still children at the border

still crying, “¡Mami!” and “¡Papá!”

Perhaps she was simply so sad

that she went to sit in a corner, quietly,

not to forget, but to find the strength to meet it.

Perhaps she is, even now, trying to conjure

the words that might actually make a difference.

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for J Unterberg

In the picture on the news,

the little black girl holds a sign

that says, I’m your next president.

And in the grocery store,

the clerk smiles at me from behind her mask

and compliments my dress.

Consumed as I’ve been

with a sorrow so great

it swallowed our country whole,

I had thought it would take an energy

equally great and opposite

to pull me away from the bleak edge.

But then a stranger walked up to my car

where I was parked on the side of the road

to make sure I was okay. And just like that

I felt myself backing away from the edge,

just a bit, just a bit.

It can be so small, what reminds us

who we are—a people who want

to thrive, to live in peace,

a people who are kind to each other

not because we have earned it, but

because kindness is in our nature.

I want to vote for that little girl,

want to help create the just world she rises in.

I want to help someone else

back away from the edge,

just a bit, just a bit, another bit.

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The News

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Just as I had settled into doom,

I heard the wild call of the first geese of spring

come screeching through the window.

 

I leapt up like a woman desperate

for good news—leapt up and ran to the window

in time to see a pair land on the pond,

 

splashing against the water. They quieted

immediately after alighting. And then,

there was only the sound  of me watching them.

 

How graceful they were in the pond,

the water wrinkled behind them, as if their arrival

were the only news, the only news worth telling.

 

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Try to praise the mutilated world

            —Adam Zagajewski

 

 

The cratered earth

and the blood stained shirts

and the men with guns

and the hate sharp words

and the sour rooms

that never see sun

and the rashes, the cancers

the blackened lungs

 

and still, there are paths

in Ohio woods

where upended trees

show elaborate roots

and the water seeps

in the ancient gorge,

and dead leaves fuel

whole dominions of soil

 

and though beauty

can be hard to reconcile,

worse to ignore it,

worse to look away,

worse in this mutilated world

to pretend we don’t have

ten thousand times ten thousand

reasons to praise.

 

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Such Luck

 

 

Once again the flash flood

misses the house. And the cats

are not found by the mountain lion—

 

even now they curl on the chair.

The forests around the house

are not claimed by wildfire.

 

And though my right inner arm

bears a dozen red bites,

none of the mosquitos seem

 

to be carrying zica.

Yes, it’s a marvelous night,

just think how many things

 

are going right. Not one

broken bone. No earthquake.

No angry bear. It’s enough to

 

make you think you’re lucky

no matter what that letter said.

Just look at those stars

 

and that clear night sky

without even a chance of hurricane,

no tornado, no drought.

 

 

 

 

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Mom, she said, is it true? And it wasn’t

that I’d tried to keep the truth from her,

it just never came into conversation,

old horses are sometimes used for glue.

 

Yes, I said, wishing I could soften the message. It’s true.

She knew its truth already, but don’t we all

sometimes long to be wrong? New tears dammed

in her eyes before they fell. Is that really

 

the world I belong to? she rued, then buried

her face in the couch. Two hours later,

I thought her same thought as I read the news:

Anti-Semitism. Bribery. Child sexual abuse.

 

I wanted to hear the stories weren’t true.

Oh world, so broken, still, unglued, I choose you.

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            in response to The Good News by Thich Nhat Hanh

Good news. The ant on your toe does not want to bite you.
He is a traveler on the country of your foot, and he is teaching you
about the borders you have drawn around your kingdom.

Yes, the young sapling beside you has died, but there,
beside it, a new sapling is carrying on what it means to be tree.

The good news is that the daffodils, planted by some unknown hand,
have returned, and they bob their yellow fringe in the wind,
their cups filled with unspillable light.

The goldfinches find food beneath the old spruce.
And the meadowlark has turned the fencepost
into a concert hall.

And more good news. You noticed that there was a line drawn
between us and them, and you, with your ardent mind,
you picked up that line and refashioned it into a spiral.

And in this moment, the good news is that the sun is warm
on your shoulders and your eyes feel like closing and you
let them close.

The good news is that despite the passing hours, the passing years,
there is no end to good news waiting to be found
and you are just beginning to understand how infinite this special edition.

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And even as the countries aim their missiles at each other

and dangle threats and hurl names, the woman

in the hair salon gives you a deal because

in an hour you’ve shared dreams, shared fears.

And the bus driver helps you find your way.

And the tall man in the grocery store sees you reaching

for a box on the top shelf and offers to hand it to you.

Even as the congress argues and quarrels and stalls,

the little blonde boy you barely know snuggles into your lap

and tells you he loves you. Kindness continues to thrive,

Kindness breeds more kindnesses. Kindness

reminds you again that wherever you are,

you are home, that the world you most want

to live in is right here at the kitchen table,

right here on the noisy, crowded street.

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