Bus Stop Shadows

are aware
they are living in an unparallel universe.
They gather the boy in his school uniform,
the baby in her flimsy stroller, and they walk

The tiny hands clasped–so as not to slip too suddenly
into this world, making their way in the summer scorch rising
from the sidewalks and the cigarettes in the
open mouths behind them.

Men dressed
in their best blue collared shirts and heavy
work boots hanging on the edges of the curb
as though ready to jump face first into
disaster–no shadow to speak of in that moment

It is only us–
the ones driving comfortably and air-conditioned by
who are unaware of that world.
We honk and we stress, we yell and we press
the stop and start gas pedals of our days

unknowing.
The bus stop shadows are there;
waking early, waiting and riding in standing room only,
making, cleaning, doing, and fixing
this comfortable, cool, full-color, riding in style
life we know.

Love Letter

Remember when they called you head-turner
and the comment turned your head around
to hear what they were saying.
You dipped yourself in that moment, and
soaked it into your skin,
when life was a ruffled white bikini.

Now gentle brush of the cheek,
a full frontal inspection
demands a closer look
revealing– who?

Tiny lines doing simple multiplication,
a smile making them exponential.
On the verge of condemnation
I felt something, recognized a familiar face
Suddenly and for a moment
doubt and mockery of everything self-love
cast aside,

I wrote what I could not say out loud:
Dearest,
Let all the drug dealers pushing Prozac
and cognitive-behavioral worksheets
with their calm Nurse Ratchet voices,
for once–  crack open a new universe
and say…

It’s okay to prefer darkness to light.
Go ahead with disdain for the day.
Celebrate the night!
It is only in total darkness
where we see the brightness of stars.

Like Einstein’s fish,
no happy pill can make a star feel worthy
by extinguishing its flight, roaming the earth
in full daylight.  Only swimming in the dark skies
of poetry, art, and philosophy can reveal the truth
worth living passionately for–

Sense the rage of injustice as it builds its mighty wall
feel the starvation for love,
in every orphaned child and
empty bottomless tearing off of limbs
for the world’s orphaned parents.
Cry.

Fill every watershed and well.
Let no wetlands remain dry,
and when all pain is sufficiently spilled–
released into the earth for regrowth,
sit silently smiling on the edge of the world.

See the green and the gold of your eyes,
embraced by the life lines you’ve earned.
Sit smiling for youth gone by and love
every small joy, every breath of early morning mist
every yellow butterfly against a blue sky

Let secrets flutter to the past
Throw your words of rage into wishing wells
Feel the tightness of the urgent present melt away
until now fills the room with a calm blue.
Let gratitude drape the shoulders of the mother, daughter, and friend.
Let it live in life’s poetry–

a familiar scent like autumn apples,
a welcome home to the voice
I have always known.
Welcome, my first love.
Come into the rain.
This is where the real you grows.