Keep the faith

young people, keep the faith

though the walls of caste rise tall

with a whisper of hope they have been known to fall

let bitterness have no place, but gentle stubbornness replace

never rise to fate, let fate be subject to insurmountable determination

be who you are and let not others decide the translation of your life and place

rise above your circumstances and be a beacon for the right to justice and equality

look to those before you who walked this path of sacrifice to principles, larger than themselves

wear hope as your mantle, truth your helmet, keep kindness in your pockets, let justice be your shield, and fear not

*Mt. Bierstadt, CO*

fearmonger

you are sure that inroads into freedom will be erased

parapets will fall; crashing with the symbols of the state

blood of children running through the streets with God erased

you don’t wish to be erased

so you raise your voice to screaming pitch

you amplify the fervor of your warnings

perhaps some will heed your call before the world is wiped away as kingdom comes

drums of distant apocalyptic anarchy are beating, beating, beating

names of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler bounce through clouds of keyboards and screens

your day of doom is the day I dance upon the grave of hate

I celebrate

*a naturalization ceremony in Denver, 2018*

Remembering Dr. King today

Today I remember the legacy of Dr. King who, though slandered and imprisoned, refused to give into hatred, who kept his heart open in the face of violence. He was strong, yet still soft. He stood up and spoke up with courage, love and truth to change the landscape of our nation. His legacy leaves me with faith and hope for all that is good in the world- and all that is good in others.

Peace

I want to be a hippie

I want to be a flower child

think only of the sun and stars

see flowers strewn in every frame

I want to feel only sunbeams

I want to hear the words of the wind

I want to say peace, peace, peace

let that mantra be enough

to carry me through the day

make all the ugly go away

I wasn’t born a hippie, though

while the beauty of a river heals my soul

it doesn’t last, alas

I find the old struggles of balancing love, kindness, mercy, and justice

waiting

*Salem, Oregon*

Awash

I see your hate

you are awash in it’s fate

I cannot rescue you from it’s end

my love did not end

but the words that you spew

have an end, there is an end

I will not swim in the racism

the polarization

you may not take my faith with your words and your hate

I am not bowed, I am not cowed

by your accusations

it is you who are drowning in the lies that you make

eating your hate

the things that you say DO NOT GO AWAY:

“and we found out George Floyd died of a drug overdose”

“Sandy Hook; actors”

“if you voted for Joe Biden you are a baby killer”

“the gays should burn like Sodom and Gomorrah”

“911; actors”

*RHINO, Denver*

Thoughts on Religion

I often think about Religion and it’s impact on the world and it’s impact on me as an individual. There may not be another subject that I feel so at odds about than this one. This year has exacerbated my angst about Religion as I watch a majority of the evangelical christian community support a man whose character is so at odds with the way Christ framed the way to live and treat others. Once again, like history repeating itself endlessly, religion was used to influence people to make a political choice. Today if you “belong” to certain religious communities in the United States there is incredible pressure to vote and believe along Republican party lines. When politics and religion join hands there are bodies left behind the road they walk. Religion appeals to a deep place inside of us, a sacred space, where our minds and hearts simply obey. The power of linking religion and politics takes this obedience to God and directs it towards a political party or a political figure.

Religion can be used for harm or good. It can be used to influence and pressure people in positive and negative ways. I have seen the positive power in my community where people of Faith come together to help the homeless, the hungry, the disenfranchised. The values of kindness, hope, patience, self control, respect, grace, mercy, forgiveness are ones I believe in. I want to be influenced and reminded of them by clergy and others of Faith.

However, I am deeply opposed to religious leaders and religious people who seek to define what it means to be have Faith in terms of politics. I am opposed to those who through religion speak with a “higher calling” to control others lives through legislation and seek to override the freedom of others with their own code of ethics. It is oppression.

*Rome, taken by my husband*

The dance of the living

The shadows are uncovered

I’m not afraid to stare back at where they lived

they don’t frighten me as they once did

their looming shapes and giant mighty waving arms have lost their power

they don’t define me

they won’t confine me

I am dancing down the road in sunlight

Unafraid to reach for what I want

Unapologetic for who I am

This dance is from the sun and rain

the leaves, the stones, the dirt and all living things

It is the dance of the living; the heart beating, the eye blinking, the breath moist, the mind thinking

*Portland, Oregon*

golden chain

there is a time to sit in the pain and let it drain

sit, sit, sit in the pain

then look to the stars and think how infinitesimal your domain

gaze outside again

let the beauty of your world in and rain, rain, rain

open your hands to the blessings that came, came, came

a seed can grow, planted in the pain, watered in the rain

in its season it reaches up it’s mighty arms with leaves verdant to sustain

the soul inside; your golden chain

*Charleston, SC*