youth

to be young 
is a frightening thing.
it means coming up against 
all the darkest
things of life:
death
loss
grief
loneliness
despair
before you’ve had the chance
to understand what they mean.
it means facing certain facts:
the ones you love most 
you must someday let go;
you will never be the child
you once were;
nor are you likely to become
what you once dreamed of being.
it means staring into your remaining years
as an unfathomable abyss
& fearing what change
what loss of current circumstance
may take place therein.
it means realizing that: 
the words you least want to listen to
are those you most need to hear;
joy and loss
are in fact one and the same;
your tears are the bridge
between your most treasured moments
& the knowledge of their impermanence;
all things of this world will fade
& clinging to them cannot prolong the inevitable;
running away only brings you closer
to the thing from which you run;
& the only way for pain to end
is to feel it as deeply as you can
for as long as it wishes to be felt.

reconsider

your prison
is your
wilderness
your cage
an open sky
for why would you 
create if not
escape
from space confined
wise women know
the caged bird's song
wise men
the battle cry
of soul unleashed
from genie's lamp
of hands from
rope untied.
curse not your chains nor weights of stone
for without them art would be unknown.

homecoming blessing

may your life
imitate your art—
may words nourish your soul 
as long rain to august—
may your heart be content 
to enjoy the little things—
may your sleep be sound
but should you lie awake
may your thoughts drift only
to your many blessings—
may your life be long 
in good enough moments
though your moments be only few—
may your name be heard 
in a loved one’s prayer
as you hold them
in your own—
may you fall in love not once
but infinitely—
may your heart remember 
in its darkest moments
that there was once someone
or something
that made you want to drop everything
& live—
may the faces of those you love 
be never far from your thoughts
& the grace of listening to stillness
be ever a breath away—
most of all
do not despair
in the loneliness of it all—
only nerves rubbed raw by the cares of the world
know what it is to return home.

mercy

this is how it’s supposed to be.
you’re supposed to be begging 
for mercy.
your knees should ache from kneeling 
& your chest should be heavy
with the weight of it all.
if you don’t fall to your knees now 
& then, swearing up and down
you can’t take it any more—
how can you know the limits 
of your own heart?
& if you don’t cry out 
for forgiveness
all the while hoping in secret 
that your folly can continue—
how do you know what it is 
to be humbled?

pain/remedy

the truth is contained in your weeping.
you will be in some form of discomfort every moment of your life
of that you may be certain.
 & sometimes discomfort gives way to pain & pain to grief
& you will pray because other than death
there is no place to go for relief.
but notice as you weep how sweet 
is the sound of a loved one’s voice
or the vision of their memory
in your heart.
feel the sweetness when the right music 
matches the cadence of your sorrow
or the delight in your bones
when a single word offers comfort.
yes
of pain you may be certain
but be certain also
of the remedy of Spirit.
they go hand in hand
it cannot be otherwise.