Archive for category photography

impermanence

Elm tree, blue sky

Farewell, beautiful.

I’m going to say it straight out. Somebody’s going to die tomorrow.
Actually, I’m sure, lots of somebodies will die, but there’s one in particular
that I’m thinking of tonight.

Nothing lasts forever.
Joy comes, and goes.
Seasons come, and go.
Grief comes and goes, too.
Whole countries, entire species,
blazing stars in the sky—
come and go.
Tomorrow the elm tree outside
my west-facing windows will be taken down.

Chain saws will whir and bite.
It will be fast, the end.

Tonight I’m saying goodbye.

I get it.
It’s become dangerous, the elm.

Too big for its place. It has to go.
It could hurt someone.

(Hurt is part of life)

Joy comes, and goes.
I will miss her outstretched limbs
reflecting in my morning coffee in summer,
I will miss her golden leaves in the fall.

She healed me, that tree.

I spent hours looking up at her.
I owe her a lot, I think.
I wish I could tell her:

She gave me the gift of learning to just be.
To laugh and cry and and let go of what was and be myself alone.
(Though I suppose I wasn’t ever really alone; she was there?)
I’ll carry her gift with me, planted like a seed
rooting in my heart.

I’m getting more comfortable with impermanence.
Better at letting go.
Better at grief.
It’s just a tree, after all,
a little piece of heaven,
exhaling oxygen
patiently teaching me how to breathe in life.

 

The elm in my morning coffee.

The elm in my morning coffee.

 

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Sharp, necessary things

11703574_10207310081527376_9128149954750898429_o

Louise Erdrich says in her poem, “Thistles”:

“under loss and under hard words,
under steamrollers
under your heart,
it doesn’t matter. They can live forever.”

I think there are some feelings that are like thistles, that’s why Erdrich’s poem and the thistles along the sidewalk speak to me like an old friend as I ponder how some losses, some griefs, some pointy bits of the past never do entirely smooth over or disappear.

They simply die back for a while, and you think they are gone. Then you’re innocently snapping a photo, minding your own business, and they come back—sharp as ever.

But they are beautiful, thistles are. They endure for a reason.

You can read her whole gorgeous poem here:
http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2007%2F06%2F22

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NOLA dreams

woman in sparkly dress at night

Christmas Night | New Orleans | Gentilly | Lit by a streetlamp

Last year evaporated.
No.
Exploded,
boiled over,
filled to the brim and
poured over the edges
leaving December behind.

The beauty and the un-beautiful
combine
combust
time escapes like steam from a kettle
screaming with possibilities
I want to find more magic.
I am digging.

gentilly-nola-christmas2016

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For Terence

scared sad face

For Terence

It’s like some evil game
nightmare edition
of Simon says

Why do so many people
who look like me
comb over the footage,
looking for a misstep?

The questions begin,
inevitable
hateful
cloaked in willful blindness
the cloak victim-blaming
always wears:
“Yeah but–was he
fully complying?
Why didn’t he
comply exactly?”

The wrong questions,
again
and again,
world without end

Just ask Charles Kinsey
if hands up & unarmed
& lying on your back
on the road
begging for reason
will keep a black man from being
shot if someone decides
he looks like a threat
because he is breathing

Like someone decided
12-year-old
Tamir was a threat,
sitting alone, dreaming
little-boy dreams
that will never come true.

I dream of a world where
people who look like me
will ask vastly different questions,
harder ones,
braver ones,
again and again
until this world ends

And a new world opens
one where police will be expected
to protect and serve
a father of four
car broken down
who has his hands in the air

Where de-escalation
is the absolute expectation

A world where
Terence Crutcher
would still be here
heart beating,
breathing,
alive.

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A poem for my neighbor’s hibiscus

pink hibiscus flower closeup

Hibiscus (aka Rosemallow, Rose of Sharon, Swampmallow)

A poem for my neighbor’s hibicus
Furled for the night,
see? They’re rolled up tight,
like tissue-paper cigars in the moonlight
sleeping
in the morning they will spin open
I’ll be walking past
I’ll be sucked in, again
will spin with them, six-and-a-half again
ballerina fantasy
fairy dresses for princesses named
Hibiscus, Rosemallow, Swampmallow.
The white one, shining in a sunbeam?
Rose of Sharon, sweet savior of sinners—
This pink one, I’ll call her Roseasharn Joad
bearing what cannot be borne
blooming when heat swells
when dreams evaporate like raindrops
when petals unwind
magic tunnels in time
swallower of bees
and ladybugs
and me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Small miracles

IMG_488423084I believe in hope
in change
in light in dark times
in turning off the news
in speaking the truth
in spreading beauty into the world
in the power of small miracles
in starting where you find yourself
in breathing in the moments

To anyone who struggles (which includes, I think, everyone?)—keep trying, keep moving, keep looking, keep reaching. Change requires action and effort. Sometimes action is just a walk around the neighborhood when you’re feeling lost inside. Remember, as Audrey Hepburn said, “I believe that tomorrow is another day and…I believe in miracles.”

 

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Bursting

IMG_483409246

Bursting
Clouds rip open like my heart
bursts – whoosh, closed to wide open
Swoosh: a purple umbrella
floats past; droplets slip, wiggle
mercurial jelly-dots.
We swim in the same pool, this
heavenly, dirty fishbowl.

IMG_483409214

 

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