thriving

We the children of boomers
Whose parents made believe in the American dream
Were raised to belief that
We would not just survive
We would not just thrive
We would be special, somehow
We would make a difference

We were taught that if we learned a lot
And retained just enough to spit it back quickly
And efficiently
We would get the grade
And if we got enough grades
We would get the degree
And if we got enough degrees
We could be worth something
Never mind that we owed 300 grand
Nothing could stop us
Certainly not our skin
As white as a snowflake
Which we took for granted
Because we certainly weren’t racist
Privilege isn’t something you see
When you swim in it, it’s like
Asking a fish to notice all the water

So there wasn’t too much to be grateful for
There was just more to strive for
If we got enough likes
Perhaps we could feign for moment
That we were making ripples
Knowing the waves were yet to come
Yet to come
Our necks permanently thrust forward
From all the planning, holding minds fit to bursting
With all the comparing
For all the things we had learned in school
No one had taught us how to notice
what was happening in there
But we noticed it all right when we couldn’t keep functioning
I’m not talking about getting more degrees
I’m talking about basic eating and sleeping
Making a living
It looks differently—
For some it’s thinking about dying
For others it’s self-mutilating
Others don’t want to do anything
And many of us can’t stop doing

We’re not thriving
We’re barely surviving
In reality we’re drowning
Not all of us are
For some, life was handed to them on a gorgeous platter
And there was never the need to step off
Never mind the debt
The jobs they’d get would pay it off
And in the mean time mom and dad would help
For some, their minds stayed steady
And their bodies stayed healthy
For some

But the rest of us need a new blueprint for living
But my god this is not a glorious undertaking
A lot of time it feels like choking
It’s hard to breath in a society
that doesn’t even value breathing
properly.

a new path

I would like to carve a new path through stone
Stone they haven’t blasted a tunnel through yet
I would like to carve a new path that wouldn’t be perfectly smooth
But there would be a sureness in the way forward
Not a slide but a slope
It would be too dark to look behind
Too dark to see the other side
But a solidity underneath, sand
no longer clinging
Bottoms of my feet flat against the red earth.

slinky

What would I be if I didn’t lose myself in you?
They say I’m supposed to start seeing myself through my own eyes.
You rub up against me and leave
Stains

It’s strange when I glimpse the being with my name
And recognize how much she’s aching, forget a pillow
I’ve given her gravel to sleep on and black mud to walk in
She doesn’t really know what it’s like not to
Slink

She’s been healing for so long and she’s also just begun.

widely

Sometimes when the wrong color is on the wrong cap, I think about eating preschool lunch at the State Fair and the ex who overpopulates my dreams, I don’t want to be holding myself back, comparing sole-focused types or easily drunken types, my neither abyss leaves me drowsy for days and in between wildly alive, rarely satisfied, the good kid in me clarified, I chew through calm for something beating, it’s a rhythm only I’m good at repeating, trusting the things that slip away, and those that won’t unstuck, it’s hard to get off a ride when it’s fun, but when you throw up, whether you like it or not, you’re done, notified ending, I’m not sure I need the world to watch this transitioning digging for genuine in a sandbox.

***

When I was a child
in between the oozey stickiness
leaks and holey door screens
there was something sharp in my experiencing
a freshness, an unfolding
at the same time, everything was permeating into me
there was no shell for my soft body
I didn’t even know a shell was possible
So I shrunk away eating
a lot that wasn’t mine
some was beautiful
most made my belly ache
hard to trust that this would slip away
it was constant cycling
When I finally found those who gazed
at me with understanding
it was the unfolding
I could see more clearly
gentle dirt to walk on
tears fell
an embrace
a steady unwinding
I worked hard not to blur the lines
I’m still working
there is so much more space between my aches now
a bright ribbon unraveling, I’m ready to follow
believing the possibility of living widely
with fresh softness.

a redirection

Cruising down this lifeway
wondering if it’s possible not to go so fast
bouncy castles deflated now

i can see that ache inside of you

wondering how to do it right
i ask myself big questions
i give myself big answers
not an answer but a direction
taking further sweeps than before
i’m still humbled by my limitations
the fragility of the human condition
beats inside of me

some days I don’t feel solid enough

some days all I can do is take these harsh
colonial words
and try to make something

some days I am squashed into a wooden pew –
is this holy?

some days I feel like a stick burning
burning down to the bone
burning at the disrespect for the seasons
forest fires, floods
the darkness during day
the global warming
my belly wants to expand, to take it all in
to not think so much

it tugs at me so much

life exploding in layers, praying for a pace I can handle
love consistent and strong, lessons still learning
missed opportunities in conversation still, longing

it’s your pain that makes you beautiful

i wonder about these unrealized dreams
about the way that we tiptoe across the different levels
and what people do in their darker moments
i wonder about coping
and the particular qualities
that keep them trying

we are on fire
and yet we constantly work to stifle our own flames

what if we let ourselves expand
and redirected this water, sacred
to where it was needed.

stale

What to do with the orange
You’ve left so long on your desk
For weeks it looked so fresh
I almost wanted to take it
And peal into the juicy
Softness

I’d eat away its loneliness
If it wasn’t for propriety
Now the skin a molted brown
Hardness

Sweetness sucked out
There’s something about the neglect
That makes me want to shake things
Want to go into your office
And stroke it, poor thing
If it wasn’t for propriety

It’s not like I haven’t been leaving papers
Out to organize for months now.