Poetry

The poems included here were written as a means of processing grief and loss, along with the deeply intense experiences I had as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco between the years of 2007-09.

The poem, Liberal Guilt, is a direct expression of the lived experience of realizing the vast gulf between those of us who live in America and those who are living so differently in other countries.

I will be adding some poems I have written in the past and more as I write them. I welcome comments, feedback and dialogue from all of you who are interested in a conversation about what they evoke in you.

Thank you for taking the time to read them!

My Liberal Guilt

My liberal guilt washes down the drain
Like the liters of hot water
I guiltily use in the hotel shower
On my rare trips to big towns.
It spools out goo-ily
Clotted cream of remorse
Sandwiched in between
Sharp-crusted rationalization with its fluted
Edges
And cream puffed denial
So delicious, yet so devoid of
Substance.
I choose to come here
To squat on the hard tile
Remind myself where food really
Comes from
Steeling myself from the anguished
Squawks
Ruby giblets of blood as they
Spatter the stall
But at the end of the day
I eat
And choke on medallions
Of shame.
Who goes hungry that I might
Fill my round and paunchy belly?
And when I go home to my
Soft, cushioned life
How many forests, oceans, hands
Will it take to keep me there?


Cherished Illusion

Just when I think
The columns add up
The accounts are balanced
The knife drawer tidied,
There’s a rumbling in the basement
And the water heater
Blows.
Just when I think
I’ve got the holes all covered
The wrinkles ironed out
The wild beat of my galloping heart
Slowed, reined in and tamed
The children in their beds
The office safely closed and locked,
The phone rings
And I am sudden host to news
I cannot house.


On the Loss of Four-Footed Friends

Jet dark this goodbye
A wrench from my heart’s mooring
The house as empty
As a husk
No sound, no greeting
All traces of you
Gone
I am alone
And wish, so wish
It were not so
The choice not mine.
The window where you sat
The lap you stretched upon
Vacant now
My dry eyes burn
With tears unshed
Just a ball of greyed up fur
A cat, you say
But all the world to me.


Waking Up

Break open my dusty
Fearful heart
And let the moths
Of my old life
Fly
Into the wild
Blue yonder
To land their wings
On strange new
Flowers
In a brave new world
To taste the light
Of new delights
And finally bring me
Home.
Break open my jailed
Old gut
So I can finally see
All those things
I never would
And let me dine upon
A meal
Of all my undigested
Hurts and slights
Guilt and hates
Weeps and woes
Then, maybe then
I can scrape my plate
Or lick it clean
Push back my chair
And join the dancing,
Stepping lively to the tune
Of joy
With room now
For the forkfuls of love
Now heaped upon my plate.


When the Dust Settles

Loneliness, my old and constant friend
Inhabits this old house of my body
Blowing across the threshold
It lodges in the corners
Its lumbering step creaks
The floorboards of my heart
Until it settles
Leaving a choking
Dust
On the furniture of my everything.
I could move out
For after all, I only rent this house
I could roll on down the road
And end up in some other inn
Of discontent
But I would still breathe
The Dust
In any other room
In any other town
In any other arms
That hold me.
If only I could breathe
Gently into my quavering
Heart
Hold onto my own wrinkling
And freckled
Hand
Embrace this lodger, loneliness
All might not be lost.
I might take a breath
And find myself at home.