madness

what is this madness?
what have we become
to allow hatred and bigotry to have its day?
where have decency and morality gone?

how much longer do we turn our faces away
from what’s really happening out there
as we watch democracy crumble
with barely a shot fired in the air?

instead they’re let in with their flags of division
allowed to do whatever they please,
their hatred for the other
bringing democracy to its knees.

but we are stronger than that,
and for our children, this is my hope
that we can work together
and pull ourselves off this dangerous slope

maybe it won’t happen today;
maybe it’s just too soon.
but we need to start now before the world we know
hurtles even faster toward its doom.

until we meet again

i read the beginnings of the news on facebook
and my heart dropped when the truth sank in
that you lost your battle to cancer yesterday
what a crap year 2020 has been

i’ve looked forward to every post you’ve made
that morning greeting, that nightly goodbye
i love how you ordered us wackadoodles to have a good day
and every night, no mare pants became my rallying cry

reminding me it was time to wind things down
to let my mind rest and my body sleep
as you fought that fight that took you in the end
leaving us your stories and essays, so insightful and deep

i miss you already, my friend,
but i know wherever you are there is no more pain
thank you for being the champion i needed then and now
i have been so blessed having you in my corner. until we meet again.

12/20/2020

stripped

what is it about you that strips me raw
in places i’ve long forgotten?
those dark corners where my secrets lie hidden,
the disappointments, and the self-loathing?

why does it take just a word from you
for all of them to spill out?
and with them the tears i’ve long kept at bay,
all the shame and self-doubt?

what is it with your choice of words
spoken in a voice that always unravels me?
do you know of the places i speak of?
have you seen the things i can still see

the demons in their alcoves,
those moments of shame they whisper in my ear
of the times when i wasn’t brave enough,
when my constant companion was fear

is that why you know exactly what to say,
words that strip me of all the masks i wear?
is it because you know where i have been?
is it because you’re still there?

favor

can you do me a favor right now?
it won’t take long, I promise

stand in front of a mirror and tell me
what you see and be honest

maybe you’re seeing the wrinkles on your brow
or those laugh lines you hate so much

maybe you’re noticing gray roots along your hairline
or that your skin’s no longer smooth to the touch

maybe you’re seeing extra curves that shouldn’t be there
or your skin’s starting to sag it’s pitiful

maybe you’re thinking you’ve changed so much
and that you used to be so young and beautiful

but can you pause for a while with your thoughts
and look at your reflection with a softer gaze

allow a touch of kindness to sink in
let wisdom settle through the haze

for you are beautiful inside and out
with a lifetime of experience to draw from

you are amazing, you are worthy
you are as strong in spirit as they come

there’s so much more i want to say
maybe when you’re ready you can choose the words

like daring, feisty, and courageous
a woman living on her own terms

sure, you’ve stumbled and fallen
and then there’s the betrayal and heartache

but you are much stronger than he will ever know
and you’ll learn from every mistake

so when you look at that woman in the mirror again
i hope you take a step closer and say hello

for she is tough and downright amazing
and she’s the most beautiful woman I know.

a new year

it’s a new day, a new year
and for the first time last night
i went to sleep without you
whispering in my ear

i’m sad. but i’m relieved, too,
for this means i can finally move on
and live my life without
this need for you

a parting gift maybe, that last goodbye
for you were never meant to stay
or be my friend, and now it’s time
to let your good intentions die

for it’s a new day, a new year
time to let go of the things that no longer
serve me like the loneliness
i’ve always feared.


Too Much by Tyler Ford

do you remember the first time you were called annoying? 
how your breath stopped short in your chest 
the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze
the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue?
your eyes never left the floor that day.
you were 13.

you're 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you talk about your interests for "too long," 
apologies littering every other sentence,
words trailing off a cliff you haven't jumped from in 7 years.
i could listen to you forever, though i know speaking for more than 3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious.
all i want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
for 3 minutes
for 10 minutes
for 2 hours
forever.

there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, y our heart; 
mostly because they can't handle their own. but you will never be and have never been
"too much."
from Poetry July/August 2015

do you remember the first time you were called annoying?
how your breath stopped short in your chest
the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your
cheeks were ablaze
the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that
got lost on your tongue?
your eyes never left the floor that day.
you were 13.

you’re 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you
talk about your interests for “too long,”
apologies littering every other sentence,
words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years.
i could listen to you forever, though i know speaking for more than
3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious.
all i want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
for 3 minutes
for 10 minutes
for 2 hours
forever.

there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty,
your wisdom, y our heart;
mostly because they can’t handle their own. but you will never be
and have never been
“too much.”

~Tyler Ford

being real

i now come from a forgotten time
when friendships were face to face
so that if one ever ghosted you in the end
you’d have an idea of the disagreement
that happened, some sort of basis.
but there is none of that now
and that doesn’t even account for this pandemic,
the lockdown and the fear,
friendships have simply become virtual
where it becomes so difficult to tell
when one’s being real or insincere.
and while connections – even deep ones –
still do happen, there’s one glaring detail
that will always be hard to frame,
when they disappear as they often do,
did they trust you enough
to tell you their real name?

rebuilt

i learned a lot this year
most of all, about myself
like the fact that i still make so many mistakes
and that i need to take better care of my mental health

that i still need to hear a good word or two
just a little bit now and then
it’s not selfish at all, i’ve come to realize
for one can’t keep taking the hits again and again

without some reprieve,
just a a little place of safety
one i found when i stumbled into you
and you said in not so general terms that i was worthy

little bits here and there
words of comfort and positivity
they helped put this broken heart together again
thank you for all the words that rebuilt me

showing me there’s a warrior deep inside
even if all i am some days is full-on empathy
it took some time but it was one thing i needed to learn this year
that i’m stronger than most assume me to be

so thank you for staying, my friend,
even when all you wanted was to go
but you’ve made my world better by staying just a tad longer
thank you for giving me time to let go



a simple wish

it’s christmas eve and i hope you find yourself
surrounded with love, friends near and far, and good cheer

for although this year might not be like any other
we’ve experienced before, my hope is that love never changes,

that friendships continue to exist and strengthen
even through a layer of digital screens and beautifying filters,

and even with all the data bouncing between us,
there is still that thread of all things true –

friendship, lovingkindness, and trust
and know always that i am thankful for you

Listen

birthday

i missed your birthday four days ago
even though I’d made a mental note the day before
to remember it and say a prayer for you
but that day came and went, just like the year before

I still have the travel clock you brought home one day
it still ticks and tocks all through the night
i used to know what time it was wherever you were
until the day you died, alone and contrite

that clock is all i have of you now
it’s the only thing  you left behind
along with the secret life you lived the entire time
the truth your children deserved, denied

so i’ll let your birthday come and go
maybe i’ll light a candle if i remember
i still think of you with every tick tock of that clock
did you ever think of us or were we simply a bother?