Freedom Rings

Freedom like that letter from your mother that said she was proud of you like walking up the streets and nobody cusses you like realizing your wrists are no longer sore

freedom! For those who stand naked in front of the dryer waiting for the spinning to stop for those who get shooed into dark corners and shushed for peace are not experiencing the same freedoms as us

freedom! looks like ice cream looks like fearless protests looks like death freedom shaky now altogether now freedom to be treated like a truth teller at the doctor’s

freedom to pick my bed freedom to get mad to get mad to get mad at all this lack of freedom freedoms I cannot even paint because of how free I am freedom to choose freedom to dress to sing to dance to do more to do less freedom to say boy you’re harassing me through clenched teeth freedom to shoot a man dead freedom? To have my daughters and sons not be raped by -worse than wolves- well meaning men. Freedom? To fall apart at the seams and be stitched up again with less friends. freedom means so much more to the few.

Freedom a rhythm that pulses you into do. Freedom to peace in the midst of chaos. Freedom to keep your thoughts your thoughts. To rebel in subliminal plots. Ought to be shot. Freedom becomes ought to be shot. To silence another’s act of to take crack at another’s to silence to revenge revenge another’s freedom is what makes the world go round

freedom to choose

and the universe chooses to stay in its courses while we can’t sit still for one minute at another’s say so because of- because we’re jerks. And we plaster freedom over heartbreak wounds injustices and expect it will stick. When all along it’s been leaking out. We’re forcing a vision onto the clairvoyant. We’re forcing a-a pulsing of war into every breath when freedom has always been taken from what’s left. Freedom! Pick it up where you find it, stitch it together and clothe yourself. We say. Breathe in breathe out. We say. Fight. We the free cannot tell others what freedom is because we are spoiled of it. Freedom is a soldier’s life. I’ll give mine they say. Freedom is love. I’ll search for him with my dying breath. Death. Freedom is death. Yet we live.

Wisconsin

Boulders dropped by God in forests thick as fog
Monet skies recede and pull you into view
Bogs and mural-painted barn
A divet in the pond
Piles of stacked logs
Rusted backwards E’s threaded with cable
Solitary bald eagle

The Conversation

Washington skies are eye-blue
Clear as a newborn’s cry

I walk shivering and backwards
To keep an eye on a full harvest moon
Close enough to skip a rock
Far enough from you not to stop

Giving precious teddy away at the airport
Saying I’ll see you again
Knowing we’d lose each other right then
But I always thought I’d see that bear again

When the baby is close to due
I call you
And you say, aye, maybe somehow part of me lives on in him
I say no and wonder why I’ve called

Shallows Walker

He seems so earnest
In the shallows
Dragging his bucket through for sand

She so pretty in the drying sun
In the shallows
Pressing through for deeper water

Oh, he’d rather tickle the shoreline
And prophesy of golden castles
As she heads into deeper water
He walks among the shallows

And unexpectedly in trouble
she calls for him once twice
Thrice
He destroys his sand castle
While she rights herself
Panting
Treading water

Not as pretty when drowning
And somehow it matters
That his princess needs saving
“When she had so often saved herself,”
He mutters
Pity.

He scoops up a fresh bucket of sand

It irritates him
This shallow walker
Shell collector
Beachcomber
When she walks by him shivering
Blocking the sun

When Morning Breaks

Crackling storm in the distance coming
Nearer to God as nature’s humming
Here in the breeze
Birdsong’s tucked in

I hung up at three
And your voice continues strong

I simply hear the song,
Hear the song

Hiccups of thunder
Rolling laughter
I wonder how long we’ll last together
A spritz of spiritual connection
Never keeps you dry

I hung up at three
And your voice continues strong

It simply plays the song,

plays the song

What Is the Matter With Joy?

The uncontainable smile shaped and strengthened by shadow

The soot

The pastel oils

The soft chalks of depression
Shade every moment
Highlight every joy

We stamp on it
Stomp on it
And still the flower unfurls
even in the hard gray

Unforcable
Untamed
Yet tempered by pain
Into a more glorious purpose

Hated and called false
Because of its shadow

Which shows the shape of hope
The matter of joy

Where We Cross

Avoid the bees bouncing about the lavender
Use the bird knocker
And cross the threshold

Night bleeds into day
shadows spread into darkness
The sun yet in its place-
Only us turning away

Cross the threshold
Letting the wind yawn into the hallway
Letting the gap between us fester as ember-eaten wool
Letting the whole black freckled with stars become our only greeting

Turn to me