absent humanity

We plunder for pockets of warmth
in a frigid winter
while ignoring the most
vulnerable
Who stamp their feet
not to feel warmth
but to be heard
And still they remain
invisible
to us who have shut our eyes
Because we get goosebumps
when walking from our cars
to the mall
No spare time to spare
change
for the world, create
change
for your neighbour.

To have Christian values
is enough
And to talk about the weather
is enough
And to rub our own hands
together
is enough
To create the warmth we need
Others may burn or freeze
But we are the good and
faithful
Like witches who smoldered at
the stake
If they are innocent they will
be rewarded
In the ether.

They have enough
Because we have enough
and because they are
invisible to us
especially in a frigid
winter.

The Should Do List

I should get more air.

I should get some exercise.

I should drink less coffee.

I should drink more water.

I should run.

I should believe in myself.

I should love more.

I should lie less.

I should trust my friends more.

I should give less fucks.

I should be more honest.

I should get less hurt.

I should take my dog for more walks.

I should eat less sugar.

I should smile more.

I should complain less.

I should do something with my anger.

I should write more.

I should watch less TV.

I should organize my time.

I should put more value on time.

I should eat more vegetables.

I should bake more.

I should be healthier.

I should lurk less.

I should get more sleep.

I should get a new phone.

I should spend more time recycling.

I should think less.

I should think more.

I should listen to more music.

I should spend less money.

I should want less stuff.

I should pay more bills.

I should organize my finances.

I should work on my anxiety.

I should confront my fears.

I should clean my room more often.

I should work on keeping my room clean.

I should work on staying in touch.

I should be happier saying goodbye.

I should get off the computer more.

I should go for a hike.

I should appreciate autumn.

I should appreciate winter.

I should appreciate spring.

I should see more sun in the summer.

I should sing in the shower.

I should dance while I work.

I should …should…should…should…

Does ‘should’ even look like a real word anymore?

I should write a “To Do” list.

Why not Wednesday?

Absence.

I am the organizer

I am the planner

I’m the mom

I’m the hostess

I make sure that everyone is settled

Before I feed myself

I make sure that everyone’s happy

Before I’m ever pleased

I am the worrier,

Only for others

I will suffer at the expense

Of someone else’s happiness

I keep track of appointments

I always know the way

When you need something done right

You can come to me.

But the one time,
any of those one times,
that I will need something in return

Silence.

The response is never as fast

As the act that prompts it.

What is fairness and justice

If you expect something in return

anyway

short skirts and low cut tops

This abysmal dismissal of relevant info
a picture taken out of context
a portrait of a young woman
standing alone, skirt hiked up
and breasts pushed out,

“more cleavage”
someone shouts from off set.
“they’ll take care of that in editing”
someone replies

she shuts her ears, hears not the noise
but attempts to only feel the power
in being a role model to young girls,
because I’m happy with my body,
she thinks

but destroys the twelve year old girl
who can’t match that chest or that posture,
hunched over in shame as she is,
never mind that flat stomach – guess
she’s not doing enough crunches

time to get a gym membership at fourteen,
maybe an eating disorder in a couple years
has to plan for the future
has to make her role model proud

strap by strap, a teen laces up the gladiator heels
she saw in vogue – saved a year for them, didn’t you know –
matched that magazine outfit bit for bit
birthdays and holidays combined
got just the right skirt for just the right sweater
just like in that seventeen

a little awkward, those new clothes on the first day,
making minor readjustments
overkill on the confidence
to hide the lack thereof
a few compliments from friends
and a smile ensues

then the whispers from the teachers
and someone coughs ‘slut’ as she walks by
and that magazine model and that
carefully planned outfit – straight from page 22 –
gets kicked to the curb in a cloud of
whorish dust

you should be ashamed
her mom said
and all the magazine said was
on sale for 4.99
not
buy me and your dreams will come true

but that’s how the promise is packaged

false advertising isn’t always easy to spot

and no one tells you it comes with the label “slut”
no extra charge

Vulnerability

A note.

There is a certain vulnerability in expressing a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings to others,
and if you, as a writer, are unable to feel the threat of judgment
as your words escape the prison of your rib cage,
bouncing round in the red orb hung delicately within your chest,
then siphoned through the mind and escaped through the lips or finger tips,
then you are unable to call yourself a poet.

Just saying.

How to make me fall in love with you

Entice me with your words
pierce my walls with meanness
show me you have the power to break another person
yet you refuse.

Show me you have the willpower to stand up
and alone
and have the ability to open your door
welcome a stranger,
and trust they will not throttle you in your sleep.

Tease me with kisses and polite dialogue,
an intercourse of exchanged language
with no innuendo and no
biting sting of
regretted words.

Demonstrate your strength
not in feats of power
but in exploits of courage,
the deed which you complete though
you know you’re licked before you start,
see it through.

Toss your speech with abandon
but not your ideas –
Your ideals are by your heart
and you live not beside them
but by virtue of them
unto others
though they not do the same.

A vital man with an Achilles heel
I in turn choose not to sever,
a choice my own – as all my acts
are of my own volition.

For I have power too.
As you penetrate, I consume.
As you guffaw, I may also laugh.
As you devastate, I ruin.
As you toy, I play.
As you adore, I love.
I am passionate, above all else.

Prove you have a compulsion for life,
you choose endurance over death,
you have potential to be a
raft for those without
water-wings,
for my exigency for life
is almost extinguished.

Demonstrate a lust for adventure
that is comparable to my own
so we can rid ourselves
of this boredom, tedium,
this dullness, together.

You are a collaborator,
a fellow conspirator and colleague,
a fellow traveller on this quest,
upfront and honest,
sparing only of the sensitivity of others,
unless for a private laugh –

For laughter is god overall.
The ability to laugh at good and bad,
strong and weak,
not others, but ourselves,
in the dark and in the light,
a reason to go forth,
and conquer
not all,
but love.

Why not Wednesday?

As it comes round to hump day once more
I take a look at the week I’ve endured –
how many more days to go?

I sit in class and stare out the window,
sometimes wondering what I’m paying for…

Is it a degree? A piece of paper? Is it someone to tell me things I already know?
Because I feel like I could be pushing myself so much more.

I have so much more to learn,
why isn’t everything more of a challenge?

As I stand up in front of my class and
read my prepared speech,
I hear my voice quaver and falter, and I think,
“This is not me.”

But it is, and I am, and I always must be.

It’s time to shake off the nerves and participate in life.
I don’t have time to die poor, alone, and starving –
no matter what kind of artist I think I could be.