Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Wilderness Moment

The jungle looms over me–
Dark, foreboding.
Tangled vines and thick brush forbid passage.

The river flows behind me–
Clear, pacific.
Easy flow at a comfortable rate invites continuity.

Angry predators shriek satiating victory
As prey keens a mortal wail.

The gentle waves lap the shore
As breezes playfully stroke the surface.

I look before me:
I see the singe of those who blazed and failed;
The burn of shame and humiliation roars.

I look behind me:
The camp sits on the shore;
Comfort, safety, and complacency whisper.

Fear snivels:

You can’t. You’re not good enough.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not healthy enough.
Everyone hates you.

Debt snickers:

I have you.
You’re where I want you.
You can’t leave.
I will bury you a mile deep.

Failure snorts:

You quit your first love.
You’re not a real writer.
You can’t get the chores done.
Your unwise decisions will set our table again.

My heart gives way.
My eyes fill with tears.
My spindly legs knock knees clumsily.
My machete and flame thrower clatter to the ground.

Faith soothes:

You are His child.
He will make your path straight.
He will prosper your body and soul.
He will lead you to serve.

Providence succors:

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
He sets your table and fills your cup to overflowing.
He forgives every debt, including sin.
He will supply your needs according to His glorious riches!

Victory shouts:

He leads you beside cool waters in green pastures.
He is more than enough.
He will help you do all things in His will.
His mercy and grace are eternally new, and He gives wisdom to the seeker.

Peace covers my heart.
My eyes dry and brighten.
My drooping hands lift, and my legs stand firm.

I pick up my machete,
And I lift my eyes to heaven.
The work must go on.
Weary travelers need a path.


An Open Letter to Jessica Valenti

Author’s Note: I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog drivel to share something that has hit me hard. I saw this article come across my feed today, stating that Jessica Valenti was leaving social media. It is about how some women are being targeted and forced out of social media because some people don’t like their views. I know I’ve written about this from a different perspective in Death of Blogger, so let’s flip this truth diamond and look at this from a different angle yet again.

Dear Jessica,

I know I’m not a personal friend. My blog probably would never be followed by you. More than likely, we’d disagree on too many issues to number and discuss in this life time. And I’ve not yet read or heard your work, so I’ll have to do some due diligence later. :’)

I am so sorry you are going through this. I cannot begin to describe how you must feel, how precious your baby is to you, how hard leaving social media must be.

I can describe the fear and dread I often feel. I know in a way it’s cowardice for me, as I write under a pen name late at night after I’ve tucked my three angels with hidden disabilities into bed at night.

But I chose to write under a pen name so I could at least get my ideas out. I’ve studied history; tyrants often choose to take out those who are different, those who write and think, and those who would be the defenders long before they attack the rest of their “enemies.”

And growing up in a small town, I’ve seen how sometimes those whose gifts are different can be belittled, bullied, and emotionally destroyed by the majority who don’t have those gifts or ideas. Sometimes, they even tease children for what parents or relatives have done. Yes, not all places are like that, but some are. And in those places, not all people are like that.

I also learned that you have to assess the situation. Is this a bully you can kick between the legs and get some street credit? Is this a bully that you can hide from for a while so he or she forgets you and then you come back in a different part of the area? Is this a bully that you need to run and never come back to?

I think social media is our new small town. Trolls are just the new bullies. And we bloggers, podcasters, and whatever term is in vogue are the freaks, geeks, and outcasts they tear down to make themselves feel bigger, better, smarter, and taller. And sometimes, they will be so small they’ll have to target poor, defenseless children to feel better.

None of these realizations made me feel any better. I’m sure they won’t make you feel better either. Unfortunately, you cannot hide forever and you cannot hate an entire place for the actions of a few.

What can we do? I do applaud a temporary halt from social media. Completely disconnect everything, pack up your precious little girl, and go someplace off grid. Rest, relax, and revel in what I’m sure are some precious and precocious antics your daughter engages in. Yes, it will be hard at first, as none of us is used to the deafening silence that comes in the absence of electronics.

But don’t stay away forever. Come back with protections for your daughter that make you feel she is safe but leave you empowered to voice what you believe. I may not accept what you believe, but if I want the freedom to express my beliefs within reason and courtesy with respect, I need to give those who have other views the same freedom.

When things get bad again (and they will), I’m not going to say to suck it up, because the stress of sucking it up can be physically and emotionally damaging. I’m going to argue that we need to work together to shield one another, to circle the wagons, and to lift and encourage each other. And sometimes, we need to carry the deeply wounded off the field to a hero’s welcome and let them stay away.

I don’t know your religious background, so I don’t know if this will help. I intend to pray for you and your little girl as often as I see your name in writing, not that I would change your heart or views (not that it isn’t possible) but that you would both be protected and you would have the strength you need in that moment to speak the truth that is necessary.



Welcome Back

Sitting at dinner tonight,
A bashful spark of light
Poured joy into my life.

You laughed politely,
Smiling and joking,
Not seeing the sparks in man-child eyes.

With innocence and wonder,
I saw my little girl,
And I saw the woman.

I felt pride, and  I felt fear.
The future filled the present.
Hope and faith stood firm.

Nika’s Darkness

Author’s Note: A while back, I was researching a topic loved by my daughter who wants to train dogs. I must’ve gotten lost because I found myself watching videos in another language (Farsi, Ukranian, Mongolian — it doesn’t matter) of dogs just this side of wolf that shepherds in rural desolation had fighting things larger than those dogs . That session inspired this piece.

Nika shook, sniffed the air, and bolted without tripping over her tail for the little cave she used to share with the pack.

She was confused. She could follow leaders, but it was four-leggeds not two-leggeds.

Inside the cave, she curled like she used to when her mom was caring for the brothers and sisters in her litter. She tried to make her tongue reach where she ached, but it could never reach the jaw leading back to the base of her ear.

She didn’t understand the two-legged. She’d howled and snarled, trying to warn him that her former packmates though still her friends were scenting on his dumb sheep. She pawed at the place they’d marked near the flock so they could find it during lambing.

Nika stretched, began to roll in the dark dirt, and bat her sore jaw with her paws.

He did not understand, and he kept barking those two-legged sounds. They were painful to hear, and she didn’t understand. She smelled that two-legged angry scent. Most two-leggeds walk away when they get like this. But this one… she marked as she rolled while seeing his image in her pack memory, then she shook and curled whelp-style.

She was confused. Some of her kind ran with the pack, and some of her kind stayed with the two-leggeds and their dumb sheep.

She didn’t understand why two-leggeds loved sheep. The sheep couldn’t find food, couldn’t smell danger, couldn’t even stay out of danger. They don’t even play. Admittedly, the sheep do taste good when the two-leggeds give food.

She wanted in the pack that served the two-legged. Usually, he was good about feeding and watering them and getting them to run again when they’re sick. So she couldn’t understand when he started pointing that long branch at her what he was going to do. For the others, he threw it for them to find and bring. For her, he whacked her with it.

Nika stretched again, whimpering. She didn’t know what to do.

Should she go back to her old pack? They were rough and tumble. They did kind of smell awful. And sometimes food wasn’t there.

Should she crawl back to the two-legged and try again? His pack was somewhat older, and they needed new members. Dumb sheep usually mean the food is good. Maybe he’s not a bad leader. Maybe he’s just not used to how her pack runs.

Nika curled up again, and true darkness overtook her. She was alone and confused without a good leader. Sleep in a place hidden from dangerous predators was good food.

We Are…

Author’s Note: This poem, although no crude language is used, should be considered Ma for mature audiences. It’s going to be a laundry list review of injustice throughout history.

We are…

Descendants of homosexuals your sultans didn’t stone
Granddaughters of witches escaping your inquisitors’ pyres and Puritan ponds
Generations of indigenous surviving your diseases and addictions
Children of matriarchs you raped as spoils of war
Orphans of women dying in labor after years of annual pregnancy
Daughters of women your parents warned you not to become

We have come from those…

Who were different from your people
Who didn’t meet your standards
Who had no voice in your affairs
Who had no value in your eyes

We are human.
We are male and female.
We have value and a voice.
We matter as God’s children.

It Is What It’s Not

It’s all sweetness and light,
But the saccharin is cancerous.
The chapel bells ring,
But the cacophonous tune is deafening.
The skies are blue,
But it’s the color of choleric melancholy.
A breeze is blowing,
But its tepid, putrid wisps won’t soothe.
I can smell the rats,
But I cannot follow their tails.

Who am I to be
When everything I am–
How I reverberate,
Why I resonate–
Is where I cannot be,
Is what I am not permitted to be?