Disarray

Reaching out into the void

I catch my breath in a wind tunnel

I catch your scent on rose petals

Lying still in an echo of chaos.

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Identity Politics

Identity is a powerful thing. The more we grow and evolve in life, the more we tend to gain clarity about “who” we are. Some of us find confidence and solidarity in labels: Gay, Strait, Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer, Trans, Nonbinary, Man, Woman, Black, White, Latina, Asian, Deaf, Teacher, Doctor, Nurse, Student, Activist, Artist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, and on and on. There are so many identities we can embody and several that can define us all at once.

Often, labels can help us to understand ourselves and our place in the world. This is especially true for minorities and marginalized groups. A simple label can give a person a sense of community, liberation, and something to stand for. Our identities often drive what we want from politicians and social campaigns. We go as far as to label our political stances: Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Independent. The very thing that can bring people together can also divide us, creating an Us vs. Them mentality.

Some people don’t like to label themselves at all. Not their sexuality, not their gender, not their race, not their belief system, not their politics. People who prefer not to fit into any one category may find themselves being pressured to choose a side, or to fit neatly into a box that everyone can readily understand and, consequently, judge.

Labels can change over time. A person can go from being an Atheist to a Christian to a Buddhist. A person can go from being a woman to gender-fluid. A person can go from being conservative to liberal. Few people stay in the same boxes their whole lives. We are creatures of change.

I think labels can be valuable. They give us a sense of self and purpose. But I also think fitting into a box can be limiting. When it comes to politics, many (not all) gay people will take a stand for gay rights and social acceptance. Many (not all) women will stand for women’s rights and feminism. Many (not all) immigrants will stand for other immigrants and refugees. But it can create a problem when people only take a stand for their own identities.

If people who are not directly impacted by the struggles faced by the LGBT community, the deaf community, people with developmental disorders, people with mental illnesses, Black people, Hispanic people, etc, aren’t as educated or involved, what does it say about political movements? If our politics are mostly driven by personal experience, how can we expect others to step outside of their own experiences to understand our needs?

I think we need to challenge ourselves to step outside of our own labels. I think sometimes our politics need to transcend our identities. And I think the way we do that is by educating ourselves on the experiences of people who are different from us. Otherwise, we’re stuck in our own bubbles, surrounded by a group (some smaller than others) that understands our struggles and our fight, remaining as unaware of our neighbors as they are of us.

I think it’s important for us to know ourselves. But I also think it’s important for us to build bridges by knowing about others, too.

You Deserve

You deserve to pause and feel the rain. You deserve guilt-free cupcakes and moments of laughter. You deserve friends who love you and people who respect you. You deserve peaceful nights and rested mornings. You deserve walks in the park and time to gaze at the stars. You deserve to hear your favorite music and to dance around your room. You deserve to smile. You deserve hugs and hot tea and warm blankets. You deserve kisses. You deserve adventures and new beginnings. You deserve to be happy where you are. You deserve to have your dreams come true.

Jack-O-Lantern

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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A jack-o-lantern rests

On wooden steps

Guarding the house

With its bright, carved smile

And triangle eyes.

A little flame flickers

Behind its rounded nose

Letting everyone know

That autumn has arrived.

When the sun sets

And the stars come alive

The jack-o-lantern’s light

Is three times as bright.

It illuminates

A familiar path

So that a family

Can always find its way

Back home.

Butterflies in the Garden

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s butterflies in the garden

And plastic, pink flamingos

Standing tall above rows of tulips

As robins sing in the tree branches above

 

Bumble bees visit the daisies

Drinking nectar in the summer sun

And blades of grass

Tickle our bare feet

 

Cool water falls from the sprinklers

We drink lemonade and blow bubbles

Sometimes a day can be simple

And memorable all at once.

Cave

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s a cave

Looking out at the ocean

It’s cool and dark

But sunlight pours into its mouth

Like honey.

Waves crash against the rocks

And the air smells like salt

As spiders spin webs

Between rows of stalactites.

There are secrets here

Drawings on walls

Of lovers’ hands

And an abandoned compass

With a broken needle.

And yet the cave feels

Completely unexplored

Like the ocean keeps all the memories

Hidden in its depths

Always making space

For a new heartbeat to come along

Disrupting the silence

Just by listening.

Sun Shower

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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Rain falls

And the cool drops

Pitter-patter on the sidewalk

 

Birds find shelter

In tall trees

As a gentle wind rustles the leaves

 

The sun shower kisses your hands

And your face

And everything smells like spring

 

Flowers drink up the water

And your worries are washed away

Today is a new day, a fresh start.