Sunday, November 3, 2019

Beneath the Surface



Beneath the surface
a firefighter reflects,
even cries.
They did it — they didn’t let the fire
spread beyond 101.
They were not going to repeat
what happened two years ago.
They were not going to
let this one kill more people and
burn thousands of homes.
Beneath the surface
even though 77,000 acres burned,
they succeeded.

Beneath the surface
the new CEO of PG&E gets a
2.5 million dollar salary.
What if that money went to
update equipment, poles,
put wires underground?

Beneath the surface we pay our 
electric bill by flashlight.

Beneath the surface
no matter how many households
had their electricity shut off
a single jumper on a tower broke
and set off a spark
that seems to have started it all.*

Beneath the surface
I’m exhausted from carrying around 
all my valuables in and out of my car
for four days.
Bad air still hurts my lungs,
I had to cancel my class and now
I’m in bed with a cold.
I blew a fuse last night.
Did they turn our power off again?
No, I still see light in the next room,
but how that thought sent panic
through my body.

Above the surface
we’ll get past this one. 
Friends will help friends
and life will go on.

But beneath the surface
we are living powerless to the wind,
in fear of flames
and always knowing what we will pack
the next time around. 


*The cause of the fire has not been determined. But according to PG&E, a jumper on a tower, a metal connector between an incoming and outgoing electrical line, broke seven minutes before the fire was reported. The 230,000-volt power line that runs through the 40-year-old tower, critical to electrical operations, had not been included in the outages. PG&E has not provided the exact location, but investigators were seen under this tower off Kincade Road in subsequent days, with the area cordoned off. (from the San Francisco Chronicle — October 31, 2019 2:20 p.m.)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Thirst



They are all older than me —
the mountains, seas, trees.
They hold the wisdom of the years,
the secrets to survive.
They know not to fret
over small things,
that the world goes on around them
crazy and blind.
They remain steadfast in presence,
all drinking from the same pool —
the one at the center of the universe,
the one offering me a sip.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Solstice



Nothing has hindered
the advance of summer —
Not remains of fire
or fear of more,
Not crying children
or deportations,
Not nuclear proliferation
or lies
or murders
or the tearing apart
of our country at its core.

We are bound by nature,
a force as large within us
as around us.
We are one with it.
We are nature itself.

So when the rose greets us
let us feel renewed.
And when the lavender fields
are in full bloom,
let us, like the bees,
sing in harmony.
And let us drink the fruit of the vines
through centuries, perfected.

Let joy creep into our souls
and celebrate
that we have no control
of the seasons,
that summer still comes
and brings its warmth
and joys and fullness,
and carries us on its path
into the future, into the light,
into the sun.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Contemplative Still Life



Nothing is still.
So, what does a still life capture?
A fleeting moment
sculpted in time,

a breath, an instant
that lasts forever,
an image we go back to
again and again,

like a memory repeating itself
over and over,
creating a vision
that no longer exists,

yet is there—as real as ever
in our thoughts
in our dreams
in our minds.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Eclipse



As the moon
made love
with the sun,
the glorious glow
impregnated the world
with a sense of awe

and for a moment
we were all united.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

To My Ancestors



To you, whom I did not know.
To you, who took the steps
to create your future,
to carve a new path as your world
turned upside down. 

To you, who left your country,
your soil,
to brave the seas
and take a chance on life —
to start over
to have hope
to linger in thoughts and dreams and aspirations.

To you, who created the footsteps
to continue life
to want more
to nurture and bring forth a new generation.

To you, who let me be born
out of the desire of the human soul,

I thank you. 


Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Road to Nowhere



A happy ending seems unnecessary

when the journey is deep.
When stars awaken you
and love strikes a path.
When silence happens
at any time.
When you fall away
into his arms,
into another world.

The sun within you rises.
You slow down—only for a moment—
but you know you can.
You feel the life you want.
You can breathe it,
almost taste it.
It is not a means to an end
but a path full and rich.
A trek into the unknown
with no light to shine the way
yet every step knows where to go.

There is no happy ending—
only a road
speckled with beauty
and trust
and faith.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Spring Came



Spring came
as they said it would.
Out of the ashes
out of the dust
out of the air.

Scars remained
and landscapes changed.
People left
as nighttime laid heavy
on the hearts of those who lost.

Spring came
and branches
burst forth their blooms.
Days got longer
and bird songs filled the air.
Spring came
with the anticipation
of the bite of the first garden

as if through it all
something there is
that always
stays the same.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

We Rise



The light of day 
is growing longer—
a glimmer of hope
escaping the midnight sky.
This year
where thousands of dreams have perished,
hundreds of eternities have come alive.

The path is clear.
We rise again 
out of the rubble of the heart.
Verses are spoken
visions are shared
candles lit
prayers said

as we walk toward the promises
of a new year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Turning Point



When everything is lost
we realize there is something
that cannot be lost.
Something we have never seen
or touched,
something we cannot name
but we can feel.

It leads us on.

A resilience comes from somewhere else
and we know we can make it —
because there is no other choice 
than to rebuild and start again.
But it is not from scratch.
Our depths have been challenged
and we will never be the same.

And when a community 
shares this experience
there is no telling
where it will lead.