Helpful Heart

Helpful heart,

I hear your song.

Thank you for your

soft, sweet tones.

Helpful heart,

I see your strength.

Thank you for your

courage and care.

Helpful heart,

I know your wisdom,

thank you as

you’ve gently led.

Helpful heart,

it is through you

that I feel the love

I truly am.

There is only this.

All else only awaits your help,

my helpful,

healing heart.

It had been awhile since we had seen each other last.

It had been since before I saw my Father pass.

A man that too was once your husband,

all these memories so close, now gone so sudden.

But this was no time for sadness or sorrow,

this was a time of love and union and tomorrow.

Just as there is a time for sunsets and mourning,

there too is a time for celebration and dawning.

Before I had come, I thought of one thing-

what I wanted to take away, and what I wanted to bring.

In all the years since I had finally become a man,

I had yet to dance with the woman who was there since it all began.

And in a rare moment only perhaps a full moon could create,

I grabbed your hand to dance and we walked to our date.

We laughed, and we cried, and we gazed as we swayed,

taken up by the moment and those real things that don’t fade.

I swear you saw him for a moment when you looked in my eyes,

and a part of you smiled and lit up the skies.

I watched as I saw something magical unfold,

on the beaches of your pain, a grain of sand turned to gold.

I know buried deep there is a sadness inside you,

where you blame yourself for things you did and didn’t do.

Perhaps it’s a story I am now telling myself,

that I helped for an instance heal a wound back to health.

Or maybe it was his way of saying from the other side,

he’s sorry he hurt you, and he knows how you tried.

All in one moment, I got and I gave,

what I had wanted to bring back, and take away.

Glass Between Us

There is a glass between us,

bent and broken perhaps,

from a past long forgotten.

Fragments of faded feelings

and lost moments gleam across

our lives like light atop a lake.

In the way atoms only appear to touch,

we are fools to this friction.

Played out in tangled up tones.

In words and thoughts that have

to take their time to

become something more,

a sweet surrender to silence

settles in my bones.

I feel different now.

Like words from a story

that once put us to sleep

the past is left in pictures

we now keep.

Still there is this glass between us

and in this way and so many more,

I see you and

how once upon a time

we danced together,

I yours, and you mine.


   Image result for death

       It is common knowledge that death is a topic of discomfort and distress for most people. Often we are expected as adults to not bring up this subject in front of children or at social gatherings, as if the reality of our connected morality is a truth not yet invited to play and ponder at any party. What a strange world we live in where such an undeniable truth is rarely given breath. It is only, if we are lucky enough to have such connections, to be discussed infrequently with close friends and family–mostly acceptable in the days and weeks after the loss of a loved one. But for these conversations to take shape outside of these acceptable environments it is often perceived with unease or spurious subtlety, reactions wide ranging from offense to avoidance. Why is this? Are we simply a product of our youth crazed, beautified, go-forever-society or have we always been like this–stiff armed and shaky with anxiety in the face our own truths? We will all die. This is truth. Why can’t this be okay? Or better yet, why can’t we learn to love it? 

        It has been over a year since my father passed. I often find myself replaying moments of his passing in my mind, images of him smiling and the smell of his scent, the color of his skin as he faded away and the last time we gazed into one another’s eyes. These thoughts flood my heart and break the levee of my emotions nearly every time. Simply put, I cry. And I do it often. It is always in this place that I connect with him most dearly and most deeply. Perhaps I feel it all so strongly because deep down I know this is all I have left of him. Perhaps, in some way it is him. All I know is, it is something.

       After going to this place, I always want to reach out to others, particularly those that knew him best. Not to find comfort for my pain but to connect together as I did by myself in my own tears–to feel the love. This, unfortunately, rarely happens. Instead, I find places and people that are so shaken by the topic and simultaneously the pain from having lost our shared loved one that walls and distances are put in place to help them feel safe. I don’t blame them for this and I don’t judge them either. I know in their own way they are only trying to keep their love for my father safe and to protect themselves from their own pain. This has little to do with conscious choices and more to do with these societal circumstances throughout their lives that have led them to close off in these moments as opposed to leaning in. If they only knew of the abundance that was waiting for them to be met in these moments with open hearted vulnerability they would make another choice. They would lean into their feelings and together, the intimacy present only for a funeral, could be something exercised willfully and often. To clarify, I don’t mean shedding tears and sobbing for those men easily disregarding my words, although perhaps that is what it looks like for some. I mean connecting to your heart and your loving during the topic of death as opposed to clinging to your fears, phobias, and familiarity.

       I imagine Obi-Wan Kenobi reminding me of the power of the force, but instead it is my father telling me to be open. There is a force that surrounds us, that penetrates us, that binds us with the galaxy, it comes from making a choice in the moments to do things differently. To unlearn what we have been taught and what we have seen. To rise above our fears and face the moment with unabashed authenticity. I know this because I have done both since he passed. I have made the choice to do it differently and lean into my feelings. And when I have, I have been rewarded with a connection not to my pain but to the love I have for him. A love that strangely connects me with something universally beyond, something bizarre and beautiful. I have also leaned out and not made the choice in moments where my openness was met with unease or judgement. In these times it was done with unconsciousness and in these times I have felt the depths of my pain and my sadness. I have felt isolated and I have felt alone.

       The past year, I have watched myself wildly change. In some ways I wish my father could see who I am now, in other ways I wish no one did, especially my fiancee who has patiently loved and silently participated in my pain of leaning out as well as the power from leaning in. I have done and said things I couldn’t have expected, I have put myself first in moments where I always went last. I have put others before me in moments I had always put myself first. I hurt and pushed people away, I leaned into and got closer with others. I closed myself off to the world and hid, I opened myself up to the universe and shined. I felt more alive and alone than ever before, more loved and lonely than I ever could have imagined. I laughed. I cried. I loved. And I tried. I tried my best to experience it all and even still, I know there is a lifetime of lessons awaiting me. An endless tapestry of colors yet to be experienced and expressed. And while some of it scares the shit out of me, I know it is all there to help me grow and to become a better human being.

       To accept death, to experience grief, to express your pain with presence is the most powerful way I have seen to live a life more full and more free. It seems like the perfect joke. Paradoxical and laughable, that we would have to remember what it is that we forget. Death is only a door and on the other side is not the unknown but a life worth living. The key is leaning into love in those moments where everything is telling you not to–everything except your own heart. Just listen and you will feel the force.


In all of your words

and in your own ways

you have shed your feelings here.

Tears watering soil.

Like a farmer

I have harvested and plowed

these fields,

trying with my bare hands

and my hungry heart to nurture your land.

But now,

in the barren and broken Winter

a solace and a silence have settled here.

I continue still my labor of love

for this land,

even as my hands crack cold

and my heart aches.

The Winter winds blow past

these empty trees

and keep whispering to me a question

I don’t know how to answer.

I listen still.

If words are weapons,

what are feelings?

There are no straight lines

on the streets anymore.

There are no more minds

that drive on through too.

There are no more holes

to hide in or

windows where we can

look out to everything that is gone.

We are all leveled off,

equally as boring

and bored all the same.

The game does not favor

the bold or the meek,

the mild or the ferocious.

It just goes on.

And the song plays long

after the affair and into the dawn.

There are no more choices

in cause or chaos,

no more freedom or fire.

There is only a desire,

for the few left

un-deaf to the beauty of

one’s own conscience.


A Tree

The phone is ringing

and the pine trees just beyond the window

are standing strong with snow.

Love is on the other end of the line

but these tall, silent being don’t care

or stare, or hear anything at all.

What does love look like to them?

The flash of sunlight coming over the horizon perhaps,

or the birth of their own seed as a sprout,

the rejuvenating rains of Spring.

Still they stand here, unwavering.

The phone is ringing again

and love is on the other end,

but I just want to feel like a tree.

I just want my love to leave me be.