Circa 2012

I went on a walk with Destiny to get outside of myself, my mind, my restlessness, do something good. I found a son grown into a young and thoughtful man helping his father put up Christmas lights. I felt his calm presence, so mature that I found myself feeling younger than him and wanting to model him by slowing down my pace, being mindful of Destiny and my breath and the world around me. I found a teenage girl playing basketball with a heavy set middle aged man with Down Syndrome. Reminded me when I felt my best, compassionate and responsible. I thought if I was in San Francisco I would somehow have the courage to talk to them. I felt so nosey. Were they related? Was she volunteering? I realized that even I wasn’t that close to my uncle or other adults in my extended family. I felt guilty.

A 6 year old brother and an 8 year old sister on bikes and scooters wanted to pet Destiny. They said how it was going to rain and were thinking how they’ll avoid walking in wet shoes all day since they don’t have rain-boots. I said how lucky they were to do art and write stories and how when they’re my age, they’ll look back at their old work and say, “Wow! I was such a cool kid because I made this!” Then the little boy said, “You can do it as an adult too. Just get some paper and a pencil” and that tomorrow it will be a perfect day because it will be raining. I said that will be great because I could draw and write a story about the squirrel who threw a leaf at me. The girl mentioned that a bird threw a rock at her which started a conversation about penguins using rocks to make their nests. The girl thought I was in high school but I told her I’m in college but I haven’t talked to kids for a while so I start to talk like a kid when I’m around them, which makes me seem younger. The girl smiled at this; the boy looked confused. It was so nice to get out of the box, out of my comfort zone, and into the world, being the person I want to be.

 

The Space

 
The space between us
Cycling through
Invisible and unknown
Affecting all that we do
Unfolding, changing
Numbers reasoning
Ignorantly predicting
The how, the X
The question
The connection
Possibility, probability
The universe’s dominos
It’s surrounding us
Moving air and sound
Dancing, unpredictable and free
The space holds all that could be

Best Friend

 She’s thirteen
And laughing so hard
The changes she found
Forever inside her
Waking up early
Conversations fluttering
She can say anything
She’s found her friend
Together, inseparable
Faces hurting
Smiling at everything
It’s all related
Filtered through
A ridiculous lense
Pigeons walking intensely
Building suspense
With the soundtrack in their heads.
Someone gets her
Understands her
Inspires her
The relishing, the sharing
The capacity
To be there happily
Enthusiasm for life
Indulged again and again.

Mandy Knows

 Mandy knew
And she always did her best.

The best that she could do.

Thoughtful at school
Kind on the playground
Sat in the circle
Sat on the ground.

She sat crossed-legged
Without a sound.

She shared her toys
Respected her teachers
She picked up the trash
Fed the class creatures.

Mandy knew
To let others have a turn
And wait at the fence
To play four-square
Or freeze-dance
Because fairness

Was her biggest
Concern.

And Mandy knew
To make her bed
To pick up her markers
To pet her cat’s head.

To be generous
To listen
To make hearts glisten
To care and share
And always be prepared.

She knew to be dutiful
To patch holes with thread
To make her mama smile
And good words said.

She liked them happy
She wanted them proud
She liked them liking her
And hearing those words
Out loud.

But sometimes
It all went wrong.

She woke up early
But the bus was gone
She washed the dishes
But two hundred have spawned
She made a castle
But only scribbles were drawn.

Her teacher said,
“Mandy, why are you late?
Don’t you know
To come before eight?”

Her mama said,
“Mandy, why aren’t these clean?
Don’t you know
This is a horrible scene?”

Her brother said,
“Mandy, why did you scribble?
Don’t you know
I want a castle, not drivel?”

But little did they know what
Mandy knew.

Quietly she washed
Determinedly she drew
Early she rose
Pushing herself through.

Hours of hard work
Dedication and time
Little did they know
How much she tried.

But Mandy knew
And yet she tried harder.

“This way they’ll see,”
She thought,
“All the hours I spend
To make them happy.”

But Mandy kept getting
Disappointments and sighs
Sometimes they’d even
Roll their eyes.

The more she got done
The more her bus was gone
The more dishes she cleared
The scribblier
Her drawings appeared.

She was folding her laundry
When her mama found a sock
Saying, “What a sad sight
To see it mixed with the darks.”
Fabric turned gray
Because of a simple mistake
White goes with lights
But it slipped away.

“Doesn’t she know?” Mandy cried,
“How much I’ve tried?!”

And with that final word

Mandy stopped.

She stopped folding
She stopped trying.

She stopped caring
She stopped drawing.

She stopped cleaning
She stopped giving.

She stopped
Stopped
STOPPED!

The dishes piled high
Homework covered with red ink
Her room was very messy
Her cat even started to stink!

Her bed left unmade
She ignored every critique
Not scared of a bad grade
She was absent most of the week!

During dinner Mandy stared
She didn’t want to eat
Her brother boasted
How he was focused
And earned himself a treat.

“You shouldn’t earn
When it’s your job to learn
Who cares about treats and those things?
They’re just a carrot on a string,”
Mandy said with a sting.

Her brother yelled
Mandy yelled
Emotions left unstable

Her mama yelled
Mandy yelled
The cat ran under the table

“What is going on around here?!
This is more than I can bear!
The chaos has to stop and cannot stay
Mandy, dear why are you acting this way?”

“Because I do it all for you
But you just don’t see
How much I push to try to be
To be thoughtful, tidy, good and true
A good daughter, a good student
Everything I struggle to pursue
You don’t understand
And you never do
How much I try to do for you!”

Her mama turned away
And lowered herself to a chair
And Mandy could see a tiny tear.

“I’m sorry Mandy.”

Quiet and tense
The pause was immense.

“What you say is right and true
I haven’t been a good mother to you
I try so hard and maybe too much
To be a good mother
To push you to do better and such
But it looks like I’m very much out of touch.”

Mandy stepped closer
And reached for her mother
Her mama meant no harm.

She hugged her warmly
And heard another sorry
It was an end to a wrong.

The next day
After long school hours
And a cloudy rain shower
Mandy came home to unwind
And recharge her power.

She opened the door
Making sure to avoid
Her markers on the floor
And that no toy’s destroyed.

On her desk was something new
Three little notes
One pink, one yellow
One blue.

But one thing was common between them all.
They all said “thank you”
Whether her deed was big or small.

One from her teacher
Full of praise
Telling her how she loves
Her short stories and essays
She said she used one as an example
To show her students another angle.

One from her brother
Saying sorry for being picky
That drawing castles can be quite tricky
And admitting that her colors
Were actually kind of pretty.

And one from her mama
Promising she’ll take notice
When Mandy is doing her best
Because the best is all one can do
And whenever she’s being thoughtful
She deserves a sincere “thank you.”

Because Mandy knew
To be generous
To listen
To make hearts glisten
To care and share
And always be prepared.

She knew to be dutiful
To patch holes with thread
To make her mama smile
And good words said.

Mandy knew
And she always did her best
The best that she could do
To show that she cared
And that she was good and true
That she sincerely wanted
The best for everyone she knew.

Now she knows
And now it’s clear
That she’s not alone
Because she sees
That they care too.

If I’m lucky

Altruism, compelled by goodness

Feeling what someone else feels, empathy, caring about their feelings, appreciating who they are and their truth and reality

Joy of someone’s presence, happiness caused by something or someone’s existence, feeling joy when you see a person feeling joy or happiness

Wanting to spread happiness, health, life to others, wanting the best for someone, making sacrifices for someone with sincerity, willingness, and positivity

Secure and confident even if the person leaves you or finds someone else, your love keeps you invincible

Self-less without being a martyr, relaxed and comfortable

Companionship, home, understanding, deep understood trust

Playful, expects nothing back but fills itself, self-sustaining

It’s contagious, open and freeing, makes everyone into better people, allows people to use their full potential

Exchanging strength and willpower, empowering and advocating others

A guiltless, fearless, burden-less, subconscious drive to do good deeds because you care about things beyond yourself, making you feel alive

Positive regard without pedestals or infatuations or projections

It’s a quiet, deep, soft, strong, pervasive feeling

It’s honest but kind, reaching and joining, validating and exploring.