Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poetry Thursday (final) -- The Walker

Didn't follow the prompt -- but something I wanted to write a poem about. Going to miss our little get-togethers . . .

The Walker

He walks around and around the Ferry each morning
Covering the tiny circumference of its deck
Wearing a thin path of footprints in the morning moisture
Energy expended while traveling into the city.
Weather makes no difference to his determined step,
Just pull up the hood on his yellow rain jacket.

All the while . . .
Sun circles around the Milky Way
every 225 million years
Earth circles around the Sun yearly
Moon circles around the Earth monthly
Earth rotates on its axis daily
Ferry circles its route every ninety minutes
And the Walker circles the Ferry for his half hour trip.
Watch and see, tomorrow morning it all spins again.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poetry Thursday -- Change


Nothing stays the same – seas rise, buildings fall
Babies are born and people die.
The rest run routines of comforting illusion
That if it’s not the way it was, it’s the way it should be.

But the uneasiness remains, floating above each day
No one really knows what part of their life
Might disappear without warning leaving only empty echoes
Being beloved is no shield, just an assurance of heartache.

Reasons why are unknowable and even so no consolation,
Unable to relieve the paralysis of uncertainty
But without choice everyone goes on carrying on their backs
The unceasing risk that it could all change tomorrow.

Note that this wasn't written in response to Poetry Thursday shutting down -- but it certainly is appropriate in a bittersweet sort of way.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Poetry Thursday -- Flip Flops

Lightening things up a bit after last week . . .

Flip Flops

When I was young if you went out you needed
To wear proper shoes that covered your toes
To protect your precious and vulnerable appendages
From horrendous injury marked by pain, blood, and gore.

Flip flops were not proper shoes. Okay maybe for a trip
To the beach or pool but certainly not appropriate
For going to the store, or church, or riding your bike
Because of predatory escalators, pews, and spokes.

But now it appears that flip flops have come into
Their own, evolved beyond their use at pools and
Showers into standard footwear to go out anywhere
To the store, to the office or even (gasp!) on a hike.

Of course this no doubt signals (according to my mother)
The beginning of an epidemic of bloody toe injuries and
Other catastrophic amputations as well as the end of
All modern civilization as we know and love it.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Anti-racist Parent Meme

1. I am:
Caucasian and immigrant members of my family came to America from England (early 1800s), France (via Canada - late 1800s) and Germany (late 1800s).

2. My kids are:
I have a daughter and son from a former marriage that are genetically related to me and my ex (family came to America from Wales). My youngest daughter is African American and was born in the United States.

3. I first started thinking more about race, culture, and identity when:
My husband and I were in training to adopt my daughter. It was the first time that I had really had to confront white priviledge and understand how it affects how I see the world. However, I must say that it had been lurking in my mind for many years -- really ever since I was in second grade, living in the south, and came face to face with how difficult the living conditions were for many African Americans there -- I was delivering a ticket to a play I was in to the home of a black girl in my class and until then didn't even know how poverty could look and how connected to race the situation was.

4. People think my name is:
English -- it's actually Scottish (my husband's family came from Scotland -- but close enough).

5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
How we are there for each other through thick and thin.

6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
Ignoring difficult family problems and muddling through rather than facing the facts and coming up with a solution (painful though it may be).

7. My child’s first word in English was:
Not applicable -- daughter is only nine months.

8. My child’s first non-English word was:
See no. 7

9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
Totally English speakers here.

10. One thing I love about being a parent is:
Baby hugs. They are the best!

11. One thing I hate about being a parent is:
Lack of sleep. I thought she'd be sleeping through the night by now . . .

12. To me, being an anti-racist parent means:
Raising my child to have a positive self-image about herself, her looks, and the culture she was born to. I want her to know that she will face people who will judge her because of the color of her skin, but she will have the skills to not allow this to stop her from doing something she wants to accomplish (and also to educate some, too -- if she wants to). I want her to feel proud of her heritage and comfortable with her history as a transracially adopted person. We are working to forge connections for her in our community to help this happen.

You can read more about Antiracist Parent (ARP) at

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Poetry Thursday -- Ode to Pat Tillman

I'm not really much interested in politics -- and the war is just plain sad in my opinion -- but this possibility crossed my mind after hearing about his personality. Also, no disrespect to his memory or his surviving family intended -- this poem is supposed to be anti-war -- if it makes any kind of statement other than a warning to strong personalities considering the military.

Ode to Pat Tillman

The dangers of war are known to all
Multitudes of ways to make men fall
Mortar, landmines, infection, disease
Conspire to bring soldiers to their knees.

But other dangers some soliders face
If fond of putting others in their place.
Group dynamics requires some tact
You never know how others react.

Those surrounded by men heavily armed
Should know life is not magically charmed
Decision could be made by those helping you win it
The squad would be better off without you in it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Poetry Thursday -- Familiarity

Here's poem written in response to feelings brought on by the adoption of our daughter.


Two adults with children
Seen anywhere together.
First photo of a new baby,
Pictures of kids as they grow.

You search to see, cannot help
but ask – how are they
alike? Does he look like me?
Does he have the “family” eyes?
Does she have, heaven forbid,
the “family” nose?

How pleased we are to say and hear
“He looks just like his daddy” or
“She’s a spitting image of her mommy.”
As if a match was to your credit.

It’s done without thinking
this alliance of familiarity.
Why do we claim a child
through bone or body shape?
After all, the surface shows
So little of what a person is.

This superficial visual sort
cannot be the only way
to put together family.
What a different process if
character was as visible
as the color of the skin.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Poetry Thursday -- The Ghost Orchid

Inspired by a family connection to a recent news/Internet story.

The Ghost Orchid

Rare ghost orchid found in Florida
In a preserve we visited as children
Running sneakers on the boardwalk
So noisy we’ll scare everything away.
Luckily our noise did not bother the plants.

Just look at the roots, experts say
It’s been there for years as we grew
From children to adolescents to adults
Then bringing our own rambunctious children
To walk the planks but still no one saw the ghost.

Hidden behind sheltering green cypress branches
It bloomed each summer for two brief weeks
Beauty unappreciated, unseen, unbeholden
With nine blossoms -- three times normal --
Corkscrew Swamp’s overachieving orchid.

But a hurricane whipped by global warming
Tore the screening branches away to reveal
The rare blossoms to be cherished, prized
Like time has torn away the everyday
Making treasures of family memories.