25 Men, 50 Dates, 4 Months

online dating

The first one tells fart jokes.
The second refused to vote for Hillary.
“I just couldn’t,” he says. “Too dirty.”
The third brought a gun to a spat with his wife
and now visits his kids supervised.
The fourth hates his parents still, over four decades in.
The fifth – well. The fifth moved his folks
into a condo down the road so his girls could grow up with them close.
The fifth leads the pack for several long laps.

The sixth – or maybe seventh – mansplains the origins of mansplaining.
The eighth – or maybe ninth – a white guy who dates only white women.
The tenth, still married. The divorce is almost final. Almost.

The teens get jumbled. It’s hard to keep track.

The programmer an hour in
blushes when he admits he loves poetry and once came alive on stage.
The IT guy started a new job today
and also, it’s his 50th birthday.
When the slice of bread pudding appears, candlelit, he laughs in surprise
then cries.

Remember the fifth? He flies to Vegas then San Diego.
He offers an extra ticket.
The schedule never aligns. It never will.
His voice catches when he says goodbye.

The twentieth has a record.
40 days in the clink.
He says his proudest thing
is that his son
has never seen him take a drink.
The twenty-third calls the mountains his church.
The twenty-fourth, he finds the next question to ask
inside the answer to the first.

I fall in love a little every time.
Even with the one so anxious he stutters
only three syllables at a stretch then goes mum.
He showed up. He tries.

Every one a brother.
A beating heart, a map of scars.

Fart jokes, I chuckle.
Mansplaining, I spar.
The one who curses his parents shares the breach of faith no child should bear.
I sit with the boy still aching for atonement.

I stop bothering with the question “What are you looking for?”
The only answer is this
Listen. I will hold you now. Exactly you.
This is the promise I make
as you work yourself up to revealing
one corner of the half secret
invisible ink on onion skin
tucked in behind the script.

And this, the prayer:
That you will know yourself boundless.
That you will know you are loved.
That whether or not you find
what you think you want,
you will feed your heart’s hunger
on what we plant

Image: Hanna Barczyk for NPR


Not a Bit Tamed, Untranslatable

Marlina Vera Couples


“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to use a public library? Or lose the dog forever?”

“The library,” I say. As long as they exist for everyone else. I could live without them. Besides, my friends could bring me books.”

“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to read a book again? Or lose the dog forever?”

“The dog,” I say. “If she’s going to a good home, I would miss her terribly but she’d be okay.”

“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to read a book again? Or the dog dies?”

“Neither,” I say.

“You have to choose,” he tells me.

“No, I don’t.”

I reject the false choice. No situation in this world demands such a splitting. I claim it all. My love is vast. Like Whitman, I contain multitudes.

Continue reading “Not a Bit Tamed, Untranslatable”

Listen Instead

Barzana Dawn Dance

Don’t call.
That’s the only thing. Do anything else at all.
But don’t call.
Eat too much peanut butter. Water the plants. Walk the dog in the pouring rain.
Don’t call.
Empty the suitcase. Start the laundry. Place the new pottery dish in its place.
Think about him again.
Don’t call. Continue reading “Listen Instead”

She Says To Me

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith - Pachamama
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

Desire, heartbreak. A headline shrieks the momentary drift back to bloodshot vigilance.

She gazes back to now and says

Hold those eyes open. Ears too. Skin. Throat. You will find the break in thorn and bramble, the place your body fits though.

Continue reading “She Says To Me”

Desire Path

MacDonald Frances Desire Path

Then and this. Now and here.

A pause.

Cool air shivers skin. The bus engine grumbles below plastic seats molded to cup a human’s soft places. Thighs of meat padding bone. Outside, women in a pack bustle down the sidewalk in jeans stretched taut.

The days grow shorter.

Even so, I forget. Forget to stop and touch the zinnia with its five shades of orange tethered to a center like chocolate. Forget to let the crepe myrtle dip across my cheek. Barely notice a fat bee chugging past me towards what bursts from the hedges. A body that should be too weighty for the tissue of wings somehow stays airborne.

I forget that eventually, everything falls. I forget to catch drift.

Continue reading “Desire Path”

Welcoming September

The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us.

Alexandra Elle

peg green flaming chalice

Barely a month has passed since the Board of Directors at my UU church welcomed me into my new role as the Lay Minister for Membership and Outreach. I could just as easily say they approved or endorsed or just plain voted. Yet none of those words capture the experience of stepping into this world of Unitarian Universalist leadership as much as “welcome.”

My family only began attending the local church in July 2015. Many of my fellow congregants carry much more history and knowledge about the workings of the community. I have to admit, when the Reverend suggested I consider lay ministry, I laughed out loud. Little old me? Newcomer? Someone who should rightfully still use a green mug during coffee hour?

Continue reading “Welcoming September”