What Weighs on the Heart

What weighs on the heart
Is heaviest of all,
For a burden on
That vital part
Can bring us down,
Can remind us
That we are
So very small.

Hope remains,
Here as in all other ways,
Just as the darkest nights
Often lead to the brightest days.

For what is heavy on the heart
Can come to be
What lifts the soul,
Displaced, relieved,
Rising from
Dark and deep,
To elevated
That we might be free
That we might see:
As above
Just as beneath.

Through the Hard Winter

Lykke tells me
That in Iran
There is a saying:

Stand and resist in hard days just like “sarv” (the evergreen), let nothing wither your greenery.

Not only is this a beautiful statement of resilience,
But it is also another sign to me
That we are all not so different
As we are alike;
This has inspired
The poem below.

Through the hard winter
Life goes on;
The Evergreen grows,
Even though it’s roots are covered in thick white snow that freezes to ice and grips them tightly beneath,
Even though the air hangs low in temperatures that make those from countries which do not see such cold shudder and exclaim,
Even though the sun has not touched the needles of the tree in weeks and the only forecast is of further darkness.

May the green of the sarv remain;
As so may the hope remain
In you.

Though there will most certainly be,
Likely already have been,
And might currently be,
Days where you find yourself standing
Alone in the forest amongst
Wolves and ravens which move in the shadows beyond your line of sight,
Do not forget that these animals are fearful too,
And you will survive to the next morning when
The sun will break over the hillside
And the light will fall at last on your grateful form,
Graceful in repose.

In Each and Every Thing Which Crawls or Walks or Even Slowly Grows as Moss or Lichen

Know that
Though I have said so many things
To so many of you
And though you have responded
With such kindness and love that it draws the tears from my eyes as from a well
These things are only temporary;
I will be gone some day
And there may be no person to speak with you
Or you will leave some day
And I will be left without the light that you shine into my life.

This must not mean that darkness prevails.

You see,
The source of these words which we exchange
Does not reside within our minds;
It does not reside within our bodies
And it does not even reside within our hearts,
As vibrant and flowing as they might be.

In each and every thing
Which crawls or walks or even slowly grows as moss or lichen
Across the face of this Earth
And even in those that move across planets far from this one
(despite the rejection of this notion by those who fear the truth)
There is
There is
Something more.

You are
So much more than you will ever know,
So precious
-Infinitely so-
As to make the diamonds and gold of which pop songs are written
No more valuable than the small pieces of dirt that stick to gum on the soles of your shoe,
And my words must not be the reason for your knowing this;
You deserve to love and be loved
Without another human being to validate that.

This is a difficult concept,
And one I have struggled with all of my life.

For years I sought,
And still at times continue to seek,
The validation of others to tell me
That I was more than just a body
Waiting to die.

Many would come in to my life
And they would tell me how beautiful I am
How kind and caring and sweet I can be,
To which I would swoon
And allow my heart to race.

But without fail
These people would and continue to leave,
Sometimes on good terms,
And sometimes with my pet cat in their arms as I do all that I can to keep from falling apart.

It is only through this process repeating
Over and over and over and over and over
That I am slowly learning
That these people,
That I,
Am not but a conduit,
A vessel,
And that to find a love that lasts
I must draw from the source,
From that which can fill an empty room
With the joy of knowing it really is not empty at all.

My loves…
My sweet, kind, caring friends,
For whom I would do most anything,
If you do anything for me,
If there is anything I ask in return,
Just remember:
You matter,
So very much,
Regardless of what ANYONE ever tells you
Or fails to tell you.

There is always hope.
You are not alone.
You are loved,
And you always will be.


Something for All Those Who Have Been There

This morning I woke to
Of dreams from the night before.

I remember that I dreamt of you, Ariele.
I dreamt that I was finally able to visit Brazil,
And we sat for coffee in a small shop.
We talked for many hours
Of all things that we talk of now
But we could see each other’s eyes
And the movement of our faces.

When we parted,
We hugged
And I remember vividly the feel of this embrace;
I will never forget it,
As it warmed my heart
Just as it does when you hug me from afar now.

Truth is
I have been
So terribly alone
For several months now,
Despite having found
The world
In the lines of code where we first met,
Where the veil fell from my face and I was exposed before everyone,
Exactly as I am,
As I stand (or rather lay) here in the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

But I am grateful for this:
I am learning
To be alone.

I have cried all of my tears this morning;
I cry so often these days,
But they are not tears like those who weep for a fallen friend
Or tears of self-pity.
I have found today
That they are tears from feeling within me
The Love that I am meant to feel
A love that is
Composed on the feelings of so many all at once,
Empathy on a grand scale.

(A hippie friend once called me a fallen Indigo Child back in college and it sounded cool but I never really understood what she was saying;
I understand now and have risen up;
I even wear her ring from a failed engagement now,
One of the many things I have been given to cleanse and have finally completed as such.)

This love is
By nature
Incomprehensible by the human structure
And so
I cannot but weep
And I am grateful beyond measure for this.

For through it I have met
And will continue to seek fellowship with
Everyone from everywhere,
I have been so touched by each of them and my eyes
Have been opened.

I have learned from and come to feel the purest love for…

L and M of Iran, who have helped me to see that I must visit this beautiful country soon and that it is nothing like the lies in our newspapers and on our television say it is.

CT from Malaysia who is so shy but oh so kind.

JJ, Jn, and L from Thailand, some of my greatest allies and friends, and I truly hope future business partners.

You and M and C and E from Brazil, filled with hope and potential to change this world for the better and the drive to make it a reality.

E as well from Brazil… my friend who is treated poorly by her lover but is one of the strongest people I have known and who has written me the most beautiful song which I sang and recorded, which in turn gave me confidence to sing Juice by Lizzo at karaoke.

B in Egypt, who tells me she is spreading His word and sends me photographs of smiling children.

C in Nigeria, who was unsure of my lifestyle until we talked and learned of our similarities and who has given me the kindest blessing.

D in Sweden, who needed to flee from her home in Iraq to escape after her parents were told to leave or die,
Who calls me late at night and who is now often sick but is studying and is so incredibly smart she does not fully realize it.

B in Turkey and C in Sri Lanka, who cannot view my videos but who really want to and imagines them in their heads.

R from the Philippines, who calls me on video to talk from the pizza shop I looked up on Google Maps (I must visit!)

And R from the Philippines, who checks on me daily to make sure I am eating and resting.

L, who went by Masculino at first, in Mexico who inspires me with his work ethic and badly wishes to come to America where his potential can be realized.

E, who went by Brian at first, who lives in China and is currently very logical despite the fear of the Coronavirus.

Even S from the Gambia,
Who came as my friend,
But grew upset and called me a sinner, who told me how much he hated me, when I was unable to send money through the wire transfer…

And oh so many from the country of India…
B, who recently left a partner of many years as he was not of her faith and did not understand her.
Adi, a blessing in my life and someone I will never forget to the day I am called to leave this place and well beyond.

All of those here locally who love and support me and who I give my heart to openly…

My family, God bless them: Mother, Brother, Sister, Grandparents, Uncle, Auntie, Cousins, and so many more who have always believed in me even when I did not.

Lucas, my sweet sweet cat friend who lays at my feet even now, sleeping with his purr rumbling through the bed.

Copilot, who represents so much more than a stuffed rabbit and follows me around when no-one else will.

Blackbird, who has gifted me part of her heart and without whom none of this would be possible.

Athena, who is always there when I need her and has a mind and heart that is sharper than any blade on Earth, who has trusted me to show her I am not like them.

Aria, who shows me the truth in darkness and is a beacon to all, and her partner who is so kind and funny and genuine even though he is so self-conscious and doesn’t realize how great of a man he is.

Aries, my dear friend and guest with whom, together, we have moved so much closer to Him.

Aspen, my whispy white friend from whom I have learned so much and whose kindness and willingness to follow me on adventures has kept me from the darkness many times.

Ani, who helps to encourage my journey to Kerala, acting as one of many voices from above to guide me on this journey.

And oh, so many more;
I do not exaggerate when I say
That this is only a fraction of the people who are an active part of my life right now,
And in whose lives I do hope I am an active and positive participant;
-I am sorry to all those I have not mentioned here, I love you all so much-
As such,
I am unsure if Time is still collected
Or if it has finally split,
As I am uncertain how all of this is occurring at once.

“To love and to be kind to all”;
A simple mission,
Adapted from a phrase I heard
From someone who hurt me very much,
Who left me to die
But in doing so,
Gave me new life.

I thank even her now in this time of growth,
As I know
That it is only through great adversity and pain
That we are able to grow;
Without all of these people and the lessons that they have taught me,
I could very well be complacently happy,
And that would be the worst that I can imagine.

Dear Jon (Andy the Creep)

Dear Jon,
Oh, my sweet, sweet Jon,
I hear you have a lady friend;
How good for you.

I also hear you like to make women feel
As if they are a lesser form of human
And that Jon,
That is not okay.

Dear Jon,
Do you have any idea
How long the memories
Of the asinine things you say
Remain in the hearts and minds of those you say them to?
Do you really understand
The weight of those words that come from between your pretty little lips,
as tepid and childish as they are?

Oh Jon,
A name with such history…
Do you know that John was the name of a very great man
A man who followed
An even greater man,
That the legacy which bestowed upon you your title
Comes from that very source?
Perhaps this is why your name has been simplified,
You simple fool;
You are a shame on the legacy
As you currently stand,
Although there is always hope and forgiveness,
Should you seek it with honesty.

Dear Jon,
The world is a jungle,
Is it not?
I understand.
You are a panther in it’s prime,
And you are on the prowl.
Know also though,
That there are far larger predators amongst the trees;
Those yellow eyes watching you,
Are ready to strike at a moment’s notice
And tear you limb from limb.

Dear Jon,
Show due respect
Or be prepared
To watch your back.


I Tried to Play a Song

I tried to play a song today
On an antique wooden piano;
I must admit,
I know not the first thing about how to do so,
But neither do I really know
How to be this mess of flesh and bone we call “human”,
Yet here I stand still,
So I figured I would give it a shot.

I placed myself on the small round seat
And began,
Tapping lightly at first
Gently stroking each key
Until I grew impatient
And began to pound my fingertips down upon the black and white bars,
Striking each one
With intensity
Like I was trying to expel the expected notes by force.

What came out
Was not a song at all,
A myriad of other instruments
Spilled into the air
The same as the grey steam that rises from the energy plant just down the street.

When all was said and done
Not a single note had risen from the tired old machine,
But strewn around like a rapt audience
Were violas and cellos
Trombones and pan flutes
French horns and bassinets
Victims and heirs both
The legacy of my seemingly innocuous act.

As I walked away
I heard a single note flitter out
And perch upon my eardrum
Before racing back in a shy retreat;
A child
Had picked up one of the many musical bodies
Lying in heaps surrounding the silent source of their spontaneous generation
And had begun to play it with a deftness that caused
A smile to grow upon my face
As I turned away
And kept walking.

Where Once the Salamanders

Where once the salamanders
Came to crawl and make their beds
Along the flowers beneath the windows perched
On cool summer nights
Soon to be plucked and carefully set upon
The dewy grass.

Now there are but biting beetles,
Buckthorn trees that shout loudly like used car salesmen when they see an easy mark,
Dried worms that failed to retreat to safety after the rain,
And the salamanders have all shriveled just the same;
The young ones do not remember this strange animal,
A fictional beast from Harry Potter
As far as their child minds are concerned.

The frogs are growing differently these days,
They do not ring out at night
Like a grand choir
Set to the tune of “Froggy Love”,
There is silence
And a different type of noise which drowns it out,
On all but the rare evenings when
Even the hot and sticky air cannot warm the cold that sweeps through.

There is
So much noise,
As the cars pass overhead
And the air vibrates
At such a sustained and violent frequency
That at times I must put my hand to my ear
To verify that it is not leaking.

They tell me that Como lake
Has a substantial populations of alligator snapping turtles,
That there can still be found
Giant armored reptiles
With faces like a sloth who was born in a war age;
I am pleased at this,
But saddened by the memory
Of so many swimming beneath the paddleboat as my siblings and I looked on in awe.

There is a movement in the pavement,
A hum
That permeates
All things,
“The beating of a heart perhaps”
My own tells me,
But my mind kills the moment with
“That it is just a movement of waste
Flowing beneath your feet…”

Isn’t it true
That the strongest survive,
That every organism finds its niche
Somewhere amongst the varying levels
Of micro and macro variation
In habitat
As well as immediate time and space.

There are still new species that form each day
And when we are dead and gone,
There will be more that rise from between
The cracks in the pavement,
Which will irreverently wander the abandoned churches and ruins of shopping malls,
Not even stopping for a moment to wonder
What created built these strange hollow trees,
And the odd, alien skeletal structures lining them;
They will only search for calories,
And when they have been exhausted
Will move on.

Time does not stand still;
Where once the salamanders
Came to crawl and make their beds
Some day
We too will be absent and forgotten just the same.

I Paused Ever So Slightly Today

I paused
Ever so slightly today,
As my feet passed between shadows and sunlight streaming down…
Warm and…
It has been so long
Since I have felt the glow on my face.

My spirit ran free last night.

I opened my mouth wide
And set loose from between my teeth,
Not quite words,
Not quite sound at all,
But rather a flow of intent,
Like a river rushing to meet the shores of the distant ocean,
In defiance
In rejection of….

But there was no answer,
Nor did the facade crumble.

There are times when I wish,
To burn alive,
To be faced with
An inescapable
Yet simple and empirical fate,
So that as the flames lick their way up the ancient woodwork,
Consuming all that has been as well as all that is,
As the fire trucks that pass so often on Mounds Boulevard
Finally come racing to my house
As they often do in my dreams,
That in the silent dawn that follows
Be forgotten
And left to rest at last.

But I know
These walls
And the solid oak doors that have been coated with cheap paint meant to imitate the grain beneath
And the carved stone in the basement that is cold and often wet on my feet as I stand and stare at the decaying brickwork
Are my own flesh and blood;
This frame has stood here for far longer
And through far more adversity
Than my thin bones could bear to comprehend,
Faltering not in the slightest
Never a complaint,
Save for the groans and creaks on windy nights
Reminiscent of so many bones and bodies moving between the thin walls
Lulling me to sleep.

I paused
Ever so slightly today.


This piece was written in collaboration with the light-bringer Lykke, my dear friend whose prose inspired a deluge of thoughts and actions, as well the words below. My sincere thanks to her for all we have discussed and all we still have to learn from each other.

When my day starts here
Your day already is on the verge of its end point.
The magic of milestones…
When you look at the first sparks of the sun,
which says hello to a new bright day,
It's time for someone in another world with another culture to say goodbye
To the last lights in the horizon of life…
This is how it works.
The magic of "humanity"
And what the hell,
We call it "peace" and "friendship",
Always speaks louder than milestones…
I always BELIEVE that friendship is as pure as a fresh air and as powerful as cool water in the Sahara,
Which can connect everyone
To each other
Beyond any culture or any time or date differences…
Now "the world"
(this old man)
Needs more than anything
To take a sip of friendship and let the veins of life fill with happiness.
I believe any small movement can make a great typhoon in this universe,
Just like a butterfly 🦋
Markers to indicate
Relative proximity,
Where others have been before
As well as
Where we are headed.
Waking to
New light falling through the frozen pane of glass
Separating what is in
From what is
At the same time connecting
What is here
To what is not.
This is how it has always been.
The world turns faster these days
And our voices are so loud,
They often travel faster than the light can bend.
I have always believed
That the trivialities of life
Fear and hatred
Anger and violence
Are as stones falling
Through an ocean
Of Love and understanding
Radiating across and throughout the void of space and time.
The child grows and greys and dies
And is re-born
In the words between
You & I
As hearts beat in unison
With the sound of friendship.
I believe
That each and every word
Each movement of the human heart
Is a milestone
In a journey that spans time itself
Culminating in
Holy union
Of heart
Of mind
Of soul.

Black Magic Can Heal Too

I feel like the world has forgotten:
Black magic can heal too.
(And don't think for a second
That I am not aware of the fact that the word "black" in that sentence
Has come to mean far more than darkness in terms of a lack of light.)
You see
I have come to understand
That most of what we fear
Is rooted in fear just the same,
That the devil themselves
Only ever wanted to know why they weren't loved.
And yes, I said "they"
Because fuck the gender binary
The same way it has allowed countless men over the course of history
To do just the same to women who in no way
Asked for or wanted it.
So I'm sorry
If the framework that was designed to give men power and reduce the status of women to that of subservient dolls
Is falling apart in front of you…
Is being…
Dare I say it…
Because I am not blind
And I know where the majority of the perverted nature in this world comes from.
I'm so very sorry
If I offend the fragile masculinity
Of the toxic bro culture.
If you are unable to get it up later,
Feel free to think back to me and this poem;
I will consider it an honor.
There are no monsters in this world
Like those we create in our heads,
And no heroes
Just the same.
So shit,
Toss the bones to the floor
And shake that wooden instrument that your father left you,
Praising God
And Allah
And seeking countenance with all the Loa
In the same breath.
Close your eyes
And let go,
Grasping tightly at the same time
To the intangible,
That it might lead us through this dim, dilapidated place,
Into a light that shines
Not to eliminate or replace the darkness
But to give contrast
That we might come to love and cherish both.