Category Archives: Spirituality

Lady of the Pines

For a dear friend who suggested there was a poem in this photo. This old tree sits a block over next to a small stream along the fence line of the coal rail yard. When I’m feeling stressed or sad or frustrated I walk my little dog by this tree. I don’t deserve such an amazing gift. The Lady of the Pine, as I like to call her, must know I need her.

Lady of the Pines

mantle of lush green

peering from the wounded

hollow of a great old tree

here to greet all passers by

weary from the fray, offering

hope and gentle healing

on this cloudy day

what say you oh gentle lady

to our troubled hearts

in a world fraught with hate

fractured families, torn apart

tenderly your intercessions

whisper on the breeze

soon the autumn frost will

kiss your rosary of leaves

sending them a-fluttering

to drape your tender feet

ever faithful you’ll remain

until next time we meet

~kat


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 7 October 2018

It’s been an exhausting week. Without planning it, today’s ReVerse sums it up quite well. Too well.

Oh I know there are those who see the culmination of this week’s events as a victory. It’s why they voted for trump after all, knowing full well what a misogynistic, racist, greedy, narcissist he was. He was a means to an end. This end. The highest court of our land is now stacked in their favor. It’s a gift from their god, surely. The one who judges and condemns women, minorities, foreigners, the poor, the sick, children, the weak. Yes, that god, praise Jesus. They are reaping the just rewards for their idolatry. One step closer to the heaven on earth they dream of and pray for each night.

I know you’re thinking, tell us what you really think, Kat. Ha! Am I right?!

Well, I’ll tell you. What I really think. What I know. The god they so piously claim to worship? He is not god…his son is not Jesus. The Jesus I know loved the outcast, the sinner, the poor, the weak. He gave women a voice and included them amongst his disciples. He listened to them, confided in them. It was a woman he first appeared to when he returned. If you believe in the stories written about him. It’s okay if you don’t.

I’ll admit I do not believe in the god of those who call themselves christian. I stopped warming a pew long ago. I could not stomach the lies, self-righteousness judgment, and hate that spewed from the pulpit and festered in the hearts of loyal congregants who gratefully thanked god, their god, for saving them from being like… well, you know, us…the others…the fallen…the lost.

In fact, I feel lost right now. I like to think that there is a god somewhere who cares. That Jesus is real. That all the sages of the ages who speak of love and mercy and forgiveness were on to something. That there is a god who asks us to love one another, to help the foreigner, to visit the prisoner, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, to welcome the outcast…because that’s the kind of god he (or she) is. Yeah, that would be a god worth following, worth believing in.

As I write this I am sitting on my porch in the cool darkness listening to crickets and city sounds droning in the distance. I think about those who are suffering tonight. Those who were hurt this week. Those whose memories of injustice were dredged from the darkness, laid bare, and trampled upon by those who are celebrating a win this weekend. My heart breaks for us all, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. And that gives me hope. I still believe in the goodness of those of us who feel. I believe in that spark of compassion that I see in those around me. God may not be some white haired dude sitting on a throne smiting the unchosen after all, but I’m more than okay with that. I see god in the gentle, the compassionate, the weak, the outcast, in all living, breathing things; I feel god in the wind. I can believe that god. The one who is. I can believe in us. I can believe in you. There you are. I see you.

Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 7 October 2018

i rise like air
listen…there is birdsong
I hearsay, hearsay’s not proof for true seekers of truth
silence
no one would know
weaving threads of silken lace she lies in wait and waits
face toward the light so shadows fall behind, out of sight
death interrupts our planned existence in an instant
trust is fragile, easily lost, regained at great cost
when justice declares her verdict…
saying you believe, but…reveals a mind that is shut
She was a bitch.

~kat

A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 17 June 2018

I realized that I started two of my magnetic poems this week with the phrase “there is no sanctuary”. It was completely accidental, or perhaps it was subliminal. I think it was most likely the latter. I have felt helpless against the recent atrocities perpetrated by my government on innocent people in my name as an American, and now most egregiously in the name of God as well. We are learning more and more about the Trump/Sessions’ “Zero Tolerance” agenda for those crossing our southern borders; the horrors experienced by families seeking asylum in the U.S.; children being ripped from their parents’ arms and shipped to holding facilities, some even lost in the system. A system that uses intimidation and fear to dissuade people from coming here. And now we have a president who is using these innocent children as ransom for his ludicrous border wall.

To be honest, I don’t know what to do. I made a contribution to a legal defense group who is working to reunify families at our southern border. I’ve contacted my senators and congressman. I’ve voiced my concern in poetry, and by linking to help organizations on social media. But I still feel helpless.

And the thing that disturbs me the most is the continued complicity, even support for this president and his ilk from so-called christians who put these monsters in office in the first place. How can they still support an agenda that serves the rich with massive tax cuts that most of us will never see; an agenda that is intent on destroying health care for all, most especially the poor, the sick (in the repeal of pre-existing conditions coverage), and the elderly; an agenda that would like nothing more than to cut off all “entitlement programs” to pay for the massive tax breaks bestowed upon the rich; an agenda that has no respect for the care of our environment, seeing only profit in selling off our precious natural resources to the highest bidder; an agenda that cares more about supporting the gun lobby and its small base of gun enthusiasts, than for the children and others who die from gun violence in increasingly alarming numbers; an agenda that disrespects our international allies while schmoozing with dictators and terrorists…sadly, I could go on, but I won’t. It is too, too much.

But I also refuse to be silent anymore. Fair warning to you Trumpsters. Don’t tell me “all” politicians lie, don’t tell me Hilary would’ve been worse (she lost, we’ve gotten over it…it’s time for you to get over it too), don’t tell me Obama was the worst president in history; dont tell me the Russia investigation is a sham and a witch hunt (20 indictments does not a baseless witch hunt make); don’t tell me christians are being persecuted and that you need laws to protect your rights; don’t tell me it’s good that we are now putting America first. That is not who we are. It has never been who we are. And please for the love of all that is right and good and true, stop using your god to justify your hate, misogyny, prejudice, racism, and privilege. While I may have tempered my angst and outcry the past few years to play nice with you…I’m over it. Stop your whining and suggestion that I should give Trump a chance. I am declaring a “no tolerance” policy on your bullshit. Your actions have put evil in charge and your ignorance and complicity keep them there. It’s time for you to own it.

Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 17 June 2018

in simplicity
never ending rain
nightmares fading to dust
there is no sanctuary
eyes deep as pools
greet the dawn,
power feeds on souls
yet we save for eulogies,
midst a tyrant’s oppression
burdens we carry
to be livable
we have lost our souls
when god was love
heavy with tears

~kat

A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 15 April 2018

Every Sunday I gather a line from each of the previous week’s poems. I call it a ReVerse. I like to read the finished word collage a few times and then write what I’m thinking about it in this space.

But…I was detoured today, and so, there is this…

I don’t normally notice them. The judgmental, self-righteous trolls that stare daggers through us as we go about doing the things people do, like living and breathing. Maybe it’s the swelling tide of intolerance, where it’s become the acceptable norm to shun, to hate, to refuse to serve people like us. No cake for you…we don’t do gay.

We have a Sunday morning routine. After we drop our pups at the groomers, we head to our favorite breakfast spot for coffee, omelets and pancakes. It’s a comforting way to pass the time. At least it had been, until today.

Today, after being settled into our booth, we waited…and we waited…and we waited. After 10 minutes it was hard not to suspect that we were being snubbed, especially when our server glanced our way several times, obviously, before turning away to tap into a computer screen, or to fold napkins. Was she hoping we would just leave…no hot cakes for you? It was hard not to take it personally. She got her wish. After 20 minutes we left our booth. Her back was still turned. She hardly noticed.

But we didn’t leave the building of our favorite breakfast spot. It is our lovely, weekly routine after all. We asked to speak to the manager and while we waited I watched our server as she glanced over her shoulder, peered over the rims of her glasses, and raised her eyebrows when she discovered she had won the battle. Her battle. I can only imagine her silent, “hallelujah, thank you lord!”…the victory cry of this “good and faithful servant” having received her reward for standing her hallowed ground against the likes of sinners like us. I can only imagine.

Sadly, I believe I’m not far off the mark. I have been schooled by many of these saints, that I’m headed for eternal damnation, hell, if you will, and that their great and powerful god considers me an abomination. Or at least they do, and they should know because god, their god, speaks to them. Not only that. There are verses in his book; this one and this one and that, proof that their god hates me and so, they should too.

After apologizing, the hostess offered to reseat us; to bring us coffee, to take our breakfast order herself.

I smiled, “Thank you, but not that server’s section please, any section but hers.”

We were escorted to a sunny window booth. The hostess made good on her promise, bringing us coffee and creamer, and one cup, not two. She was most apologetic, serving was definitely not her forté, and of course it was easy to overlook, because she was being so kind. She was so very kind.

The manager stopped by, as I had requested, ready to listen, I could tell.

“We come here every week,” I said. “We love this place. It’s our routine. But today we were blatantly, obviously, ignored by the server of our section; not a word of acknowledgment that we were there. For twenty minutes…”

And then I did something that I hate myself for. I started to cry. It was not a loud, attention-grabbing spectacle of a cry. My face simply flushed and my eyes welled up; a few salty droplets burned my cheeks on the way down.

I apologized of course. I don’t normally let these sorts of things get to me you know. I just wanted breakfast at my favorite spot with my partner of 18 years, coffee with two sugars and cream, a glass of cool water, and pancakes…and to chill, read the news on my phone, and wait for the groomer to call. I just wanted to breathe. But I cried, damn it! Living should not be this hard.

It would be easy to tell you the franchise name. To call for a boycott, for justice; to invite others to rise up against a business who would employ such a sad, hateful zealot. But it’s not about the place or the business. It’s not about shutting everything down that doesn’t value me or my right to be.

It’s about kindness, and the lack of it. It’s about what we are becoming. It’s about the whittling away of civility and the rise of hate, emboldened by our leaders. It’s about the pervasive lie, the worst lie of all…that there is an “us” and a “them”, that others are not to be trusted, that only some people matter.

Yes, it would be easy to lump the whole franchise, or people, into my own personal boycott crusade, but I’d be forgetting the kindness of that hostess, and the manager, and the other servers who have been lovely to us on previous visits, and the one who finally served us today. That would not be very kind of me.

You might be surprised to hear that I pray every day. It’s true. What do I pray for? That might surprise you too. I pray, not for comfort, or heaven on earth; not for prosperity, or to pass an exam, to live forever, or to land the perfect job. I don’t pray to be protected from others who are not like me. I pray simply that the hardness of life not harden my heart. I ask the universe to remind me, most of all, to be kind.

It’s the hardest thing to do and be, and sometimes I fail miserably. I get angry, and defensive. But mornings like this remind me why kindness matters. It’s a very big, small thing to ask, not only of others, but of myself…please be kind. Please. Be. Kind.

There is still a ReVerse in the wings. I will let it speak for itself this week.

Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 15 April 2018

spring is in flux, bitter
on moonless nights, the veil
the flicker of a new thought
of a single wick consumed
breathing is overrated
a few lone travelers that no one would miss, to save civilization
this very moment I’ll take a stand
one last hurrah, dark night at the gate
much too busy surviving
‘cause all work and no play is a chore
let’s rollick instead, for spite
prickly, pale petal pins
then suspended, in fact,
pause with me a spell
shy and sweet
there’s a lovely stillness
count my blessings, count sheep, pray my soul to keep
the end never comes
might linger til mid-day, it’s my bliss
rarely do I remember my dreams
it’s true…every one sweet

~kat


Cherita – Day 17

we don’t want your prayers

void of spirit, void of heart,
talking points read from a teleprompter

but when there are guns at the gate
you may hear us praying, “build us a wall…”
and the gaslight flickers to black

~kat~


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