7/28/16  #1

This is a poem about truth.

 It seems so subjective sometimes.
Yet events occur, one after the other, in time and space.

Sometimes only the stars witness.


When I shake with fear,

When nausea overwhelms,

When there is a deep feeling of knowing,

That is truth.


Talk to me, you said.

Communication, you said.

Yes. That is the path towards truth.

So many are so desperate for an exchange. To be heard. To be respected. To be appreciated.


Yet threatening is not talking. Blaming is not talking. Assuming is not talking. Telling lies is not talking. Building walls is not talking. Shooting first is not talking.


As my country teeters on the precipice of choosing two divergent paths of leadership,

Let’s hope we choose a path towards understanding, equity and acceptance.

And we look inside ourselves to face our mistakes, take responsibility, and do the right thing.

The stakes are high – both salvation and survival.


Often doing the right thing is inconvenient. Ask Jesus. You lose some of your power when you share the responsibility and the resources. 


Truth is unconditional.


This is a poem about love.






This is a poem about children.

They come in many forms – research, novels, buildings, social justice campaigns, major motion pictures, pets, and gardens.

Yet those living, breathing, sweet smelling, poopy versions are unique in their authenticity, magnetic attraction, and complete dependence.


They grow, question, disrespect and surpass.

They take what you’ve taught them and up the ante.

They teach you what you didn’t want to know.


Because I said so.

I love you.

I hate you.

I’ll always be here for you. No matter what.

You promised.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.


Mother bears and father rocks,

Attacking, defending, blocking, smashing, cheating, twisting – anything to protect.


And this is what it takes to get the job done. To finish the work.

To plow through resistance and rise against gravity.

To publish the book, to get the grant, to save lives.

To make a person.


The arc of evolution bends towards survival.

With each generation change occurs.

Each step is a decision, with a tendency to lean right or left, and an invitation to be strong.


This is a poem about parenting.






This is a poem about denial.


Hoping everything is ok will not make it so.

Praying for me won’t pay my bills or keep the car on the road.

Having faith in magic does not teach me how to use a shovel.


Here on earth, my tears always fall downward.

They seep back into the dirt and feed the next chance.


If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

If you don’t want to know….


The room is silent, the colors fade, the violins become white noise, and the pepper doesn’t kick.


You can only blow away the ghosts when you look in a mirror.

Sorry to interrupt but you look quite scared.


I love the blisters on my hands, the scars on my face, and taste of my lemons.

What has made you afraid has made me brave.

Daisies grow towards the sun, not the wall.  And its hot, complicated, and dangerous near the sun.


Get in there and dig.  Because keeping it superficial eventually cracks.


This is a poem about fear.






This is a poem about Family.

How easily the trust can break,

When not all the facts are in.

Or, how stubborn the ties that bind hold.

New wounds reopen old ones and the cut goes deeper still.

Blood may be thicker. But water quenches thirst, washes away the dirt, and floats us through the rough seas.

I’m held up by the bonds of love, shared experience, and all those hands on deck when I want to move mountains.

It’s a choice.

This is a poem about me.






This is a poem about noise.


There is no breathing room in a life of challenge, opportunity, 24 hours news cycle, narcissism and false gods.




Expectation without understanding,

Thinking in 140 characters, video loops, titles without content.


$ and booze ease the pain, relax the tension, loosen the lips.


Our failings, uncontrolled, rule the day.



Think first, hold out, wave your arms inside a personal bubble,

Scream in a pillow then write it all down.


Waiting reveals

Listening gives

piano soundboard, wings of a hummingbird, drops of rain, refrigerator buzz, distant bark,

in between the lines,

another perspective.


It’s cold, honest, and stings.


This is a poem about silence.






This is a poem about life.


It’s a gift, isn’t it? This fleeting touch down with breath and muscle, 

with carnal excitements and fists of fury.


To eat. To feel warmth. To have ideas and freedoms. To enjoy generosity and inspiration.


To be loved. To be heard.


To see truths under the circus tent. To fight to fix and give voice to the silent.


Stealing a moment from filing the claim, or being on time, in order to notice:

 the person, the difference between Cobalt and Egyptian blue, the fallen penny,

and the injustice.


Inconvenient, extra, essential, slow.

Often bad, sometimes brilliant, transformative.

Indirect, complex, circuitous, challenging.

The only way to stop time.


This is a poem about art.






This is a poem about getting over it.

Recoiling from a sharp dart is not

being any kind of tight.

Holding my defense in place is not

a rigid fragility.

Memory is subjective.

He said, she said. You did, I did.

You are wrong. I am right. 

No, it wasn’t like that. You don’t know how I feel.


What matters is the focus on the solution.

To seek the road to the next step, to the moving on, up and over.


on the past is not the same as –


the pain,

the misunderstandings,

the mistakes.


To dwell is to live in.

To release is to be free – To get beyond it.


Strength in vision, integrity, desire:

To shake hands, hug….. to save lives and hearts.


The clarity of responsibilities and loyalties.

Honesty: yes.

But extremism only leads to destruction.


Is it me or is it you –

feeling unwelcome, disrespected, inconvenienced,

wrongly accused?


We are each the sum total of every moment, interaction, loaded comment, impatient brush off, passive aggressive act. 

Start fresh?


Try again?



This is a poem about compromise.






This is a poem about privilege.


The few, the hard to find.

Extended to the 1% plus a few friends.


Born into it or buy it.


Education, the appreciation of aged cheese, to recognize the taste of tannin, and green olive, the sound of crickets with a full belly and your back to an open field.


The freedom to take a risk, fall, and get up again for another try.


Clean water, warm clothes, a vacation.

Fly your freak flag.

Check the ballot box.


To swim in the pool.


To walk down a street without suspicion. 

But with respect.


This is a poem about rights.






This is a poem about pushing.


I want it now. Reaction. Impulse. Primal lurch towards sugar.

Applause, and attention. Laughing at.

Immediate gratification.


No thought about the hangover tomorrow morning.


But wait… Is the distance too far, the slope too steep?


Upstairs brain

Risk benefit analysis

Executive functions and delayed satisfaction


Knowing when to stop – read the room, empathize and shift perspectives

Give and take. Laughing with.

Competing joys rather than muscle.


This is a poem about playing.






This is a poem about inconvenience.


I don’t like talking on the phone. I get antsy. I need to do.

I need to scrub, type, mold, lift, move, glue, organize and fold.


To chat for me is like twisting Styrofoam or the screech of a chalkboard.

The greeting cards and thank you notes, the little gifts of acknowledgement and Facebook birthdays.

My sands of time flowing faster away.


I’m working on this. 

It’s so easy to create love.

That moment of exchange, of meeting eye to eye, the hug, the quick call.



Condescending patriarchal savior guilt,

Throwing change to the stop sign begger.

The monthly donations of 35 dollars – to save women, oceans, and the news.


It starts at home.


I love the ringlets in your hair.

Let me carry that for you.

Hi Dad – I just called to say hi.


This is a poem about generosity




This is a poem about what is public.

The common ground good wealth space pursuit of happiness

Fresh air, warming
Faucet water, with and without lead
A drive across state lines, a walk in the woods,
A book to read, a letter to mail.

Taxes. The expectation of civic tolerance.
A gate a fence a hedge a lock a wall a fee a citation a slap a fine
A hoop to jump through.

Property.  The owning class.
Land, yachts, diamonds.

Through debt, servitude, loyalty
Your prisons. My feelings of mistrust, hatred and disgust towards you.

My home my wallet my passwords my thoughts,
My midnight fantasies.
You can’t go there.

This is a poem about what is private.

Nita Sturiale
Summer 2016