Wail - The Entire Poem

(I've been posting bits and pieces, but here's "Wail" in its entirety) 


I was not born for the rush of the stuff,
for the  pennies glittering from their fingers,
for the forms and the plans and your John Hancock here, miss;
I was not born for highlighters and calendars
for instant play / messages / gratification.
I was not born for the diplomas and the dollars
to trade for houses in which to press sticky notes to my refrigerator
and maybe a few finger-paintings and Christmas postcards
until I’ve accumulated enough stuff to call it home.
my home and also my bills and utilities and extinguished light-bulbs.
I was not born for the rush of the stuff
so my world turns to me and raises its fist and tries to tell me
that I was not born. 

But I was born.

I was born and I am here to prove it, fleshy and many fingered
with two legs and two elbows and round cheeks and green eyes
with lopsided bangs I chopped myself
with freckles on my arms and ink under my fingernails
and no dimples;
I was born.


I have been told my head is full of abstract balloons like “wonder” and “hurt,”
useless ideas, not tough & gritty like hot air balloons with canvas and splintering wood
but like bubbles, untouchably fragile.
They say if I carry on I will become like the others - drop outs and burn outs -
the others gave up so they could sit down,
I’m giving up so I can stand up. 


I weep with the tears of a muddy cheeked child,
nose running, knees scraped, fists pounding the air or crumpled against my stomach.
I cry on my knees for nothing, not knowing what war I fight, only knowing I must not surrender
or all will be lost. 
No tragic dew-kissed eyelashes, no hair caught like a banner in the wind;
the only melody in my tears is the silence of the earth around me,
the unchangeable straw struggling against tree roots and thistles,
unruffled at hoarse mumbling and muffled wails. 
I am not a suffering goddess,
I am a scrabbling beggar,
and that is my strength.

Take my hands, beggars and children, muddy fingers clutching at muddy fingers,
we can suffer together, unbeautiful and unbound. 


I am deeper than my sorrow. 
It is easy to be heavy, 
hard to be light.
If you tugged away my skin and plunged fingertips into my heart,
pushed past weeping willows and tendrils of melancholy,
and quiet tables with wine glasses brimming with bitter words, 
and moaning creatures eating broken chocolate,
if you pushed past newspaper headlines and politics,
and memories of boarding windows against tornados and tropical storms,
you would find
my deepest, wisest, most profound self:
A wild-headed child laughing 
and blowing kisses
at the Sun.                                                                                                              


  1. So very very strong and poignant. Did you write this all at once in one go?

  2. Thank you :). No, the sections were written at different times.