The too-many

It’s like
the world got a taste of
for one 20-year generation
thanks to our own
curiosity –
our talent for
forging double-edged swords –
and what we discovered
we are
– seven billion of us –
the same
but different
so we choose
to focus on
and fear
the differences.

Only the differences.

Always the differences.

They terrify us
so now too many want to
slam the gates
hoist the drawbridge
build a wall
build our arsenals
kill what we fear.

The too-many
want to be free to
go out
go everywhere
take everything they want
not let anyone in
So the too-many revert
to tribalism
and killing
and hate
and prejudice
and competition
and survival of the fittest.

(How ironic that the too-many
don’t believe in
evolution or natural selection, so they
practice devolution
and unnatural selection via purging.
This ‘time’ concept we invented
doesn’t run backward
and in purging….
Well, dead is dead forever.)

News flash:
Pandora’s box is wide open.
You – we, not “they” – opened it.
The too-many can try to shut it
all the chaos is out
Out there
In here
The too-many can’t live with it
like fools
will die trying
to reverse that
sorcerer’s-apprentice spell
of our own making.

And will wait
for a full-fledged sorcerer
who does not exist.

Somewhere along the way
“I want to live, but if I can’t live
in a world that fits my expectations
I’ll die
and take as many motherfuckers
with me
as I can”
became a thing.

[15 july 2016]

my own private Ireland

Here is where I find myself after I fall asleep

Green isle, blue and golden and pink of mountain, of rocky shoreline, of winding cobbled street, of creek and purple sea and field and tree

I stand in the road, not knowing where it leads or where I need to go, so I begin walking

Dragging my bags and boxes and a little wagon wobbling on unmatched wheels, filled with stuff – just stuff – I brought along

People appear along the road, greet me by name

People young and old and ageless and of all colors and sizes, speaking languages I do not know but understand

And I greet them by each of their names in an accent and in a voice that is not mine but feels like a warm sweater

Along the road I enter an arboretum filled with giant trees that I have never seen before but I know them, their names and bark and leaves, branches, blooms, seeds, and all the creatures that live among them

From this open, airy forest come running to me every dog I’ve loved and lost, all young and whole and completely free of their need of me…. Yet they come bounding with joyous tails and gleaming coats and eyes glowing with love, bounding to me
And they speak my name

Followed by all the dogs who once owned me, I cross a bridge over dark water where stars glimmer in the depths, and enter a city

A city – and suddenly I am aware that I’ve dropped all my bags and boxes and the little wagon is empty, though its wheels still turn, now smooth and quiet and perfect

Why is it now so effortless to walk? Weightless, effortless, weightless, effortless and without pain or hindrance

As I look down I realize that my heavy shoes are gone and a circlet of little brass bells adorns one ankle

My clothes have transformed into a wide and flowing gypsy skirt, wildly colored, and a long scarf of silver gauze drapes my shoulders and flows down my back, yet no one stares at my bare breasts because I am beautiful and no one is looking at me

My skin is made of light and my eyes hold oceans and my hair springs out long and vibrant, changing colors with each shift of sun and cloud

The animals come to me unafraid, and I smile at the people unafraid, and I know each one of their names as they know mine

I worry because I have no pockets and no money and no proof of my identity and no shoes

But then I find that there is nothing I need, since I have no hunger or thirst or fatigue or fear

I need only to walk and to walk, to see and hear and smell and taste and feel

The landscape changes before me like a turning wheel – mountains, hills, valleys, plains, fields, stone fences, villages, cities, expanses of clear water

All new, yet all familiar as a mother

As I walk it occurs to me that I cannot stay here, yet, but my own private Ireland will unfold around me and enfold me when I need to be there

And one day,



You awaken one morning and
find an unexpected emotion, full of hope but
unbidden and unwanted
like an expensive dress meant for a special occasion
you’ll never have, and three sizes too small anyway
you finger the silky fabric
wonder at the colors of autumn
sunset tucked in the folds
imagine yourself in it – a snapshot
of a woman you’ll never be
in a place you’ll never go
and you wonder how that feeling
got there
and why
before you smooth its creases
slip it back into your closet
shut the door.


the owl, insomnia

in times of stress
i become owl…
somnolent and slow in day,
crouched in hayloft watching
motes of dust float in beams of light
seeping through cracks.
i breathe scent of dried grass and warm animals.
after dark
my silent wings beat against the boards
and lift me through
the gable end-vent
out into the thick night.
i seek everywhere, mind dilated for meager light
flap low over ditches and fields
dry weeds brushing
my belly.
duck dark trunks and twigs
dive for a closer look
and then veer blind from headlights of passing cars.
my prey
tiny and soundless
escapes my grasp.



praying for the unwanted under a full moon

(17 February 2011, night before the full moon)

Full Mother Moon–sweet, soft and bright,
bathe our dim world in your loving light.
Tell voiceless millions down below–
frightened, alone, no place to go–
that each random, accidental birth
has reason and purpose, value and worth.
Let them know that I do care,
that I pray for them, and know they’re there.

Please tell them, Moon, with your gentle eye,
that if tomorrow they should die,
I won’t forget they once lived here.
When my own dying time draws near,
I’ll think of each and every one
I couldn’t help, and when I’m done
with prayers, I’ll say “I’ll see you soon,
across the Bridge, under full Mother Moon.”


You’re there

[to the ones we can’t save]

You’re there, wandering the roadside, lost.
You’re there, chained in a back yard, forgotten.
You’re there, starving under a house with your newborn litter.
You’re there, cowering in a kennel at the pound, hopeless.
You’re there, on a steel table, waiting for the needle.
You’re there, in the landfill in a black plastic bag.
You’re there, even when no one else sees you.
You’re there, every time I close my eyes, look over my shoulder, look into my dogs’ trusting faces.
You’ll be there, when I stand before God and give account of my life.
When I kneel to ask forgiveness, will you lick my face?


One of the lucky ones.

Weasel – one of the lucky ones who made it.

The now

Were I granted the wish for
just one thing
[for me—the first hundred
would be for you]
it would be this:

Chance meeting in some
hallway redolent of bleach
and powder and old
We recognize our pasts
have faded like our
blue eyes

The hurts,
inadequacies forgotten
There is
no future left for worrying
but we have
two spirits

one moment
… the now.

[March 2, 2012]


Dripping hot Georgia summer night steals in, steals sleep
from its cradle and leaves behind
a bundle of changeling fear.
From the cradle I hear fear near;
its cries surround my peace and snap it in two.
Salt water on my face won’t dry in this dark murk.
The dog draped across my chest rouses long enough
to lick my cheeks cool.
How long does it take for victim to become survivor?
How long does she spend standing
deep in the mud between the two?
The victim cannot love, but the survivor can love the victim
and can lead her from the night swamp into light.
Wherever the victim is
out there
I wonder what she’s like and if she’s living well or rocking fear in its cradle.
Time to sleep, not to think too much…
but if I stop running for many moments
the changeling
(thirty years and still young girl screaming)
catches up and will steal the rest of me.

[July 25, 2011]

In the steps

I walk forth in the steps
of the scaled, the feathered, the furred.
Obliterate their tracks
with my tracks.
My own bare skin I clothe in shame
… also my conscience …
laid bare by the knowledge that
I kill without trying,
leave poison in the wake
of my passing.

The scaled, the feathered, the furred
no longer find their way
in their own tracks.
What once lay green
turns brown as I pass
… I steal the green, my fuel …
turns brown, or burns black.

Only two have fire:
God and man.
But the fire burning within man…
does he kindle it himself?
or was it lit by the
God who
gave to him and only him,
the power
the choice
to bank or fan the flames?

I pray to watch again
the scaled, the feathered, the furred
down a path unmarred
by my bootprints
and to smell the green growth
after clean rain.
Will green come back—cover black—
after man’s
inner fire
burns him to

(copyright ©1993)

Cleaning house

In this dream, I was cleaning house – a little one-bedroom, concrete-block tract home with worn asphalt-tile floors, sparse used furnishings, aluminum blinds, drab and faded colors from the early 1960s. The only thing in the refrigerator was a pitcher of water, and the freezer was clogged with ice and needed defrosting, like they all did a half-century ago.

It was gloomy outside and the little rooms were cold. My grandmother appeared to help me clean. When we finished, she sat down in the one chair in the tiny living room, and I went and sat cross-legged on the floor beside her, to her left. As I looked up at her, she was just as I remember her from 30 years ago: neat, short silver hair; kind and perceptive blue eyes; plump cheeks, her favorite red lipstick. I was dirty and rumpled from cleaning but her white blouse and navy pants were spotless.

I took her hand and pressed it to my face, feeling the birdlike bones beneath the soft skin. I said, “you know I love you, Nonnie, and I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you.” The cloudy light from the window shone right through her. She kissed me on top of the head, like when I was a small child, and then she faded away completely, leaving me alone in this tiny, austere, nearly empty block house that I’d never seen before but I now recognized as my own soul.


today I got
Beat up again
no different from any
Other day of
my forty-nine years
Loser…. Liability…. Laughingstock,
she says.
too old, too weird
Not good enough
She’s lied about me
to my friends
Stolen every one of my
could. Be. significant.
and left me with
ones who found me
who beat me up and tore me down
Like she does.
mean girl number one
in a world of mean girls.

When I look into
your eyes I see your truth:
you got a bully just like mine who
steals joy and breaks hope and
shuts you in that dark
room called shame
chained by the neck with
I want to hold
Onto you like a rickety raft
In some sea we can’t see and
Talk about how
We can silence those bullies
living inside our heads

~e.h.g. 9/21/2012