Rally In The Park

Feeling like a piece of cheese
Squashed in pita bread getting melty in the middle.
Heat coming from pressure.
Moving closer. So close to the adults.
Pockets bumping and mouths murmuring.
It’s not a circus but looks like one.
Feeling small. Looking up. 
Getting hungry.

The crowd heaves toward a single point reciting a dream.
Flailing words tripping over the air in a roller coaster of chaotic meaning.
Why? What? For Who? not me.
Seems like eating would be secondary to these ideas
To this crowd of big people.
They squeeze my hand tighter
I think because the words mean something to them.
But I can't stop thinking about cheese.



- Artwork by Dan Colen…
- mailed to Virginia -

Consider Conflict

They bother another,
each other.
Bodies bumping, skulls attacking - 

There is conflict on the street, and
in cars buses and trains,
schools homes and televisions - 

Conflict in our bones making stomachs tighten.
Some thrive. Others crumble.
Please help us endure the friction, please - 

Can we be like the bothering squirrels,
jabbing around outdoors,
never stopping too long for injury - 

possess, then put aside - 



- artwork by Sam McKinniss -
- mailed to North Carolina -


Nobody cares
all the time
for that someone
we think about
all the time.
Who can we
care about
all the time
if we ourselves, in
fact, are careless
some of the time.
So we carry
on caring at times,
when needed or convenient.
Then somebody 
writes a thank you 
because we cared 
for their singular 
'all the time.'

Generations will read it,
solidifying your caring.
Still we know
nobody cares
all the time.



- artwork by Simone Leigh -
- mailed to South Carolina -

Between Routine

Awake, before daybreak.
Clean, brush and scrub like a machine.
Drive, just enough to arrive.
Work, eat, work, eat, work without missing a beat.
Drive, determined to get home alive.
Exercise, with no cries.
Eat, speaking with girls 1 & 2 - so sweet.
Animal, walking quite minimal.
Read, or write or TV to fertilize a seed.
Brush, usually in a rush.
Sleep, mostly quite deep.
Repeat, repeat repeat...



- Artwork by Mario Nigro -
- mailed to Georgia -

Disease of Despair

We blow our best intentions toward life
until a disease of despair causes a death of despair
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Like dogs chasing tails, constantly turning away rotates you to the beginning
despair, causing disease bounding toward death
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Listeners helping on hotlines, listening is sometimes enough
listeners at home too close to help, accidentally blind sometimes
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Systemic processes designed to fail minorities
they start leaning toward death, a death of despair
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Whisper strength into those bones
barely advancing until prepared to
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

As boiling milk forms a bubbly creamy top-layer
blurry becomes normal and constant, during
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Help does not arrive expectedly, promptly, enthusiastically
but a love may poke the tiniest window toward life, inside
drug and drink abuse, and suicide

Squash and mutilate that disease of despair
leaving a body and mind hurling away, from
drug and drink abuse, and suicide



- inspired by "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century" by Ann Case and Angus Deaton -
- artwork by Wayne Thiebaud, “Large Sucker”, 1971
- mailed to Florida

In Plain Sight

Don't hide
   like a squirrel watching a dog from a tree
      or best intentions for a new lover Jamie.

Search riddles
   to bless a beverage shared with humans and friends
      or to make some sense when ignorance must end.

Do work
   with a vengeance like farmers who own no land
      or when new jobs arrive under fresh new command.

Leave slowly
   like critics savoring scintillating art
      or lovers a-grumble refusing to fall apart.

Play youthfully
   letting that kid inside lead with the heart sometime
      and laughing easy wholeheartedly without design.

Don't hide
   in times of cold or heat or day or night
      and say what you know and dream what you might.



- artwork by Prince Gyasi -
- mailed to Alabama -

The Prey

Some days ago we cried
Making tears flow while laughing at... that

Some hours ago we laughed
Crying tears for absurdities by governments

Squirrels bury the possession they most love, nuts
People cherish an idea which they've repeated forever

The sun provides for life and can scorch earth in an instant
Teenagers desire autonomy and at any moment ask for anything

This planet contains beauty which can rage unexpectedly
Finding truth depends on wit during the constant smearing of ideas



- artwork by Francis Bacon… -
- mailed to Louisiana -

Conflict and Kindness

we balance high above the angry river 
on a tightrope 
clenching anxiety
here, focus will be keenest

but over there 
are the toys, joys, sorrows, creatures, chosen ideas;
our stuff

that tightrope 
is equal parts pathway forward and anxiety instigator to
our stuff

we must manage, we must balance
Conflict and Kindness
nobody else will do this
step in and pursue



- artwork by Olafur Eliasson -
- mailed to Arkansas -


People expire
lose breath lose pulse lose warmth
People expire
finished or in stride, unexpectedly or anticipated
People expire
working, eating, sleeping, out and inside
People expire
nobody knows, then everyone knows
People expire
leaving love, leaving life, leaving legacy
People expire
brightly, painfully, hauntedly, ready
People expire
leaving laughter after grief, for those unexpired
They expire
and everyone measures lives differently
He expired
after enabling a mountain of curiosities to flourish

after Paul Allen ('53 - '18)



- artwork by Spencer Sweeney -
- mailed to Wyoming -