Hello and Welcome!
Here in the Mid-Atlantic, we have the chance of snow every day for a week. That’s pretty unusual. And I’m delighted. I’ve always loved snow — one form of water — for its ability to magically transform our familiar landscapes as well as cancel school and sometimes work. At least for a while, everything looks beautifully clean, and I can (briefly) indulge the fantasy of everyone snuggled comfortably in their warm homes.
More recently I’ve wondered how homeless people deal with snow and extreme temperatures as well as those for whom snow is a burden or impediment to their normal and necessary activities. My cozy-snow-nostalgia does not apply to their lives.
It’s an uncomfortable realization.
Recent poems, many of them in questions for water, and the title poem itself, focus directly on issues of inequity and poverty. The poems reflect injustices that I’ve witnessed or experienced in Baltimore. (Yes, good things also happen in Baltimore.) The first step toward actively creating a just society is looking into that terribly uncomfortable mirror.
Here are three poems. While the speaker in each could be described as privileged, the speaker in the third shows someone else’s less privileged and painful reality. Through showing very real pain of very real people, I hope readers will be moved to recognize the trauma that is living in poverty and act in ways that will reduce suffering. That might be keeping snacks and water bottles in your car to give away, or giving a dollar or ten or twenty to a person or helping organization when you can, or helping elect those dedicated to reducing human suffering, or volunteering in your community. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking someone in the eyes and treating them with kindness.
I’m not suggesting that every poem I write in the future will or should include more than my own socio-economic viewpoint, but I do want to be open to the perspectives of others whom some parts of society would like to pretend don’t exist.
If you like, jump over to the Contact page and share your thoughts. Until next time–
i wish for blizzards every winter i wish for blizzards like our first year when we watched the snowflakes fall in the silver night until the world became so beautiful i could not look now we watch from the window or the opened door the snowflakes sparkle in the street lights each one falling tenderly upon the next and i am glad when they are piled so high there is nowhere else to go along the road driving through an early winter night maybe the first night you see your own breath trees hang over the road headlights smack their naked branches leaves swish in the street passing houses light thrown softly through their rooms i see the family all their faces glowing or it’s a house with just one person absorbed in a novel maybe it’s about trains or characters who are always starting new lives or new religions behind the steam of another cup of coffee ah the geography of new love this is what i want to do in the cold i want to eat the whole pie and have no one scold me i want to perfect human hibernation the way people in blizzards become their own factories whirling synchronized belts running smoothly through their houses i want to dance down from trees be swept away with wind into a house on a road its light several rooms deep baltimore he approaches my car stopped at a red light it’s winter his hands bare red cracked swollen might bleed at any moment i place an orange in his destroyed hand then wishing him luck as i do each time i look up he’s young hard to tell beneath his experience his tears this young man stands in the road holding an orange crying he says between sobs hot food i only want hot food