Dear YouDear You
You are a hurricane.
You are a volcano.
You are a flurry of beautiful violence;
A plume of volcanic ash cast into the sky.
You are all the voices of the world;
A scream and a whisper and a sigh.
You are the beauty of the earth;
An exquisite wildfire, divine in its destruction.
And you are so strong.
You are stronger than this weight on your shoulders,
You are stronger than this emptiness in your chest,
You are stronger than all these things that dare get in your way.
You will charge past these things;
These regrets, these desires, these insecurities.
You will get through every pitfall and mistake and slipup,
And you’ll be made better for it.
You are unbeatable, unconquerable and unstoppable.
Every obstacle, an opportunity,
Every failure, a lesson.
You will beat this because you are better than this.
You will beat this because you are you.
And that is a powerful thing.
The Boy in a Sweater of TearsI saw a boy in a sweater made of tears and dirt,
Held together with earthworm stitching (they were still wriggling).
He had a toy in his hand made from the bones of an animal;
Fingers bloodied and calloused from where he cut himself on the teeth of it.
He smiled out from behind his saline muddy hood.
Are you my father?
I walked away with no misgivings though this face was familiar.
I tossed a coin over my left shoulder and said something condescending like
Have a gum ball on me, kid.
I put in my headphones and I was lost in my world of rhythm and melody.
The sound of quick feet emanating behind me.
I turned and he was there, hand outstretched.
I patted my pockets as if to say
With the Strength of a Child His ripped shirt is barely visible in the dust and smoke. He kneels in the rubble, bloody faded jeans loose on his hips, tan skin lined with ragged cuts and bruises underneath. Long dark hair, now dusty white and matted with blood, ripples in the wind like a tattered flag of surrender.
He can't feel the pain.
Broken jaws whisper of sadness.
Broken voices scream of loss.
And his broken eyes turn toward the ground, shadowed with fear and weakness. He clutches his head in scarring hands, ignoring the sharp debris biting his legs. He stares vacantly at the cracked concrete lying in the dust.
He can't see it at all.
Young eyes glisten with tears.
EnemyDemons stalk this planet
in shapes of guilt, hate and rage; shame
cries out at me
in sighs as furious as wine
rich red with inner war.
Her hands are clumsy
but powerful--farmer's hands for
she harvests the regrets of the
She strips me of anything like
hope, leaves me cold as I forget
I know my enemies well.
They sleep inside my ribcage
and share my exorcism scars.
SpawnShe is a gardener’s spade set down on the earth,Spawn by Solaces
but only I cradle the dirt into which her panda-faced violets are born.
She teaches me:
A peapod smells more like baby’s breath than does baby’s breath.
A raspberry held in cupped hands for too long scorches the tongue.
Watching the sun take shape from nectarine pulp
is more rewarding than waiting on any strawberry bush.
Bare feet anticipate everything—the tickle of dry grass, the cold grasp of new soil.
And nobody sings of ocean like my summer breeze.
She knows the ache of listening for blue to blossom better than anyone else.
When I tell her that the first time I ever truly believed in myself was after reading
an essay by E.B. White, she laughs.
I say I wrote about Ireland, but I’ve never been there. She hugs me.
When blue never rises from the earth, she cheers.
On Monday nights, the moon over her house gives out.
She asks to borrow a nightlight shaped like a butterfly,
or maybe any critter that can
Heaven is a Meritocracy1.Heaven is a Meritocracy by Solaces
You arrive with an ache.
It is winged. It is hollering
from the cold of your bones.
It settles like a season—not winter,
not any state of weather, but the transition
between shiver and warmth.
Welcome to your mansion of mirrors.
Your reflection will outlive you.
Your reflection will be portrait-faced,
gilded cell by cell.
Welcome to the unpaved streets,
where we learn that our bodies humble themselves
into crude sketches of creation.
Nothing here is perfect.
An angel sits on the sidewalk,
grunts into his harmonica.
When his song refuses to take flight,
he crashes. His wings wilt
to abandoned sheet music.
Nothing here is perfect.
Nothing here heals.
Take a look at your body—
Your scars have not fled.
Instead, they phase like moons that never go full.
They become slyer about their shadows, their bloodlessness.
Your bones have not strengthened, but they have not weakened either.
They are clay, pliable. You'll hape them so that they keep you sitting
Elegy to a Maple Leafi.Elegy to a Maple Leaf by Solaces
Everything with something to say refuses to be seen:
The bush crickets, casting their moonless chorus
where their shadows should be,
house sparrows retiring like candlelight,
the final call always a flicker.
I am unaware of distance until a train laments
like someone who has forgotten an important name.
It calls moon, lake, goose, evening, silence.
It second guesses itself.
Child, city, remembered path, white ash tree—
Suddenly, I sense the presence of stars.
I will walk on, reeking of leaf-death.
Every leaf I pulverize in my hand
departs with the dignity of exoskeleton.
Sometimes I curl open my palm
to ensure that I have not spilled cicada myself.
I listen for an elegy. I sniff the air--
Burning, a stranger’s unwanted pages,
crumpled and pondered over by dust, perhaps rain,
forgotten letters never intended to be addressed to anyone other than shadow.
Front Row Pew Musingsi.Front Row Pew Musings by Solaces
Some people were born to make sacrifices.
They have the bodies built for it.
When embryonic, they bow like Scripture prayed and cried over.
Later along--hands always desiring to pray,
shoulders adapted for bearing the angel instead of its wings,
blood cells that crawl somberly into separate crucifixes.
They are the people who place their names on the altar
and aren’t afraid of the confessions they will make
when abandoned from flesh.
Once, a woman left a name,
limp as a lamb with its eyes on its own redemption gash
and the flies swarming to it.
It bleated of hunger pains,
the aftertaste of savored communion bread, aged wine.
It revealed a womb like a shadow puppet
played out prematurely.
It revealed a womb like a shadow puppet
played out prematurely—
first an ox, snout part of something else’s silhouette.
Then lamb to sow. Lastly, the flailing limbs of Abraham’s son.
Lastly, the flailing limbs of Abraham’s son.
Dad told him to pray to his