Poem: Being My Mom NaPoWriMo #27

I never thought I’d say

I am my mom

Especially when my job

Up until now

Was not being my mom

What a surprise to find

That being half my mom

From the beginning of this round

There’s no getting around

Being my mom

As I search for more

As I explore

Can I choose to be my mom some

And my dad some

And not be my mom some

And not be my dad some

Ah who am I trying to kid

I am both of their kid

I’m their ego and id

This first Mother’s Day without the guilt

No card this year mom

I’ll scoop up the good

And let the other slip away

Drip through my fingers

It’s Mother’s Day

This year I’m okay

Being my mom

But after that

I’ll probably go back

To trying not being my mom

It may not work

But it’s a habit

Maybe I learned it

From my mom


About the poem:

Damn, this is a hard one for us Westerners, with our whole ‘individual identity’ thing going on. In Ghana, my friend taught me, “I am because we are.” In Korea, I think you are if your elders say so. 🙂

I was very moved by Thich Nhat Hahn’s story of a young man who said he would have nothing to do with his father. Thay laughed and said, Ha, you are your father. And your mother.

Accepting a closer connection, a reincarnation of sorts right here, makes it easier to stop the fighting. My finger cannot separate from my hand. I cannot separate from my parents.

Poem: Riding the Waves

On top of the curving crest
Falling, crashing down
Another builds
Riding the waves

About the poem:

I’m not surprised now when in a single day I feel like I hear the best news ever and on the same day, the worst. Today, possibilities and serendipitous miracles alternated with a shooting in a friend’s neighborhood. To be neither greedy nor devastated, but yet compassionate and excited. That is riding the waves.

Day 21 NaPoWriMo

Poem: Tomorrow I might do better

2012-06-19 20.20.46

Today I did my best
But now it’s time to rest
Tomorrow I might do better
I laugh at my every mistake
I’m grateful for my day
But now it’s time to rest
As I think over my day
I see where I might need help
Tomorrow I’ll ask for help
But now it’s time to rest
Today I did my best
Tomorrow I might do better

About the poem:
Growing up, I was pretty worried about sin. And I don’t remember really every feeling okay. I was always searching for what I did wrong, which was followed by Guilt. How did you guess? Yes, I grew up Catholic.

Finding a happy resting place in reality, is based on the ability to be content with what you are right now, as well as being open to seeing where you can improve and getting the courage to ask for help. It’s a fine line, but it’s wide enough to sleep on. This is an important skill to teach our kids too!

Poem: He is just Mentally Ill


After decades of confusion
About why he said what he said
And did what he did
It’s clear now
He is just mentally ill

About the poem:
One of my favorite slogans from the 12 steps programs is this: “Know Crazy”

It’s the same idea as this poem. We can spend a lot of energy trying to figure out why would he say that to me? How could he possibly not know that is rude? Why is he so unfeeling?

Questions like this can drive you crazy, until you realize that the person of interest is quite possibly just mentally ill. I say ‘just’ because it’s actually helpful to know that someone is sick, rather than rude, mean, or otherwise terrible.

In this past week a friend suddenly realized that her husband of more than two decades is mentally ill. If you have a relationship that has not improved for decades, there might be an underlying reason. And this might be it.

“Know Crazy” advises us to not try to make sense and understand the logic of a person or situation that is mentally ill. First, we must acknowledge the illness, take steps to stay sane ourselves, then do our best from there.

This photo is taken in front of the Longmont Recreation Center, looking out to Longs Peak. Pretty, huh?


Poem: Decades-old Dreams


Decades-old dreams
Coming apart at the seams
Dreams that don’t fit anymore
Dreams that come crashing to the floor
Are you sure you’ll be buried by the debris?
From here, you just look free
Dust yourself off
And dance
From here,
You’ll be free

About the poem:
I can’t think of any change in my life (unexpected, unwanted or otherwise) that hasn’t delivered me to a situation filled with blessings. When you are going through crappy stuff, you often don’t want to hear, “You’ll be fine.” It seems insincere, and surely, you can take time to move through a change, but the fact is, you will be fine. That’s just the way it works. There will be cool people, amazing opportunities, and challenging moments whatever, wherever. Don’t worry, you’ll be free!


Poem: The Boss of Me


Complaints of my life
Were a dime a dozen
My job and my family
The prices and the economy
Always got the best of me
Someone was ruining my life
Running my life
And it wasn’t me

Until one day
I fired me
Then I hired me
And finally
I became
The boss of me

Poem: Ready Anytime

I’m not one of those people
that’s worried about dyin;
I am ready anytime

And I’m not worried about livin’ either
If tomorrow, I wake up,
I’m gonna kiss the new day
And if I don’t wake up,
What’s the use of cryin’?

I’m not one of those people
That needs to ring the bell at the top of the rope
I like the feel of the rope
Trying to grip and pull myself up
I smile when I slip
And I like the view any old day
Each day a new angle

I’m ready anytime
I don’t fret that death will steal something
That I ain’t never owned
In the first place

The love I feel
Was here before me
And won’t pass away when I do

If I die tonight
Or I live to 120
I’ll feel the same
Blessed that I have lived plenty
I am ready anytime

Any given day
My taxes might not yet be done
And my dishes might be in the sink
My laundry might not yet be done
Nothing important is left undone
I have forgiven everybody for everything
Again today
Even myself
Especially myself

Ready anytime
Ready to live
Every day
Really live
Knowing one day
Will be my last

I am ready anytime
Ready to die
Ready to live

Poem: Wise Enough



I throw out the half-eaten box of cookies
I’m wise enough
To accept how foolish I am

About the poem:
I recently read something by Byron Katie that said, “Don’t pretend to be more evolved than you are.” I love this and see examples of this regularly.

I know by now where my strengths and weaknesses are. An open box of a dozen cookies, early morning exercise plans, or social engagements back-to-back …none of these work for me. I don’t have to be perfect, but life is easier when I accept how many ways I’m not. Then I can work with those weaknesses directly, rather than being surprised and disappointed in myself.

Somehow this bare tree just before sunset seemed also wise enough. Nothing fancy, but still graceful, beautiful and strong.

Poem: Pushing a rope

After awhile pushing a rope
Hoping against hope
Trying to change
What wants to remain the same
After awhile pushing a rope
When I finally accept ‘Nope’
What a relief to just dump it
Then grab the rope and jump it

About the poem:
Sometimes we think we should just do a little more, try a little harder, say it again a different way. But still we may end up stuck in an uneven situation. When this happens to me, I can see it getting out of control.

And what I feel today is that relief of being past that stage, rather than in it. Instead of being frustrated, I feel free! Let’s jumprope!

What troubled time have you moved through? What worry have you let go of? Be proud of and thankful for that!

Poem: I Was Always Ready for a Fight


Looking in the mirror
I was always ready for a fight
No matter what
Never felt quite right
Day or night
An inner fight

Then I put down the gloves
No more inner war
Just inner love

Looking in the mirror now
I’m happy to see me
These days
I’ve got no reason to fight
No matter what
I feel just right

Poem: Get Over It

Still mad about it?
Still sad about it?
There is only one way
To get over it
And that is to
Get over it
When you’re tired
Of wallowing
In a tale of woe
When you say Whoa to Woe
When you finally decide
To let it go
To be thankful instead of ripped off
To be understanding instead of pissed off
Then, you finally
Get over it


Poem: Think It Through

Decisions, decisions,
Filling your brain
Implications, projections
A runaway train

Slow down
And think it through
Accept the possibilities
Then decide what to do

About the poem:
Trying to make decisions used to make me bonkers. Now, I can more quickly accept what I’m in control of and what I’m not. When I allow myself to carry out best and worst case scenarios, to the end, I can deal with it. Sometimes I decide to wait. Other times I make a decision, then hope for the best and do my best. the end

Poem: Peace is okay

Peace is that moment
When now is okay
Peace is that feeling
Of calm in my day

Perfection keeps begging for now to be better
Never resting
Always testing
Needing more
Banging at the door

Peace is not too busy
To love and play
Sure tomorrow may be better
Peace is okay with today
Peace is okay with okay

Poem: Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

They say
It’s not easy
To love
Someone who doesn’t love you back
Is that true?

It is hard
To try not to love
It is hard
To decide to stop love
It is hard
To deny love

It is easy to love
It is easy
To be loving
To someone

About the poem:
If someone loves me back, that’s their business. I can love them from near or far …that’s my business.

Poem: You Die

Beep beep beep
We apologize for this interruption
Stay tuned for an important announcement
Beep beep beep
Please note
You will die
Yes, you!
You die
Please proceed to live
Beep beep beep
We now return you
To your regular programming

About the poem:
When someone near to us dies, we are faced with death head on. For a moment, then we turn back to our other stuff. Again and again, we wake up to realize the face me and you will die. But really, it seems we can only hold onto it for a moment. Then we return to our regular programming.

Talking about death is not morbid. It is the way to remember the importance of life.

Finally, when I taught in Korea and we played games, I would threaten that I would win. They would respond, No, you die! So, I chose that for the title of today’s poem. Whether in a game or in real life, remember, you die, so please live accordingly.

Poem: The Lucky Ones

We are the lucky ones

We see our parents
As wise, but frail
We chuckle about their
Seeming imperfections

We see our kids
As frail, but wise
We chuckle about their
Seeming imperfections

They see us
However the heck they see us
And we don’t care

We know that we
Are frail and wise
And sometimes not even wise
We chuckle about our
Seeming imperfections

We can laugh
We love
We are the lucky ones

About the poem:
I was talking with a friend of mine last night. He and I were just sighing in relief to be at a place where we truly love our parents and have moved beyond fighting about what they did that was right or wrong.  Usually. Sure, sometimes we are frail and not wise, but more often we see them as they are and are able to smile with love.

Poem: Time to Let Go

2013-09-19 Autumn Maple Leaf on Sidewalk (1)


Let me learn to let go
Like the maple tree
That releases its leaves
Without struggle
When the leaves are most beautiful
When it’s time to let go

Let me learn to let go
Like the maple tree
Releases what was once attached tightly
Once helpless, once nourished
When it’s time to let go

Let me release what is unneeded
Like the maple tree releases its leaves
To dance merrily off on the breeze
Let me change with beauty
And ease

Let me stay strong and whole
Let me know
When it’s time to let go

About the poem:
Sometimes, it’s easy to let something go and move on. Other times, some thing or person is attached and I can’t imagine letting it go, even when I know deep down it’s time. Sometimes, it takes some effort. Like, telling someone something they don’t want to hear. Yes, usually it requires courage but not really a lot of effort.

Last week, I bought a car and it was a bad decision. I guessed so on the first day, but hoped it would be okay. This week, I decided to let it go. It seemed like it was a big effort to let it go, but really it was just a tiny moment of clarity, then listing it on Craigslist, and the momentum took over.

Just seeing this little leaf on the ground reminded me how nature is constantly letting go, and how necessary, obvious and lovely that is!

What is it time to let go of in your life?

Poem: What Will You Do?

2013-09-14 14.35.33

Oh Mother Nature
What will you do?
Will you spare us
Or pour down on us, too?

About the poem:
Each day for the past three days,  a new group of Colorado cities have been dumped on. It’s a strange thing to, on one hand, go about your daily business, and on the other hand, keep an eye out to the sky, wondering what is next.

The answer then, is to go about your business, doing our best with what is in front of us, while being grateful for all we have, busy for what we can do for others, and accepting of what we are and aren’t in control of.

This photo was taken around 2 pm in Denver, in the Congress Park neighborhood.