Poetry and songwriting are two major creative outlets for me.
I won First Place in the 2016 Inner City Poetry Contest. The winning poem “A.M. in the ‘Hood” along with another one, “Memorial March” were published in the chapbook Inner City Beat (June 2017). I also provided the photographs for the chapbook. You can download a full colour PDF of the book here.
“Sweaters” was published in the October 2011 edition of the poetry quarterly Full of Crow.
“Cheap Religion” was published in the September 2011 issue of the print and online literary journalEclectic Flash.
I contributed to DailyHaiku.org during site’s second six-month cycle in 2007. That work is featured in the site’s first print collection.
I turned off my phone.
Darkness should equal silence,
except in my dreams.
Thanks Upon Awakening
As I open my eyes I offer these words:
May the day ahead bring blessings and joy
to all whom I encounter;
May I have strength and wisdom
to counter any challenges;
May the words I speak be chosen
with thought and care;
May I always give thanks for every opportunity;
May I remember to be grateful for everything
The good and the bad, the big and the small.
Gratitude Before Sleep
As I close my eyes,
I extend appreciation
For a day that is complete,
For those in my life,
For the warmth where I lay,
For dreams that comfort,
For the hope of awakening
With strength and a renewed
Mind, body, and heart,
For all my days and nights
To be filled with love.
Published in Gratitude Prayers: Prayers, Poems, and Prose for Everyday Thankfulness (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013).
The fact that gazes from unfamiliar faces
do not startle me is a good thing.
Random connections through the
lenses of our retinas last only a split second.
Not long enough to read my mind
or steal my thoughts, but
just enough for me to gather
these musings and carry them away
with me and on the next
part of the day’s journey
These are the summer days I remember:
riding through breezes; stopping for coffee at usual places;
freckles glowing softly against my cinnamon skin.
There is music resonating from the park,
joggers in loose shorts jiggling on the avenue.
We weave between cars and barely wait for green lights,
our motion spinning to the rhythm of the clicking chains
which grow black with the grime of our path
until we rinse and cleanse and lubricate
the links that keep us moving forward.
He told me a story of two women
on bicycles, with white dresses
in high heat; how their sensuous
movements aroused him, and only in
hindsight does he fully appreciate
these works of performance art which
arrived at his front door
propelled by two pedals, two feet,
one heart, and desire.
The Shortest Distance
The shortest distance between two points
is not a straight line, especially when you are traveling in circles.
It is the relief of conflicts resolved,
the quench of cold water,
a red light changed to green the moment you approach.
Cool soothing of drizzling raindrops during the summer heat,
those familiar voices in the community;
words of greeting – “how are you?” – and meaning it.
The shortest distance between two points
can involve service roads, alleys, side streets
peppered with potholes and careless drivers
opening doors along the path.
Fraught with peril,
any distance is a challenge.
Dust settles at the four way stop.
To my left and right are four wheels
(eight in total)
against my two,
with squeaking brakes
fresh from the shop.
Exposed, I take my right of way
between their turns in opposite directions
I edge forward, leaving a
faint mist of dust
in the air behind me,
ignoring the gestures of impatience
that inject aggression into this mellow road.
Published in the Summer 2011 issue of In Somnis Veritas.
Riding Home From the Bissell Centre
I weave my bike around the figure that rests at the bottom of the ramp
I don’t know how long he was there but I don’t want to wake him
Perhaps his dreams are better than the reality that surrounds him each day
Society calls him a failure, unable to provide for himself
But the true failure is the society that sprouted cracks
Large enough for him to fall through
Larger than the cracks in the sidewalk where he lays
And encompassing the many others past whom I glide on my way home
Marginalizing life beyond picket fences
Casting blame for sad circumstances
Ignoring the failings of a system
That guides our desires, our possessions, our decisions
While our pockets turn inside out and wallets are empty
Those who lead move the funds to guns,
Artillery, munitions that take lives away instead of building them
I keep pedaling further and further
Expecting to witness more of the same
The next time I roll through
One figure asleep in my path will be replaced by another
Whose anonymous presence is a constant reflection
Of the other side of this two-way mirror called life
Edmonton Street News, Volume 6, Issue 2 2009.
Listen to the wind,
so soft as it whispers
and embraces our beings
So gentle it coaxes,
so graceful it flies,
lacing us together
if only for a moment,
with calming peace
that fills the air
and is breathed, into
Published in Pocket Prayers: 36 Praises & Graces For All Faiths, Chronicle Books, October 2006.
In the trees
Live the creatures
Of this forest.
Fragile canopies protect them,
Natural growth feeds them.
Life sustains life
In this tropical wilderness.
May the forces of civilization,
with its fire and
Machines of destruction
So the chirping,
Crawling, and singing,
Published in Animal Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Our Pets, Harper Collins San Francisco, October 2000.
On Passover, We Remember
Around this table
We celebrate the
Of those wandering spirits
Who escaped from their shackles,
Emerging towards freedom
To bring forth a
Nation from which
We grow, and for our
To continue in
Freedom and Peace,
To always draw
Strength from those who
Published in Family Celebrations: Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion: Andrews McMeel Publishing, March 1999, p. 153.