Instinct (Away from the Storm)

A poem for those in Central and South America seeking refuge or asylum in the US.

She sits upon her branch,
a storm rumbles in the east.
The winds of change are blowing;
she knows it’s time to leave.
Food may be sporadic,
and predators may await her.
But she’ll fly a thousand miles
for a chance to be safer.
One day she will return,
but for now she’s heading north.
As the rain begins to coat her,
instinct sets her forth.

The Significance of Me

One people, one world, one destiny.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what’s going to happen to our planet over the next four years. If you believe the scientists, and 90-plus percent of folks do, then we’re on the brink. We’re about to implode (not literally … but then again) from global warming. Animals will die. Plants will die. Some cities will be under water; other areas may turn to dust.

There are two things that connect the people in this world. It is love and the planet we all share. When we get down to it, nothing else really matters. If we don’t have a sustainable planet, we don’t have anything. We don’t have air to breath. Or water to drink or food to eat. Natural events – tornadoes, wildfires, droughts, tsunami’s, what have you – will likely increase and destroy more homes and families.

Come on, Georgia is having wildfires. We don’t have wildfires. Maybe a few here in there when we had severe droughts, but wildfires are becoming pretty common place around here. And something else is changing. We have huge trees here in Georgia. Most of the north part of the state is a national forest. But now if the wind blows a little more than usual or we just get a normal rain, our trees just fall  over. 100-year-old trees just tip over roots and all. That didn’t happen before, but it’s happening now all the time.

If you think we’ve got problems now, wait until everyone is scrambling for water and food and trying to get away from wildfires or tornado zones. It won’t be pretty, I can tell you that.

We’ve got one planet. It’s all we have. Mars? Maybe a possibility 100 years from now. But we have to make it to that 100 years and we can’t do that if we pillage our land or hate one another to the point that we ignore what’s happening to our planet. No matter what race, religion, nationality you are, we’re all human beings. We all have to care for one another and for our planet or we will self-destruct.

I saw the video below when I was reading about the environment. It’s too bad we can’t all go into space and have this experience? Imagine what a better world it would be if we could.


The Significance of Me

It is a fragile life we lead, under our delicate, gossamer veil. Star walkers know the secret and whisper it in our ears. We are significant in our insignificance. Our differences are inane. We’re all cells of a cosmic body; save our soul to remain. One cell communicates to another — is it harmony or rancor? Shall we save what connects us or divide until we’re cancer? Either way it starts with one – then grows into millions. We are significant in our insignificance, and our destiny begins with me.


Other resources on this topic: 4 Astronauts Who Had Spiritual Experiences ‘Up There’ and Communion on the Moon: The Religious Experience of Space

My American Dream — A Life Among Immigrants

Growing up I never dreamed of marrying a boy from my hometown, building a home near my family, and living around the same people I had known my entire life. No, my American dream was always a little different. When I was small, I wanted to be a ballerina who performed with dancers from all over the world and learned all of their traditional dances. I dreamed of moving to New York and meeting a nice Italian boy from a big Italian family, who still spoke Italian and still had all of their old world traditions. We would eat spaghetti every night … because that’s how you think when you’re a kid.

I didn’t realize it then, but my American dream was to live a life among immigrants. That is what America represented to me back then — that Great American Melting Pot from Schoolhouse Rock. And honestly, that is what America continues to be for me today. I still aspire to have friends and perhaps even boyfriends who bring something to this country from other parts of the world.

That is why I am saddened and disappointed in the direction our country is heading. We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Many of us would not exist if that melting pot did not exist. We’re one-quarter this and a third that. It’s those bits of family history most of us are excited to share as we develop new friendships and build families. Entire businesses have been developed around determining exactly what kind of immigrant heritage we have, and many of us, myself included, are eager to learn those aspects of ourselves.

So how did we become so afraid of “the other?” Most of us are part “other” from another time. Irish, Italian, German — these immigrants all faced challenges coming to American in the past, but today they are part of the collective American dream. And yes, the world is changing faster than some of us like, and change is not easy for everyone to accept. But that change is going to happen regardless. It always does, and it always will. In our hearts, we all know that. The world doesn’t stop because we want it to stop. We have to keep moving, pushing forward, accepting change. Otherwise, we fall behind, and we miss out on new opportunities.

I grew up in the rural Georgia Mountains. Besides a handful of African Americans, everyone was white, Christian, Anglo-American. I remember when the first Chinese restaurant opened in our town by a Chinese family. I was excited and ate there as much as I could. And as time passed, more and more people began to go there. It became part of the community, and people were happy to eat there. We received a small taste of the great big world in our own backyard.

That is what immigration does. It brings the world to your doorstep and a little spice to life. You get to enjoy other parts of the world in the comfort of your own environment. No travel is required, no luggage or expensive flights. You walk into a restaurant, and you get a sample of another place. To me it is such a beautiful experience, even on the smallest scale, that I cannot understand why we are pushing so hard to limit it.

Growing up where I did, I was blessed with experiences that helped develop my dream. I had substitute teachers who came from France and taught us phrases and songs in French. I hung out with the exchange students – Anka from Germany, Jorgen from Sweden and Naomi from Japan. I remember their names because they were important in my life — even if I only knew them for a year and only shared a class with one of them. I learned from them. I respected them and their bravery for coming to another country at such a young age. I grew because of that experience. I started finding myself and what I wanted. I became a magazine writer and moved to the city, meeting people from all walks of life in both my work and day-to-day living. I traveled and experienced new places and people. I ate new cuisines. I enjoyed international festivals. I continued to grow. I dated men here from various backgrounds. So in some ways I have lived my American dream. I have lived a life among immigrants, and my life is fuller because of these experiences, and I hope my experiences are not over yet.

While I understand that this is not everyone’s dream, I also know that there is a little girl somewhere in America who dreams of being a scientist discovering new solutions with people from around the world. And one day, she hopes to meet a nice boy from a nice Mexican family, who still speaks Spanish and still has all of their traditions. And they will eat tacos every night … because that’s how you dream when you’re a kid. And I can’t imagine there is anyone who wouldn’t want her to realize that dream, and I hope that she does.

¿Cómo se llama?

They call me filth,
but I don’t respond.
I just focus on the work
they pay me to do:
cleaning their homes,
putting food on their tables,
serving their meals,
and constructing their offices.
I build their homes,
and take their calls,
lining their pockets much more than my own.
Today I wait to clean the site
as they scream more names into the crowd:


In response to Jeff Session’s comments at the US border regarding South and Central American immigrants.

No Marigolds for Us

In response to the missing, disappeared and mass graves of Mexico.

There are no marigolds for us
or candles to light our way.
No memories shared
or family visits;
No bread for a treat.

I long to see my little sister –
he, his beautiful wife.
That one has daughter, and
he, a family of five.

So many people searching;
So many of us lost.
Another October passes and
still no marigolds for us.


A Most Peaceful Dream

Flashes of light against the sky,
I envision something beautiful –
like a storm out on the horizon;
water drops pelting the land.

Thunder claps; it jars the room –
I cover my eyes to block the sound.

Then I feel a fear I’ve never felt
after all these years of storms.
A nightmare wraps around my neck
and steals away my breath.

“You’re only scared,” I tell myself,
and the dream changes shape.
The rumbles fade to whispering voices –
my body drifts across the room.

Outside the rain caresses me,
though I see it is not from the sky.
I feel the rest of a most peaceful dream –
is there finally quiet after the storm?


In response to the chemical attacks in Syria.

Life of Seeds

Thoughts on immigration

Seeds have the most wonderful life,
drifting to find some fertile soil to call home.
To breath the air, enjoy the sun,
perhaps bearing fruit of their own.
Sometimes landing almost where they started;
other times riding the wind far away.

No barriers or boundaries limit them,
and seeds have no need for rules.
The red seed settled next to the yellow one,
sharing the same daylight, drinking the same rain.
Sometimes they intermingle,
and the orange seed flies away.


My views on immigration.

The Greatest Delicacy

In response to the famine crisis in Africa and the Middle East.

Is it sweet like bint al sahn dipped in butter?
Or a sip of shai haleeb?
Like lahooh, does it give you energy?
Or fill your belly like ful?

Do the battles stop the hunger?
The oil quench your thirst?
While I pray for food,
you feed a different kind of appetite.
Power must be the greatest delicacy.

Inspired by The Economist article Return of the third horseman – Famine menaces 20m people in Africa.

That Moment (A Quiet Rebellion)

One second, unexpected –
that moment everything changes.

Waiting in line,
cars idle,
you speak of tomorrow’s game.

It’s another day, like yesterday,
until there’s a knock on the door.
Vested men, peering in,
and suddenly your father’s gone.

“This isn’t fair!”
“It isn’t right!”
But the vested ones do not care.

Alone you stand;
the school bell rings;
tears drench your cheeks.

A deep breath,
another second – this one more deliberate.
Your resolve is clear,
Your resolve is final –
You will change everything.

One second turns to years,
a quiet rebellion of your own.
You will make it right;
You will make it fair,
for you are here to stay.

That Moment Image

Inspired by this Washington Post article.


Take Root

An observation on today’s political environment.


The thing about lies – they take root.
starting young & tender,
growing slowly, needing little sustenance.

Then they grow stronger, hungrier;
branching out, digging deeper
giving life to that above the surface.

Faster, bolder,
spreading further
taking all the oxygen
filling all the space

there is nowhere to go.
No nourishment to be found.

They struggle against boundaries.



Until they are unable to support the liar.

Take Root Image