The difference between crushing sadness and a pervasive sense of being overwhelmed is that when you’re raising children, there’s no luxury of relaxing into it; of settling back and embracing it for a bit before forging ahead. There’s no calm assessment and re-centering. At least in a period of focused deep thought.

You just keep going. In a direction. And treat yourself to watching airplanes circle the city at midnight and wonder where they’re all going, or coming from. Soundtracked with blistering and beautiful Moby & the Void Pacific Choir on headphones at max volume.

So I’ve heard.



Old barbarians
You think no more? Border kids
Separated cry.

Trump blames everyone
Not my fault, he points fingers
Fake conservative.

Real conservatives
Take responsibility
Not bad excuses.

Military branch
He wants number six in space
Get your wallet please.

Loud cries of children
He uses them as his pawns
Sad barbarism.



The mountain is dead
Little exaggeration
But it feels empty.

The roads we have run
Trails we have walked often
It is too quiet.

Upside down today
The day is leaving, like you
Days come around though.

Sun comes tomorrow
That’s good I guess, for the heat
Heart weight big today.

Change is tough, and dumb
But it’s good I hear, painful
And tears are not bad.

Streaked cheeks meant you love
And that’s wonderful to know
That you are loved much.

Mountain floats away
Isn’t anchored without you
But it will balance.

With a little time
A lot of time, memories
Stories in its earth.

Always missed, you all
You all have a hill, and hearts
With spaces waiting here.

You will find more hills
And mountains and trees; a home
Happy home you’ll have.

We will see you there
Six hours, road trip, coffee stops
Leave a light on late.

May goodness and fun
And fresh experiences
Brighten your Joseph.

We will text, phone, fax
And come visit, sometime soon
The mountain is sad.

It will be happy
Again, but today is wrong
Mountain’s not right.

The night will roll on
And the day will start again
New lives will begin.

Photos to be shot
Memories to be made lots
New discoveries.

This is sad, but not
It is, but it will dissolve
Into happiness.

But tonight, sad hill
You’re missed, loved, remembered lots
The day is wrong now.

A day askew, tears.
A mountain, real off balance
A moon, pale and sick.

The sun is coming
And winter too, it’s pretty
Thanks for the years, you.

Real good times, lots, yes
Equilibrium we’ll find
A new normal, yep.

Remember the years,
Sometimes remember; thank you
And we love you lots.

Nighty night, Joe peeps
May your slumber be peaceful
And your days real fine.

We’ll anchor things here
So the mountain is ready
When you come again.

The day sunshiney
The hill in place again firm
Always a light on.

So the day is wrong
But you are strong, so are we
Trying hard to be.

Happy we are, most
For your new fun times ahead
Best for you, the best.

The mountain is here
So are we; maybe halfway
We can meet someday?

Until then, say ‘onward!’
Best of all to you, the best
Do well, smile, eat lots.

We’ll see ya real soon
On mountain, or somewhere else
It’ll be real great.

With high affection
We send everything good
To you all, much love.

From our mountain high
To you in Joseph, your home
We love you so much.



Cross-legged blond
lounged in coffee chair comfort
scribbling with a finger on tablet.
sunlight drafting through windows

a February afternoon
three groups of solitaries.
Blond boy, leg-crossed artist;
a blonde woman on business;

an Irish Viking, long descendant
of Porthos; iced coffee and
punk stickers on laptop,
buried in something digital.

a cross-legged boy blond,
drawing oblivious,
a one-two punch of soul and Lilith
Fair soundtracking.

a fair-headed boy squirming
an athletic ballet of gestural
art-making and focused

"I made a mistake!"
     he says, tears welling.
"I used purple instead of blue!"

It's digital,
I say.
Press Undo.



Mudbound. It has been a long while since I have experienced a film of this power. Still trembling with rage at the vileness humanity is capable of. And at the supportive and enabling role the country I love has played in some of the most inexcusable and bleakest vileness.

Racism. Class. PTSD. Loveless marriage. A quadrilogy of undercurrents sliding Mudbound’s narratives along, with one standing above the others.

I think of the hypocrisies we have committed so many times in sending those of a class, those of a race off to war, to make us proud and lift the shining light of freedom up high…and upon return...yank a shroud, a social Faraday cage, a muzzle over them. Disposable heroes. The convenience of benefiting from heroism minus the inconvenience of having to acknowledge it.

Mudbound covers much ground in multiple voices as it slogs us through the farm of a post-WWII Mississippi farmstead and the two families who may live on the same land, but who live vastly different lives. Tragedy all around, with little moments of connection and tiny flickers of hope.
This is what I do not understand: I am a thinking person. And I am a feeling person. Maybe more so than some and less so than others. But a combination of those two things is what makes most of us human.

To see this film and the roots of human vileness and to realize A) this is fictional, but it is - and I concede no ground on this point - the attitudes and the actions taken are true to what have been documented as horrific reality. Reality. Again and again and again.

And the racism shown in this is brutal, bleak, and out in the open. But when I look at the roots of what drives that hatred, that ability to look at another person based on their skin color and see them not as a child of God - and therefore a brother or sister to yourself - then I have to think this. And then say it aloud:

Could this happen again?
Is this happening again?
What are the thoughts that lead to the attitudes that lead to the words that lead to the actions that lead us down this road the wrong way?


I want to be kind. And loving. And accepting.

I want to dialogue. I hold my right and privilege to converse with anyone, without agenda, as sacred.

When I look at the roads that lead us to some of those darkest places in our past, then I have to look at the mirror, gather those I care about close and am privileged to help raise and learn from,
and say to those in power, or those seeking power:

I will fight to keep those who wax nostalgic for those ‘simpler times,’
those who use euphemisms to minimize and shrug off the hard parts of the past,
those who who do not condemn others who are blatant and unapologetic in their racism,
those who gleefully, wink-wink and backslap their way around the language and nuances of the behaviors that LED to the roots of lynchings, Jim Crow, and a fascist and false Christianity…
to those fitting the above who are IN POWER OR SEEKING POWER, I oppose you. I have a tiny voice, but it can be shrill and occasionally harmonize with a choir. A choir without white robes or bedsheets on heads.

And if it’s within my power, I will do whatever small part I can to get you OUT of power, or prevent you from GAINING power.

I am speaking to those seeking power and control. I also believe in the capacity to change. I believe in redemption and trying to show a better way. And that is done, most frequently and most successfully, through relationships and dialogue, not guilt-mongering, public shaming, and feel-good callout memes. For ordinary people with no thirst for power or control, that is what I can give. Conversation, an ear, a good discussion and ideally open hearts.

But for those in power - and look. Look! There’s no need to name names to identify who they are. Look at their words and actions. Look at those who separate everything into completely binary worlds: Us versus Them. Evil versus Good. The idea that if you speak out against your leaders, you’re speaking out against your country, your armed forces, your allegiance as a citizen.

False. As a joyful citizen of this wonderful country in so many ways, I want it to be a world that is joyful for all. That is respectful to and for all. A world that is not slowly slipping down a muddy path where men with stained white sheets on their ridiculous fucking heads yank a black man out of bed in the dark of night and torture him brutally for looking at a white woman wrong.

Those ACTS don’t happen overnight. The roots to those acts are born in the hearts and minds of every person. And we either move forward and away from that. Or we go back. There is no standing still.

It’s a cliche, but let’s just ask this anyway. Not rhetorically. WWJD? What WOULD Jesus do?

Talk tax cuts and upping military spending with men in suits?
Or walk across a muddy field to share a meal with a farm family?

I don’t know. I can’t speak for him. Just like nobody else can. But what is consistent with what we know about him? How does the picture we are painted of Jesus match up with many of those in power?

Watch Mudbound. Netflix streaming. Maybe not with your young children yet. Not yet. Or do. The violent and false words of those in power are more disturbing to me for our children to hear than the the violent and true records of atrocities that have actually been committed. And are in danger of being committed with ever increasing frequency.

And remember. There is a time to be kind. And there is a time to stand up and fight. They are both powerful tools - not weapons, tools - to use. So good luck on using them. See y’all around.