Wednesday, December 12, 2018


I dreaded my hair today
In fact
I dreaded it
And felt each individual strand

I dreaded my hair
And felt the knots forming
Each individual strand
Seeking my approval

Are you sure?
The strands seemed to ask
Are you sure
You are writing a check
You can cash
Because with dreads
Society as a whole
Might dread you
Or love you
So you decide
Or is it they,
Who decide?

For now
I am feeling my dreads
Loving them
Praying for them
That I might find whatsoever I seek
In the sand
Whether it be gold
Dreadful peace


The doll wept copiously
She felt so lonely
Even though she was in the company of friends
Who looked exactly like her
Liked the same things she liked
Played the same games she played
She was inexplicably sad
And couldn’t push off this dreadful loneliness
That threatened her very life

The doll thumped her chest
And let out a tiny wail
Singing a sullen song
Perchance it might make her feel better
Perchance the incessant longing in her being 
Will be stilled
Enough to be revisited later

As if sensing her sullenness,
Her owner picked her up
She was a sweet little girl, her owner,
So full of love and grace
But she too played with only her human friends who looked exactly like her,
Talked like her
Dressed like her
She too was prone to weeping copiously
In the absence of her friends

Then one day
She took me shopping with her parents
To a doll shop!
Yay! I was in doll heaven
During the shopping I kept high fiving other newer dolls
She kept buying newer dolls.
But when we came across different looking dolls
With a different yet lovely looking shade
And eyes full of wonder
Fuller shaped
She passed them without a glance

In those differently shaped dolls
In those differently hued darlings
Lay part of my happiness.
I needed them with me,
Needed them to complete my doll heaven,
Just like the sweet girl needed different looking friends
To give her smile a beatific splendor.

Maybe in another world,
The doll sadly sighed as her owner continued her one track shopping spree.


The day I turned sixteen
Was the day hope moved
Out of my house
And into bigger, better

The year I turned sixteen
Was the year I sought numerous
Malaria pills
And hastily downed them
Hoping to secure myself an abode
In the next life
Albeit unsuccessfully

Not an easy feat

The minute I turned sixteen
Was the minute my parents
Became my actions
Wandering my small corner of the
With a map that read
“You are here “ but that
Never showed which way
I needed to go to get to
Where I wanted to be
Or needed to be
Who knows?

The second I turned sixteen
Teddy kissed me
John pledged his undying love
Kevin helped me with homework
Seasons changed my seasons
Ochieng steadied the ground
Beneath my feet

The year I turned sixteen
The hormones that had been
Quietly residing in my body
Suddenly became active volcanos
Spewing out active lava
Every which way

The night I turned sixteen
I quietly wondered if I was
Going to make it
To seventeen


“How was your day?”
Small talk.
“Good to see you”
Small talk.

I get why the inventors

Invented small talk
I get why they laced it
Into the very fabric of society.
To fill up silences
And erase unease
The awkwardness
That comes with a meeting
Of people
Unbeknownst to each other

I get it

Rather than bite one’s nails
Nervously rub one’s nose
As if one had suddenly
Been infected by a severe
Bout of cold
And needed to rub the cold away
Small talk was invented.

In this sense,

Small talk has saved humanity
From a small avalanche
Of nervous energy
With the invention of
Small talk
Real conversations
Have been sacrificed
And I don’t mean
Bearing one’s soul
Every time one meets
Somebody new
Or runs into the same person,
A second, third, fourth, or fifth time.

I mean being real with each other.

I already know you are good
But specifically
What’s good in your life?
What’s challenging
What makes your heat
Lurch for joy
What threatens
To tear the fabric of your existence
Into tiny pieces?

Oh humanity

We crave this thing
This thing that is beyond small talk
We crave the intimacy
That comes with really sharing
Allowing ourselves
To be vulnerable

We crave that forgotten art

That allows us
To tear out our throbbing hearts
And place it in the hands
Of people we trust

Why are we so afraid

To go beyond small talk?

Is it perhaps because

Of the girl
Who poured her heart out
To her so called friend
Her friend who then proceeded
To place that heart in a phone
In the middle of her latest Facebook post
A post that read
‘She got dumped like a dead sack’

Why are we so afraid

To go beyond small talk?

Is it because our paralysis tanks

Are full of paranoid notions
Of made up t.v shows
That tells us to fear
And wrap our hearts
In an impenetrable cocoon?


I get it

My heart too

Has had more than it’s fair share
Of beatings
Beatings from people I trusted
And yes, the ‘ed’ in trusted matters

But when I sit across from

A potential new friend
And I make small talk
But then immediately avoid
Deeper conversations
By staring decidedly at my phone,
My heart loses
Your heart beats a little slower
A little less with vitality

Perhaps we can

save each other’s lives
Live more vitally

Going beyond small talk

Does not mean endless chatter
Or any chatter at all
It also means
Being mindfully quiet
We can hear each other’s heartbeat
Along with the swishing
Of the waves in the sea

Perchance we can

Save each other’s lives
Live more vitally
Past the short life span
Of small talk


Every life
Ever lived
Is unique
And deserving of reflection

We live differently

Thinking different thoughts
Sighing different sighs
Loving different people

On, we trudge

For meaning
For our roots
For our ultimate purpose


We live
In this murky, beautiful world
That rips our hearts out

We live

Even as the butchers
Tears us limb to limb
Readying us for the vultures

Every life

Has a different
With different beats

Every life

Has a different rhythm
Ending in different notes
But still worthy of reflection.

The examined life

Creates a better future
For the following generations
Perhaps they won’t stumble as much
Or perhaps they will

Every life, my child

Every breath drawn in and out
Has an important story that only time will tell.
So listen up!
Or not

Monday, July 9, 2018

Juvenile Justice

They are kids
Just kids
Kidding around
Trying to figure out the world
Through all of their senses
Getting to know Mother Earth
Trusting that adults have their backs
And will inevitably catch them
When they inevitably get it wrong

They are kids,
These lovely beings
In chains
Forced to claw their way through life
A life that they didn’t have a say about
A life bequeathed them by lovers building
Sand castles
While making eternal promises
They have every intention of keeping
Until life
Gives them a naked tour
With stars not quite so perfectly

They are kids
Somebody else’s plans
Specially ordered
At her request
She who has
Beautiful eyes
All hopeful and naïve
With ecstacy at her fingertips

They are kids
His kids
With his beautiful confident stride
Knowing that his legacy
Will live on
In the person of his handsome son
Who is being arraigned at the moment
Chains clanking at his feet

They are kids
Somebody’s kids
Your kids
My kids
Society’s kids
They are the very embodiment
Of past, present, and future
They are here
Looking in the dust
Trying to get to the diamonds.
Won’t we please
Show them how
With infinite, firm, real, all encompassing


So, the other day I called my mother-in-law
I called her to let her know I was on the
Short list for a breastfeeding counselor job.
I called her to thank her for teaching me
How to breastfeed
How to not completely lose it as a mom
How to attempt to live and love as a mom.
Before I called her
I had a short list prepared
For I know how valuable her time is.

As soon as she answered I felt
myself unburdening
laying my all at her doorstep
knowing that she will sift through my
and let me know what are figments of my
ego, and what is real.

I talked so much that I had trouble
Catching my breath.
I talked so much because very seldom do I
Find a truly listening ear
A person there to help me swim through
The mighty tides of this earthly existence.

As I talked
And shared my woes
Only letting her get in a word or two
Quietly soaking my jumbled mind,
I felt more at ease
As though most of my woes were floating
Away in a peaceful, real, tide.

When I finished, and had reveled in her
And sifted through my mess, she said
“You know Susan, you are not the only
one with struggles. I too have my own.”
I knew then that I should strive to listen
More and speak way less
For my mother-in-law is also a person
A person with her own woes.

I realized something else as well,
My mother-in-law is the smartest,
Most consistent, loving woman I know.

Do I take her advice? Ummmm…I mean
I’d like to think I try.
But sometimes she is annoyingly right, like
When she assures me during labor, that
The pain too shall pass,
Which prompts me to be annoyingly stubborn.
Or is it that I am annoyingly stubborn
Which prompts her to be annoyingly right?
I leave that figuring for the great minds of
Our times

My mother-in-law is smart
And I thank our creator for her everyday
For without her
I would
Most probably be wondering an insane
Asylum somewhere
Not knowing this from the other.

Don’t get me wrong
I am still wondering an insane asylum but
My case is not quite as sever
Largely because of my mother-in-law.

I would like to pay homage
To this great woman
Daughter of great Suzie and Don Zieglar

Please, keep being and doing
For in you
We women tilling this earth of muddled
And wondering this beautiful, confusing
Find some sanity
And always a welcome hug.