Believe that you are better than
Believe that if you haven’t lost someone you love
To Mass Shootings
You are blessed, the lucky one
Pretend it won’t ever happen
Pretend it’s impossible
Pretend doesn’t work much these days
It can’t happen?
Not today, not in your town, not in your house
The one safe space
And then indulge me
Close your eyes
Feel for a baby’s hand
A small child, maybe your child
So innocent and pure
The hand feels wet and cold and you cannot stop the chaos
The screams are all around you
You hear them as if locked in
Stuck in a nightmare
You cannot wipe the blood from your hands soiling your jeans
Pretend is only one day away
Reality states there’s a dark tomorrow
Believe you care enough to make a difference
Believe you can make a difference
Citizens of this great nation
Believe you have the right to say
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE GREED TURNING A BLIND EYE
I pray, I do but my prayers seem futile and nobody hears them
Until I remember
To be beholden
To believe in the toil and dreams fulfilled by our forefathers
Believe in your legacy
The past is our great teacher
And the present needs a new healer
Believe in the peaceful resisters who are protesting the ugly regime
The reign of terror
Believe in your gut
Believe in your voice
Believe in your heart
And stand up
Do the right thing
Let your conscience be clean when you lay your head down
Believe your life matters more than an AK-47, hatred, or idiotic, ignorant opinions
How you live is up to you
How you die well that is the disturbing, frightening question of the times
Believe that humans are inherently good
Be a good human
And stand together for everyone’s right to an honest, purposeful life
I must not forget, never ever forgo this one shot at an honest life. A well-played beginning, the hold on tight middle, and a serene, admired, beloved end. I have been given this offset jewel of a life for a reason.
Loosening my grip on the serrated edge, I grab tight to the rafters overhead.
Sometimes I think I should just quit. The world is too ugly, too sad, too dangerous. You know like most creatives, empaths, humans we question ourselves, we overthink incessantly, coming up with a gazillion reasons why. Why not stop. And, why not? You know what, fuck it. I’m not finished, your story is not finished. Our story. We’re in this chaos of crazy together. Stuck together. What is this one life, without art and emotion? What good are words or photographs or movies if not to fill our broken hearts and empty spaces?
To replenish our souls.
What matters in these troubled times is that you look up and out and around and make something beautiful. Spill your guts, break your heart and then dig a little deeper. Jump into love. Inside the blues, inside the scary, safe nurturing walls of love, you find truth. It ain’t always pretty, but it’s always relatable. We are all wonderfully broken pieces, with smashed hearts and hopes. Humans can be so ugly, and there is so much hate going around. Pick up a pen or a paintbrush, a guitar, some headphones. Whatever makes you feel better. Whatever moves you and please don’t give up on the rest of us. There is good, and then there is good enough. You are good and I am good. Don’t wipe your tears or fears, let the floodgates pour. Humanity is dying, but broken crayons still color. God, I love that line. I love New York. She was the first city to open my eyes to so much imagination, vibration and color. Pure, uninhibited blissful art and joy. To the evil, hate filled human that tried to break her spirit, you won’t. You cannot. She survived 9/11, and will survive you. My heart is broken for the victims, their families and friends. My heart knows New Yorkers will rise, and come together in a tidal wave of good. Come together, and be better than this. New Yorkers are reinforced steel with liquid golden hearts and the frontline dreamers, artists, and inventors.
Daughters Who Shape Us
May we be your best example of speaking the ugly truth
May you never be soiled or spoiled or talked into anything you don’t want to do
May you remain untainted and uninhibited in all your glorious nakedness
Never know shame by the hands or wants or manipulation of another fucker
Man, oh man
May you never hear great tits and ass when you walk down the street
in your skinny jeans and heels
May you always find the courage to say NO
I’m out of here
Punk ass douchebag
I am woman Women
Here Me Roar
May your virgin innocence be crystalline pure
And unshaken and untouched and untaken
Until YOU decide
Owning your sexuality
May the warriors and feminists
who spoke out before you
with their brokenness and battle scars
Become your cloak of honor
‘The Women Who Shape Us’
Are speaking out today
One million voices loud and clear
Screaming no way, fuck off, not me
I’m out of here
You are the white warriors, the reason and hope
Not this time, never again, no dirty little secret
You will remain sacred and pure
I cannot walk through the grief for you. I would if I could.
I cannot cry the tears that pour like a fountain. I would if I could.
I cannot understand the pain, the weight, the fear and the messy emotions that consume your broken heart.
Grief is yours, and only yours.
The love never dies, no one can take that from you.
I would carry that burden,
I would if I could.
All that is beautiful in you, all the shared memories can never be erased.
They are sacred. They are theirs and yours, one intimate legacy.
And no one, not even life’s ugly tragic circumstance can steal them away.
Now, what would they tell me to do, to help mend your broken heart?
I would do anything, so I sit silent and wait with you for easier days.
When somehow, someday far and away from today you realize you are stronger than the pain, and the tears. You are tough, just like them.
Not today, no no no. And not tomorrow. Not even next year.
So, we wait in sorrow and silence for the seasons to bear the heavy load.
Time becomes the sweet and sad reminder of how very much you were loved.
The physical longing mysteriously grows lighter.
I cannot walk through the darkness and your grief. I would if I could.
The one thing I can do is be an ear, on solid ground, sitting silent with you.
You don’t have to like my politics or my opinions
Even my race, gender, social status, mental health
That’s fine by me
All I ask is that if my views on the world, my liberal “everyone should be treated equal” views
Leave your stomach sour, pause before you judge me
My artistic ideals might be so very different from yours
Could you try to stay open minded, not bitter or jaded?
And I will too
Once we’ve crossed the blame and shame line into the great divide
It’s too late
Because one cruel man is leading
With hate, pride, and posturing
That’s where I draw the line
And take a knee
In prayer, not any specific religion or another
But a general protection bubble of light
For me, and for you
For all the bad sour experiences you endured that were ugly or skewed
How was your childhood?
I’m truly curious
I hope pieces were magical, and joy visited you
Was it privileged, sheltered, did you even have a roof?
Did you know love intimately, really feel it in your bones
Did your mother tell you it was okay to be different?
Actually have a mind of your own and kind heart
Did you have freethinking, strong willed, compassionate mothers and fathers who loved and adored you?
Who taught you the awesome responsibility of respect?
Or did they try to shove their redneck, one-sided backstory on you?
Did they give you ample space to grow?
Were they present and kind?
Were you the outcast, bullied, gay, straight, black, pimply faced fat kid?
Hate is not our natural state, although it is the easiest enemy to fall back on
Guilty, I’ve done it
Hate takes so much work and energy
Hate is learned
Just let it go
So on bended knee
I ask you please
I am no different than you
I bleed too
Call me crazy and they have
I don’t care most days
Because I have a voice and strong heart with the best intentions
Put down your pride and smile at a stranger
Someone perhaps who has opposing views
Respect them and make up your own mind
Free will, baby
Take a knee because you believe deeply in human rights to express virtue and value
And the power of unity
Even when you’re different from me
I may not agree with your views
Whatever your politics
Standing up for your beliefs
And that, is all you come and leave with
Using your voice takes courage, resolve and moxy
You were born to be kings and queens
Not slaves to hate
That makes all the difference
Please do not underestimate the fragile girl who has been broken. The grown woman inside has climbed the barbed wire, jagged and cut, bleeding deeply shrugging off the scars. She is woke and not immune to the swirling, selfish world around her. Simply living the beautiful and worst kind of misery humanity throws at her. The best soft shoe tap she can muster. The soul dances firelight loud and quiet, solemn and ernest, near and afar.
When life throws shit at you, and most assuredly it will, remember this. I see you. You are stronger than you think. You are kinder, graceful, brighter, smarter, funnier, richer (and not monetarily), and unique. On the days I forget, and think manic depression will most definitely kill me, I dig deep. Who the hell knows where or when life’s reservoirs will dry up. I don’t, neither do you. Then, I remember. I am a goddamn, strong ass warrior and there are people who need, support and love me, same as you. It’s okay to feel down, overwhelmed, anxiety ridden. We all do, even the ‘normal ones.’ It’s okay to feel all the feels, cry, scream and curse. I understand it is a hell of a lot harder living with a mental illness. I was normal once, too. You know what? I’m no different than you. You have your own set of problems and heartache, so remember – I got you. I see you, I feel you and I’m rooting for you. In this shiteous, chaotic, beautiful place that is the world right now find a little piece of joy in your heart, take care of it and watch it explode. There is beauty in pain, and healing in holding on. Surviving, thriving, living. That’s life, that’s me, and that’s you. You are the miracle. Rinse, and repeat. Hate, resentment and anger have left the room, SURVIVOR. – Jacqueline Cioffa
Chasing the Sun
Don’t look down at your feet
The answers won’t magically appear
On some tiny telephone screen with videos buzzing megabytes and wasted seconds
A billion unknown faces
The unfamiliar bizarre millennium
Scrolling fast and furious
Thunderstorms and lightening threaten
Look up and out and dig deep
Go ahead look all around
I dare you
Lift your face to the sky and cry
Right into the sun
Filling caverns of regret and sorrow
With sunflowers seeds and poppy go lightly emotion
No one is ever only happy
No one is only ever sad
The sun shines through your ratty tattered secondhand sweatshirt and the clouds warn Your heavy, sighing shoulders
There’s an autumn chilly breeze
In the air
Rust colored leaves fall one by one
But not quite really
Turn around and crook your neck
In the opposite direction
Like the yellow sunflower stretches
Dancing dawn to dusk jumping ahead of her shadow
The fresh mango delights and uplifts the salivary senses
Summer sun is my absolute favorite gasp of breath
Chasing away the dreary blues
Leaving behind all the frigid heart-heavy feels
Forever and always
Chasing the sun
Chasing her golden hues
In search of longing, warmth and wonder
Chilled under the spiteful clouds that cover the mood of the day
The impending rain
Go away now
Each drop a tear moistening my face and stiffening my bones
I will not let go of her brilliance, prematurely
Forever in search of a new yellow dawn
The blissful revolving and swirling reminder
No one is only ever happy
No one is only ever sad
Seasons come and go like it or not
Even in tropical temperatures
There is flooding waters and peril
Danger of drowning
Quietly mostly, and sometimes screaming
Forever and always
In love with a beach and her ocean
Palm trees, wading pools and blistering heat
Her star shine warms the soul while the moon hums away the night
With the promise of a new dawn, blue sky and wide open spaces
I am wild and wistful and free
Under the glow and summertime glisten
I am now and forever just a girl
Somber in autumn and chilled to the bone come winter
I am forever happier under the warm rays
In love with the light
I am only ever mostly happy
Chasing the sun
Hate has no place in the home, on the mean streets, or the man-made war zones.
Of this ugly 21st century that is so unkind.
United as one, we are not.
We are not even close in these chaotic, heartbreaking times of epic, earth shattering cosmic shifts and distorted evil proportions.
Terrorists, murderers and violent, you are most assuredly unwelcome.
The time has come to become one voice united against all that has come undone.
You are your mothers and mothers and fathers and fathers only daughters and sons.
There is no do over.
Become something better, something way better than this bloodshed battle red.
Strong, confident, educated, kind and able.
Unclench those fists and do the work.
Peacekeepers with Statue of Liberty steel spines.
Gatekeepers of a new and improved united nation.
Dump the bad man and his arrogant posse of abhorrent greedy bastards
Stirring violence and divide.
Funny how fast we forget
Green is flimsy paper and cannot till the seedlings of a good, honest life.
One voice united will not be silenced or denied.
Lead with purpose, with love, with brothers and sisters on your mind.
Hearts wide open like our ancestors.
Indian red, backbone straight, oh so pretty, honorable and dignified.