Posts for June 12, 2016


No one told you , you’re a river

Little stream

No one told you
You’re a river

The sun kisses you on the cheek
Here and there

While the trees, all stand and wave
Giving you a little break from the sun’s advances
they keep you from spoiling yourself on the rain’s gifts
Be kind to them, don’t forget them

You’ll keep growin’ all your days
Don’t you stop to wait and see
A mighty river you’ll be
Roaring and teeming with life

And mighty river you’ll be
In your own time
In your own way


No judge nor jury

You leave the womb
In a split second

You die unto the world
In the same way

Who am I 
To judge
What happens


You Come To The Door, Come To Me

Your cheeks, the green hill
Behind you, outside your kitchen window.

Your light, radiation
Could not keep shining.

Your whisper on the wound:
Shhhhh. Mild. Shhhhh. Mild. Shhhhh.



When I first heard 
it was the barest of facts
50 dead 53 wounded
Orlando mass shooting 
worst in US history 
My first thought 
was Disney World
I thought how
horrible that would be 
A place of joy
and smiles
shot up
blood co-mingling
with melted ice cream
in the shape of
Mickey’s head
I thought nothing 
could be 
worse than that
but I was wrong 
the details
streamed in
it was a
gay night club 
That’s so much worse
because some people

won’t care at all
will call it
some form of
due punishment 
won’t see anyone
worth mourning
ignorance and hate
will try to 
minimize this
I can think
of nothing
more horrible 
– Jessica Swafford 


Mary Lou Sutton

Her name is Mary Lou Sutton
and she drives a white,
grey with dinge and age,
stuffed to the gills with
teddy bears and dolls
and beanie babies
and carnival prizes.
When she gives you one you take it.
“Remember, boy,” she says
to everyone, boy or girl,
“what goes around comes around
in threes.”
Then she winks and drives off.
Steven Pratt once said no
to a ratty old dog toy
because he was worried it would dirty his suit.
His suit didn’t survive the car accident.
Neither did he.
She gives to those she can save,
those who deserve a little good in their lives,
those who are already several bricks down the road to hell;
“Remember, boy, in threes.”
And you can only hope that the little
teddy bear smile
means you’re one of the good ones.


I can only

I’ve sat in the corner of a room,
crouched on the floor in heels,
crunched between teenagers,
wondering what I would do the day
a gunman finally came.
I’m lucky to have never been targeted,
who knows?
I’m a teacher,
I’m a woman,
I’m a pagan,
I’m a liberal,
I’m a citizen of a country where men on no-fly lists can buy a gun.
My kids are those who
laugh when someone farts,
who get angry for fictional people who have been wronged,
who tell me they love me
and cry on my shoulder
and bring me tissues, wide-eyed, when I cry.
Some of them love men,
some of them love women,
some love both.
Some love no one,
and some of them aren’t loved by
but me.
They could be in a club someday,
dancing to a pulse,
like a countdown.
I wish I could protect them.
But I can only teach them to love,
to live free of fear,
and to live.
I hope,
to live.


Ghostly Reflections

The illusion falls away
giving into the euphoria

Our presence fades 
in the dust of the vacuum 

A veil of reality masks
reflections, ascending 
to the solar domain

When mind and matter meet as one
reality is formless in cosmic unity
The ghostly reflection of spirit and soul
discards this mechanical device
in the name of balance

Photograph edited to look like a painting


A Continuous Exercise

Scarred and half vacant torso
you belong to me alone
small valleys rise
I scratch and pick
stitches refuse to dissolve
or to be torn away
like tree bark
ever growing back
self healing
but not returning 
to original condition 
it’s a continuous exercise
like untangling yourself
free from a spider’s web
These are my warrior wounds 
that will not fade
– Jessica Swafford 


tanka #7

scent of clover                      

chlorophyll and pine

the dog rolls

glorying in the grass

a whole green day before us



Chester Johnson, Poem Four

Poem 12, June 12

Chester Johnson, Poem Four

I don’t know
if I want you
to write much about my service.  

I still have terrible dreams
about the things I saw.
It’s unspeakable what we had to do.  

It’s ungodly what they had to do.
We were young.
I will be 92 years old soon.  

I have diabetic feet.
I walk as much as I can
just to keep myself going.  

When I told my doctor about my memories,
he told me to go to the VA,
for they know how to deal such things.  

Patton never believed a military man
could be shell shocked during World War II.
Nowadays they just call it some initials.  

I never went to the VA.
You see they would have wanted
to do mental tests on me just to call me crazy.