I felt taller than you [poem]

When I faced you

daughter to father, in the kitchen

I felt taller than you

just like I did as a teen

when I lept for you down the stairwell

and when I threw my hands

around your neck, near the pear tree.

I never meant to hurt you

Even though that was exactly my intent.

As the years have passed

and the strength within us both

has diminished, my anger has turned

to sorrow, not so much for my actions

but for the giant pain in this life

that seems to have left

no other way, but to anger, and defend.

Bing Crosby plays in my ears

as your low voice resounds against the walls

at Christmas, and on Sunday afternoons, trying their best

to absorb whatever joy they could.

Your hair is so much lighter now,

your large body more round, less firm.

I watched you slice tiny shrimp into pieces

at the third birthday luncheon for my son.

I know you’re afraid, and I wish you weren’t

so fearful of the death we all know is coming.

Your own father dying as he choked

on some trivial piece of food from a recliner

in his living room, his wife and son bearing witness

fighting against the truth of that moment.

Why must we always push back at

reality that is before us? Me, you, all of us

in struggle against the harsh reality we see.

please let there be blue paint there, too? choosing to career again. [poem]

I stayed in bed all of today, save
four walks to the kitchen, the same
number of front door openings
so my yellow dog with a hard chest
could pee on sparkling snow, light blue
reflecting the Saturday sky of January.
I felt a fever, which made me scared not
in fear of this virus I’m told to be afraid
of, but of passing on a job interview, a
role I know I’ll get, and will accept, and for which
I will adjust my life accordingly.
I didn’t want to fuck it up, from
sickness, no I’d rather make that happen
by choice. I practiced pitches, the sales funnel steps and learned about aluminum trailers. Hours spent understanding trailers. Done, and still will there be
time for writing, for spreading blue
on white canvas, the feel of wonder
on my fingertips as they glide in
wet paint, creating something from
nothing. The not knowing feels the best, and yet
here I am, with wrinkles
a hairline moving back, an inch past
where Snapchat filters place
the hairline on my head. My scalp
hurts. Years of indecision hidden
under play, curious in deserts, dawdles
on Fridays in the forest and tuesdays
on airplanes. Who but I to set
my schedule, and still, a child played
with gray blue sand and flimsy clear
volcano molds on the table next to
me, behind the computer as I decided
not to let me be so unsure any longer.
From this bed today I practiced
elevator pitches, the fire in my pelvis
cooling with the minutes that pass. I
questioned to the doctor if his drugs
could be to blame. I wished never
to decide my steps from head and not
from heart, and yet I saw him sitting
there, tiny rocks falling from chubby
little hands, water falling on my face
“Don’t cry like that mommy” as my chin
dimpled in. “Mama’s trying to make it better,
little man” amongst the papers and
the mess I created ‘round myself, to
shield us from monotony that is
surely just ahead, when I clear
the mess I created ‘round myself, in
spreading blue on white canvas,
the feel of wonder on my fingertips
as they glide in wet paint,
creating something from nothing.

time to butter bread this morning [poem]

Her speckled tan banana bread
is dense, losing moisture, and tastes
of saran just a tad within my mouthful of
home. My mother always made two tins
of the simple cozy cake from a bunch of
rotting yellow fruit our family did not
eat. She still does. Two weeks ago she
wrapped a loaf within layers of plastic and
left it on my counter next to mail from
DHS needing my attention and bottles of
coriander, turmeric, cumin and black pepper,
a clay pot of pink salt which I use
to add flavor to my food. She knows not to
mention them or ask or stay much longer in
my house these days. She must protect
herself and the way she wants to be. So do
I, now seeing bitterness in a jar and a
warm slice of her on a plate with its gold
flowers and golden brown cracked crust.
I took the time to butter bread this morning. 

the rise of you again [poem]

a new old light in my smile


was it the kiss of the man I was meant to

be with

who I kissed almost first, and who I’d love to 

kiss last

the strangeness in our mouths, a welcome home to

our bodies

perhaps it’s when we stop performing proving and decide 

on settling

into the sweetness of a human life, without pushing back at who

we were

all along he was him leaning into life his way, and still there is so much

I don’t know

and there was I was, over there, and there, and there, and here, and there, never 

stopping long 

and maybe now I hear a gentle letting go in knowing not all this life can or should be lived in

this moment

it’s perfect to accept what is, what isn’t, what comes, and what must go because not every little thing

can be

what would I sacrifice, asked the wanderer to me, for the chance to let love be sewn onto my soul for a long while


I know as I let it rest, which isn’t really rest at all because in this mind and life of no casual affair at all, I cannot let it rest when

it must be

I know that my heart my body and my spirit longs for a long adventure into quiet expectations giving and receiving for once without demand

lay with me

a while upon this frozen earth under those red oaks and beech holding onto leaves beside a small hemlock poking through the pines near the flowing river

and let us see

what comes in this life wherein we’ve circled round each other time and time and time again never ever saying goodbye with fire in our eyes and anger in our bones

because love is

and kindness comes and comes, continues to come and ravage my soul as it always does yours and fingernails on flesh and mouths on necks and breasts in your hands and mine

being held by you

is the most





crabmeat chuckles, finally [poem]

as the sticks of crabmeat
slippery from themselves and the water
I rinsed them with in a swirl
slipped across the plate, one landed
all by itself on the center metal ridge of
the steel two-basin sink.
there it was, a shaft off pollock and
egg whites, dressed as king crab
wet and floppy near a spongey yellow towel
I chuckled, the joy in this moment profound
all of life being so silly
and just fine exactly as it is
clarity dressed in leg-style meat
that i will heat in a small pan on an
inexpensive gas stove in a house i do not own
a better choice than the microwave, but if 
I’m being honest, I don’t really care much 
how my food is heated at the moment. 
I’m just so glad
I laughed, and that I will eat it
with a toddler son at my side, who won’t
and we will laugh 
about slippery meat and
slippery spaghetti and
slippery white mushrooms and
how damn slippery our lives together thus far
have been
and I am so happy to hear my chuckle
and his

terrified of the other mothering [poem]

i hurry rushing flushing bluster of nerves
i pause from stacking the tank tops on the shelf
behind the door of knotty pine, that slides, a bit rough on its track

what am i doing? for whom and i changing what just was? who am i trying to be?

        my healing vacation of quasi-awakening in traumatic shifts of the self
        coming to a close. they’re already in the car. my mother driving him
        home to me, his mother
        an artist when he is away

i slide empty canvases and masterpieces just the same
inside a brown paper box awaiting life, when she comes again

since becoming a mother, i have been trying to find my other mother way
but no. i have to make my own way of mothering, because
i am terrified of the other mothering
the one without unconditional love offering freedom to be creative

        somehow there has to be space
        for art in momming
        it now is who-i-aming, so expand i must in my mothering
        i choose to make space for the artist, the child in a home
        without freedom to create, to be seen in her brightness and her glory

to the sweetness within my mothering
        i offer kindness to you, who will not be understood
        some of us cannot hold space for
        no art in our hearts, lest not in our eyes
        of the children artisting in our homes

        is that what you’re wearing? (she asks)
        yes, mom


i hurry rushing flushing bluster of nerves
pause from stacking painted tank top, black sweatshirt on a shelf
that sits behind a heavy splintered door made of knotty pine
which doesn’t slide any longer, broken now and laying rough within its metal creaking track

what am i doing? for whom am i putting all this away? who am i trying to be?

my healing vacation of quasi-awakening, traumatic shifts of the self
coming to a close. they’re already in the car. my mother driving him 

        home, to his mothering
        artist when he is away

i slide empty canvases and dried lumpy creations from core
inside a brown paper box awaiting life, when she comes again

since becoming a mother, i have been trying to find another mother way
which, it doesn’t work it hurts more than helps,  i know it cannot be true, because
i am terrified of the other mothering
she doesn’t have unconditional love, or give freedom to be creating

        somehow there has to be space for me, the artst in me, within all of my mothering
        it is who-i-aming, so i must be expanding
        i choose to make space hold space offer grace for the child in this home
        full of life in her space in all she creates her brightness and her glory

and to sweet attempts and perfect failings within all of our untrue mothering
        i offer kindness to you, who won’t be understood
        some cannot hold space for
        art in our hearts, lest not in the eyes
        of children within our homes

stop, is that what you’re wearing?
        yes, mom

chobani enlightenment [poem]

your feet pound the faux-wood floor
pace, pick up, forget as right foot steps
chobani, strawberry pieces, red
animal rage so strong, little man

your anger, your fire, you
that you found along the path of love
now as it casts stones at your son
does it feel good to burn, mama?

        you gulp sour spit at the sight of what you said
        in spite and sorry not fit to be a mom, not meant to be a mom, why did i decide to mom
        like this
        before the buddha on the couch
        you remember your plan to enlighten
        who the fuck has time for that
        creative mom with self-scarring wounds is surviving, self-medicating
        making space to make it better
        exhale smoke

your son was ready, wanted to be gone
didn’t flinch in seeing you stay there, behind
but does she have the bubble wand, mama?

        she does, my sweet son, she does

Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA // November 2020

Worth, part 1 [poem]

what is my worth?
        she asks me, a good idea from the shower, she says.
        she struggles too, with depth, an eagerness to know
        both of us

pulling clothes from the line, sandy feet
shuffle on the marble rooftop

        nothing, I smirk
        the easy answer, my attitude, my honesty, my pride
        there is no value, no real worth, inside my moments
        it’s all just now, anyhow

no different am I from the tree just beside
she has no leaves, no blossoms, no bark, yet is
holding tight to the ground, yet gives
shade for the man in gray, offers
view for the bush-tailed chipmunk, a
perch for the pigeon pair I saw mating once, a lustful quickie on a pillar, silent
picture for the neighbor servant
girl wearing red

        who am I but the dust that flies
        into my child’s eyes, my own
        belonging neither to me, nor life itself
        able to die more quickly than
        one takes, chooses, a life

        it’s all a dream, I fear, I feel
        jaded as the years drag on

Is awareness always so solemn?
        I’ll ask her that, I think

Holi, part three [poem]

fuuuuuuuck you, spirit speaker
the mind turned off you say, and still
bedroom photo wall with you and Ferrari and female form and framed
achievement from European schools
next to Buddha, and boddhisatva
        do you see?
        do you see the what the fuck, the #horriblebeautyofitall?
your mother, your wife
caring for me as I craved to care for you
judging me, curious, cynical with pity, and seeing

my son cried after eating soap in your shower
as I rinsed green paint from my hair
head back in the cool water stream
bliss came for a moment, in the scream

i wonder if your wife poisoned me
in stress, and surrender, i soften my already lightening hands
hand over my child to your queen
just as I gave my heart to you, with longing, loss, and
a silent plea for help

there you are dancing, drinking, again,
with the salon curtains closed
        you prance into the parlor
        showing me your smile, I smile
        your skin, barney purple paint on brown
your wife, laughs in her ownership
your mother, hands you a shirt

the hours pass, I sleep beneath photos of your father
your grandfather, next to my son, with neither
you sleep in a walk-in closet
is this the norm, for you, for us, I dream, we wake

you sit in a circle of men, cousins
these men eating sugar, drinking chai
talking of choosing a wife for the youngest god amongst you

        isn’t that just too sweet…
        you joke, should we choose a wife for your son
        why not? I laugh. Can you hear my hatred
        and jealousy within this idea?

bearing uncomfort no longer
feeling alone in india for the first time
here, many months of settling, rising
strong, I flee drooling son on my knee, rooftop offers space to breathe

        empath, i am breathing
        neon parakeets in trees
        pigeons on the pillar, a pair
        i watch them mate for the first time
        so open, fast
        then pause for two minutes alone to fluff feathers
        take care of themselves, become bigger

I retreat and again busy my time with your wife
your friends new wife, pregnant, covers her face
when you walk in the room
you, patriarch, who lost your wallet in your celebrations
and left me hanging with the women, behind the curtain

        I ask to leave, immediately you find your keys
        perhaps also seeing a way out, or finally seeing me out
        comfort in the exit, alone at my side

I have that repeating thought from days long since known to me
’ll never fit in, ever, maybe never, here, maybe nowhere
Numb and silent, and still there is relief

On the back of your bike, my son sandwiched between our pelvises
Feverish head under curls, his hat and shoes lost on this day
You search for speech, more seconds with me
        I pass up the doctor, the diapers
        Your hint at dinner
        Too much, all too much, I’ve had enough

past the laxmi temple, you swerve
near the shiva temple, you stop outside our home

whiskey in your eyes, I try to meet you, but cannot
you look at my son, unable to meet me, i cannot

        love you, and still
        i see myself stronger in solidarity
        knowing that you, gurujj
        are also not enlightened as much
        no, moreso not, than me

I hold my son and turn my back and walk away

       i’m in the home you gave to me

My world, my life, these days…

Poetry is happening in my world, my life, these days…
My mind has much to process, but it comes in much too open, much too raw, vulnerable, frightening ways…
I don’t write as I used to, feverishly penning words from in my head.
Now stories come out on my mat, alone, with students, with tears, with breath…
Now they come out in songs, sung in a voice I’ve never known.
They come out in melodies from ancient times, in rhymes, in imagery, in visions, in the building of a home.
Beauty is being channeled, from above and to the now,
and I’m watching from afar, mesmerized, in awe, at how.
Gifts are given for a time, never knowing when they’ll go.
But I am surely one to take each chance, each step, sharing what I know.
It’s scary yes, I’ll stumble and I’ll fall.
But if I don’t listen, act, then I’m ignoring your clear call.
I am just a vessel here on earth, in this time.
And all I ask is to live your truth, and give it, always, every time.
Judge me if you want, ignore me if you must.
But this life is much too short, too frail, to live without trust.
Poetry is happening in my world, my life, these days.
And I am ever grateful, healed and whole,
for my world, my life, these days.

— robin

“What you think your vulnerability, is really your magic!”