Spring

A Poem by Susan Dale

From every pore of earth and sky
a promise to be kept
Spring
in a knot
tying together blossom and birds
Sun spirits
curling up on April’s shoulders
and rain shadows
slanting across the earth
a’ tremble with flowers
waiting to be born

Hush pretty petals
Shush, winds in the trees
The willow fronds
softly
gently
sing their green-eyed
lullaby to spring

Sunrise

Greet the day with silence, music only you can hear, no matter where you are, and watch the birds settle down (because they love to watch it in its full majesty, too) as the sun begins its rise its colors echoing from cloud to cloud–even in a pure sky blue beginning.

The quiet and the peacefulness and the feelings of warmth as the sun changes from one color to the next until its warmth envelopes you is a blanket, a caress, a lover’s kiss.

Health benefits to watching the sun rise? I don’t know if there are any, but I do know watching the sun come up is a great way to begin your day.

Inspired in part by Leo Babauta: http://zenhabits.net/10-benefits-of-rising-early-and-how-to-do-it/

Unsent letter #12 [I still think of you when the world gets like this]

A Prose poem by anon ymous

Dear,

How you told me 11 is the number for clarity;
it’s morning, rivers and sleet. It’s anything
wet: sweat on a glass of beer, a splash from
fish, silver and sleek, It comes before blood,
before the impact of Agent Orange, before Dow
Chemical burns the flesh from children running,
before we learn how to swallow loss. You love
this town, its broken pieces laid out before this
Great Lake. The park by the canal is deserted,
gulls pick at tourist leftovers. I imagine you
painting, writing, listening to your favorite
playlist; firefly or lush or a Monsanto madness.
I watch the lights on the hill go out one by one
by one; count them until everything becomes clear.

Love

Robert Penn Warren and Orange County Blue

A Short Story by Brian Michael Barbeito

We were old.

Wind came in with small threats and played games with the drapes, a print of orchids and some other green affair that looked to me like kiwis. Sadie was arranging some items on a desk and I noticed there was a cricket on the window. I was thinking of Jung’s scarab beetle.

Penny for your thoughts, Sadie said.

I wasn’t thinking of anything.

Did you ever imagine we would meet like this? With take-out coffee in Orange County?

No, I replied, I didn’t, and what’s more, I had archived us to an anachronistic appendix of the cosmos that nobody reads.

Too funny. Do you like Orange County?

Yup. Orange County. I like the drapes.

Sadie finished adjusting whatever she had been adjusting on the desk and sat down. Outside part of the sky that covered the distance had turned dark blue and was possibly pregnant with rain. I put my feet up on a third chair that sat between us. There was always something between us. Two things actually. One a connection and the second the thing blocking the connection.

Speaking of reading, said Sadie, Why did you bring that book back? Did you read it?

I don’t need it. Didn’t read it. Had it for twenty years and took good care of it. A couple times I opened it and read the cursive notes at the tops of the pages. All the way from The Baylor School Tennessee to me and now back to you. Amat victoria curam.

Don’t forget it, she said.

Nah. I hardly forget anything. You know that.

But still, Sadie replied pensively, that’s a curious way to handle a book.

I’m a curious cat. And books are books. They should have human rights. And nobody should write in cursive in them, but it was you…

Yeppers. Hey. It’s the book that was never read.

Ya. It is that.

Then I looked back out the window and the cricket was gone. Nobody had mentioned a cricket or a song or anything connective. The dark blue part of the sky had become even darker. Sadie and I had taken different paths and there was not a lot to say.

Sadie packed up the book and at the door. One more question, Hayden.

Shoot. Anything.

Did you keep a copy of the book you wrote about me?

Yeppers, I said, imitating her talk. It’ll be the second book that is never read.

Sadie grinned and left and I thought of how old we were and on all the funny things people sometimes do when they are young. There went the muse again, down hallways in Orange County so many years later and maybe, I thought, the wind played with orchid prints and odd kiwis in all of the rooms everywhere and in some way all of the time and for everyone all over the great grand hyperbolic earth.

Getting Rid of the Blues

When we think of blues, we think of sadness. But when we see a flower this …
photo by Korey J. Brownstein

…the only thing that we can think of is all of the marvels of the world, everything that makes life worth living, the miracle of happiness.

The next time you’re sad, think of this beautiful flower.

ELEVATORS

A Short Work by Brian Barbeito

The elevator workers were a naturally hard working, alcoholic, racist, and misogynistic bunch. But what could one do?–He tried to keep a low profile. Dealing with generations of ill-kept thought, banal amusements, and misconceptions–even hatred–was not his thing. He only needed the pay-check–what was the harm in that?- isn’t that what everyone did? One could not fight the world and one’s own battles at the same time. Jacob climbed the scaffolding and began to take the hardware off the walls on what they called a ‘mod job’ because the elevator was being converted to one that would be lifted by hydraulics. When working on the higher floors, Jacob really thought that the workers should be wearing harnesses, but there were no safety measures in place. On a break, looking out at the city, there was only row upon row of buildings. A mishmash of things–the utter uncreative mind had shown itself–rectangular buildings in rows–some not with any sense at all–off to the side– like afterthoughts–a monkey could have managed the design of the city, its infrastructure, and the rest–better than the engineers and architects–so called–that had put the mess together. It was not for him to judge though–so he curtailed his thoughts–and tried to drink his pink grapefruit juice. He adjusted his pen–in his shirt–which was really not a shirt, but the top of blue standard issue industrial coveralls. He looked out again. Then at his watch- a glance. Tick Toc. Tic Toc. He was resigned as much as possible to whatever the fates had in store. Looking again… All those buildings had elevators at one time or another would surely need some repair if not complete modification and beyond this metropolis there was an entire world. Things were looking up.

Their Smiles Are Starting to Change

A Poem by April Salzano

My son is the biggest baby in the room.
He doesn’t know there is an age limit
on jumping and squealing in the mall playland
with the spongey floor, that straight-arming
a kid who will not leave him alone
is not the appropriate solution. It may
make perfect sense, but it will just
piss his 20-year-old mother off enough
to threaten me with her raccoon eyes.
It is not cute or gentle. Her son is planted
into the carpet.

In the women’s restroom,
I feel an iris burning
its way into my back, my life
opening for scrutiny. He is too big to be in here,
as if I am carrying an 8-year-old fetus
into the stall. He hides from the automatic
hand dryer and I get it, the smile of sympathy
that really isn’t. It is more of a unfinished question—
is there something…? Is he…? He counts
the floor tiles, frames the logo on the soap dispenser
with his hands, one eye closed, then covers his ears.
Then, yes…The women are still staring and asking,
but the hand dryer is so loud, I have to look away.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day:

Around the world, the sights, sounds, and energy of women, men and children in their communities can be heard demanding JUSTICE! Among the thousands events planned worldwide, risers will be dancing on campuses, at the gates of the High Court in Bangladesh, in Trafalgar Square in London, at game parks in Swaziland, at oil plants in the Bay Area, against the militarization of the mines in the Philippines, within Ministries of Women, in active violent conflict zones, with the rising girls in Siloe, Haiti, at the Palace of Justice in Rome, across the five Burroughs of NYC, at the steps of City Hall in San Francisco, at the International Criminal Court, in prisons, and more!

ONEBILLIONRISING.ORG, Your Window on the RISINGS

“Dancing insists we take up space, and though it has no set direction, we go there together. Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious and it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center of ONE BILLION RISING”

–Eve Ensler.

As we prepare for ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, for the escalation and the deepening of the campaign, we want to take a quick look back and ask What did dancing do?

We have seen the power of communities coming together through dance and action.

Dance broke the silence in Somalia and new laws were passed in Guatemala. It’s unified groups, it’s made people feel free, it’s broken down barriers.