I Know My Soul

I plucked my soul out of its secret place,

And held it to the mirror of my eye,

To see it like a star against the sky,

A twitching body quivering in space,

A spark of passion shining on my face.

And I explored it to determine why

This awful key to my infinity

Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace.

And if the sign may not be fully read,

If I can comprehend but not control,

I need not gloom my days with futile dread,

Because I see a part and not the whole.

Contemplating the strange, I’m comforted

By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.

– Claude McKay

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Know

“PITY THE NATION” (after Khalil Gibran) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Pity the nation whose people are sheep

And whose shepherds mislead them

Pity the nation whose leaders are liars

Whose sages are silenced

And whose bigots haunt the airwaves

Pity the nation that raises not its voice

Except to praise conquerors

And acclaim the bully as hero

And aims to rule the world

By force and by torture

Pity the nation that knows

No other language but its own

And no other culture but its own

Pity the nation whose breath is money

And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed

Pity the nation oh pity the people

who allow their rights to erode

and their freedoms to be washed away

My country, tears of thee

Sweet land of liberty!

Theories about the Universe

I am trying to see things in perspective.

My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter

chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot have this,

because chocolate makes dogs very sick.

Madigan does not understand this.

She pouts and wraps herself around my leg

like a scarf, trying to convince me to give her

just a tiny bit. When I do not give in,

she eventually gives up and lays in the corner

under the piano, dropping and sad.

I hope the universe has my best interest in mind

like I have my dog’s. When I want something

with my whole being, and the universe withholds it

from me, I hope the universe thinks to herself,

Silly girl. She thinks this is what she wants,

but she does not understand how it will hurt.

– Blyth Baird (If my Body could Speak)

An Older and Wiser Little Mermaid Speaks

There are so many ways to lose a voice.

An uncomfortable laugh, don’t make a scene

what will people say about you

what will people say about us.

I ask you now,

do women pray to softer-spoken Gods

than men do?

Do men pray louder and more

unapologetically than women ever have?

We are taught not to speak and if we do

be pliant, be passive, be soft, be sorry.

You are better as water anyway.

Water is supposed to simply adapt.

I ask you now, as the granddaughter of Poseidon

who gave up her fins and voice for love,

not to trade in your magic for anyone.

Do not make sacrifice the ritual of your womanhood.

I teach my half-sea girls that their voices

are the most powerful things they can use,

to let the word ‘no’ become the charm

they need to help them take up space often.

Now the mermaids are becoming sirens,

for sirens are monsters who never feel compelled,

and monsters, unlike girls and mermaids,

know how to protect themselves well.

Nikita Gill (Fierce Fairytales)

A Lesson Learned Lately

Ask me what I find ugly about myself,

and I will point out wound after scar,

everything that hasn’t healed right,

everything that I wished away,

wished better, wished alive.

I have a thousand words for each injury,

ten thousand to give to my flaws’ tragedies,

yet if someone asked,

“Name something beautiful about yourself,”

the seconds feel like centuries of stifled silence.

And I wonder why it feels like I’m safer

when I’m languishing in self-hatred,

but have no kind words for the spirit

that has sustained me,

the body that has loved me,

and the mind that has tried its best

to heal from every cruel memory.

Perhaps the only way to start loving myself

is constantly reminding my heart

that I deserve better from me.

– Nikita Gill

The Guest House

This, being human, is a guest house.

Every morning, a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Jalajuddin Rumi

More

When you start to feel

like things should have

been better this year,

remember the mountains and valleys

that got you here.

they are not accidents

and those moments weren’t in vain.

you are not the same

you are grown and growing

you are breathing, you are living.

you are wrapped in

endless

boundless

grace.

and things will get better.

there is more to you than yesterday

– morgan harper nichols