My country can shut down,
my friends can throw me away,
everything can go to hell in a hand basket,
but I will not shut down.
How easy it is to shut down!
To tighten up, to fuss, to fret, to refuse.
To scrunch up, to throw stones, to taunt.
To holler, “I’m right! I’m right!”
To yell, “You’re wrong! You’re wrong!”
To sling mud in the faces of those who think differently.
(I know how easy it is. I’ve shut down the country of Kathy
more times than politicians bicker. I’ve locked the door and thrown
the key into the woods and argued endlessly with the
annoying squawking thieving blue jays who stole
infuriating drilling pileated woodpeckers who
wrecked our cedar siding,
who do they think they are anyway?)
Did my shutting down help anything?
Did the turning away in confusion to eat six chocolate chip cookies
relax the inner storm?
I will stay open, wave this heart flag,
allowing everything in.
All you crazy ideas, you opposing thoughts, you darn
right dirty & disgusting annoyances, you people with
the wrong ideas,
Come in this open heart and I will not
refuse you the right to exist.
That’s what I want to say.
You can exist, right or wrong. You can be what you are in all your
shining and muddy mess.
You are anyway.
Why fist fight with life?
I’ll say yes and I’ll say no,
I’ll prefer one response to another,
I’ll walk away even, if the soul beckons elsewhere,
I won’t run from the pain of it,
denying what is,
closing down without empathy, without softening.
The heart will stay open today,
oh please, dear God,
may it not refuse the cornucopia,
the fulfillment of the All,
the sacred allowing,
the innocent fawns.
Please, may the heart stay open at least until lunch,
through a real or imagined slight,
through the next challenging phone call
or perhaps even
through the end of this poem…