What gets you through adversity? Last spring my friends Kate Aver Avraham and Melody Culver decided to answer that question by gathering diverse voices to share prose, poetry and art that speaks of how we get through 2020, make the most of our changed lives, and move toward a meaningful future. The resulting book, Second Wind, has just been published, and I’m honored that it includes a few of my poems, including this one I began my blog with five years ago. As we face a pandemic and a divided nation, I look forward to finding hope and resilience in this lovely book.
Copies of Second Wind are available at Bookshop Santa Cruz and on Amazon, and all sale profits will go to the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund.
A Map to the Kingdom
Let me draw myself a map
out of the world of scarcity
into the kingdom
where everyone has enough.
The map I’m talking about
requires a subtle yet revolutionary algorithm
to rewrite the neuronal pathways of my brain.
Let my ears hear the soft call to prayer
from the cave of my heart
instead of the 21st-century symphonic blast
begging me to worship at the altar of the mall
and buy more apps for my iPhone.
The promise of productivity
and the buzz of news and games
want to trick me into believing
they can fill me up and give me purpose.
Rewire the neurons.
Let me rejoice in the gift of each moment
instead of fretting about what I don’t have time for.
Then I can find the cartographers
who will collaborate with me
in mapping our way to the kingdom of enough.
In that place time is the currency,
and communion is all we want to buy.
What does the kingdom look like? This week I had a chance to share my reflections on the parable of the ten virgins with Deacon Joe DePage of Holy Cross Church.
On the Friday before fall classes start at Foothill College faculty and staff come together for “Opening Day” to prepare for the new academic year. This year a panel of student leaders became our teachers and offered us a two-hour training on equity, focusing on implicit bias, privilege, and racism in higher education, including at Foothill. For our last activity at the end of the session we were invited to write a poem in which each line begins with the words “I am” to help us see our diversity and our unity.
I was almost too heartbroken by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to share this poem, but the students who asked us to “Listen, Learn, and Level Up” inspire me to live up to RBG’s legacy and work for a just and democratic society. Please take ten minutes to write your own I Am poem and share it in the comments.