days like this

days like this it’s best to go home
pour a couple fingers of something stiffer
than the current state of your knees
and think about the things that do make sense
like opening the window and letting in December
for a few brisk moments and turning up that jazz
until the riffs absolve you of the sins of the day
– just for a minute, anyway –
or living off the vicarious high of the dogs’
hello’ing tails grinning with a jubilance I think
god reserved just for the canines of the world
or maybe just saying I love you to the ones
who don’t hear it often enough
a stiff drink and a brisk wind might not fix
what ails our hearts, but it’s a better
remembrance than simply breaking apart
under the fearsome brunt of days like this

© Sarah Whiteley

I cannot be silent

I cannot be silent
so many tongues
have foundering fled
before this human ruin
they can but moan
between tossed timbers
torn from throats
and mindless strewn
amidst the shoes
once worn
upon the sensible feet
of that kindly face
from down the street
where is sense now?
perhaps it twisted rests
within the wreck
as un-escaped as others

© Sarah Whiteley

I had the great privilege of seeing Dr. Maya Angelou speak on Monday night. It was truly, incredibly wonderful. She has such a presence – exuding peace and strength and acceptance and stern accountability all at once. It was a beautifully moving experience and one I will cherish always.

Something she said struck me as apropos to current events. She quoted Terence, a Roman slave who became very popular in his time for his plays in spite of his status. He said “I am human. I consider nothing human alien to me.”

I am human. Anything another human experiences – I have that same capacity within me. That same ability to soar, to rise, to live, to suffer. No matter how far removed we may be from one another – in background, race, religion, experience – if a fellow human being is experiencing something, I have the potential to experience that same thing, be it good or bad.

It has been very difficult for me to process the images and stories coming out of Japan recently. I have been able to digest information in a piecemeal manner – I have no hopes of comprehending the full scope of human devastation involved. But human devastation it is. And I am human.

Please do not be silent. Donate.