City Silence


Mindful Poetry Gathering - October 2021

Posted October 27, 2021 in News Articles

This month for Mindful Poetry Moments we gathered to listen and contemplate Jónína Kirton's poem, Reconciliation. Amy Tuttle, of WordPlay, led our opening meditation. And, Jhaleh Akhavan, Community Engagement Associate of Civil Conversations and Social Healing at The On Being Project, led the reading and response. (You can read the full transcript of the event here.)

Community Response Poems

The Way Away
By Holly Brians Ragusa

The way across is unseen, unforged
yet for a world of eyes and many billion feet.
For it must be our own eyes seeing to believe
our own feet fleeing to sense fear.
Our own way is at odds with ourselves
for it does not tread over safe ground.
Preferring the swells of our hearts and minds,
Revisiting returns to ways once known,
We negotiate the detachment we allow.
The path is shared and squandered
Forcing us through and around the hurdles
We’ve laid in our way.
Leaving no trace or sign for our future selves
We eat the breadcrumbs.
Feeding the explorers waiting to rise among us
To conquer us then.

The Way Across 
by Hannah Conti

All this is yours, as far as your eye can see—
says great-grandfather to my little grandmother,
The sand playing between her small toes.
They have climbed this sandy hill
together, peaking
over the land.
This is ours
echoes across the valley.

Until war.
Until sickness and death.
Until my grandmother leaves.

Somewhere as far as I can see
There is land
That was loved intricately
Caressed by my ancestor’s soles.

I have never been where my ancestors were samurais
Where my grandmother swam and fished
in the safety of known, shared land

Somewhere behind her smiles and wrinkles now
are the memories of a land I wish I could touch.
A past that was severed by oceans, language
barriers and borders of
country and culture.

I look different enough to be a What-are-you?
With enough colonizing European settler blood to be full
of privilege.

I have inherited enough ancestral fractions to
witness both escape and rebuilding
In my DNA.

I am the in-between in an interknit family root system
Connecting us all
deep within this Earth
of found belonging.

by Leah Hardy

An ally:

I touch my skin and shudder away.

How can my own body disgust me?

The hairs that ripple under my touch encourages bile to rise in my throat.

And yet she.

Her fingertips reach her skin with a grace one hopes to achieve in the prestigious halls of an art gallery or palace.

She discretely brushes her skin. Never harshly.

Her fluidity is unforgiving and unapologetic.

Her rich skin glistens with her touch.

Each movement is considering self-love and affection.

I can imagine the unity that fills her head with golden structures. She considers her body a network of attachments and neurons, all combed into one fleshy suit.

I try to think of my body with the marks of life and scarred ink patches without gagging.

I look at my toes in the thick shiny brown shade and notice the intricate veins in my feet popping to the surface.

The ties to a vast system that could at one moment cease to exist.

I shoot up to her gaze in shock. Can you imagine it? If you stubbed your toe the fluid moment of the body is shaken violently into pain and annoyance. The irritation would crawl up your leg.

I look at her desperately now feeling the imagery sensation suffocating and stretching my skin.

She catches my gaze as I feel blood rush to my face.

She simply smiles and grazes my shoulder in a blanket of energy, an energy that is alive and breathing. I feel the twinge of adoration she feels for her slight figure.

As she walks off, I accept the ground beneath my toes and the slight musty gust of air shifting through my hair.

I don’t love myself but for a second…

It is bearable. 

by Troy Bronsink

As I walked around the retreat cabin with my love
I keps sighing, ahhhh
at first is felt like breathing out
then my body continued
like a prophet, breathing inspiration into the room of rest
and my spine moving with breath
my feet following, almost walking by feel or sound rather than sight,  
I did some simple task
cutting cheese, mixing a cocktail, sweeping, reading, putting
on an extra sweater
and low and behold, there it would be again, my body interrupting , testifying to something I’d forgotten

somehow the living breath I’m given
a thimble at a time
is taking on life of its own

my partner asked, “what?” as if expecting to hear me describe
an ah ha, 
or to name the burdens laid aside 
like a kid discarding playing cards 
out the passenger window one at a time
eventually we just laughed
or smiled
or a tear would arise

somewhere, deep in my past, or in my fore-parent’s past
the cells that make up this body
and all this time I confused living with choosing to fight or melt... 
confused awakening with thawing out

what does yielding to this breath returning to the room have to teach me
or what is this breath I’m living within? 

The Way Across
by Elena Estella Green

Across my heart
Are several fields

The one from childhood
A field of daisies with
Landmines scattered about.
It took a long time to identify
Each ambush but with grace
I made it through.

I am navigating a 65 year old
Heart today.
The way acrossIs to let it flow.
These waves 
Of emotion will not engulf me.
They will carry the compassion
Given me to the other side.

I will carry you
If needed.
The body is a map
To your heart with its audible
Beating in time with forgiveness.
The largest landscape of all.
Copyright Elena Estella Green 

Born Mexican
by Steven Barragán Naranjo

My saliva was analyzed to its roots
Displaying information I didn’t know about it
I still don’t know what it conveys

My saliva is 52.7% european
I’ve never been in europe
Not my parents nor their parents either
I do speak spanish

My saliva is 5.5% italian
I wish to speak italian
I’ve never been to Italy
I do love pasta and cheese

My saliva is 5% African
It speaks with rhythm
In my skin

My saliva is
1.4% Jewish
0.2% Egyptian
1.7% Unassigned

My saliva is 39.1% Indigenous American
I always say I’m Méxican

I was born on planet Earth
Is my saliva 100% earthling
I wonder from what stars my saliva comes from

self-reflection comes in the form of an impromptu coffee date
by Lauren Sharpe

no nails necessary
i will use only bare hands
and a hard heart
to understand or land hard
on the places
           i’m meant to look.

the way across
is extra back scratches,
dimmed nightlights, endless
resent-less laundry
when she wets the bed

today i will rebuild
the frame around myself, the care
i give without noticing, the kindness
reserved for others.
redirect and press
into my feet on the floor,
four flights up, still
                        growing down.

in each other’s steps
we are walking mirrors,
showing our true selves,
whispering, same.

Will She
by Emily Little

Metallic blood on fingers, a willful tooth
falling out of skinny fingers,
Down the drain.

It is somewhere there, out of reach, out of sight—
We both imagine this pearl of a tooth still there,
Cradled in the crook of a pipe,
My longer, heavier, older fingers reach, but can’t find what is beyond them.

Water flows with tears over this tooth,
The water, I think, will slowly wear at it,
This first lost tooth will wear into as many pieces as there are leaves falling outside,
Where will daughter be when it all willingly wears away into nothing?

Will she be leaning over a bridge, tears again over heartbreak?
Will she be trying to bring tears, cutting herself in order to feel something?
Will she be laughing, wind tears in eye corners, on skates skimming over a frozen lake?

Will lakes still be freezing?
Will we feel pain anymore after watching so many animals go extinct?
Will everything or nothing break our hearts when the climate refugees are all of us?

Will daughter follow in my steps, or will all our past steps be erased by the water?