Road Trip 2019: North Dakota

i never listen

when someone says it’s boring

i always find fun

North Dakota wins

kindness, camping, paddling

and late-night sunsets

Earth lodge history

and indigenous genius

round out this cycle

with Art Deco touch

to capitalize the north

and give us this view

all in a day’s work:

this “boring” state makes dreams bright

campfires and all

The Terror of Being Female

i can’t believe our world this week–
 surrounded by the same chauvinistic bullshit
 my liberal baby-boomer parents raised me up against.
 and it’s 2016 and i have three daughters and a man, a husband,
 a born-and-bred Southern Baptist-raised Tennesseean, whose thoughts couldn’t enter the realm of filth so flippantly tossed
 into the national spectrum
 
 and we have a First Lady
 who should be our Queen
 whose words get twisted on my newsfeed within twenty-four hours
 by. A. White. Man.
 and i want to grab the world by its ears and shake some sense into it and put him in a swimming pool at age thirteen and have a hand slide up into his swimsuit.
 and put him on a bicycle at age fourteen and on the middle of a spring day have a creeper follow him home and chase him into an alley and expose himself to him.
 and i want to put him in the college library at age sixteen and have a stalker creep up behind him trying to reach up his shorts when he’s just searching for a poem by William Blake.
 
 And I want him to go fuck himself and his white male privilege that I have never seen in my home–the home of my birth or my marriage–even in all its whiteness
 
 And I want him to feel that terror of being female. Because every woman I know has had icy blood running through her veins in those moments of harassment and assault that have plagued us for all of time.
 
 But he won’t. Trump won’t apologize and he would argue till the day runs dark, and all i can do is pray to a god i don’t believe in that my three daughters don’t face the same fate. That they will find a home as safe as mine with a man as good as my father or husband and a world better than the one we have set before them now.
 
 Because it’s all i can do. Because i moved away in the pool and told my father about the flasher and left that library.
 
 Because i’m writing this now and somewhere in the world eyes are reading it and taking one moment to hear that terror slip out of my veins and transform into the truth that makes me Silent. No. More.

Call to Prayer

it isn’t church,
 but a Sunday morning sunshine ride–
 a line of bikes glistening in waning summer heat,
 with shout-outs as loud as a preacher who
 calls his parishioners to God:
 
 Bike up!
 Bike back!
 Slowing!
 Gravel on the path!
 Car up!
 Clear!

 
 the words trickle down the line,
 heated breaths repeating them
 so loud that even prairie dogs
 stand at attention to hear.
 
 and we wrap ourselves
 in blue-sky calorie burning
 led by a fast-paced 78-year-old man,
 just as forgiving for our
 missed turns and flat tires
 as the best of His missionaries.