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a place where people live (a poem)

Stuffed animal house, Heidelberg Project, Detroit, Michigan

Stuffed animal house, Heidelberg Project, Detroit, Michigan

planting rock and tender succulents into the reluctant blood clay

stooping to tidy this oasis of weeds, leaves

heart swells proud to home

warming the brick with the coziness of pink and red plant flesh

pungent rosemary and basil

and yet,

where is the heart

where the other souls

are building their nests

heaps of rejected furniture

a box spring spray painted DIE

discarded chip and candy wrappers

tall weeds and bare dirt

chipped paint, broken and boarded windows hanging with knotted rags

unbathed dogs without tags

the roar of arguments, dirt bikes, and music

Children beating a bush with a stick

People living without an image of order

the community of poverty

making the earth of the neighborhood ugly, hurt, sad


living despite

and maybe they are happy

but still not seeing

living despite

instead of with the earth that cradles

I don’t know how to reach into the sadness of heart

yearning to caress the entire block into a flowering feast

Without much money we can still love

have dignity, pride

in ourselves

in our belonging

to ourselves

to one another

I give my garden to my neighborhood

it is my way

of sharing my heart with the earth

with the people who live near me

and of showing to all who walk by

how this planet loves us all

gives back

when we awaken and show her our respects

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