A Reminder to the Tender Ones

O tender one
remember who you are
The world nearly succeeded
making you forget
Yes, you are Warrior
But even the bloodied battle shero
drops her shield
at war’s end

Re-member your bones
You do not wear them
on the outside
like a shell
this hardness is only a shield
this armor is not your flesh
You are neither turtle
nor tender mollusk
you will not die
if you step outside
step out from behind

Yes, there is need for protection
and yes, for fighting
but remember the enemy’s tactics
They drop their guard
turn away their hateful eye
while you devour yourself
from the inside
their poison
is the parasite
within

O tender one
remember your original gifts
your brilliant birth
before the world taught you fear
Soften your gaze before the throngs
let go of your jaw in their midst
melt your bracing shoulders
relax your coiling center
soften
soften
Calm, vigilant
shield at hand
but softened

For what use is all the fighting if
when your eyelids drop
one last time
when the Earth turns to ash
at the end
there was nothing left
but angry shells
and fire?

© S. Rinderle, July 2017

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Instructions

 

The world requires not
your clamor and clang
your doing more of the same
striving and fighting
trying to move boulders
that will not move.
Pointed fingers and pointed words
anguish and anxiety
belie your belief
that they are more powerful
that they are winning.

Wining does not matter
Winning is doing
It’s another worn out space
inside a crumbling frame
hung on a rotting wall.
You may lose
You will die
Humans go the way
of the trilobites

There is nothing more radical
than sanity amidst madness
nothing more subversive
than joy amongst misery
love inside violence

Find yours

Do not despair
nor languish in resentful apathy
Let your anger and integrity
stoke the engine fires of your belly
lighting the jewel of your heart
igniting the force field
that is You

Open your bright eyes
Let those ancient frames
sigh into dust
and fall from the walls
Lock the door behind you
Tomorrow
will be too late.

© S. Rinderle, February 2017

the meaning of life

My life means nothing
to the world

White men still murder Black women
in church
even after sitting in their pews
Confederate flags still fly
at full mast
in the aftermath
Politicians still lie
with their black eyes
and gun powder lips
Dim-witted masses
still cheer wild and blind
for their Savior

They want me to think
my life means nothing
to the world
Their gnashing teeth savor
my beaten-down bones
and tired flesh
My fierce optimism and tender heart muscle
nourish the fiery acid
of their putrid bellies
like forsaken bodies
in concentration camp ovens

I will become poison in their bowels
refuse to break down
kick my way out the other end
intact and fortified
I will shake off their filth
like a muddied dog
The growing throng
of kind hands around me
will midwife my rebirth
the pushing out of this rotting membrane
of constriction and intimidation
I will continue to speak truth
now turned up louder
I have been forged in the crucible
of their patriarchal terror
their shortsighted self-serving
smallness

I am Bigger than that.
We are BIGGER than that.
They are a blip
on the radar screen of history
a burp
during a long banquet of progress
long view trajectory over time
of increasing freedom and equity
We are the future
we won’t live to see
it doesn’t matter because
#OurLivesMatter
to our children

I don’t know what happens when we die
no one does
those who profess this knowledge
accept a comforting deception
to stave off this uniquely human affliction
this recognition
we are mortal

Meanwhile
if my life means nothing to the world
I will make it profoundly meaningful
to me
It will be a radiant statement
that NO I was not complicit
in our self-annihilation and
YES I was afraid but

NO!

I was not silent
and I did not lie
still.

© S. Rinderle, 6/20/15

The Change

I sleep generous hours
yet I am still exhausted
this is breakdown

I eat nourishingly well
yet I am still hungry
this is breakdown

I snarl and growl fiercely
yet I am still enraged
this is breakdown

I sob deeply
prone upon the earth
yet still I am not comforted
this is breakdown

I am going through The Change
what was no longer is
a shell I didn’t know I wear
is cracking
unknown parts of me are showing
tender, sore and frightened
I’m turning to mush

It’s not just me

The Earth also wearies and sobs
her People rage and hunger

Another afflicted youth
machine guns children at school
we change nothing
this is breakdown

Another politician
lies to our doubting eyes
we shrug
this is breakdown

Another uniform
murders a young Black son in our streets
we change the channel
this is breakdown

Another billionaire
robs us blind and deaf of trust and voice
we sigh in our armchairs
this is breakdown

We are going through The Change
what was no longer is
we are cracking
truthful parts of us are showing
we are not who we say we are
we’re turning to mush

I do not need more fire
I need water and spacious air
The world does not need more air
it needs floods and firestorms

Oh tell me how to have patience and faith,
how to set this immoral apathy
ablaze?

Oh tell me this strange affliction
this stifling restriction
is a chrysalis
and not a shroud

© S. Rinderle, 2/4/15
Published in Malpais Review, Summer 2015

To Juror B37 in the Zimmerman Trial (on the anniversary)

To say you don’t see color
is not a compliment
it’s an insult

To say you don’t see race
doesn’t make you non-racist
it makes you the most dangerous kind –
an ignorant, well-meaning one
who lies

To say that you don’t see my color
implies you see it
shameful
something polite people ignore, like
I don’t see the huge scar on your face, or
I didn’t notice your deformed hand, or
I didn’t realize you were walking on prosthetics
I see you as fully human and capable
despite your obvious defects

You offer comfort
as if to relieve me of embarrassment
making me equal to superior you, but
you’re the one who’s uncomfortable
I don’t lack wholeness
you’re the one who’s empty

My color is not a scar
deformation
nor handicap
I don’t say so to convince myself
to overcome any odds but
because I really mean it
because you are the one who make it
a deforming handicap
by the way you treat me
still

Would you tell another woman
you didn’t notice her cute haircut or
fabulous pair of new shoes?
So why do you say you don’t see
my color?
Something I pride and celebrate?

The worst part is
you patronize me
trying to make me feel better for something
you imagine
which shows
you haven’t been listening

You haven’t been listening for 45 years

I haven’t been asking you not to see my color
I’ve been asking you to see ME
in all my black and brown glory
I’ve been asking you to see all my humanity
which is my color
and more

Stop trying to make me feel less
by telling me a lie
that you don’t see color ‘cuz

if that were true
you wouldn’t have to say
you don’t see color.

© S. Rinderle, 7/22/13