Beware of Those

Beware of those who are bitter,
For they will never allow you
To enjoy your fruit.

Beware of those who criticize you
When you deserve some praise for an achievement.
For they secretly desire to be worshiped.

Beware of those who are needy or stingy,
For they would rather sting you
Than give you anything.

Beware of those who are always hungry.
They will feed you to the wolves
Just to get paid.

Beware of those who speak negatively
About everything and everybody.
A negative person will
Never say a positive thing about you.

Beware of those who are bored
And not passionate about life.
They will bore you with reasons for not living.

Beware of those who are too focused with
Polishing and beautifying their outer shells.
They lack true substance to understand
That genuine beauty is in the heart
that resides inside.

Beware of those who step in the path of your dreams.
They only dream to have the ability
To take half your steps.

Beware of those who steer you away
From your heart's true happiness.
It would make them happy to see you
Steer yourself next to them,
Sitting with both your hearts bitter.

Those who are critical don't like being criticized,
And those who are insensitive have a deficiency
In their senses.

And finally,
Beware of those who tell you to BEWARE.
They are too aware of everything -
And live alone, scared.
by Suzy Kassem


Child, Child

Child, child, love while you can
The voice and the eyes and the soul
of a man, Never fear though it
break your heart -
Out of the wound new joy will start;
Only love proudly and gladly and well
Though love be heaven or love be hell.

Child, child, love while you may,
For life is short as a happy day;
Never fear the thing you feel -
Only by love is life made real;
Love, for the deadly sins are seven,
Only through love will you enter heaven.

-Sara Teasdale

EVENING SUN

Why does this light force me back
to my childhood? I wore a yellow
summer dress, and the skirt
made a perfect circle 
                    Turning and turning
until it flared to the limit
was irresistible....The grass and trees,
my outstretched arms, and the skirt
whirled in the ochre light
of an early June evening.
                     And I knew then
that I would have to live,
and go on living: what sorrow it was:
and still what sorrow ignites
but does not consume
my heart.

-Jane Kenyon

Stars

The stars you once had
in your eyes are not lost.
Look up.
The sky borrowed them
the first time it saw you shine.
You can have them back
whenever you are ready.
Take your time.
They are still lighting the universe
like they always did.
Like you always have.
Look up.
The sky is holding your light
like a promise
not even the dark can break.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

The World’s Guide to Beginning

I was born in the obscene genius
of the club. I was a chemical
hero. Slick as a greasy encyclopedia,
I strutted like a bullfighter. I
learned kink

is another word for survival. learned
to love the body more for what it
can do than for what it is.
how did you get this far
without knowing lust is disaster’s

good cousin, what flickers when the rest
has been burned down and blown
away? there will be a quiz.

here’s another story: I was born.
I was adored. I am in charge. I need you
to tie me down, now. call it love,
this intimate vine. this gift

of the mother. gift of the neighbor,
the uncle, gift of the whip. the dildo.
lying was my first language. I am not

ashamed. touch is not reversible. one
cannot be un-touched. are you
uncomfortable? good. then it’s begun.

go ahead and cry. to break
is to be sanctified. to find in the body
a safehouse where all your monsters
get to be raucous, bring the audience

to their feet calling what. what.
dig at the shame places. your gutter
of a cunt. your crowbar of a cock.
say the words, say fuck and wheelbarrow

and voluptuary until it all sounds
like amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
amen, amen, amen. why despise

your own wiring? it was desire
that made you; however twisted
the originating bed, your beginning

was ferocious. quiz: what’s the difference
between a lie and a myth. answer:
the storyteller’s intention. example: I
am more bear than fruit. more leather

than lion. legend says I opened my mouth
and the world rolled out. the brine
of saliva, browbone splitting into branch,
to root. and from the cheeks, the sweetest

meat, the man, the woman, the lost
androgynous other. example: in our myth, Atlas
is a hermaphrodite. a dancer. bearded lady

in a g-string in a cage above the dance floor.
fact: there are gods who love us,
and they want us to fuck. have I earned

another story? to emerge, a world
must learn itself, then flood,
then burn. unfurl your ugly
like fists inside another’s

body. step into a skin familiar
as your mother’s bed, and
as spurned. something in you
stands up. it is like light,

or a crime. it is alive.
your turn.

-Marty McConnell

We all…

We all wear masks,
some with makeup
some with smiles
some with wives or husbands
cars or clothes
we hide from the world
and from ourselves
we hide from our truths
behind our eyes
running always from our real
but somewhere there
where truth meets courage
we are waiting to be found
waiting to stand to the world
masks down
and say loudly and boldly
this is us
this is our truth
this is everything real about me
and when that day comes
if it is true
we will begin our lives again
the way they were intended
when the world first
saw our face.

-Atticus