Bashful – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

a slight alteration
not a full smile
where teeth reveal themselves

just a curled corner of lips lift
your cheek rising upward
winking your eye

those unfamiliar to your face
wouldn't notice the half-smirk
so quickly retreating behind
the coffee mug

 but I saw it as real as sunrise
 and I don't need more
 to know you felt
 joy today

© Ali Grimshaw 2021

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Rooted – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet / confinement of your aloneness / to learn / anything or anyone / that does not bring you alive / is too small for you.” – David Whyte

tug and pull, I must

still it doesn’t fit anymore

not after this year

hundreds of breaths have past

in between arrivals and goodbyes

and I am changed

now I have new thoughts

I pull on like the wool sweater

you used to wear on your

most difficult of days.

Thoughts that have rooted

myself to you

intertwined with the me

I have yet to meet.

© Ali Grimshaw 2021

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Happy New Year!

Wishing you deep full breaths of peace.

Remembering – By Ali Grimshaw

My boys on the Oregon Coast, USA 2015
Remembering 

I have celebrated while wind rocked our cliffside camper
with ocean views and barking sea lions.
Grandma's patient smile as we played cards 
in the warm, small inside.

I have roasted turkey while feeling cooked 
in a silver Tallahassee trailer 
where there was no cool breeze to invite through the windows
sweating through my doubts hour by hour.

I have welcomed friends, folks, and yet to know arrivals
to my table that was extended, folding out into the living room
mismatched plates, chairs, and napkins set with open invitation 
because all, meant all being in one circle of faces.

I have driven from afar to a crisp outside Autumn feast 
appetizers of touch football complete with commentary 
by the elder generation, and orange-warm grins around a fire pit
concluding with pie topped with fishing stories 
where we laughed until we cried.

This day is never the same 
I am grateful for this, non-tradition.
That my expectations are not there 
to choke out the one constant, 
the Thanksgiving that I continue to hold
memories of love that never fail 
to show up on this day.

 © Ali Grimshaw 2020

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Let’s Carry the Load

In the fog of conflict blinded numbness
we look to the leaders to steer,
peel back disagreement from the windshield.

We wait with held breath for a directive to follow
while voices clash, a radio screech between stations
unwilling to tune in to clarity.

We hope for a brilliant leader to put on a pedestal
of responsibility, like the GPS we depend on to find our way
the one who will hold the key to making it all go away.

Let's reach into our own pockets.

What if the driver we seek is us?

Not singular
but each, all
together.

The many 
unified. 

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Let’s give thanks for poll workers, 
Stacey Abrams, fact-checkers — 
and the weather Thank you to every 
single person who helped to provide 
others with the opportunity to vote in 
our recent election. Together we can, 
yes we can, keep democracy alive. 
Thank you Joe Biden.

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One breath – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

I want to launch into the air a thousand words of love. Handwritten and in every font, (even the unpopular ones) lines and curves that will rise and carry us forward upon touch, and to accompany these words, send the sounds that bring us alive, like birdsong, a child’s laugh or footsteps echoing toward home. Release them as a million messages to freely be carried by the breezes that reach us all, to land on building tops and crosswalks, to fall in the teacups of the grieving, in the tangled hair of skipping children, to settle on weary parkbench sleepers, cling to the yet delivered news traveling with the sunlight to the next continent, let the words land on the bare hands of the parched and weary like raindrops on the skin of those that need it most.

I pause here to take a breath and now realize you are still listening. How generous of you.

What do you want to launch into today?

I’m listening.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

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Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge: Outside of Your Home or View – Oregon Coast

4:00 am Inquiry – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Whose fault is it?
Were you the one
who left it undone?

Did she really say
say it that way 
or was it just play?

Why didn't you leave
sooner rather than later?
Did it get better?

Was he to blame?
Should I feel shame?

When did it all start 
mattering so much?
Is it ok to touch?

What is there to do?
Are you wondering too?

Where is the starting line now?
What are the rules in play?
Are you even in the race?
Do you want to be?

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

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Receiving – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

The messages kept landing
paper birds like folded airplanes from the sky.

Confetti of voices wanting to be heard
swirling of anger, colors of hurt, colliding confusion
spiraling to crash on the ground.

We hold our hands out to catch them
scattering in the street to pick up the fallen.

Each message, a precious life with wings
a paper bird in need of repair.

We sit in a circle and begin to unfold 
cupping our hands, just one at a time 
listening to its life of song.

It is like we have always known what was needed.
We knew we would stay as long as it took to give the listening
for each bird to be heard. It was clear. It was not a burden.

As we gently passed them from one hand to another, 
one by one around the circle, 
the sky opened to us all.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

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Share your voice and read the poems of others.

This poem is a reflection on the writing circles I have hosted. I will continue to offer a safe space of refuge for others to be seen and heard just as they are. Love is always the way forward.

Ripen – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

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tended affectionately
organic prizes plumped
primed by summer's passion
heat and BB King's blues
quenching warmth 
gathering of sunlit kisses
red ripe to tango 
with your tongue and mine
slip into my backyard 
delight in this tender flesh
this ready to please moment 
of this temporary season.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020 (rewrite from 2018)

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If I read you like a poem.

If I brought poetry to your exhale
how would you breathe?

If you brought poetry to my cooking
how would it taste?

If we brought poetry to our conversation
what would we hear?

Would we notice the moan of wind 
escaping our arguments,

notice the water from our pipes is at a trickle, 
and our neighbors don’t stand in the front yard anymore

hateful weeds encroaching upon our edible garden
while voices overrun each other with lawn mower loudness?

A muffled fear, like cotton balls in our ears
falls free revealing the unison of our currents.
 
If I lived poetry
could I see the heart
underneath your skin?

Would you see me as a life 
as valuable as your own?
 
© Alicia Grimshaw 2020

“Poetry, whether the writing itself is explicitly political or not, always seeks a better way to respond, to think, to live.” – E. Ce Miller, writer, journalist

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Because now. – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Photo by Roman Pohorecki on Pexels.com
on the beach I begin
because now I am ready and so are you
to turn our pain into fuel
build a bonfire to bring warmth
for all now sitting in cold darkness

I start with kindling of prejudice
add sticks of fear, logs of anger 
a heavy round of resignation
watch the flames ignite to hot glow

come close and sit with me 
add your logs to this burning pyre
hate and terror blaze brightly with heat
finally an efficient use for their energy

let’s watch flames of love
devour all that we believe we cannot face
to singe away, char and reform
all that has been holding us back

love knows how to transform
create a burning
to warm us all through
this dark night.

come to the beach
now we are ready

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

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