How in the world did this end up published in Illumination? Frankly -- this is total crap. I've seen third graders with better-developed writing and thought processes. Do better @ILLUMINATION


Blink and you’ll miss it: the new season is creeping in

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

I saw a first burst of yellow

hanging in the trees

from the train window the other day

Drip, drip, drip, drip
first thing upon waking
my coffee maker percolates.

Day by day, summer fades
a crisp, crystalline blue sky in the morning
as the sun comes up to bless us.

“Mommy, how does the weather know it’s BACK TO SCHOOL?”
my neighbor’s daughter yells
as she glides around in circles outside.

Sun and shadows wage an endless tug-of-war
as with every passing day
the sun loses its summer vigor.

Heavier clothes are brushed off from yearly retirement;
telltale but subtle…


Sometimes magic is hidden in plain sight

Photo by Rosie Sun on Unsplash

Close together sway the pines
whispering to each other
spindly fingers intertwined
Ancient rigid warriors
in and out of time

Haunting, graceful, deeper than flute
the rhythm of the music
breathed in whispers
by the pines
calls forth woodland creatures and spirits
not of Earth but some distant realm

Some are merry-hearted
some sigh in melancholy
others shift in shadow foreboding

Can you hear it now?
Wild, entrancing, rambling songs
of these ancient forest bards
Their upflung boughs conduct
an otherworldly symphony

Dark wintry sentinels
shadow a snow-bright land
The pines rise and outstretch in an endless array

Here sit…


Since the dawn of time, humanity has stared skyward at the reddened moon.

Photo by Anand Rathod on Unsplash

You rise like a blood-red sun over India
Radiant heatwaves through the cosmos
Summer triumphing over winter
I feel your warmth baptizing my body, seeping into my soul

Here I shiver
Heatwaves of enlightenment pierce my consciousness
The dance of seasons
Another heatwave, another summer
another autumn, another winter
Linger for a spell
Shimmer away the summer
Lose your troubles deep in flowing water
Heat will fade as night grows deeper
Eclipse can meet you in the middle of your winter

Sit and shimmer
Bask within Eclipse’s summer
Like the water, life will go where it goes
Always forward, ever flowing, waves…


Image via Interscope Records, “Circus” Music Video

When I was 19 years old, I had just lost everything and been forced out of the home for being gay. Whatever earthly possessions I had were the few things I had been able to flee the house with and stash in the trunk of my car.

I got on I-95 north and with everything that was in me, I drove north with the intention of getting out of the South and never looking back.

The CD that I had on repeat at the time in my car stereo was “Circus” by Britney Spears.

As the intensity of the title…


Photo by Trent Yarnell on Unsplash

I see you

an ember glowing crimson, sparking into flame

licking around the edges of your wood and twig constraints

Write yourself free

I see you

Aurora borealis snaking north

your dance burns electric wonder

in a crystal arctic sky

Write yourself free

I see you

tiny drop of water

racing creekbed to river

River to the mighty sea

Write yourself free

I see you

ballet dancer

blisters on your feet

Still your body births a rhythm

Write upon the floor your syncopation

Write yourself free

I see you

child who knows no help is coming

the grownups have never…


Amid this period of isolation, we grieve for what was and stare down our palpable sense of emptiness.

Photo by Adam Bixby on Unsplash

So many of us right now are feeling it — a cruel, nagging, cold feeling that keeps descending into our awareness during this isolated period, alerting us that something tremendous is lost from our lives. As one of my friends put it, “I wasn’t going out and socializing or even dating before quarantine. But the idea, the illusion that it was always an option I had on hand — that was comforting. Now even the illusion has been stripped away.”

As difficult as our present set of circumstances are, as much as we’re all worried about money and security and our long-term outlook, we actually have a remarkable opportunity at present to go ahead and — are you ready for this? — lean into and let ourselves encounter that empty feeling.

Ordinarily there’s plenty to keep us occupied, to keep us from facing it. What was it for you? Workaholism? Shopping…


My personal showdown with Coronavirus, alone in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room

Photo courtesy of the author

Sometime in February, stories began circulating of a mysterious illness originating in China. I remember hearing snippets about this new “Coronavirus” for the first time and shrugging it off. A virus spreading in a few cities in China? It seemed a world away. I don’t think any of us had any concept at that time of what truly lay ahead. Like a freight train barreling down the tracks, the speed and intensity of events that lead up to a nationwide Coronavirus outbreak — along with the subsequent series of crises it spawned in its aftermath — were simply breathtaking.

Suddenly…


There is a fine line between valid, constructive criticism and hurtful negativity. Learning to discern the two is an important life skill to master.

“Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.”

~Margaret Chase Smith

photo courtesy of the author

The musical jingle of my iPhone’s marimba ringtone cheerfully clangs in my pocket. As usual these days, I sigh a little and roll my eyes, then fish for the phone in my pocket. From my caller ID, I see that it’s an older lesbian friend of mine — we’ll call her Tanya — who is also a writer. I had recently sent her my first Medium article, “Fundamentalism Kills”, and was looking forward to her response.

“Tanya! Hey…Yeah…

Daniel Lawson

This shocking gay will save you thousands on car insurance.

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