Meeting and Mourning the State of the World.


I’m sitting outside under wilting trees.

Smoke-filled valley engulfed in the constricted breath of wild fires surging, raging and rising in wake of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and an endless scroll of devastation flashing on my screen.  It is overwhelming to witness. I’m wearing an N95 mask to protect particles and debris from caking my lungs as I listen to Bruce Springsteen sing The Rising.

The obscured morning sun glows and pulses blood-red orange through a brown hazed sky billowing.

I am safe. Unlike millions of people all over the world evacuating, rowing boats down rivered streets they once walked down. It is apocalyptic, sobering, humbling, terrifying and tremor-inducing. It is a calling to sit at the table with every fear rearing its enormous head and frothing at the mouth. We are so very impermanent.

The I am safe is a veil. A temporary, momentary illusion that allows me the privilege of sitting here typing away on shiny black keys that strum the chords of my song. I can only respond to such magnitude of conflict and terror in the world by writing it out, meeting it with eyes and heart open. Open. Open when every cell of me screams to close.

I back-hand the page with my rage, drench it with my tears, claw and rip through it with my sharp pointed finger of blame on the fossil-fuel mongrels, the climate-change deniers, the ravenous greed of people and corporations. All of which keeps me shielded from the bottom line: fear of suffering. Fear of dying.

So I write. I write to keep myself vulnerable, to feel the ever-so-human heart of endless tragedies witnessed on a daily basis. These days spew thoughts of end-times. The end of every comfort and security we deluded ourselves into having. The end of thinking there is some textbook timeline for our deaths. The end of glossing it all over because I sit here safe.

I rise from the slightly ash-covered bench I sit on, grab my hula hoop and move around the space. Grateful to be alive. Grateful to so far not have to evacuate my home. Grateful even to be willing to feel the weight of this grave human experience that erupts into such fragile times. Nothing is happening over there. Every single thing is close to home even when it’s ten thousand miles away. It is all close to home.

And we are all in this together.


Pacing the walls of time
with wide-open eyes
watching the world
set flame into blaze
and sink under the rise
of ice melting…

… melting… melting

We will breathe
last breaths one day
Each and every one of us
A salted tear swallowing
the whole of everything
we’ve come to know

We are
endless and hopeless
a tumultuous quaking
of insane
leaking out from the concave
of a destruction so massive
we will blow in the dust of it
remembering only
how deeply we loved

and lived

How deeply
we love

and live

And at the altar of each confluence
may I lean onto my knees
and cup my hands together
to sip the fill of water fallen
from every tear
cried holy.


LeslieCaplan02Leslie Caplan is a writer, poet and human being who digs deep into the darkest places and shines a light there. She is a writing coach and professional editor who peels off the layers to get to the core of honesty, authenticity and strength through the alchemy and power of the written word. You can find her at her website.


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