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I’m interested in writing within the tensions of our humanity with the both and: our joy and our grief, beauty and brokenness, courage and fear, celebration and rage, and everything in between. 

My hope is that my writing has the ability to connect to what lies at the core of being human. Whether I am writing poetry, a newsletter, or an essay, my writing aims to be honest, attentive, and centered around connection. May these words housed here meet you and encourage you. 


July 2, 2022

Speak Compilation(Poetry Edition): May 2021

 Speak: Poetry Edition 

May 2021

For this compilation, I wanted to return back to an older prompt, but focus it in on poetry. With each compilation, I noticed more and more people were writing poetry. I had never done a genre focused prompt, but in honor of April being poetry month, I wanted to try something new.

These pieces below are create a raw and beautiful collection of poetry from various writers. If any of these connect with you, share a comment or let me know and I will make sure the writer hears your words!

Enjoy, my friends!

I’m sorry we lied.

Hid behind black and white

terrified of not knowing,

of having no control.

I’m sorry we told you

to fit the mold

or get out.

I’m sorry we let you leave.

Forced your hand.

I’m sorry we let power corrupt.

Broke backs 

not bread.

Drank hypocrisy

not wine.

Spoke in tongues

not love.

You belong here

as you are. 

You are safe to ask questions. 

Safe to wrestle. 

Safe to change 

your mind. 

This is not mass conformity

Nor mind control. 

This is liberation. 

You are free to walk away, 

to stay, 

to come back Home. 

I’m sorry we were blind.

Grace Gamache 

Yes, no, maybe so

Kinda-sorta, not quite sure

Hurts more than just us, you know

Awakened by dreams

They were truly bad nightmares

Help me out somehow

Yes, leave me alone

No, don’t bother me once more

I am my own loan

Borrowed for a while

Pay is coming with interest

Not what I believe

Parker Nail 

I Can Hear Your Heartbeat 

I love to ask about the heart. 

The matters of the heart. 

The home where the heart “is.” 

The broken heart. 

The heart attack. 

The heart break. 

The heartwarming—a favorite of mine. 

The hidden heart, the loving heart, the gentle heart, the sick heart, the evil heart, the heart that loves me. The heart(s) that love me. Love(d) me. 

A dear friend once asked,

“How’s your heart?”

I haven’t gone back since.

I have one too.

Afraid of Asking 

I think I am intelligently created.

But you don’t believe that.

So what do we do? 


Back On My Knees 

Should I sit on my knees to talk to you?

How do I converse with a person I don’t see. A person I can’t see. Wait this piano music is really moving me.


Wait, this piano music made me feel close to you. I’m in a building with people to study and love your words you gave to us. Are they really your words?


Who is right, who is wrong?

I’m scared to be wrong. I feel safe with not knowing. Your religion scares me out of life.


Your religion, your faith—it doesn’t add up.

Unconditional love seems to have many many conditions these days.

I’ll just get back on my knees, fearful.



You’re not here yet,

But when you are I know you’ll love it.

The places your mind will take

You will certainly bring joy, curiosity,

And a fondness for people you’ve yet to meet.


If you ever begin to worry, find your friends.

The ones that rescue instead of demand,

And they will be your heroes.

Some will be comfortingly similar to you,

And others—wildly different.

You haven’t met them yet,

But when you do—I’m certain you’ll love them.


a letter poem found in Carolina’s shoebox, one week after the kite.

Karmen Smith 



I imagine my great great great grandchild, in orbit:

Gently rotating, head tilted slightly back,

Staring down through the vacuum at the glistening radiance,

Bluer than the bluest of eyes.


And I imagine that my great great great grandchild is smiling

With a mix of astonishment, awe, and pride

At what humankind had accomplished heretofore

In that briefest of moments—in geologic time—that defined its existence.


I wonder if my great great great grandchild, in the face of such a wonder,

Will stop and think what life was like in my time.

When trivialities reigned with such fierce import

And so,


so much time was wasted.


Would that fleeting image of me in memory mar that moment,

And would that smile wither away,

As my great great great grandchild, in orbit, considered,

For the briefest of moments, that creation below?


John R. Barner

April 18, 2021


A Letter For the Sick 

This is a letter for the sick. 

Why do you rely on medicine alone to heal? 

Is it not I who gives medicine the power to heal? 

You take medicine daily to be healed yet you forget about the source of healing. 

You take my gifts and you run. 

You are my beloved.

 This is a letter for the deaf. 

 am crying out to you, 

Yet you refuse to listen. 

You hear my voice, and then you block me out. 

I am closer than your breath and you still keep things from me. 

You are my beloved. 

This is a letter for the colorblind 

My voice is written and I am not blank. 

With one motion you can see my love.

 The red letters are woven into your heart. 

I’m right in front of you. 

You are my beloved.

This is a letter for the discomforted 

You have let him into my safe space. 

Can a branch bear fruit apart from the vine.

It is thrown away and withers. 

Abide in me and your joy will be complete.

 You are my beloved. 

This is a letter for the weary 

You have heard that my yoke is easy and my burden is light 

But do you believe it?

 Not only is my burden not heavy,

 But it is the literal light that you see everyday. 

I AM comfort and 

You are my beloved. 

This is a letter for the one walking away

I am right behind you. 

You can walk down paths that lead you nowhere

But I will always run after you when you decide to turn around.

You are my beloved. 

This is a letter for the worrisome 

Tomorrow will worry about itself. 

I’m not worried so why should you?

 I am the most relaxed person to ever walk the planet.

 Tomorrow, I knew that you would betray me, 

Yet I still prepared my table for you. 

Tomorrow, I knew that you would deny me, 

Yet I still washed your feet. 

You are my beloved. 

This a letter for those who now know 

These words are no longer just words, 

But they are the truth. 

Now you see yourself how I see you 

And you fall before me because you have seen my holiness. 

I am constantly fighting for you, 

Turning your sorrow to gladness 

And springing lilies from your barren soil. 

I value this relationship that I would rather die 

Than not be with you. 

You are worthy. 

You are beautiful. 

You are my beloved

Austin Frederking 


it’s spring again, and I love the green

it’s everywhere I look,

and I can’t get enough of it.

in it I see hope and

growth and a freshness

that sets my mind at ease

and brings me peace.

and I can hear your voice sometimes

telling me that I’m green too.

green like the green that

grows on trees.

like the green I like so much.

I get so in my head about

getting it all right.

and you whisper to me that it’s okay,

I’m green too,

growing like the trees that

bring fresh air,



taking color.

and green is beautiful

but it also stings sometimes

because it’s not forever.

it’ll grow these beautiful flowers,

blooming for all to see

and admire and pick and cherish

and it’ll also die and wilt away.

and in winter we’ll forget all about

the vibrant green

that made the freshest air

and when we all took a deep breath


we won’t be able to see that color

quite so clearly.

green isn’t forever

and neither are the flowers

but green will always be

green again.

you say I’m green too

and even though I don’t like

the color so much on me,

I’ll still take a deep breath.

I won’t be green forever.

I’ll grow flowers, and I’ll wilt away

but I’ll always be green again.

it’ll always be spring again.

Caroline Beltrami

 there’s this version of you 

that I cant afford to forget 

its the best one 

the purest one 

the simplest one 

and if I forget 

then what was all this for 

there’s this version of you 

thats slipping away

as hard as I try 

to remember the details  

the moments

they fade quicker than I can keep up

there’s this version of you

that haunts me 

that feels real 

but is too distant to touch

I want it back 

but never will  

there’s this version of you 

thats holding onto me 

it overtakes me when I least 

expect it 

when I try and push it away 

it floods my memory 

there’s this version of you 

that im letting go of 

im making peace with 

im allowing myself 

to grow away from 

there’s this version of you 

that ill always miss

Savannah Shaw


He invites me to

I open my mouth in response 

And an opposing force stops me short

A memory, several of them

A recollection of the last time I tried ties my tongue 

How little the truth set me free back then

He invites me yet again

With tear laden eyes

For honesty

More than anything

For confirmation, affirmation 

That our relationship is still on the mend

The anger wells

And dissipates

Like smoke from a tea light 

How crippling are his tears to me

How quickly I unravel

I remember, yes

But the fury fades

Soon after this conversation

It will return

And some regret will hold fast

Building like dust on a ceiling fan blade

I go on autopilot 

Trying to respond with truths that are sufficient enough

That feel like progress

Yet the back of my head swims with

The other truths 

    The infidelity

    The manipulation

    The lies

    The irrationality 

    The dependence

    The distractedness

How does it all lose its legitimacy 

When it is time to address it

In the face of sincerity   

I know the healing process is slowed all the more without doing so

And I am doing everyone involved a disservice 

But if I speak, then what

Then we’re back at the start

The root of it all still orange embers

Never cooling

Words are so powerful when spoken 

So troubling when harbored 

Something so intangible so able to shatter

To mend

I remain – comfortable enough in the land of half spoken

Fanning my embers

Soothing my hope in the future all the same 

Am I waiting for something to break?

Some moment that warrants my words more than now?

Surely I am 

Surely I should



April 27th 

It’s just days now.

I’m sure of it.

The days, yes.

But the man, I mean.

I’m sure of him.

I trust him.

I love him.

Last night I watched him lead.

He led a crowd to bend down low.

And to raise their voices.

To cry out to the One who hears.

The One who heals.

The One who healed.

I’m sure of it.

Yes, the healing.

But the King, I mean.

I’m sure of him.

I trust him.

I love him.

I believe him.

I will follow him.

We will follow him.

I’m sure of it.

Rachel Gamblin 

To Natalie,

To know you

Two lily pads away.

To meet you one day at the Fern Forest Cafe.

To beauty I drew,

To freedom I stayed.

Too unique just

To be

Two long hops away.

Today, we will meet

Two hours today

To make less the leap from two cities away.

To eat and

To drink,

To share time and space.

Together we’ll meet at the Silver Soiree.

“To Beauty”

“To Freedom”

“To Friendship,” we say.

Tomorrow we’ll meet at the Fellows Cafe.

Two melodies

Two tunes

Two friends we will stay.

To never now be

Two too far away.

Carson Travers

She burned a deep yellow

Fierce and bright

Her roots sank deeper

With each morning’s new burst of light


As she began to learn

She began to grow

Deeper and deeper went her roots

And it began to show


Some walked by her

Admiring her beauty

And some walked by her

Whispering in dismay


“That weed doesn’t belong here,”

She would hear them say

Yet still she stood tall

For she did not want to fall


One night

As she continued to grow

She suddenly realized

Her color no longer showed


A soft gray

Took yellow’s place

Time and wisdom

Seemed to glow in her face


New seeds were growing within her

Bursting forth with new life

On the outside she appeared fragile

But on the inside she grew with new might



The winds of change began to blow

And she quickly realized

It was almost her time to go


But this was not her death

No, she still had much life left to live

But she had lived enough to know

That her time in this place had come to a close


She had grown and grown

And seen new things

But she had new things she needed to see

And new things she needed to dream


So one by one

Her seeds blew away

Gently and softly

Into the light of the day


She saw that every piece that broke off of her

Was bursting forth with life abundantly

And in each of the places they flew

Life bloomed new


And started again.


So if the Little Dandelion learned anything through her journey

It’s that sometimes the bravest thing you can do

Is to let go when the winds begin to blow

For perhaps it’s only then

That you truly begin to grow

Hailey Hawkins 

you wanted glass castles

and high mantles

big enough for fires that can burn the bridge(t)s between you and your past relationships

did i say relationships?

i meant all the different versions of life you led

never once bringing yourself fully to the table

the good old days

insecurity and insincerity

what if you told me you missed it?

but i miss you

don’t waste wood trying to burn down the bridge(t) you built

between where you stand still and where i move foreword

the good new days

Bridget Walton 

On the plane watching the news

The unrest.

The murder.

The bombing in Palestine & Israel


The numbers are rising.

They keep rising. 

For Palestine more so.

more so. 

Please, make it stop.

Oh God, we need you. 

Oh God, how are you responding to this now?

How shall I?

I ache. 

I distract myself, so I don’t have to sit in the gut-wrenching pain 

of confusion 

of hopelessness

of inability to make right

what is so clearly wrong

Oh God, my stomach hurts. 

We need you. 

You are the God of hope. 

But where is hope?

We need you. 

You are the God of healing.

But where is healing?

We need you. 

Oh the land needs your healing, God.

Oh I humble myself. 

I follow your example, Jesus. 

I don’t have the words to say 

to honor both my Palestinian and Isreali friends 

my Jewish & Muslim friends

I don’t have the words

but you do, Jesus.

I think of you, Jesus. 

I picture you walking into Palestine

Walking with grace and peace

Looking the woman

the child

the man

Looking each one in the eye

and reaching toward them

Reaching out your hand to heal

to connect 

to love and serve. 

to protect.

I picture your eyes and your hands.

Oh I see your love for Palestinians 

This love that could cause Israeli leaders to uproar. 

I think of you, Jesus. 

I picture you walking into Israel

Walking with grace and peace

Looking the woman

the child

the man,

Looking each one in the eye

and reaching toward them

Reaching out your hand to heal

to connect 

to love and serve. 

I picture your eyes and your hands.

Oh I see your love for Israelis 

This love that could cause Palestinan leaders to uproar. 

You love both.

You love all.

You are not violent, Jesus. 

No, no, you Heal. 

You are not hidden, Jesus. 

No, no, you touch. 

Oh Jesus, as I think of you, my soul is revived. 

My hope is restored. 

In a moment’s time, you do this. 

There is hope for violence to cease.

There is hope for peace. 

There is hope for justice. 

There is hope for unity. 

You are the hope for violence to cease. 

You are the hope for peace. 

You are the hope for justice. 

You are the hope for unity. 

You are. 

Oh I ache for you.

Rachel Gamblin 

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