Religion is a wandering art
whether true or not
serving the will of whoever
wields her.

An unnamed vibration throughout the land
the call to worship, device in hand
And I beheld the opening of the seventh
in which many a mortal did
heads bowed to tiny rectangle altars
before something like light
but ghostly, without soul.

The genesis of cowardice is this:
to offer up our astonishment
for comments and likes,
to revile true mystery
because mere tricks
are all we can bear

so socially sharing
yet lonely beyond measure
And thus we see at last
that no quantity of…

Image of highway underpass. Graffiti on a pillar reads: “A NEW WORLD IS POSSIBLE” Photo by the author

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“You can’t free a slave unless he knows he’s in bondage.” ~Dead Prez

We can’t go on like this.

No matter what popped into your head as the antecedent of “this,” you know it’s true. We are on a projectile thrusted toward inevitable and permanent change of almost every aspect of pre-pandemic life. And we by our everyday actions are all contributing to the trajectory this change takes. …

I am one of thousands of teachers whose classes have moved online. This is a letter I wrote my high school seniors this evening.

Dear Students,

The world is changing so fast, it almost feels like the ground is crumbling away beneath our feet. I think about you all often, and I miss seeing your faces. But I’m not gonna lie, I do not miss 8:00 classes! I hope you’re all doing well. When I ask you to let me know how you’re doing, I really want to know. We are all in this together.

As I write this, there…

I never asked her, so I’m guessing here, but I imagine that she cared not a whit about dog-whistling in any obscure poetic code to win the approval of any of the so-called “right” people; she wanted to transmit truth, and she did so, and I believe that this is why her poetry resonates so widely: really true Truths can’t not be universal.

I’ve been struck by how un-sad I feel about the passing of Mary Oliver. …

I once had a student who moved like water,
so much so that one day when she came in out of the rain,
I could barely tell where the drops of rain ended and she began.
And when she spoke,
I could barely tell where she ended and her words began.
“I remember something on the bus,” she said. “Tell me if I translate it right.
Long ago, I hear teaching that say: Life is short.
We all of us die. We know that is true. So because this is true, we also know
that all we have time to do is love.
Is that right?”
This truth she…

I have oh so many words to express
grief and suffering.

I can oh so poetically tell you about
my pain.

I am oh so good at articulating

Here. Check out my latest iteration:

It’s like I’m clinging to a sheer
cliff face,
trying to climb.
And sometimes I do manage to raise
myself a few meters
but then I oh so reliably and predictably
lose my grip
and fall,
farther down from where I started
(of course),
knock my chin,
scrape up my chest and limbs,
bloody my fingers.
And I can’t see the top.
I can’t even see the bottom.
I’ve been at this for so long,
I’m beginning to think that the…

A poet must go outside
for at least ten minutes a day,
no matter the weather.

It is a mercy of the kind that leads
me to continue
to believe
in a force…

I’m not one for waving a banner
or bellowing: LOOK AT ME!

You looked anyway
with a Presence
that had dropped away
enough falsity
to awaken the Presence
in me.
To ignite my courage
to drop away

We’re flipping channels one evening and come across a few minutes of a Trump rally. I can’t decide which disgusts me more: the fact that he’s still holding rallies, or the fact that so many people are still attending them.

I need a palate cleanser after that, so I turn on some Saul Williams, as we are wont to do during these troubled times.

“These motherfuckers don’t want to back down. Ah-ei, ah-ei, ah-ei.”

“Hey, this feels good to sing,” I tell Kris.

He smiles, understanding the momentousness of this for me. After completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in…

I asked God:

“How do I wear beauty with neither arrogance nor apology?”

She answered:

“Like a tree.”

Leah Elliott Hamilton

North Carolina-based writer, editor, teacher, and poet. Author of As If by Magic. Founder of Raw Organic Poetry.

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