read a poem Archives - Page 3 of 8 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "read a poem" Category — Page 3

Today I started with nothing.

And so I took a walk,
greeting as many beings
as I could see:

rain, puddle, rose.

I drank deeply from the lilacs
and wondered at the tiny complex
reproductive organs of flowers
whose names I do not know:

nova, miracle, Wild.

I watched ants traversing canyons
of tree bark
In search of
I Do Not Know What:

sustenance, wandering, sweet.

(I didn’t have anything to offer
the water-soaked crow resting over there
and tried to not feel bad about my failing.)

(Human, human, human.)

At the last corner,
a pink bed of cherry blossom petals
strewn all over the sidewalk
to celebrate this homecoming:

You are here, you are here, you are here.

Air, sky, breath.



P.S. We need this Note to Self now more than ever.

Let’s unlearn productivity, starting right now:

We are born into Not Enough.

Let’s storm the corporate castles
and make our meaning
from the world that already exists within this one —
the world in which the poems and paintings
and portraits and plants
count for something far more
than cash can ever provide —
the world in which our caring
is cause for celebration,
not another fucking commodity —
the world in which we take unlearning
productivity, perfectionism, and patriarchy
as seriously as we once took
whether we looked cute enough to leave the house.

P.S. Dig poems?  My book of poetry is pay-what-you-can priced.

(Also!  What you see burning in the featured image is a mix of everyday herbs similar to what would have been used by my way-back-wise-women ancestors.  The bundle was gifted to me by Bear Hebert, whom I interview about anti-capitalist business practices here.)

The Personal and the Political

In this episode of That’s What She Said, we talk about making art when assholes are in power, bridging the gap between ‘professional’ and political, using versus spending your privilege, and the fine art of channeling fury into fuel.

“…this is your life and you can’t put it on hold because assholes are in power. Assholes, after all, have always been in power.” — Beth Pickens, Your Art Will Save Your Life

When I get fired up, I write poems. This is the one that come out today.

Dear Casey,

I’m sorry this is how you’ll turn 18,
with a man who brags about grabbing pussy
as President.

I’m sorry the adults in the room haven’t managed
to topple the systems of oppression
we were born supporting.

I’m sorry for your trans friends who are being
quite literally eliminated today, as if they never existed,
as if they can be erased as easily as a penciled-in promise.

I’m sorry we haven’t figured out
how to make ‘invisible’ labor visible
or overcome capitalism in order to save the planet.

I’m sorry your children will drown in plastic
and possibly fascism. I’m sorry we couldn’t.


P.S. Joy is an act of resistance.

Note to Self. (For the overachievers, strivers, and get-shiz-done-ers.)

You do not have to earn your keep
by cleaning the house and making the meals
and penning witty e-mails to keep everyone entertained
while feeding yourself a steady diet of shitty television.

You do not have to earn your keep.
You do not have to earn your keep.
You do not have to earn your keep.

The gift is the breath, is being alive, is standing at the shores of yourself
and plunging further in than ever before.

It’s not dramatic at first glance but it IS
a matter of life and death.

You’re alive, so act like it.

Watch the dogs and roll around with them.
Follow small children and let them teach you.
Gather treasures while you move through the streets.
Leave them behind for others to find.

Put down your striving and your need to be always, always working harder.
Put down your productivity.

Stop holding your ‘special’ nature up as a reason for avoiding connection.

Stop being afraid. People can hurt you, of course,
but they’re also the only ones who can love you to life.
You cannot survive without them. (You’ve tried.)

Stop breathing from your chest.
Sink in, let the oxygen run deep and wild within you.

Let the whole of your swift, soft body move each day,
and let that delight be something you refuse to track or monitor
for the sake of progress.

In fact: stop thinking of all this living as progress.
This moment simply is.

There is no mountain worth climbing if you refuse to pay attention during the ascent.
There is no meadow worth lying in if you count time spent there against your life’s value and achievements.

Rest and relax and laugh. And then.

Let the work you do be a manifestation of who you are; let it sink softly
to the bottom of the lake, knowing it will transform into something much more interesting
in the dark, unknowable night.

P.S. Of course we deserve it.


You’re worthy of your desires.

You deserve the warm embrace of joy and laughter wherever you find it.

Your whole body longs for the ocean because you deserve the ocean, and you ache to travel because you deserve to see new things and experience new places and new people and soak in the mystery of being alive.

You cannot earn a summer day.

You cannot work your way to being worthy of stillness and quiet. You will never, ever deserve to browse that bookstore in Paris in the late afternoon.

Not because you need to try harder, but because those things are already available to you — right now — and they are not matters of worthiness but of embracing your humanity.

The soft wind, the beating heart, the smell of books on the second floor. You don’t have to earn a single one.

Your commitment to your work, your family, your interiors, your depths, and/or your waistline will not pay dividends of worthiness.

You’re already worthy.

You’re invited to the party, and your invitation is the sun shining and the wind blowing and the neighborhood kids gathering their towels for another long day of swimming and hoping the ice cream truck makes a stop on the sidewalk before bedtime.

You’re worthy.


You’re worthy,

you’re worthy,

you’re worthy.


You deserve to be here. You deserve to be alive. You deserve to do the divine dance of living on this planet.

You deserve joy and wonder and delight not because you’ve put in your time or earned your points or have sheer-undiluted-slog currency to trade in for something better.

You deserve the best of life simply because you’re breathing, and you’re allowed to keep breathing by the grace of we-know-not-what for another day.

You’re allowed to take up space.

You’re allowed to want more.

You’re allowed to let life be simpler and fuller and richer than you can possibly imagine.

You’re allowed.

Period, full stop, end of story.

You’re allowed.

P.S. Ever think you don’t deserve it?