We Have Changed But We Have Not Changed

A poem for Karen

Karen and me, three years ago. Photo Credit: Karen, herself; used with permission.

After high school, you
knew where your heart was — 
far away from me and everyone
else who loved you
but for a greater cause . . .

The Air Force claimed you
for twenty years and with
each one that passed, I
further admired my friend
who desired to do something
that scared the shit out of me.

You have always been a tackler
of the difficult, shifting out
of comfort zones and pulling
me away from things I clung
to for safety.
Risks were your forte,
they still are.

As a dreamer, basking in
the glow of others’ 
spontaneous events,
I looked into your world
but could not keep my
feet in it.

I am proud of you; you are
the epitome of superhuman,
Mom de jure, and peace
when this chaotic world
rages forth.

Which birthday was it of mine
when you told the workers
at the Japanese restaurant
I was to be celebrated and
for fun and to play along,
I had to do the funky chicken
while they sang?

I nearly fainted but you
powered me on and my
reservation about publicly
embarrassing myself ended
up being the fun I needed
at that moment.

I wonder if you knew that.
I’m sure you knew that.

You were the person
who appeared out of nowhere;
on leave, ready for whatever
came our way.
You made dreams come true
without much effort.
Now that we are aging,
we still remain; young at heart
and full of life.

We have changed but
we have not changed and
for the love of everything
good and true, this is a
testament that will outlast
us.

Our story is one that
makes me smile.
We should keep 
turning the pages.


Originally published via Medium.

watching the fallen (revised)

nine-year-old girls aren’t
supposed to walk
in on their mother
losing her mind

they aren’t raised to
bear witness to the fallen
but she watched

and she knew her
mother would never
be the same

this became her gift
learning what to avoid

an adult before
her time

yet still engaged
to a world that
overlooks her and
neglects her efforts

she’s grown but not
mature enough to
understand the ways
of this world

“You can love someone
for years and never
truly know them.”

she thinks this to
herself often
is she giving too much
is she taking too much

who will accept
all of her knowing
she’s been through
hell and back

knowing she’s watched
the fallen and
has tried her
best not to fall too

only the courageous

I don’t know anyone
else who can make
me laugh and cry
uncontrollably in the
same conversation

you have a spirit that
will never give up
you’re a warrior
ancestors at your
beck and call,
assistance for every
attack

gifted, mighty words-worker
who turns sustenance
into art
you are before
your time, our time,
and the times ahead

it would be pointless
to simply say,
“I love you,”
I am blessed to breathe
the same air you
wheel into your
lungs

how can a world of
goodness dwell in
one person
this, I’ll never know
but I’m glad I
know you


For my beautiful friend, Heejin, who is everything amazing and so much more. This was my Valentine’s Day gift to her.

Heart Glow

you, figment of
beauty personified
have enriched the lives
of many, scaled
or cycled or unmatched

I love you with a force
that knows no
name
and carries no
regrets, you are a
gem–a diamond cut
perfectly

and you deserve to
be seen for the
glow in your heart.


For my best friend, Mook, written on Valentine’s Day as my gift to her. We’ve known each other now for almost 20 years and I am happy she’s in my corner.