Friday, November 25, 2022

catalog of unabashed change

Greetings to all those thankful for poetry.  I know--and I hope you know--that Ross Gay's phenomenal collection is actually called  CATALOG OF UNABASHED GRATITUDE, but today he's going to help me express gratitude for all kinds of change, even the hard ones.


catalog of unabashed change

Friends, bear with me today,

for I am making an experiment

from simple things which are not

the dream of a robin but like a sprawling 

of vines that have invaded but also wind us in with their remarkable vigor,

so many symbols 

telling me 

in no uncertain terms

to tendril forth

a proposition of attention,

a red-light vigilance thrumming behind my eyes

which is also delight within the halo of my ribcage

winding and raveling and reeling me 

into a mission, should I choose to accept it,

with a life-and-death ripening 

explosion of imperfect solutions,

“should I choose”--

and who among us could ignore such

an invitation to complexity?

Hear ye! Hear ye! I am here

to hunker down on my knees in the grass the gutter the gravel

to spell it out for us 

again and again

how the normal passage of

hourly annual geologic time is continuing its rounds

steady as ever with its glowing sunsets

and weathering leaves and twiggy entropy,

so many of the natural things steady 

in the habits that make us gasp

with seasonal joy, 

say in the form of a pumpkin

which makes us want to stay alive even, thank you;

and thank you  

for not letting us forget how how simultaneously

nothing is normal, just look around

at all the bugs that no longer accompany us on the windshield

of our daily driving,

and thank you for giving us children

every day, even the 8 billionth

mercy, mercy, thank you

for the medicine that kept that mother alive

oh thank you thank you

for blooming and burning,

and thank you for what inside those children’s

wonder bursts like a wolf in woodchip facepaint

howling into the world,

likely glittering a long contrail

of invention like one named Miles ought,

or, like one named Aurelia ought,

casting bolts of golden inclusion:

“I’ll miss you, August”--oh

thank you

for the way someone admirable steps

to the mic and announces

they will suffer fools with actual weapons

to represent us 

muster-blustering into the field;

and thank you, friends, when next spring

everything that fell 

spiky or sticky or swollen

will regenerate itself thank you very much

with no help from us

when that translucent hope that maybe

we have not already f*cked everything up

will cause me to 

fall down crying,

when I see that the bee

has pollinated the melon,

and when I see that

Bill 13-22 Electrify New Buildings has passed 

and that glacially

we are rethinking everything,

how we’re trying.

And thank you, too. Thanks for the 

board or the lectern or the page I have put you on.

Here is a statistic. 

Put on these comfy shoes

and take an electrolyte tablet for your 

water bottle, dear one,

for I know this is going to be long, and hard.

I can’t stop

my gratitude, which includes, dear reader,

you, for sticking it out with me,

for puzzling along with my

porcelain berries and the tech logos

and the bruised banana and the cell tower.

Here is a bowl of soup. I have stirred change into it.

And thank you for the shadow of a chance

glancing over these words as I write them,

for the way the unremembered elephant 

in the room keeps arriving garlanded with loops of apple peel

which, oh, might be your one reason

to carry your soapbox all the way down to the orchard,

just that one beauty of apples,

or the simple hand-cranking of an ingenious peeler

(and ask how its components were made).

And thank you, again, for the true kindness

with which you type, patiently,  what a rich post, thanks for the link, 

we’re doing that in my neighborhood too

I appreciate it.

I am excitable, judgmental.

I am sorry.  Mercy oh mercy I am grateful.

I’m putting all my effort into 

holding on more loosely, 

into kneeling quietly in the grass the gutter the gravel,

into just lightly touching your feed

with something teetering 

between process and product,

between purple aster flowers 

and legibility, between digital snips 

and the one I am scared to try,

the six letters poured out in gasoline and lit on literal fire

meaning it’s much worse than we think,

and sooner; to which I say

what do you think all these little placards of art are,

other than loving

what every second goes away?

Slow down, I mean to say. Stay.


I hope I am not too loud.

I hope I am loud enough. 

And thank you.



Click here for the #change album.

Ruth is our host today at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town--more unabashed gratitude!



  1. Like me you have shared a 'longish poem' Heidi. Yours though, presents hope and gratitude for simple pleasures, and these words sit alongside a liberal dose of honesty, concern and insight. Your poem is rich with emotional reality as if you are holding a magnifying glass to your world and seeing all those intriguing contradictions -'I hope I am not too loud.I hope I am loud enough.' Your poem possesses a power that shakes me a reader. I am provoked to pay attention. Great poetry does that.Well done you!

  2. Not too loud, but loud enough. That's always the challenge. Sigh. THank you, Heidi.

  3. I have admired your "change" photos online and your determined work toward the change you want to see. And, your use of, "mercy, good." Such a longish poem of do not let us look away and I am glad. I don't mind how loud you are. You give me courage.

  4. Wonderful, could relate, react to so much here, and 💙 the change album, thanks Heidi!!!


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