archives, poetry

Priority Mail. {poetry}


What are you really about, Kerrie?

That’s the root question that got me started writing an unexpected, express love letter to myself at a time when I needed a vision check and a healthy, gentle dose of self-challenge. Glorifying life by living it deeply and as tenderly attuned to sacredness as is possible was, and is, my answer. It’s a life path, really. Common, but incomparably complete.

Especially now, when just about everything in the world feels up for grabs and argumentative, priorities are anchors. For me, knowing what’s important better establishes personal form and keeps hope and energy ignited within, which I, for one, regularly seem to need these days.

Each time I look at the bare, unnamed, beautiful figures in Diego Rivera’s paintings of flower vendors, I draw inspiration for living my answer, my priority. Before them, I feel the true power lineage and grace of women who are fully embodied, self-accepting, and who dared, simply by the everyday extension of their own supple strength, to uphold and hold out for the eternally beautiful.

By holding the flowers’ light for all to see, they remain steadfast to a higher priority and calling, I believe. I am one such flower vendor now: an ordinary, highly creative, sensitive woman who writes, paints, and makes it a point to spend hours in the company of equals, of animals, flowers and trees.

I am learning to grow into silence so that its medicinal beauty soaks into all the places where I’ve known pain and suffering. With great anonymity, I’m wading through the ever-flow, all the life-things that compose a day — however easy or difficult, familiar or strange they may be — with as much mercy, bravery and receptivity as I can muster.

That’s my living priority. My all-around, the love letter I’ve vowed to open and read aloud each day.


I want
to go about life-things
with as much
Beauty and tenderness
as can be.

With what a beloved
friend of mine calls
quiet joy.

Merciful now,
I feel for all the fearful resistance
and karmic residue
that’s built up
inside of me,
over God only
knows how long
(eternity is).

For everything
that keeps
me asleep, self-estranged/God-estranged,
deserves to be treated only
with courage
and respect.
As my witness,
I believe it’s up to me to gather up the suffering
in the same gorgeous way Diego Rivera
once painted brown women
tending to the light
in the marketplace
by holding baskets
full of calla lilies
in their arms
and on their
unbreakable backs.

Last year, I admitted,
to a lived point
(one where there is no
turning back to the old life),
the radical and most real prospect
of my own soul’s freedom.

That is what we mean by destiny, right?

And, sometimes,
how I am to tend the slivers
of moonlight assigned to me
feels way too terrifying,
and even bewildering.

That’s the power of conditioning, right?

But if there is one thing
I have come to trust in midlife,
it is the holy gospel of my own
deeply felt perceptions.
Recently, I get the sense
that someone kindred
is moving towards me,
as naturally
as the prayer
that gets offered
at first light,
from heart to sunrise,
in the quiet
of a broken
miraculously unbroken morning.

Life and love
are being remade now —
I believe, for all of us, everywhere —
in our own private ways.

In the one life
I can call mine,
a more real,
mature joy
is being sprinkled
and allowed into
the potting mix,
and what I honestly
hope for is to find the words
it does not get any better than this
running up and down
my thankful pink lips
in far more moments
than can be counted.


Kerrie Workman is an artist and creativity coach living in St. Paul, MN and the founder of Once Upon A Tree. She is a humanitarian and creative with a background in international education and human rights who is fueled by a deep love of global art of all kinds. Her visual art has been exhibited and shared in galleries in the United States and Canada. Her writing has been shared mostly privately, up until now.


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