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Josie Stewart Jul 2022
I wouldn't undo time. I may wish some experiences had happened differently or had never come about, but the road I took is inextricably me. I do hope that I have learned enough to go forward and continue what I set out on this long road for in the first place: to live courageously, to build precious community, to uncover memories buried, to know love firsthand--not just love, but liberation, interdependence, intimacy. My heart, the heart of chosen family to lead me on so that I may find why time could not undo me.
Originally written July 30, 2010; rewritten 2022

This old piece of mine felt significant today, the birthday of my kid that passed away. It needed some updates to reflect my current thoughts, but I love the general spirit of it.
Josie Stewart Jun 2022
My heroes are born in pain.
And in pain they seek beauty.
By their hands they find it.
They spill their blood and tears into words.
Then they pick up their swords.
They march forward, resolved
If no one else will start, they will.

But my heroes are not heroes because they sacrificed themselves.
They are not heroes because they bled.
They didn't do anything that you couldn't do.
They are heroes because even in their pain they gave a **** and asked you to join them.

Imagine what we could do if you actually did.
Dedicated to Assata Shakur

"No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free." - Assata Shakur
Josie Stewart Feb 2022
I see you lying in bed, overwhelmed with feeling.
I see you giddy, smiling so wide you can't keep your eyes open.
I see you holding space for the ones that matter to you.
And I'm lucky that one of those is me.

I see you someday, barefoot in the grass.
I see you standing in your radiance beneath the autumn glow.
I see you poised to speak, with a crown of flowers on your head.
And I'm lucky that you'd speak to me.

I see you every day, dreaming more and more.
I see you chasing after your desires.
I see you accepting all the love that comes to you.
And I'm lucky that the love you take's from me.

You see me everyday the way I see you.
You see the tears of joy and pain.
You see every bit of me.
And I'm lucky that the one I see is you.
Josie Stewart Feb 2022
Burn it all, they said.
If we can't have her, then leave her dead.
They set about to light a fire.
They torched it all to sate their ire.

We left her there to gather dust.
Leave it all in others' trust.
And since we left her we surmise
She must prefer those other guys.

They said all this and set alight
The town they once held in delight.
They hated the new lives within
So they razed the town to **** with them
Written January 30, 2022. It's been sitting in drafts since then. I wasn't sure if I was finished. Wasn't sure if I wanted to share it at all. But I'm ready now to release it into the world.
Josie Stewart Sep 2021
Oh it's been a long time,
Not nearly long enough.
I never wanted you to cry.
I never meant to harm our love.

I didn't ask for you to go.
I didn't ask for you to be.
I didn't ask for you to rush.
I just needed you to want me.

What happened to the sun?
It seemed so suddenly to fade.
When you cried I didn't run,
But it seems you slipped away.

I wasn't looking to replace you, and
I greatly hoped it wouldn't break you, but
I found the things that I was missing.
You didn't have to go.
I just needed you to want me.
Josie Stewart Sep 2021
I'm not your prodigal son;
I'm your abandoned daughter.
Don't wait around for me to return.
I won't.

I gave and gave because I was a child
Hoping for love I received conditionally.
When I stopped giving, you left.
That says more about you than me.

You worship a God in your image.
One who asks for all.
You say he loves unconditionally,
But that's what you said about you.

You worship an abuser,
And in his name you abuse.
You pray for repentance
But are unwilling to change yourself.

I know you miss me.
You want me back so I can give,
And a part of you really does care.
Your actions matter more.

You could love me again
If you wanted.
I haven't hidden myself from you.
I'm still here.

You can't expect me to come
Crawling back to you.
The fattened calf you'd offer only
If I approached on your terms.

That's not the forgiving father.
That's a parent still grasping
For control of their child.
I don't need your food.

If you wanted to learn,
Maybe even consider
You could be wrong,
I might call you again.

You won't even use my name.
Like the neighbors of your savior,
You say, isn't this our son?
I'm unwelcome in your home.

So I've finally done it.
I did what I knew I had to.
I shook the dust from my sandals,
And I left.
Josie Stewart Jun 2021
The world is a dark and complicated morass,
Wherein countless lost children pass
In and out of the shadows and greet each other with a smile or a nod.

Isolated, lonely little hearts playing
With complex emotions in a word staying
Abreast of all the troubling events for better or worse.

Light and laughter dwells but a moment
In tender unions just before fears foment
A cascade of ****** worries filling up the eternal halls.

Then a single flame at first finds another
Huddling in the dark over scraps Mother
Left for kindling a fire in the depths of destitution.

At first the two but soon three and more
Shelter the faltering fire taking hold for
Reviving communion among the distanced souls.

As more join a bonfire starts and talking
Not just of pleasantries you hear while walking,
But of sincere connection between scared children discovering they can conquer the dark.

Some children still pass in the dark hall,
Knowing not the darkness nor how small
They really are in the scope of the full extent of the world.

But every once in a while, more often as it grows,
A child stops and really sees what the others chose
In banding about a fire fueled by the scraps of a difficult time.
Written June 10, 2020
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