poem

My city

Retreating from the too much of New York City only to come back for more again and again.

©Erica Cirino. NYC spring 2017.

©Erica Cirino. NYC spring 2017.

In the springtime

I like to visit the country

Where the grass in the field

Grows green and golden.

It’s the place I go when

I can no longer bear

The city; grey and gritty

Sometimes feels like too much.

Too much brick,

Too much cement,

Too much asphalt

Driven on my too many cars,

Too much rebar

Holding up too-tall buildings

Where too many people work

Too long, tedious days.

Yet, despite the allure of all

That is quiet and simple

In the field,

I always come back

As faithful as the spring grass

To this city,

My city,

Where too much

Never feels like enough.

Originally posted to Medium on May 2, 2017.

Oil Well Erupts

A poem for the 7th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Photo by  John Lester . Oil-soaked wave in Alabama, June 2010. (Flickr)

Photo by John Lester. Oil-soaked wave in Alabama, June 2010. (Flickr)

“It’s far away,”

They say,

At first,

Down on the bottom

Where no light can reach,

“Everything is under control.”

Yet what’s happening on the seabed

Is a different story,

There the truth is obscured

By an unfathomable heaviness,

A slick, thick crimson ink

Swirling up from the depths.

Traveling through the sea,

Higher and higher,

Until it erupts at the surface

And feels the breeze,

And creeps menacingly across

Miles and miles of ocean.

“Ok, we see it,”

They say,

“But don’t fuss,”

They tell us.

“We’ll fix it,”

Then some of the oil ignites,

Some washes to shore,

Some entraps animals

In its sticky hold:

An almost certain death sentence.

Two months later,

Down on the bottom

Where we can’t see,

The slippery oil

Continues to pour

Up and out,

It swirls

Throughout the water

And to the surface,

Where it reveals 

More and more of itself.

Again, “We’ll fix it,”

They say,

Although blinded

By power and greed,

By this ecological hell,

“We’ll fix it,”

They say,

“This leaking oil well.”

Originally posted to Medium on April 20, 2017.

Peace

A poem about looking for salvation on the open sea. 

©Erica Cirino. Pacific Ocean, November 2016.

©Erica Cirino. Pacific Ocean, November 2016.

Out here

There is not much to see

But the sky and water

Which pass above and below me

Each day, each hour, 

Each minute, each second.

Each day is mostly the same.

I spend my time

Steering and cleaning

And cooking and writing,

And wondering

Why I came

Out here.

Deep down, 

I know.

Out here,

I thought

I could be saved,

I could find purpose,

A vision 

Of my true self,

An understanding

Of what

I am doing here

As one small being

On a vast planet.

So I went looking for myself

Out here,

At sea,

Beneath the great white sails

That stand quiet 

And taut in the gale

Yet flap loudly in the calm,

Sounding like

A thousand pages

Turning

In an enormous book;

Amongst the elegantly gliding seabirds

And the sleek blue-gray dolphins,

That eye the ship

With a look

Of both curiosity and caution;

With a group of strangers

Whom I share little in common with

Other than my sense of adventure

And humanity.

After 23 days

At sea,

When my bare feet meet

Solid earth

For the first time

In a long time,

And my legs sway

Like reeds in a breeze

Unused to the stillness,

My body still seeking

The strange comfort

Of movement,

Of the wind and the waves,

I ask myself,

“Have you found what you were looking for,

Out there?”

Yes, I believe I did

Find something:

Peace.

Originally posted to Medium on March 23, 2017. 

Sunrise

A poem written early on a Copenhagen morning.

Copenhagen sunrise. ©Erica Cirino

Copenhagen sunrise. ©Erica Cirino

Nighttime can be depressing,

Isolating and lonely.

It can be painful and shameful.

It can conjure your worst demons, 

And uncover your biggest fears. 

One good thing about nighttime

Is that it's always followed by day.

Get through another dark night

And when day breaks,

Look outside your window.

You'll see the sunrise,

Your reminder that, in this world,

Beauty still does exist. 

Enough

A poem for International Women's Day 2017. 

Quote from Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese.” ©Erica Cirino

Quote from Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese.” ©Erica Cirino

For far too long

I’ve let others dictate

My happiness,

Measure my worth.

Despite their biases

And inaccuracies,

I let them do it

Because I was afraid,

Afraid to stop them,

Afraid to raise my voice.

Today, it ends:

The sadness,

The overwhelming, unshakable

Feelings of inadequacy.

I will decide

To be happy,

To be worthy,

To be beautiful,

To be loved,

To be enough. ♀️