Smiling First

The edges of my lips

raise to smile at every passerby,

and in the pre-sunrise shuffle

it occurs to me to find this strange.

I acknowledge to my psyche the micro aggression of being told to smile,

and somehow smiling before asked

feels powerful.

My eyes greet the expressions

of fellow travelers,

those working,

friends posing for selfies,

mothers with babies on their hips,

employees sitting at kiosks,

those sleeping outside,

those returning from night’s out,

and my feet pace familiarly.

I board the bus

and look up at a crescent moon,

pondering the socializing

that grips my most constant behaviors.

I gravitate towards a need

to question myself,

and I envision

how I might feel if that impulse lessons.

Will unconsciousness feel blissful,

or diminishing.

Will the answers I reach for

serve me more than the ones I have?

Will the instincts I allow to surface

before sky light enters my days

illuminate more than embarrass?

Could the instinct that grooming

places in my hands

have another origination?

One that recognizes dignity

even when that

can be leveraged for violence?

One that communicates

connectedness beyond estrangement,

and even amidst estrangement.

Earnestly I moderate a robust dialogue

forming between my third eye

and my activating vocal chords.

Conveying that I am both

an unreliable narrator,

and one I am practicing trusting.

Above outside influences.

Beyond implicit biases.

Entangled with coping strategies.

As vibrations

and body language

and actions that

feel integrated.

Mistakenly or not,

ambivalently or not,

unconfidently much of the time.

With the moon overcast

to all of my questions

I can’t easily answer.

Writer. Thinker. Facilitator. Advocate. Invested in accountability for power based violence, creative initiatives, and meaningful, nuanced dialoguing.

Writer. Thinker. Facilitator. Advocate. Invested in accountability for power based violence, creative initiatives, and meaningful, nuanced dialoguing.