I think 5th grade was the first time I got a note from a girlfriend with S.W.A.K. written across the closure of the envelope. It might have been a birthday card, or an invitation to a party. That “sealed with a kiss” felt like magic to still-kind-of-new-in-town me, felt like cement that could keep our connection strong forever.

That didn’t turn out to be true, of course. Some ten year olds hold onto their friendships for life, but I wasn’t one of those. Now, however, I have friendships that nourish and sustain me, friends who are friends in all the ways I want and need, in all the ways ten-year-old me couldn’t really imagine. S.W.A.K. indeed.

Tonight I spent some zoom time with a couple of these beautiful people … and so, tonight’s poem — not only for these two loves, but for all my lovely friends, these bright lights for whom I am so grateful. The source text is, once again, “here yet be dragons” by Lucille Clifton.


There are those people,
the ones with whom I never feel lost
the ones who laugh, read me stories, sing poems
the ones who
know that out here, among
devils and demons, there is always us
always this love, this friendship, that we can
trust our open hearts to one another, feel rather than imagine
the warmth and safety of revealing ourselves.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

2 thoughts on “S.W.A.K.

  1. “there is always us
    always this love, this friendship, that we can
    trust ”

    My bestie and I have over 40 years together. Your poem, but especially beautiful these words nail a friendship that stood the test of time..


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