I Cry

I cry when I remember my children as babies
I cry when I remember family and friends who have passed
I cry when I remember the times I’ve hurt others

I cry for my youth
I cry for my fellow man
I cry for my country

I cry when my husband holds me close after a long stressful day
I cry when I see my mom in pain
I cry when there’s nothing left to do

I cry because my head and my heart and my soul hurt
I cry because there is beauty and music and love in this world
I cry because I care

I cry for those suffering, lost, forgotten
I cry for those happy, joyful, celebrating
I cry for the past, the present, the future

I cry when my son shares his passions
I cry when my daughter cuddles her daughter
I cry when my youngest struggles with her schoolwork

I cry because I can envision a brighter future
I cry because others can’t
I cry because I don’t know how to fix that

Tori Burris Inkley



Because you must


Because your husband/wife/partner/lover still needs to hold your hand and look into your eyes and know you’re there


Because your children need you to stand up for them, for their rights, and for their future, and to protect them from becoming caged in or having others control their bodies


Because if you’re lucky enough to still have a job, you have work to do… whether you’re a teacher demonstrating to our youth that there are still adults who care, a pastor/priest/rabbi calling out those who arm themselves with religion in order to oppress others, or a musician/poet/artist of any sort who is needed by our country to remind us that there is so much beauty in this world… when we look past the hate and the greed and the ego


Because until your heart and head can steady themselves, your breath will keep you afloat


Because no one said this would be easy… change never is… you’ve trained for a marathon, not a jog around the block


Because many have died… whether in hospitals or nursing homes, their own beds or churches, battlefields, SCHOOLS, or at the hands of domestic terrorists… whether in jeans and t-shirts, pajamas, or uniforms… whether on ventilators, sleeping peacefully, praying, marching, sitting in class, walking, or running… TOO MANY have died


Because the world still needs good… REAL good… not lip service, not thoughts and prayers… but action, loud voices, care and support for ALL… REAL good… and real good trouble


Because we must keep speaking… we must keep dissenting… we must keep going


Because others can’t…

Tori Burris Inkley

Reflection: I didn’t come this far to join the chorus. I’m here for the solo.

I Can Feel It

I can feel it
Your fear

The long, narrow fingertips of your voice reach out for me
Me… and others like me

In years past, those fingers simply tapped me on the shoulder
But more recently, their grip is strong
And the persistent shaking, undeniable

Your mouth moves, but the words are lost in the chorus of others
And as my eyes move from face to face to face,
All lips synchronized, all bodies tense,
The words no longer matter

The fear is there
In the sea of faces
In the oceans of sweat and tears and blood
In the low hum of mothers crying
And the loud roar of those seeking justice

And as I place my hand in yours,
I can feel it
The fear turns to courage
The pain to strength
And together,
We move forward.

Tori Burris Inkley

I heard
The droplets fall
Filling the space with clean, with fresh, with new

She felt
The droplets spray
Filling the space with gray, with sick, with despair

He watched
The droplets run
Filling the space with red, with defeat, with death

Tori Burris Inkley

It is possible that we all have different views of the same thing…

July 2020

We Are Taught

It runs deep
Generation after generation
Lie upon lies
Children are taught to hate
Taught to not care
Taught to oppress
Taught to abuse

We are not born this way
We breathe in the tainted air
And we are taught…
Taught to judge based on skin color
Based on religion
Based on gender
Based on wealth

It is not natural
It is learned
It is not right
It is wrong
It is not good
It is bad
For everyone

Tori Burris Inkley

The Fog

Sit with me in the mist of this foggy morning
Earth cleansed by recent rainfall
Air as thick and unclear as our world

Feel the tiniest droplets on your skin
Cool and light
There, then gone
Like a word, a thought, a breath, a life

Do you feel it?
The uncertainty
The gray
The potential for both blue skies and storm

Are you willing to sit with me in the mist?
Breathing in this unpredictable air
Wrapped in the world’s unsettled arms
Listening to its undecided voice

Let’s be uncomfortable yet determined together
The sun may shine
The rain may fall
But only after we wander the fog

Tori Burris Inkley

In the Pause

In the pause
I sit
I breathe
I regenerate

In the pause
I come back home
I give myself a break
I find my peace

In the pause
I remember every moment counts,
Every breath is beautiful,
And life is not a race

In the pause
I return to my values
I return to my priorities
I return to my center

In the pause
I find my compassion…
For myself,
For others,
For the world

In the pause
I give recognition to our interconnectedness,
To my Self in Others,
To the Us in Them

In the pause
I acknowledge that all people matter,
That compassion is not hierarchical,
And that pain and suffering abound

In the pause
I resolve to receive, yet serve,
To be vulnerable, yet strong,
To be steadfast, yet change

In the pause
I am found…

Tori Burris Inkley


Flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

and dive
and glide

Flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

The earth stands still
The sun shines down
The wind decides
The fire burns out

But you…
You flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

Out of control
In control
No map
No plan
No dream
No goal

Just flutter and fall
Flutter and fall

Tori Burris Inkley

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