Remembering that even the smallest creature has power and purpose,

Enter this day from a place of love and determination.

Set your intention and harness your energy, there is work to be done.

In times of darkness and unrest, we prove to be strongest.

So we unite for the greater good, and for those with no voice.

The time is here. The time is now. The time is ours.

Tori Burris Inkley
10/7/18

Today I Went Fishing

I went fishing today

In the ocean of my mind

I had not been on that journey in a while
Wasn’t even sure I’d remember how

With all the baiting and the casting and the waiting
Didn’t know if I had the patience
Or quite honestly, the desire

And yet I went…
Hopeful…

The whole trip was a mere twenty minutes
But what a full twenty minutes it was

I’d barely baited my hook when the first fish just up and leapt into my boat
Causing me to laugh and remember just how much I enjoyed fishing

I cast out, as far from my body as possible, and before I could sit,
I had a bite

I reeled it in, putting pen to paper
Careful not to scare it away or cause it harm

I decided to try casting a net next
Hoping not to jinx my early good fortune

Lo and behold…
My catch was tremendous!

I emptied that net and recast over and over
Smiling and writing until I’d fished every inch of that ocean
Occasionally jumping from the boat
and diving to the deepest depths
For that’s where the more colorful, more rare fish are

And when the twenty minutes came to an end
I packed my supplies
Took a deep breath
And I thanked the ocean and the net

But mostly I thanked the fish
For they reminded me to remember,
To try,
To laugh,
To search,
To dive
To wait,
And to fish more often

Tori Burris Inkley
3/27/21

Shake Me

Shake me
Wake me up
Roll me from the disconnect, the disappointment, the despair

This ocean is too deep and my life vest too small

Take my hand

Don’t lead, don’t solve
Just take my hand

I am strong
I am courageous
I am here

But my breath is wavering
Heart and soul unsettled

Feet won’t move
but eyes still see

Give me time
and a little air

But first…
Shake me

Tori Burris Inkley
3/3/21

Selfishly I sit
Not starting because I know
This will help you leave

Tori Burris Inkley
3/25/21

They Come

All around me they soar
Dipping and diving and buzzing so near I can smell them
Musty… like an old church basement
Or my grandparents’ closet
Or an attic long forgotten

I plead with them to fly away
To give me just a little peace
But I can hear their faint laughter
Like so many times before
As they settle in for a long winter

“Make your lists,” they say.
“Drink your drinks.”
We’ll be right over here…
Watching and waiting…
Getting comfortable again

I look to the sky and call for the sun
But my voice is eaten up by the clouds
I breathe deeply and close my eyes
But there they are again
Smiling those haunting smiles

“Keep moving,” I tell myself.
“There are things to do.”
And they mock me in a whisper
As I pretend not to notice
That another day is fading away

I try to remember when they first appeared
Was I nine? Or was I ten?
At first it was only a few of them
They played with my fingers
And painted smiles on my face

In my teens they talked of love and life
They made me laugh and dance
And sometimes even sing
But they also made me cry 
So I tried hard to push them away

But today… they came in droves
In all shapes and sizes
And it’s heavy and it’s hard
And I’m tired
And it’s Christmas

Tori Burris Inkley
12/20/20

Therein

And in the dark
And in the light
And in the in between
Therein lies my hope

And in the noise
And in the quiet
And in the in between
Therein lies my peace

And in the highs
And in the lows
And in the in between
Therein lies my resolve

And in the tears
And in the laughter
And in the in between
Therein lies my love

And in the past
And in the future
And in the in between
Therein lies my purpose

And in the young
And in the old
And in the in between
Therein lies my joy

Tori Burris Inkley
12/2/20

Rise Above

It is time

Time to rise above
On the wings of those who have gone before us

Let them lift us above so that we may see
The good and the bad
The hurting and the rejoicing
The joy and the hate

Rise above

Let us look upon this world with clear eyes and open hearts
Let us not be swayed by thoughts of power or riches
Instead, let us forge your own paths
Paths that bring us peace,
But also peace to those around us

Rise above

Let our thoughts be our own
Not those of the person with the loudest voice
Let our dreams be our own
Not those of the person who stands on the backs of others
Let our peace be our own
Not that of the person who only prays from a pew

Rise above

This is an exceptional moment my friends
For we have the opportunity to learn from others,
To learn from our mistakes,
To learn from our past,
To learn from those suffering or in need

Rise above

Now is when we have choices…
Graciousness over conceit
Love over hate
Unity over division
Peace over turmoil
Truth over falsehoods
Generosity over greed
Light over dark

Rise above

Realize that what we see in our brothers and sisters,
In our fellow humans,
In our neighbors,
In our parents,
In our children…
This too exists in each of us.

The good and the bad
The light and the dark
It all exists inside each of us
It bubbles and boils
And simmers and settles
In the melting pot of our souls…

And it’s up to us to decide what we reveal to ourselves and the world

Rise above

Let us sit in the clouds with our thoughts and our feelings
Breathing in and taking note
For inside, we are not so different
But our actions are what others see
What others remember
What others are left with when we’re gone

Rise above

Tori Burris Inkley
11/11/20

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
11/9/20

Breathe

Breathe

Because you must

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

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

Breathe

Because others can’t…

Tori Burris Inkley
11/4/20