No amount of cash can buy the things that make life most worth it

Several small children, dressed in stained and torn clothes, smile gleefully and put up peace signs.
Photo by on .

Some people dream about becoming wealthy. Even from a young age, I suspected that wasn’t my destiny. I wasn’t born into money, and none of the careers of interest to me were ones that make a person rich (except in very rare instances). But I was okay with that. From , I learned how to work hard and be content.

Certainly, I’d daydream about what it might be like to shop without calculating or checking price-tags, but my happiness didn’t depend on how much stuff I had. …

Weeping may endure

In a room without much light, a man sits on a couch with his arms resting on his legs, his eyes closed, and his head bowed.
Photo by on .

“A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them — they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Death teaches as it takes. As a professor, it is patient and exacting — demanding much of us with lessons we can delay but never escape. Death is also pretty inconsiderate. I’ve never been where I wanted to be when death took those I loved most. I was always still travelling towards them. Never with them. Never home.

Whenever someone I know suffers a grave loss, I find myself overflowing with a desire to…


Giving blood, sweat, tears, and more

A light blue storm-ravaged house that has been shaken from its foundation sits on top of a royal blue upside-down vehicle.
Photo by on .

In the wake of a natural disaster like Ida, it is easy to become overwhelmed — whether it hits you close to home or not. When the devastation is massive and far-reaching, it’s easy to feel small and helpless — full of sorrow but at a loss for how to help. And for every sad story captured by cameras, there are also private pains. Homes were reduced to debris. Some people lost their livelihoods; others lost their lives or loved ones. After every disaster, some victims’ voices are heard, and others suffer in silence. …


Why it’s so hard to be honest sometimes

Two people sit indoors on a bench in front of a large window or screen. The people are in silhouette.
Photo by on .

One of the first values we teach children is honesty, so why do adults lie so often? Why are lies such a common component of our daily lives and conversations? At one time or another we’ve all been dishonest, but lying is still something we’re quick to condemn others for. Look at how happily the media indicts and ridicules anyone caught in a lie — especially one of their own. I’m not excusing dishonesty, but sometimes the punishment seems hypocritical. . We have all distorted the truth. …

A litany of grievances

An open journal with handwriting filling the pages. A pencil rests on the left side. A bookmark rests on the right side.
Photo by on .

No one ever asks a fairy godmother how she’s doing. Sure, we’re magical, but we have feelings too. We get overwhelmed. Sometimes we’re tired, depressed, or lonely. Today, for example, I could really use a hug. But I rarely get so much as a hello — let alone a how are you? Folks simply never think about me or my needs. It would be nice to feel appreciated, but I’m always taken for granted.

Look at me. I’m not just put-together; I’m extravagantly dressed — always glittery and incandescent. I could slip on yoga pants and sensible shoes to be…

Sometimes hello also means goodbye

A Black woman and her grandchild stand together on a ferry with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Circa 1983.
One of many happy memories: My grandmother and me in the eighties.

Nearly two decades ago my grandfather was dying, and we all came to Grenada to say goodbye. He ended up living for two or three more years, but every visit felt final. It was about that time that I made a personal pledge to visit him and my grandmother every year for so long as they each should live. And so here I am again. I’ve travelled to the place of my parents’ birth, and I’ve brought a keen awareness of death.

I am here to visit . A woman who, in my eyes, is the epitome of…


The Story of a Slob Who Became a Neatnik

A very tidy, small, child’s room (probably a girl’s). There is a pink chair at the desk and two plush rabbits sit against the pillow on the bed which has a pink blanket and pink headboard.
I wish my childhood room had been this big (or tidy). [Photo by on .]

I hate to clean. That’s the core reason for why I’m such a neatnik (a compulsively neat, constantly tidying up person). I maintain order so that I never find myself in a situation where cleaning up means wading and sorting through massive amounts of clutter. My maintenance regimen requires that I never leave things out. Everything goes back where it belongs when I’m done with it.

A book I’m done reading for the day goes back on the self. I am happiest when my kitchen sink is completely empty. Where does the remote control belong? On the entertainment center and…

Letter to a place I love

A window whose frame is broken.
“It pains me to see your dislocated windows.”

Dear Home, I miss you. I miss what you used to give me: shelter, warmth, and security. I miss running up and down your steps — taking the stairs two at a time and always jumping down from three up (much to the chagrin of Grandma C.). I miss those warm days when we left your door to the backyard open like an invitation. That backyard was my clubhouse, playground, and treasure hunt. It’s where I learned to ride my bike and where we buried our dogs.

Dearest Home, oh how you’ve changed! I didn’t realize how much of your…


Three Poems Exploring Music & Love

Starry sky over mountains.
Photo by on .

If You Are the Night’s Sky

If you are the night’s sky, I am the distant star.

If you are the mighty mountain, I am the chiseled rock.

If you are the long winter, I am the flake of snow.

If you are the raging river, I am the flooded shore.

If you are the lush forest, I am the seed of faith.

If you are the promise, I am she who waits.

If you’re the vibrant sunset, I’m the breath that is held.

If you’re the destination, I’m the tentative step.

If you are the orchard at harvest, I am the ripening plum.

If you…

Remembering the hot summer days of my childhood

A young, Black girl circa 1983 in a summer dress with two big, red ribbons in her hair.

I’m a person who prefers to be hot than cold. I’d like things to be temperate and not uncomfortable, but if I have to choose an extreme, I’d rather sweat than shiver.

I find something very satisfying about sweating. It is almost soothing. When I’m exercising and the sweat starts to pour out of me, it’s like I’m earning my breath — working for my pace, another point, or one more rep.

Now, not all sweat is created equal in my eyes. Sometimes it’s very inconvenient. I hate to sweat when I’m dressed up. If I’m trying to look formal…

Aabye-Gayle F.

Editor & Writer | Dog person with cats.

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