Susan Birkeland Poetry

January 18, 1961 ~ Nov. 18 2006)

The Flashlights of Innocence

Love is no matter what
Mercy is no matter how
Justice is no matter who
Hope is no matter when

Love is no matter how
Mercy is no matter why
Justice is no matter where
Hope is living here and there at the same time

Absolution is cool water in a heat wave
Restitution is the gravitational intention of a compassionate moon
Conversation is sex before bodies
Evolution is the tail of a jaguar in the rain
Love is matter what

Crime is a fist pointed outward
Sadness is my fist in my own face
Longing is how strangers become friends

Silence is a warm room on a cold night
Reverence is the first touch of my fingers at your waist
Forgiveness is the inevitable scorecard of easy neighbors

Problems are a leg up onto a horse that rides around the sun
Solutions are new wheels on a rusty bike
Wine is the juice of crushed romance

Romance is the time it takes to remember
Remembering is the return of fresh eyes
Fresh eyes are the flashlights of innocence
Innocence is the circle by which

Love is no matter what
No matter when
No matter why
No matter how

Your hand in my basket
practicing scales on a pink piano
folding around


©Susan Birkeland

This poem is from Susan Birkeland's chapbook of poetry and drawings titled "The Bruised Angel Almanac".

Hear Susan's friend, San Francisco poet Clara Hsu read this poem.
Clara writes " Susan's readings were always dramatic, pulling the audience into her world. The Flashlights of Innocence is a good example. One cannot read this poem ‘poorly’, because the language will not allow it to happen.” Clara Hsu's website s t