The Doula Dolphin’s Gift

(with thanks for Tara’s Massage)

Over the table I lay upon,
I felt the dolphin leap,
energy sparkling in her wake.
Down under the table, as if it were water,
and up again in an arc,
she encircled me in perfect protection,
opened me to joy.
Now my roots are strong and luminous,
now my shy side laughs.
My purpose new, I choose
to emanate the dolphin values
of love and play and pod,
to radiate the dolphin way
that sings aliveness in the present.
Now my roots reach down
into oceanic earth,
now the dolphin blesses my birth.

©Susa Silvermarie 2016

Galloping on the Sea

Bestride a bow of the catamaran,
I ride the swells and troughs of the sea.
My legs dangle over the startling turquoise
that lifts and drops me, lifts
and drops and lifts the boat
over and over, the afternoon long.
In the catamaran saddle, all of me loose,
all of me trusting, letting the waves
have their way— my body sways,
riding, riding the galloping sea.

©Susa Silvermarie 2016

Counting of (Friend) Blessings

20160623_151306On my recent visit to my homeplace, I experienced our human power to bless, heal, and renew one another. I lived in many different places in Milwaukee WI, so when I use the Southern expression, homeplace, I am referring to the city itself. What made my visit so nourishing, as if it were food my body craved? Being accepted and cared about. Ease. Trust. Familiar faces saying, I know you. Friends who were excited to spend time with me. Feeling welcomed wholeheartedly. Being treated with generosity. Feeling valued. It was a visit that gave me a sense of connection with family, family of choice.20160624_112454

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I drove from Asheville NC and my son flew in from NYC. We hung out together, with old friends of his I remember, and with old friends of mine who knew my son when he was a boy. Everywhere we went, we were warmly embraced. I got to float in the luscious cold of dear Lake Michigan’s blue bowl, twice! I organized an impromtu Poetry Salon one evening, and got to share from the heart with writer friends. The whole week was a Counting of friend Blessings. These are the beings who are part of me. Because of old friends (and among them I include my sister, my son, and Lake Michigan), I re-member myself. Because of them, I see myself reflected whole. 20160624_185626

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Orlando Dead

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez age 50
A loving brother and uncle,
say all his family members.

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool age 49
She was a mother of 11
who went with her son and niece that night
to dance at the club.

Paul Terrell Henry age 41
His boyfriend said he was a loving spirit
whose priority
was caring for his two children.

Javier Jorge-Reyes age 40
He worked at Gucci,
and had a miniature Schnauzer
whom he called his “baby boy.”

Luis Daniel Conde age 39
Originally from Puerto Rico,
he loved his tattoos.

Kimberly KJ Morris age 37
She loved martial arts
and was a bouncer at the club;
she was always smiling.

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez age 37
From Puerto Rico,
he owned a Salon & Spa.

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon age 37
He died with his boyfriend of 8 years.
A friend said all his life
he’d been dealing with hate.

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera age 36.
He went to the club to celebrate
a friend’s new home
and was always willing
to help anyone, friends say.

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez age 35
He was a doting uncle,
at the club with his longtime partner,
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, who also died.

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado age 35
He was a stage performer
whose young son had just
graduated from pre-kindergarten.

Edward Sotomayor Jr. age 34
He worked at a gay travel club,
and often told friends,
“We cannot be afraid.”

Shane Evan Tomlinson age 33
A singer, songwriter, and vocal arranger,
an actor and a model,
he performed at the club.

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala age 33
He was a stylish man
who worked at the local blood bank
and loved to dance.

Martin Benitez Torres age 33
From Puerto Rico, he was visiting
family in Orlando. His family said
he had a huge smile
and was always happy.

Joel Rayon Paniagua age 32
A religious man,
he worked in construction
to send money home
to his family in Mexico.

Deonka Deidra Drayton age 32
A bartender at the club,
she leaves behind
a two-year-old son.

Christopher Andrew Leinonen age 32
and Juan Ramon Guerrero age 22
were engaged to be married
and were buried together.

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez age 31
He and his partner,
who also perished at the club,
had just bought their first house.

Jerald Arthur Wright age 31
He was an employee at Disney,
at the club that night
to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Miguel Angel Honorato age 30
He went out to the club
to celebrate with friends.
He was the father
of three children.

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice age 30
His last words
were to his mother:
“I love you.”

Darryl Roman Burt II age 29
He worked as a financial aid officer,
and friends said he was passionate about
helping anyone in need.

Antonio Davon Brown age 29
He was a captain in the Army Reserve
and had served
in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Angel L. Candelario-Padro age 28
He was a nursing technician
and Zumba instructor
who described himself as
adventurous and easy going.

Frank Hernandez age 27
He wore a tattoo
on his right arm that said:
“Love knows no gender.”

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez age 27
He was a native of Puerto Rico
who loved cars and the beach
and had just bought his first house.

Mercedez Marisol Flores age 26
She went to the club with her friend Amanda,
who also died that night.
She loved to blast music
and lived her life her own way.

Oscar A Aracena-Montero age 26
He lived near Orlando
with his three Chihuahuas
and his boyfriend Simon,
who died with him at the club.

Enrique L. Rios, age  Jr.age 25
He flew down to Orlando
to celebrate a friend’s birthday
at the dance club.

Leroy Valentin Fernandez age 25
He was an apartment-leasing agent
and a friend at work said,
“He filled up the office with music.”

Juan Chevez-Martinez age 25
He loved to find new hair styles.
A friend said he left his mark
on everything he did.

Tevin Eugene Crosby age 25
He believed in determination,
hard work
and a good attitude.

Amanda Alvear age 25
Her family describes her
as a “fashionista”
with plans to study nursing.

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez age 25
Originally from Puerto Rico;
his cousin wrote on Facebook:
“near or far, we are blood.”

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez age 25
Originally from the Dominican Republic;
his friend said he had
a beautiful beautiful soul.

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla age 25
He joyously loved
every style of dancing
from salsa to ballroom.

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega age 24
A successful producer
of a children’s talent show
for Telemundo,
he was from Puerto Rico.

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan age 24
She was the mother of two children
and had gone to the club
for the first time
as part of a celebration.

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz age 24
He worked for J.P. Morgan Chase;
his brother said he was
the light of the family.

Stanley Almodovar III age 23
A pharmacy technician.
His aunt said he was
an amazing person
with a good soul.

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz age 22
He was born in South Africa
and had lived in New Jersey,
worked at UPS in Orlando.

Luis S. Vielma age 22
A recent post on Facebook
featured a picture of friends
at Universal studios where he worked;
“True friends become family,’” it said.

Alejandro Barrios Martinez age 21
Originally from Cuba
he had a thoughtful look
and beautiful eyes.

Cory James Connell age 21
At the club that night
with his girlfriend, who survived,
he was an assistant coach
for the Orlando Anarchy
Women’s Football Team.

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo age 20
He was an actor and dancer,
and lit up every room
he walked into.

Jason Benjamin Josaphat age 19
A student at Valencia College in Orlando,
friends described him
as wonderfully talented.

Akyra Monet Murray age 18
A high school honors student
and basketball star
she’d been awarded a basketball scholarship
to Mercyhurst College.
She fled the shooting with a friend,
but they went back in
to save a friend left behind.

Omar Mateen age 29
The shooter, American born and bred.
Split by self-hatred,
anguished, torn between
his religion condemning homosexuality
and his own gay feelings.

 Facts on victims researched and compiled by Ann Mullen for the June 20 Memorial held in Saranac Lake NY sponsored by the Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community. Final stanza on Omar Mateen added by Susa Silvermarie