Who is More Human

“You and I are more than you and I because it’s we.” – e.e. cummings

Who is more human than you and I
The bone and blood, the mouth and eye
The fear we feel or choose to leave
the way we meet morning and evening just the same
Who is more human, than you and I
who listen for a heartbeat, a sign, a sigh
an indication that things will be alright
Who is more human than you and I
who wake up to the same blue sky
and see the treetops or beach or buildings
filled by longing or emptied by surviving
Who is more human than the one who breathes
air through nostrils or lips or tubes
the doing the needs and the denial and truth
the ruthlessness of living and the flowers blooming
the world expanding and the world contracting
Perhaps only the planet is as human as us
She must feel the same, the stripped and the lush
the lust and the raw,
the thin stretch and responding
to conditions arising and lifting and falling
Who is more human, tell me
we’re in this together
with no time to be clever or jealous or mean
There’s too much to do, to learn and to claim
and to lose and to gain and to hear and to see
The days all begin for each one of us
the same with a moment of waking
A hunger pang, a question
that may or may not have answers
a glance towards a window or a tent opening
or the door you came in through
or the one you stood under when the ground shook
when the heavens thundered
when you shuddered and wondered
and cried out and held on
Who is more human than you and I
No one, I tell you, God tells me we’re the only ones
and that we can close our eyes
until death or we can sit bedside and pray
We can go down with the ship
or rise up to to battle
We can tend to the cattle or betray or believe
We can leave or stay, the choice makes us human
We can want both and embrace
the weak and the children
We can be heroes or villains, all writing the story
of surrender and victory, of boring into the days
like surgeons and miners and lovers
and broken leases and lesions undetected
and lessons in the thorny stalks
and jungles and concrete and love love love loss
Who is more human than you and I
making up our lines as we go
unscripted and tender
Today is the day
for hugging the curves, for holding the wheel
for a still point, a subtlety, a sudden appearance
of our reasons for being, for moving cross borders
harsh wind, mortar fire, or nothing to report
or simple errands or none of these
Wherever in the world you wake,
who is more human than you
who is more human than I
who is more alive and able than those who convene
at the table of rolled-up sleeves
and plans and solutions
and there’s no more we can do
and I’m sorry and tissues and tears
and good news and all the thoughts
we have and don’t speak
the strong and the weak, the prayer
and the pressed-for-time
and the privilege of sitting in brief moments
of reverence
and the truth that not all things are beautiful
and the newborn in her mother’s arms
the first breath and the last
This we all have in common
alarm and calm and all the middle places
where travel between happens
our bodies containing whole galaxies
of muscle mass and mystery
Who is more human
Tell me
and I’ll tell you back
Who is more human
Tell me
and I’ll listen
I’ll listen

2 thoughts on “Who is More Human

  1. Shanee says:

    Somehow I turned off my email notifications for blogs. So, I hadn’t heard from you in awhile and missed reading you (after leaving Facebook). Imagine my joy when I made my way here and found I could not only read, but watch and listen to YOU reading! What a delight! Love this. I’ll listen. x


  2. Jena Schwartz says:

    Shanee — your timing was uncanny. I think it was that very day that I was thinking of you, having read your earlier message about a Facebook hiatus. And missing but feeling your presence. And here you are! I’ll listen to you any day. Sending love and dissertation fortitude!



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