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"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." Anne Sexton 

Heather Brager is a critically acclaimed juggler of calamity, an accomplished procrastinator, and shuffler of idioms. Her poetry and drawings can be found in various digital and print journals around the globe, and on the web.  She currently resides in New England and prefers the precipice of where the Atlantic meets the sand to the official looking office where she spends most of her time. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Every day we experience the opportunity to make important choices in our lives and the lives of the people we love.  We choose how to respond to events that affect us, both minor and catastrophic.  We also choose what we will allow to impact us and our families, positively and negatively.

During the days since the tragedy in Connecticut, we have read a plethora of misinformation and incorrect “facts” and statistics from the general public and our sensationalized media.  We have witnessed boundless anger and retaliatory rhetoric tossed back and forth, even among “friends.”  We have seen and read raw and frantic political fanaticism.  We have also watched numerous heartfelt exchanges of honesty and pure, vulnerable strength and compassion.

It is so simple a concept, yet we as a modern culture are still so hasty to blame, lash out with anger and hatred, “tell it like it is,” and make broad, generalized statements that often skip right over the humans we say that we are so insistent on protecting.  We bend the truth to fit our agenda and skip to policy that we only think we understand.  We are so quick to tell everyone how to immediately “fix” the problems that are flashed across our computer and television screens, and yet, we are absolutely unwilling to do what is actually necessary to safeguard our very own evolution.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  We need not wait to see what others do.”  Gandhi

For those of you who have taken the time to get to know me personally, you know of the challenges I have navigated over the past few years.  During that time, I have learned that sheltering my children from everything that is happening is not a productive way to teach them about real life.  I have cried in front of my boys, I have told them I didn't have the answer but would do the very best I could, and I have led by example by allowing them to witness my resolve, over and over again.  

So I choose honesty.  

I choose authenticity, accountability and integrity.   It is my hope to instill in my children the very same attributes, and to arm them with a diverse skill set to confront their fears openly, to recognize and ask for what they need, and to extend love and compassion to others in need.  I choose not to assume I have the power to fix massive, broken systems, but to focus on what is important in my life, right now.   I have learned that lesson well.

Today, it was important to sit outside in my car for fifteen extra minutes to allow my boys to tell me what they felt was important to say.  I laughed with them and when they left to go to school, we said "I love you."   I choose to be the change I want to see.

What do you choose? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


the sky is holding
we see it:  the impending
it comes down to this

© 12.6.12 heather brager

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

four incomplete memories.

it was most likely a holiday, as
she stood over the kitchen counter
bending forward to sip a glass of warm
pinkish liquid from a crystal wine glass
her hair was dyed almost black
and had lost its youthful shine
when she inhaled, the ember
of her cigarette shone hot amber,
just enough to force her pale lip gloss
to shimmer for a few seconds

his clothes were normally coated in dust
sometimes he clutched a tattered
comic book and his black finger nails
followed the words
as if he was actually reading them
he taunted the boys behind him
in the padded, torn green seats
until one day the red haired boy
took a swing and knocked his eyeglasses
onto the slippery bus floor

he was lying there, carefully unobtrusive
in a cold, dim room that stank
of urine and bleach
his hands were shaking slightly
the aquamarine colored blood
tenderly protruding through the veil
of transparent skin that was
carefully stretched over his bones
reminded her of
a hotel swimming pool

the weeds and wildflowers
grew above her head
even when she stood on her tip toes,
she could not see the cars that made
the rushing sound out on the road
she held a handful of mayflowers
and sniffed them periodically
with simple pleasure, and
when she returned to the house
she would put them in a glass of water
and leave them on the kitchen table

© 12.4.12 heather brager