Rachel Kann

Kindness / The Murmuration of Starlings

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
—Philo of Alexandria

Have your heard of murmuration?
Listen, it’s breathtaking.
Google it…but, like…later.
it’s basically bird-flocking quantified
to the awesometh power.

It’s starlings—communing through flying
and swirling—like one transcendent entity.

They move in a fluid choreographic flux
on the constant edge of next shift,
next shift, next shift,
and each of these shifts
is called a critical transition,

a murmuration of thousands of starlings,
tuned into each other’s movement through
the phenomenon of scale-free correlation,
following neighboring velocities,
each bird affecting
the next seven birds nearest to them,
and then the next seven and the next seven.

Look, even Charles Darwin said survival of the fittest
was a misapprehension of his findings,
even he believed in the holistic,
was awed by the elaborate and elegant
interdependence of nature.

From abiogenesis all the way to present-day,
from subatomic particles to the entire biosphere,
it’s emergence that encourages evolution.
Kill or be killed is a lie of the mind.
An outdated paradigm.
A flak jacket that can’t keep out light.

Let us take flight
toward our final destination
of wild and untamable kindness.

The voyage is long
and travels forward
and backward in time.
It’s a bumpy ride,
but the upshot is, we can’t not try.

I’m talking directly to
the tiny little you who lives inside of you,

reminding you of all the truth
you once knew you knew,

returning you to your previous innocence,
restoring your clarity,

because kindness is your true nature,
and I promise, anything beyond that
has been inculcated.

separation itself is an illusion
double-brewed in the hateful culture-stew
of roiling cruelty
we have all been cooking in.

And despite the desire to stay in denial,
it’s bubbling up to the surface.

What I’m saying is,
there’s way more work for us to do.

Don’t get lulled into complacency
by that fact that you feel compassion.
Kindness is action.

Not just that, as a matter of fact,
kindness is actually a radical act
in this hardscrabble and roughshod
crapshoot sneak-attack of a life
spilling with inner demons
and double-dealings.

Kindness transcends mere feelings,
it digs in the dirt,
is braver than hurled insults,
is rebellious enough to be vulnerable,
is vulnerable enough to rebel,
is confident enough to be patient,
calls forth the great recalibration,
an attunement to the taste
of sweetness
that starts within.

If you’re currently
in life’s trenches,
please get this:
kindness is
your weapon,
your best defense,
your greatest defiance.
This ain’t rocket science.
I don’t care what your tribe is.

The surprise is that
kindness does not equal weakness.

Actually, it’s meanness
that requires an Achilles’ heel to sting.

Do not be deceived,
meanness preys on your insecurity,
offers false surety,
walls off and masks,
distracts from the little voice inside
that’s calling for acknowledgement,
is needful of healing.



Come Out And Shine!

I’m calling forth every outsider, outcaste and outlier.
This one’s going out to the freaks and the weirdos,
The edge-of-the-bell-curve-dwellers.
The ones who go long.
I’m talking to you.
This is a drawing, a conjuring;
I’m calling forth your inner wisdom,
I’m outing you for your intuition.
Listen, screw me,
Take it from Rumi,
Who said to
Sell your cleverness
Purchase bewilderment.
My sweetest friend,
Can you afford not to?

Come out,
Despite the imminent threat,
The impending exile,
Despite your coolness,
The abject fear of looking foolish,
Despite being ostracized,
Despite your desire for acceptance from the tribe,

Come out,
I know all too well what it’s like
To be shunned,
To be shamed,
To be betrayed
And straight-up endangered and violated.
It sucks.
Come out anyway.
Leave your predators
in the pre-dated past where
they belong.
Despite being burned previously,
Despite your mounting evidence to the contrary,
Stop slumming it with ghosts
Who don’t deserve your time or energy.
Walk out into the wide world.
You can only be brave
When you’re terrified.
This is the only game in town anyway,
Might as well get out on the field.

Come out,
Do it for the kid you used to be,
The little girl with crooked pigtails who loved to sing
until some grumpy grownup told her she was off-key.
The little boy in corduroys who wanted to dance so badly,
but locked it all inside his body.
This is your uncorking.
It’s time for your story.
Pop the top off your bottle of glory,
What are you waiting for?
We all want to see!
Set your genius inner genie free.

Come out,
I have nothing new to impart to you.
This is coming as an answer to your prior request.
This is your active remembering.

Come out,
Bust through the perceived prison bars of fleshly limitation.
Burst through your sternum.
Fill this room, fill the whole building,
Fill the night sky with your wild brightness.

Come out,
Would you deny
All the heavenly bodies
Of the galaxy
Their lives’ mission?
Why would you withhold from them their most fervent desire:
Simply to move in your sphere?

Come out,
The sky is spilling with supernovae
Who have traveled billions of light-years
Just to shine down on your countenance,
For the sole purpose of gazing upon your gorgeousness,
Just to commune with your witness.
Why play hard-to-get with the infinite?
Give it up, you little love-slut!
Save that standoffish behavior
For the haters, violators and naysayers.
Somewhere on the journey between birth and
This very moment,
Your heart got broken.
Life got thwarted and distorted.
Predators and manipulators did their dirty work:
They predictably preyed and manipulated.
You were wronged and that ain’t right.
You protected yourself as best you knew how,
The gestation was tenuous,
And now, Hallelujah, you’ve made it.
Now’s the time for realignment.
Crack your shell, my little chickadee.
Share your pretty with everybody.

Come out,
You are made of stardust
And you know this.
The outrageous unfolding of reality
Leaves you breathless.
Knocks you senseless.
You don’t want to miss this.

Come out,
We get this brief blink of an eye together.
Let’s keep it real,
Even though it means being vulnerable and permeable.
What other options have we got?
I’m raising the stakes,
And ripping a rift
In the fabric of time-space
To reach you.
This is our holy communion.

Come out,
I am placing rock sugar on the altar of your boundless potential.
I am burning frankincense by your hideout.
I am straight smoking you out.
I see the sweet believer in you,
The pearl of awe.
Listen, do you know
What you could unfold
From this peak moment of limitlessness?
You could sing some Stevie Wonder and dance all crazy.
You could jump on a trampoline—trust me, it’s amazing.
You could eat some ice cream.
Even if it has to be vegan, organic, soy-free whatever, fine,
Just eat some whimsical freaking ice cream, please.
This existence is a menagerie of human-fleshsuit-sized
Miniature prisons.
I get it. Totally.
Yet how quickly this is all passing;
Nothing fancy.
You know this already.
Is there an out?
Is there a doctor in the house?
I am trying to say that you’re fantastic.
I am trying to say that the answer: you have it.

Come out,
Don’t end up mummified by your own cocoon.
Strangled by your best intentions,
Your attempt at self-protection.
It’s time to stretch your raw wings
Into the open field of possibility.
Yes, the air will sting,
It’s alright, its called feeling,
And you’re ready.

Come out,
How safe and impervious is the seed,
How vulnerable the first sprouting,
Yet, sprout it must,
And sprout it does,
And out it comes,
We were made to become,
We are made to become,
This entire universe is an act of becoming,
A holy rolling,
An eternity of unfolding,
Of not-knowing,
Of risk,
Of creation,
And yes, of potential violation,
Still, we persevere,
Shake off the cosmic dust,
Arise, we must
The universe wants to show you your own light.
It’s reflecting it back to you all the time.
You can be fearless and wild.
You can shake your bootie.
You can strut your signature strut.
Your modesty is lovely,
It’s the shame that I urge you to shirk.
Do some spiritual clutter-clearing.
You can be as proper as you want to be,
Or you can be raunchy to the nth degree,
It honestly doesn’t matter to me,
I just want you to feel free.

Come out,
Do you, snowflake.
Do your one-of-a-kind.
Show me what you’re working with.
Let me see your light.
Come on little rockstar,

Come out,



How to Bless the New Moon

Back before the journey began,
before traversing
the massive desert expanse,
before the sea had even split,
way way back in Egypt,
the first collective gift-transmission was given:

With transcendental gentleness, the
lifted your chin;
directed your attention
toward the heavens,

Let the moon’s cyclic and fluid beauty
hew you to the rhythm
of time’s unending spiral,
use this precise present
as your very beginning.

Sanctify every recursive moment of holiness
over objects.

Follow the mystery hidden in shadow.

Seek beneath the surface.

Let others bask in the surety of sunlight.
You were born of the moonlight tribe.

Let others be about answers.
You be about questions.

Live in the liminal.

Listen for the subtle metal-scrape:
these are keys unlocking each shackle.

Listen for the whisper:
this is the giving over
of the calling forth
of the new moon
to you.

Listen, for
this is your liberation.