On A Clear Day: The Summer of Tolerance

High Above

Photo: Creative Commons

On a clear day,

the sunlight between clouds is brighter when it touches the restless

the tired

and the tolerant.


On a clear day,

sounds of nature resonate wider

echoing to our history

the future of a listening people.


On a clear day,

our minds are filled with progressive thoughts

that pull us from the mundane, ordinary contentedness

from which we’ve let ourselves be led for too long.

When the longing to be our true selves stretches over horizons

like the auroras of the North

and the live oaks of the South

where the East and West are equal in their stature –

no horizon is different than any other but rather

to the awakened mind

the horizon is simple and pure

appearing ever clearer on a clear day.


On a clear day, we inquire:

Why must we who have lived through so many sunless days feel false under an illusory sky?

Why must our youth who have seen their first gray morning retire in defeat before the midday sun breaks?


On a clear day

we realize that too many laws are drafted under a damp and heavy sky

legislating the sun to all

and for many who follow these laws

they believe them into being bright enough to light narrow forested paths to limited freedoms.

But even the forest of constitution needs sunlight

the human will of the silent

to survive.


On a clear day,

sunlight is a commodity in an economy of supply and demand

to be traded openly among all of society’s investors

to ensure that the value of humanity’s dollar is strong enough

and that the wage of tolerance is plentiful enough

to eventually feed the poorest

most fearful

and most intolerant

whom we pass along our journey to the marketplace.


On a clear day,

we can reflect on those who led us through many uncertain tomorrows and tomorrows

with the conviction that one clear tomorrow would eventually come

even while its leaders remain in yesterday’s glow



On a clear day,

enlightenment prevails

redefining history

not keeping us in safety but in caution

that its presence is fleeting

should we not maintain its cause.


On a clear day,

uncertain mothers and fathers cling tighter to their wide-eyed children.


On a clear day,

we step outside freely – out of our guarded interior.


On a clear day,

life in its intricacy reveals all of its detail, even from its margins.


On a clear day, we smile if for no other reason than knowing we can say to ourselves –

Finally, it’s a clear day.


About the Poem:  On the morning of June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court made its ruling on DOMA and on California’s Proposition 8. Simply enough, I was on a flight to New York that morning when, as the plane ascended above the Southern California marine layer, I could see a clear sky. So I pulled out my journal and wrote. Though this work is a bit more figurative and representational (think Whitman or the Romantics), it reveals some of the emotion behind the long, still-evolving  journey to gay equal rights. Originally titled “On a Clear Day,” I added the subtitle “The Summer of Tolerance” later to reflect how other social injustices (gender, race, economic, socio-political) have also contributed to social consciousness during the hot days this summer – and perhaps the season is a preface to more clear days ahead.  

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