close up of art with red tinting from cover of book

Journey To Sinaloa

When in the heat I starved for love,
instead I ate plantains.
I learned that love
is not a thing of sex between us. It is
the smiling boy with sweet mango juice
dripping from his innocent chin it is his
his laughing sister running on
the railroad tracks beside.

The plantains were stripped
of their green and red skin. We
put them in a frying pan on the naked beach
and watched the butter burn them brown.
I put one in my mouth too hot and burned
my tongue
a taste of all things not yet known to me.

Various dead cattle were strewn on the tracks.
Mark was horrified at their starvation
and looked away. I saw their multi-colored coats
as prophecy, and behind them
the gravel mountains a calling of God. Oh, this
is a tilted land –
if I love it will it disappear?

I drink a too-sweet Coca-Cola and see the
carcass of a feline on a street in Hermosillo.
I am fascinated by what parts of her flesh
have fouled, and where the flies still eat
Mark turns his head. He does not want
to know,
not then, not any time,
that here is the center of the world. This is
our future, to lie beside this road, to die
in the screaming streets of Mexico
beneath revolutionary slogans
painted on the walls.

Don’t hide beneath me. I desire you no longer
if you do not face truth. Love is truth,
and staring at death. Love is knowing these green mountains
and the blue infinity of this sky. Love
is the plantain burning my face to
remind me that
I am.

Love is a toothless woman begging
with scarred, brown hands. Love is
the abuela washing my hair. Love is
not you.

You are not the center of the world.

Love is the giving of this fruit. Love
is the tasting of this fruit. Love is the staying
in the center in the moment in forever
not not not
looking away
no matter how horrid and certainly
not ever how beautiful.

When in this journey I hungered for God,
instead I counted my fingers.
I learned that God is not a thing of verity between us.
God is the ancient woman collecting pesos for prayers
God is her greedy son watching.

My fingers were raw and stained with nicotine. I put
them in the ancient woman’s hands and watched
our colors clash and blend. She grasped me in a wretched
but solid way –
a touch of things not known yet to me.

Children ran wild about the bus station. Mark was
horrified at their wanting and looked away. I saw their
multi-colored faces as prophecy, and behind them the
lake of scorpions the reflection of the universe.
Oh, this is a tilted land –
if I put it to my lips, will I disappear?

I drink a bitter Corona and see a scorpion boldly walking
across the filthy floor. Mark turns his head.
He does not want to know
not then, not any time
that this is the center of the world. This scorpion is
our future, tenacious against throngs of humanity,
stinging when necessary and sometimes not,
hiding in the dry bed of a Sonoran lake
beneath green and yellow mountains that look false.

Don’t hide beneath me. I will desire you no longer
if you will not face truth. Truth is God and staring
at chaos. God is knowing these green mountains
and the white nothingness of life. God is this woman
squeezing my hand to remind me that
I am.

God is toothless, begging, starving and sad. God is
a fiction to read and remember. God is not you.

You are not the center of the world.

God is the giving of this fruit, god is the tasting
of this fruit. God is
staying in the moment in the center of forever
and not not not
looking away
no matter how horrid and certainly not ever
how beautiful.

When in motion I hungered for stability, instead
I stood between the cars of the train.
I learned that stability is not a thing of stasis between us
it is the swaying of these old, green trains it is
the hoards of people inside and out.

The train was stopped by a bomb. The bomb left the
train track before us twisted and consuming. I left the train to
look and burned my eyes –
a vision of all things not yet known to me.

Many people were teeming in the ditch below the tracks.
Mark was horrified at their confusion and looked away.
I saw their caged and multi-colored parrots as prophecy,
and behind them the burning pyre a calling forth of destiny.
Oh, this is a tilted land.
If I push it, will it disappear?

I drink bottled water and see a train filled with revolutionaries
pass on the parallel track. I am drawn to their grim faces, their
guns, their unbelievable youth. Mark turns his head. He
does not want to know, not then, not any time
that this is the center of the world. This is our future,
these men and guns, the bombing of a train track near
Guaymas is the tale of our tomorrow.

Don’t hide beneath me. I will desire you no longer if you
will not face what is clear. Stability is staring at change
and drawing it to you instead of away. Stability is
these green mountains and the orange heat of this fire.
Stability is the fact of revolution burning in my mind
to remind me that
I am.

Stability is the ancient train carrying us slowly
through Mexico. Stability is not you.

You are not the center of the world.

Stability is the giving of this fruit. Stability is the tasting
of this fruit. Stability is staying
in forever in the center in the moment and
not not not
looking away, no matter how horrid and certainly
not ever how beautiful.

When exhausted I reached for sleep, instead I walked the jungle.
I learned that sleep is not a thing of power between us.
It is the peace in the laughter of bullfrogs in Sufragio. It is a
quiet conversation in Spanish with a kind and handsome man.

The jungle was really a sub-tropical oasis. I found it by accident
when the train was derailed. I bought cigarettes and lemonade
from an eight year old boy. I drank the lemonade made from
sixty lemons –
the scent of all things not known yet to me.

People came out of the hot train and stripped to their underwear.
Mark was embarrassed at their humanity and looked away. I saw
our multi-colored bodies as prophecy, and beneath
the viejas hands
washing my hair the power of God. Oh this is a tilted land.
If I breath it, will it disappear?

I let the vieja wash my hair and cool me with the water. I hear the
singing of men and am fascinating by the closeness
of these people.
Mark turns his head. He does not, cannot know
not then, not any time
that this is the center of the world. This is our future, this dancing
at the side of a derailed train, this human touching, this living in
the moment of the hour of the day by the banana trees and

Don’t hide beneath me. I desire you no longer because you do not
what is real. Sleep is trust and knowing the rhythm of time. Sleep is
this lush crevasse in a wider, desolate land. Sleep is the rocking of
old women and babies. Sleep is not you.

You are not the center of the world.

Real is the giving of this fruite. Real is the tasting of this fruit.
Real is staying in
the center
the moment
and not ever looking away, not matter how horrid
and certainly, certainly

Not ever how beautiful.

Molly E. Holzschlag, written in 1983, first published in the chapbook “Looking for God in a Bowl of Fruit” Copyright 1995. Independent poetry series featuring socially aware writers. All chapbooks are hand-crafted, use original artwork, Kenaf and recycled papers. From Stained Glass Press, Concord, North Carolina, USA.

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molly and ray in a strong embrace

To My Ray

My beloved husband passed away peacefully at the Veteran’s Home in Tucson, Arizona.
He served as a United States Navy Corpsman in the Vietnam war. For those unaware, they are often referred to as “Doc” because they are specifically trained in combat and field medicine, safety and battle injury on front lines with the U.S. Marines.

He also served on the Navy ship the USS Benner which on 26 February 1967 endured 116 enemy rounds of fire and was disabled twice before reaching safety.

He was awarded the Vietnam Campaign Medal, A First-Award National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, A Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars and Meritorious Unit Commendations.

Over time he became 100% Combat-disabled due to PTSD and Agent Orange exposure. He continued to work as a Physician’s Assistant and rural outreach “Doc” for rural poor and First Nation individuals, earning chickens and eggs and friends along the way.

He became involved with the incredible, controversial and next-in-line for sainthood Dorothy Day and worked with her and others in social justice through the Catholic Worker Movement. He walked the homeless camps in Niagara Falls, New York in the freezing winters with food, blankets, coffee and love.

While he himself was not religious per se, he practiced a combination of his Hopi and Comanche spirituality and what he learned later about Eastern ideologies such as Taoism and Buddhism in his journeys to the many countries in that region.

He never asked for a thing for himself. He was the most generous human I have ever known and truly cared for all people, even when greatly harmed by brothers in arms. He prevented rapes, assaults and treated non-combatant local citizens in Vietnam and Cambodia. He took an oath to protect our nation, and he also took one to protect lives. He lived up to and beyond both.

He was also very interested in Martial Arts, sword and knife fighting, strength building, shiatsu and bodywork. He was an artist, guitar player, singer, songwriter, poet, storyteller and only ever unleashed his deadly warrior spirit in combat or when someone he loved or was defending against harm was threatened. Never for himself. Only on behalf of others.

For several nights before he died, he told me of a dream: We are dancing on a beach, my hair is long and flowing, our kitty honey is with us floating along in an upside down pith helmet enjoying the slow ebb and flow of the passing tides.

This recurred in slight variations. Then on my birthday during Physical Therapy, he stood up for the first time in 20 years as a birthday present for my 54th, January 25th of this year in a specialized rehabilitation device. He sent me a picture. He stood for me.

He would not let go of life until I, the hospice worker and non-denominational chaplain softly spoke with him at around 10 pm. We repeated together how his Omaw (his grandmother who raised him), how I, how our kitty and all the people whom he ever touched in kindness and healing honor and love him and he will never be alone.

I told him he is with us always and that it was time for him to rest. At first he showed signs of agitation but after hearing me repeat my words, he became calm again, re-entered a semi-comatose state and died peacefully without further incident 4 hours later.

I promised I would never marry again, and I won’t ever get married again. I never thought I’d do it at all, and it was the best decision I ever made in my life.

I married a truly great man, a hero to this world, to countless world nations and human populations both allied and non combatant civilians, the United States of America, all the communities across the country where he served the poorest of the poor in times of need, his town, his home, his wife and silly little kitty who walks around at 2:00 a.m. yowling for him. It’s when he would sneak her treats without me “knowing” – but of course I knew.

It’s also the time he died.

I love you Ray, you were one of the only two people with whom I truly knew unconditional love, the other being my Mother.

May you rest always and may your loving spirit move through this world as a reminder that war and strife do not have to change the loving nature of a human’s heart.

I have been blessed to know you 30 years, and especially blessed to have married you, as our time together as husband and wife was short, it was truly a compatible, happy and honest, loving marriage.

Peaceful now we go. T43 xoxox love to you and love to me always and forever.

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picture of molly in black and white

Who Is My Family?

If the Web is really what I worked very hard in hopes of it becoming – a platform for social as well as a technological peer-to-peer have/need approach to the world – then this post should stand as one of the most important things I have ever done whether you understand that or not.

In the past year we’ve all had devastation of some sort, none of us gets out of this life without extreme pain. That the entire world is chaotic and in what I perceive to be the darkest of times in my 50+ years here appears to be the general sentiment of the vast majority of humanity speaking up.

My work ethic isn’t a healthy one. I’m insanely over-productive because of a damaged, hard-wired belief that my entire being is worth nothing, and that I have no right to life. This was what my father told me both in action and in literal word for word communication. That I amounted to anything at all is down to my strong mother and ME.

And in the near past, the one man that ever loved me for who I am as I am, my husband Ray, who is in hospice and will die within the week. A noble and great soul, a US American Hero, a social justice warrior, a rural physician who took care of this nation’s poor and disenfranchised, street people – for nothing more than a thank you or some eggs and chickens or just because. That’s the man I married – a person far greater than I. And that is who I am losing, a piece of myself that is also far greater than I.

I could have sat out this entire life and career on disability as I received that 100% at the age of 24 (so 30 years, longer than the Web). But I couldn’t. So what I did accomplish in this world and for our industry while dealing with the unfolding of what was a 30 year brutal and rare disease because doctors thought I was “just depressed” or “malingering” is impressive to me. It mitigates, at least slightly, the overwhelming sense of self-hatred and failure that’s been my main demon since I was a very small, and once very joyous, little girl.

I remember the first day I went to work at Opera Software, I climbed up a hill through feet of snow and was exhilarated. I was also hemorrhaging, and did it anyway, my blood on the white fjords of Norway an image imprinted on my brain not as sorrow, but as pure resolve and courage to live life no matter what.

A person doesn’t do what I did for money. I did it for idealism. For reasons to improve the world using the digital medium – the Internet, and yes, I was here before the Web doing this – and then the WWW for the entirety of its lifespan, albeit not my own.

I have social and financial needs as my family and friends are all far away or engaged in terrible losses or issues of their own, or really just faux friends, moronic ex-lovers and others who I foolishly thought love would heal. I have a cowardly and unethical blood sibling who considers himself a social advocate but shows me absolutely no empathy and who has not seen me in more than two years despite living mere miles (I’m told) from me.

Weakness is the man who thinks himself more important than the rest of the world.

Where are my friends with “Net Worth” – so many of them have it and they aren’t around. Where are the wealthy employers who don’t recognize it’s against Federal Law (as we still know it as of this second) to terminate a disabled woman in good standing and on medical leave much less at such a time? My advocates, attorneys and ombudspersons are the only ones now standing up with me, at my side. I have to burn others to be okay? How is that possibly conducive to peace, kindness and everyone’s dignity? It isn’t. And yet, it was so easy to burn down mine, so at what point do we continue to turn the other proverbial “cheek” as it were?

Want to break a digital and social divide and help me as I watch my husband leave this world and our beautiful time together, as I struggle to regain my own health, as I move to another state where I can get the resources and protections afforded to me that Arizona simply does not have the resources nor social stability or market to provide? Want to fill in the gaps of humiliation, abandonment and the disposal of what I recognize as my often chaotic, manic and hyper-intense but ultimately loving and decent human BE-ing?

If you’re reading this far, then you care or feel guilty and you can put that to use by doing one or more of the following:

  1. Donate money. Yes, I’m done feeling like a beggar. I was paid 1 dollar to every man’s 10,000 for my keynote talks. I received 4% of gross earnings on a book that made the author a lot of money and me around 565.00 USD. I did not know I was giving so much away for free, and back then I was young with life ahead and could have used that money to not end up homeless and penniless and buried in medical debt now for both me AND my husband’s care that was not covered by insurance – more than a quarter of a million dollars. So yes, sure, go ahead if so inspired and donate via my GoFundMe medical fundraiser please: ThanksMols!
  2. Offer accessibility rights advocacy and orgs money and time. My preferred organization is of course Knowbility and they need you. Go and do something good so others have opportunity. They are a loving and caring group and will move the universe if it is within their means. Give them some means – sweat, commitment, kindness, work, money.
  3. Stop perpetuating a Web and Web apps that are inaccessible and harmful. For me, this has especially harmed me with the lack of user controls in motion graphics, flickering animations, too many moving animations on a page – um, these are well-known legally binding issues. Learn WCAG, use the rules, adhere to them, advocate for them and if you don’t know how – get in touch with someone who does. Better yet, HIRE someone or a full team to advise you of your legal obligations to your site and app users, engineers, employees and the world. THE WEB MUST REMAIN AN ON-RAMP FOR HUMANITY.
  4. If you have other resources that can help at this time – I have a household filled with furniture, clothes and items that have value but am too exhausted and overwhelmed to sit here and try to organize a sale. Do you know of a fair liquidator for household furnishings, art, appliances and so on?
  5. Do something kind for another person. Not spontaneous acts of kind. Intentional acts of kind. Every single day.

Thank you.

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