At age 5 I organized a bike race
and was afraid that no one would show.
How delighted I was when 40 kids showed up
and raced around the school yard
won construction-paper awards I had crayoned
and ate orange sherbert.
But I feared that the fliers
and the phone calls
did not explain why so many had showed up
and their magic was not valid
so I climbed back into my little scroll of a shell.
At age 17 I organized a beach party
I wore a sign on my back to school every day
and on the last day of school sprayed my hair pink
and shared the hair spray with kids who wanted to be pink, too.
What beauty to see a sea of students sporting pink hair
walking around school all afternoon.
I was scared for the outcome of the party
frightened for a low turnout
on a cloudy day at stinson beach
convinced that those who came were not enough.
So after the party
I climbed back into my spiral shell.
At age 32 I organized a group of programmers
mutually in love with a programming language
named after Pascal,
mathematician and inventor of the first digital calculator,
like the language Ada, named after Ada Byron, daughter of the poet.
She spun poetry and Babbit's computing-machine idea
into the first computer program.
But we did not talk of Pascal, or Ada
we talked about Object Oriented Programming
and our passions for re-usable code.
And then I sank back into my shell
afraid of people again.
Now at age 38 I'm organizing for peace
Buoyed by the tide of organizers
and sign bearers around me.
I've learned to thrive on the energy the people give
and to give again of myself
back to the people
to keep it going
to channel anger into poetry
to turn cries and screams into music
I've learned that people are not afraid to hear my name
and my greeting
and my message of peace and music
and I've finally learned
that we are all a little bit scared to come out of our shells.
But now I know that if we don't, we'll be stuck
at the bottom of the sea
with the giant octopus of security wrapped around us.