how are you?


how are you?

is the throwaway question
in need of redemption
when asked
it should be followed
by a pregnant pause
the questioner
willing to be the midwife

we have let ourselves
settle for hit and run
for lots of reasons
we mean well
we want to know
–I’ve got to take this

i know you’re not good
I’m not either
everybody hurts
to say it out loud might
mean we’d just stand there
holding on for dear life
that would be a good day

life is full of incidental
contact waiting for
a few well-chosen words
that make room
for love to be born
when we had just stopped
for a cup of coffee



  1. You are encouraging us to act like a human being in the presence of Holy Presence crossing our path. I tried it at AA and learned two things tonight: It is simple; and it takes everything I have! I had to be there in spite of wanting to run.It’s not easy being seen, and seeing. .

  2. An old AA sponsor used to ask the question, “How is it with your soul?” That doesn’t carry-over well to everyday conversation, but for me, it was a clear message that this was an earnest question, not something to which “Fine” or “OK, I guess” would be a useful response. “How is it with your soul?” said to be, “Be open, be honest, be vulnerable – this is a person who wants to hear the voice behind the masks.”

    I’d be curious how someone could ask *you* the earnest question, in a way that would elicit a non-“Fine” response. How do you recognize when “How ARE you?” is an invitation to openness and vulnerability, rather than “the usual response”? …

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