rolling

let me know when you’re passing through;

i don’t want to miss you.

 

we’ve already missed so much:

the blue-grey felt, the touch

 

of memory, days spent

punching a clock

 

as if it’s to blame.

how can love be a

 

game of chance? of fate?

an unformed baby falling down

 

basement steps; a balcony door

cracking open.

 

must i attend the funeral

of this fetus?

 

of that which lives in the womb, but

can never be brought into the light?

 

i can’t seem to give up this fight;

i refuse to look, to see what lies in the

 

coffin, fault-lined with orange lanterns:

a deep trick laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rain on a Tin Roof

The church on the corner with the red door holds much to be mirrored back. It sprouts, shoots up visceral devotion. There is no shortage. It’s right where she left it all those years ago. She watches from a distance. She likes to be still, quiet. Like a side prop.

This town has her heart; it’s where her daughter was born, amid several things dying and being reborn. She wanders within its mountain walls and wonders who named them all; if every peak has a name; where the ranges begin and end.

When her grandmother was forced to leave her own heart town, she nearly died. And then she did, slowly, over the next five years. The tension between roots and branches—it has always existed.

She thinks about the doctor who delivered her baby, the way he reached right inside her without knowing her: her body, her story—before pushing her legs apart. But he must have caught a glimmer, because after the head and shoulders were out, he said, “Reach down and deliver your baby.” Her tired, strong arms, connected to her capable hands, connected to her knowledge of labor—tucked under those slippery shoulders and pulled just enough to bring the rest of that tiny body to bear. Her beautiful girl.

At that moment, a few people pass through the parking lot: an older couple and, behind them, a tall boy hunched in a hooded jacket. The boy, coming up behind the couple, seems to push past them to get to the door. But then, after pulling on half of that heavy red rectangle, he stands back and holds it open for them in the dripping rain. Her heart thrills at the unexpected; at her own false judgment proven wrong; at the hope inside that hood.

She wants to go in. She wants the boy-man to hold open that red bivalve for her. She wants. She wonders where he came from, what he is holding inside his bulky jacket, whether it is full of contiguous angst. She wants to know how he pursues happiness, what works, what fails, if his earbuds block out the earth noise just enough for him to hear the call: to real self—non-self; to block out the entity that will die soon; to exit the ego that needs, worries, lies awake at night need-worrying.

She knows she will not go in. She will not find the right configuration. But she has come this far, within vision, within reach. Soon it will be time to turn back to her own life, to tend to it like the beautiful garden it truly is—deep down beneath the weeds and marsh and trash and wreckage.

But first she will visit the coast, watch the ships come and go, study the lighthouses to learn how she, over time, became one; that light, that reference point, that anchor; and to understand how—if ever—she is to move on from it. A lighthouse cannot abandon its post; it cannot become a ship, as great as its desire may be to unmoor and move across the sea at will. Too many other ships depend on it, on its steadfastness, its anchored light.

Maybe she is not the lighthouse after all, but its keeper. Maybe she can pass that on to another. How to inhabit a lighthouse for a time, bring it to bear, save a few souls, and then pass it on.

The thought is enough to jolt her upright in her car. She can leave the lighthouse. She can be a ship for a time, if she wants. She can be a buoy. A windowless cabin. A silo. An open bivalve. She can be whatever she wants, needs to be. Except inside that church, on this day. And that’s OK. She starts her engine and drives off into the rain.

crazy

‘Crazy’ is often associated with love. Crazy for you, crazy in love, head over heels. I think at times you have to be crazy. You have to let go. You have to lose your footing and let yourself float above it all. What do I mean by footing? Grounded- on this earth- in the soil- in the body- aware of the parameters and boundaries; capabilities and limitations.

But we are more than that. We are more than earth. Dust to dust- but with breath. The floating is the breath; the erratic movement is the crazy. Without that, we are just a rock. Don’t get me wrong: rocks are great. They hold up giant landforms and caverns and walls and monuments. They tuck magically into your pocket. They are tossed freely into wells with wishes. But there are limits to a rock. There are limits even to the water that flows over them, to the fish that swim among them, to the bears that lumber across them.

In the air, the atmosphere, it keeps going. It is limitless. Once released from a jar, a vessel, a set of lungs- the air just goes. And if nothing stops it, it dissipates back into source as it reaches the heavens. I don’t know why this would be considered crazy. I guess because our bodies can’t fly — at least not in their current state. And those that think they can … have fallen to their death.

But once we cut our tether, our anchor, our umbilical cord, our solar plexus — we are limitless. We have no need for food or water or even sun. We are the sun. We become the energy in its purest form. Is it so crazy to want to be that? Odorless, tasteless, colorless, radiant light? What do I mean by light? Mystery. Indefinable being. Rushing with abandon. Plundering the galaxy for beauty — and leaving behind even more in its wake: like a vast comet. I don’t know what I mean by any of this, but I like it. I want to be it. I crave the nature of beautiful nothingness. And everythingness.

five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

we climb the continual

we are each born into this world with a dream.

when we first arrive, we know it to our core.

 

as time—and we—unfold, we begin to forget;

it burrows back down into our recesses.

 

sometimes small glimpses will come to the

surface, if we allow space: a painted picture, a

 

sculpted pot, a sleeping story. unmet dreams

follow us en masse down dark side streets,

 

find us in all-night conversations,

meet us under a portal of stars.

 

we climb the continual spiral—

toward voice, birth, source, love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

real heroes

a guy named barry at cvs keeps

calling me love, looks at my id and says,

 

don’t worry; you still look good.

i know he’s messing with me, but i

 

just want to get my wine and toilet

paper and go home. it’s the same

 

guy that tried messing with my girl

last week. i feel like i should make a

 

scene, but i don’t. i think the words

me too as i angrily shift away.

 

religion claims to save you from

the abyss, but religion is the abyss.

 

thank the gods for the creatives;

oh how we need the creatives.

 

we came out of the beautiful black

water—wet and fresh and squeaking:

 

a bull’s eye in the midst of the

mess. babies don’t have to care.

 

years later, i’m wearing my suit of

wet clay; i’m swinging my rudder

 

to wide extremes across a wide sea.

at the end of the journey, it’s just me.

 

i can feel the light shedding;

i can feel the need to flee.

 

real heroes don’t

feel like heroes

 

 

you are the poem

sit silently with your self;

listen to your breath, to last

night’s dreams, to the hammer

heart-beats which carried you

 

through. listen again. do you

hear your treble, the shaking

space between your stanzas,

the tremble of your verse?

 

you are the poem.

 

stop letting in all the noise. make

your own noise—just for you. if you

don’t want to rhyme, don’t. let your

capitals go. be un-titled. let the

 

line

breaks

surprise

even

 

you. swim in the imagery, steep in

the buzz of beginning over that of

belonging. watch a being give

birth. you are the poem. it will

 

all be over soon. taste each syl-

la-ble in your mouth, feel the tug

of adrenaline in the pit of your

stomach: the closest to the center

 

of child hood you will ever get

again. take cream in your coffee.

romance your selves and those

clinging to them with satin

 

static. if you take a title, own

it; sing it out with each pulse.

hug the children, love the world,

speak the beauty, love the poem.

 

you are the poem.