Poetry


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_________________________

Muse

how
do i know
what i mean
till i see
what i say
quoth
the quixotic
artist provocateur

catch
an image
a word
a dream
thumbprinted
with truth
to ride
like a pegasus
like a dragon
like a phoenix
(like a fish)
to revelation
absorbing
the essence
of
life
death
sex
birth

shamanically
dis-integrating
to  zero
point
(like a 10-foot mackerel
surrounded by cats
in a feeding frenzy
on the living room floor)

chaotic
shapeshifter
truth
emerging
remorselessly
from wreckage
like a beachball
rocketing out
from
downthrusting
child hands
plunging naked
as a cliff-diver
from a despairing
precipice
to scrape
bacteria
from abyssal stones
probing
vents
to the planetary
core

flaming
out
clothed
in lava
raining
slithering
down to

halt
crystallized
black
and
clear
and
sharp
as dakinis’
knives

–August 2012

(with appreciation to quixotic artist-provocateur M. Richard Kirstel (1936-2007), who relentlessly pursued truth in art, who taught his students that “dark is art,” and “space is a place with a fish in it,” and from whose wisdom I stole the  first 13 words of this poem.)

Ancient Rhythms

Borrowed
template
containing spirit
in familiar form
safety net
buffering
wild divinity
unravels
at the footstep
of a Witch
Dancer
Healer

Hanging ten
on the brink
of interspiritual abyss
(how to balance
honoring
mystic connection
experienced –
pain of injustice
witnessed –
with respect
acknowledging heart
– not blood –
memory
– not expertise )

Feminine
ruach
reaches deep
opens inner ears
affirms
you can do this
assures
in thin air
of formless
leaping/falling
in faith
spirit supports
till wings grow

Caught and carried
by circle-strength
drums channel
deep wisdom
hearts speak
spirit flows
souls connect
magic happens

gratitude

— February 2012

______________________________________________________

Thanks Giving

A bow to you, my friends
of fur and feathers
you bearers of witness to sentience
in the four-legged
winged
scaled
and creepy-crawling beings,
the wielders
of forks not knives,
you advocates of kindness
simplicity
and walking lightly
on the earth:
a bow to you.

And I bow also
to the great green nation
that gives away unheard –
toppled in forests
or in swathes in the fields

If trees also speak to their huggers
and scream silently when dismembered –
if herbs whisper healing secrets
and leaves of grass inspire poets –

if nascent ecosystems
rooted in dead green-brown
of death and excrement
dancing with microbes,
fungi,
worms,
bugs,
rainwater,
summon soil-amending weeds
and fertilizing furred and winged ones
to turn once-arid wastes
lush and alive –

if bodhisattva beings
turn full-front to greet
a shaman-hunter’s
arrow
(the hunter’s body
later feeding
tribes
of shining claws and teeth,
perhaps,
or creeping things
and rootlets
burrowing deep
among the bones) –

Then is the mystery-miracle
not Life
given up and given –
an encompassing dance
of giveaway –
not dominance or superiority
not toolmaking or speech
not mobility or stasis –
but morphic wisdom
ecosystem consciousness
and carbon-based compassion?

On this feast of thanks giving
better to acknowledge
all
the lives that sustain our own
(oxygen- or carbon-breathing)
better to see them
name them
honor them
better to hold sacred
both
the givers
and the Gift

November 2011
_______________________________________________________

Two of Swords
Somewhere
between the cosmic ballgame
and zest &
harmony
between alkalinizing diets
and animal communication
between the intentional other-
focus and hypnotic
copy I seek
to write
a new story
Ghostly echoes
command:  Spin straw dogs
into
golden calves.
The language
of the heart –
authentic
simple
without agenda
as a wide-eyed
deer
a breaching
whale
a calving
glacier
ineluctably falls
to the gape-jawed
gleaming
maw of Moloch-
Mammon
Hope falls
belief fails
only
established
moneyed
Power
prevails.
Admit this
you know it
were bred to it
it festers
like cancer
in your bones
Shuddering
the echoes wrapping
like hands
around my throat
straitjacketing me
shrouded and bound
like Christos
self-portrait
before
resurrection psychodrama
rebirthing
from
lifelong
(past-life?)
nightmare
I have been
a good
girl –
losing myself
supporting
menswork –
loving
hopelessly –
bedding down
alone
after days
proclaiming
the work
of others,
deflecting the voice
of Spirit
in my soul –
ignoring
the shrouded
figure struggling
within
to break
free
struggling
to speak
beyond a guttural
strangled
smothered
croak
The voices of healers
urge
gentle midwifing –
the voices of ancestors
urge
woodland
contemplation
to coax it free –
the voice of conscience
urges
go forward
into the shadow – 
cease resistance
let down shields
witness
listen
open
to perceive
unguarded
knowing
that the gaping
maw
waits
only a breath
a heartbeat
a worldbeat
a whisper
of gathering
shining
wings
away–October 2011

Passage

Where have the words gone –
culture-encrusted
morphic hammers
nailing
consensual reality
over perception –
assigning meme, not meaning
to pure phenomenon

I sit in woodland
meditation silent
sucked – whoosh –
into a febrile vortex
Tumbled and mashed
in a transmuting maelstrom
of shamanic vision
ancestral mythos
childhood catechism
(cosmic vision/
creational dialogue
sweeping
out false dogma
in true heresy)
Subconsciously squishing
isolate microcosm
through an imaginal wormhole

Words have no place here
slippery acculturated
prisons of meaning
Crush them to Essence
surrender to formlessness
Dance with the nameless
dust of exploded stars
whirling to coalesce
into (inter)Being
(inter)Awareness
enLightenment

August 2011

________________________________________________

Offline

I need the warm curl
of fingers around a pen
the brush of hand across paper
scratch of a nib leaving a trail of ink
I need the crossed-out evidence
of thoughts tested and supplanted
not the vaporizing click of deletion
I need to scribble
to squint at scrawl
to prop the spiral-bound notebook on knees
on lap
on the sofa pillow next to my face

I need my pages to compete
for space
with a love-starved cat
(last petted five seconds ago)
till pen-clenched fingers uncurl
to rest against a throbbing purr
and eyes rest on an upside-down whiskered face
with protruding tongue and eyes half-shut
with shameless bliss
(back nestled warm against my solar plexus,
claws half-extended, clasping my wrist)
not a thought of study
work
journaling
recording or analysis
in the blissful moment

I need to write through half-dreams
(take heed, shouts the unconscious scribing hand)
cryptically recording doubly-lost thoughts
then bolt awake
as pen hits floor
(how could a sleep-dazed body type 
anything but the letters-numbers-spaces
pressed
as face meets keyboard?)

I need to write by moonlight
candlelight
eco-correct fluorescent light
on a page that projects no light
but whatever
flickering thoughts
may illumine
or dim
its surface

May 2011

________________________________________________

raw

if the news were a movie
and i a child watching
i’d be asking mommy
can we go home now? i don’t want
to watch any more
…but it’s not…

i go outside, feed
the feral cats
wonder how much cesium
tellurium
iodine
they are absorbing
in the soft spring rain
how much are
cats
dogs
wildlife
plants
men
women
children
every
living
being
on the planet
absorbing
in radiating circles
from melting-down
reactors
half a world away
across oceans that no longer
divide us
sweet Gaia’s waters
poisoned
by runaway radiation
(oil…
dispersant…
coal slurry…)
detritus of our drive
for power

and every human being
who flicks a light switch
turns on a computer
watches a tv
runs an appliance
turns up a thermostat
drives a car
is complicit
we are the ones who
created
fukushima…
chernobyl…
three mile island…
(not to mention
deepwater horizon…
kingston fossil…
how many others)
where else
will Mama Gaia’s
tossing
tears
responses
to our raping
destroy us
with
our own lethal tools
while wind turbines
serenely
lazily
continue to spin
above
the devastated landscape

i don’t want to watch this movie
cannot not realize i am –
each of us is –
a scriptwriter
cannot not admit
that the most i have done
is not enough
the most i attempt
may be too late
cannot not see
fully
consciously
that my smallest choice
today
helps
to determine
the end

(choose life.
choose life.)

— March 2011

________________________________________________

Fox Medicine

sister fox fleeing through forestland
(it’s All so vast over-
whelming roots branches sweeping
ground touching sky)
preying upon/preyed upon small thing
furbearing pheromone bearing
bundle of fourfooted money on the move

never knowing profit
is more important than Truth
more important than Freedom
more important than running Wild
touching Sacred Earth Sacred Water Sacred
Wood Grass Herbs Stone Spirit
more important than Life
(nothing personal –
you’re not a real Life real Being –
just a resource
no purpose in life but ours
you can serve that purpose and die
or die)

if my World is their hunt-
ing ground, my flesh their asset
my habits their study for entrapping
(no soul they recognize in sisterbrother
Beings)
how dare i do my job, play
my role serve the All with
my instincts my Being
my redbrownblackwhite Earthmates (all prey
like me)
how dare we emerge from
cover much less openly be our Truth

Ancestors speak: shapeshift
pass on many paths dodging
between dimensions
immerse in one river of Spirit
put hunters off the scent with
deep feminine Mama magic invoking Mystery in
language they do not know
distracting deflecting working Outside
the limits of their logic
affirming allying with essential
Earthpower holding
the Center grounding
Life

~ December 2010


_________________________________________________

Coupling

“…whether it is husband and wife coupling in their love and birthing a child; whether it is a widow coupling with the memory of a deceased husband; all love is born of the conflict that dialectical consciousness acknowledges.”
–Matthew Fox, Original Blessing

It wasn’t supposed to happen
like that.

You’d flame out like the Challenger
disintegrating in mid-leap skyward –
not crumble and wither and fail
fighting inch by inch
month by month
even unconscious
for your life.

I’d carry on a bright and burning torch
of conviction, empowerment, challenge,
not sink into isolation, confusion, paralysis
not fall silent and lost
as a child abandoned in a crowd
as a monocle without a lens
as a moon without a sun.

It wasn’t supposed to happen
that way.

Emptying your office
I disgorged our memory chests
saw you transforming from image-maker to visionary;
saw me burying my being in your mission,
issues, projects, goals and views…
quashing Quixote under a corporate cloak,
daggerless and drowning in pages
of proprietary jargon for a paycheck.
My body paid the price; free-
lancing, I recovered.
One year later, you started the journey
that would strip you like Inanna
traveling drumless into darkness.

“His work was too big for his body,” the shaman said. “For him
to continue his mission, he needed to transition to spirit.” All I knew
was – you were gone. It wasn’t
supposed to happen like that.

Years, numb years,
before traveling four paths of heretical hope dispelled
the fog, awoke my being; gave glimpses of
my
life, my purpose, salvaged like generations’ mosaic
of shattered pottery, like grandmothers’ scraps for a patchwork
quilt, held tenuously together by morphic field,
waiting to be stitched into wholeness.

Today the Day of the Dead approaches,
I greet it just shy of half-centennial (you expected
to die at 50; the five years following, you said, were gift). For
the first time I am sensing your presence, doubling
in tears at your passing touch…
I see the seed of larger legacy you carried,
a remembered image linking centuries, ceremonies, cultures,
visions, dances, traditions, Teachers and dreams to in-
form a half-glimpsed possibility for me: what if…?

The question glitters tonight like Challenger sparks,
like Danae’s golden rain midway between earth and sky.

~ October 2010

_________________________________________________

First Cut

you knew
young one

I stood glimmering silver
at the gateway of worlds:
portal to questers crying for visions
pillar to wanderers seeking their way
guardian to laboring does
and birthwet fawns wriggling to life –

you knew as you trod mossy stones at my feet
my time trembled at the brink of collapse:
fertile earth at my roots
to become tread-rutted mud
spattered on torn ferns and crushed berries
my trunk dismembered to board feet of lumber
my sawdust and branches and sickle-rounds scattered
like body parts from a massacre –

you knew
young one
and sought to stop the death sentence–

you witnessed my passing with ears of Spirit
retched at the sight of my torn stump
sang and prayed and wept salt sweat
to protect my Kindred who survived–

today, years later, their time too is over –
our sacred desecrated Land calls you
to remember
pray
sing
sweat
dance
for the Standing Ones
for Our Relations
for the gateway lands to Spirit that remain

(August 2010)

_________________________________________________

A Cappella

Towering foursquare blocks of lectures and
learning climb against the night
sky echoing a year’s last songs of laughter,
youth swaying in grass skirts, leis,
paper bras strung on rippled chests,
four years fresh and launching outward, free
and coupled and future-bound.

I walk this dark and stairstepped hill alone tonight
as four years of ghosts surge round me:
children climbing from our arms into lives
and work they choose,
parents climbing to empty nests and lives to fill,
grandparents climbing slowly,
turning to bless before their final step.

You did not climb this hill,
did not join the crowds of parents
and children on first and last journeys.
Our son began his climb as you journeyed supine,
your spirit walking with me.
I knew then:
this would be four years’ solitary climb.
You rose long enough to deposit him
with his fellows, then sank
and did not rise again.

Tonight is the last climb for me.
I turn and gaze at the lighted hall
where you did not hear your engineer son sing,
did not see his classmates cheer
and pound his back, did not see him
and his girlfriend snuggle beside me
between sets, did not see him
mobbed by friends and fans after the show.
Did not see him…
in the body at least.

I square shoulders, set foot on stairs,
walk each step slowly to the lot where
the night sky meets me like a cloak.
Stars piercing the clouds now,
the new moon hiding her face.
I turn my face to the sky, reaching for you,
your inner voice, your chill touch to warm
my heart, your nod. “We’ve done
our job,” I whisper. A breeze ruffles my hair,
falls silent.

(May 2010)

_________________________________________________

Persephone

They called you Queen of Hell, my Lady,
Who makes that harrowing journey
With the turning of the Wheel.
From your dark throne you call me
With the voices of the Moon, my waiting blood,
The golden wheat,
The bitter sweet and fragrant wine.

Heart pounding, I plummet to you,
Lady of Shadows – they called them devils –
They mock me with guilt, inadequacy,
Pummel me with my own words and deeds –
My gut wrenches, I writhe, scream:
Have you no mercy? Give me Death!

Immobile at your feet,
Midwife of the dying, I feel your arms encircle me,
My own weakness a mercy granted. The tears flow,
I vision a river washing clean my pain.
The mocking shadows retreat. You bend over me,
Offering – berries? Seeds? Or your dark, compassionate tears?
I take, eat, and see:  Your face is my own.

Daylight penetrates the dark passage to your throne:
Together we peer beyond its pulsing walls. The Sun
Is seeking us; the Mother calls.

1996

_________________________________________________

Dark Silence

dark silence
desires no words
strikes the hand weak
mouth dumb
that frame them

dark silence like smoke
flees the hands
grasping for it
blurs the eyes
clouds the mind
straining to pierce it

dark silence alone
consumes itself
in unending withdrawal
unending fear
of the silent dawning
Light

1996

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