“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
VIII. The Lion's Gate
Transformation is a feral bitch that only Love can complete.
I never talked when i was 12. Bit my tongue over
my father's forced games of chess trying to get
me to speak. He taught me how to play dumb
with men. "They become comfortable, let down
guards, show you who they are." he said. "Play
Columbo" he said, "a smart detective". The slight
upward shift of my eyes must have revealed the
"Who?" inside my head because he proceeded
to force me to watch it weekly with him, mis-
interpreting my silent contempt as consent.
When I was older I struggled quietly against the
morality of it. But then realized it would only be
a trap for liars; the disconnected; the disinvested
in relationships. And didn't they deserve it? It saved
me more than once, but not to my surprise like this.
And that's what it was about, saving me; not sentencing
anyone else to an absence they would barely miss.
I am no damsel in distress; no one can save me
I considered telling you because, you see, you seemed
different. I couldn't find words that didn't sound
like an edict or ultimatum over spilled with ego. I really
wanted you to know what I was up to. I really wanted
to fuck. it. all. and fall, then rise back up and suffer
a broken body rather than wondering how it would've
felt. I want you to know that because I wanted the
future for us; that final lap of age when we could be
naked and fat without giving a shit about anything.
The final meeting; the twelfth leaving of this place.
The extra rope I allowed wasn't freedom but a test
forming a noose you'd soon lie yourself into. I tried
to believe, ignored red flags, white lies piling up,
but knew if i tried to tell you
You wouldn't believe
You wouldn't believe
You would not believe...
I could be that smart.
Until your neck snapped; and, reaching
for me to cut you down, you'd never
forget the disconnect across my face.
Nor I yours in the dying of any chance.
I revealed this darkest truth to you because,
you see I'd been touched by some thing greater,
some thing waiting life times for me to connect.
I had been cracked by light, leaving nothing
but a desire to live void of any truth beyond
the second hand of this breathing in. and. out...in...
slower than one not taking the time to observe
would think. And it was you, asking me what
I was hiding from myself, just as we had, so many
lives ago, agreed you would as a marker home.
The stilled air, the speeding wind stopping
again, as if to turn and read what my eyes were
saying. The dripping faucet echoing cave-like
through the chambers of rooms. The continual
pulse of appliances, air conditioned emissions
distorting the distant view, the sun hanging
the eastern clothesline, signing off on gratitude
and grievances to the readied moon. Leaves
already floating to their early graves. A garden
giving up the ghost. My soft toes in dry, brittle
grass, hot with circulation and teeming blood.
The crow's feet adorning my eyes from my smile;
the greying of my temples; the joyfulness of my
youth still within me; the lines of my age readying
me. All of this simplicity, this recurring cycle of
returns to live only to remember the only thing
that matters at the end;
This, and no other Truth:
I revealed my darkness. Stood with all the rope
I had, every failed test and future trap I'd set,
and dropped them into the burning bowl of the
blue moon, watched their spirit remains ascend.
Exchanged all life's lessons I had learned for the
company of the naked and unknown experience.
Turned to the heavens with an outstretched heart
as if Jesus praying in Gethsemane and said, if it
not possible to let this cup pass, lead me also to
Golgotha and crucify me too, that I may Love
and breathe and sing as I was always meant to do.
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"
water burst from a big bang
oven dough rising
tracks on the seashore
patterns in the distant dunes
evolving Life forms
breath expands a chest
woman claims a rib
knowledge reveals truth
from the Tree grows paradise
sun baked apple pie
in a gated garden world
voices call to them
muses beyond flesh and bone
writing a new story
i will draw your blood
and tow your life unto me
i am poetry
Sacred Contracts V: Retention
I've always kept a flower on my desk, a
daisy or perhaps aster from the roadside.
It kept me close to nature during work.
One morning I chose a perfect rose bud.
She sat for a week but never bloomed.
After two I knew she never would.
I didn't throw her out. Maybe I felt guilty
for plucking her before she opened up.
After three her head became a crook.
She seemed in perpetual prayer, an
eternal vigil over a lover’s cemetery plot
some forlorn secret buried too soon.
After a month I entertained dumping her.
After six weeks I inadvertently bumped her
with a folder. She landed with a thump.
Stunned by the sound, I discovered she
had petrified, was stone-like in resolve.
She became a permanent paperweight.
During late nights when I couldn't sleep
I would meditate over her constantly
her presence an anatomical mystery.
In the deepest hour of the coldest Winter
of my Life I picked her up. Examined her
hardened exterior like an ancient fossil.
"What is her essence?" rose up within me.
I thought, "Beauty". But she had shriveled
in brilliance, was hardened by rigor mortis.
Lack of sunlight, too much rain, or, perhaps
by a late waltz against the cold skin of fog. It
didn’t matter; I could not answer so let it go.
"What is her essence?" came the specter
for weeks. But the answer wouldn't manifest.
One night, words formed around the space.
"Invert her and tell me what you see." I was
amazed to see her become a human heart
with an understanding that absorbed into me.
People, too, become hardened by elements:
Fear. Betrayal. Loss. Loneliness. Pain. But,
their essence is the same. “What is it?”
"Love" I answered, without any hesitation
or doubt. Despite how hardened people
become, their essence will always be Love.
Turning her back over, she became, once again,
a bud. “What is her essence?” echoed... In the
year I’d had her, one thing had never occurred.
I pressed her to my nose and deeply inhaled. Her
aroma was as strong as if Life had opened her up,
and survived long after she'd given up the ghost.
Because, you see, some things will never be lost
to the grave despite how hardened they become.
Sacred Contracts retain their essence within us.
I wake long before light slides
into the sandboxes of my eyes.
There is always more to night
than sleeping. I lie still, listening
to the furnace breathing, something
deeply distant clearing its throat
in the driest corner of darkness.
Jets on the concourse, engines
rumbling with discord circling
the REM of sleep. Kachina glass
rattling, a stampede of buffalo
through the marrowed tunnel
of my bones, their hooves caked
with corpuscles of memory;
the smell of splintered wood
pasture manure and smoldering
leaves resisting a slow burn.
When I was a little girl I knew
there was more than sleep
to believe in a new minute.
More than dreams to create
a happiness monument.
More than waiting on a burning
ball of light to bleach the dark
curtains into long shadows
across morning concrete
to be able to see the mountain
and begin all over again.
As I aged I’d lie embracing
the nocturnal until I became a Warrior.
Until I rose from the woven blanket
of safety and carved the skeletal
blade. Until I scalped the hair
from fear and smeared its blood
across my face. Until I became
a war party standing against
a concealed army of disbelief.
Until I danced around a spitting
fire with singed hair and blistered
feet defying the inky separation
of waiting. Until my chant cracked
the curtain rod of resolve above
Until that eastern star, weary from failed
attempts at sleep rose across the water