“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 
except myself. 


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: 

Love Thyself. 


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?" 


August 1015


ancient collision         
water burst from a big bang         
mudlucious planet           
oceans receding         
continental formation         
oven dough rising           
tracks on the seashore         
patterns in the distant dunes         
evolving Life forms         
breath expands a chest         
dusty resuscitation         
woman claims a rib           
knowledge reveals truth         
from the Tree grows paradise        
sun baked apple pie         
self-expression birthed         
in a gated garden world           
imprisoned playground           
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           

September, 2015

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.       

October, 2015


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   
the treeline. 

Until that eastern star, weary from failed 
attempts at sleep rose across the water 

before Me.   

October, 2015

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©2018 - 2019

by TamArtsy