“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates

Sacred Contracts XXIII: The Nature of Strays

1. Realization: i         
It’s understood when a stray snaps         
at a hand(out).  It’s their past,         
their experience, a proven defense         
against steel-toed smiles

posed as mercy in the street.         
It’s the chance you take by         
opening your heart         
to get close to it.         
2. Realization: ii         
You can’t become discontent

or take personally its lone         
misconception of a life

it only lives to possess,         
or doesn’t understand         
how the taste formed as         
teeth into the long roots         
of its mouth.         
Anubis whispers the difference         
between natives, immigrants

and tourists;

Anput whispers who         
its heart should trust

or who not.         

But, sometimes,         
years of self-neglect         
and societal conditioning         
confuses its natural instinct.         
It forgets who it was,         
can no longer hear         
its canine gods,         
assumes the lie         
as a life of truth         
it must endure.         
 3) Realization: iii         
One does not become self-focused

or doubt their own intent         
through light and goodness of heart.         
Or, regret having opened

to a waning sentient         
despite what pain manifests.         
It's the experience one must chance         
to survive ensuing guilt

for not ever having tried.         
4) Realization: iv         
Some strays are ready to receive;

others, content not missing something

they've only ever dreamed.         
Some already belong to another        
and suffer from a sacrificial choice         
so palpably prevalent         
nothing you extend         
will ever seem secure         
enough to get them to gravitate         
toward truth, to lick birth extended         
from your finger,  never again         
beg for scraps.         
You can recreate every hieroglyph         
and broken clay slate

you think you've translated         
on independent evolution from dirt  

before them, but. . .

it may never be enough to get         
them to see the lie they're living         
is killing them more

than pain of truth ever could.         
5) Realization: v        
The dark stray with sunken eyes         
and thinning coat  sees tumbleweeds         
has-been lives  and wannabes         
it's committed its life to believe.         
And you,  depleted,  accept leaving         
to preserve one minuscule truth

you'll never surrender to a         
lie in the streets.         
6) Realization: vi         
Persistence factors the difference         
between the giver who desires

only to Love and serve         
and the predator out for a trophy         
via a kill-shot for a stray's ability         
to produce for the factory

or  dinner table.         
Experienced strays are street-smart;      
they smell the difference --        
And, possess a saint's patience         
to wait it out.         
7) Realization: vii         
You ask me to share wisdom

when to hold on,  let go.           
Each stray has their own unique         
experience fired by belief

or lack of faith

in the fruition of dreams.           
I would say to you: 

as long as you build strength         
let them bite;         
let them resist.         
Let them circle you;         
it’s part of the process.         
Let them snarl;         
let them bark until         
their lungs are spent,         
lunge until         
their weakened         
state begs them. . .quit.


And, lying there, half-starved         
of life, gasping for breath -         
they exhale and submit         
to Love.         
I would say:         
if your strength wanes thin,         
if your arm numbs from         
extended offerings, crusted         
on time's stained fingertips,         
and you smell the frozen Winter         
coming over the mountains

from its Autumn hunt       
and you have no coat         
to cover your bones, turn.

Walk, or,  run toward warmth.         
Do not look back  into the fading shadow         
of what you've left or you’ll trip and fall      
become embittered in rock salt.            

Look only toward the crossroads         
you approach, toward those         
kindred strays of love and truth:         
those destined as  Sacred Contracts.         
April 1016  

Sacred Contracts XXVII: Independent Women

Being Alone is Her Default     
We spill across sand because     
nothing can hold us back.     
Aquatic creatures swimming     
the coastal waters of mankind;     
always mistresses, never wives.     
Our mystery is our strength;     
our strength our independence.     
The Ocean is a refuge, our lives     
unstoppable waves cracking     
the shipyards of commerce.     
When angry, we swell; when hurt     
we rise up to a category greater     
than our depths; we evade nets;     
we swallow ships, our graveyards     
are vast, watery treks of death;     
We live, but are haunted from within     
memories; we churn as caterpillar’s     
from shore to shore, rhythmic motion     
seeking a channel to lead us home     
to the inner sanctum of our ourselves.     
There is no reflection in the ocean;     
dark water ensures its inventory     
of sunken treasure is concealed;     
men dive in vain for the diagram     
of creation, their map of origin.     
When we feel trapped we carve     
new ways of escape; we chisel     
rough stone until a smooth fall;     
we rust iron until its oxide doors     
pinprick our metal imprisonment.     
Yet, despite our resolve, some     
discover their Sacred Contract;     
as above becomes below reflected     
in glacier'd eyes of equal Love     
for the first time. It's then we affirm     
no man is an island unto himself,     
and we learn neither is any woman.     


July 2016

E Pluribus Unum


Writing is meditation, yoga -       
a morning mantra of creative       
expansion into the universe       
as love to whoever absorbs       
the frequency. Today, over tea       
and silence I contemplate       
what this truly means to me.       
What it means to be cooled       
by a fan vs. no electricity. To have       
warm water, much less clean,       
or for housekeeping. I know       
what being dirty means – I know       
how being hungry feels – even now       
my stomach twists because I forgot       
to get groceries – again.       
But, what does it mean that I can.       
What does it mean to drive, to not       
carry a pole with laden baskets       
across my shoulders or head.       
Or walk an alley with everything       
I own on my back. What does it mean       
that I have enough money to eat,       
to not barter or beg my paintings,       
poems, or myself to survive.       
What does it mean to be healthy       
to need no prescription or suffer       
an illness requiring medication       
I cannot afford. What does it mean       
to not grieve loss today, when       
one friend's mother and another's       
father have both departed earth.       

What does it mean to be Native American       
on a reservation with a new generation       
of independence fireworks filling the sky       
with the colors of the paleface, their skin       
of white, blood of red, and navy blue       
musket smoke rising over ancestors       
strewn across the Trail of Tears.       
What does it mean to be a refugee   
fleeing terrorism only to be met by   
a locked gate, dead infant in their arms.   
Or Mexican worker walking among   
the catcalls of 'Walls' and division.   
Or an Asian immigrant fleeing   
a communistic country of oppression.     
I have walked the broken pavement       
of third world countries earning daily       
bread by selling frozen water in baggies       
to tourists through the car windows.       
I know what it means to lie against       
an active volcano's chest, swallowed       
by the Southern constellation’s breath.       
I know what it means to be lost and used.       
To be found, hopeful, and appreciated.       
I could tell them where it's found - but they       
would have to listen, and too many seek       
reasons but cannot still long enough       
to learn the Karmic lesson of contentment       
for fear it’s a “vain philosophy” that will       
lead them out of their struggling pain.  . 
I can say, as a farmer sowing seed,       
that no amount of searching the world       
or materialistic belongings, nor wishing       
will reap the peace that lies within war,       
or breathtaking art made from trash       
the blessing in poverty, or the pure truth       
of a simple life. Of love. Of death.       

What does it mean to debate religion       
or politics over dinner or at work.       
What does it mean to disown a child       
because of who they love, or a friend       
because of what they believe. To forget       
where our fathers came from, why       
they fled and how many died to survive.       
It all means we don't remember who we       
are, and why we returned to this dream       
we’re in. That everything in life is what       
we manifest for the experience of flesh.       
What it's like to hurt, to give, to seek       
but not find, then receive; to be, and       
ascend the tangible meaning of that being.       
Only through the contrast of who we aren’t       
can we learn who we are and want to be.       
But, instead of acknowledging differences       
as the path to attaining our dream, we resist.       
Label. Blame. Fight. Demand conformity,       
congregate with like-minded to avoid being       
lonely or the weight of being wrong.       
Listen, I will only say this once before       
finishing to enjoy my Independence Day;       
Here is the secret of a peaceful existence   
despite circumstance, the heart of Oneness,    
of E Pluribus Unum: genuine gratefulness.       
In resistance of what is lies unending pain;       
In acceptance and gratitude eternal peace.       


Parched we approach 
the well, enlightened 
by its moist contents; 

Shedding skins of cloth 
exposed bodies, muddy 
with ancient memories; 

Once we swallowed 
too much, depleted salt 
from our nutrients; 

Drained the resource 
unearthed svelte remains 
once an ample reservoir; 

The innate distance 
of taut wire between us 
lost its staying power; 

Our fingers splayed 
with air, arms navigated 
toppling balance. 

There's an ancient art 
of accepting and offering 
just enough as needed; 

Vessels mustn't receive 
beyond their means, nor 
empty beyond giving. 

August, 2016

Sacred Contracts XXX: God

The shifting shapes of forest       
were kaleidoscopic beneath the sun     
The marching of water grew distant     
The Spirit of the Wood honored       
our presence, accepting obeisance     
at the base of its venerable root       
What I had always known manifested     
in the exchange, and the branches moved –     
revealed a realm known only to Native     
Foregone history remembers itself     
when boiled clean of present – rises     
through its epidermis, lights the surface     
Everything I ever thought I knew     
was released before God’s presence       
but, not the god who demands sacrifice     
That god of men’s heads (I should pause       
here and say, “Yes; both”) That god of ego       
of insatiable alteration of Truth       
Not that god, no. But, God       
Yes; God     
Have you ever imagined what earth     
would look like drained – if some     
celestial hose pipe was released     
Washed away the green and sediment     
dissolving beds of rock, pushing oceans       
and lakes to the bottom of the Universe     
What would remain would be interlocking     
webs of root holding space for all that was     
to conceive everything that will be again     
That is God, interconnecting roots     
of Life bringing forth breath and fruit       
It’s gravity pulling everything together     
keeping it solidly affixed, grounded       
so it isn’t torn apart like paper       
There are Dryads in every forest     
you tread. They whisper your name       
in their natural language of tree       
To understand is to believe magic       
isn’t a black bag of secrets to learn     
but an olden way of Life to carry on     
A realization of what happens NOW       
could never diminish what was THEN –       
On the contrary, it fulfills Prophecy     
It solidifies All that is to come from All       
that was when all is said and done     
and we realize we, too, are Gods –     
Clauses in the other’s Sacred Contract     
fulfilling all that is divinely sacrosanct       
in this fragile, yet holy human experience         

November 2016

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by TamArtsy