DEAR MUD

94D3D73F-7BA0-4E5E-BAAD-81D240BB3084Dear mud,

This is a hard letter to write.

You know how there is a season for everything? I feel
we were meant to be a season
for each other,
not a lifetime.

I do love you. You were
such an important
part of my journey.

But I can’t choose you. I’m sorry our paths aren’t aligned
any longer.

I so appreciate you
and what you bring to the world.

You are such a phenomenal force of nature!

You taught me so much,
about the trail of life
and about the trail of myself.

You showed me how
to slow down.

To really be with things.

You showed me where I’d been.

To
be
careful
where
I
step.

But also how not to be afraid
of really getting in there
and getting dirty.

Oh I’ll always remember the way we mucked each other!

So slow and sensual,
so earthy and juicy,
so alive.

You showed me the texture
of my sacred shining wounds.

Where I was stuck, but also
how to let the words ‘I’m stuck’
fall from my lips
and it be ok.

Yet you also showed
me how to get out.

It starts with saying the truth.
And doesn’t Everything come back to that?

And the truth is
I can’t do this anymore—
There’s a path ahead
I need to explore
on my own.

So I have to say goodbye now.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
I forgive you for everything.

I know we did the best we could with the boots and tools we had.

So I’m grabbing the ladder
of my own brave ribs
and with a gigantic sucking heave
pulling myself upward
towards the new sun.

I honor you.
I love you.
Goodbye.

NO AMOUNT OF MILES

943EA27B-68FA-4BC5-85D9-93F11F082436Finally a grand rain
and the killings continue unabated

I found a new forest
and by new I mean disturbed

The Company’s foreboding signs
and ribbons rubbing up against me
without my express consent

I find a new path, same feet
a new sky over a new dike
splitting fields of sheep from cows

which someone told me
are really smart animals

and someone else proved their intelligence
by letting us know that in fact cows are dumb
and that’s why we eat them

but not as dumb as bald eagles
which are dumb as rocks
someone else said.

Beautiful, but dumb as rocks.

But we don’t eat eagles.

Anyway, I hadn’t asked about these neighbors
or how smart they are

I had asked whether we might be able to love
love
love
enough to get us out

get us out of this mess
get us back to the breath
that will breathe us back into wholeness

It’s the fourth week
into the new year
and I’m foraging nettles
and mass shootings
mushrooms
and the good ol’ business of war

but don’t worry, the new nuclear warheads are low-yield

The climate emergency reports now outnumber monarchs
in so-called california
and those who love butterflies just a little too much
are found dead at the bottom of wells

Historic Lows heads every headline
and Baby Jails is now a phrase

I no longer seem to be able to collect griefs
separately, one for this meal,
one for that

I just put them all in one basket.

There’s an app on my phone that collects data
on how far I walk,
and yet I don’t much care how far I walk

I’ve already walked everywhere.

I’ve proven the hypothesis sufficiently:
you can walk from anywhere to anywhere
with enough heart and heart-

ache.

I can’t seem to summon
a real belief in fences
or the categories
they told me to believe in

Walking is holy
and when I go to walk now, I swear
I will see anew

swear one of these days I’m going out
with a fresh pair of hearts
and be able to tell you about what I see

that purple sunrise
that baby moon again

that deep hello
to every kin

to the stranger
the enemy
the parts of me I stuffed
in the long black bag

No amount of miles
will take away the sickness
from the missing dreams

the missing birds
the missing bodies
the missing justice
the missing village
and warming hearth

I’ve tested that theory too.

But what it might do
is make the sky inside me
a little bit bigger

not really enough to hold it all
but just enough to stay human

just enough to keep me here
running my gentle fingers
over the things
that need so badly to be touched

_______
For:

Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7
Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8
Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez, 2
Mariee Juárez, 2
Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle, 10
Carlos Hernandez Vásquez, 16
Juan de León Gutiérrez, 16

Homero Gómez González, Monarch Butterfly Defender, 50

The 29,000 Western Monarch Butterflies Left in California, down from millions

Those who are walking into their wholeness and helping us walk into the deep belonging.

BIGGEST CHEMICAL CHANGE

9A42E4DB-4BEB-4AD8-8F3D-00B258FDDAF8Perhaps we should cry
when we hear it

or at least get quiet
and turn in early

pulling the covers over
the unthinkable loss

But we don’t
because the words
ocean acidification
mean nothing to us

How could it?—It has no scent
and no memories attached to it

No Beatles’ song speaks of it
and it provokes no oxytocin
or adrenaline

Besides, I can still buy crab
down at the docks
and watch the early sunbird
settle its wings into the nest
of the sea

When they tell me the bones
of the sea are broken
and bleached

Something terrestrial
deep in me can relate

But I can’t even muster
a shrug
when they ask me to stop it

Meanwhile, I can’t stop
my own blood from curdling
when they cut off the power
for 12 hours

or my flight to Paris
is delayed
due to inclement weather

when they tell me we might lose our vineyards right here
in the golden state

or there’s a guacamole shortage

or the price of bananas and gas soars
it hits me where it hurts

I may even write a terse letter
to the editor
or some damned CEO

but not mention how we’re all doing in it together
and how I’m asking for more acid and broken bones
with each comforting word

AND BACK IN AGAIN

4904FBAB-58B5-4D58-9002-33888EEBBA51Why oh why is the seed of truth
so difficult to sow

when truth be told
I want to sleep, I want to not live
in some big love dream

but close my ears and fall
like hail in this storm

down on the weak, the past,
the false notes, the hollow bones of me

Yet even now I sing off key

Because I’ve heard (and not merely heard)

I’ve walked (and not merely walked)

I’ve lived in that country
where there is no guarantee
but the great river’s flow—
in those wild green moments
I live like a king

Still, why should I trust you,
big dream heart?

whispering calm assurances
when you just might be
my ancient superstition

you must know my need to rage
and rampage
across the landscape

I want my undammed energies
to crash upon the four kingdoms
of myself

to cast into stone
all unworthies
then break them to pieces
for not being…what?

Everything is what it is

and my guttural utterances
are silver-lipped thunder
striking terrible certainties
upon the world

But you, my mystery,
amidst all that,
you merely open
your dumb, soft hands

more silent than midnight

and I, that I that keeps slipping

keeps slipping into them,
and out of them

and back in again…

SPLIT INFINITIVE

5CFF08CA-9967-4406-BD6D-5652FDD7AAE0What am I trying to truly say
to my Self
in this split infinitive
and affable alliteration?

Om—sometimes infinity need a little space to stretch out in

but that’s not quite it.

In search of a world to modify
and dangling a participle,

a big bangs
a heat waves
a cold snaps

A breath taking
I opening
order forms

then falls

over and over

Did I mean to modify
an unintended Subject?

Or was my intention to become
an object subjected
to play?

Look, this is what I can do!

I cannot be split, only forget.

I cannot not proliferate.

I cannot not come together
and pull apart.

Consider this from your point
of view.

Consider this from mystery’s point of view.

Overflowing, I join me. Overflowing, I leave me.

You can see the dilemma.

MY NAME IS BELONGING

A0661C0A-A30E-4E4B-AA43-8E752AFFF30CThey say the first step
is admitting
you have an addiction

So here goes
—my name is Mystery,
I’ve been here
a million times

and Yes, I take heaping spoonfuls of galaxies
when I should be sleeping

I gulp in the seasons
whenever I see one one
sitting out on the table

My name is Abundance,
and I swallow fat Oceans
calorie-dense forests
and whole fields of lupine
when I think no one is looking

My name is Curiosity,
and I look under rocks
and climb through dark caves running my hands
against the wet walls

My name is Insatiable
and I chew
on entire mountain ranges
just to get high

I have no idea what they say about the second step,
I wasn’t listening.

I was too busy sitting
on the edge of the cliff
watching the sun retire
and caressing the bark
of the madrone tree

My name is Belonging.