I Was a Wilderness

8DD55B5F-B1C6-4D7B-B77A-4476A530577E.jpegI was a Wilderness to my babies

My sons called me Unknown and
stayed aloof

My daughters entered the temple
to contemplate the Mysteries

Creatures scurried through my veins
and everything was a cloud,
coming together
and falling apart

The tales of a thousand centuries are written in calligraphy
across my shoulders

Tattoos dreamt in time

There were complications
and there were rumbles

Birth pangs among the syrupy moments
Wounds lasting eons

It didn’t matter if some mind
figured it out

Some tried and believed it so

Yet no one believed I was the fang and the puncture both

the grand opening and the deep penetration

the sacred burning in all your loins
and lion hearts

Some grasped the tail of my dragon
and learned to play

Some took a deep breath with me

Others needed to disown their flesh
and put me to sleep

But I cannot truly sleep

For there is no end to the dream
inside me

No end to desire

for desire is the mirror of awakening

No end to my need for you

No end to my need for you
to become a river
through your own vast wilderness
flowing back to me

To rest and play again

No Velvet-Covered Love/No Casual Clouds

raincloudI don’t want no velvet-covered love

No cautious clouds
casually passing through each other
untouched and unknown

No uncorrupted alto-cummulus

I want to form extravagant shapes
like gremlins jumping out of the closet
unicorns hammering drywall
howler monkeys stealing guavas
and hurling them down the valley

I want to become a ferocious thunderstorm together
that feeds the earth
and sends bolts down to split trees

Zeus himself will take cover

No tepid love, no gentle creek—
I want a flood over hidden rough rocks
in a deep and crooked arroyo
and cuts canyons so deep
there is no way out
but by digging to China
or drowning

I want our calves to be as strong as our hearts
making the path by walking

Bring a machete, a beating heart, and two strong legs

I hear the rhythm on the horizon:
deep beats, the pulse of thunder

Let’s dance like idiots
and run through a field of fire
play hopscotch on Mars

Then exhausted,
let’s siesta in the sun
beside an alpine lake
dig our feet and souls in the mud
then string a hammock between horizons
and get to know one another

Show me what’s under that boulder
show me where you got bit,
the shadow where no light got lit
take that stone fruit that’s all pit
and throw it down the mountain

Leave me dizzy, a milky way spinning
like a drunk across the cosmos

Then, like cosmic dust, settle
and compose ourselves for the next act


C7786311-BA1C-48D2-91A6-9E0AE15432BBNational Writing Month DAY 8: ONLY THE WIND AND MY OWN BREATH

The ranger had said, “it’s like falling out off bed,” referring to the drop from the High Divide to Hoh Lake, then from Hoh lake down to the River.  Now a decision: try to walk out of here or wait for more of a clearing? The problem is more the cloud/mist. I can’t see very far. If I knew the trail was snow free….but if not, and I can’t see where the trail continues, I risk getting lost.

I start two miles along the knife-edge winter wonderland off the high divide. I walk along hugged by the clouds, a whiteness I’ve never experienced before, snow below and in front of me, pure white in every direction. The trail is almost completely snow. Up, up, up. Wait, wasn’t I supposed to be descending?! I keep fearing I missed the junction. Is this a metaphor? 

I let go and absorb the beauty wrapped in this mountain cocoon of whiteness.

Heavy breathe, heavy pack, heavy clouds—yet amidst it all somehow a comprehensive lightness fills me.

Silence. Then, Only wind and my own breathe. I begin to hear my own truth.

Suddenly, a clearing of clouds reveals the first of several lakes in the 7 Lake Basin far below. The sun mysteriously peaks out from time to time, just for a matter of minutes, allowing the blue sky to crack through, only to close up again. But enough—as if a reminder—that life outside the cloud and ground 10 feet in front of me exists. I was beginning to wonder.

I spent 3 days and nights in the clouds, blocking everything beyond 25 feet. But now, amidst this mountain cocoon, I could finally see things clearly.


For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—each unlike anyone else’s story. What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery with you.


Cloud Cuckoo Land

Up in cloud cuckoo land
days beyond neat rows and old news

the world does its slow bop
through the blue and white
ribbon-bowl of perfection

Silence is queen
in her cerulean realm
and for all I know
everybody went back to their home planets
or drowned desperately
trying to catch sight of their mermaids

but not me–
I brought all my stars and mermaids
up with me

keek-aboot peekaboo
stars stuttering hella huge
got me dancing hallelujah
ready or not here I come

taste all these clouds
this lupine quartz-lily sand sage
these sparkling dragonfly flanks
marinated in a breeze
from the spine of the sea mage

grasshoppers are clicking up a symphony
which reminds me
I too can kick up a dust storm
when I want to
but I’m pleased to say
that the ol’ sun and I
are taking it easy

I’ll close my eyes when he does
then I’ll become Guardian Moonman
watching over the Queen’s Silence

up here in cloud cuckoo land
everything is spun grandiferous

Beauty Has Left the Scene

4vJZqDon’t tell us of beauty
today, poet

Watch your words.

Another body lies cold in the street.
no, another person taken
eyes brown thick love hands brown hard wrought rough
by railroads
murdered by those who protect and serve

yes, something they are protecting and serving
lurks, strangling us all

the cement runs red
the color of innocence
the color of guilt
the train keeps rolling

Another night, some balmy summer eve
show us the way the light
circulates through the bones

But not today. Today is dark
and ugly.

Beauty has left the scene.

Please, please poet, please
don’t speak to us about beauty
or how the world is meant for you and me

The clouds have descended
and the sun is a mirage

the clouds are in the hearts now

The only thing clear and bright is anger
a sword cutting the endless pillow of grief
deep as a bull frog

The clouds have descended
too heavy for the sky

they parade up and down
the lonely city streets, crying out,


“What have you against decency?”

Wondering if whiteness washed it away.

No energy to shape-shift anymore:

“What will it take you to stop?

For we want to return to the sky
where we belong.”

No, poet don’t speak of beauty today.

Sometimes Softly Over the Hills the Moon

full_moon_fractal_by_mps21877-d531g2rSometimes softly over the hills the moon
and sometimes through the pines the vernal wind

often in shapes infinite the clouds
and crowds of ladybugs and people too

daily over the horizon a sun
and under the ruppling creek the newt

and sometimes out of the branch a bud
and out of the well of his soul the man

and sometimes at dusk the dancing,
the people pretending to be coyotes
pretending to be the moon
pretending to be the human
pretending to be the dance

under the moon over the hills
through the silhouette of the pines in the clouds
at the center of the universe the belonging

sometimes with grace the coherence of things
where you find yourself