Befriending the Dark #10: Poem-share for sinking into the season & Befriending the dark, slowness, silence, & shadows. (This is the final section of the poem ‘Sip the Season Darkly’)

Within the cave something pulses,
it’s why we go there.

We hear it even now—
that which deepest dark cannot smother,
winter’s hands cannot touch
shadows stalking have no purchase.

Tender tendrils of our very own vine,
bearing the wine of our heart
like embers of eternal vernal.

A spark electric, A light immune
to season’s scorn—
a Flame Everlasting.

A Remembering.


Some secret vial of our heart’s nectar
distilled for this very hour
to sip the season brightly

And the sun too misses his mistress
and cannot too long stay away
he was meant for this: to shine

To not share his love is a wounding.

So in that darkest hour
he knocks on the nearest horizon
and announces The Return:

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

Which is exactly what we find
written on the walls of our cave

as we witness the melting dawn
heralding The Promise.

All frozen walls fall
before the mighty glow
we look around and see
with new eyes:
first breath after coma

and though it’s just a whisper now
It’s enough to start it all again
and again…again….again…



32652C81-BF85-464A-AC16-E6CC80D563AF“There’s no reason for us to believe the Sun will not abandon the Earth,” I reply.

“Other than that everyday
the Dawn is delivered on time,”
she says, crooked in smile.

“Look, the Worms come in battalions, dancing.

There may be no Return.

The underbelly is winking electric.
and the sun is making a bow—
Perhaps THIS is the last day,”

I sing a such a cold Melody.

I say it is ‘I’ that sings this.

She has a warmer lyric:
“I’m stocked wing to wing
thick with Desire,
though Desire’s end be Death’s friend.

In my last place, the lights went out,
and I don’t remember
what came before.

Only Blackness and then Something dissolved in me—a torture sublime.
Then, the New Dream.”

“What’s the New Dream?” someone said.

Without a word, and with smiling wings in Orange delight
Butterfly performed a one-Woman play
for me and the god
in the dusky Meadow.

And the god knew himself
it was just enough
no more, no less
to redeem the final Day
and the longest Night
whether or not
the Sun returns.


D96319A6-859F-4E3A-A50E-8E3CCB41EDB9“Why does it all go away?”
Butterfly asks, perching on my shoulder
as I read the shortest day
in my Meadow.

I say ‘the butterfly’ asks this.

An abrupt question for a sunny solstice and I have no answer for her.

Unreason for the season.

What is the grass?

The books are loud
the small voices clamor
but the god is quiet
as he decays the day
breathing the Pacific flourish
in deepest lungs.

We’ve had a standing ren·dez·vous
the last three days
getting to know each other—
me, Butterfly, and the god
like long separated Rain from Earth, we much to discuss.

I don’t know if we are retrospecting or forecasting
then realize it is neither—
we dwell at the bottom
of the present
from which the What booms

We sit tickling each other’s
delicious undulations
of nuanced joy
and dread, until…
a wind sweeps through Eucalyptus’s hair
and moves the god to admit
in a winter-scented accent:

“I torture myself to discover myself.”

Oh, what a syrupy loneliness
issues from this sincere divinity

Then, from behind the Laurel curtain
a vision of the self-hanged god
beams from black hole to sea storm
from solstice to my eyes
to the wings of Butterfly
posing as a silently floating pyramid of Original Dust
an ancient winged Atom
taking a gorgeous belly
full of orchestral oxygen:

“I pour myself into shattered intervals,
become Time twisted,
and Time wears a Janus face:

Art, the Unfurling,
to the one side
and Death, seed of wisdom,
to the other—
the twin visages
of suffering sacred mirror,
Holy Companion.”

I say ‘the god’ says all these things.

Everything at my feet is decay:
all the Petals have sunk their heads for the season

Yet a moment ago the fingers of the red Walnut
strung the Tree house with brightest lights

But now a black mush
fickle Fern rotting mess
fall of Sparrow rules

And diving Beetles in debris
carry off cartwheels
to too cruel song sung
by crushed buried erotic nut
in the Squirrel pantry.

The Light is fading too fast.

Butterfly and I chase
the low winter Sun,
the warmth, the Flower, the Fruit, the Sweet,
but can’t quite catch it, can’t quite eat.

“Tomorrow’s the Day of Promise,” she says.

“Just as Today.”


desert2National Writing Month DAY 28: THE WOUND AND NOT THE STORY OF THE WOUND
(Word Count: 1435)

From that high place it appeared a lake, pinkish-white and round with promise—a beautiful mark on the land walled in by red rock and a giant sky.

It asserted itself on me, drew me like a fish fishing the man thrashing.

You’d think a part of me would know about mirages in the desert.

But I needed to touch the wound and not the story of the wound.

So I began the descent. With no dragons or wizards, no wise old ones or magic amulets. Only lizards and a relentless voice that carried my heart ahead of my legs.

My sole companions: Death and all my loves. In our work it is called a Death Lodge, a self-ceremony created to have those final conversations as if you really were dying.

Mine took the form of a walking death lodge. We said the unspoken things that needed to find a purchase in the open air, so it could finally float on up and meet the sun.

“To far, too far.”

“No. Go the distance. This is what you came for.”

“This is foolish.”

“This is the end. This is the beginning.”

Which powers in me were having this debate?

I climbed down, sliding over sandstone, through shadows and old stories, found and gave forgiveness, empty of stomach but full of purpose.

It was too late to turn back now—I must touch the wound, not the story of the wound. I must find the gift inside its pain.

I arrived at noon, my thirst stretched out like dune devils as the sun hovered an inch from my forehead like a rune foretelling troubling things.

My feet found cracked mud—it was no lake. It was not pink, but white like a skeleton—dusty evidence of the gash.

The only water came from my face, forced by the startling realization: the stories, my god how much I’d wasted with stories of the wound, and not the wound itself.

I blessed it with the final tear. I blessed it!! Thank you sacred wound.

Dry and new, I turned towards the arduous ascent with a swollen tongue and a swollen heart.

And I ascended hand over fist with my companions: Death and all my loves, including myself.
(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)

For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, 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—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie

As You Now Close Your Eyes

4742FE70-9A05-4E6D-A6CD-2B59E6537445Persephone, are you not the author of your own notes?

Are you not indeed your own mother living inside your seasoned gown?

The underworld ties your hands down in the unlit palaces
but what of your lungs and legs
and the crown upon your head?

Lather the golden leaves on your dusky skin.

Pour weeds from your eyes
and cry flowers.

Laugh dark and riotously to rival the rain.

I believe in you—it’s going to be ok.

But you don’t need me to lend belief—-the Earth will soon pour you out.

Whose permission do you need but your own?
Do you not trust your own power?

You may forget for a bit, but Spring will spill out of you as easily as you now close your eyes.

All the old songs will be resurrected,
and the new will rise like a fresh breeze.

The Shape of Love

IMG_5389Sometimes the way love abandoned you
takes the shape of a shimmering lake
in the desert

miles from safety, miles from reason

But you must go anyway
in order to find the final tear.

In order for the final tear to fall
you must fall
further than the times before.

So you walk step by step
descending dry
descending deeply

you walk hand and hand with death
your first ally

you walk tenderly
with regret and forgiveness
with love and release

You tell all of them goodbye

You keep falling
further than the times before

until you discover the lake is a mirage
and always has been

And the desert takes its due
and the sun is not your ally

The ways love abandoned you
comes in the shape of a parched throat
and parched thoughts

but the truth wants to form a syllable
inside you
and it whispers your name

and you know now:
You abandoned yourself

And it hurts.


Everything is on fire.

You are so thirsty.

The fire says, die here or climb.

It is not a koan. Die here or climb.

If you abandon yourself now
you abandon everybody you claim to love

You can’t love
without taking yourself
into the big heart

So you begin.

Your body moves up the mountain
and there’s nothing pulling you up
except one thought—
you have too much love to give
to lie down here forever
under the big hard sun

The way love finds you
comes in the shape of hot heart rocks
the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen
that appear as you climb your way out
hand over fist
over hand over fist
claiming your life with everything
that still is alive in you

They are screaming your name
with a strength beyond muscle

and finally
you reach the rim of the world

the desert and the mountain
and the heart of the world
have tattooed the shape of love
in you

and you know now you will never
abandon yourself again