Bookends and In Between

40620D97-85B2-4BB4-900D-4A967B2426F7The bookends of your life
and in between
that one hovering tear
waiting to burn its way
to the surface
all these years

Those lips from which issued
what surprising tulips
what jagged rocks

Those holy hungers
in between
the prelude and the snapping shut

Those reconstructed memories
and silent demolition of darkest nights
but forgetting nothing

The bookends of your life—
Bright unknowing yowl on one side
A quiet familiar yielding on the other



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

Rave on Bold Scratchers

4738B572-1D75-4D72-9FA0-FF2916907EC8Stretching out towards the world
pouring into them
trying to capture the
endless bouquets of beauty and pain

scratching black and white shapes
and florid brushstrokes
on our canvasses
conjuring melodies
like raving magicians

all the while
knowing they’re mere clouds
blowing through
like transient guests on vacation.

Like everything.

One day we’ll sit with the final sunset
with only the merest scratch
in the sand remaining
and even that will be
reclaimed by the great sea
at midnight–
just as we will be.

Yet still we stretch and scratch.

We are alive.

Stretch big and rave on bold scratchers.

Rock Beats Scissors

rock beats scissorsI’m going camping and I’m bringing…
a sudden death

I carried with me two broken kidneys (1.2%)
and a bit of heart disease (26.9%)

Scissors beats paper and paper beats rock
rock beats scissors and cancer beats all (37.3%)

Hopscotch and jump rope
with chronic respiratory disease (4.7%)

I played leapfrog with stroke (4.0%)
and kissed her in the dark
I had a little accident (3.0%)
a fire from a spark

I’m going camping and bringing truth or dare
and miss my home in Georgia
I miss my lovely hair

Red rover, red rover, send diabetes (3.8%) right over

A little game of musical chairs
a bashful game of a liver I fear
has chronic liver cirrhosis tears (2.4%)

If not the body, then the soul
the brain has a mind that can’t be controlled
I went camping and split mine in two (schizophrenia 1.2%)
now which one is me, which one is you?

I’m going camping and made a marvelous leap
I killed myself and became a lion asleep (suicide 1.2%)

What time is it Mr. Wolf?
It’s time to play, it’s time to die
It’s time to wonder, wonder why

Tag, you’re it

No Excuse For It

52820D30-1E15-4797-A81E-806BAFE4CB88for e.e. cummings, without whom never would I but then again

…and, and, and…

(It being the land of the fallen
alder leaves and ever spruce
no less the 10th moon lit
I found no excuse for it.

Why sun fog fire log
crashing green
bright grey
waves and all the yelling I’m alive

Whoever said spring springs more than this here fine young fall?
a rotting black cormorant
crystal teeth and undulations
from all corners of her

!love is a blooming, love is a supernova, leaks like water!

I’m mindful of the seasons
yet my mind knows no
reason for it
let alone an argument

unless it be:
pour and pour, speak all at once
build it up, tear it down
we, who shall be all of you
spray your everything through everything

—->My “worldview” consists of…
and so forth and so on,
how feeble against the facts
when meanwhile
feathers are disappearing into the sand<——-

*They’ve got big brains at the institute
studying the sea lions as we speak
and whales tick tock on the tidal pools
we’ll get a chart
how many microplastics per…

preserve the coast
protect the forest
pickle it
tack ’em up on the wall
get to know ’em*

Sure, sure, we wish ’em luck.
Oh, How it eats them alive–
these brave and powerful ones.

We’ve got Deep Time on our side.**

Fine print–so fine they forget to print:

No one knows how
the monarchs get from there to there
whales and butterflies may share their secrets with one another, but
why oh why would they tell us?

death love death love
in no particular order
same cloud)

…and, and, and…



**whose side?