THE MOON IS A TURTLE IS A HUMAN HEART

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🌝🐢💚 The moon is a turtle—
how have you not known before?

How she carries her home across
the parched land one step at a time
a reservoir of soothing elixirs
in her silver belly

for the people on the edge
for the people burning at both ends
for the people fearful of their own wholeness

For you—you who are on the cusp of tremendous things.

For she has drunk deeply
from the world
and knows how to survive the season—
how have you not understood this before?

How with her Moon-eye-point-of-view
and her pace with peace
poured into it

she is not rattled
by the noise
that reigns below—
how have you not noticed before?

How she buries her song egg
in the sand of the sky

always hatching new songs
and intoning the old prayers
of love and change
of light and dark

how have you not heard them
like this before?

How she carves a bright life
in you
always coming and going—
you can’t make of her a bride
to keep in your house
as an ornament

But you must be the bridemoon yourself
When the moment of cracking arrives

and the sound is a marvel
heard by all the lovers out there
who have their faces turned
towards the big sky.

You are one of them.

You are one of the great lunatic lovers
with one ear pitched
on the horizon

the other turned within
the deep well.

And you discover the cracking never stops

That it is the cracking that draws the beautiful patterns all over your shell

that you buried in the
sand of the sky

You discover that the moon
is a turtle
and you are the moon—
how have you not known this before?

#ryanvanlenning
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From a new collection of lunatic and mythopoetic sun heart poems ‘The Moon Has a Long Memory,’ coming out later this year.

ATOPIA

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There you go again
half way to somewhere
else

which is a somewhere
that you’ll also try to flee

without really being there
with the tidal fog
and nettles of you

one foot out of the door
of the moment

allergic to the shelter-in-
the-here-and-now

and its ravine of awe-full voices

On the other hand—
on which there are at least five
more ways of touching things—
Perhaps no place

is exactly where you need to be
for the strange and slick surprise to unfold

Without some tight agenda
some do-gooder-grasping
for a spring on the other side
on which you really belong

Perhaps it’s no u-
nor -dys

but -a no place

the deepest center
of everywhere and when

inside which your breath
is found
and how to get from there
to the next season of things
is anybody’s guess

even the nettle seed
and tidal fog
and the ravine that holds them all

GRAPEFRUIT IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

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Sometimes in the midst
of global pandemic crises
I sit on the river’s bank
to watch gnats dance

then peel a grapefruit
just enough to see plump flesh
and pretend it’s her
sliding my finger up and down
and bite my bottom lip

because I’m missing intimacy
and going crazy
for lack of touch

I know, I know, such is too much

I’ve been told I overshare
that some things are just not
supposed to be mentioned

like how my heart sunk
and my knees buckled
to lover mud

screaming why why? why!?
when I heard they told
the big companies
that pandemic means pollution
they could pour
into our water and our air

the water and air that’s yours and yours and mine
and not only the American Petroleum Institute’s

or how how when I found out
that the body
of Homero Gómez González,
Monarch Butterfly Defender, age 50,
was found at the bottom
of the well

I grieved for days
and I’m not sure
I will ever recover

or whether I should

when you can’t listen
to mariposas
and expect to survive

The war on truth
and the war on imagination
are the same war
waged by the petty tyrant,
Fear

and everybody knows
‘we’re all in this together’
yet the well-offs
will be weller off

while miles of lines
flood the food banks
finding the lives of lesser-offs

wondering what this together business is that we’ve been hearing
so much about

and how I’m not supposed
to admit that
I let a Jacoby Creek’s
worth of Jack
slowly wash me away

when I discovered
the decline in birdsong
and butterflies—
those other pandemics
we don’t mention
because it’s not polite

despite the work of Homero
and his friend Raúl Hernández Romero
whose skull someone found fit
to smash at the top
of a hill filled with sacred fir

because being human
requires a certain amount
of denial

but being human
also means telling the truth

and today the truth is
grapefruit turns me on
and I want clean air. I want

to drink wild, clean water. I want
every last king to fall

but every last monarch butterfly
to carry the souls of Homero and Raúl
into every person’s heart

and the truth is I want
to make love 
to this grapefruit
and forget about pandemics

#ryanvanlenning

AND AGAIN IT BEGINS

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And you have the rest
of the day
to fit in

and make your face do the things
that other faces do

and your mouth utter
all the things
that aren’t your own

so why not take this
silent blue moment
with the heron

to wake up the day together
with your true face of delight?

The stale masks will still be there
hanging on the wall at noon

alongside the others, judgment
and disappointment

in the afternoon you can follow
the story of the others

who are following someone else’s story
and in the evening you can join

the others in the ritual
of draining the light from your eyes

But for now,
put in your eyes
of dawn and dew

and let your bright peace
unveil itself as the fog recedes

your bones and what holds them up
have been waiting
so long for it

the long night’s last star
doesn’t seem to mind

and the day’s star might even join you
#ryanvanlenning

ELEGANT UNRAVELING

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What it calls for is an elegant unraveling—
more accurate
and stunning than ever before

sinking into an ambitious silence,
robust and cunning

Do something useful for a change—Listen
so deep and richly
the big ear wants to open through you, remembering all.

Be unfashionable
and tear the fucking ears off
the false notes.

Shake your feathers
and invite the fox and raven

Until oak reaches into you
and the deep waters gather.

Mud and Moon are your Elders.

You won’t get far without them.

Sing hawk-woman unto you.

Chant old man bear
and sister dawn unto you.

That old place in you beckons.

Unfold it into your bones
and drum your skeletal fragments
until they dance.

Then, like a true apprentice
pay the tuition for your truth

bartering for the next bold season
with the currency of your heart

letting an unreasonable love
claim you like a throne

and walk your blessed seduction home.
#ryanvanlenning

FLOWEVER

7CC7EC3E-BEF9-4C01-9CC8-9548FDAE03AEThe world wants to make of you
many things

but first and foremost a Chaser.

When you of all people grasp
what a terrible job that is

Once you start running
you’ll never stop

Because what SEEMS so noisy
and clamored in you
can never be satisfied

and it’s not what that third gut
in you really needs anyway

You’re likelier to find a position
with better benefits
in that inimitable river which flows forever through you

or right under the rock
which sits in you

Be with it and preserve the silence

Don’t say the magic word—
It might just say Itself through you

if you become an empty vessel.

Then you can always put your stamp
on the bottom
that says that it’s yours

And no one needs to be the wiser.

#ryanvanlenning
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Included in a new collection ‘Riverever’ a polyRiverous celebration of rivers, mountains, and souls. That and my collection of mystery poems ‘Silence Begins Here’, a book of love and erotic poetry, ‘Wild Rose Hips’, a book of darkness and soul fire, ‘Within the Cave Something Pulses’ will be out later this year. DM to be put on announcement list.

In the meantime, You can get RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul. and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, Link in bio. 🌿🐝🐺🌲🔥 🌍🙏🏽