Down to the Skin at Last

F6493E87-7B38-4127-83EB-519B4997775BSplash of red, bring me a tortoise head.

Open the blessed spiral once again
and spread unguaged, unmeasured.

Weeds need not outgrow me yet.

The light with sweetness conquer
The dark, with song.

You can’t catch raven,
so join his club.

Not all your preposterous belongings
need a witness
but all need watering–Drink!

Holy, you there, the stone in you
inclined and breathing out the sighs unsized–
mark this moment, it heeds you well, saying:

Begin with wind, end with the sea.

Down to the skin at last.

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So, Break

53F46132-A1F1-42BC-A68F-B8C9A894F569When you arrive at the end of one nation
and another begins, they tell you,
but where an old self ends
and a new one opens up

you must discover yourself
over and over
through vast experiments of trial and terror

The kind of terror that has you thinking
you’re floating untethered
away from the space vessel
and all form of things

Are you one who thinks you know
good from bad
when all the things seem to break?

When your earth cracks
and space comes hurtling
through your bones
unravel more accurately
and sink into your silence
robust and cunning

but then embrace the kind of terror
that has you planting trees
for the seventh generation
the kind that adds a layer of fat
to your empathic system

Part of you thinks all the notes come up black
and part of you wants to keep leaping
past the comets and make your own orbit

The part of you that, like a meadow of wildflowers
wants into the world so bad
it will do anything to make it happen
including turning indigo and flashing fuchsia
petaling upward umbeled and spiked

Do you really think that meadow arrived gently?

What of the ten million year preamble of terrible upheaval
anticipating the beauty before you?

So, break
break into the liminal space
with all the elegant pain you can muster

forget all the fine tethers, attractive and dead

turn indigo and break the earth
petaling your meadowed self
without restraint
until your chasmly scream, pure and unshackled
booms through all the worlds

Memorial Day Shadows

shadowsOut on the roof, where truth might be heard
closing on midnight, sharp actions and words
Both were led from the past to the here
by walking the path with footsteps of fear

Shadows that come and dance in the night
some come for fun and some come to fight
Shadows that come to dance in the day
flee from the light, but stay for the play

Intuition’s the path to the edge
intuition leads the birds to the ledge
Intuition leads one to the lie
one to the truth, and one to the guy

Pain grabs her collars to shake out the why
though no answers given can satisfy
the crack down the middle has gone to the core
whatever existed, exists no more

Her fist in his stomach, that fist on his arm
had the flavor of physical harm
but bruises that form on bodily parts
weigh next to nothing against those of the heart

Stories have legs built big and bold
and there are those that are never told
in attics with tiny cracks in the floor
flawed foundations and secret doors

Trust jumped out the window and ran
into the abyss away from the man
But trust long ago had fled and roamed
and perhaps it never really made a home

So the edge was built into things from the start
the end of colors that had drawn these two hearts

It is a night to remember, and a night to forget
to hold with love and heal from it

Palm Sunday

palmThe way the palm fronds
rub against each other
reminds her of debris circulating
on the surface of the sea
carried by currents beyond their control

and when she puts her ear
on the window sill
a 1000 quail sing

and she doesn’t want to fall asleep again.

But when the big love announces itself like
a falcon from above
her face falls into her palms

and the fingers of her mind
grasp the hand of her heart
and the palm of her body
arm-wrestling
for the gut of her soul

no beautiful bullshit, it cries

The big love is not her next step

It looks too much
like the hard ground far below
that she can’t quite see
from the nest
stretching

So she puts her four palms together
in a prayer against the Predator:

“Please protect me against my ancient patterns.

I am my own hearth.”

Who knows
whether the ground
will come hurtling up so fast
breaking her to pieces
or whether the ground
will disappear altogether?

Or whether the ground and sky
are the same thing
seen through different eyes?

Trusting the belly of her wings
against the invisible hand of the air

she flings her frizzy hair
and fuzzy feathers out

I am at peace
and long for all the beautiful bullshit

and the quail begin to chirp

her springtime resurrection
is a spark in the dark
flying from the stones
in two of her hands

and the other two
she holds out

palms open

Earth Night: Three Cheritas

Blue Creek WaterfallI. Primary Pleasures

Earth Day

Missing the show and forgetting to eat
we make our own show

And instead feed our senses
with the texture of water and trees
and the scent of each other’s stories

 

II. Conversations

The resistance begins—

“I am not ready,”
you tell your pulsing magenta heart.

“My door is too narrow
and I don’t want this,” you lie.
Yet the cracking continues unabated.

III. Night Falls

Earth Night cracks open.

Feet in the cold creek
falling down the canyon

Night falls, walls fall
warm hearts follow the creek
falling through each other’s twisted canyons

-Ryan Van Lenning

A cherita is a poetic form that I learn about from from poet Annie R. Ray. Cherita [pronounced CHAIR-rita] means ‘story’ in Malay and was created by poet ai li in 1997 in memory of her grandparents. It arises out of the English-language haiku and tanka traditions, but allows for a micro-narrative and is slightly more flexible in form and style. It consists of a one-line stanza, then a two-line stanza, and ends with a three-line stanza.

Beyond Fences, A Meadow

mountain meadowSomewhere there is a meadow
beyond fences and the thousand rattles

that breathes in mountain air
and breathes out fuschia flowers

and from the edge one can watch
the world ceasing up

in all its fearful loneliness
through the seven seasons

and all its striving
like a child for its mother

grasping towards the toy
that got away behind the curtain

but the meadow up there
it keeps meadowing
butterflies and wild onions

effortlessly

the clouds come and go
in the big cerulean sky

where music lives
before the first note is born

and stillness that is midwife
to the storm goes to keep her peace

and all the colors
become their true selves

before the shadow
suffers their shine

somewhere there is the green meadow
just beyond the next peak

or perhaps it’s at the foot of the peak
that stands before you now

behind all the pretty fences
that you yourself put up