What has sounded

What has sounded

to others

like endless gripe and grating unfinished complaint,

a chosen rageful fixation,

certain Pathology…

has been body and mind finding its way

through toxic darkness.

Nature being destroyed by humans

in blind arrogance and greed,

consumption wired into how many “likes” and “followers”–

those empty signs of worth and feedings of narcissism–

in ever-widening circles,

in rapid speed, increasing.

How.

How does a body and mind adjust to such devastation?

To home being pillaged and raped?

To the Temple filling with piles of trash,

masses of people,

noise and excrement along every path?

There is no adaptation to that.

There is constant heartache

and anger.

With home now being just another thing for sale

and silence and solitude disappeared,

what illness have we invited through our collective front door

in exchange for one more meaningless photo

gone viral?

It’s time we spend time on the virus

we have ignored

for entertainment.

Perhaps for the first time.

She pours glitter out of the glass slipper.

Ridiculous thing, sweat filled, fragile and unyielding.

With a moment’s further pause..

She hucks it and its mate straight

into the Sea.

Maybe there, in salty, living brine

they can return silica to sand,

or, at minimum, make homes

for lonely crabs looking

to entertain the holy wisdom

within their ocean-loving neighbors.

Glass slippers be damned, She mutters,

and skips off between broken waves and flattened

wet shore

simply to find her own fleshy rhythm.

Perhaps for the first time.

November 3

Is it true that time changes?

Not here, but there, not past that imaginary line

but an inch before it.

Waking today brought an altered number

on a clock

yet Sun didn’t hiccup or falter.

Who are we to roll such dice?

Upon opening my eyes today

I’m living out a past pain through new labor.

Which is true–

the old pain, the fresh effort?

November 3 offers lost agonies returned,

a dawning, growing prayer

and broadening recognition of space

expanding into the Grandmotherly arms

of a beckoning,

wrinkled

and rollicking humor.

Along the long road

Without a story to tell

who are we but people who have not lived.

Watching children play,

approaching hand in parent’s hand

to a park that is my front yard,

Spirit

is restored.

Sliver by sliver

and dose by dose.

While now there are trees that whisper and swish

in every kind of wind

instead of uninterrupted concrete and destructive voices,

I have the long view

knowing what it is to live between rage and despair.

And I don’t like who it made me.

Sometimes I realize,

when before I could not,

we may become who we do not want to be

simply to return, along the long road,

to who we are.

At the Crossroads

Tension builds

where the incomplete blow

as storm winds

toward completeness.

With worn boots and ragged clothes

after years in the woods

a brightness comes.

What had been too frozen to speak,

let alone move,

imprisoned by experiences of youth,

is warming with daily lighting of the flame.

Who had been silenced

who had been harmed

who survived by freezing in time

and not breathing to avoid giving herself away

is no more a fossil

a casualty

a repetition of a story too old to tell.

With spark, a light in thick darkness,

a new way forward.

Without knowing, or plan, or shape

to follow,

entry into another world–

full capacity–

at the Crossroads.

Bloom

Wild rose

has begun her bloom once again

held safely within bower of thorn and halo

of virile and lustrous poison oak.

She reaches toward fullness,

touched by bee and blue,

balanced in sun and flickering shadow.

We, too, grow into bloom,

toward heaviness of fruit

and bounty of seed for generations to come.

All in time,

all in good time.

Much more

Women, warm, round and expecting,

wandered my dream, greeting me,

and I wondered how

how;

Three before me, at three drugstore registers,

buying sodas, and sodas and alcohol,

at 8 a.m.

and I wondered how

how;

Baristas, happy, welcoming, enjoying

each other, customers, both and

still… how

how.

Knowing fullness, itch for escape, joy,

and my own irritation with life that,

conveniently, hasn’t been included in the list,

leaves confusion with a half-smile at how

all this exists now

along with much, much…

much more.

Tumbled like rocks

I put myself down

sitting smaller after words from my own mouth

tumbled like rocks onto my own head.

I put myself down

so you wouldn’t have to–

having learned early if the insults would come

better from myself than anyone else.

Shrinking, inflated, making a joke of myself

before you could slip in, undercut, diminish.

Having grown up to be little

must break

at some point.

That point is now,

and I take it back.

I didn’t think I was special,

I knew I was.

Woman, shave your head

Got long hair?

Got any hair?

Woman, shave your head.

And collect the assumptions hoisted upon you,

the ones you weren’t quite certain,

but now you know,

have been dragging you down.

Belly scraping the road.

Woman, got long hair?

Shave your head, and learn how confused

perceptions and expectations of you

are.

Where you may have been pretty, attractive,

desired,

suddenly the sight of that is gone

and people, most people, don’t have a clue

how to respond, how to comprehend–

But you were pretty.

You were attractive.

You were desirable.

Watch them turn their eyes away, unable

to look at you.

Hear them,

hating what they see and can’t understand,

say, “You look so…different.”

The least offensive, yet unasked for, comment

they can make.

Woman, got long hair?

Shave your head,

and discover what assumptions shove you low, in place,

a shallow ditch where you have been put.

Some react in adoration,

others with titillation, however briefly,

or with shock envy disbelief disgust.

Woman,

if ever you didn’t fully get it,

not in the tautness of your sinews,

how the appearance of a woman is believed

to belong

to the public,

that it is open invitation to

critique judgement opinion desire and rejection,

stick a personal act of transformation,

like dynamite,

within social view.

Woman,

if you want to know not

what others want you to be

but the stuff you’re made of,

Go,

Shave your head.

Broad hands

Launching from plush chair

to a seat below

and beside me

on the wool carpeted floor,

he comes closer.

Our talk bounces

ping-pongs

even spins some

between now and then–

the surprisingly many shared thens.

As his broad hands, accustomed to touch

in work, in nature, on board, on bow,

brush and pet, across and across again,

beneath and atop, thick warmth of blanket

upon which I sit,

I almost speak his unspeakable–

Why not bring your hands to the warmth of my flesh,

as they keep wanting,

and carry the rest of you right along with.

These inches between us

aren’t the turbulent ocean of your imagining.