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.

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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.

Soft pawed

If the book leaves you in tears,

consider it a friend.

What can’t salt water wash away?

A central gripping has

kept me off-kilter,

winter storms filling gutters and feeding

blue mold.

In a sense,

nothing is going as planned–

precisely how this melting,

sanding, scuffing and lonesome roll

is meant to go.

As the slow unfurling tightens me into

a speedy withdrawal,

reminders trickle in to soften,

a kitten-stretch of a soft pawed

softening,

when I can.

More friends,

words heaping page upon page,

sit kindly waiting nearby

in a generous pile.

Solstice

We’re stirring the cauldron

the thick and sticky

syrup and grit

the mud pulling at our heels

not the bright spring sprout

with nodule of dew

but the dark, obscured, unformed

and weighty partner

the feeding stew

of shit, and fears, unspoken grief

broken tears

and mothering blood

offering slow-cooked nourishment

to the sprouts

that invariably come

here, there, we know not where.

Winter time,

soul, hearth, slumber and pie time.

May we hold growing light

tenderly

with encouragement

of the winter to come.

Fine beginnings

Fine beginnings,

like this one following a night of rain,

keep me staring out the window

even with a juicy book rife with Cassandra, uterus and Spoken

laying open in my lap.

Broken clouds, grey dashed with whipped white,

show palest blue beyond,

and hills across the bay- often obscured- are the storm-lit knees

and craggy thighs of a great woman

resting back in softened arms of earth

growing green.

Knots in the wood

The knots in the wood strong

hands might try

to force flat and out,

erase..

impossible.

The tree has earned those twists and kinks,

hardened, toughened grooves and bubbles,

bulged eyes skilled at a different sight.

Gentle the hand given access

to the yearning, sorrowed places-

they are not to be fixed.