In The Zone

I love mysteries where

the resolution is adumbrated

by the first glimpse of the crime scene.

The detective never knows more

than we do, although her ability to grok

far surpasses our own.

We watch her eyes sharpen,

gleaming as she looks afar.

As if while we churlishly trudge

through drifts of snow,

she examines each micro crystal of a snowflake.

These tiny clues wag flags

so miniscule that we most likely

miss them, in our rush to

arrest the suspect.  I want to

cultivate that willingness

to find the fractals that

defy explanation

and use them for intuitive leaps

about the human condition.

Climbing up these perfect

weird patterns to reach

the stars — oh, the magnificence

of galaxies and clusters —

those constellations twinkling

augury like a mother fondly

watching a child who nests

matryoshka dolls, over and over

until finally saying,

oh, I get it.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: micro

What Can I Say? In Praise of Shea

Today I celebrate

the luxurious shea.

Its substitutes, bah, inefficient!

The real thing is most beneficent.

I’d like to be an expert, but

I’ve never actually seen the nut.

Its butter, though, I just adore

and so does every sore and pore.

It makes my hair shine,

it’s quite the lifeline.

I use it in medicinal potions

and in my very best skin lotions.

Ah, Africa, of gifts bestowed

by your great heart since days of old

the shea nut on which I depend

the one I’ll treasure til the end,

more than gold or a precious jewel

for my skin, it’s essential fuel.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: inefficient

The Art of Integration

For two years, they returned

to the bluebird house,

several times a season

to lay eggs and raise their young.

The male’s iridescence in the sun,

a deep blue sapphire blessing

with his mate, swooping over the water

in aerobatic dances with their dinner —

the insects that thrive here as well.

Such a noisy lake at times,

tree swallow chirps and gurgles amid

the eerie meow of the catbird,

the redshouldered hawk’s kreeya

and at dusk, the pure cacophony

of the ranids, the creaks and croaks

of toads and the tuba call

of the bullfrog.  And though

I try to heed the warning caw of crows,

I was deaf to danger,

only noticing they no longer came

to the nesting box, now inhabited

by sparrows.  The smell alerted me,

for the new birds had killed

the defenseless native mother bird

and built their nest atop her

decaying body.  Such savage cruelty

in my own backyard! Even though

it echoed the behavior of my ancestors

building a civilization

with the same complete disregard

for native life. I haven’t mentioned

the blares and sirens

from the nearby highway — it’s not poetic.

Rather than face

my own barbarity, I defend

these swallows, determined to trap

the invaders.  I cannot see a way

to integrate these two forces,

and here lies the root of

my society’s ills:  we fight and resist.

We clearly see the bad

in the other.  How can we

find a way to synthesize,

while the gene pool declines

and the hidden costs grow?

What tool will shine the light on the pain

we’ve never acknowledged,

the beauty destroyed in the act of creation?

When will I learn that only when I am most

triggered, appalled, enraged

am I close to the key — the aching

wound that I must admit

the true cacophony deep inside.

I can offer here

the words: I am sorry.

I am part of the resolution.

I am your most

valuable resource, the one you most fear.

Don’t turn away. Take me in.

In the heart of the destruction and chaos,

this is where we find ourselves.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: swallow

Face Value

We have been experimenting with faces.
Grumpy is our favorite.
We pout our lower lips,
furrow our brows,
a hint of despair in our eyes.
And his grumbly whimpers
would make you cry.
Mine are so exaggerated
that we succumb to giggles
and then wallow in silly and happy.
Yesterday we named frustration
(I wanted a nap and he wanted to run
wild, bumping his tired head).
That one involves tears and wails,
important treasures to gather
on the road to standing sure
when emotions roil through you.
Expressing the full eruptions,
a loved one at your side,
saying, ah, I see your heart,
or oh, this is so difficult to endure!
And when I had to wake him early,
he tried so hard to be cheerful
before slumping against me
while we struggled into shoes.
“I wish,” I told him, “you could have slept
for two more hours, or a hundred
or a billion!” Reflecting now
to guarantee this child will never
be a faceless entity, lost
to his own being. Feelings
mold his beautiful face
and we celebrate each one
and name them as they emerge.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: faceless

Always La Gringa

I took the slowpoke bus

which meanders through the tiny villages

edging along the cliffs

with a blithe driver chewing and chatting

and introducing me to terror.

At first the teenaged boys stammered

in their movie-learned American,

“Hey, sexy lady, you betcha.”

I have many brothers and I know

exactly how to convert

a flirt to a friend, and in Spanish.

The older women with chickens

at their feet, and a piglet in a basket

watched closely, at first

pursing their lips until I chastised

the rude boys and demanded their respect.

Then they clucked in approval

and added their remonstrances

to the sweetly cowed young men

who scrambled to offer me

the snacks they’d brought for the long

journey.  I stood out with my long limbs,

the golden hair glinting on my forearms,

even though I thought my dark curls

might, what, fool them

that this young adventurer

casually landing in their backyard

could possibly blend in?

They knew me as I did not —

pinching my pennies and choosing

the cheapest way so I could stay

the longest possible time,

all the while an impossibly rich gringa.

And even so, they opened their cloth-

covered bags and shared empanadas

and tamales, their faces shining

at my sounds of ecstasy.

Connecting with my foreign heart,

by the end of the trip, they urged

me to come to their homes for dinner,

while the boys fought to carry

the bag I slung across my back.

I waved until the bus disappeared

and then set off down a narrow

village street, glimpsing the black

eyes watching behind closed curtains.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: foreign

Travel Guide

“Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.  They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.” — Terrence McKenna

His talisman is a magic mushroom,

the portal to the multiverse.

He’s given up the zombie existence

of constant consumer deadends,

in search of naturally occurring mystical states,

the kind the State doesn’t allow

its obedient citizens to experience.

He diligently searches cowpats

for Liberty Caps, aptly named

for once tasted, a new vision of life

reveals the light and color and love

pure as nature, so lacking

in our uplinked whirling plugged-in

hivemind.  She sips Ayahuasca tea

to enter the supernatural world.

Their mythic journeys bring them back

here: the return of the hero

to a land with no words

to describe the unity and connection

so basic, the foundation of our being.

Do you remember when they burned

witches, clearing the way for doctors

with unwashed hands ushering in

dreadful epidemics?  Do you remember

when they harnessed the wild

woman, and seized her fatherless children,

imposing the patriarchal names?

Suck up the creativity, fuel now for

this brutal oppression.  Most likely

this topic was never addressed in the his

story permeating this sacred space

like fog covering the easy entrance

to the other side.  Now you must painstakingly

sift through the detritus

from these burdensome laws whose intent are

to cage you

and keep you enslaved, passively

running the machines and paying taxes,

unheeding as your powerful soul

reaches for the tools to break free

and create a new reality.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: talisman

First Star I See Tonight: Vernal Equinox

“I see the ancestors’ existence as parallel to our own. We are here and so are they.” Francesca Mason Boring, Connecting To Our Ancestral Past

We ascend

called forth yet again

as if for the very first time

with the same energy the womb

thrusts the newly emerging

child into the world.

At first, the stars seem reluctant

to show themselves as if they await

some sign proving

our valor, persistence,

our curious nature

even in the thickness of the dark.

Or perhaps we have no eyes

to see those pinpricks of salvation.

We root for the food source,

like a nursing babe

oblivious to the colander of starlight

piercing our hearts.

Blame the long winter, huddled

alone and lackadaisical, yet

without this darkness, we might

never see

destiny calling, tempting us

from the deadly grip of our fate.

Shining through the connections

the lost tribe clutches us

from the other side.

We need them now

more than ever, our urgent call

oblivious to their constant presence.

The stars biding in broad daylight

as spring swells seedpods,

tiny roots push upward

through the deep, cold dirt,

echoing our yearning

yet again.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: invisible