Become Lucid

Be true to what’s real, become lucid about how your life is actually being experienced.~ Caitlin Johnstone

I’ve been running from my feelings,
denying–it’s all good–even though

before me, skeletons curve inward,
stature lost, bones crumbling as they

protect the shame, the guilt,
gratuitous lies like sticky webs.

So sneaky, imperceptible
with this narrative of power

—you can never break free,
not even in the darkest night.

Today a slap in the face,
a shot in the dark, a call

from the ethers, just as I
sashay into the day

light and I’m plunging
into the storm of withheld

unexperienced emotions. That
raging current will surely

drag me under.
Under, the place I surely need

to be, dragged from this
rage that sneaks out into

my stinkeye and my cutting
snark.  I thought I’d hidden

that volcano, puzzled as I watch
you cringe, singed, edging away.

I catch myself curling inward
with a fetal fold.  When will I

dare to stand proud, face instead
every shameful deed, welling up now

into the light as I slow for all
the detestable pieces of me?

Inspired by: Night, Sashay and Gratuitous.

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Numbered Days

The world is woven from billions of lives, every strand crossing every other. What we call premonition is just movement of the web. ~ Mark Gattis

I catch her in a dream in
the cool mulch. She never hears

my steps, her nose engrossed in
tortured breath. Her heart is pure

love and she opens her blind
cataract eyes in surprise,

wagging her welcome, struggling
with these strange new lumps blocking

her joints. She can’t stand long. I
sink into the grass, sitting

for a spell–when I get out
of the way, energy flows

from my palms. She relaxes,
leaning her full weight on me.

Attention focused on the
road her human disappeared

down, three years ago. She keeps
her welcome ready though her

family is moving and
she’s worried she won’t make it.

Or is that me–sometimes this
dog-whispering is anguish.

She inches forward so my
pulse will warm her aching hips.

She heaves a sigh (it’s clearly
my grief I’m feeling, she just

emanates divine love, God
in dog skin.) When she was small

she broke free to visit each
house on this street, begging a

treat, a madcap revel to
celebrate connection. Fast

forward fifteen years to her
loud and difficult pants to

signal pain. Her puppy heart
still greets every passing car,

so sure of his return in
these, her final hours–goodbye

is wiping white fur from my
salty cheeks, walking away

we’re at the edge of today
and tomorrow might not come.

Inspired by my neighbor Stella, her big beautiful 15-year-old heart and these prompts: Dream, Revel, Edge and Surprise.

The Tight Place

The luxury of spinning

words outside of time

a lonely space,

a lovely place.

I’m growing here, pen to paper

sunrise opening up what’s hidden

between the molecules

I say I know.

Curious, delving deeper.

This morning the sky paints me

in pastels easing the way

out of darkness.  We work

together to reach blazes

of color striping the sky

my eyes

invited into the horizon’s

impossible shades.

We certainly can’t keep up

this wild all day.

We settle into

golden sunlight over greening lawns,

brown bark of ancient

grandmothers longing for their

seedlings to be spared

this season, the mowers silenced

for now in their ominous sheds.

Yesterday my screams drove

me, windows tight,

anger arising 

until no thing could please me.

My body a volcanic bursting,

a hurricane of thoughts,

my heart a cyclone

flooding with liquid

lava.  I need new 

curse words.  I refuse

to denigrate birth

and women and lovemaking

and genitalia, the lack

of knowledge

of a father’s name.

Yaaaaaa.  Gaaaaar.

My screams

are wordless power

yet still cordoned by caution.

I don’t care

to bring futher conflict

to my prime relationship,

wheezing and struggling

for breath, wondering if we can

really keep this intimacy

going, so fraught with difficulties.

I imagine we once flowed

sacred

like the time spent

in a loving womb —

one so many of us missed,

our mothers in their perilous

lives trying to make it through

our voyage, so fraught

with conflict we come out

gasping, wincing at the bright

cold sterility, the harsh scoring

of the Apgar, screaming

in our outrage, needing

to be soothed.  We carry that

fright of all the mothers

our lineage carved into our cells

like trauma.  Sometimes I long

to breathe

without thought

or feeling,

without this struggle through

the thick physical obstructions.

Like a galaxy, unhindered

in my spin, including all of me,

huge and sacred,

the vastitude teaching me

divine like this fossil,

anything that can jolt

my awareness into

startled knowing

I am more than I seem.

Here is where breath rises

and supports me, when I glimpse

the hidden immensity before a stray

thought tumbles me back to

a cough, and I am bereft,

struggling again to catch

this life, reaching

for something unseen

above me, a force I must

imagine as outside,

moon-fed, star-led,

galaxy-driven

while this place deep inside

me is pouring out

such a bounteous flow

that I’m amazed

I can ignore it.

I learned well

to look outside

for sustenance, to compete

for the love I so

desperately need.

Even when I go back

and hold that needy child,

whisper in her ear

to look inside

to find the present,

she is stuck in the cold dark

smoky air alone,

gasping, helpless,

pleading for the relief

she glimpses locked behind

her parents’ bedroom door.

Author’s Woes

There are only a few books

huddling up high, grey-bearded

dust on their stoic spines.

Their authority undermined

by the vibrant lunatic tweets.

Even a poem is too much

work, feeling into the weird

syncopation of congo drums

and the leather mallet on the skins

of strange sacrificed beings.

And who can you trust

these days, even when you pay

for relational space, the therapist

is so rapt with your story —

the one that needs a decent

burial, because it doesn’t

matter even though its barbs

have sunken deep into the

fabric of your soul.

It’s time to walk naked

through the house at long last,

embracing your sacred craft

unhindered.  You’re sorting

through ancestral shawls and 

crocheted cosies, but they’re all

on fire, the world’s on fire

and it won’t wait for the likes

of you while you struggle

to find the perfect match,

dousing your incendiary self.

Keep coming back to the body,

the wild heartbeats

of your one true fear,

lighting the signal fires 

you’ve been seeking.

Act Now!

My inbox offers promise

healing from the astral plane

with substantial discounts if

I act now.  The suggested

speed on the road of progress

is full-tilt, pedal down, go

to the pay here button, click

to release the miracles.

We’re all hurting and in need

of a wiser, gentler force

to move us from the rutted

path of fear.  And so I’m here

to offer nesting birds and

flowering trees at no cost,

included in the package

marked life outside the box.

Inspired by: Road, Speed, Substantial and Astral.

May The Fourth

We all delight in mouthing
May the Fourth be with you, cheers
for David in his battle
with Goliath—taming stars
with ships and blasters—not the
kids in Palestine armed with
only rocks and fears. (Movies
more explicit carpet floors
of cutting rooms.) Here we watch

five goslings, newly hatched, swim
the lake longways tucked in their
parents’ honking wake, and fleur
de lis and lilac take turns
tantalizing. And this white
flowering crabtree, bridal-
lush luxuriance a pledge
any starstruck love would swear.
(This flicker visiting the
empty suet cage tut-tuts.)

The swallow’s iridescent
vigil from her nest, diving
into the rain. Alert like
the baby years past watching
for her cue—enter squalling—
I’m still born in May, the stars
portents of wild green greening.

This critical voice has had
free rein. Saddling women
I should be, riding hard right
out of here into that tired
tomorrow. I cannot find
fresh eyes until my grandson
calls—he’s sobbing, will you be
my best friend? (not a ghost to
guide in dreams)—morning hope springs.

Inspired by: Battle, May, Force and Delight.

Material World

The warp tension of my frame
resists an initiative-look under
this ugly rug. Everything I stand upon

must be undone, to allow
the weft of my healing
drawing through. As I weave

an angst chant rises up,
unwound passion
and all the old lies

kept so tightly restrained
—the energy drain exhausting–
stick like burrs

to the sound-threads
rising in my consciousness.
My job here is to stay open

accepting what is
like I’ve never done before.
Tossed in the riptide

where my ancestors
have lost their footing
fighting for last breath.

And years ago,
I vowed to end this senseless
spinning on a ledge

with all the addicts below
hopeless and helpless
stretched on the frantic

loom of my life. Our interwoven
pain snakes through
my healing, a living weave.

Only when I insist on giving
presence and sound,
singing the grief into being,

do the yarns emerge
daring to dance
into the open air

popping like insubstantial
bubbles despite the weighty
years they have held me under.

The strangulating strands
—locked in my cave of partisan
neuroses, no opening,

the rock lodged firmly
though I batter it daily
shatter myself in vain—

finally release hope
germinating in my dark
heart too fragile to name.

Inspired by Ugly, Initiative, Partisan and Snake.