Life’s a bitch.
Don’t be fooled
by the evil witch.
Inspired by oversimplification
Life’s a bitch.
Don’t be fooled
by the evil witch.
Inspired by oversimplification
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. ~ George Orwell
I find zest in the early hours
when my narrow mind — having opened
in darkness, is soothed into spaciousness
by dawning meditation. Insights diving
like swallows gathering insects
to feed demanding nestlings, rich
rewarding as if everyone has left
intricate dreams airing in plain sight
for me to marvel over.
Midmorning is humbled
by atrocity, the space painted over
deliberately by news reports
parroting subtle lies with so much
gloss and poise — Orwellian doublespeak:
War is peace. Freedom is slavery.
But love is easy. It requires
no frames, no jockeying for position,
no branding. If we can only sit here
in silence — shhh. Let go
of our stories, the history we’ve
memorized, the right
and the wrong of each other.
Turn off these incessant screens.
Let’s leave the safety
of the porch and walk
barefoot in the grass
and simply breathe.
I’m enrolled in a workout class
designed to give me more flexibility
when wielding my tune-in muscle.
I used to think I was weird or wired
differently, stuck in that unyielding
school desk watching the clock’s
agonizing creep. But now I know
anyone can do this. A parent dials
into their child’s frequency
to understand the being of few words
and passionate, overwhelming desires.
We sense into the needs of our pets,
opening to a way of communicating
that feels mysterious, psychic.
Our schools are designed to stamp
out our mystical knowledge. Everyone
must fit into the square pegs, summoned
by bells to march to classrooms.
Slaves to time, unquestioning.
Some of us fell through the cracks,
resisted the molding, shedding it
like snake skin. Reaching into a field
sparkling like dewdrops on a spiderweb
of magnetic aliveness that spans
the globe, we are awake and sitting.
The mystics and the poets will save us
by opening up the clock
to the spaciousness between seconds,
inviting us to abandon the lurid
sitcoms and online distractions
that keep us tied to an agenda
like mice spinning on a wheel.
Change the station, dial in to
the connection we have all been
reaching for, right here, on the other
side of the canned laughter
that keeps you
from listening to now.
Love is much more painful than anger. It is the most painful of feelings because it is always experienced in connection with a feeling of total helplessness. By expressing anger, I can deny my own helplessness. I don’t even feel it. The critical word at this juncture for the person involved is “Please.” You can feel the strength in that compared to a tantrum. “Papa, please.” “Mama, please.” It is powerful and painful. ~ Bertold Ulsamer
I felt your rage. It seemed directed solely
at me, until I really looked at my brothers
and saw how they labored, broken
by the same misapprehension.
It is so bewildering to feel a parent’s anger
when you are very young. And all I’ve been
able to do since is to search for my own
pissed-off tantrums, the courage to shout
back at you and reveal the pain
I absorbed. Helpless and vulnerable,
you were the oldest and so
your parents, each orphaned,
in separate cages of unexpressed grief
raged carelessly as they drank.
Time and again until for you,
love became synonymous with pain.
The child who learns “I hurt” soon
adds a direction, aims unerringly
until the description becomes an action
and those who should feel waves
of love are deluged in a troubled
sea of unclaimed projections.
Papa, please. I stand before you
and say it with so much compassion,
urging you to turn and face your own
parents, long dead, still stuck
in their turmoil. Please.
The healing movement finds its own
rhythm, its melody snaking through
the dismembered pieces, placing
each lovingly into the chorus
until we all sing, please.
“Every human being moving…every sparrow that flew, every branch tossing in the wind was caught in and was a part of the whole mad ecstasy of loveliness, of joy, of importance, of intoxication of life.” ~ Margaret Prescott Montague
Ah, the opportunities to juxtapose
when babies meet their family.
Old wrinkled skin next to unblemished
perfection, eyes meeting
in equal wonder. What being
is this? And the swirls of newborn
dark hair against an uncle’s hairy
knees are a gift
of remembrance. We rarely see
the love which resonates
our world, the field of tenderness
that envelops us, soothing
us in harmonic vibrations.
We walk, distracted and bemused,
oblivious to the stark beauty
infused in every step
until the sight of a baby
softens our hardened hearts
and opens our narrow perceptions.
Rage itself is often taken on from somewhere else and may have been passed down through several generations. Under the anger, at its source, lies pain. When I am hurt, I become angry. There is strength to be found in rage and I can still maintain contact with others. In pain, I lose my strength and feel alone.
~ Bertold Ulsamer
You would think in my family
there would be some kind of ceremony,
a celebration for budding witches.
Every person who shares my DNA
is highly intuitive, and most
struggle in a world where admitting
you see ghosts, or you read feelings,
that you hear voices or receive warnings
through dreams is considered
downright crazy. At the very least,
you will be mocked and teased,
maybe beaten by those who fear
what secrets you may uncover.
I have always been driven
to discover the stories of my ancestors.
These days, I understand that they have
been murmuring in my ears
since I was tiny, showing up in the wee
hours of the night, longing
for connection, with no qualms
at disturbing my sleep. My grandmother
told me stories of her own grandmother
playing the piano when everyone was fast
asleep, sixty years after dying
during childbirth. Grandma knew
who was playing, and she told the most
delicious spine-tingling tales
about her family members, scared witless,
scrambling through the dark farmhouse
searching for a living prankster.
We come to this world with so much love
and loyalty to those who have gone before
us, sure that by taking on their troubles,
we’ll ease their pain. Yesterday I tuned in
to inexplicable anger. Whose is this?
I placed a huge rock of trauma I’ve carried
at my great grandmother’s feet — her unspeakable
rage at becoming an orphan far too huge
for her to feel, constrained into this boulder
that I gladly hoisted onto my own strong
shoulders. Except I finally realize
that my greatest gift to her
is forging my own path.
She won’t ever be forgotten;
her steady stream feeds this river
of life that moves me
to my own destiny, the going
easier now as I lay my burden down.
“What does yclept mean?” he queried,
peering from A Boy’s King Arthur,
published in 1910. He was eight and a half,
an avid fan of the Knights
of the Round Table, engrossed
in every book he could find.
This one was filled with antiquated
language, and as always,
I found a teaching moment.
Grabbing my two-volume set
of the Oxford English Dictionary,
I opened the tiny drawer and pulled out
the magnifying glass with a flourish. He sighed.
“Ah, it’s the past participle of clepe,”
I crowed. Which of course necessitated
opening Volume 1, to the C’s.
“Mom,” he complained, giving the word
several extra syllables of moaning O’s.
“It’s archaic, look!” I had him read
aloud its meaning: to name or call.
He was exasperated. “I knew that
by context!” He showed me the sentence.
“The sword yclept Excalibur…”
I savored our shared
while he privately vowed to keep
his questions to himself
and relish uninterrupted reading.
“When you get the message, hang up the phone.” Alan Watts
This beautiful child with the big heart,
the songs escaping into the closed
air, is rocking herself while ghosts
cluster around her closet.
Menacing and something to fear,
because though no one else
can see them, still they tell ghost stories,
her only source of knowledge.
She is all alone, and even when she cries,
it appears that no one can hear her.
There are rough boys, jealous
of her tap dancing and ballet.
She bears the bruises of their fists,
their unkind shoving, and their cutting
words. She wants to be loved
and accepted, just to show herself
like a wildflower before the trampling
buffalo stampede, just one word
of praise before she’s lost in the dust.
Today I realized that I still carry her
and more, I can be that celebrating
mother who really sees her,
who can sit as she dances
to the tunes she composes.
She is so young, so frightened,
and big tears roll down my cheeks
as she finally emerges. There is nothing
to fix, nothing to heal, only this chance
to be present in this field
of true love. I let go of the guilt
for not hearing her earlier,
the assumption that she was frozen
in time, as she thaws in the fierce
heat of my receptive regard.
Last night, I felt as if I were in a magical land.
I wanted to capture these vivid colors before they could disappear.
I came here with big plans and super
powers, a heartfelt intention
to set things right,
to move my people to a new
place of redemption.
And if you are reading these lines
I claim you. Surprised
to find there was language
to be learned and a body to master,
I often lost myself in the pure
delight of being, twirling in
bliss while around me
the naming and the labeling began.
This is blue, and these are three,
chopping my integration and inner
knowing into bite-sized assimilations
of cultural knowing.
And so I forgot
my true essence, and my mission
that had seemed so easy.
When you land without a reference
point among those who disbelieve
that time and space are a play
on words, a soul mission is reduced
to a note on a page, definable
and so losing necessary fluidity.
I learned separation and how to lie.
Every now and then I attracted
a narcissist whose intent
felt purely evil, doling out harm.
In my terror, I never saw
the chance to utter truth.
If I could call out this chilling
aspect, I could free the frozen
parts of me, could access
my own deep strength. Now
I remember: at our essence,
we are all here
to help each other grow.
We gather on the world’s
stage like the finest musicians.
Tuning our instruments in seeming bedlam,
the bright and beautiful high
notes anchored by the dark.
But I have to put my poem
aside for a while. Family singers
are gathering in the music hall.
I’m an alto and I provide harmony.
We’ve sung together all
my life, and though the verses
are often jarring, I keep
searching for the healing melody.