Saying Yes to my NO

“We don’t speak unless we are spoken to,”

I say, firmly, one raised brow.  “And we don’t turn

our backs to the Queen.”   My brothers believe

my refined umbrage at their rudeness.

“We’ll miss her when she is on her throne,”

they confess to my mother, and one asks,

“How do you become a queen?”

“She’ll have to marry a king,” my mother declares,

although she could just as easily have

opted the way of my father’s bloodline,

the Stuart Scots, “She’ll have to kill

her cousin.”  Casually cutting my quest

for boundaries and respect

marriage or murder

the only choices she could see.

And now she looks up startled

from her murder mystery

as I tell my grandchild, “You simply claim

your birthright.  You step to your full glory.”

Relaxed in my queendom like the Empress,

having sent four emissaries to the borders

in a clear, resounding no.  Crowning

my emotions with the Queen of Cups.

All the growing things I nurture

through the Queen of Wands.

As much wealth as I can summon

as the Queen of Pentacles, and as

the Queen of Swords, who’s summoned

Sekhmet and Hathor, fiercely

feminine, I brandish my pointed

no.  There is a hallelujah chorus

singing through the intricate

pattern of my lineage

as I remember to reach back

through the ever-present now

whispering into the ear of the sad

little girl rising through the chaos

You are a Queen, my darling,

chin up, stand tall, emerging

here we rule together.

I stretch my bones and open

this container to hold more

and more essential pieces

integrating my radiance.

And you look past this easy-

going smile and stop

at the steel resolve

forged in the love

I merit and give myself

unstinting, even as my

strong no lands in you.

 

 

Inspired by:  Intricate, Associate, Umbrage, and Quest.

Advertisements

Take To The Deep Snow

I scare up a sparrowhawk

opening the door

treading through the cold shadows

to emerge into

the kiss of apricity,

diamonds gleaming in the powder

I kick up.  If I were a snow-

suited child, I’d be deep

in the creation of angels

smiling into this bright

sun instead of snapping

close-up photos only

to discover no card 

in my camera.  An empty

gesture on a day

I am out desperately

seeking grounding,

slipping on the ice,

stumbling over the plowed

chunks along the road

until I choose to step

into pristine white

waiting and willing to show

my way.

A cardinal sounds the alarm

followed by a lone crow’s caw.

I search bare branches

to no avail.  Another bird chatters,

perhaps a bluejay

hidden, marking my passage.

I allow myself to feel 

the vital pull

of the earth until 

I’m back in the house,

my intestines clearing

in a rebuke at my attempted

natural healing, or

else this is simply letting go

of all the years of being

a doormat.  Stand up for yourself,

my ancestresses shout,

a dizzying chorus of browbeaten

women, back farther than I can

imagine, rattling the chains

of their servitude to abusive

men.  And I want to,

oh, goddess, so much,

even as I surrender

to my sickbed to lie

cold as a stone

until I rise again

to pen these lines.

Inspired by:  Rebuke, Vital, Apricity, and Imagine.

Under The Tundra

I strain toward the present

moment, tiptoeing across

frozen river

memories instrumental in

splintering me

thousands of sharp pieces

held together in a purely

illusionary woman

you see before you.

Be gentle with your grandmother,

I urge this boisterous

little boy, who knows my heart-

child is always

eager to play

out the stuck places.

We wriggle and jump.

Down dog to find missing pieces.

He nestles into my safe

lap for stories

and we learn

we only reach now

together, holding space

that includes prior pains

we can rewrite

when we go back

to the beginning

with strong new love.

 

Inspired by:  Memories, Instrumental, River and Splinter.

Bless Me If I Stay Alive

Freezing a waterfall is not…easy, since the water molecules are continuously moving and can therefore easily detach from the bonds holding them together. ~ Ashish

 

When I was 10, I wrote a letter

to my grandmother, seeking

facts about her lineage.

Finally, at 26, over cocktails,

she confessed she’d received

a missive from a maiden grandaunt

upon her marriage, an envelope

filled with family facts.

She’d pitched it, saying,

who cares about this shit?

finding out exactly decades later

reading my request.  Those are

our only two encounters I recall.

Still, I carry my grandparents’ enmity

like this photograph, a frozen

waterfall of immense power

inaccessible to two

drunk teenagers, dismayed

by the arrival of needy

children exposing their own

unaddressed wounds.  Only able

to call for more

alcohol and hatred,

finally repelled like magnets

from each other and the seedlings

their brief union sprouted.

I’ve tested the ice gingerly

to arrive at their trauma

locked inside my own genes,

now demanding I thaw

what has been blocked.

And so under the heat of my

regard, I set out to accomplish

this feat, releasing the flow

of energy to my own

descendants waiting impatiently

downstream.

 

Inspired by:  Photograph, Enmity, Letter and Accomplish.

Title inspired by Bert Hellinger in Looking Into The Souls Of Children, “Behind the scene we…see something else is at work, and the individual is at the mercy of something that does not reveal itself easily…other powers are at work, and the people involved do not understand what’s really going on….Go to these dead…and say to them, “Bless me if I stay alive.”  

Photograph taken 1981 in Queen’s Canyon, Colorado.

Plays By Intuition

So many women in my lineage

had no chance to grieve:  

file that in the DNA

and hope for someone like me

to open

a container big enough

to hold the river of sorrow

without being swept away.

Precariously crumbling footholds

where I patrol.  In the darkest hours,

often forgetting who I am,

losing my light,

peering into the rising

waters crashing below me.

The lineage-trauma breathing

through me, and I’m pondering

madness, defined as it is

by people who know

the control of the narrative

is imperative.  I mean, I’ve been 

the pinball

racking up impressive scores,

slamming into an obstacle

and triggered into flight

only to hit the next

target, over and over.  

Is my age

showing here? Does anyone

play pinball anymore?

Such a counterintuitive move,

to simply relax, falling

past the electric shocks

into the drain. 

Not in this society,

missy.  You stay in the game.

All the rules defined by 

the people who need

you to be distracted

when your rage ignites.

Look online, track the

spiky statistics to determine

who likes you.  The days

spinning, whirling, sick

until the sleepless night

claims you

and dark thoughts lead you

once again

to the steep cliffs of despair.

Inspired by:  Madness, Spiky, and Ignite.

Trumpery*

*When you don’t have to speak; your name says it all.

Applesauce, balderdash,

codswallop, malarkey,

my grandpa’s scratchy voice

fiddle-faddle, folderol.

He didn’t suffer fools,

he’d tell you, and yet

oh my goddess, he was racist,

sexist, misogynist, chauvinist, and

what’s the word for when

you disown your daughter

for marrying a Catholic?

His unique perspective informed

by the white colonialism which brought

his family, escorted by US soldiers,

to the new land they stole

with US dollars, palpable

terror of

the displaced Indigenous peoples

who continued to live

in the arms of their ancestors,

fused to the roots of the giant

trees, and nestled in the webs

of the constellations spinning

through their language, guiding

their footsteps, their prayers

landing like gibberish

from savages, by god,

dangerous as a woman

who must be impregnated

in the continual breeding

of this new seed spreading

like kudzu.  Clearing the forests,

grinding the roots, that angry

protective fear the soil

I sprouted in.  I lean,

drained,

against the trunk of this massive

Poplar, who watched it all,

and she sends me insights

and visions even as the others

sit under the spell

of the vicious diatribe

the pure trumpery

they have elected

and say we must respect.

Inspired by: Impose, Malarkey, Unique

 

Re-member Roots

The trauma’s denied by my ancestors,

their own history torn like a page

fluttering, then sodden on the shore

behind them.  Best forgotten.

Harvest hay, milk cows, feed

those ravenous mouths.

Curtains drawn, that door

locked.  Survival demands we

turn away.  Life wants to live

so we crawl forward forgetting

we have to be strong

in the middle of the night 

when the plaintive voice

calls, quietly at first

then fist-pounding the rattling

frames in true panic.

We can’t go there.

Though sweat ices skin,

veins throbbing, thoughts spinning

we welcome the cluster

headache gladly

diagnose what has come

to fill the emptiness we refuse

to address.  The symptoms cascade.

Conditions worsen.

On the stage, the actors grow

more grotesque, mocking the values

we claim to treasure.  A kaleidoscope

spinning fractals of deliberate

obfuscation, impossible to predict

the next outrage.  We sit

like shocked puritans as the natives

claim the land beneath our

smugly-built brick houses

and we look at each other

and swear we never

saw it coming.

 

Written for #OctPoWriMo Day 4 – Denied and Cluster.