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.

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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.

Out of Order

This morning I am mourning

what is lost

that I never missed,

am glad to see the last of,

lucky to lose,

what was shattered

by the blunderbuss of my

triggered fight and

flight before the air is clear.

Sometimes I move too quickly

to the place of understanding,

admiring the silver lining

with a type of inane psychobabble,

a lightworker’s energetic

healing before even stanching

the blood, sterilizing

and careful stitches,

the timely response.

Not even a simple

damn, that hurt  

before seeking someone

to kiss the booboo.

Lost, too, in that futile

longing 

to be 

heard

and seen

in all my exquisite pain.

I bring to you these jagged scars

like a box of photographs

I’ll show and tell

before I feed them

to the hungry flames

of this funeral pyre.

Shall I list my tinder

offerings?  Here is love,

a dream, trust,

a child, a chance.

Here what was owed, never paid.

Anger.  A friend,

faith, songs,

so many poems.

They catch and spark

symbolic kindling

to reach the logs

stuck in the dark places

where the lost things smolder

when finally, I bring them

into the necessary heat.

Inspired by Lost, Inane, Timely, Blunderbuss and Exquisite.

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.

Redeem On Demand

This movement toward freedom is natural and unstoppable and good.” Pauline Kael

Deep inside me is the divine core,

and here is where resides

this sacred internal partner

flowing through me,

making me an instrument

of peace and love, bright

tones suffusing the air

opening every heart

to birthright.

Even in the depths of grief,

the torrential outpouring

of anger, the song

spills out, unstoppable,

holding us in our most forlorn

moments, invisible refrains

of high intelligence always

open, available,

free love

surging forth in our remorse,

screaming frustration an opening

even the tiniest, most inaudible

invitation granted

instant response.

Inspired by: Forlorn, Frustration, Remorse and Partner

Hey Riddle, Riddle

“Do you have to use so many cuss words?” — The Stranger.  “What the fuck are you talking about?” — The Dude in The Big Lebowski

My son plays an underdog

in a podcast about riddles.

While fans at home shout, exasperated,

the obvious solution, he and his

improv partners throw out wild

guesses, progressively

sillier until one of them prompts,

I’d like to see a scene.

They instantly assume assigned

characters — Kevins and Susies

exploring a wacky

premise to its ridiculous 

conclusion, and listening,

we jape at our own unexamined

beliefs.  I’ve done that.

I never miss a show,

although there are too many

f-bombs for my brothers,

and my parents would be shocked.

(My father who can tell a joke

demeaning women or any

ethnic group at all, really, would

be fiercely pissed at the digs

at his staunch beliefs.)

The poet and the comic,

two generations exploring our deepest

pains and anguish, although

he’s much more clever,

poking fun until people cry

in helpless laughter, while

my poems elicit tears

of rage or sadness.  I’ve tried

to write comedy, alas,

I’ve always been the straight

woman, from the time I filmed

my children dressed in outlandish

outfits, singing and posturing.

I’d maintain my composure,

silently giggling later.  Turns out,

this is how you raise

an improv comedian.

When my chuckles burst out, finally,

he rushed to his brothers

to claim his prize; they’d all been

trying for years to break

that calm demeanor.

He doesn’t read my poetry;

he was present for the pain

that led me through so many

mistakes.  The marvel is that

he can go on stage knowing

people screw up, and finding

the fun in that, forgiving 

his mother who sits alone

forging sword-poems, stabbing 

old scars.  My readers wince, while

he’s feinting and dancing,

headphoned-millenials on the train

snickering even as they examine

their wounds, wiping the dripping 

blood like tears,

grinning as they see

what they’ve been carrying

is universal.  We’re all 

damaged

goods

seeking

clemency in poetry

and podcasts, 

laughter and tears.

Inspired by the podcast Hey Riddle, Riddle, and Clemency, Underdog, Partner and Riddle.

Past Currency

Locking up every gift,
they’ve posted a no-trespassing
sign. Fencing in the garden
of eden purchased for a song
from people who don’t
sing the currency, but it was easy, really,
to rip the children from their arms,
cut off their hair and drill
them in the notes
of buying and selling
everyone,
even you.
Especially you.

When I first sat on the stage
watching them file in, some
pushing and shoving for the best
view while the pedophile uncles
and the addicts and the drunks
had their own little party
in the back, I certainly
didn’t want to claim them.

Too many transgressions to forgive,
too much wickedness to see.

My own grandson grabs my hand,
follow me, and we start
laughing through the living
room, on to the kitchen,
a perfect circle, vital
life running through us.

I’ve whispered “joy” three times
in my glass today, raising the vibration
of the water to a healing
frequency even as I observe
the hidden currents, the eddies,
riptides and falls
of this life that carries me.

Any scientist could tell you
this is balderdash, a skein won’t
unravel without a physical touch.
And believe me, I used to sit
patiently pulling out the knots.
Clueless about who we are
and how we are
connected in immeasurable ways,
unacknowledged participants in every
experiment. We push and pull
each other, puppeteers
through the centuries, believing
the man in the white coat
who studies the mirrored calm
of the surface and declares
what is,
even as the currents pull us
into behaviors we could never
explain or even witness.

Recovery begins with our
hospitality, welcoming back
the ones we forced into
the shadows. We step into
our greatest fears, feel
gratitude for this chance
to dance in the current
of vitality, that exuberance
hundreds of thousands of years
strong, ripening into new seeds
we plant in the now.

Stepping back from reaction,
watching all these hidden cords
emerge, the secrets pouring
out as each thread
pops into view, our
compassionate interest
in all the things
that triggered us

in the past.

Inspired by this article about Family Constellations and Addictions, Forgive, Recovery, Gratitude and Hospitality.