I Do, Too

Out
Of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen,
The terrain around here
Is
Far too
Dangerous
For
That. ~ Hafiz

I’m crying in the balcony.

It’s stifling.  We’re crowded

together, standing parallel

to give each other a point

of view.  This should have taken

place outside, framed by lush green

grass, a grand entrance down the sweeping

walk.  But the drenching downpour

called for plan B.  Good luck, this

cleansing rain a symbol

of fertility. And the dramatic

backdrop of black thunderous clouds

is a photographer’s delight.

I’ve come alone, longtime friend

of the bride’s parents, and none

of our other close friends could make

it, so the introvert will watch

swallows feeding their young.

They’ve built two nests on the porch

eaves of this imposing mansion.

Nestlings are demanding.  All four parents

are frantic, diving a clear warning

to careless intruders.  But the house is

crowded and overwarm, and this cool

breeze has lured out the loners

and the parents with small children.

I blow raspberries with an eight-month-old.

She started it.  She shows me a technique

I’ve never tried, tongue just so,

the spit outrageous.

When I hear people complain

about the swallows, I sing their praises.

We’ll be bug-free when we dance

under the billowing tent tonight,

love connecting strangers with wide

smiles, champagne glasses lifted

as we acknowledge the common

threads that brought us here.

This brave new couple dancing

— exuberance invites us into a new

fold of the weave, so we drink

sweet bubbles and regard each other

with so much love that tomorrow,

we can see a stranger and say,

I know you.  And our hearts

will ring with that truth.

 

A Spin Through Time

We wear the burdens of our ancestors’ trauma in unexamined layers. Our hidden history is alive. We can repeat the same horrific patterns or we can look, re-member, and connect. ~ Victoria Stuart 

My grandfather’s Model-A was the only car

in the neighborhood in 1930. He could afford

it as a carpenter needed

to reach even the most distant sites

and fast. Decades later, his grandson flew

over oceans, in a private airplane to inspect

and give his blessing to potential projects.

Like an evanescent dream coded in our DNA

the road ahead demands we recycle

the rejected past. When he was 2, in 1900,

my mother’s father often sat in the lap

of his 100-year-old great-grandmother, lulled

by her rocking chair, wide open to receive

what was never later investigated. Just family

tales. She arrived by covered wagon at eight;

her father felled trees — long venerated and circled

around — to widen the paths

Natives had used for generations.

Her spine-tingling recounting of people

lingering despite the laws and guns,

the forced marches to leave, the whites

uneasy at night, having built

their cabins in orchards lovingly planted

by people they called savages

to hide their guilt and shame.

Have the original inhabitants vanished

without a trace? Ah, no, I hear

voices at the 4th of July barbecue,

masking in snark and malice

the fear of immigrants;

at the root, the unspeakable: what if

we

let them in

and they do to us

what we did to them,

then rewrite a history

from which we are drastically curtailed?

Fandango’s Prompt: Curtail

Alan’s Recycling Bin: Layers

Daily Addictions Prompt: Afford

3TC: Model A, Road, Airplane

Word of the Day Challenge: Evanescent

RDP Trace

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”  I Timothy 6:10

My money used to be infected

with negative vibes, ringing

with the songs sung by

staphylococcus aureus,

crumbs of food and dirt,

not enough cocaine dust to get me high, 

and the worried shrill of my mother’s

admonition that it is dirty,

wash your hands!  And so I had

this hatred and fear, never

vocalized, woven deep into the

tapestry of ancestral feelings.

The Law of Attraction worked,

bringing me less and less of that

which I surreptitiously despised.

Standing here now

with a clean stack of bills,

and if you’ve ever touched 

one of these, I’m sending you 

harmonic resonances in the key of

love, dispelling that desperation

coating, calling now for freedom.

That ancient biblical message

used to sound false, an engineered

oppression tactic to keep people poor.

But now, I think perhaps it is a secret

cryptic caution (like those encoded

in all poetic works)

to betoken barter —

better to enter the straightforward 

exchange of energy

with love, from my heart to yours.

Reciprocation, the recipe

for true success: give me your extras

and take my surplus

and we’ll all prosper.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: infect

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

Calling The Madhouse

“Don’t buy into the narration that you are the problem.” — Dan Booth Cohen

I am here to claim this part of me

so long neglected and shunned,

feared for the dangerous power

that can’t be approached without severe

repercussions, only accessed sideways,

bursting forth when my walls collapse

by the tsunami of crisis.

A psychic cat has volunteered

crying, yowling, yelling, howling

while careful sourcerers reflect

what they’ve tuned in to,

this fear, this overriding rage.

All of my congestion

has been choking

the sound I must give this pain.

Appropriateness be damned.

The cat proclaims what I’ve ignored:

this selfsame blackness permeates

every being. Never identical, but words

are so imprecise

we can call it dark energy.

When I can speak of my own,

proclaim it and parade before you, naked

and trembling in humiliation,

all the fear at the loss of love

then you can safely access your own.

Hold a different hand,

walk away from Big Pharma

and those doctors telling you

life is happy and joyful and you

are crazy, depressed and anxious.

Don’t they hear your fine-tuned

resonating

to the drumbeats of oppression?

Come with me to create

a safe haven, a community of loving

humans who build the container to explore

these necessary screams

of outrage: a sure sign

of your sanity

in this offensive culture.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: identical

Sacred Grove

The photographer captured them

squeezed together down a long line

of picnic tables,

frozen obediently

a spoon half raised.

An ancient cousin gave this to me

30 years ago, after we spent hours

poring over it with a magnifying glass,

writing down all the names he recognized.

On his deathbed, he entrusted it to me,

high honor to a fellow genealogist,

sure that I would respect its value —

even though not one is my direct relative.

Last year I posted it on ancestry.com

and my fourth cousin found

her 15-year-old face at the table —

one of the nameless ones.

She enlarged it and sent it to her father

who asked if she’d been in a reenactment.

She had inherited this face and body,

as if sprung from a mold.

For years, she had been searching, but

her ancestress died young

along with her husband and eldest daughter,

leaving seven orphaned children scrambling.

Some of her youngest children didn’t even know

how to spell their last name,

so their descendants have spent decades

fruitlessly searching bare trees

until climbing mine.  This is how I know

we are all cousins, and we must take

care of each other, declare every unknown

someone to be treasured, reclaimed,

welcomed in the sacred grove

here where all living things

root deeply in hallowed ground.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: branch

Inadvertent Seamstress

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

 

I am examining the very fabric of my life

with the help of an exuberant toddler

and recalcitrant octogenarians.

They each give me this gift

through the sharing of DNA

an ancestral thread that weaves

the connections between us,

allows me to assume the posture

of the present as the past unwinds

and the future races before me.

I know this simultaneous blessing

is not bestowed on many in

our fractured crazy-quilt lives.

So often, life has thrust me

into the thick of it, with little time

to catch my breath, let alone

mindfully watch it flow

in and out,

open windows when I cough,

honor a sneeze, that powerful signal.

Instead, I’ve been caught in a windstorm,

blowing past oases

that I only recognize in hindsight.

I have pieced together my life

carelessly, accumulating possessions

that demand more and more care

as the people in my life slip by.

Now, in this precious moment

witnessing the display of patchwork quilts

warming the elders and

swaddling the newly arrived,

I piece together my own patterns,

adjusting the ones I’ve sewn in haste,

taking apart seams painstakingly,

and with a needle threaded

lovingly, begin

to embroider anew.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: fabric