on the cutting edge

don’t mock the purple flowing skirt

it highlights my silver hair  and i’m proud

of the intuition you call witch skills

but beyond the show

is the real elder’s journey

i must connect with the teeming

shadows of my past all

the renegades in my lineage

who’ve been inspiring me

to act like a jerk and abandon

religion sweeping dogma like dirt

loosened every day from the hard-

packed floor

i pause in my efforts

to look out the eco-friendly

bamboo-woven walls my only

block to fresh air sunlight

and wicked insects i’ve been

here before

with less understanding and zero

compassion measuring myself

with fierce cultural precision

all the things i’ve tried to flee

sitting in judgment

from deep places i carry this

weight into the sunlight

here is the way

i show up for you

bringing to light these gaping

wounds debriding with surgical

skill and a shaman’s heart

for it is clear that i am removing

unhealthy tissue from our collective

interconnected bodies carving

the contaminated until the blood flows

cleanly chosen bloodshed

to relieve you from spilling yours

for corporate greed i’ve chosen

my tribe i choose you

 

Inspired by: connect, renegade, inspire, elder

Advertisements

There’s Still More

The genogram extracted

so delicately this fractal.

You gave it a cursory

scoff, just an old yarn,

let it go, take a pill,

dream like the dead.

And you have a conniption

when instead I sit lotus-style

in front of this archeological treasure

— fully aware I’ve lost my funding —

the latest evidence of my strange

commitment to heal my lineage.

This type of twisted pattern

slips by at the edges

of family consciousness, yet traps

us with its raging repetitive riptide.

A thirty-year span, and the first

while I was in the womb,

nestled through two coincidentally

congruent funerals. Such an

energetic impact, but glossed over lightly

oh, she died before you were born.

And this exploration stings,

the pain of self-reflection

so deep I ask myself:

is this a good day to die?

I cannot approach that gate

gladly today so I sit

with all the gaping wounds

I’ve opened in these three

fractals before me, and there’s more

to do. Still, I plan my funeral:

no weeping, no more digging,

a clean burn, please, and one short

poem (two dates and three words).

This work is unearthing

shame and fear and anger

and it continues. I’m healing every

family now, even yours, uncovering

this pattern to the open air.

I’m looking for joy,

my point of ending

and beginning, and I’ll sift

through the agony to find it.

Inspired by: cursory, conniption, being, yarn

Who’s that lady?

 

I am that nondescript neighbor

walking the dog everyone knows.

Nobody recognizes us

as we stroll

under the cerulean sky,

our tender hearts hidden,

our passions reined

by our mindful deliberate pace.

 

Inspired by: nondescript, neighbor, tender, cerulean

Show Me A Sign

My reality’s slipping, lost in the fog on such a grey day. ~ Jesse Colin Young

Even my soul light is hard 

to reach on this overcast day. 

Flickering dimly on the low-

ceilinged warehouse 

of my consciousness.

Flat and dreary

basic bricks stacked sloppily

in the industrial zone.

Closed on Sundays. 

And so consumed

by longing, I walk

with my zealous 

heart.  On this branch,

a wren alights 

to trill out her thrilling 

multi-syllabic prescription below

a hawk catching updrafts. Chittering

cascades of cicada chirrups

coming in waves.  A bright yellow

goldfinch sings a three-note

question before she feeds.

A mysterious shape precisely outlined

by a great blue skimmer as two yellow

moths flutter together fast zigzags

of bright color in the green grasses

by the water.  And the lake is filled

with enormous clouds, puffy white

with gray at the bottom collecting

tomorrow’s rain, the storm

dogging me like a truth

that must be revealed, but

I’m reticent and clinging

to answers that blind me

to the vital questioning. 

The medicine all around me

and I never comprehend

in my sensory-deprived

kowtow to reality.  

 

Inspired by: zealous, dog, kowtow, basic, reticent

This poem’s title and quote are from the lyrics of Jesse Colin Young’s song, California Suite, Part 1: Gray Day

 

reconsidering reality

Victims and perpetrators at times share, at a deep soul level, the experience of their shared horror, and subsequent generations may incorporate one or both aspects of that experience. ~ Francesca Mason Boring

A constellation….perspective…can find solutions to the unknown aspects that are holding the problem in place. ~ Diane Hetherington and Elizabeth Hostetler

She is decolonizing reality, brave

heart and I worry, cautious — is my poem itself

appropriation?  You see, I drag

along all of my family trauma

accompanied by my ancestors

white on white

trudging across this societal foundation

of greed.  It reaches far back

with glorified pedigrees, the kind that gloss

over humane treatment.  Freedom dispensed

as long as the state is secured

by spying and infiltrating, peremptory

strikes to protect the bottom line.

 

When I was 13, scornful of my parents’

ill-formed beliefs, searching for truth,

maybe I could have thrown off the shackles

of believing the system is a good one.

Closing the pages of the history that

erased the atrocities, ceasing to

celebrate the discovery of millions

of people alive and well before

being claimed.  But the openings

in those days were LSD trips and the rest

of the journey beyond that gate

lost in grateful dances

with psychedelic deadheads.

 

Still colonized, chanting old lyrics

preformed structures of thought

to preserve the coffers of the very rich

and keep the rest of us enslaved.

And yet, here she is, singing

in fragments and tweets, despite

the brutal erasure of her culture,

her language, her spirit guides.

And I am a grandmother, living

on the unmarked bones of her people

and her guides bring their medicine

daily, singing and hooting and tweeting

and who else is listening?  The dead

 

decolonizing reality, She is

brave and i am finally ready

to erase my claims and reveal

it’s not i did this, i am doing

this journey is our

Reality, she is decoloniZing

you are appRopriately

afraid.  sing bravely, deer heart

Inspired by: Spying, Dispense, Freedom, Humane, Handle

As We Enter Deep Places

So, at a level far below that of language, the feeling meaning of the story goes inside you, into a very deep, dreaming place.  Into the place where your deepest feelings reside.  And there it changes who you are, just as all good stories do. ~ Stephen Buhner, Plant Intelligence

In polite conversation, it’s just not done

to say, “She hated me,” and so I laugh,

as if the emotion has no substance.

Expecting some bland reply, if any —

ah, it’s an enigma

that you feel so blue.

Feel better now.  Is it only

natural to sidestep these deep 

openings? But you love me

and you ask me to embrace

my grief and pain and pure pissed-off

chagrin at her hostility.

You pull me out into the garden

redolent with peppermint and fresh-cut grass

gifts from the breeze

over the spring-fed pond.

The coolness heralding the turning

toward the fall, 

when all things appear 

to die after a blaze of vivid

protest or celebration.

Your hand in mine, my emotions

free to move as we pace

into the unknown places

this moment has revealed.

 

Inspired by: Enigma, SubstanceBlue, Redolent, Natural

Distracted by Niggling Lies

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.

 

Inspired by: Zest, Love, Atrocity, and Porch