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

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

What’s Worth Defending

You had to stand in line to hate him. – Hedda Hopper

Once upon a time, I would have dissolved

into helpless tears much later, encircled 

only by my mistreated ancestors.

Today I can’t find my boarding

pass as I join the queue and 

I’m beyond vexed, searching

through meaningless bits of paper

while the crowd jostles and 

presses until I whirl in fury.

“Do NOT press that against me!”

And the entire line shocked

into silence turns in rabid

fascination to listen to his mumbled,

“I didn’t mean to make you

uncomfortable,” which I reject

in my most — I mean, I gotta say,

freaking fantastic 

modern embodiment of Pele —

lethal voice everyone cranes to hear,

“I’ll knee you so hard that tomorrow

you’ll still wish you didn’t

have that cock.”  And I catch

the eye of a huge man

in front of me who is so 

here for me, and gesture

grandly, “Please go ahead

of me, try pushing your

self against him.” 

And to the sidestepping

pervert — I mean, literally protecting 

himself now with arms crossed 

and lowered, I hiss, “I have three

brothers, don’t think I won’t.”

And there are women with their

husbands who are shocked,

but others clap slowly

and firmly, declaring themselves

resources, sisters-in-arms

who have fought this battle

so I go back to my search,

heart pounding and so damn alive,

knowing they have my back.

 

Inspired by: DissolveEncircleVex, Modern

 

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

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

Look Into The Souls

The family is the nucleus of civilization. ~ Will Durant

Who is willing to face this movement?  Who dares to take this path?  I look around and I know myself moved by another power. How are you?  Did you come along with us on the path to success?  Together with many, to the right and to the left of you, and behind you?  And some who walk ahead? ~ Bert Hellinger

The very first time is always

frightening.  Burping and nauseous,

headaches and back spasms,

coughing, breathless: the ancestors

all contact you. A few are jumping in,

waving your hand, choose me!

While others are bowing your

head in shame and silence, covering you

with a shawl in this frigid air

suddenly calling forth goosebumps.

You’ve stepped into the room;

there’s no going back,

and the changes you expect

are miniscule compared to the heart-

wrenching nutcracker experience

that awaits you.  This is a family

constellation, and whether it is yours

or you are standing as a representative,

the issues raised are completely

personal.  They touch you

sometimes like nails screeching 

a chalkboard, or a Tibetan singing

bowl allowed to resonate for long

minutes, dropping deeper

into your cells as you ring

along.  You could feel hands

choking the life out of you.

You may collapse in fear.

Tears or wails or the darkest

silence, all available here.

And embrace it wholeheartedly

but be warned: this is not 

a magic remedy.

The insights here illuminate

the steps you must take

toward your own healing,

sloughing through the muck,

sweat dripping down your face

to mingle with your tears.

It’s never easy, it’s always essential

hard work, but now you know

your ancestors have your back,

gleeful and proud, giving you a push

and cheering you on

past the obstacles that held them

like fossils preserved in sticky resin.

And you walk toward your progeny

with all your amber jewelry a shining

inheritance, the patterns you’ve

uncovered highly polished now

in your daily practice.

Inspired by: Practice, Contact, constellation, expect, nucleus

When Children Speak

A yellow eastern tiger

swallowtail just fluttered a shy wave.

The first this season, the sighting

plunged me back into high school.

My brothers constructed glossy pine

boxes and stuck careful deadly pins

through the tender thoraxes

of lepidoptera:  a great spangled fritillary,

a painted lady, an American copper.

I had enthusiastically pointed them out;

I learned to play much more quietly

in the wood-like setting of my backyard.

I took this moth massacre personally.

In fact, I decided that I was not compatible

with these death seekers.  When my time

came, I approached the biology teacher

and adamantly refused to take part.

I offered photographs, even my brothers’

macabre collections instead;

even so I took home my very first “F”.

Proudly, sitting quietly in the butterfly garden

while my mystified family wondered

how I could have passed up the chance

for an easy “A”.  And now you tell me that

children are going to court over matters

that I couldn’t see, in my desperation

to belong to the rigid systems intent

on wiping out my connections.

I thought I was daring. My instructor

said I was crazy. And yet

I felt it, in that deep heart-

space.  Now I want to proclaim

to every child

— especially the one you hide inside:

rise up, speak out against so-called

sanity while you can.  Change your own label

before we all end up in flames

or termite-laden pine boxes,

our destination either way.

 

Inspired by: Compatible, Loath, Setting, Play

The featured image was taken 12 years ago in my butterfly garden.  I haven’t seen any Monarchs this season.