Kawsak Sacha

 The convictions of the Amazonian Women’s Collective carry them on their mission to save their homeland, the lungs of the planet.  They know that the spiritual being that is the jungle is essential to our survival.  Their ancient knowledge has been belittled and mocked and aggressively attacked by profit- and greed-driven corporations who have no understanding of the whole, who are committed to extracting parts — which will destroy the entire system (much like body snatchers who harvest organs — at the cost of their victims’ lives.) Worse, these corporations have legal standing, although they clearly do not breathe or have any life.

Our understanding of the rainforest is as misunderstood as a flocculent spiral galaxy if one only concentrates on the stars, ignoring the unseen dark matter that must be present to hold them together. 

And so these people are raising their voices to educate the world.

The Kawsak Sacha (the Selva Viviente, The Living Forest) addresses this gross violation of respect for life, and demands legal recognition of the jungle: an organic living being.   I recommend this six-minute video, to experience how determined peoples commit to saving their very existence — and ours.


Here is my translation (rough and not anywhere near the beauty of the original piece) if you don’t speak Spanish:

The Kawsak Sacha is the space of life of all the beings who live in the jungle

from the tiniest being to the largest and most supreme

including the animal, vegetable, mineral and cosmic spiritual worlds.

This area transcends the notion of territory; it is destined to revitalize

our emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual facets

to restabilize energy, life, equilibrium of life in its original ways.

It is the dominion of waterfalls, lakes, wetlands, mountains, rivers and trees,

places populated where the supreme beings, the spiritual guides protect the Kawsak Sacha

who live and grow, develop their lives just as humans do.

The Kawsak Sacha is also the place of transmission of the knowledge of the Yachay

where they intuit the world and the knowledge of the masters and spiritual guides of the living places

and the sublime worldview for a methodical apprenticeship.

This universe, the natural equilibrium of the harmony of life, the perpetuation of the culture,

the existence of living beings and the continuation of Kawsak Sacha depends on the permanency and the transmission

of the powers of the supreme beings 

protectors of the Kawsak Sacha with the Yachay

as co-creation and respect between human beings and the beings of the jungle.

In our Amazon, in Sarayuka, beings similar to us exist

like the Amazanga, everything we can see and hear.

And because of this, we don’t want to allow the extraction of oil in our territory.

If they extract these things, all of the beings and spirits of the jungle will disappear.

The masters and the animals of the jungle will be extinguished.

Without them, our territory will be orphaned.

And this is why we protect and conserve our living jungle.

Inspired by: Carry, Flocculent, Conviction, Recommend


Embracing Shadows


taking pains

to embrace all these dark fragments

of beings who simply want

to be loved


rendered moonstruck

in the darkness,

face toward the sky

in awed vulnerability.

The darkness has always been

the place of greatest danger;

that’s when the men come

and invade,


drunkenly innocent

in the sense

that come morning,

they can deny it all.

Night is the time

to hide, cower,

hope that the lack of light

will cause them to stumble

against some tower

of toys that escaped the fierce

admonitions to clean up

before you cause an accident.

The crash broadcasting

their presence

to the population of sleepers

who waken crossly,

with caustic words promising

retribution and a firmer

insistence on scouring

the pathway to your innocence

tomorrow.  And yes, it’s time

to shed those childish fears,

and this is how:

walking through the minefield


saying this is so

and this is how I survived,

admiring the intelligence

of the childhood hero

swooping out of the shadows

to save me.


Inspired by Moonstruck, Shed, Population, and Broadcast

Ah, about that Emperor…

What do people without an ancient tree

Outside their window dream of?

My own nights are guided

My thoughts rooted through and

The soil exposed, so that I toss

And turn, wake up blearily

In the hold of a narrative

Repeated like a list of wrongs

I’ve endured, ensorcelled

By a frightened being

Insistent upon protecting

Me from the evils lurking

Without, building a solid

Cage to help me survive.

My tree sends me downloads

That open in the night, snaking

Through the fractures of my 

Constructed reality, illustrating

The sheer lunacy 

Live on stage

This sullen detailing

Snuffing out any probability,

Any compassion for the other

Who struck out in her own fear.

And this rewritten history

To ensure that anyone listening

Will feel oh, so sorry

For….who?  Fully awakened at five,

Lucidity-impelled to let this go.

No matter how far along the path

Of self-healing, I drag

These patterns of sheer

Survival.  In the day, easily dismissed,

A sugary smile and a cookie,

An offer for an outing,

until in the darkness,

The little voice insistent

As the tired adult slumbers.

I leave my bed, read an email

— A comedy show poking fun

At the cultural dissonance

Between the lies absorbed at childhood

That keep piling down

Blizzards of misinformation

Covering up the stark truth.

The murmuration of starlings

Yesterday bursting from the bare

Branches of this Poplar.

I cling to the tale of the clear-

Seeing child declaring the naked

Truth, waking me

until I hawk and harrumph

Through this throat-closing mucus

To sing:

Separation is a lie.

Our walls are built

To keep us busy as

The few enrich themselves

Destroying and selling the remains

of the age-old beings

Who reach us in our sleep.


Billions of years of intelligence

Coursing through us, invisible,

Unutterable, the harmonic sounds

In registers we ignore.

The evil trance-talk keeping us

Apart, dozing instead of embracing

Trees, bees, birds and coyotes —

And oh, goddess, where are the elephants?

Their stomping rampage an echo

The smallest children hear, surprised.

We re-member our connection

Recognizing the sentience

Right outside these doors

That we coveted for so long

The ones that now resemble

Sterile jails, like the cars we huddle 

In, driving past our hopeless

brothers holding

Childish scrawls for help,

Reacting angrily to a clear-cutting

That we forget as soon as we pass,

Led to exclude

The very best parts of ourselves

That growl and pounce and scream

And squirm, anguished,




We reach to reclaim.

Inspired by: Lunacy and Ensorcell

And Lee Camp’s new comedy special. Check it out here.


*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,


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


This Aggression Will Not Stand

Children in cages at the borders,

long lines of women fleeing violence

from actions our government

has taken in their countries

to enrich a few.  

What is the answer?

No more hitting the snooze button,

it’s time to wake up.

We have sequestered our hearts

in the hopes the prince

will arrive, but the forest

has surrounded us with thorns

and the property has been condemned.

The percentage of people in peril

supporting the top tier

is growing; we feel their boots

on our backs and rush to the

chiropractor only to find

this can’t be adjusted.

Pinch yourself.  We must awaken,

spit out that poisoned

apple, and rise up.

Inspired by:  Property, Percentage, Sequester, and Snooze.


I am in tears

as her brutal soliloquy

muses upon the myriad

ways I have irritated her

these long months.  I experience

a similar sensitivity to

the harsh chemicals used to deterge

bathrooms and kitchen counters,

the burn

closing my throat.

As my body orchestrates

the litany

you don’t belong,

I summon the wise woman

of my future, the elder whose sole

intent is to save the planet,

and we hold space

for the hurting children

who never quite grasp

the rules and are always

inescapably in harm’s way.

This new present I create

is spacious and inclusive;

every distressed, inflamed

piece no longer resisted.

Embracing what is

with a slow and careful love

flowing over these obstructions

and welcoming them back home.

Even as I say

no more

and close the curtains

on her act — her voice

dwindling until her projections

slide into her own awareness,

perhaps —

I celebrate

myself in all of my glorious


fucking beautiful

mess, thankful

for the unexpected gifts

of angels,


to allow

the magic of integration.


Inspired by:  Deterge, Soliloquy,  Belong, and Orchestrate.

Surprise Chemical Reactions

The “archetype of the symbolic flood…stands not only for the end of a formal universe, but also for the completion of any cycle by the destruction of the power which held its components together.  When this power ceases to function, the components return to the Akasha – the universal solvent.”  Juan Cirlot, Dictionary of Symbols

The bay freezes overnight,

a tease of winter

surprises the lake mid-sentence,

swirls and eddies iced over

in poses they will quit

only with the sun’s blessing.

In the garage, I wade

through flowing water,

grab buckets, towels, a flash-

light to reveal how precisely

an outlet valve fills its function.

In the kitchen, my father fumbles

a cup, sloshing liquid over the counter

just as my mother comes in clutching

her ostomy bag and an armful

of sheets.  (I don’t ask if it leaked.)

This must be the birthday

of the unconscious, so long

denied, spilling into new morning.

An era is ending

and everyone is wet,

wringing and wondering.

I leave to write and come back

to my father, soaked from

a hole in the bucket

he chose, disdaining the stream-

lined method I’d arranged.

The containers no longer

hold and we must finally

be authentic as this new


arises in front

of our astonished faces

damp from our exertions

to keep up with this flow.


Inspired by: Chemical, Quit, Freeze, Birthday

The mess is the message

I can replay the past

like a music video, 

scripted carefully

shot from angles

to present myself


victim, heroine,

the perfect blessing

to all her dependants.

And I have, believe me:

when you aren’t able to love yourself

as you are, to give what you have,

you invent elaborate versions —

what would people like?

what would make me worthy? —

distribute fantasy

a fairy godmother,

a generous lover who asks

for nothing in return,

a cook who feeds the crowd

lavishly, left eating crumbs

until the next paycheck.

Now I must stand here and say,

Look, the past didn’t work

well for me. 

I’m creating a new

song in all the keys

labeled discordant,

not to be played.

Crashing crescendoes

vehement anger,

sobbing wailing strings of grief,

fear in whispered minor chords

my truth

as I shed

the false harmonies

rising up

in a mess.

And you’ll surely look away

while I listen

for the whole notes

of me 

I’m finally reclaiming.

Inspired by:  Video, Past, Dependant, Tune 


A parody of functional

family values,

saying no!

an act of defiance,

the comminatory consequences

applied with vicious swiftness

castigation by corporal

belts and fists, open palms,

grabbed and clutched and pulled

frowns and anger seething

the harsh removal of solace


until the fire appears quenched.

Docile silenced child welcomed back


watchful as a ghost

I have carried all these years,

never questioning why I flinch

when someone asks brightly,

do you want some feedback?

And here today

my grandson teaches


so we explore

— under the disapproving gazes

of oppositional octogenarians

firmly holding disaster


preaching pain and

focusing on fear —

The child runs wild

and so

constantly presents

new opportunities

will you still love me

if I do this?  If you say

no, do you mean it

every single time?

to allow these pieces

of my deeply

buried traumas

to emerge


in the fresh air

this child and I create


our beating



the puzzled old eyes

watching stunned

by these new openings,

the ancestral lines quivering

as the past is finally


Inspired by: parody, quench, castigation, and comminatory

Class Report

In the playground, my grandson answers

what’s your name?

in a wide-legged stance, open

arms to embrace,

head flung back,

face to the clouds.


He is seething with passionate

clarity, his unique voice

stunning the other children

to gapes of Os

before they return to the slides,

the swings, the ladders,

the mulch.  No wonder he calls out

every plane in advance

of sight or sound; his field is

tickled by their presence.

Thankful that I’m in his advanced

class, I realize

I have been calling my teacher

the wrong name,

my subtle finesse

used to delicately show him the way

of the world

dropping flat and sinking

into the vast sea

of his perception

as he commands, Follow me, Bibi,

sure that I’ll catch up.


Inspired by: Unique, Finesse, Advanced, Seethe, Voice