Nurture The Spark: Poetry in Public 

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Whether you have never written a poem down in its “traditional” form, or whether you write all day long, poetry lives in the determined sway of your hips as much as it lives in the way you notice morning’s first light falling across the windowsill. It is alive in your hesitance to throw away a broken vase that once held the roses of your grandmother’s garden, and in the way you question if that memory was a dream or waking life. It is the way your belly churns when you find yourself longing for something that has always been undefined, the way an untamed energy moves through you when the wind billows across the back of your neck, the way communing with a wild creature wakes up your own wilderness. You will find it in the way you surprise yourself with how good it feels to be alone, and how you now smile at the graceful undercurrents of a fucked up situation, the way you come to acceptance, like a clearing in a tangled wood. It is the way you open your heart and part your lips to feel, really feel, someone you love leaving, and the way you continue loving. It is the way you leave in order to return home to yourself. It is the way you see the market scene bustling before you, unknowingly entering another timeline where the same scene has played out for hundreds of years, the way the same eyes will continue to meet each other in different bodies, though only some can recall why they feel like they’ve been here before. Your poetry is how you gently touch those openings you can’t see yet, the ones you can feel: electric, pulsing, warm. It is the way you let go of the withering pieces, the way you live out the call of your own strangeness, the way you escape, the way you belong, the way you forget, and the way you remember.

 

Your poetry lives in the spaces where interconnectedness is revealed. It is the raw imagining, the blooming, the decay, the edge, the soft center, the torch that illuminates the unseen path. It is the soft sigh and the scream, the stillness and all that only moves. It is the dance that moves your tired limbs into a joyful frenzy, and the song that gives you goosebumps, relieving heavy lungs. It is uncontrollable laughter, and stepping into other dimensions between breaths. It is expansion, contraction, softening, and rigidity. It is the riding of the wave, and the observation only you can have. Your poetry is you noticing your place in it all, and how it shifts like the seasons. It is you showing yourself the way.

 

Here are a few recent poems I have written, impromptu and imperfect, voices from the place within where mystery and imagination brew and bubble. If our poetry is how we witness the world and our place in it, then we are constantly creating something extraordinary from the mundane. See how none of it is mundane. Feel the miracle of your aliveness. Scribble notes in that weathered little notebook while you wait in the doctor’s office; stop to sit on the rock you almost tripped over, below the great oak tree, and channel its message; or use the pause before the train comes to write down in your phone notes what has captured you. Perfection is an uneventful myth. Create in the spaces in between. Refinement can happen later. Noticing never gets boring, and you are a vibrant, living poem.

 

 

Poem at  the Laundromat

This is not vitriol,
no, this is that thing
called grace,
the one I answer to
when velvet buttons
undone by thoughts
in the curtained room
at 3 am remind me
there’s no turning back,
only turning into.
No this is not vitriol,
this is the underwater sting
at first light,
the one I open lace eyes to
when the shedding skin
comes to its final layer
and I slip between stones,
disappearing
the same way you found me
(there will be no explanation,
just a taste in your mouth,
like metal and flowers.)
This is not vitriol,
no, this is the fluorescent light
on a Tuesday at 9 pm,
the one that burns
transparent wings-
sending them sliding
down the drain
with the remnants
of this strange day.
I merge with the reflections
of reluctant visitors
in dirty windows,
waiting,
the clothes they carry
on burdened backs
masking sacred hearts
never fully mended,
just washed clean.

 

 

Poem in the City

It’s past midnight
when the shopkeeper locks up
and walks away,
crossing the street
without looking,
holding in his yellow fingers
a book,
full with sketches
of dreams
left abandoned
for another day,
like mannequins, naked,
in his window display,
their black eyes and frozen smiles
holding dust draped blossoms
that will never wilt,
unfurling always
into emptiness.
Under the solitary streetlamp
we bump shoulders,
all eyes on the ground,
a dutiful pillar illuminating
our meeting
past the glass and the asphalt
and the lonely bodies curled
next to strange puddles,
where a second’s glance
becomes an intersection,
two lives breathing
into the space where
the unlived shines.
And then we are dancing,
incandescent beats
and the tiny salvation
of strangers bearing witness
to each other’s
parallel dimensions,
just before I turn left,
and in different directions
we both walk home.

 

 

Poem at the Ocean

The ocean came to the window tonight
and I let her in
with the moon on her back,
a bundle of silver and seaweed stories
pouring into the silence
and the impression
left behind
from the rustle of sheets
and shells,
sharp and singing,
the echo of an empty home
built beneath the waves:
foundations of sand
can only shift.
This way,
alone feels whole,
because me in the water,
mine,
and you on the shoreline,
yours.
And I think of how
the remembering at dusk
shapes the forgetting
in the morning,
how mermaids and mortals
insist on returning here,
as predictable as the tides,
because water asks the questions
there are no answers to,
and I want to be wet
when I awaken.

 

 

Poem at the Cemetary

You can hold on to nothing here.
Let your still beating heart
and tender skin
open infinitely
into lightness,
as if it were a gift,
as if your one duty here
was to give Spirit
a chance to experience breath
through lungs and limbs,
dancing along the edge
of knowing,
unraveling certainty,
expanding into every crack.
And when you die,
and they bury you,
the earth can sing your life
through what grows
from your bones
and your song
will never be lost,
the spark
offered by the palm,
to the soil,
into ether.
Make room for the tiny deaths
in those quiet moments,
the ones no one can see
but you:
relishing
the relinquishing,
the rebirthing,
freedom measured
by your aliveness
in the release.

Nurture The Spark: Tarot Inspiration

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Tarot card above: Ace of Pentacles from The Cosmic Tarot

 

Using tarot to nurture the spark, inspire creative mojo, and break up those blocks:

Take a few deep breaths and center in to yourself. Shuffle your deck, draw a card, meditate on it, explore the imagery, experience the emotions or thoughts the card evokes, and start writing! Use the card’s traditional meaning, your intuitive interpretation, experience, and imagination to awaken your innate creative energy and allow it to move through you. You can free write or create something more structured…just start, and keep going, without judging or criticizing what comes through. Surprise yourself, let yourself have fun, free yourself up for discovering something new…the possibilities are endless when we get out of our own way and enter into that space of simplicity and wonder, giving the critical mind a rest. If emotional energy comes to the surface, hold it as a gift, let the waves move through, rising and falling, expanding and dissolving. If writing isn’t your thing, try using the tarot as inspiration for any type of creative expression. The act doesn’t matter as much as the feeling it evokes. Do that thing that calls you into curiosity…that thing that maybe freaks you out, or makes you question yourself, but feels so delicious, expansive, and NOW that you just have to do it! It doesn’t have to be “big” for it to move you. There is no way to do it wrong. Your life is your art. The spark is your connection, your soul, your light. Nurture it.

 

Inspired by the Ace of Pentacles:

I found it
long before I left,
but kept it buried,
eclipsed by doubt
and the desire
for anywhere but here.
Core collapse
informed limbs outstretched
to live the longing
from within,
and in the returning
the green growing star
finally made a nest
in muscle and bone,
burrowing deeper
with each subtle arch
and sway-
coming home to itself,
unearthing
the little seed,
the bright one,
the gift.

 

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Using tarot for journaling:

I highly encourage using tarot as a journaling tool, as I find it to be a rich, layered, and invaluable way to tune into those subconscious undercurrents, bringing elements to the surface that need to seen, felt, held and released if needed. Below is a free-write journaling piece I wrote recently. I pulled a couple cards, but wasn’t feeling totally clear on them, so I meandered outside. While standing there observing the garden, breathing, feeling it all, the meaning of the cards started to settle in, and it felt like a revelation of sorts…the key was, yet again, getting out of my own way, by getting into my body and being present with myself. When I started writing, I knew it wasn’t a masterpiece, but did it matter? Of course not. The point is feeling, being honest, and really there with yourself. Try not to edit or censor…let the words & energy flow, see what comes.

 

I pulled Temperance from the Rider Waite Smith deck & Integration from the Osho deck…which are the same card essentially. So, ok. What a joyful synchronicity in this moment of feeling like my heart is poised for explosion, pulling in more than a few opposing directions. While the Aries new moon calls us in to our bodies, grounded for making confident decisions, I feel anything but confident, at least in confidence’s typical portrayal. I still feel the Pisces pull of my nebulous heart waters, though the land on the horizon is much clearer than the last couple months. How can I anchor in to myself here in these currents, moving forward in loving strides while holding the tension of opposites? Both cards offer the same message for me right now: Balance, Patience & Integration. I stepped out into garden in the rain to cry, because sometimes what the hell else can you do? And feeling, feeling, feeling it all is what I am good at, what my small self would prefer to numb or run from when it feels this big, & what I am giving permission & dedication to now. Feels like: How dying and blossoming  happen together, how roses existing on the same stem, within same root system, can be side by side in different points in their life cycle. How truth can exist within a container that holds seemingly disparate realities. How my anchor is my capacity for settling into the stillpoint, the center of the wheel in flux, without rushing to shut down or numb out to control what I simply cannot. To let it happen. To notice. Here, there’s no urgency, and I smile, because of everything that is blooming, everything I am capable of opening to, accepting, and loving so fully, that I can rejoice in this cleansing rain, bear witness to the totality of my experience, to see & feel the death & rebirth within and around me, feeling really fucking alive, skin prickled, blood flowing, movement in stillness.

For more expressions brought forth by my adventures with tarot + writing, check out my posts on Instagram @_emily_violet_ (posting more frequently there currently due to ease!) Encouraging you always to have FUN & DELIGHT in exploring, living and breathing curiosity, feeling FREE in your unique expression of the magic that is YOU, in all your facets, in all your layers. REAL is beautiful. It doesn’t have to be cute or pretty or shiny or acceptable. Your truth is your beauty, your ground, and your center. Keep going, keep sharing, keep shining, keep creating-just as you are. We need you, you need you.

Nurture The Spark: Active Imagination

 

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Madge Bellamy in a still from the 1922 film Lorna Doone

 

One of my favorite tools for unblocking the flow of creativity and releasing pent up energy is active imagination. Active imagination is a technique developed by Carl Jung, used to bridge the subconscious and conscious mind in order to integrate, understand, and heal all layers of the self. At its core, I see it as a shamanic practice of healing. If we can immerse ourselves in that nebulous space between dreaming and waking, we can process emotions and energy that we may not be consciously aware of, yet still experience in our bodies and minds, below the surface of conscious awareness. One way to do this is through stream of consciousness writing, or free writing, which opens the inner chambers and unleashes that which lies within, waiting to rise to the surface. The act of pen to paper, foot to dance floor, or brush to canvas, without the involvement of the ego’s cries of “What does this mean? Am I doing it right? Am I wrong for feeling or thinking this? Does this make any sense?” is a way of activating those deeper aspects of the self that yearn to be acknowledged and set free. I wrote the poem below during a time when I was processing  a heartbreak that shook me to my core. One day I was perusing old photos of my Grandfather’s cousin, Madge Bellamy, a beautiful and talented silent film and stage actress. I found myself sinking in to her experience, entering a sort of meditation, envisioning her life through my own lens: a woman, an artist, whose life was imbued with a certain wild glow, as otherworldly as she was human, traversing light and shadow, beauty and struggle. I started writing without thinking, simply letting the words spill onto the page. I imagined that she was addressing me in a letter, speaking of her own heartbreak, and the spark and grace she embodied that carried her through. What unfolded revealed a well of bottled up energy within my own psyche, and what was at first a puddle of words and images and emotions became this poem: an imagining, a healing.

And in honor of the real woman, Madge herself, without my own romantic projections, her words at age 87,  “I’ve avoided all my life the romantic stuff which novels and movies are about. Never went in for that mush. Of course, I’ve missed what most people would call the ultimate human experience. But then, I’ve remained my own person, which at my age is a very satisfying state.”

 

For Emily, Love, Madge

Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but don’t please them.
One day a star will collapse at its core
after billions of years of trying,
and you’ll see that sometimes, love,
it’s wiser to blow up,
and then slink quietly out the back
before they notice what’s missing.
I long begged the sky
for a warm reprieve,
but diamonds are colder in space, my dear
than anyone ever told you.
The summer roses are dead,
and there’s no preciousness left anymore
to water my mouth.
The truth is as smokey as whiskey
and as smooth as the dust
on his letters,
the ones he wrote me like a ghost
through ether
for years,
long after I had stopped waiting by the window,
shining those pennies at dusk.

I took a fondness to the key
that opened the basement door,
where under the floorboards
I kept the stash of primal laughter,
the kind that felt so good
it turned my guts inside out,
the kind so sweet and slow,
it felt like the first bit of sun
warming early morning lace.
Late at night,
I still walk down the steps into darkness
and pull up the floorboards,
digging for hours,
giving myself a pretty little dirt manicure.
Oh honey I don’t have time anymore
for the nonsense of red polish,
and my lips are stained with stories I never told,
so I scratch and I claw and I howl
and I play my favorite records,
love notes burning
and embers crackling towards the ceiling,
like lovers tumbling together
into perfect illusion.
And on special occasions,
like remembering,
I pull that box of laughter out,
adorning myself in the jewels
of everything I can’t change
but can only cackle about.

I watch myself
as a little girl,
walking along old dirt paths
in thick Texas air,
fireflies dancing like nothing
had ever ripped out their wings.
Toes reach stagnant water,
a whirlpool erupts underfoot.
I go in with wings and prayers,
singing songs at the river
at the top of my lungs,
dirty white dress and ecstatic delusions:
A child just believes what she’s told.
I wanted to leave,
to shine,
and I did, as much as I could,
angel of the stage and silent screen,
singing silly demons back to sleep.

Truth in her crown,
drunk and dancing,
came and rushed me away.
What ridiculous lines we try to walk.
Arouse them, my darling
Arouse them, but never please them.
Nothing will satisfy the vultures.
They have a job to do,
just give it to them.
We all have a role to perform,
and roadkill makes delicious fodder for
mad dogs and foolish, foolish girls.

I hung my feathers up in the doorway
and reveled in my power
on a stage I built myself,
where no lights
would ever be bright enough
and no man could ever be warm enough
(but oh, my face could sure light up a room!)
I was no foolish, foolish girl.
Stop crying, darling,
start laughing,
spill your emeralds on the ground,
bathe in the poison that rolls off
the false Queen’s wicked tongue,
it’s the antidote to sinking.
Pull yourself together.
The roses are dead,
and everything’s fine.
Everything’s fine.
You said what you needed to say,
even if it was never enough,
you said it.

Sweet girl, you are wiser than you think.
You are stranger and you are stronger
than you let yourself believe.
Be joyful in the wild wood
at the edge of glory:
unchained, ugly,
beautiful and breaking.
Wholeness is a story they tell you
so you keep on trying.
I never wanted to tame
the eager effervescence,
because love meant passion
and passion is a cousin of war.
Walk the tightrope honey,
that funny line that separates
the mad from the sane.
Anyway, what sane person
needs to prove themselves so badly,
they’ll up and steal my key
to the basement door?
It’s not theirs to take.
Some things are yours,
sweet child,
don’t forget it.

They’ll fool you into thinking they know
what you’ve got stored there,
under the floorboards.
But they will never really know.
Take that stash of frenzied laughter
with you.
Use every last breath,
bellow every guffaw
like a spitfire pixie,
Untamable,
Unnamable.

Like the sullen organist
who played on Sundays,
whose wife left him for the grocery boy,
I just kept on playing.
I kept coming,
going,
raising hell
with boisterous music
and
I laughed
I dreamed
I wept,
the kind of tears that burn
like heaven.
No one can use my key
to open their door,
skeletons like their own closets best.
Say what you need to say, baby,
and go.

Let Me Be Tidal

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Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

As my fleeting name
slips off your silver tongue,
breath escapes heavy lungs
and we are crystalline-
down dirty alleyways
where fishbones and petals
stick to our shoes,
caked in the mud
of forgetting-
that you were always here,
that both faces reflected
in your grand chandelier
belonged to us,
shattered and laughing,
remembering
what it feels like
to reach beyond skin.

Sparks set fire
to the icy ocean inside,
sacred heart of the feminine
unfolding in an explosion
of roses and flames.
We find water in dry wells,
mirages we can drink from,
where I swear I see seedlings
bursting forth from desolation:
Mother of God, fire breathing nurturer,
offering us a dance
in the riptide.
I promise I’ll be pulled away
without getting pulled under,
or maybe I am the moth
whose wings fry on the porch light,
lost on her way to the moon.

And for each piece of myself
I willingly relinquish,
I hold closer the little wounded me
who is still afraid of what will happen
when I dive in again,
to those same depths
I will always crave,
a sweetness so stormy and true,
a sudden re-imagining
of a world
I have so carefully created.
(Still,
nothing ever felt as good
as vanishing
in those fearful waves,
or pretending
to be impenetrable,
even for just a second,
imagined relief from
rawness.)

Let me wear the skeleton key
around my neck,
rusted and hanging
from a cord worn bare
by the redwood’s pleas
for softness,
where I can hear
the old ones communing,
and bones growing,
molecule by molecule.
And oh how they break,
life blooming continually
toward death,
where we set sail too soon
on forbidden waters,
or maybe it was never soon enough,
how the surface
will deceive the depth,
how you will let me go
when it is my time
to taste the quiet
in saltwater hair.

Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.

 

Inspired by a journey through beloved Big Sur, California

Stars Whisper Stories

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laughing the language of moonsugar

 

Stars whisper
stories in secret,
laughing the language
of moonsugar
behind hurricane clouds
and ghost lights,
where the wave
never began
nor ended
because it always was.
It was as simple
as picking up a fork
from the kitchen table,
only it wasn’t
useful, cold or stainless,
and what was once weightless
had turned to gold,
dusty and growing
with the Black-Eyed Susans
on a hill where every path met,
melting into a stream
that had never known water,
but still moved
like her mother’s antique silk,
A serpent awakening
in her painted cave,
hematite handprints
animated by an ancient chant
nobody knew
until we all started singing:
and it was never out of tune
because we harmonized
with the bees,
and eyes became flowers
in the song of the spheres,
every ritual
a reenactment,
every passage
a possibility.
What remains
are the stories that sing
through the walls,
and in stillness
we learn
the uses of enchantment.

Feral

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white winged mysteries

 

 

 

The feral one learns
the language of God
in dark corners
while she waits
for the telepathy to kick in,
where pretty is a lie
and truth speaks louder
than a pose under false light.
Past pine needle floors
and lost meadows
she steals away
with sparks
and birdsongs
that swallow her whole.
Shifting like a seed in flight,
she wears a crown of cobwebs
while white winged mysteries
rest at her feet.
Here the relics
of weeping settlers
on foreign soil
reach back through doors
veiled in knowing,
opening to faraway voices:
the way shadows dance
on faces masked by centuries,
cloaked in the grace of silence.
And then the spiderwebs
between her thighs,
every space an altar.
She keeps the vaults locked.

Lunation

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Make good with your ghosts.
Dance the illumination
with the archer and his flaming arrow,
aimed straight for the heart
of everything that glows.
The cosmic trickster
laughs as her blood
hits the concrete,
painting the unsung map
on sidewalks of lifetimes
stretched across galaxies.
Webs of light hold hands
with black holes,
golden robes draped
on the backs of the ancients
who call you in.
Once spinning in
mechanical precision,
you find the guts
to tilt out of orbit.
You are not the cardboard cut out
of the “worst thing you ever did.”
Your silhouette extends infinitely,
your flesh the expression
of the desire to
stand your ground in mid air
and finally jump.

In Ruins & Rising

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The heart is a safe place to live,
remember that
when you have forgotten.
That is the only miracle
you must always remember.

 

You walk in the front door and barely a breath passes
before you find yourself out the back door,
arrow-straight pathway
to the sea,
diving head first
into the secret lives of mermaids
and a million tiny miracles,
the kind made of
saltwater dreams,
jungle birdsongs
and roadside shrines
to Our Lady of Guadalupe,
for those times
when you fall on your knees
in gratitude
or for those times
when you have nothing
but a fucking prayer
for the all-embracing mother
whose starlit gown
and crescent moon chariot
carry stories told
for thousands of years,
long before she came here.
And if you want to listen
you can hear
the sounds of night falling
and the electric kiss
of silent lightning
piercing dark skies,
holding a space vast enough
for meteors
to dance in the sultry air,
enveloping you like the languid body
of a tired lover
whose crystal waters lap sweetly
on your white shores,
untouched, mostly,
vines bursting with
purple blossoms
crawling across
seashell mountains
and seaweed rotting
in the beating sun.

And the driving down dusty roads,
lined with green,
thick and tangled,
past children playing, barefoot,
past tiny wooden crosses
on every doorway
and ladders to nowhere,
past abandoned buildings,
sweet old dogs, and roaming chickens,
the king of iguanas
guarding a shack
with ceviche from heaven,
while a little girl waves
in front of crumbling walls,
whose fading colors
bloom behind her.
Maybe these makeshift shrines
to the virgin mother
tell you that this
is all you need,
because of how beautiful
they are-
their clusters of candles,
sometimes lit,
their wilting flowers
and neon lights
flashing against the darkness.

And the song-filled bike ride
to the pyramids,
who touch the place
where the sky is born,
where you explore
the chambers of the ancients,
still slumbering in stone.
You are content
to only climb mid-way,
because your body goes weak,
heart racing fear of heights-
no sacrifice today.
So you sit on the ruins
communing with Ixchel,
moon goddess of becoming,
of rain, of healing,
weaver of fertile prayers,
medicine woman
alive in every phase of her creation.

An iridescent blue butterfly
comes to you to say:
you are not imagining things,
yes, this is really happening.
And at the foot of another temple
you walk through
a passage of initiation,
chasing the light,
cherishing every step
because you know what happens here:
You are never the same,
reborn on the other side.

Then there’s the part
where you just have to laugh
at comparing the wet, thick air
to a a lover,
because it soon
turns into an enemy
urging you to keep seeking
these prehistoric sinkholes
to wash the perpetual sweat
from your skin,
finding pure delight in the jump,
free-fall
into unimaginable beauty,
the kind that turns you
into a creature,
who howls and sings
the sounds that come
from a timeless space,
but somehow it also
rattles your memory
and brings out the best
90’s pop tunes,
because when delirium sets in,
Mariah Carey goes perfectly
with the ancient Mayans
“it’s just a sweet,
sweet fantasy baby”
swimming in these
underwater cities,
labyrinths of
subterranean rivers,
burial grounds
and portals to the underworld,
where as you float, you decide
that you too will bury
your dead here,
all your bullshit
and your beloveds
you can no longer carry-
these unreal spaces
make you drop it all.
For a moment
there are no humans left,
just you and the ghosts
and the wild things,
and you are not afraid.

So you move gracefully
through the dark
in embryonic caves
filled with turquoise waters
whose depths you will never know,
and you decide
you will never lie to yourself again
about some things,
(about those things
you will never know,)
because at some point
you understand
that what is seen
cannot be unseen
and what is felt
cannot be unfelt,
and what is known
will never again be unknown,
but still, you will always prefer
the way it feels
to merge with the mystery
to find beauty there,
and truth,
in all that lies beneath,
floating softly
in womb-like waters
of the mother.

Because mystery is the first love
of water nymphs and mermaids,
so you descend into another cave,
found at the end
of another dusty road,
where stalactites loom above you
and water drips onto your head
as you swim towards the center,
finding comfort beneath a single hole
in the ceiling
through which sunlight shines,
the golden thread
to the world above.
You can’t stop smiling,
feeling your human hands clinging
to the edge of the earth,
little feet kicking
to stay afloat,
then the sweetness of letting go,
because this is all one big letting go,
joyfully plunging below the surface,
surrendering
to the depths of the unknown
in the caves of your inner being.

Then there is that other
hidden cenote
surely favored by las brujas,
where the water is more emerald
than turquoise,
surrounded by mangroves,
where some force
calls you further and further in,
to where it is cold,
to where the roots reach out
like gnarled hands
you don’t want to hold,
but are curious
about touching anyway,
because when you go quiet
you can hear the spirits of the dead whispering:
“you can hold on to nothing here.
Just absorb it into your body,
so when you die,
and they bury you,
the earth can sing your life
through what grows
from your bones.”

And so all of this
you must release:
the flesh scraped by dead coral,
bruised by rocks,
sliced by shells,
stung by salt,
bitten by strange insects,
turned blistery
by jellyfish larvae,
hair woven into knots by the sea,
ears heavy with water
and siren songs,
finger pinched to hell
by a kind-looking hermit crab,
stomach aching
from dancing in the kitchen
after eating too much papaya,
coconut, dragonfruit,
mango, rambutan,
tamarindo, and tequila,
or maybe it overdosing on queso fresco,
or choking on the ocean from laughing too hard
about falling out of the kayak one too many times-
but these are the blessings of the journey,
slippery paths
and countless oases
to remind you of your aliveness,
friends alongside,
soothing the aches.
This saying goodbye,
to the the sand between your toes
the way your heart
will always fill
and empty again
with the tides,
where you will laugh
your way to divinity,
uncontrollable hilarity,
joy, deep sorrow,
and then an even deeper stillness.
Yes,this is all one big letting go.
We will have to give everything up.
So fuck it,
jump from the scary heights,
and listen
to the wonderful elf-like man
who told you at the cliffside ruins,
“Fly your imagination!”
because that is some truth right there.

And you imagine that somewhere Ixchel, Tonantzin,
y Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
hold hands and smile above it all,
with tears in their eyes,
above the blood and sacrifice
above the obsidian and the honey and the music,
above the ornate churches
built for one god
built on top of temples
built for many gods-
the descending god, the honeybee god,
the wind god,
a space for everything
to be loved.
We all need a sanctuary
when darkness falls,
because it always will,
and you will pray that
building your refuge
won’t hurt anyone else’s,
and that your retreat
will be respected,
as we all look for the light
that comes from nowhere,
the light that holds it all,
shining into emptiness,
lighting up the caverns
of our sacred hearts-
entangled and shining,
together,
in the house of the spirits
through which blows
a warm gentle wind
who will carry it all away.
The heart is a safe place
to live,
remember that
when you have forgotten.
That is the only miracle
you must always remember.

Inspired by breathtaking Tulum, Yacobá, Valladolid, Ek’Balam, Cobá, and other magical places of Quintana Roo & Yucatán, Mexico.

A Hunter’s Heart

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The happening waits for no one, just fly

 

A hunter’s heart, a stone, then water
here for a feathered breath
then gone
with the mourning doves’ call
through the window at dawn.
Yellow roses land in the bathroom sink,
sweet sailors on the wind-
the ones who bleed milk white,
whose green stems snap
and turn to dust,
sphinx-eaten beauty
and how we stay soft
even after death,
the preservation of the gentle thought
that everything had its rightful place at the table,
long after we’d said goodnight-
safe under glass,
pressed between pages,
a cricket’s funeral and the ocean at your front door,
how you shocked me with how solid you felt
as if you became real under my fingers
as we walked the notes between planets,
each step an octave higher,
until the sounds became a frantic symphony
of wild horses tangled in our hair,
with hooves that bruised our willing limbs-
the discovery and the betrayal
of the delicate ones
who could kill
if they needed to,
sent out to sea in their tiny boats,
rowing through the spines of ancient books
rising from the water,
records of all songs and sorrows,
sweat, screams, tongues, & touch,
enmeshment,
and her voice’s echo down the hall,
reaching past all the birds and blood,
disintegration
and flowers on every surface,
a heart that beats for those lost beneath the waves,
hands up, sinking,
breathing in new ways now-
how lungs sprout roots,
architects of every pathway home
from eyes that never opened-
relentless adaptation
and the illusion of order,
still as real as skin on skin
and our names in your mouth,
behind curtains that keep no secrets
except the ones between them and the wind,
whispering:

Climb down now child, build the the ladder as you go. The Tower always falls
 before you are ready, 
and fallen feathers 
scatter, singing 
to the stars–
The happening waits for no one,
 just fly.

Nurture The Spark: The Living Poem

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One way poems are born….the living poem: The day I wrote this, I woke up feeling compelled to write down the images that were flying around my mind, in that strange space between dreaming and waking, the landscape of symbols and sensations barely touched by words (but still, they ache to be written, or I ache to capture them inside in my little glass bottle heart, take ink and turn them into something, scribbling in my journal like a madwoman, so I can watch little wings flap, and see a tiny fragment of another world…always trying to capture the ethereal, preserve impermanence – those silly but urgent desires to convey essence that is beyond logical expression.) As the day unfolded I quietly noticed that a lot of what I had written earlier was manifesting on a little faerie walk I was taking with my friend & her daughter. We saw a beautiful snake move like water into the space between rocks…the temple of the serpent…and then a moon carved by the elements onto the face of a stone….a spider in her web  between tree roots that held rocks like something precious… bees like tiny faeries in their yucca and sage flower sanctuaries, flying too close to my face….I had written these elements down hours before, and there it all was, being born in front of me. Of course the poem, once it starts to be written, takes on a life of its own, relating the inner world through observation of the outer world…but it’s the sweetest & strangest feeling to move through the day as if I am dreaming my life into being, connecting into the vitality of the present moment & relishing the interplay of the subconscious undercurrents and the conscious experience. I am always inspired by the magic created by openness, and the willingness to notice.

 

Medicine

I took only one step over the threshold
into my honeycomb caves
before I wanted to turn back,
to slink away quietly
beneath moonstone ceilings
close enough to touch,
bees on my lips,
whispering that all it will take is
three breaths past the web weavers’ doors
and seven stars beyond the sea urchins’ spines,
the path to all the places I protect
without knowing-
that this is an entry point,
a spiral path
into the temple of the snake,
meeting of the essential self
learning to move like water
where no space is too small to pass through,
where from the stone sprouts a shoot of green,
faith- raw, naive,
and every flower who opens here
calls my name-
urgent voices
riding cobweb carriages
and howling to the night,
laughing about how we can’t feel ourselves bleed
but we know it by the salt-kissed sting,
porcelain white colored by crimson blooms,
comets made of ironstone hearts
breaking across the sky,
the way cuts harden to heal-
the wisdom of skin,
merging and falling
as we walk the circle
to the center.

Through layers of lust,
blinding-
the salve and his sword,
the rose and her thorn
their urge to attach,
and then one stronger:
detach,
re-arrange,
pray to the present,
to the breath,
the silence,
the arrival
at each gate,
where only one thing is asked:
remove your jewels
and make your descent,
strip yourself of each coveted garment
and rise,
naked and trembling,
not with fear
but with lightness:
ritual incineration,
electric bodies melting
into a vein of pyrite,
fool’s gold mine by the river.
We are untouched by greed
and kissed by the one
who leaves specks of ruby
on our tongues-
unmetamorphosed desire,
unpolished still.

I watch for all the things you don’t say.
I am a bricklayer who befriends earthquakes,
building her home amidst
the crashing
with the red-breasted bird
who eats the butterfly,
grabbing her from the spider’s trap,
savior. saint. sinner
devouring
in silence.
Another transformation
in this theory of mirrors,
the reflection and the shattering,
energy provoking energy
and deliberate movement
across the ice bridge-
its frozen song melting
into the soft opening
between danger and beauty.
Channeling Ms. Lonelyheart’s fire,
this little sacrificial love lamb
chooses to carry herself into the flames.
This time, this time I will get it right,
burning my own fortress to the ground,
the foundation becoming my altar
where I dance in prayer,
destroying every flag we have ever waved
in the name of anything false and fickle,
all that has stood for anything
but love and liberation.

Inspired by the enchanting Matilija Canyon in Southern California, a gem of my beloved home.