I felt taller than you [poem]

When I faced you

daughter to father, in the kitchen

I felt taller than you

just like I did as a teen

when I lept for you down the stairwell

and when I threw my hands

around your neck, near the pear tree.

I never meant to hurt you

Even though that was exactly my intent.

As the years have passed

and the strength within us both

has diminished, my anger has turned

to sorrow, not so much for my actions

but for the giant pain in this life

that seems to have left

no other way, but to anger, and defend.

Bing Crosby plays in my ears

as your low voice resounds against the walls

at Christmas, and on Sunday afternoons, trying their best

to absorb whatever joy they could.

Your hair is so much lighter now,

your large body more round, less firm.

I watched you slice tiny shrimp into pieces

at the third birthday luncheon for my son.

I know you’re afraid, and I wish you weren’t

so fearful of the death we all know is coming.

Your own father dying as he choked

on some trivial piece of food from a recliner

in his living room, his wife and son bearing witness

fighting against the truth of that moment.

Why must we always push back at

reality that is before us? Me, you, all of us

in struggle against the harsh reality we see.

please let there be blue paint there, too? choosing to career again. [poem]

I stayed in bed all of today, save
four walks to the kitchen, the same
number of front door openings
so my yellow dog with a hard chest
could pee on sparkling snow, light blue
reflecting the Saturday sky of January.
I felt a fever, which made me scared not
in fear of this virus I’m told to be afraid
of, but of passing on a job interview, a
role I know I’ll get, and will accept, and for which
I will adjust my life accordingly.
I didn’t want to fuck it up, from
sickness, no I’d rather make that happen
by choice. I practiced pitches, the sales funnel steps and learned about aluminum trailers. Hours spent understanding trailers. Done, and still will there be
time for writing, for spreading blue
on white canvas, the feel of wonder
on my fingertips as they glide in
wet paint, creating something from
nothing. The not knowing feels the best, and yet
here I am, with wrinkles
a hairline moving back, an inch past
where Snapchat filters place
the hairline on my head. My scalp
hurts. Years of indecision hidden
under play, curious in deserts, dawdles
on Fridays in the forest and tuesdays
on airplanes. Who but I to set
my schedule, and still, a child played
with gray blue sand and flimsy clear
volcano molds on the table next to
me, behind the computer as I decided
not to let me be so unsure any longer.
From this bed today I practiced
elevator pitches, the fire in my pelvis
cooling with the minutes that pass. I
questioned to the doctor if his drugs
could be to blame. I wished never
to decide my steps from head and not
from heart, and yet I saw him sitting
there, tiny rocks falling from chubby
little hands, water falling on my face
“Don’t cry like that mommy” as my chin
dimpled in. “Mama’s trying to make it better,
little man” amongst the papers and
the mess I created ‘round myself, to
shield us from monotony that is
surely just ahead, when I clear
the mess I created ‘round myself, in
spreading blue on white canvas,
the feel of wonder on my fingertips
as they glide in wet paint,
creating something from nothing.

time to butter bread this morning [poem]

Her speckled tan banana bread
is dense, losing moisture, and tastes
of saran just a tad within my mouthful of
home. My mother always made two tins
of the simple cozy cake from a bunch of
rotting yellow fruit our family did not
eat. She still does. Two weeks ago she
wrapped a loaf within layers of plastic and
left it on my counter next to mail from
DHS needing my attention and bottles of
coriander, turmeric, cumin and black pepper,
a clay pot of pink salt which I use
to add flavor to my food. She knows not to
mention them or ask or stay much longer in
my house these days. She must protect
herself and the way she wants to be. So do
I, now seeing bitterness in a jar and a
warm slice of her on a plate with its gold
flowers and golden brown cracked crust.
I took the time to butter bread this morning. 

the rise of you again [poem]

a new old light in my smile

why

was it the kiss of the man I was meant to

be with

who I kissed almost first, and who I’d love to 

kiss last

the strangeness in our mouths, a welcome home to

our bodies

perhaps it’s when we stop performing proving and decide 

on settling

into the sweetness of a human life, without pushing back at who

we were

all along he was him leaning into life his way, and still there is so much

I don’t know

and there was I was, over there, and there, and there, and here, and there, never 

stopping long 

and maybe now I hear a gentle letting go in knowing not all this life can or should be lived in

this moment

it’s perfect to accept what is, what isn’t, what comes, and what must go because not every little thing

can be

what would I sacrifice, asked the wanderer to me, for the chance to let love be sewn onto my soul for a long while

everything

I know as I let it rest, which isn’t really rest at all because in this mind and life of no casual affair at all, I cannot let it rest when

it must be

I know that my heart my body and my spirit longs for a long adventure into quiet expectations giving and receiving for once without demand

lay with me

a while upon this frozen earth under those red oaks and beech holding onto leaves beside a small hemlock poking through the pines near the flowing river

and let us see

what comes in this life wherein we’ve circled round each other time and time and time again never ever saying goodbye with fire in our eyes and anger in our bones

because love is

and kindness comes and comes, continues to come and ravage my soul as it always does yours and fingernails on flesh and mouths on necks and breasts in your hands and mine

being held by you

is the most

exciting 

thing

I

know

crabmeat chuckles, finally [poem]

as the sticks of crabmeat
slippery from themselves and the water
I rinsed them with in a swirl
slipped across the plate, one landed
all by itself on the center metal ridge of
the steel two-basin sink.
there it was, a shaft off pollock and
egg whites, dressed as king crab
wet and floppy near a spongey yellow towel
I chuckled, the joy in this moment profound
all of life being so silly
and just fine exactly as it is
clarity dressed in leg-style meat
that i will heat in a small pan on an
inexpensive gas stove in a house i do not own
a better choice than the microwave, but if 
I’m being honest, I don’t really care much 
how my food is heated at the moment. 
I’m just so glad
I laughed, and that I will eat it
with a toddler son at my side, who won’t
and we will laugh 
about slippery meat and
slippery spaghetti and
slippery white mushrooms and
how damn slippery our lives together thus far
have been
and I am so happy to hear my chuckle
and his

therapy again [poem]

therapy is going well, we all agree 
I smoked twice today though, also true
finished off my self-medicating stash 
with a dance party to The Weeknd balanced
iPad recorded my efforts. head nod. 

two therapists, two paradigms of 
healing, and my own acknowledging
an intellectual mind loves to spar
with like minds, developing beings playing
nice to pay the bills. head nod.

I’m paying nothing either, save the
stories I may tell of this to them
they always want the juice, don’t they
I, too, offer a hefty pour of pain, pussy
struggles, parents, pay the bills. head nod. 

one says to dance it out, collagen 
for a leaky gut. note that its his karma, to deal 
with you. the other smiles more kindly
his own elephant still in some bits,
outside. sit with it, he says. head nod.

neither men take the whole truth, nor dozens 
who I paid before, yet they swallow some
mixed, shaken, and ground up and taken 
sipped on slowly, chewed with a note 
in the margin, time ticks on. head nod. 

see you friday on zoom? head nod.

god asks, do you trust me? [poem]

the purpose is experience what it is, is
self-realization, enlightenment, removal of the veil
who decided we needed this, light beings being

god asks, do you trust me?

humans in a mad mad world without rhyme in reason
searching and seeing while others do not care to look
how miraculous it may seem to not wear spectacles

envy not the sleeping sheep with their white fluffy wool
if you choose not to look, how could you see?
they’ll be back again, trust

here’s the secret, searcher (you already know it)
do the things that bring you joy, set me on fire
your passions are also mine

let go of knowing how. mind runs wild
confusion if you choose it, choosing to
cling to itself, not the self, fear

a dozen hands touched me, a being within being
bamboo, heaven on earth is here, on earth
god asked, do you trust me?

eight years cycles round, i honor conviction
oil on my face, lust for freedom in the heart
god asks, do you trust me?

i surrender, let us dance
god says we’ve work to do

terrified of the other mothering [poem]

i hurry rushing flushing bluster of nerves
i pause from stacking the tank tops on the shelf
behind the door of knotty pine, that slides, a bit rough on its track

stop
what am i doing? for whom and i changing what just was? who am i trying to be?

        my healing vacation of quasi-awakening in traumatic shifts of the self
        coming to a close. they’re already in the car. my mother driving him
        home to me, his mother
        an artist when he is away

i slide empty canvases and masterpieces just the same
inside a brown paper box awaiting life, when she comes again

since becoming a mother, i have been trying to find my other mother way
but no. i have to make my own way of mothering, because
i am terrified of the other mothering
the one without unconditional love offering freedom to be creative

        somehow there has to be space
        for art in momming
        it now is who-i-aming, so expand i must in my mothering
        i choose to make space for the artist, the child in a home
        without freedom to create, to be seen in her brightness and her glory

to the sweetness within my mothering
        i offer kindness to you, who will not be understood
        some of us cannot hold space for
        no art in our hearts, lest not in our eyes
        of the children artisting in our homes

        is that what you’re wearing? (she asks)
        yes, mom

edited:

i hurry rushing flushing bluster of nerves
pause from stacking painted tank top, black sweatshirt on a shelf
that sits behind a heavy splintered door made of knotty pine
which doesn’t slide any longer, broken now and laying rough within its metal creaking track

stop
what am i doing? for whom am i putting all this away? who am i trying to be?

my healing vacation of quasi-awakening, traumatic shifts of the self
coming to a close. they’re already in the car. my mother driving him 

        home, to his mothering
        artist when he is away

i slide empty canvases and dried lumpy creations from core
inside a brown paper box awaiting life, when she comes again

since becoming a mother, i have been trying to find another mother way
which, it doesn’t work it hurts more than helps,  i know it cannot be true, because
i am terrified of the other mothering
she doesn’t have unconditional love, or give freedom to be creating

        somehow there has to be space for me, the artst in me, within all of my mothering
        it is who-i-aming, so i must be expanding
        i choose to make space hold space offer grace for the child in this home
        full of life in her space in all she creates her brightness and her glory

and to sweet attempts and perfect failings within all of our untrue mothering
        i offer kindness to you, who won’t be understood
        some cannot hold space for
        art in our hearts, lest not in the eyes
        of children within our homes

stop, is that what you’re wearing?
        yes, mom

don’t take down the art asking to be seen [poem]

i don’t know where to put it, or him
this is his space, too, and i need to be respectful

not everyone should see the sulking frothing form of woman, bleeding
on walls and screens, on her face, smell of cannabis and tulsi smoke and death, asking

art asks
to be seen

so then how to do it
to cut the skin and drip it out
while also being a mother, a lover, a friend
this is his space, too, and i need to be respectful

not everyone needs to look at the choking chastised woman, without a bra
in her home just walking waltzing doing freedom flying birth and life, just asking

art asks
to be seen

so then let her be in art
create space on the inner side
grow rise never contract in the face of fear
new ways of thinking are required if we are to expand

not everyone need know language of the beings being without name or reason
cosmic worlds can speak in silent colors rhythms rhyme and guttural sounds, just asking

art asks
to be seen

i do know where to put it, or her
because this is my space, too, and i need to be respectful

yes to that man, i said [poem]

soft, the marvel of love, too soft
but hard is the copybook of reason

if I may have one for my body
it should be a soft lover, one willing to
rub rub rub the soles of my feet
couldn’t have a life of hard scraping tries from a man who
doesn’t know quite how to love a woman

but better yet, a man of both
a lover of rhyme and reason
i’ll rub my own, he’ll build me a home
using feathers, warm wax, and gloves
to soften the blows of his natural way
of love

yes, i’m in, my love

(hafiz)
oh thou who are trying to learn
the marvel of love
through the copybook of reason
i am very much afraid
you will never see the point

you sexy crescent moon [poem]

you hook me with your tip
as i’m driven under you and inside
madness, taxi, tuk tuks, Delhi

you do not hide
from faces of women in dupattas, men in turbans, cows dawdling
dead on the roadside

look into me, you sexy crescent moon
low, gazing wildy, heart and hara, hot and pricked
just above sugarcane fields forever

are you waxing, are you waning? will you fade or light me up?
i’ll worship and adore you, you sexy crescent moon
feed me, guide me, suck me up

i lie on my side, see you resting, glowing, offering sight to me
bronze face tilts to the heavens, round pout
we’re purple in our humanness

beloved effortlessly seduces his lover, who loves to give herself to him
…cosmic and only time will tell…

i rise in your darkness, offer you my light
round and round and round and round
you sexy crescent moon

first night in india, taxi delhi to rishikesh // march 2014, refurb november 2020

india’s evenings remember [poem]

india’s evenings remember
hold the heat on copper, above a saffron glow
emerald trees witness from mango gardens
blue skies now gray behind cooking smoke and haze
aarthi melodies cricket bat crack crack cracks
chatting and chirping away like birds at young souls
delights for wandering ears and eyes
quick to claim understanding, a purpose
intention care systems for saving the way
        their way, of love

their way, of love
mother’s crimson mark
tika on foreheads in hair parts on
sakti hands on palace steps
        reminders of legacy for some, for now

rishikesh uttarkhand india // march 2014

you can forget the words– artist you yogi you writer you–once you’ve gotten the meaning [ram dass poetic teaching]

(ram dass said chuang tzu said)

the rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
words exists because of meaning.
once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words

where can i find a man who has forgotten words so i can have word with him?
you don’t have to try or even to listen
we just have to be together and it will happen

thanks to ram dass and youtube and for 2020 for all of this that was and is to come