Monthly Archives: July 2013

in the middle

my breath

I like it best
when it is
mixing
with Yours

creating
Our Breath

an absolute
then
not just
a mixture
of two

so finely
infinitely
combined
as to be
One

I climb the breath
down
letting myself
descend
that ladder
into the vast Stillness

to the

We

let the body
have the wheel
to drive for a while
b/c it always remembers to breathe
without me

while I am sitting
with myself
in the Middle
in the We

the body takes
us down dark
dusty
sometimes muddy
back roads
where only locals
dare to steer

we giggle at the periodic danger
signs posted
along the road sides

turn back now!
they scream from
shiny rectangles
and
squares
throwing back
the headlights’ glare
dead end!
we laugh louder

without sound
without moving
without laughing

we have been here before
to this same exact
very place

picking up even more
momentum
without moving

we crash through
the ‘dead end’
barricade
at breath speed

lifting off

never blinking
only breathing

and fly in
to the

We

breathing…

breathing…

just breathing…

breath…

soft mouthfuls
of We

until…

just…   right…   There…

Stillness

I take it in
roll it around
in here
and then spit it out
again

warmed
and smelling
of chocolate

fortune cookie generator

Using Every Day Poems’ FaceBook prompt today, I came up with:

“You have good reason to be self-confident.”
Not a good reason
just good reason

I don’t always trust
good reason
with good reason

good reason
rides a fine line
in my mind
about how
it might be good
to behave
but only if
it doesn’t violate
my own
hazy ideas
about how my
own
wild
wandering
creative
lustful
commonly regarded as “sinful”
but kind
life ought
to be lived

so you can see
that good reason
and I have
the proverbial
checkered past

I only trust
good reason
when it agrees
with my own
grace reason

and then only
when it’s
also
fun and/or profound

grace

this bliss
flows up and over my banks
spills so easily from me
like water from
an underground spring
rising up rich, thick
cool and heavy

pure
fresh

sleeping,
it brims up over my edges
and sloshes
with every tilt and turn
and sigh
my dreams are silver, liquid ribbons
of rivers through ink blue deserts

I walk weighted,
watery steps
solid and flowing
constantly in flood

it’s like I know a secret
even I don’t know
so close and immediate
and at the same time
so removed
detached

I am in love with everything I see
fall in love with everyone I meet
fall in love all over again every time I see you
recognize everyone I come into contact with
swim in them for a moment
taste their colors
letting their theirness swirl
over my soul’s tongue like sweet
fine wine
taste their core
feel our likeness
smile at our dislikeness
pronounce us lovers
kin
and then move on to the next family member

just sampling
not taking
not drawing
just tasting
and it delivers me up to myself every time
offered from the palm of the Beloved
back onto myself
rolls my human eyes back
in ecstasy at your taste
your colors
the delicacy
the simple intricacy that is you

I want to peel us all
down to that energetic skin
I want to talk about what is Real
talk about it loudly
as well as in warm, tickly whispers

it shouts from you
drowning me
in your waves

what are we afraid of?

even I play the game
don’t want to alarm anyone
I pretend to pretend like everyone else does

could you forgive me
if I let you see me,
if I quit pretending?

could you be so kind, so generous
as to step out of the play?
exit stage right, perhaps
and meet me in the wings?

for We

vulnerable
naked
raw, even, perhaps
so unaccustomed are we to being this naked
but not that human ‘unapologetic’ thing either
b/c even that is pretending
just there

just

Here

and then see the Divine in both of us?
see that that IS the Divine?
could you allow it
be able to stand the brutal gentleness
of it
the power and simplicity?

could you forgive yourself then,
offer up that sip of grace
from the sacred Vessel,
if you let yourself be seen?

could you forgive me
if I told you your own shame
labeled it for you
told you its source
where it lives in you?

would you even claim it
or would you continue to pretend
even then?
and if you claim it
could you still allow
yourself to be loved?

don’t you see that to offer ourselves up naked
to everyone
is the most sacred gift there is?

it is not embarrassing or shameful or weak or stupid
it is our natural, Real state

and to receive that gift, that offering
no matter its contents
with anything less than love and gentle acceptance
with shoes off and heart open in that sacred place
would be a most horrible sacrilege
and would only make the receiver less

and not you?

I am weary of this human play
this human suit
mask
pretending
weary of trying not to alarm anyone

I want to throw this weariness
on that flame I see burning
so bright in you
and let it char and purify me back to myself

I already see you without the mask and love you
not in spite of that
but because of that
and what I want more than anything
is for you to come to me

my door open
swinging easily
softly
in the dark, warm breezefull moon

me barefoot inside
leaning into the night sky
kneeling my forehead onto the Breast of the Divine One
having been absorbed back into the Bigness again

and hand me the key to your door
as you walk over my threshold

falling through ice

You WANT too much, you say from behind an angry mouth, like it’s a sin,
like it would be way too horrible for you to begin
to find the same inside yourself, and meet me
somewhere out here on this ice – ice that’s grown so very thin.

So it sits here within me so hard and tight,
bumping around in there – bruising and hurting –
this pain, this longing, this knife
of passion that cutscutscuts me into tiny little slices
of head thrown back, lips parted.

We could slide right down into each other, just like
Krishna and Rada deep in that dark, warm, garden, diving
through Krishna’s ink blue night
on the stars and planets that swirl up and out of sight
and out into the Universe every time Rada tosses back her long, dark hair…

And now you’re telling me not to go,
because I’m breaking sacred promises
and shouting that you don’t know
how you’re gonna live without me once I’m gone – when I’ve thrown
away what we could have become.

But you had chance after chance to prove your love to me.
And now I know that two persons can be lonelier than one.
I waited for years with hope and then not quite so patiently
for something – anything – that would never come.
You threw us away long ago – fragile ice finally giving in.

So it sits here within me so hard and tight,
bumping around in there – bruising and hurting –
this pain, this longing, this knife
of passion that cutscutscuts me into tiny little slices
of head thrown back, lips parted.

We could have slid right down into each other, just like
Krishna and Rada deep in that dark, warm, garden, diving
through Krishna’s ink blue night
on the stars and planets that swirl up and out of sight
and out into the Bigness every time Rada tosses back her long, dark hair…

I would have explored with you the ancient, sacred mysteries of this mangodwoman art,
because I loved you like I love the moon in her dark,
secret blanket of stars,
Like I love the sun, burning away the chaff to our heart of hearts –
sanguine, heavy and warm.

But you wouldn’t dance with me inside this sweet
holy rain that can fill the heart and soul,
wouldn’t allow that constant simmer on the back burner that melts icy tears
into a warm liquid flow,
wouldn’t trust the Angels to fly us up and out and into the Both, the One, the Whole.

So it sits here within me so hard and tight,
bumping around in there – bruising and hurting –
this pain, this longing, this knife
of passion that cutscutscuts me into tiny little slices
of head thrown back, lips parted.

We could have slid right down into each other, just like
Krishna and Rada deep in that dark, warm, garden, diving
through Krishna’s ink blue night
on the stars and planets that swirl up and out of sight
and out into the Whole every time Rada tosses back her long, dark hair…

like woman

You smell
,he said,
his face in my hair,

Like …

Earth

Like the red earth clods upturned behind my daddy’s plow in the field
You smell like my grama’s closet – deep, dark and secret
Like that red mare after riding – lifting the saddle and blanket – her back damp
Like the saddle leather squeak at a trot
Like the autumn leaves deep under the tree – damp, rich, warm
Like sage after a rain like hard stones coming down, bruising
Like the sheets on my aunt’s bed, having been wrinkled by everyone in the family
Like the quilt on Big Mama’s bed – that read and pink one with the stars – thrown back where my mama was conceived and then again when she was born
Like the stained, soft rags my dad’s mama rinsed during her moontime
Like my mom’s nightgown hanging on the bedpost when I was a kid
Like the deep blackred of the rose
Like fresh from the clothes line, cotton pillowcases, still warm from the summer sun
Like papa’s soft, worn leather work gloves
Like the slow, squeaky slam of that old, peeling, green screen door
Like sunflower heads nodding heavy at dusk in the fields, waiting for the dark
Like fresh red plum jelly, ready on the counter for its seal of paraffin wax
Like that back pasture in the moonlight, tall grasses sighing in the night wind
Like the heavy grapes warm and ripe inside the shady arbor, hanging just out of reach
Like the thick heat in the orchard behind the house, the peach scent heavy on my tongue
Like the little puffs of dust rising in alarm as giant drops of rain meet the ground
Like the rows of tall green cotton stalks standing guard in the dry, white hot heat
Like the spicy puffs of Sweet Garret snuff powder escaping Big Mama’s fresh dip
Like the delicate, wrinkled, hand-embroidered hankies at the bottom of each pocket in each jacket in grama’s front closet
Like the bleached, ripe wood of the lake house dock extending out over murky green water
Like red beans, cornbread and buttermilk
Like long, freshly-sharpened, yellow Ticondaroga #2 pencils in my new book satchel ready for the first day of school
Like the first time I held our son in my arms and sank down inside his fresh-from-the-Source eyes

You smell
,he said,

Like Woman.

after that first time when we decided

after that first time when we decided
not to be lovers anymore
and you were here again
as friend
and we were pretending to be okay with it
or at least I was pretending to be okay with it
maybe you really WERE okay with it

my pain was larger than myself
spreading all around me
staining
like ink growing fingers
I sat and watched it spread

I tried not to show it
hell
I tried not to FEEL it
didn’t WANT to feel it

So I sat there bleeding at the kitchen table looking
at the back of your broad neck
the way your hair curled up and around against your neck
listening to the sound of you talking
hearing the music of you
but not what was said, really
while all the time thinking I’d just like to be close enough to
breathe you in
but of course
that wasn’t allowed anymore

I can still conjure your smell on cue

And then, with your back still to me, you said ‘where’s the bread knife?’
so familiar in my kitchen
in my pain
that my heart almost stopped with this proverbial added injury
this informality of habit
this habit of intimacy

why is okay for you still to know where my bread knife lives
but I’m not allowed to stand close enough to smell you

that clean
smooth as a riverstone
sandalwood smell of you?

And I thought
There is no way I can do this
Do I have anything left inside me to be able to do this?

I thought about all the food in my kitchen we had made together and eaten
the way we had laughed
sitting at the table
the way the light came through the
glass door onto the kitchen floor
stretching over and onto the table in the summer evenings
changing with the seasons
changing the flavors of the room
changing each meal

I thought of the way you loved
my homemade black beans
I loved your obsession with all things bagel

the time the avocado wasn’t ripe enough
but we didn’t realize it until it was too late
until it was already cut
what to do with unripe
cut slices of avocado?
avocado crayons
you christened them
‘You even TALK in poem,’ I laughed at you
always thinking you weren’t a poet
like you were somehow lacking
some title or something
some validation
from someone
whom?
to tell you you were a poet

the time when we were out shopping
and we had that pretend fight about bread knives

I wondered if you were thinking about it too
standing there at my kitchen sink

about how we tried not to laugh as we argued over
what type of knife was best
you said, “Why do you NEED a bread knife anyway, you don’t bake bread.
Do you even cook?”

I pretended to be offended
and said too loudly (like I sometimes do when I’m happy)
so that everyone turned to look at us
“You are one to talk, mister! Just because you think it’s okay at your house to pass the
baget around the table and have everyone bite off a hunk, doesn’t mean that
I’M okay with that!”

and about how at one point
we actually DID bake
a couple of loaves of bread together
from scratch

about how I had to wait for those
nasty rug burns to heal on L2, 3 and mostly 4
before I could go to the chiropractor
b/c I was too embarrassed for the doctor to see them
and I would have had to make up some stupid answer
to his questions
and I’m not really that good at lying

I would have ended up telling him
what really happened
which would then have necessitated
finding a new chiropractor
who, of course, would have
ask me why I was changing chiropractors
which would of taken
me right back to square one

and I really NEEDED to see
the chiropractor after that

so I waited
with you marking the progress of those scabs
laughing gently at my embarrassment
kissing them sweetly each time
to hurry them along

about how that one time you cut your palm
slicing through a bagel with
that very same sharp bread knife
the adrenaline
the emergency room
the stitches
me making fun of you after we got back home
‘Well, without that right thumb (you are left-handed), a bread knife’s no good to you anymore anyway.’

it is too surreal to me
how after just a few little words
nothing is the same
how we’re not even in the same book anymore
much less on the same page

that day you told me we couldn’t be lovers anymore
I came in and kissed you hello and went to the bathroom
I didn’t close the bathroom door
because those words hadn’t yet been spoken
five minutes later neither was allowed to see the other naked anymore

I felt really stupid afterwards that I hadn’t closed the bathroom door
but how was I supposed to know?

and then it wasn’t okay to stand close to you anymore
even though we had kissed hello just 5 minutes ago when I came in your house

And really, would it have been too much to ask that you could have told me BEFORE
I went to the bathroom?
Or when you saw me heading to the bathroom?
so strange
the difference 5 minutes can make

and then I remembered that you were waiting for my answer
standing there at my kitchen sink

Where IS the bread knife?

so I brought myself back down into that pain that was my body
looked up in time to see that
impatient
disgusted
I’m-waiting-for-you-to-answer-me look on your face
that you know I hate
and said

‘I think it’s in the dish washer.’

a very potential friend

I saw you for the first time in my office building – if you can call the old, remodeled-into-offices house where my office is an office “building”.  You were looking at a couple of the vacant offices for rent. I came up from my basement office to get my next client, b/c I heard you up there walking around and assumed it was my client. So I was surprised to go into the waiting room and find you instead, walking around looking, talking to someone on your cell phone. I smiled a toothless, polite, slight “hello” and “excuse me” for looking at you while you’re on the phone b/c I thought you were my client. And I went to sit on the back porch to wait on my client, b/c it had started to rain and smelled so wonderful out there.  And the present-time synchronicity is that as I was thinking and then typing the sentence just before this one, Pandora, several tabs down, was playing a song in which someone was repeating the phrase “it had started to rain”.  And now Nellie McKay is singing P.S. I Love You and sang:  “…yesterday we had some rain.”

You came out on the porch and we said hello and were making polite, stranger conversation, b/c I treat everyone the same:  like they are my friend or a very potential friend. Then you turned to me to say something and our eyes met and I felt a little jolt – like I had been zapped by electricity (and as a former house renovator, I actually know what that feels like, having changed many a light switch and wall outlet).  I fell into your eyes – kinda – it’s hard to explain. I felt comforted and electrified by your eyes all at the same time – how is that possible?

Just writing about it now is birthing butterflies in my gut. You volunteered information about yourself without me asking:  you had just moved here, what your business is, etc. I tried to keep up, trying not to look like the dumbstruck person I felt like. We made lots more eye contact during this exchange, and it was difficult to hear your words. Your energy was so loud to me that it was drowning out your words. I heard you say you were leaving to go and look at other offices over on Stover St. As those words penetrated my brain, I felt like a child whose first, bright, proverbial balloon had just been popped.  Please don’t go, I wanted to say, yet I had a client that would soon show up any second; she was late. Please come back, I also wanted to say.

It felt like you would rent in my building. I tried not to latch on too tightly to that idea, though – or onto you.

I saw you again yesterday before my first client. It had been over a week since that first encounter, and I was really glad I hadn’t latched on too tightly to my reaction to that eye contact thing. I was already thinking you had rented the Stover space. It probably was a lot nicer – my building/house is so old and has plenty of weird little, old-house quirks:  uneven floors pretending to be normal by a covering of modern carpet, molding and trim that run into impossible angles and then just give up and end abruptly without a miter, etc.  I was thinking things like:  I give it up to the Universe. It was not what I thought it was. I was mistaken about that energy/eye contact thing, it wasn’t meant to be, etc.

So I was surprised to see you yesterday. I noticed again, as I approached the building and saw you come out, that there is nothing about you, physically, that particularly stands out for me. Except your clothes seemed very rumpled. It made me wonder. And I thought:  I am mistaken; I imagined it. But then you looked at me and smiled, and I felt that jolt again, and I fell into your eyes again – or whatever that thing is that keeps happening when our eyes hook up.

“So you took the office?” I ask, trying to appear normal and just nice and not like the energy stalker I feel like, b/c I am receiving your energy again, and it is, once again, very loud.  I am trying, again, to not get too excited about this news. “Yes,” you say, “I’m here,” sounding and feeling like you moved in days ago. Where was I?  I’ve been here nearly every day since we met that first time. My client shows up, and there is more eye contact and smiles, as the client and I start down the stairs.

The horribly wonderful thing? B/c you are in the same office building, I have the potential to see you every day.

This morning I put way too much thought into what I would wear to the office today…