Category Archives: Poetry

after the funeral

a wilder grace

In response to my last, I want to be kind, my alter-ego writes:

I do NOT want to be kind
fuck kind
kind can yudu na hooey
I want to be inconsolable
irrational
throw some expensive stuff
make some noise
stomp some toes
split some wigs
yell obscenities

I want to laugh nervously
and loudly
like the villain-ess
in the movies
and then catch your
discomfort and fear in my hand
as it comes flying off you
take a bite and then
smear it back in your face
while I laugh again

no apologies
not even in my head
no whatifIgetintroubleforthis
allowed

I want to rip the bandaid
off your dirty
stinking
festering
complacency
and lick it
before flinging it at
some innocent
surprised
horrified
passer-by

I want to snarl
with feral eyes
and snap my teeth
bite
the hand that tries
to feed me
tame me
I won’t…

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If the Leaves Don’t Fall.

fallleavesbark1

The leaves are falling,
but

If the leaves don’t fall
You’ll sleep in that morning

If the leaves don’t fall
Joey will kiss you goodbye one more time,
changing the timeline

If the leaves don’t fall
You won’t even go into work that day

If the leaves don’t fall
The pastor will decide to delay his trip to the bank to make the deposit

If the leaves don’t fall
You won’t hear the knock on the office door

If the leaves don’t fall
You won’t be your usual kind self
and open that locked door for them

If the leaves don’t fall
You make to the storage closet,
the one with the deadbolt

If the leaves don’t fall
The pastor comes back in time

If the leaves don’t fall
They don’t decide to rape you while you bleed out

If the leaves don’t fall
I don’t get that call that sends me flying up
and out of my own body to try and find you

If the leaves don’t fall
Your daughter doesn’t search my face to try and find you in me,
wondering where her momma is

If the leaves don’t fall
My other niece doesn’t have to spend months at the therapist talking
about the “two bad men with a knife who killed Aunt Brenda”

If the leaves don’t fall
Your now grown daughter’s face,
just like yours,
doesn’t cause me pain

If the leaves don’t fall
We get to grow old together as we planned.
Two old ladies in houses next to each other
With too many cats
Sitting on the back porch each night cackling
just like Big Momma used to
To our own juicy, irreverent, wild-woman jokes

If the leaves don’t fall
You could even be here tonight,
sitting at my kitchen table,
smiling at me,
making me laugh

If the leaves don’t fall
I won’t have to leave work early yesterday

If the leaves don’t fall
I won’t ride to church,
snot and tears flying,
praying that my friend,
herself a church admin,
is still there to break my fall

If the leaves don’t fall
You tell me why you are so angry at me

If the leaves don’t fall
We never have that last,
disagreeable,
conversation

If the leaves don’t fall
I am no longer the most selfish person you’ve ever known

If the leaves don’t fall
You forgive me for whatever it is that causes our argument

If the leaves don’t fall
I don’t dread Autumn each year

If the leaves don’t fall
I still have you,

my sister

unkempt

I don’t want to be kind
and nice
today
my usual
thoughtful
so careful
not to offend
self

fearful even

I want to BE
like my hair
LOOKS
todaygrace hair

unruly
untamed
lopsided
asymmetrical
weird
careless
unkempt
Real

crazy for you

“I’m bare-boned and crazy for you”
~Dave Matthews Band, Crazy for You

“Look for God like a man with his hair on fire looks for water.”
~Out of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

we were wild once
I promise not to let them tame me
please don’t let them tame you

the Answer: I am not tameable.


I’m bare-boned and crazy
for you
I’m wild-hearted and opened
for you

I’m hunkered into
the wait
can’t tolerate other
where are you?!

I’m wet-cheeked and longing
for you
I’m goose-bumped and searching
for youlove warrior

I’m my hair in your face, breathing your breath, whispering into your throat, merging into your skin,  intertwined with your eyes, pinned by your kiss, drunk on your smile, wild for your laugh, stunned by the depth, breathless with the height, stripped of my self, dead to the flesh, red hot and holy,

for you

in company of fear

my body is afraid
leaking fear
grief
anger
all over my life
it remembers

I wake
dreading consciousness
memories
my face briny again
still always surprises me
my body crying

without my permission

waking
I feel sadness
slipping away to hide
he takes fear with him
and together they slide furtively
around progressively deeper
narrower
corners
seeking shelter
until the darkness returns
digging in
until they can leak out again

where is that well
the source
why can’t I ever find it
fill it up
empty it
I try and follow them
around those blind corners
alleys close with thick darkness
that feels like walking through
coagulated blood

the body limps
around always questioning
has PTSD
jumps at the slightest cosmic burp
wondering
fearful of knowledge
wanting to remain blissfully ignorant

body
I am here now
you are safe

and every morning
yoga stretch-stitches
me sweetly back
to myself
closes gapfull
watery swellings

strip poker with god

god and I
played strip poker last night
in my luxurious fluffy bed
sitting facing each
other
over the cards
cross-legged
on my rose-covered
down duvet
eating chocolate
off delicate pink
gold rimmed
china
drinking wine
out of not-long-for-this-world
cups
lights golden and flickering
incense weaving
itself around itself
and through the air
into our lungs
intoxicating

making lurid tongue gestures
at each other
smacking our lips
and raising anticipating eyebrows
at each divesting
of cards
of garments
of ego
of self
into Self
laughing
telling randy jokes
blushing

making ourselves wait
each daring the other to cross
the cards first
sweet chaos in stillness
crouched there with swishing tail
ready to pounce
each watching the other
longing
teasing
loving

“For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.”

Also published in The Elephant Journal

coke bottle bottom

those warm melty caramel
yellowbrown eyes
so deep
comforting
so rich
thick
they are like the candy
so sweet but also savory
a substantial toothhold
becoming delightful warm syrup
on the tongue
transporting

those eyes
take me to the smell
of terrace stones warmed by
departed sun
summer nights
with wine
and laughter
bare feet
the smell of late
night coffee brewing
the thick warm silk of the cream
in the cup

unlike cokebottlebottom eyes
clear
aquabluegreenclear
looking all the way down
to the bottom
can see the ocean bed
below and through
seeing the nakedness
while also looking right through it
unable to gauge the depth
too clear

so not unreadable
so exposed and shocking
so unsettling
especially in sunlight
I always pull back
at first intersection
of gaze
startled but trying to quickly recover
and not show it

really not cold
or reptilian
as they suggest
do not let it prejudice you
those seethrough eyes
they simply
seem to reveal too much
and conceal at the same time
can’t judge the depth

is it safe to jump in?

after the funeral

tombstone2In response to my last, I want to be kind, my alter-ego writes:

I do NOT want to be kind
fuck kind
kind can yudu na hooey
I want to be inconsolable
irrational
throw some expensive stuff
make some noise
stomp some toes
split some wigs
yell obscenities

I want to laugh nervously
and loudly
like the villain-ess
in the movies
and then catch your
discomfort and fear in my hand
as it comes flying off you
take a bite and then
smear it back in your face
while I laugh again

no apologies
not even in my head
no whatifIgetintroubleforthis
allowed

I want to rip the bandaid
off your dirty
stinking
festering
complacency
and lick it
before flinging it at
some innocent
surprised
horrified
passer-by

I want to snarl
with feral eyes
and snap my teeth
bite
the hand that tries
to feed me
tame me
I won’t be tamed
domesticated
yoked

I do not want to be kind
forgiving

I will raise
summon
the dead
as my companions
wear them as my cloak
they will swirl around and ahead of me
a warning cloud of regret
and sadness
a harbinger
clearing the way
scattering leaves
souls
bodies
in my path

I will sit right down
into my vicious
close to the bone
naked
wild-haired
sacred
dysfunctional
karma-scarred
magical
ugly
feral
beautiful

Self

and discuss important things
with the elements

“Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

command the tempest
invite Gaia too
no one will dare
to approach uninvited
watching from behind hidden
distance
hoping I don’t notice
them

I do not want to be kind

I want to lap
up your fear
your lust
your slick arrogance
your greed
the distrust I can feel in you
and swallow it down
nourished
and sustained
replete
then I want to shit it out
feed it back to you

I want to stretch
so tall
and broad
as to darken the Earth
in my rage
my discomfort
my dis-ease
rain down my regrets
into your hair
tributaries to your tears
the lightening splitting
me open
to you

I want to bash
against the door
of your hate
your intolerance
your indifference
your fear
so endlessly
so mercilessly
that you are forced to finally
expose yourself to me
until you have
to answer and come out
to be accounted for

to face me
to look into my eyes

I do not want to be kind

Also published at elephant journal as After You Died

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She sees clients and facilitates Divine gracethanx2013.3Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-Planet, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet—yep, they do exist. She writes for The Scarlet Orchid and elephant journal. You can find her blog here and her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I want to be kind

I want to be kind
really kind
gentle
of thought
and deed

not just act kind
not just say kind things
but
only
have kind, loving thoughts also

I want to be the person
who thinks of all the many
reasons
that could be
in play
for the person
in front of me
to have cut me off in traffic

automatically

without having to remind myself
without changing my mind
without having to rethink
without excuses
without reward
without having to restrain myself
in body or word

I just want to be kind

despite the media
only showing me violence
despite the road rage
pointed at me and my bike
despite Bella the cat
biting my hand
again
hard
breaking the skin

despite
the reports
the research
the polls
that tell me it is unsafe
to be a female
and walk alone

despite the fact
that I live in a human body
that never stood a chance
against that car

that bleeds
that cries
that feels pain
emotional
physical
spiritual

I just want to be kind
gentle

against the odds
against the flow
against the majority
against my reptilian brain

I want to be kind

tree bones

I love
the flesh of trees
in the Spring

so fresh and full
like tender baby cheek
plump and downy
green and succulent

and I love the
tough stringiness
of late summer leaves
where scars
of all those summer
cuts
blows
still show

I must applaud
the strength
of the tender leaf
hanging on there
but showing its maturity
its life
telling its summer story

I see where Bella
the cat
shredded that one leaf
before I could get to her and make
her stop
crying out
as I thought of the tree’s pain

I see where the wind
has browned the leaf edges
where that one arm
hand
always gets whipped by the wind

and then Autumn
slides in so stealthily
sometimes just a few
leaves at a time seal off
become their true color
stop wearing their chlorophyll masks
and take me by surprise
the entire tree is old
and wearing its scars
but still green
with only one armful gone yellow
to mark the shifting of the Orb
on its axis

and I still love the tree flesh
that is now old and golden
the glow
that fills the heavens
love walking through
that thick amber air

I am most shocked
each year when
I look at my friends
there
and see their spines exposed
the bones
the vertebrae
stripped of their flesh
naked

can see each twist
and knuckle
each joint
and knot

can hear those bare
bones clattering
and sawing against
each other
in the night
outside my window
the wind playing
macabre tree bone tunes

the way the arm bones
raw and stark
rise from that spine against a pale
watery winter
sky and turn into hands
phalanges
splayed open and still reaching

I ask them for what
they are reaching all winter
my friends

Why
the Spring
they laugh at me
the Warmth
we are just stretching here
waiting
meditating