What Mama’s do

While I attend my body
and clean the house
commute to work and home again
walk the dog and pet the cat and feed the hen
plant the garlic and rake the leaves
dance through the night and lie with lovers and walk with friends
I wonder why the world does not stop?
in the presence of so much suffering
I wonder how I can go on with life?
while you exist in crisis

My Mama-self has declared a state of emergency
she does not go on with the routine
she does not eat nor sleep
she holds constant vigil
bowing and praying, praying and bowing
casting spells of protection
making offerings to the spirits
beseeching our ancestors to stand behind you
I seek counsel as you struggle
to find your meaning
your why for coming to earth

I sense you
wandering too far afar
into the shadows
where hungry ghosts, chaotic consumption, and lurking predators
pull and tug at you
I do not know how this came to be
though I have theories
I scan my memory
searching for the moment missed
when I did not love you well enough
or I said the wrong thing
I search for the moment we slipped off the map
the one I drew in my dreams while you were forming in my womb
cracks and ruptures and losses come to mind
the countless mistakes I have made
I believed, once, it was all up to me
I was so arrogant
I believed I could rule our little world
keep you safe from harm
provide the tools for survival
the inspiration for thrival
the skills to observe and question
a code to live by
the freedom to become and belong
I believed I could create a whole new paradigm
a current just beneath the surface for us to swim
perhaps I still do, believe
only I can not do it alone
and not on chronos time

I am scouring the earth for the medicine
if only I knew what you needed
if only it were up to me
if it were up to me
you would know your worth
you would spark your own fire
remember the bright star you fell from
you would transform your pain into medicine
sharing with others
I trust you will do all of these, and more
centering and manifesting
on your time, in your way
I am no good at sitting still
and yet this is my task
so I will wait
I will live my life
and I will wait,
I will hold constant vigil
and I will be here,
imperfectly, at the ready

A mother’s love

when I open books
on grief
on living beyond loss*
on the wild edge of sorrow*
I find parts of me in every chapter
living with losses
perforated with wild edges
I can call some by name now
traumatic loss
sudden loss
anticipatory loss
ambiguous loss
unacknowledged and stigmatized loss
unspeakable loss
the invisible loss of absence
each one
a chasm
in my heart

where does the immensity
of a mother’s love go
when children are estranged?
does it surround her aura,
a throbbing, aching hum?
does her love multiply,
devouring her from the inside?
does it radiate off of her,
a searing heat?

how does a mother channel her infinite love in times of disconnection?
sing it to the moon?
keen, weep, and shed it each night?
bury it under every cedar tree?
rub it into her lovers’ skin?
light in on fire to signal a rising?
store its nectar away for their return?
apply it to her own heart, making medicine of the pain?

*I make reference to the following two books on loss and grief:
Living Beyond Loss, Edited by Froma Walsh & Monica McGoldrick
The Wild Edge, of Sorrow by Frances Weller
**If you are viewing this on a smartphone, line breaks may not be accurate and this may impact your reading experience.

A Rough Draft

Lovers of other times

are dropping into my mind,

for cups of coffee, day-dreaming,

recalling:

our dances of magnetism,

late-night philosophizing,

lessons in foreign tongues,

games of chess in the park,

melting flavors of pleasure,

sudden departures,

enduring friendships,

heart aches and heart hooks,

photographs and missing negatives,

love letters and tearful goodbyes–

many seas traversed and worlds gone by.

I wonder, is this the flooding review

that comes before a dying?

If I surrender to the dissolution,

can I carry parts of you, and me, forward?

If I have a choice, I will carry memories of feeling,

of our rare, naked moments when we let each other in.

And to you, you who are on your way,

I have heard you through the distance.

I have felt you in the space between,

flirting on the periphery of time.

you orbit, coming in close, then departing.

Are you a mirage? a soul projection? a mate? a kindred?

When we meet, sunlight breaks through,

casting rainbow arcs and amber warmth.

When we part, clouds gather,

bearing water and blue-grey cooling.

I savor the sensation of the brush of your cheek against mine,

I breathe in, capturing the earthy scent of you.

I long for our embrace,

the heat of our tender friction imprinting us,

the alchemy of our souls forming a new language for the world to come.

 

Love through chaos

Our eyes steal glances of beloveds, grazing on form and flesh,
translating energy into fantasy.
As the wind belongs to this forest of fir, hemlock and cedar,
your hands belong to the soft slopes of my body,
caressing my cells to whisper, hum, and to moan.
We have known each other
by other names
in other times:
wild shadow-dancer
lakeside star-gazer
moon-tracking tent-dweller
roaring river-rider
hearth-keeper
soul-healer
terrestrial trail-bound lover.
We satiate bodily desires with huckleberries and afternoon swimming–
momentary pleasure quenching.
Great longing spans the distance between our lives.
Longing follows us home.
It fuels our dreams, awakens our senses.
Longing asks us to remember how to love through chaos.

 

A Journal Entry

Exploring my edges–the nature and purpose of my boundaries, my sexuality, my creativity…I may have been long familiar with the idea of how human sexuality and creativity are inextricably connected, however, I am learning about this connection in a deeper and more personal way. I am listening to circulating questions, ideas and messaging. I am learning about what it could mean to liberate my love–to liberate the ways that I give and receive love, as well as how I cultivate and express it. And to be clear, while how I choose to share my body with other people is one aspect of my sexuality, it is not the only aspect and I am getting at something much deeper and different than what some may label as a practice of free-love or casual sex. Longing, desire, attraction and pleasure are my teachers. I am becoming conscious of the direct link between my sexuality and my creative impulses, my sexuality and my inspiration, my sexuality and my ability to think in new ways, my ability to deconstruct the social conditioning of the dominant patriarchal, white supremacist, colonial, capitalist culture of war. I am seeing more clearly how the oppression and the repression of sexuality leads to a culture of fear, shame, mental illness and violence. It leads to a suppression of creativity and an emphasis on conformity. If I don’t know or believe in my power, if I am detached from the natural force of my unique sexuality, then I am easier to control and less likely to imagine possibilities, less likely to innovate. However, if, and when I connect to the power and the unique expression of my sexuality–to the energetic essence of boundless love and eros that flow through me–then I am more alive, more creative, more agile in imagination, more open to possibility, more likely to overcome and transcend everyday violence–I am more likely to live into my purpose.

 

August

August longing heats

the quiet terrain of solitary bodies.

August longing radiates

cells that ache with thirst,

parched, dry tinder.

Skin, not as tough as bark,

ignites under touch electric.

Stoked and stirred by hot fingers of wind

encircling,

caressing,

filling in,

drawing out.

We burn for days.

We burn for months.

We burn for years.

We are burning now.

Smoldering cores of coal.

Lover’s kisses quench the moment.

Earthy blackberry crushed on lips.

Salty blood-licked thorn-prick.

Callous hands meeting softness.

We smell of cottonwood resin,

of river rock,

sun-baked minerals.

We listen intently for the call

of water at twilight.

Entering slowly,

savoring coolness.

Our roots,

our hearts,

our crowns

emit steam, rising.

We immerse

one and two,

becoming one, then becoming three.

We are multiplicity.

We are transitory.

We are fluid,

playful dreamers frolicking like otters,

our eyes reflect the starry seas of our birth.

We are wounded

warriors seeking

the medicine of touch,

love healing,

willing community.

Community willing the will–

the will to resist,

to undo violent behavior inherited, learned,

the will to cultivate what does not yet exist.

 

Summer

I have loved you from the beginning,

like the hot eternal flame of creation that stirs in every life.

I held the memory of spring’s renewal,

of summer’s abundance

through the deaths of autumn

for you.

I kept you warm in winter’s veiled dormancy.

I blessed your sown seeds

with water, time, heat and light.

now I await,

I anticipate,

I watch for the opening of your blossoms

and the development of your fruits.

Dear Heart

Dear Heart,

(a letter to my heart and any other heart in need)

 

The absence of romantic, sexual, intimate love that you are currently experiencing is not a sign of your inadequacy, nor of your unworthiness. You are worthy of healthy, whole, reciprocal love. One day you may find it, or perhaps it will find you. Take a moment to remember you chose this path, and there is purpose in it. Solitude and loneliness are great teachers. Take a moment to acknowledge the abundance, the multitude of forms, of love in your life. Love is all around you just waiting for you to notice, to enjoy, and to pass on. Conjure all you have to give your phantom lovers–your fierce passion, your warmth, your softness, your playfulness, your strength, your pleasure, your touch, your humor, your fantasy, your special sauce, your everything–and let it rain down on your being in a quenching, nourishing, ecstatic flow. No one else owns your love. Though others may ignite and inspire your love, it is yours and it belongs only to you dear heart.

I am drawn

(for my unsung muses, and in honor of eros)

 

I am drawn to you

as I am drawn to water,

to river and ocean.

 

Your allure,

it seeps subtle, into flesh and bone,

into thoughts and dreams,

knowing not boundaries of distance, nor time.

 

Your allure,

it electrifies my senses.

It awakens the unspoken.

 

I long to immerse my body in your waters,

to swim your strong currents,

to be held in moments of stillness.

I yearn to feel permeated,

to cleanse and be cleansed.

 

I could surrender to your waters,

so cool, deep, and dark,

so soothing

to one who burns.

I could let your waters take my life.

 

But we are not adversaries,

and I am not here to offer up my life.

We are energies capable of joining, elementally–

magma flowing to meet oceanic waves.

We together would be

a crashing, transforming,

warming, cooling,

sighing, steaming union,

creating future fertile ground for regeneration.