A different mode
no time no place
for old names
only time and space
for the oldest ways
a language beyond the tongue
I have been in New Orleans less than 39 hours. I feel like I am home in a way different than other home. I don't feel so much belonging as I feel an animal united with her natural habitat. It is not so much excitement I feel as it is a deeper ease in talking to people I meet. It is not novelty I sense. . . it is a fog, an incense heavy in the air, from the bayou, from the river, flowing from an entire continent—bringing with it the energies only water can carry—and the wet magic of thousands of miles permeates every pothole, every crack in mosaic, every eyelash dewy with it, every pore glowing—and this cloud is alive and binding the humans together here, making more fluid the sponges between their boundaries of a shared mind-soul-scape.
“New Orleans has a way of putting a stick in your brain and stirring it all around,” said Julia last night, the manager of the name of a place I forgot, but I'll look up again. “It all comes from the river. I recommend going and sitting by the river tomorrow. It's very calming. Watch the boats go by.”
Julia found me crying out by the back door of her establishment. She did all the very best things—asked what she could do, asked if she could hug me—and she was a lovely hugger—asked me to come in so she could get me a drink of water. They were closing down, counting money, wiping tables—she guided me to a padded bench and just let me be until I needed to leave. I didn't stay long. I told her through more tears when saying goodbye what the little problem was: that I'd been telling a couple friends at the bar down the street that I'd felt like I was supposed to have come to New Orleans years ago, that parts of myself have been collecting here over the years—and my friend interrupted me to say “yeah and now it's too late”. Which is pretty much my worst fear for anything, and a fear I believe, and a fear I'm trying to shake and escape—and when my friend said those words, I had to excuse myself. I didn't want to sob in front of “friends” I didn't know very well and who didn't seem very interested in listening to my experience. But then I went back to the friends, feeling much better, and talked to them about it. My one friend—he—he listened a good deal and listened to my fears and explanations and ideas—and talked about the fear of being too late for something—the feeling of deep regret—I told him I feel like I am grieving something—some life I could have lived—I think it is a real thing maybe—But. . . I do not want to wallow in emotions. It is actually quite easy to sink deeper and deeper into any emotion and its attached ideas. And I do not want to do that. I am trying to not wallow in this very vibrant regret—I'm just trying pass it, to purge myself of it.
Because I know it is never too late. Possibilities are dying around us all the time—yes that's true—and there are endless possibilities being born. It's funny that I should come to believe how endless music and song is before I come to accept the fact that so are all possibilities for anything else. The possibilities of who can be a friend, who will be a lover—The possibilities of what monologue to write and perform; what city to live in; what country to fly to; what cafe job to get; what dance move to fall into; what way to be an active citizen. . . who to love; how to love; where to love; how to share your love. . . the possibilities are endless. It is overwhelming to me. But I spend too much time trying to pick the most perfect choices. This is part of my journey—learning to accept the deaths of the possibilities which won't happen. Another theme of my journey is learning to listen to my gut so that I won't make the same mistakes.
My gut doesn't feel fired up here in New Orleans, but my whole body feels supported, my spirit seems more physical than anywhere else—my soul is quiet and insecure and recovering from illness, but it is in the drivers seat more so than any other time in my life I can recall. I feel like I'm planning less—something larger than my calculating mind is steering me gently down each potholed street and cobbled path. I feel like a child talking to the kids in the neighborhood. I feel like I am of this heady magic on the warm damp breeze. I have always been in these streets. I feel like I have been here a long time and never left. Perhaps I am picking up the pieces of myself that have been waiting for me. Perhaps this is proof that it is not too late. It is not too late for love. It is not too late to fulfill one's magic. It is not too late to grow and learn and change.
I told my friend Danny that I felt like psychic tendrels of my soul have reached out to this corner of the earth for a long time, and those pieces of me have been waiting for my corporeal ass to catch up over the years—waiting so long that some of those pieces of me have fallen away into other timelines. . . I will pass this grief and regret. I also feel the slow movements of some other thing beginning. Maybe I will not take the time to name it. It is enough to know it is good.
What endings do you feel in your life? What is passing through you? What beginnings do you feel? How does the spirit resonate in these bodies, changing our eyesights, capabilities, personalities, actions, and choices? The possibilities are endless for we are all endless. It is strange, isn't it funny, to be so endless that it is almost incomprehensible to parts of our own minds? I am giving up that part of my mind. Trusting in the tendrils of spirit reaching out, and the soul which has a gentle hand on this vessel, steering with an energy that only looks forward and beyond, in a fierce, fluid peace.
I still have so far to go before I could offer or ask for some kind of commitment from or to some one single other person. I'm still reconstructing my magic. I have so much to learn and be—I have so much breaking a part to do—so much healing dancing—where I break a part my pieces so in the same whirling, my older, wiser, more alive particles can come in—take the place of what doesn't serve the shape and path of what I can be and can do. I can feel it—I think I am so close—sometimes I think it is too late—but that can never be true. It is never too late. It's never too late. It is never too late to let loose that little big something inside each and every one of us all.
When the final movement happens, whatever fricative powers and motions that propel me to a new way of being—I won't have time to write about it. I won't have time to stop and pause and reflect. Somewhere along the way of my childhood I learned to be very cautious. . . and to move slowly else I get hurt. . . I want to learn to love the pain. . . I can move fast. When I don't move quickly I get fat—see it now? I feel it, that's for sure. I want to inhabit my strength, my resilience, my ability to die and be reborn, my love for extremes—I want to fully inhabit my potential—I have so much to do. I need to keep it simple: be joyful. I can be dark and complex and fiery and violent and vindictive and suspicious and mysterious and coy and soft and silent and a million ways I think may or may not please whomever I am with. But to stick to the rule: be joyful. That is something simple I can do and not get too lost or tangled in. Joy can be violent or soft. Joy can be loud or slow. Joy can be an explosion. But joy—that is a magic word I can tell myself and feel the summation of magical healing powers as the root of all joyful expression. My joy and my ecstasy.
Sexy people are skinny and don't apologize. I won't apologize for doing whatever I want to at any moment. . . . Except for getting upset at Davey. Hah.
6 is magic number
it's the first odd number twice
aside from one, which if you add two, and then give it twice OR if you simply double thrice you get the number six, which is quite balanced, and if you halve it, it becomes two threes, and three is a circle, and two is binary and one is the symbol of what we all are! Three is one layered is more than fourth dimensional, so six is sacred magic, the seasons in between seasons, the sun and the moon,
Perhaps I feel keenly when I have been somewhere before in a past life.
Perhaps it's not connecting steps of the past—perhaps it is coming upon, running into a part of myself,
unconsciously following a silent tune I heard calling me—a part of my psychic energy which reaches forward—an invisible limb—stretched out so far ahead—that when I finally catch up with it—i feel like something outside of me, beyond me, yet completing me—an additional peace of me, expanding the smaller sensation of what I was without it for so long—that is the feeling I feel sometimes, when stepping into a new realm for the first time—often the threshold I cross is invisible—some step bringing me just into it's scope—the train pulling through past a certain aging porch—the car rounding a hill above the bay, just so, in early spring—the boat halfway across the Irish sea—and the feeling lights on me, a bolt of awareness so beautiful and amazing I am crying—a rod lifting my temple and my plexus, my knees bend, and my breathe sucks in sharp and deep, my eyes widen and suddenly I am home after being gone a long long time.
I keep mourning something the last three months. It's likely not important to try and give a shape, a name, an understanding to what exactly I am mourning—for it's something like the-lives-i-would-have-lived-if-only-i'd-gone-where-my-gut-said-to-go-and-never-cared-about-staying-where-i-was-and-trying-to-fit-in-and-find-a-place-amidst-those-i-admired-but-by-whom-i-never-felt-seen-nor-accepted. I feel like I am mourning the parts of my phsycic energies that reach out from my belly, far around the world, sensing where they will thrive, and call to me when they find the magic I need or that needs me, but my mind never unstood, and my body never catches up, and those physic bits of myself linger and wait and dissolve into other timelines, other lives which this Karen, me, shall never now live. I think it is those lives I mourn and those parts of me that how cried out, softly and loudly over the years to run to a place I'd never been before and had to reason—no intellectualized proof or plan—to go to—other than I felt called there for a little while. Now my gut is silent. It is rarely silent. I don't remember it ever being silent. Sometimes it calls me places. Sometimes it is unhappy with the place where I am. Sometimes my gut is fitful, excited, dizzy, elated, fractured, quiet, scared, or ill, depressed. . . but it is never silent.
I don't know what this means.
I am still searching for my tribe.
I do not trust how to trust.
But I guess it doesn't matter.
As long as I keep moving.
But is it too late? It feels too late. There: the grief again. Something has died. I don't know what it is. Perhaps I am only lonely.
I think it is both. Because they do feel different from the other. Grief and loneliness. But it doesn't mean I do not like my life. Yet am I doing my best. Yet do I claim my path, proud to know it absurd. Yet still I do I revel in every sunset.
This sunset, she is a dark-skinned ballerina, walking slow and tall across the plain—she lifts her knees high, and sets her feet down slow and soft, floating smooth, chin high, arms low, shoulders strong and easy, her fingers sifting through the rising heat like dreams of wheat, the highest curtain i've ever seen of violet and mauve follows her, their soft edges gold, her hair blue and white and grey—she is warm grace—the sun, red, outlined in a ring of yellow fire, like it's been cut by a smith to roam free—but it just hangs there turning, watching her and me.
. . .
Remind me to keep moving. Getting lost in the sunset. . . that is where I die. . . that is why dreamers have a reputation for doing nothing else—because it is a real thing and the thing is dangerous—to be still and alone—what good are visions if they are not enacted in real time with other corporeal beings? These bodies are meant to dance together and witness and heal and love through all our sufferings—knowing we deserve to feel the peace and wholeness of each moment—but with each other. I am still too afraid of being the first to dance. I know I am healed when I dance anyway alone—I know I have released from the moor where I batter against the dock—when I join the wind and the thought and motion are one thing—the act becomes the thought.
Your success is my success,
I failed us all by writing that poem
Goin on three hours of sleep doesn't seem to matter for present circumstances.
The scenery is sublime, the train pulling us a gentle ride through the deserts east. The light is still that of warm gold morning, making the desert bloom in shadows dappling all the green and grey, sage, cream and gold—a million hues of brown and clay—pink dirt—clear blue sky—and mountains deep blue in shadow and glowing like triangles of mica in the sun.
I always set my main bags in the passenger car, then bring my personal essentials to the viewing car. I'll probably keep this bench—drenched in full sunlight—claimed until when I find myself falling asleep. The train weaves back and forth beneath the path of the sun—every time I am in shadow, I am hilariously sad and cold. Every time I am in the sun. . . I am blissed like a tired dog on a porch in spring time after a long swim. Yep, I feel like I could call the train my front porch and myself a dog. I feel right at home, watchin the world pass by—though maybe I'm doing most of the movement.
But before I get carried away talking about sun and sun and sun and sun and how much I love it, and before we celebrate how hilarious it is that the two books I came away with from Book Stop, a used book store downtown Tucson, are The Gypsies, by Jean-Paul Clebert, and The Best American Travel Writing 2015, I'd like to celebrate a few other things with you. . .
Waiting in the predawn light for the train coming late, I take my accordion out its case and play for the first time in a few days (too long). I need to work on my posture and technique so as to not injure myself—should probably also learn to play the piano and to learn basic music theory—I should probably learn how to play the accordion. I am so lucky to have found huge joy in the simple practice and doing of a thing—I don't know what I'm doing on the accordion—I reckon I'm not near good—but it doesn't matter—and that is the whole point of life: to love the practice, the doing, the actions of everyday, the trying, the exploring, the stumbling, the simplicity, the unknowing, and the learning—I have found my joyful zen in the accordion perhaps. And I play, an unplanned tune and patterns which don't repeat. I play slightly away from the gathering crowd—I do not like to dominate a space with a thing—like playing music for a crowd waiting for the train—if the people can't escape if they don't like the music. When I return, feeling satieted and sesning the train a couple miles off, I see children staring at me and a few strangers compliment me on my playing “It's very soothing” one man says. I credit the accordion and thank them too.
This gift of traveling through the desert lands has got me visioning—I see the painting hanging in my grandpa's den of native tribes traveling in lines___________ through the blue and green sagebrush of central Washinton state—I want a horse—I want to be a man on a horse with his friend—campin on our way to a new job—maybe a ranch somewhere—I want to go for miles and days feel wide and open and empty as the desert—there is a particular peace that fills a desert valley—the hush is the quietness of power—and the power is made up of insects and birds, lizards and plants all needing very little from the environment—resilient and tough, efficient—desert creatures are lean and quiet—I recall sighting the mailwoman when I was actually lost in the the vortex of Sedona town for a moment—she looked like a little fox—cropped red hair, large eyes and head on a small wirey body—skin dry and soft and freckled—there is a particular fierce bravery and peace settling at those who feel home in the wide open—exposed to the winds and sand—naked under the sun—weaving between plants that will sting and scratch and rocks that whisper and warm. I don't know anything about the desert really. But it is beautiful. I am a creature who likes extremes. Maybe it's a sign of weak character. But I do like instense, extreme things—don't do well with moderation—gimme feast or famine—gimme joy to be crushed—gimme floods of trauma to hold and heal—gimme nothing I'll make something—gimme everything and I'll explode. In the desert, I slow—weeks seem like days. At the side of the sea—time spent in and out the surf—time slows—and an hour seems like a lifetime.
Across the aisle there are people belonging to some kind of conservative, religious sect with obviously particular rules about personal appearance. The men have a very particular kind of bowl-cut. The women wear bonnets and don't speak much. But when any of them speak it sounds like German with phrases of English smattering their chatter. Are they those __________________? I'll have ta look it up, lest I seem real stupid on this blog.
It's been a couple times now where I think of one of my worst fears—that people secretly think I'm stupid—and I imagine what I would do if I found out it was true! And then I thought: well if I am actually, truly a stupid person--I don't fucking care! And I felt super powerful after that. That, an injection of self-love and baddassery. . .
I have a gift inherited from my father—the ability to do a thing—almost anything—probab anything and to be doing it, awake—seemingly—until I am falling asleep while doing it—whether it's driving, reading, talking, or typing on the train mid-morning in full sunlight of the divine viewing car. While typing the last paragraphs last sentence I fell asleep. I napped for about an hour—the murmurs of conversation, the vibrations of the track, gentle rock and swing of the cars—all making for the perfect white noise—sunlight wrapping me like a blanket like arms, while my shawl magically slips again and again from padding my temple to sitting on my shoulder—I keep moving it back up, in repetitive cartoon insanity you see in heavily animated scenes old 1940's cartoons—if I had a beard it would have curled into my nose with each in-breath, and waved like a flag of smoke which each release of a snore—and perhaps a little desert mouse would peak out of my swaying coffee thermos, each rock of the train lifting the thermos lid, allowing mouse a view of rolling cacti singing of the road to New Orleans while I slept a time traveling, a shape-shifter, a sleep-walker, a dream-stalker, a rich hobo, a white woman, an aging animal, a soul searchin, a fool playin', a star-sailor, nightengaler, wannabe cowpolk, hopeless folk, bumbling on their way. . .
At the station I recall to little boys, nine months, and almost two—they seemed smaller than other children—stuck me as a callback to genes of my granpa's generation—they seemed healthy and beautiful—piqued noses—bright skin—huge eyes peircing like moon beams takin everything in—their ma, I couldn't tell how old she was—she was small too. Her cheeks scarred, ancient remains of acne razed across her sharp little face. She was beautiful. Her accent was Texan, her voice high and stretching across her palette, hitting somewhere in her truncated upper teeth. She had what some may at one time have named “a speech impediment”--a softness of “r”s and “l”s. It gave her voice a beautiful unique music—i liked to hear her speak—about her stubborn step-daughter—who seemed a badass—and how her elder boy was born weeks late—and the next one two months early. That must mean something, I said. But I don't know what.
Oscar, the snack car tender, and I are pals already—he has a dry sense of humor, relaying a cynical amusement of unimpressed feeling about all existence. But that's just how he seems. I told him he's hilarious. He thinks I'm clown I think. And he would be almost right.
I love the train and I love train people. I love soaring through the land like I'm riding a huge sandworm and it's giving me a tour of nature's majesty I would not otherwise have seen from the throne of Hermes (my bus). I love train people—people who are accustomed to fleeting interaction midst transition—people who learn to make their bliss in the in-between places and find dignity, joy, humor in the challenges of the train life—Amtrak employees seem learned in the knowledge of just how much time to take in polite addresses—having learned the vitalness of ritualistic manners—reminded more often than those in other lines of work, that one never knows the emotional, physical needs of the stranger with whom they are about to interact—a mindful greeting, no matter how brief, and taking a few extra seconds to create as intentional a space as possible, still however fleeting, can make or break either party's sanity, and can and does make or break the opportunity for trust and kindness to bloom—and thus hope and love foster.
As ever, traveling makes me a better person and keeps me grateful for every bit about my life—makes me more grateful to be alive—stokes the ferocious furnace of my love for existence, quells my doubts born from fears or demons or down-right stupidity. A theme this trip—this life, maybe—of which I am still aware is the behavior/appearances of loneliness in my life. I told my Tucson friend Kat, I think it is almost a good sign—as a younger being I dealt with being alone better—but maybe I didn't deal with it better and instead was more ignorant of reality. I'm pretty certain as a younger being I was more distrustful of others—more certain they would never accept nor understand me—at the same time more affected by others energies—I felt more easily overpowered by others wills and expectations, empathizing uncontrollably to the point I felt it safer and more pleasurable to me alone with my thoughts and visions and fantasies as I wandered into new places. And I think I feel more genuine connection with all humans and all of the earth these days. I understand my emotions and needs better, so I can handle my own self better around others to whom I also feel better connected. However, I still get overwhelmed when meeting a new or old friend along the journey—like fiddle-playing Faith from the northwest, when I caught her touring through Tucson with the divine spooky-western-Roy-orbison-like Roselit Bone—or when I meet my new friend Zack—or when I see my friends Kat and Bekah whom I last saw and met last year in the southwest—during these meetings, my excitement is so great and gathering it tumbles out tidal wave of monologue, driven by the anxiety of time-constraint and preemptive mourning of swift goodbyes. It is embarassing to be so out of control of this particular mix of excitement-anxiety and to babble my stories and thoughts nervously wanting to share as much as possible in a short time. Such behaviour doesn't make for the best visit. Can be exhausting. Is stupid. There is never enough time. So why not just breathe. Look at each other. Look at each other's eyes. Compete for who can be the better listener. Wait for the most necessary stories to surface out the mouth. I won't beat goodbye by filling every moment with chatter. It is nice to be able to name the problem of my coping behavior—and discover the answer is, yet again, the same answer for all my challenges—be. more. present. Give myself the gift of enjoying my friend as they need to be. Let the joy of their existence win over my anxiety of not soon seeing them. Let the love for myself bloom and manifest in displays of confident kindness, and generous humor at any absurdities with which I get the credit. I get so nervous sometimes. Not sure which stories to share and not share. The excitement of my own mind creates such a chaotic energy of thoughts that it alarms me as it takes over—and gives the impression of low-self-esteem—but being unsure of how to proceed can seem like insecurity, for it is insecurity, but it is not in my own self-worth, though relatedly it is insecurity in knowing I don't know—i don't know which ideas, thoughts, songs, stories, energies to share—I feel many at once all the time—I seemany paths of truth splayed out, all at the same time—a criss-crossing web of shape and sound vibrating gold white—every path a choice to make—each intersection a chance to change a coarse—and none of them are false to me—but I don't know which ones will be useful to share with a friend. Which way to be? I can be quiet. . .but if I am too quiet. . . I think it is the worst. . . to not take any action at all, to speak nothing, to attempt to hold space and end up being a column of hesitation, not a witness, not a friend, but a woman, turned a ghost, turned a fly on the wall—doesn't even buzz—just disappears while the others speak. . . I am best one on one. . . but even then the nerves can be more powerful than either of us. . . perhaps I am best met as a stranger singing a poem patched together from all my pieces, of which, one, is definitely you. Doesn't matter. I am learning that any way I be is genuine, and any way I need to be is fine. I know what to do: travel, sing, perform, make 'em laugh, stoke the fire of the knowing that all are my kindred, breath deep into the knowing that there is time enough in every meeting, and that every single thing I start will never seem finished—so I must draw a line and call it good, call it great, and quit trying to expand forever—lest I do just that and disappear into the clouds which whisper to the woman on the bench outside the co-op.
taking off my mask
I see I look the same as you
I do not need to suffer
to deserve this life
rich with chocolate and sand dunes
coffee, pink fire of the moving sun
avacados and train rides
swaying foot to foot
singing in line for a taco
a strange girl joins
her voice to mine
we part laughing
everybody plays the fool sometimes
I want to play the fool all the time
and the masks I wear
are shared for mutual understanding
someday I will live a life
soon, I am fighting for it,
where I have built a table
big enough for all to gather
whenever they want
and my joy will spill off it's surface onto the floor
and people will come from near and far to fill up
to meet their kindred
to lend a hand
and know, relieved: their dream of belonging is a true story.
someday I will have built the table
on which we dance, on which we make love,
on which food is made and babies are born
and I will help spread the news
of how we can love
how we can find again
god in the earth, god in the signs of time we are so fond of measuring
finding god in our cycles of green gold blush rot birth
of how the spectacle of opera is nice,
but it seems to mimic the roar
of the ocean and the feeling of a friend nearby
blending into the orchestra of surf on pebbles, beach grass hissing,
sand flees buzzing, and the moaning of reeds
help spread the news you do not need to get to the office faster
than we need to lay down in the dirt
until a lizard crawls onto our hand
and we feel its tiny toenails, etching a whisper of a poem,
spelling out love with three grains of sand,
tiny, living, breathing things
I will help spread the news that the crabs
which brought you so much delight as a child
leaping from tidepool to tide pool like peter pan
from one world to another
due to the ocean's increasing acidity
due to human's burning fossil fuels.
I will help spread the facts,
we humans are dying,
like a coral reef—interconnected colonies--
wilting in great patches,
running in tides of grief
refugees from famine, from war,
due to the ways of consumption, accumulating this or that
I will build a new way some day right now
where people remember how to breathe
where people remember how to raise their voice in song
where people remember how to make each other laugh
where people remember their bodies were made
for climbing trees, racing with dogs and deer,
lying on boulders under sun, dancing in the monsoons
and their minds were made to learn from one another
how to greet a stranger with kindness
how to trust your gut
how to offer whatever you have to whomever your with
how to hold a stranger who is crying on the path
how to speak to someone who is scared
to show how silence is complacence
to show how one small word or gesture matters
to know it all matters
to know we all matter
someday I will find the path where I can serve
fly me to the place where they are starving
and I will bring them food
we all know there is enough to go around
I will sail to the place where they are sad
and I will remind them how to dance
for music is as endless as the wonders of your life,
our world, your world, my world, the only world we have
it will go on without us, consumed by fire long after we are gone.
But I don't want the humans to go yet,
and if I figure out how to spend my life
saving any lives,
just one life,
I will do it.
I think I already have.
Forgive me, my kin, for the times I was in pain and lashed out,
forgive me for doubting you.
Each of our twining paths is sacred,
I do not know what is best for you.
But I know I am blessed,
and I know I hear stories I must share,
and I know I love everyone I meet.
I am a lucky mother fucker.
I got to keep building that table
each song shared
each hug given
each pair of eyes met
each deep breathe
each struggle to resist
I get lazy sometimes.
Fuck that. Ease doesn't interest me anymore.
Neither does suffering.
Entering challenges unashamed at how I shan't meet my goals
is my new super power.
I am getting better at not caring who gets the credit.
My ego is changing shape,
spreading from one fragile vase
into connected channels
into you and you and you,
your success is my success
it's not a metaphor.
When eve ate the apple and saw she was naked
she was afraid
we are all afraid in our knowledge,
knowing we can hurt and suffer and kill
without meaning to
but know this
know this fruit, renewing, every growing
something wild and sweet, with a different taste each season:
you heal, you change, you seek forgiveness
and you save lives if you want to.
I take off my mask
and I see through your clothes,
I see you leaping in the tidepools
and connecting love in a triangle of
three grains of sand.
You are not afraid
and you are afraid
you are not afraid
when you remember
how it felt to ask—but why is she crying? what happened?
maybe we can give her something?
about the woman on the corner and the child on the news
soft and rolling
across hard dirt
like a herd, like a flock,
like blind bits of breath
My friend Glen posted on his facebook feed the following poem this morning, one his friend wrote. moved me immediately:
"Here is one by J. Wesley Fullerton. Not sure where you are in the world these days, but thinking of you old friend:
Because life will end anyway, I pick up a hitchhiker
four hours into driving a road where no one will notice
if we are good or evil. The hills are half blind, talk only
of the weather; the stars are off somewhere.
His hands are enormous, his hair hangs down
to the day he came home. He is good with talk,
and because life will end anyway, I tell him
of my heartbreaks and what I think they'll do to me.
From his bag he pulls an assortment of drugs capable
of turning a man into any imaginable beast or vegetable,
mineral or gas. He holds up a jar of dried roots. Eat these,
he tells me, you will be invincible. He lifts his shirt
to show me the constellation of five, six, seven bullet holes
dented across his chest, each healed scar a smiling flower.
Sons a bitches, he says, I walked right through them like a
. . .
i been thinking lately about—well, actually, I think about it most of the time, but I've been feeling more keenly lately experiences of life's impermanence, and feeling signs of death everywhere and how it is crucially twined to the absurd beauty of life, forming the ropes we walk—the unseen cords binding us all in a tapestry we cannot fathom—thinking more often of how taking "risks"--like picking up a hitchhiker—isn't a risk at all—it is what life is worth--you and that hitchhiker need each other—you are each other—you witness each other. maybe he kills you. maybe he gives you visions into more lives than you thought possible.
probably won't kill you.
i pick up as many hitchhikers as possible.
i am happier and smarter and more blessed because of it.
and sometimes, strangers let me sleep in their home,
because they want to help a traveler in need,
and they hope i won't kill them,
and i don't.
I would be living a sad, stifled, blind life without strangers and I helping each other in the dark.
Countless petals, blowing in the wind, the breathe of stars, rolling along the ground, signs of life, love. . . softness wins every time
I'm wild flower
and I walk in the wind
I don't have roots
I don't have a begin
I have no end
my petals are silk
flutter like a cape
wave like a tail
beat like the ocean
in the heart of a gale
hear a woman scream
in the roar of a beast
hear a best roar
in the siren of the train
feast your eyes
on the footprints of the rain
in the desert
the water is held by the land
like I hold your hand
I drink from you
I drink from the sky
I drink from the seafoam
I drink myself dry
and I lay down wasted
like something brittle in the gutter
'til I pop up again
a wild little flower
I lay down tired
mind drained in a slaughter
spent in the effort
to take it all in
ain't slept in years
except for in your arms
where my sisters at?
Here's another lucky charm
it's just a rock
but it has a song and talks
to me of all the parts
we're missing, past life limbs
I fell from a tree
a blossom wanderin
I don't drink of a bottle
I don't cuz I gotta
get my fill
by truth streams
comin on the wind
you can find me on the hill
under a pregnant moon
and you can hold me for a while
and put me near your ear
i'll whisper all the sweet things
you have longed to hear
and in the morning
I am gone
fell out while you were walking
you don't miss my goin
but I sure miss your talkin
i'm a wild thing
shape shifting in the shadows
i'm a lizard on a rock
bumble bee in the meadow
I float in circles
now you see me
now i'm gone
and it won't be long
until Spring is home
just like she never left
we want Persephone
when she's underneath the ground
memorizing songs from poets
who have found
a rip between the worlds
a window in which we dance
if we're lucky we can catch a glance
of the wild flowers
walking on the wind
their song is a scent
and like a dog I breathe it in
like a wolf I run for blood
like coyote I am hiding
like a snake I am slowly shedding and biding
and binding like nothing
to nothing to dust
i'm a wild flower
in seasons I trust
put my pennies towards my sins
don't let it weigh me down
the bags filled with fear like sand
thoughts stilling me like venom
evaporate with every changing season
wild flowers blossom when you know it's okay
for them to love everyone, everyplace, every way
all the ways
all the roads
all the beings, beasts, the hoards,
are meant to know the dance
of wild growing things
the chaos is balanced
the designs repeat
the stars etch their shapes onto our brow
and we can feed each other
if we let ourselves learn how
I know i'm of the everything
I know my roots are waiting
for now i'm just a ghost
a thought, a changling going home
for now i'm just a fool,
a song sailing out a tomb,
a hobo parading
you might only see the dirt
you might only see the husk
but I see sap and salt
and marks of all the holy dust
and you know somewhere nearby
you are wild too
I hear the ocean in your pulse
see the blush of roses
growing all over you
the horizon has traced your back
arched and covered in dew
shinin like your forehead
when your sweatin in the shed
riled and climbin
your skin, vines coiling,
around bones undead.
I dreamed a man fell down from the sky
another world, an alien
he told me we only have one life
we can but sense what else has happened
and will happen and who else we are
by listening like a mouse, black eyes,
in an opera house, the buzzing of flies,
we are all on the wall, being written
and the orchestra is forever tuning
before the show
it is the show
the yawing, mawing, screaming, groaning, bass and bow
takes on the shape lovers meeting
tries on the shadow of peter pan
looks like fossils turning liquid
tastes like the neck of man
and suddenly i'm dancing
and I know I have no choice
but to roll in green waves on a black shore
and let loose my voice
one moment I am planning
writing down a complex list
next day I am only breathing with the sagebrush
and offering a kiss
with words short and simple
like saying I don't know
and I know that I am wild
and I know nothing matters
more than everything
and I know that I will never understand
and it is the sacred way of humans
to try and do our best
and to feel
and to try to do our best
and to heal
and to try to do our best
to know yesterday is not our answer
and to try and do our best
I know you are doing your best
I will remind myself you are doing your best
I will look in the mirror less
I will let myself learn something new
I will let myself let go of yesterday's crown
I will let myself change
I will let others know that I am available for changing
I will let others know that I am trying to be different than yesterday
I will not force a head to look
I will not dig for love that is not offered
I will not pull at the wool of someone's suffering
I will not meddle in the path someone is forging
I will believe my friends
I will believe my strangers so they will be my friends
I will believe in you and me just like my dog believes in me
I believe I can do all this sometimes
I believe I cannot do all this sometimes
But as long as I am trying. . .
I am still alive in heaven
And as long as I believe you are a part of me. . .
I might be able to make this world a better heaven.
People are dying due to war, due to money, due to illness of the soul, due to addictions of the mind. People are dying everywhere because you and I do not help them. They are dying and so are we. When part of the world dies it shows the whole world's suffering. Plants and animals of the ocean are dying. People are starving. Famine and drought. Due to humans burning fossil fuels. Due to humans burning fossil fuels, the planet is dying. This is not a drill. And drilling needs to stop.
I will build a new road, a new way, with the jesters wearing patches and singing songs
I will build a new road, a new way, and leave the gate open so that they may join us.
We will welcome them—tell them our home is built for them—lest they try to burn it down—tell them how good they are until they believe it and find it for themselves—I will help you build this road—I will help you keep the garden going. . .
Help me to breathe when I get hungry.
When I am hungry I lose my mind, and spend a month's money in a day, so that I won't feel like I am dying. Help me to breathe past my addictions. Hold me in the night friend while I cry. Because no one can do it alone. No one. Please call me when you need me to listen. Please tell me you need me to listen. I hope I will listen.
I will listen.
I will breathe.
I will let myself grow lean.
I will cut out the fat of my thoughts, the useless patterns will fall away, old paint.
I am gathering my positive magic, my love, my kindness every day
like ginger and garlic and lemon,
like cinnamon and eggyolks and a few nuts, unshelled,
I will find the right rock to break the last open,
and I will share the pieces with you
I will share my piece with you
or whomever happens to be around
There are a few men I love.
They do not love me.
Someday soon it will not matter.
Some days it never matters.
Some days they love me.
Some times I am wise—and know I know nothing—and know their love is not my business.
I could paint and write the day away
wander the desert, cultivating visions
and tilling the rows of my imagination
until I die consumed by an eden birthed from my mind.
But art has limits.
And art is not the end.
Art is a means to love.
Love is so many things,
healing and helping, building and knowing how to change when you are called,
knowing how to step forward into an empty place
incomplete and ignorant
to learn in that moment of death versus love,
helping a customer realize their inability to find the cream does not mock their insecurities, contrarily—the quest to find that which is at the end of their nose, is a symbol of shared suffering which should only make us closer
a stranger on the side of the road
dirty face, blank eyes,
listen to his voice, offer him safety, trust is often rewarded
a woman crying on the corner
go to her and ask how you can help
maybe you will spend all day helping her
maybe it is the most important thing you will do all year
feeling betrayed by a lover
taking a breathe
it is only my own mind that betrays me
it is only the thoughts I feed
you know those two wolves inside you?
That's a good symbol,
let yourself hear them vying for attention
feed the wolf of love,
he will show you where to find the medicine of intentions to gather each day.
What does that look like?
Who knows—we all look different—all our voices unique
but my brother benny said as a child:
“I need patience and a sense of humor”
he is right about us all I reckon.