Monthly Archive for September, 2017

earth do what you will/forgive us

prayer/submission/spell

earth do what you will
mother father creator home
full of wrath, molten, tremoring
you show us how to live and to hurt you
all our life, we spiral out from your body
stardust and sea, anemone and feather
flesh and flower, metal and bone

earth forgive us
all children are greedy
we all demand love beyond what we can give
we all expect your miraculous patience
we are nonsensical, ungrateful
we take your hours, wooden toys, all the sweet
the attention, life force, and all your peace

earth do what you will
how long have we terrorized you
we violate your soft/sacred-ness, deny
that you are changed and changing, that your heart is broken, spirit struggling for respite
venom spilling from the wounds, swelling the surface, catastrophic chasm opening within

but earth please forgive us
for we are split as a species
let us who see you and love you
let us join you, we can tell you where the hurt begins, we can tell you where it ends
let us stay and whisper love songs to you in the turning of the cosmos. let us stay.

earth do what you will
cast us into the endless sky
make us brief

earth forgive us
before we learn to apologize
see us whole

earth do what you will
say finally, enough
take back each perfect gift

earth – forgive us
for we think we are walking
when you carry us

earth do what you will
we thought we could live without you
we have been wrong every day

earth forgive us
every step away from you is an error
even now, we love you

stardust and rivers

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sitting at the intersection of life and death, love and grief, waiting for a train.

everything this week has been reminding me i am stardust. i practice non attachment, but the universe grabs me close, shakes me, reminds me everything is connected. the only way to live a meaningful life, a life that is worth the miracle, is to accept the extreme tenderness of connection, to come together with warmth and ease, to be together with honesty, joy, rigor and pleasure, and to release each other with as much grace as possible.

even if it’s a dream, even if it’s a painted sky, even if it’s all predetermined…i feel so much, and i’m so grateful to be able to feel so much, to have this range of love demanded of me. this aliveness is my victory, and i am always free.

now, now, now, with sleep in my eyes and work to do, i watch the human river flow and see poetry, realize i am wet, realize i am weeping in public, glitter on my cheeks, heart growing in a way i can feel. and then it’s time, again, to go.

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pieces of fiction we’re pretty sure are actually real (like happening now)

the other night i was watching the Walking Dead season 7, which has the most devious, charming, terrifying bad guy. it felt disturbingly current, including the zombies. i asked the ever generous facebook what fiction feels like it’s happening right now and generated this amazing list, an abundance of work to read or watch.

or, you know, just look around.

Books

the Kate Daniels books, Ilona Andrews

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Maddadam Trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Maddadam) Margaret Atwood
(Elena says: “extreme genetic modification, separation of corporate-compound and pleebland communities (extreme economic imbalance). Also new beings, new ways of living and of communicating (even between different species).”

Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, Malcolm Azania (pen name Minister Faust)

Wind Up Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi

Blues for Mister Charlie, James Baldwin

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler
(Enei says: “make America great again”, Karissa says: “keep trying to convince people to go in on some property further North cause Octavia told us to go North.” Anne’s partner thinks we’re in the prequel.)
also everything else she wrote.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
(Judy pulls out this opening quote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”)

Makers, Cory Doctorow
Walkaway, Cory Doctorow
(Dan says: “It’s maybe the only anarchist-ish future that I’ve read that didn’t sound like it would suck. Still not the future I’m trying to build, but if things do go that way, at least there’s been some good thinking on how to build good lives in it.”)

The Circle, Dave Eggers

American War, Omar El Akkad

Solitaire, Kelley Eskridge
(Vanissar says: “Because citizens vs people living on the margins, because technology + incarceration. Because our imaginations will save us.”)

Slow River, Nicola Griffith
(Vanissar says: “because water, technology. because desperation.”)

Journey to the East, Herman Hesse

Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neal Hurston
(Supriya says: “As Irma was about to hit and Houston was reeling and Katrina was in my heart: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston.”)

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Redwall and Mossflower series, Brian Jacques
(Jessica says: “animals have rich and amazing lives.”)

In the Heart of the Valley of Love, Cynthia Kadohata

It, Stephen King

The Telling, and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, Ursula le Guin

the Wizard of Earthsea series, particularly The Other Wind, Ursula le Guin
(Morrigan says: “We’re finding lost languages, understanding our misguided limitations on magic, undoing the suppression of the wind. restoring the pattern.”)

California, Eden Lepucki

That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
(Teika says: “I haven’t read it for years and don’t really remember a lot of the plot details, but the one element that really sucks with me is something about being governed by an embalmed head connect to a machine, and that 1984-style autocracy and the effed up psychology of state domination / oppression / greed.”)

It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

The Girl Who Owned A City, OT Nelson

Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brian

Who Fears Death?, Nnedi Okorafor
(Leah says: “bc Black femmes using spirit to destroy white medical industrial capital fuckery and climate chaos, Black survivors using witchcraft to defeat rapists, and spirits are present and walking with us.”)

Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older

1984, George Orwell

The Turner Diaries, William Luther Pierce (pseudonym Andrew Macdonald)
(Minaj says: “White supremacist utopian novel written in the 70s that has been downloaded millions of times and is their blueprint for the revolution. It starts with the police. They’re trying to make it happen. Also I should add major trigger warnings for racism, sexism, every kind of ism, n word usage, etc. Read it to know their game plan, not for literary insight.”)

Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
(Mistinguette says: “Parallel utopia and oblivion, and making conscious choices about them.”)

Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield
(Amber says: “I feel like just as much as destruction occurs around us, humans are waking up to spiritual guidance en masse. More and more people are focusing on listening, balance, centering ourselves, opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to signs, etc. it’s easy to not see it when so much negative is happening, but we vibrating higher. I can feel it.”)

The Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson
Three Californias Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
(Supriya says: “When I think of my beloved India and wretched nationalism, xenophobia, anti Muslim terror… the crack on the fissure of his face in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, or Mahdhweti Devi’s “Draupadi.”)

Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo)
(Sophia says: “Silko says she wrote it almost channeling the anger of the Earth herself. There’s also a lot in the book about amplified spiritual activation of Native & African ancestors as we fulfill prophecy (in this case, Mayan prophecy) by resisting corruption, chaos and white supremacist colonial greed- with some specific focus on the desecration of sacred Native sites. Her writing also gives a big fuck off to respectability politics, cuz many of the most significant characters have substance dependencies, are houseless, non-neurotypical, former sex workers or current drug smugglers…all that feels familiar in this moment too. Damn… *goes to reread it*”)

The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk

The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknovitch
(Marika says: Crazy dystopian novel. Can’t say I either enjoyed it or hated it, but it was poignant and sadly prescient:
“We are what happens when the seemingly unthinkable celebrity rises to power.
Our existence makes my eyes hurt.
People are forever thinking that the unthinkable can’t happen. If it doesn’t exist in thought, then it can’t exist in life. And then, in the blink of an eye, in a moment of danger, a figure who takes power from our weak desires and failures emerges like a rib from sand. Jean de Men. Some strange combination of a military dictator and a spiritual charlatan. A war-hungry mountebank. How stupidly we believe in our petty evolutions. Yet another case of something shiny that entertained us and then devoured us. We consume and become exactly what we create.”)

TV/Movies

Alien
American Gods
Black Mirror
God’s and Monsters
House of Cards
Idiocracy
Insecure
Mad Max
Mary Poppins
Matrix
Rats of NIMH
The Simpsons
Sleepdealer
Underground
X-Files (Gabriel says: “The alien / government coverup storyline is actually somewhat based on a book that says it’s nonfiction – ‘behold a pale horse’.”)

i love the sky

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i love the sky
most of the time i do
.
when everything is too full and it seems we will not be able to do
what it is we are here to do
that victory is impossible
that cruelty and greed and dominance will slowly tear us apart with ravenous teeth and swallow us
broken and whole
when everyone and everything is more than i can handle or hold
and i need no one to need any more of me, when there’s only a sliver left
that is pulsing, and still longing
then, if i can remember
i look up
.
and this sky full of wonders and terrors
keeps humbling me
.
every heart in my lineage lived and died under this sky
it has always been impossible
but they lived the small lives that led to mine
.
and if it is impossible for me, for my people, for my species, to go on
i know this sky will watch us come apart
will watch the earth rest over us
will watch, someday,
our bones come to light, to startle some future stranger
like dinosaur bones
perhaps we will feed that future industry until the sun goes cold
and perhaps that will feel like justice
or liberation
.
or this sky will welcome us
to go beyond atmosphere and ideology
survival and constant war
and the accumulation of belongings
that never add up to enough
to take only what we can lift beyond the reach of gravity
to take only the truth
and use it to seed a new home
.
or perhaps
this sky
will watch us become small and smaller
slower, to fall into her rhythm and sustenance
to submit to this heaven,
to be satisfied with knowing so little
and feeling so much
.
these big thoughts
make me feel small enough to breathe again
to laugh and argue and plan and look forward
these big thoughts
somedays
are the only peace I know

a wondrous life

it all became better when i relinquished the perfect. it was never me, never made me happy, it never worked out the way i’d planned, it crashed flat shattered into the nearest wall. in the wreckage, there was no room for love.

it all became better when i centered on what is, the right now – the nothing-totally-wrong of right now. i am so selfish, so much more than i knew – i mean, i want to live so fully, right now. nothing in me wants to settle, even now.

it all became better when i learned about prayer, the offering up of burdens, the bright light of knowing what you cannot (now and never even want to try to) do. to instead say: life, protect life. extend yourself into her living body, give her more time.

it all became better when i accepted, surrendered, withdrew, got still, stopped playing for victory. i move more and more each day with the universe, spirals, waves. i cannot stop learning, faster and faster i say, welcome, welcome in/home.

it all became better when i understood how human i am after the womb, after the heartache in the womb. your hero knows nothing, your queen is a fool. no one is at ease here, we long for it. once i found ease, i made it my purpose. i am a student, forever, of this, my long and wondrous life.

39 things i learned by mistake

1. i’m good at facilitating. and i love it. which means i can make a living doing what i love. focusing on black liberation has made this the most rewarding period of facilitation in my life.

2. i am of my mother. i use exclamation marks because i am genuinely excited. i play scrabble every day. where love is concerned, i know no rules.

3. very hot things will burn – fingers, tongue, heart. but no one believes this when they’re reaching. (burning myself is my most common injury.)

4. i love unveiling my truth.

5. i love love. falling in love, seeing people through eyes of love, loving against all logic, time spent on loving.

6. grief is gratitude.

7. i’m really funny. not always on purpose.

8. i rarely enjoy famous people in real life.

9. i’m gullible and trusting.

10. pleasure makes me feel powerful.

11. fear is a story i can change.

12. i am of my sisters. i know laughter is a path forward. and i know what it is to be flanked when i’m being brave.

13. emergent strategy.

14. my body is incredible.

15. i’m a writer. and i love every part of writing.

16. one at a time. one step at a time, word at a time, being-present-with-another at a time, book at a time, change at a time. one step toward liberation. one day at a time.

17. if i’m not meditating and centering, then my life is pure reaction to others. so i focus on my breath. i center. i live on purpose.

18. time is everything. time is sometimes the only thing i have.

19. i like marijuana. i really like it.

20. people who are bad for my health will most likely not experience me as being good for theirs, not in the long run.

21. i learn and work things out in my dreams.

22. i am a tarot reader, a healer and a witch.

23. i feel alive inside complexity. and i feel alive inside the simplicity of having no plans. my life needs a balance of these two extremes.

24. i am of my father. i am charming. i love to work, to be challenged, to be of use, to serve. and i am gifted with blackness.

25. auntie is a sacred, wondrous task. i just want to be excellent at this task.

26. i am practicing and learning and growing, even when i make mistakes. this is why i have no regrets.

27. i am not enough for some people – they want more. but not all people.

28. i am too much for some people – they want me to shrink. but not all people.

29. i love being alone, my company and freedom is precious to me.

30. i have two ancestors in particular who roll with me so hard that i rarely feel lonely.

31. i can’t control anything outside myself. not anything.

32. the worst things in the world will happen, day after day. i survive by putting my attention on what nourishes me and my loves.

33. i must practice the way i want to be. all the time.

34. the universe will help me, but only if i move towards what i truly want. (and not always in obvious ways.)

35. i’m beautiful, in my own way.

36. asking for support/collaboration from capable people makes my life worth living.

37. i need boundaries to feel free.

38. i doula, birth and parent so much. and it’s enough.

39. i’m magic. magic multiplies.