don’t think of that elephant

i can’t stop thinking about that elephant. in the story pieced together thru video and rumor and spirit, the elephant’s babies were poached, and there was a woman who threw stones at the elephant mother to keep her from saving her children. so the elephant waited and found this woman at a watering hole, trampled her to death, rolled with a crew to her funeral and swung her corpse out of the casket to trample her again, and then they went and destroyed her house.

i went researching because the story is so tender to me. those who check facts say that so far it could be true, though no one is clear on how to verify that it was the same elephant, that it was specific targeting.

elephants and humans have a tension in india, rooted in competing needs over the land that has been the elephants’ territory.

the story is working like a prism in my mind, i tilt it gently and see so much humanity in it, so many parents broken hearted at losing their babies to violence, so many people enraged at their ongoing displacement, so many people ready to say ‘no more.’

but then i spin this prism and see the whole earth trying to communicate to us, the humans, that we are not the only ones who feel and think and deserve to live and love our babies and strategize for survival.

if the story is true, it connects to the parts of us that protect those we love and flood with vengeance when they are harmed – we can touch an anthropomorphic empathy.

if its not true that this woman and this elephant had history, what remains true is that humans are encroaching on a shared world as if our needs are always the priority. it makes every kind of sense to me that, if we don’t swiftly adapt to be co-occupants of this generous planet, we will not only face the challenges of increasing climate catastrophe, already dire…we will also invite the wrath of everything else that can feel.

any sentient heart, broken repeatedly, can become a sharp edge.

i also keep thinking of this story as an epic tale of spiritual battle. the elephant is a goddess of the entire nonhuman earth, protecting its future. the woman is a complicit player in acts of egregious and selfish violence, not the leader, just someone who throws rocks because thats what humans do. she represents the majority of humans, going along with human-centric behavior that has devastating effects. the elephant is her death and our warning.

is the elephant/spirit wise enough to understand that it has to be dramatic and documented, to be viral, to be heard?

are we able to receive the warning at the level of spirit – that there is nothing funny here, only grief and rage and power and message?

or am i projecting all my own climate grief and rage onto this wild creature, whose motives are actually mysterious to me? am i again trying to spread human life into every space, even that of empathy and imagination and the motivations of elephants?

i don’t know.

but i know that the elephant story in this moment, in the wake of uvalde, in the emotional waters preceding juneteenth, during pride, in the hot and cold flash climate catastrophe season we are still calling summer, it feels important. it feels like we should all think about it.

are we the woman? the elephant? the earth beneath, receiving her blood and her force? the funeral guests running away in panic? could we be the force trying to stop the constant harm in every direction? or is there no us here, simply an obsessed observer, projecting her heart out, 8,500 miles away?

spell for another day on earth

what must it feel like
to carry every longing
feed every body
lift us in flight, hold us
offer every beauty
fractals patterns chaos
such genius and glorious design
– to swallow sun
and create sustenance
and then be told
‘we want more’

what must it feel like
to be reached into
for stones we call precious
pumped for your black blood
when everything of you
each breath in lung
each grain of salt or sand
each blade of grass or steel
each creature, singular or multitudinous
took from before time until this instant
to craft

what must it feel like
to be offered one day a year
when you give your whole self
every inch, every rotation
to all that moves towards life
every ritual of gratitude
is too small
a quick flame against a starfull sky
compared to the gifts of earth
womb, breath, sunrise, moon
and a chance at love

know this: some of us love you
we worship you
we know you as
our eternal altar

some of us remember
we foresee
we are so satisfied with you
our perfect planet

some of us are fighting yet
for you, our beloved
some of us
we celebrate you
every single day

be careful, i am fertile

be careful
i am fertile
a soil thick with promise
a mouth full of petals
you can feel when you are near me
how i may touch you
and you may blossom

be careful
i am fertile
do you know i thought i was barren?
someone told me that story
it took so many accidental gardens
for me to realize
i had sun in my fingers

be careful
i am fertile
i wake up glossy ripe
the next idea damp with dew
soft fuzz in vernix and miracle
screaming for my attention
reaching for my light

be careful
i am fertile
there is a divine timing
a pulse i can hear within
a season for incubation
a moment of bliss and surrender
code name: abundance

be careful
i am fertile
dream by my river
whisper longings under my moon
if the world says yes, i feel it
watch, i’ll unfurl in every direction
to let tomorrow through

be careful
i am fertile
and not at all alone
so many of us howl in the starlight
comforted by our own creations
fungal feral lava workers
arching our backs in joy

be careful
we are fertile
growing the next generation
of awe, of wonder, of fractal fate
in obstinate wombs
bound for production
we spin time ever forward

be careful
we are fertile
that heat between our palms
that poem in the mirror
we know the beauty of our own reckoning
all those years, asleep in delicious fog
that was only winter

be careful
we are awake now
be careful
we are springing
be careful of our spells now
be careful – we are the fecund earth
and oh yes, oh yes

we are fertile

the future of children

before She spoke She dashed a hand into the water and pulled out a fish shining with rainbows, limp and stunned by Her touch. She flicked it whole into Her mouth, then pulled out, by the tail, a skeleton, fragile bones clear of flesh, which she returned to the water.

then She said:

love is never a mistake

a lesson
a force of life
a becoming tomorrow
a preparation for self
a landing in divine purpose
yes

never a mistake

love makes the miracle

never in obligation, we know: cause we got to continue
or we want a son
or we already with child so oh well
or cause it’s what people do
or we just lonely

we can make miracles but
it can’t be so much work
please do better

love is always abundant –
we can nurture everyone
who comes in love

but these days
we struggle to nurture our obligations
our shoulds and ‘posed tos
our abandoned experiments
our too-scared-to-do-otherwises
our i-didn’t-thinks

it is a calling, creation

do we love the heart beating in the womb
do you love feeding life from your own miraculous body
do i love dreaming up ways to comfort the inarticulate wailing
do we love the future
love shaping life for survival
love letting go while holding on

all that love is what grants the miracle
the days it is meant to have
and only those days
only as good as our giving

i know those who
survive without love
carve out of themselves
a new heart
press rhythm into it

are they regrets? tch
are you looking backwards? tch

we have no regrets
we have offered our Self to all of them
and now we are looking forward
at our own aging body
diminishing with time
and resilient and fecund
and sacred and willing
and we are saying: only love will survive

love is the only significant factor
in the next stage of evolution

we are beyond the purely biological now
we begin to see that love
is of the body,
and can make of the body
any necessary reality
parenting is not a ticking clock
it is forever
as are we

and still, We mature

the answer is: who do we love
and how?
bring love forward
and sustain it
and we will sustain you