this massive rage (poem)

(read on adult ISH podcast)

as we move closer to the elections
again we have to contend with
how much we will play the game
showing up and waiting in lines
people of faith as we have had to be
and always been
and really what other option is there
we come in droves
we speak amongst ourselves
if we love ourselves we know
which of these men has less tulsa in their blood
which of these men doesn’t long to see us
below deck, below branches, below the unbearable weight of them
their egos, their desire for us to just take it
the violation of polite conversation
after the abuse
but before the overdue apology
and anyway
so much has been taken that justice is impossible
some days it chills my blood
how will we ever know peace
will we have to forget everything?
will we have to burn the books and make the history fiction?
how can we breathe near you
sleep near you
dream with you
when we remember
when we can be living our lives and be reminded
by griot, thoughtful essay, scathing expose, image kept fresh across years,
by threat, or bullet, or lie, or law
how, when you haven’t stopped murdering us in our beds
gleefully taking our blessings
killing our children
counting us collateral damage as you choose money over masks, over safety, over adaptation, over earth
shooting first and asking no questions, ever
all the while acting as if it were us
trying to take anything from you but our own lives
our own labor
our own right to grieve all that you’ve claimed
beyond your portion of miracle
you lost soul, you greedy, greedy, i lose words
I choke on the anger, even I,
all the time cultivating joy in my heart
even I, seeing beyond the constructs
still
when I come across the artifact
or the present moment
or the border in my dream that says how far I can go
we can go
we can be
I remember we are not yet free
and will not be, cannot be
until you choose to be free
who designed it this way
how will we ever get beyond bitterness
how will we ever get beyond heartbreak
how will we ever be able to tell our stories in any genre but horror
how I wonder
as we barrel towards another battle
that we have no wish to fight
as we want to hold each other
but you’ve made it dangerous
we want to lick each other’s wounds until the scars spell new names
make different promises
fly but not like angels, not like birds, not like anything that has ever moved through the sky before
fly beyond your touch
that’s all we need
and it seems to be the only thing we cannot do, cannot get to, cannot run for
you wait around each corner of history
belly gaping with hunger, eyes pulsing with hate
demonic, vapid, wasting the precious
and only
life you will get
and you even tell your children these lies
to shape into them a foolish worldview in which
we cannot rest and they cannot feel their blessing
I have been casting spells and speaking dreams
my whole adult life
but even I feel the ways you are making me into your nightmare
without my consent
making me your enemy
when I bear no arms
making me your prey
wherever I graze with my children
it has been so long
so long I have to remind myself it isn’t forever
it is so constant
I have to remind myself it cannot last
it is so small
to be a part of the sacred
it is so heavy
this massive rage
I am only able to sleep
dreaming of volcanoes
which peel away the surface and explode and melt down what is
which decimate and steal and swallow and change
which become glass and then green island
which become breeze and beach and whale watching
and song and fruit and dance
and children and children and children
when I feel it inside me
this raging molten flow of the truth
I can only rest remembering
life comes from the eruptions
and nothing you’ve made will last
and my rage fills up my mouth
and our rage fills up the earth
and we can darken the whole sky
and if we can’t breathe then you won’t either
and our destinies are intertwined
you fools, you fools, you flesh and bone
suckle and moan
terrified to be alone
you, there, hiding behind your telephone
you will heal, or your line will end
we will heal, or we will die praying and dancing
surrendering to the joy still beating in our chests
we will find a way to live here on this earth
or she will blow us to the sky
melt away our flaws
leave only a perfect stone
full of story

if you can’t see the small…

look here. here.

if you can’t see the small
you will keep leaping from built thing
to built thing
begging the sky to rain only on you
you’ll become a tyrant,
reaching, shuffling the cards until you see only your own vision
massive
but no one else can see it

if you can’t see the small
you miss the whole miracle
it is all moments nearly missed, private,
impossible to perform, or
perfectly acted, context and all
moments of faith hit the surface and change it
shivering us open
to love
to our ridiculous longings

if you can’t see the small
you may never feel true love
it comes with the slimmest shadow of warning
whisperclacking spider toes up your spine
to love is to truly lose
the only thing you can ever truly have
and never buy
for love, true, the whole surrender kind
starts with a gasp

if you can’t see the small
you may never know pleasure
which is not about the immersion into eternal bliss, no
it’s the printed pad of your finger
grazing along my shoulder
as you realize you need to feel me
it is inside, where the sun, wind, rain and earth
have never touched you
but i have

if you can’t see the small
you won’t know what the dirt is screaming
one grief at a time
that the whales are singing
warning songs
that there is a shudder in all of life now
a premonition:
change everything
for everything is changing

a moon kind of night

tonight the moon is bright
not full but so full
telling me she can see the sun
even when I can’t
she can see the light of all our lives
she can share it with me

a creature moves through the woods
and I think, it’s bedtime
but that little hungry one
guided by senses I can never know
says there is life in the dark
and beauty…don’t be so scared

and I am scared
to feel so much about
the so far away people and places
the so mysterious future
I can’t save anything
only love it all so much

and love moves through the fear
reaching and touching me
showing me I am more than I know
and we are, all, doing our best
to be wild, still
to be free

and the moon moves over me, moves through
unapologetic in her power
reminding me I am hers
reminding me I am tides
reminding me I am full
even here, even now, in the shadows

moon tell me

moon teach me

how to wear the scars without masking
how to be all the time darkness and light
how to follow, to be satisfied with reflection
how to be careful with the tides
graceful, but crafting storms
to be the one who gives, who is held in orbit
teach me how to love the sun
please
please tell me
teach me how
to be seams and pockmarks and…beautiful
to be a portal of longing and connection
to take a month
to open and then to close again

because I am not perfect
I surrender to the light every time
if it’s a flash, I sit dazzled in the darkness
I don’t even know how to wane
teach me
to fill up with ritual
to be so powerful
and so very small

tomorrow is the new moon

what we seed in the dark grows
the darkness is so powerful that whiteness tried to turn the world against it
but the darkness remains
the darkness grows everything you love
and when everything dies
it returns to the delicious dark
the wet and waiting earth
who only operates in miracle
nothing is broken inside the darkness
everything is becoming life
longing for life
reaching up from a molten heart
full of belonging
on the edge of flight
so driven
the darkness knows no separation
memory is dream is a thrill in the flesh

i race towards the poem
that i alone can hear
and in answering the call
i remember i am nothing alone, nothing.

surrendering to the truth
frees me, leaves me whole
i overflow with a thundering joy
that only darkness can hold
.

what do you need? what does our species need? write it down, everything, and show it to the dark, whisper it to the dark. fold it and plant it under your bed. in the dark.

enough moments of love

when she becomes stone in my arms
i know that she is asleep

when he makes the room dance in his skin
i taste his sweet aliveness

when she appears to be made of smiling wax
i feel how she has left this earth

when he throws wrapped paper at the people
i see that he is a curse walking

when they slowly unbutton their shirt
i blush – the future is flirting with me

when her mouth drops because of this government
i suspect she is a true capitalist

when he says women only ever wanted authority
i wonder if men can know freedom

when they say ‘please call me this please’
i trust that they’ve thought through my questions

when she says to me hello how are you?!!
i am her child again, always

when he calls me i drop the world and answer
i’ve lost enough moments of love

when she whispers to me with her mouth just so
i forget there is time space between us

when i look in the mirror and pause
i see no shadow in my eyes

i love the sky

IMG_7327

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

I reject your raft

you think you are the ocean
and you offer me a raft
of blackness
or womanness
fatness
or queerness
dis-ability
or my migrant nature
or something other other other

you say my humanity can fit there
can be defined by the surface
by what is seen
you don’t even grant me the depth of icebergs
the more beneath the sea
because you believe that you
you are the water
the essence of the world

i tried to make this raft my self
to string a few together and call it vast
but even though i make it gorgeous
an intricate slip of mystery and memory
it is always dry or drowning
always too small for all of me
and everyone else you want me to share it with

we are all seabed to bay
we are all storm and calm
we are
each of us
the whole realm of the moon
we are tired of clinging to the raft
we are not born of scarcity
there is no rule in heaven or earth
that we must follow

i am as god as you are
i reject your raft
i move away from you
towards forever
in wave after wave after wave

– to the slightly racist individual who (didn’t mean to but) thought she could shrink me

in the dark i see fireflies

in the dark i see fireflies
they are like we are
sparks sometimes shining
rarely in rhythm
rarely together
but beautiful

in the dark i see longing
yawning open, wet and hungry
never full, never fulfilled
star teeth gnashing
(who can swallow scalding food)
and beyond that, a constant empty

in the dark i see memories
distorted by ego
we love being wise
we hate the learning
we love being right
but we’re usually wrong

in the dark i see dreams
and the long distance
between the constant fire
i yearn to be
and the brief flashes
i can pull off

in the dark i see the moon
saying ‘nothing is constant’
even a rock caught in light’s orbit
even these constellations are
a flash across infinity
that brightness doesn’t last

but the dark is forever

9

Because today is the ninth day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like to challenge you to write a nine-line poem.

sometimes i lose my hope
when the miracles have gone
my kind invented walls and wars
boxes cages bricks and bars
separation built of sticks
spilling blood that should not mix
signs to say who cannot come
bending fire into guns

some nights my hope is done