juneteenth spell 2022

we somebody’s worst nightmare
and best memory
that free

even in our blood we still feel
that quelling force saying
be less

with each breath, we heal wild wounds
we cut both binding rope
and bound

telling only the truth now
we show each other the freedom
we know

two years, six months, nineteen days
but centuries late, really
right now

with each breath, we heal wild wounds
we cut both binding rope
and bound

bitter history fills the throat with tears
even the songs twist, winded
haunting

grief spills through our hands until
we only see the other’s beauty
feel found

with each breath, we heal wild wounds
we cut both binding rope
and bound

– inspired by experiencing The Revival: It Is Our Duty and A Strange Loop this Juneteenth weekend

we are also the shadow

visual from APOD app…let this suffice moongazing curiosity! chani advises us not to go look at or absorb this moon – cleanse and purge!

we are infinite
fractal
timeless

when blood spills
we are the wounded place
the sensitive scar tissue
protecting life
from death
until death

we are tattooed
by grief
that love language
our rage and our weeping
show where we fester
where the fight is

that bile, that grime in the fold
that stench
that’s a warning
there’s a standard
we still need to set

we cannot stagnate for long

we are the river
we are the droplets that
spill through the soil
to quench at the root

we are overflowing
your structures
your cons
feel our pounds
your borders so waterlogged
and fragile

we the seep
we the slow creep of holy flood
through your ceiling
the rising rapid tide within
each liberating question
rushing under every skin

we are the deepest place
the light cannot reach us
unless we choose
the mountain path for an age
it’s all archipelago
to us

we ancient

we the patient ones
we carve our fury
with knives made of bones

we are the nightmare
that wakes you to leave
this burning house
but you must recall
we are also the matches

we are the balance
not only the flame in the dark
but each silhouette
against the bright

we are the
spark of life that shines
we are also the shadow

we are everything
you make
live in shadow

you who eat only
sunlight and death

we are underground
we are the dirt
we know who we go home to
we are not lost
we cannot lose
we know death is a portal
we are the black hole
through which all life must
burst

we know life is a miracle
we who
spin on an axis
pulsing like a heart
we
still
beat

we go pray in the dark
we know
where god lives

but tonight
we just shadow on sunlight
eyes closed
against the glare

(hear it read aloud on ig)

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

fog clearing moon

fog cast before the moon
soft fingers that can’t touch her face
this river of our righteous tears
earth women bear this weight

fog on a full fat moon
fragments converge into something new
what we release has a gravity
let go of what’s not true

sweet and fog clearing moon
show me this dirt is not so bleak
lift up your skywide veil
promise me: there’s always light

something is ending

you want to argue with me on the internet
you feel judged by my coping mechanisms
it’s all misunderstanding my love, listen.
so many have died, but we are still alive!
argue all you want! you’re still here
I’ll defend nothing – I’m still here
we both know something of living
I promise I don’t know more than you
and I (mostly) don’t think I do, I promise
and you don’t know more than I do
about reaching for tomorrow from this
blessed broken bodymind or spiritheart
still, I am learning. every. day.
simple things like how to breathe
to love without controlling
to admit I have been wrong
I am learning. every. day.
not to apologize for each breath
or hearing the call of joy

even here in the ruins
I feel the thrum of life
even in your corrections and bickering
all I hear is each one of you saying
I’m alive I exist I want to live
and I hear you
all I see is how much you want to be seen,
vibrant, special, nobody’s fool, free
and I see you
all I know is death is not our enemy
time is no accident or prison, but the gift of life
being right is not a permanent state
it’s logical to be obsessed with living
and to be flooded with fear
crawl beside me back into our ancestors’ arms
do you argue with invisible strangers because no one else will listen?
look – even wrong, you’re someone’s miracle
we might all be a single sacred mistake

but we are still alive
every time I feel lost frustrated stuck angry
or overcome by despair and grief
meaning every day, every single day
of this slow and fatal endtime
I find my eyes in a mirror
and whisper: you are still alive
and to each loved one: we are still alive
our adaptations unfolding from our
undeniable need for each other
yes something is ending – but it isn’t us love!

the future is not something they can steal
or you can win or I can win
it’s at the intersection of every argument
it’s in the resistance to every oppression
it’s in the generosity that bursts thru hoarding
it’s the impulse to save each other
from the sharp corners of a full life
I see you trying, I hear you singing
in dialectical chorus
echoing our own kind of forever
we live/we lived, we live/we lived
we live/we lived

what if this body

ah but what if this is the ideal body after all
this body which once danced all night and still waited to see the sun rise
this body which caught mothers as they released babies from their bodies
this body which has known so many kinds of touch
from lovers who wanted and didn’t want it
from doctors who saw and didn’t see it
from children who did not hesitate to surrender tears or laughter or dreams
onto my bosom

what if this body has kept me from becoming a monster
kept me humble
stilled me from ego
with sufficient doubt

what if this body was the ideal protection
from the death throes of patriarchy
if this body was a lighthouse
to the lovers who knew
freedom was the arousing aspect

and what if this body
is the ideal body
for what is coming
when the food dwindles on the shelves
because all of us willing to pull it from the ground
and milk or slaughter the beasts
have turned to feed our own
or are too busy grieving
or gone quiet in the plague
of a nation that will always choose
pride and profit
over its people
when the rest of the world
is sick of indulging the bully
and the rich men are stabbing each other with phallic weapons
and we are all simply too sick
to apologize or be accountable

the farmers are sick
and the teachers are sick
and the babies are sick
and the soldiers are sick
and the nurses are tired
and the doctors are depressed
and the scroll is eternal
and the rest of us
are watching the end
muted on our televisions

what if this body was made
for an endless quarantine
as this dysfunctional nation collapses
what if this body is the promise of a lush future
perfect for holding on to
through another night of grief
that is not even shocking
because we all know
we all die

what if this body is the last to know hunger
unveiling the strength always there
carrying us through this wild life
while greedy bellies grumble in absence of the fat that fills one up
may mine swallow my thighs from within
delight in self loving sweetness
sustained by soft

what if this body
is the ideal body
for this apocalypse
what if?
what if the future
is simply all the fat girls
outlasting the fools

not busy, focused; not busy, full

this is a poem or a reset
you keep telling me you know I am so busy but…
and then you ask me for something
and I want you to know
I am not busy
no, with all of these boundaries I have space
to write.
to take care of my body.
to hold my loves tightly in my many many hands so we can somehow make it through the rest of our lives

I am so focused
on the imaginary world which is trying to whisper to me
how to write a story that unlocks a heart
to write a spell that makes us bored with punishment and immune to capitalism
I am so full of ancestors and characters and I can’t tell which is who
but they are a chorus
telling me humans are not the protagonist
and nothing I can say is more brilliant than a stand of trees or a mycelial warning
or a newborn’s first shuddering dance
or the grace of the blue heron in lustful prance across this pond
or the continuous sky flood always somewhere storming

and when the clouds are full with pending storm they are quiet
so I am studying that quiet so I can hold that storm
and when the riverbanks flood, the soil forgets it is earth and goes flying through the water and finds a new purpose in the deep or maybe maybe even the vast ocean
isn’t every stream a boddhisatva
didn’t Lao Tzu know it is humble to become the vastness beneath
I was running so fast and trying so hard but what I forgot was the wonder

now my body aches to remember when I was busy
when I was so capitalist in my anti-capitalism, that is to say so productive in my revolutionary performance
but now I am not busy
I am breathing
I am moving at the pace my body allows, ever forward, mentored by a tortoise
I am balancing my vibrant intentions with my bemused body – bones of betrayal, bruised by the busy I once thought was my worth
now I know my body is the sliver of earth I’ve been given
I am healing from the extraction
I thought gave me value
from the toxins I thought of as solace

the freedom I can experience is from the traumatic past and the dystopic future
into the miraculous now
in which I can still find moments of respite
moments to water the garden of my home
to skim the news stopping only to witness and feel the heartache and longing
the beauty of being so connected is that my boundless love has a field without horizon, my heart can gallop on, loving all the people experiencing and shaping humanity, without end

I hope to never be busy again
I owe this quiet breath to my grandmother
I am creating at an astounding rate
and some of it I even write down
some moments I get so still
I can sense how it is all connected
and that the tissue is love
and I know my love could never be wasted
or too small a contribution
I say yes when love leads
I say yes when there’s enough time to do it well
and sometimes even then I am not there
because life showed me another way to love
and it was irresistible

this is the only moment (species love poetry)

i can’t stop being in the present

noticing how the past tells me what i should care about and the future tells me what i should fear
and the past tells me what we forgot
and the future tells me what we must dream
but here

i breathe in
noticing the gift i too often take for granted
not knowing how many breaths i have left
i want to spend them
being
love

i have done so much, so many tasks
but what has mattered most
has been the listening
to the thirsting dirt
to the spiraling wind in the wake of
murmuration
to the drumbeat of ant feet moving abundance with a million hands
the sacred erotic of pollination
the orgasmic opening of mushrooms
pulling the yes for miles underground
the innocent violence of predators
feeding their children
the way the wild wastes nothing
the way the cedar gives me permission
to pray

i thought someone else
had all the instructions
and i, stumbling and following,
praying to become worthy,
must admit i have been grieving and grieving
all i don’t know and don’t trust
and grieving so deeply
a world that is still breathing
anticipating failure
in spite of my visions

but when i listen
the universe is reminding me
i cannot be taken from her
i am never untethered from her roots
never beyond the whole
and nothing is lost, it is lived
and we are not here to win
but to experience love
and those who do not know love
are missing life in spite of all other accumulation

and when i listen
the universe is teaching me
that control is impossible
and the season will change
and enough is a feeling that cannot be measured
and the small circle is the deepest
and i cannot teach anyone what i have not practiced
and i cannot change anyone but myself
and i will never feel free in a position of demand
and i am already free
and we all are, and when we realize it
we cannot be contained

and we are never i
even when we are lonely
even when we distinctly suffer
even when we distinctly succeed
we are of lineage
of collective
of era
of farmers’ hands and strangers’ prayers
of singers with their heads thrown back
we are always dancing with our ghosts
and praying for our great great grandchildren
we are always the harvest

and the future is being decided
the future is being practiced
the future is being planted
in this breath
and this breath
and this breath

so i breathe in
noticing the gift i too often take for granted
not knowing how many breaths i have left
i want to spend them
being
love

this is not justice, this is respite

the first thing we could do was breathe,
together

a practitioner of breathlessness is guilty
(hallelujah hallelu!)
like, they said what we knew
(he looked surprised too)
that small alignment is so rare
it lays our contradictions bare

some hushing shout does move through the body as if (remember) we are one body but
it’s really chorus, we of so many minds
we feel so hollow
we feel such joy
we feel such rage
we feel our grief
we feel relief

all at once, in undulation
we cry out in celebration
and then catch a dissatisfied breath
this moment makes the moment we need possible but…but…

in the next breath world
he would be fathering right now
or high like the rest of us
inhaling aliveness, exhaling freedom
on a day that blended into a life
blessed to be unknown

in the next breath world
they would all be alive today
and the presence of that absence
casts a blur across the headline

it took so much burning of precincts, chaos, rage
screaming and defending and
terrifying the children and
combating every mistruth and
nauseous vulnerability and regret and pressure from so many precious lives already at risk
to get this guilty, guilty, guilty
we will praise up the collective tonight
we will lay gratitude for our warriors tonight
we will claim the hard-won territory tonight
tomorrow, we return to the fight

for even in our gasp of yes
with our need to grieve so desperate
we know
this is not justice

this is respite

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