I fled from days
of standing under your patchwork roof
offering no protection from the rain,
least of all my own rain pouring out of me,
threatening always to drown in its leave taking.
So I learned to float, flowing along the curves
others presented in my efforts to find
time, love, home,
the back roads where berry bushes
grow in abundance.
Yet I never tasted,
never picked any berries,
fresh off the branches.
Instead, I always found
the snakes hidden, lying in wait
beneath the berry bushes,
for the seeking,
and I, always bitten,
never learned my lessons
of serpents who lay in wait,
or the lessons of Eve,
I still sought,
in spite of the venom,
in spite of the bites—
I found the rains pouring out of me
to travel on
Category: self awareness
As a child, I survived the explosion of dreams that left hot greasy remnants dripping down the four-inch squares of avocado green ceramic tiles, marring their mirror like shine. As a grown woman, I survived the eruption of dreams that poured down an encasement of hot ash over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis, leaving monumental statues of grief. Thus, I chose to live where silence drones, a rumble in the ears. Nothing left-- a hole, a void made by echoes of desires held long ago. So, I have taken a corn broom to dance with me in time to music only I can hear to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs, the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas of me, my doings, my words. Yes, from my words, I shake loose all the years of dust, the years of ash, the years of grease. All words, oh, so many words I never loosed upon the air to float free upon the winds, tumbling away, up, around, then returning once more to spring up as wildflowers when things turn to green. I begin to loose them now, freed to scatter where they will, root, spring up where they find a place to rest.
The Dirt of Chimayo
As if you erupted from an eternal spring, an immortal thing, I gave you away when last I prayed here at Chimayo. When kneeling I scooped the healing dirt as I spoke silent prayers of thanks for my heart bravely facing shocks of resuscitation after years spent barely beating in stuttering grief. Upon return today, I kneel to scoop the healing dirt, asking in silent prayer a blessing of forgiveness for giving you away too easily— thus, killing you, bleeding you of all hope, beyond resurrection, beyond resuscitation. In the dirt of Chimayo, this healing earth, from this place of faith, sifted through my hands, I bury you, a mortal thing, I gave away too easily to an undeserving faith, in this dirt of Chimayo.
I tire of seeing memes about having a positive attitude and choosing one’s feelings plastered
social media. It is no surprise our young people are in the midst of a mental health crisis when constantly bombarded with messages telling them, in essence, “The only reason you are sad is because you are making the choice to be sad,” or, (one of my favorites for sabotaging anyone’s self esteem) “You have a choice to make your day wonderful or not.” While such simplistic messages are well meaning, I believe they are sometimes extremely toxic. After all, what if your parent died on that day? Did you make the choice to have a horrible day? What if you go home to a toxic abusive environment? How can you choose to make your day wonderful? So before reposting those wonderful positive messages on social media, let’s all take a step back and think about what we are really saying to someone who may be going through something or in an environment where there is no choice in the matter but to feel what he or she feels. Let’s send messages that say it’s okay to feel what you feel and acknowledge it and to take time to feel it all,so something can be gained from it—a lesson, a positive action taken, whatever it may be, so we know our suffering was not for naught. Hence, this piece.
I gathered my despair,
my tears, my losses, all my grief.
Sat with each,
held them close,
let them dry,
waiting for spring.
When the ground warms,
softening, ready for tilling,
I will plant my despair,
sow my tears,
plough rows for my losses,
dig a hole deep enough to hold all my grief.
In the turning of time,
from the shrubs of my despair,
I will snip flowers and herbs
for healing others.
From the vines of my tears,
I will pluck the fruits and vegetables
to pile upon the table for all who need.
From the fields of my losses,
I will reap the harvest grain
to store for when a time of need arrives.
Finally, from the tree of all I grieve.
I will pick the sweetest fruit
dry, drought ridden earth
riddled with cracks inches wide
forms chasms decades deep
layered in dry dust
rising as rain pelts away,
determined to flood
chasms, erasing all cracks
but this earth is too hardened
unyielding to any rain,
seeking to soften hard soil
Bandaged, She Walks
Bandaged, gauze covered, blanketed--
She never thought of bandages
until one wound oozed infection,
a malevolent fluid.
Thus, she learned of cleansing wounds,
bandaging them for protection,
Twice, she thought her wound healed, scarred over,
rejoicing, removed her bandage.
Twice, her scar split open, infection returning.
Resigned, resolving to keep her bandage always,
Refreshed daily, keeping infection at bay.
Is this what you, indeed, wish?
The feel of some bold mystic chaos
Contained within the fire of kisses
Traveling along the boundaries
Where lived an identity
You lost long ago—
To feel that chaotic fire
Burn away the identity
You wear today—
Feel passionate softness
Twist within and around
Leaving bruises unseen
And you undone
In twisting mystic
Chaos of fire.
of stone and blossoms
I am unsure how this happened, but the stone grew, encasing me, protective and cold, a walking grave of comfort for many years. Now, having grown moss over the passing of so many seasons and used to the weight of stone I carry into the calm of night, blossoms burst forth from this tonnage of comforting cold stone, this grave of a home I have known. I would like to twist, turn away from such blossoms, yet find I cannot. I cannot gather dust to me, creating stone again. Cannot piece shards together for there are not enough left in this remaining dust. As I rest in this place, I will tuck these blooms away-- Until they bear ripened fruit, Readied for picking. Fragrant blossoms that they may only be for now.
The Smoothness of Ink
From the tip of my fountain pen—
Not smooth enough–
Fails capturing anything
Within this labyrinth of senses
Scars of Hope
I gather hardened scars of loss and damage
Braided into keloid beauty
That are not blossoms of bitterness,
But fragrant beauties
That make me who I am.
Even the bars of your barren garden
Called love could not steal away
The essence of my hope.
Instead, the black, barrenness
within sugar syrup words
Of one never able to love
Contain no acid
To eat away
My skin of hope.