Sunday, December 11, 2016

Vertigo

Dizzy, feeling the world spin
beneath my feet.
Something so subtle, suddenly transparent,
transformed into braille,
bumps rising to the surface
to meet my fingertips and let me read.

I try to catch my breath and get my bearings,
but the air has changed.
Even my skin feels tight,
restricting the oxygen flow.
So I peel off my armor and let it drop
like discarded clothes,
that has outlived its purpose,
though the cotton has grown soft and familiar from wear.

Without its protection,
I stand bare and exposed,
register the shift in weight
recalibrate for the missing mass.
Aware I will have to negotiate anew
how to move my body through space.
Close my eyes and savor how smooth and lithe it propels itself,
the breeze now at my back and not cold and hostile against my face.

Occasionally my feet lift lightly from the ground
having been accustomed to the constant downward pressure.
Like when I finally got my braces off
and my tongue explored the newly slick surface of my teeth
But missed the dull pain I’d grown accustomed to.
And I realize I’ve been trying to run with sandbags tied to my ankles
Loaded down with shame and fear, the many accumulated burdens 
I’d gathered over the years and carried slung like potatoes over my shoulder,
twisting the natural curve of my spine.
An awkward three legged race
tripping over tangled limbs
never realizing I could just untie the sash and be free!

So now I am peaking over the edge. 
All my cells suddenly oriented to air.
Oxygen permeating, seeping into every open space. 
Shoulder blades tingling. 
feathers tickling, wings ready to sprout. 
Nothing to hold me back. 
It’s now, now, and now.
That’s all there’s ever been. 
Every option in my mind,
Is already a potential reality.

I feel like a young colt at the first hint of chill in the fall.
Prancing, throwing my head and swishing my tail.
Testing out the new found strength in my legs.
Running the fence line until I find an opening
Kick my heels at the discovered freedom,
hiding in plain sight.

This is that inheritance I’ve been seeking to pass down to my children!
This exuberance, this joy of living
This awareness of self in tune with its surroundings,
Knowing its own strength intrinsically.
Rejecting the doubt that creeps,
HOPE is my name,
but I am just now starting to live up to it.

I buck the saddle.
Clamp down on the bit.
Refuse to be broken.

But you are welcome to come ride bareback with me!
Skin to skin
Heart beat to cheek
Sweat mixing salty,
and let the wind whisk it away like a kiss.
I’ll run all night under the moon
and wake up to an open sky.
When you slide off at day break
we will bow to each other, hand to heart
not knowing if we will ride again.
We never do. 
But maybe, just maybe
There are many sunrises and sunsets ahead.
But the saddle?

It’s staying in the shed.

Dream Catcher


The other night at the shaman circle we all held pieces of string.  Forty strangers in a circle, eyes gently closed as silent helpers skit about the room looping and tying our strands together into an elaborate web.  They told us to hold tightly, and the occasional tug pulled at my fingers as I journeyed inside my own thoughts.  Reminding me not to forget the work happening all around.  My body still present and intricately related in an organic, complex latticework, even while my mind wandered through space and time. 

When I opened my eyes, there it was: the intangible made visible.  We were all holding pieces of the larger puzzle.  Each responsible for suspending its shape in air.  One by one members entered the circle created.  Experiencing the healing power generated by our joint good intentions.  The power of ritual restoring self within the community from which it sprung.  Like individual drops merging with the sea.  Rejoining the outer ring, each of us with our own unique, shifting perspectives, forged a sacred hoop of ornate patterns, synchronized and reconnected.  Weaving ourselves back to life. 

And it reminded me of the power of story.  The strength of narration.  The responsibility to tell our own tale if we want to contribute to its ending.  If we want to be whole.  And sometimes that means eating part of the web where it has been broken or torn.  Realizing we have the ability to mend, spinning silk mysteriously out of our own inviolable core.

Aware or not, we are all a part of this amazing web, our threads woven together so we feel the same breeze, shimmer in the same moonlight.  What touches you, touches me. 

But if we grasp too tightly, we can find ourselves tied up in knots.

Clinging too firmly to something precious may drain it of the very beauty that draws us.  Until the cherished flower lies limp in our hand. 

So I want to love lightly like a humming bird’s flight.

Like smoke rising, swirling up in the air.  Incense, sage and soft candle light.


I want to love deeply and trust so completely, that I can let out the rope holding my daughter as she climbs the rock wall.  The more space I give her, the higher she can ascend.  Anticipating her moves, I spool it out but lock her in place when she needs to rest.  Leaning confidently back into the harness, the weight of my body holding her until she is ready to scale past the crux, eyes tilted upwards, not down to the fall.

Untangling love

So many years of being entwined
that I’ve forgotten where you end, and I begin. 
So I work,
sweat dripping as I loosen the threads
like spiraling tendrils,
wound snug around my thoughts and feelings
until they’ve strangled the life out of the plant they once clung to,
leaving no room to grow,
deep impressions engraved in the skin like fingerprints, a scar.
I breathe into them,
hammer out the dents until they pop back out to the surface,
and blink stunned in the blare of sunshine.

It’s dangerous work,
uncoiling a spring under years of pressure.
They can pop off like firecrackers and blind an eye.
As I carefully untie the binds, they snap and curl like a whip.
And as I toil in the heat, dangling strands still snag. 
An unexpected yank on one can still send me spinning into a nosedive like a tangled kite.
A sudden tug can unwind me until I’m spinning round and round with no center. 
Calling out to hear my own echo bounce off something solid,
in order to reorient myself,
straighten up and fly.

Cautiously I send out feelers into new soil.
Take a deep breath and tear off the Band-Aid.
Pull up damaged roots and shake off the earth,
dedicate myself to rip off the dead weight,
leaves crispy, brown and brittle down the fence line,
off shoots from a severed vine.

But I dream of green sprouts pushing through soil.
The hopeful unfurling of new life.
So I return to the struggle over and over. 
A labor of love, self-love.
Deep and expanding,
Light rising out of a well.
Shining warm and cozy.
A beacon towards

Home.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Inheritance

Staring in the mirror at my family collapsing,
crumbling into sharp
edged
chunks
and clinking like shattered glass around my feet. 
Privileges squandered, gifts too easily given. 
Yet fists still cling to some imagined scarcity.
Closed tight and delusional, as thin as air. 
Still demanding more like some drug crazed addict. 

The convenience of saccharine sweet religion,
brimstone judgment and impossible expectations.
Conditions placed on love like an ever-receding mirage, 
Leave me thirsty. 
Skin-deep Christmas cards.
Shallow rebellions and superficial ties. 
Just enough for holiday meals.

I say it’s time.
Time to let the house burn down!
Time to let the light stream through.
True strength is saying enough when you’re already sucked dry. 
What more can you possibly want?
You’ve already siphoned our life breath
like a vacuum into your emptiness.  And for what?
You lift not even a finger to save yourself. 
Easy to sacrifice the rest of us as we carefully teeter on the knife-edge of our lives.
Struggling to survive,
keeping our own ships afloat.
Bleeding,
sweating,
crying,
but carrying on.

Now it’s time to back off. 
I’m breaking this cycle! 
I want something REAL to pass down to my children. 
Flesh and blood, skinned kneed resilience. 
And not the hold-your-breath kind. 
Not these blurry shadows,
these shape shifters flitting past our windows at night, 
afraid of the lightning strike. 
But the open-the-windows-and-let-the-rain-in-kind. 
The cry and cuss but get
            back
up
kind. 
The watch-this-rising-phoenix-breathe-ashes-back-to-life kind. 

If you knew love,
you wouldn’t question me. 
You’d just know,
deep down in your cells,
you’d know. 
Ya, I’m here.
Got your back in the dark.
But only if you’re making an effort to stand on your own goddamn feet. 
Don’t fucking expect me to carry you! 
I’ve got enough weight on my own
and a stress fracture to prove it. 
Yet I’m still out here running, tears streaming, chest heaving. 
So get the fuck off your ass and throw a goddam foot forward. 
Stop bitching and howl. 
Gut wrenching and alive. 

Who told you life is easy?
It’s hard and gets gritty.
You have to be tough.
It’s not an option.

You don’t think I know pain? 
Ruptured tendon. 
Open lung biopsy. 
Pinched disk on my wedding night.
Flying from DF to Austin with a collapsed lung.
Driving myself over an international border to the emergency room.
Working in a foreign country with 104 temperature and a baby strapped to my chest. 
Passing out like a felled tree on the cold tile floor surrounded by strangers.
My unborn child buried in the mountains of Oaxaca.
C section barely sealed,
sleep deprived,
nipples cracked and bleeding
yet gritting my teeth to offer them again and again to a crying baby. 
Setting a match to my own marriage
to save myself, my children… 

Ya, I’m stopping this cycle.

And I’m too damn grateful to give up now. 
I will stand,
shoulders thrown back and laugh,
filling these battered lungs. 
I will blaze a new path for my children to follow,
throw them off the scent of this dead end street. 

This is not love. 

This is tissue paper thin ego, pounding its chest.
Looks big but rips up close.
It’s frail and fragile to the touch. 
So I may be exhausted,
but no amount of shaking will free these roots. 
They sink deep, tapped into another source you’ve yet to find. 
So I’ll fan the flames as the house burns.
Close my eyes and let them lap up higher and higher
to see over your bull shit,
past the fear and smoke to an open sky. 

So if you really care,

                        meet me there.