Residual | Part 4

residual | part 4

‘To ache is Human – not polite –’

mauisunrise

once there was a morning when
the sun dripped out of bed
infusing the air with the violet
drops of a blood orange, just
as citrus just as sweet, and
it was harsh and threatening. it made
the day action, abstraction
to concrete form, now. now. now.

what could i have done?
every brain was churning yet
in dream juices and acid trips.
what could i have done then?
i pushed open the doors
windows locks latches

and ah the reprieve! to drink
the atmosphere – clean and strong
as black coffee, and
what then?

an inhale – fear despair sadness cynicism
helpless hopelessness pain the dark
the shallow

yellowgreen bruises burnt edges
weeds dark deeds
doubt

cheeks drop numb, and
heat prickles behind my eyes,
and words escape:

my heart bleeds like a river                my heart bleeds like a river
my heart bleeds like a river from my soul
I’ve got peace like a river                   I’ve got peace like a river
so roll              Jordan             roll.

and the sky rippled with the stark dance
and the skyflash was brusque
with this exhale of it all.
its path was watercolored on the map of the sky
in red
bright red
blood apple cherry rose copper blood
then darker, darker: scarlet maroon crimson
color, color gushing from my lungs in an arc

a fountain

a river.

*

While I’d like to fancy myself someone who can be Strong Independent Woman (™) enough to not let certain things get to me, if I am being completely honest, a number of others’ comments both to and about me have stung enough that they stuck. Which is unfortunate, because many times they were not meant maliciously. And even more unfortunately,
(a) of course my reactions only reflected my own insecurity as well as
(b) a sort of existential belief that how others saw me was, in turn, how I was.

Anyway, this conversation in particular was great fun:

Other Person: “I love how you never get too excited or upset about anything.”
Me: “What? No, I’m not – stoic…
Other Person Again: “Yeah, stoic! That’s the word.”

Oh lord. Not that it’s a bad word: the Stoics were wise folk, being placid is crucial at times, who doesn’t need composure, etc. Just, for me, the word is not really that (typically anyway) true. In fact, I get excited about really microscopic and/or silly things. That SNL sketch about how much Ryan Gosling hates Papyrus? Totally me. Once I wrote a series of essay-length rants about the more egregious parts of commissioning and publishing poorly-written SEO content. (If it were well-written, no problem, but…) After seeing Mother, and the movie ended and the whole theatre started complaining, to my regret, I replied to those complaints rather loudly: “Haven’t you people ever heard of an allegory??”

It goes on. I won’t. Better to quit while I’m, what, behind, and being revealed to be a very obvious snob.

But. But. All that aside, stoic is a modus I once used in contexts where being otherwise was, shall we say, frowned upon. Not a great idea.

Getting to a place of being not-stoic most of the time means something like this: being okay with dealing pretty words like blades that never deemed they hurt.

(It’s from the poem this poem’s title is drawn from – please read it! Emily Dickinson deserves all of the appreciation.)

All this is to say, I suppose, that sometimes, to actually get free from whatever bullshit is dragging you down, you have to relinquish everything you’ve been holding completely. A bit like an elimination diet: flush out all that’s not right for you so you can know for sure what is.

And maybe it’s an exorcism to and for no one in particular, except for you. Because it could be there’s nobody to blame anymore. And/or, maybe there never was. Still, it is release of some kind that each of us needs. Because, as the Great One said (and I’ll say it over and over):to ache is Human – not Polite –’.

*

Residual | Part 3

residual | part 3

And how does one truly Stay True

(feat. slightly echoic audio right here)

 

and how does one truly Stay True?
as if it were something to simply Go Do—
or, were it not, perhaps it could relate
to that letting the presence of
Innermost You
radiate.

perhaps it is simple as
listening to
the whisper or trill of the pulse that is
something that’s
someone; that’s
You—
all of that which rises
like vapor, like steam,
approaches like a steady friend, saying

And If You Believe You Can
Then You Will Begin Again.

and again and again until
there’s some new bloom,
that you swear to keep alive within
that solemn room
that is your heart.

and never again let it depart.
because

you have an explosion in you, too.
i hope you know.
there are colors that flow,
and enervate,
and energize,
and procreate;
do realize
how palindromes and postulates and poetry
and, at times, pain,
all frolic and gambol and twirl and surge
from those quietest crevices in your
Beautiful Brain.

don’t be afraid—
because its light
circles          around        again.

the outside world is stillbeckoning
still hungry for you to Be There
even in the face of this reckoning
even when you are unaware.

so
take that pain from in your veins and
let it go from you.
take the story from your core and
let it free you all the more,
to speak its piece
and let it flow
and be your peace
until you know
that this is that realest fullest breath of
real              release.
*

morning

Who are you really?
Tend to her. Take him out to where he longs to be.
Or, be still and simply be with that truest you.

Isn’t that what the world needs?
Isn’t that what you need?

*

Residual | Part 2

residual | part 2

He could not fathom it:

gardenview

In his garden he spent each day
With the moon at his feet, and
There he sang to the wolves as they
Prowled and preened around the trees
And they howled. Echoed, empty. Lonely
He stood steady with the pines and
Howled –

As if to ask God for something
Heavy and whole as a
Brick in the belly.

In his eyes the flurries fell,
Little crystal daggers,
Inconsequential flecks.

Under heaven he stood still
And his hair turned slate.

*

sky blue sky

Sometimes you see a space and it tells a story. Gardens in particular do this for me: they prompt thoughts of growth, yes, but also of the cycle of death-life-renewal, and of melting into a more natural environment.

And sometimes that environment reflects you in ways that are more painful than productive. And sometimes you realize the seeds you planted didn’t sprout — or that you forgot to place them in the earth in the first place. And from that, sometimes you learn, but then, maybe you also yearn.

*

Residual | Part 1

residual | part 1

joy

sunrise sanctuary

joy: it’s a funny thing. you think at first
it’s meant to burst
like fireworks in the velvet sky

but it looks more like a mountain stretching high,
cracking the air we breathe –

and it’s we who choose to stay in its midst
or to leave.

it’s happiness that’s the hummingbird,
purring with its whizzing wings,
self-satisfied with the nectar it brings,
but never sits and never sings —
just flees, sans a word.

joy. it’s a path which must be chosen. it is steady, it is frozen
between all that the monkeymind desires.
those choices common man (you, I) admires.

how could a soul ever deviate?
we’ve got to look beyond
our past — our fate.

else we’ll die as potted plants do : staring at a wall.

because

while cognition oft wants to kill,
it’s love
that conquers
all.

*

joy_collage1

If one pattern of thinking has ever kept me from moving on, it’s that of how something was supposed to be or feel.  And never more so than when everlasting happiness was supposed to be the result.

I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon here. I like bliss. I like euphoria. They are not purposeless. Yet how sudden they are in their ebb and flow; it’s borderline cruel.

And I’ve found it to be particularly more so when it comes to putting the weight of expectation on how achievements should deliver those feelings. The ecstasy that’s supposed to be there — if success and recognition are the only end goals, and doing the thing that leads you there for its own sake is not enough — does not come.

Is ecstasy what any of us really wants most, though? What I mean is, the ‘buzz’ — the ‘rev’ — is fun. But maybe it’s not necessarily supposed to last.

I’ve decided, personally, it’s a gentle sense of well-being I actually crave: something slower in coming, and less dependent on circumstance. Yet somehow, maybe, it is more meaningful.

Maybe I’m not alone in that?

And I could call what makes it flow by its chemical name, sure, but sometimes I wonder if it — if joy — runs deeper than that.

*

Residual

residual | a brief introduction

residual2

phantom limbs, and echoes,
and shadows cast — these are the past.                       and can they last?

perhaps,
when left unseen.

but what if, instead,
yesterday’s a handprint?
not quite a palm, no, but
its same design.

would you understand then that
those ghosts were residual,

always meant to be acknowledged, then left behind?


The next poem set is called Residual. The heart of it being those awesomely convicting words of Carl Jung’s:

Until you make the unconscious conscious, you will continue to subscribe to it and call it fate.

And maybe also Cat Power‘s … that is,

the doctor said I was not my past / he said I was truly free

… so! let’s see!

*

Residual: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Split-Tale Sea | Part 4

(Three months later…)

This is the final poem of Split-Tale Sea. I started this project for a number of reasons, but the main one was the effect that water has on my (lacking a more universally received word) spirit. Water makes me feel more like a human. Quieted. Calmed. But also, buoyant. Alive. Here.

IMG_1359

And I’m not alone in this: both scientific study and anecdote alike reveal, over and over, that water has this soothing, renewing effect in general. (Disclaimer being, probably not for anyone who’s afraid of it, but then again, oh my, what if that fear were overcome?!)

Thus, much of the whys are documented.

The whats, perhaps less so.

By whats, I simply mean: what can be done with this feeling? What Source first summoned the water to arise, and how can we seek more of its settling energy? What can one possibly bring into this world with the live-giving and healing that water gives?

Just days ago, being on the water brought me back to myself once again. And maybe that could serve as one answer (of many possible answers) to those questions: that is, what the water can prompt in us is as simple as a reminder.

To learn to live and be, mostly,

but also, I suppose, to

Float

*

Split-Tale Sea: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3

You Are Climbing

Taking a break from the series for the moment. This is a story I wrote this morning before hearing the news of the death of one of my heroes (mine, and so many others’)–now, it seems eerily/oddly fitting. Lest we ever forget that there is no peak in life that will save us. It is so easy to forget to simply live. But maybe this will help someone (anyone) remember. I know I need the reminder often enough. (God, but he reminded me…)

While something more specifically in memory of his marvelous existence will surely be here soon, this piece is in his honor. Tony, you were and are loved.

20150131_064702

You Are Climbing

You are climbing.

And there comes a point wherein you begin to wonder: Will I ever see anything that tells me I’ve reached An Apex—if not The Apex? Will there ever be a sign? Will the vista be enough?

You keep climbing, yet you harbor this doubt in your heart.

Then, suddenly, there is no more stone shielding your eyes. The mountain face falls away. Pink clouds greet you in the belly of a pale blue sky.

And all you can summon is,
This is it? This can’t be it.

You were climbing. And now you are not climbing. How foreign it feels to you.

What to do?

You can choose to sit or stand, and to stare and linger, because the view is, admittedly, beautiful. Even if it is not the Utmost of anything.

Or, you can choose to keep going. To return to that constant sense of Up that you know so well. To, as the song puts it, see what you can see. Because maybe there is an Utmost and maybe it feels more potent and powerful than this.

Letting the crisp thin air filter through you, you decide, yes, that must be the answer.

You begin your journey once more.

Or so you think. Because as you turn to depart, to descend,
The light catches your eye in a way subtle and strange.

It is for a half of a second; no longer. But something about the colors that strike you then—
It sends you reeling.

It reminds you of a summer, years ago, where all you did was walk by the riverside and watch sunsets and read. Sometimes you painted. Sometimes you swam.

Mostly you did not, though. Mostly you embraced this—what would you call it?

Ease.
Nothingness.
Solitude.
Quiet.

Freedom.

How could you have been capable of that, though? It feels so near
And yet
So far away.

But that flash of Then, that memory, is yours. No doubt about that.

Once upon a time—once there was no Apex. It didn’t matter.

I wonder, are the words that cross your mind now. I wonder. Could it not-matter again. When did it even begin to.

There was a story that was told. Wasn’t there?

A myth. It should have been called what it was. Mythology. Fantasy. Fiction.

But it’s not too late. Right? You step back to where you were before, and you sit. You breathe. You watch the light move through the clouds, like a gentle waterfall. You remember.

You remember that there was someone who you loved before all of this began. That there were grounded dreams you had, dreams with shape and texture and definition, absolved of the Utmost. That there was a world beyond this mountain range, a world you wanted to see and explore.

It could be, the volleying cries of the birds seem to say. It could be again.

Couldn’t it?

It is nearly time to descend; you know because the light is shifting in the direction known as Late Afternoon.

But, you think, let’s give it a minute longer. Let’s linger here. Let’s remember what that really means.

To linger.
To live.
To be.