Tuesday, February 5, 2013

With the other hungry ghosts on a wintry afternoon

Some memories sweeten the sky and circle the sun with meringue
Others pull teeth from our mouth and stuff gauze into the socket where a heart used to be
You're like the second kind with a cherry on top
A sweet, fucked up cherry I want to tie in a knot with my tongue

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

like a limb or a branch
attached because it grew from there,
from the source
as part of a structure, an
element of a whole
complete thing

like a discovery, a piece of
knowledge, a
thought, a word an act of
beauty crystalized
into memory and cannot
be taken away

like possession, like
a stumbled-upon treasure, a secret
map, a piece of gold
your heart
bloomed in my hand i saw it
open self-consciously
majestically, what felt like
a flash of light held
love for an eternity

like a limb, by some horrific stroke
detached, a thing meant to be
here that's no longer
here or
near or
touchable embraceable attainable
visible or willing to be seen
but i feel it hover over me
like a shadow
cold and lifelike
nimble and persistent
 and it goes everywhere i go

Thursday, October 18, 2012

i feel no anger, just
a loose flame inside
with just a few select words
you made me smile big enough to cure cancer
 what is this "you" button i can't switch off?

scully and mulder were soul-mates without
sexy times
but i guess that wasn't the case
with us
because i smelled you from years
away and always wanted you for dinner

when you dipped your finger and painted
a brief but elaborate
landscape of our unfolding
in the morning light all
the fluid fantasy had turned
to dried sediment
on our clothes
my mind clings

to it like a fish hooked
on a line
is it desperate to be
cut free, so much so that i
would rip my mouth
to get back to the underwater

or is that flailing a plea for
more freedom
a celebratory dance made
awkward and desperate-
looking for lack of limbs
i don't know why

even as i sit in good
new fall air tickling under
my collar
i feel apart from everything
i know and want

fastened to my declarations
and doubts like a blind dagger
thrower's unfortunate assistant

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"hang there, my verse, in witness of my love"

running down the street in a flash of
incense and smokey garbage
a slick of fresh vomit gives speed to my already
speedy trajectory
going i don't know where
maybe towards hauling my goods everywhere
wobbly and wiry-haired, moving but slowly
through the streets in search of spare change
there's something about this city
always dodging something
on your way to anything and everything
constantly uncovering what it is to be brave

you could be leaning on some scaffolding where your stoop used to be
scratchin' at that lottery ticket like today could be the day
not the preacher not the hipster not the twin babies on the scooters
could make you pray
just that lotto ticket
today could be the day
or down the street, another neighbor's shirtless
hips pushed out like he was pissing on the ground as he tied, tied tight, that bandana around his head
pulling at it, to get it in place, to keep it right, to keep everything, everything in place, just right
strung out on too much life

so i tell myself no stress, get dressed,
no crying, except in gratitude
no more living for someone else to do the right thing
so angry i could spit fire and give myself a good case of gangrene
by fighting this unwillingness to unhook from another's scaly flesh
like decades-old wallpaper being stripped, inch by sticky inch

don't you ever just want a friend?
neither near nor far-
this thought's been at me like
a mosquito buzzing madness in my ear
a quick turn over my shoulder to catch it
and a puffy, pink reminder on my shoulder of just how evasive you are

peace, fleeting
ease in only every second step
the torment of a seeker is being reminded of your own intention
that was set
you know what you've done, what you've chosen,
that's your signature, you signed up for this
gums spontaneously bleeding to remind me i am not me i am not mine
saturn will loop back again, slap me upside the head one more time
in case i forget

stay - breathe - stay
it's not time to leave yet
just get up, start digging
i know you dug the hole yesterday,
but it's full now, and we all need water

the body you found is exactly the body you were meant to find
good and evil share a nexus
clearing away the dust and distortion is the virtue
right actions impact the shape of the mind

goodness gives life a slow-mo setting
time to enjoy, to respond instead of thrashing about at the pull of the hook
living has sunk into the soft meat of your cheek
there's no blame to be placed
nowhere else to be
ignorance and lethargy, passion and anxiety
leverage the scales, giving center a nationality
goodness + reason = freewill
not right nor left, not you nor me
but choosing oneness
dare i say it: unity

every star you see is already burnt out
i know you'll die, or i
maybe even this love of ours
we just can't know which goes first

but the true death will come
if we don't even try
a pale heart turned to dust,
withered from thirst


Monday, August 13, 2012

i've been asking myself a lot of questions lately...namely, "where the hell am i?"  not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually (all the same thing if you ask me, but you haven't so i'll save that for another blog.)  i've wound up on many an unfamiliar new york street corner, wide-eyed and soggy-tailed, forced to remember that i was never a great girl scout..."always be prepared" extends now to a change of yoga clothes and a stash of condoms...which, upon further, socially relevant examination, probably goes to show you that, in my short time as a daisy scout, i really got the point of all that stuff.  you never know what life's going to throw at you, so keep it real, and keep it safe.  back to the blog.  getting up off of familiar ground is unsettling, to say the least, but liberating in that it necessitates presence- awareness of body and mind in order to not topple over, or end up in a crazy relationship, or broke...we'll get to that later.  my point today is that no one told me freedom was going to be so precarious, so read on for my experience so far.

i'm watching myself more closely these days, and from a certain vantage point, i look a little...well, lost, actually.  maybe that was the point.  not so long ago, i recall glorifying the benefits of getting lost in my new city (from the safety of my home, surrounded by my loved ones.)  now that i am on this journey, part of me is not so sure; "where the hell are we going?!" she asks.  well, thankfully i don't have to grit my teeth and lie to my frantic self, just quote someone else's line of wisdom that appeared in my inbox today: wise, wise angel o' mine announced, "getting lost is not a waste of time." oh, thank god...

although sometimes it feels that way, in a big way.  the goal, i suppose, is to stay on the path.  to sit with yourself, all of yourselves, and listen.  deepak chopra said, "great change is always preceded by chaos," and i have to say this current current of chaos running through me is definitely playing games with my head.  cyclically wondering why i can't seem to sleep enough, or get enough ice cream, or find anything to slow down the thoughts, some well-trained part of me knows that i have to stay with it, breathing, in order to usher in the change that is imminent.

a common question these days, from the people i'm meeting in new york, to friends back home and even myself late at night, is, "so, why did you move?"  i liken this urge to uproot and move away to a scout's trek (this theme suggests that maybe i'm destined to be a scout leader...) through the woods: the pack follows the leader that way, and i see a cumbersome and mysterious trail leading...nowhere.  i have to take it!  i have to know what's down there!  and suddenly i'm alone on the path i chose, and it's terrifying!  but what i know is that it's worse to live with the feeling of not having chosen my own way.  i have increasing clarity around what is important to me and what i'm willing to do for it, what i want to do with myself in the long run (i'll tell you about that later), and that impulse has pushed me here, into the rawness of my own heart.  girl scouts of america...watch out, here i come.  you'll always be prepared for wet, bendy sex.  tongue.  in.  cheek.

this morning, as i sat picking apart every little choice i've made so far, demonizing myself for being human and a little vulnerable, i was finally able to wrench myself free for long enough to come to the conclusion that, i was, in fact, acting like a dance mom.  to myself.  how about a little compassion, eh?  and then i remembered an article that a friend recently shared with me about kicking bad habits (i would call judgment a pretty nasty habit.)  the author wrote, "We do it until we don’t do it."  a fairly simple breakdown of releasing old patterns through compassion.  just like we have to trust our loved ones to get where they need to be on their own time, we must find that same trust in ourselves and the time it takes to get the lessons we need to learn figured out.  all of our vices are ours for a reason: they are our greatest teachers.  so on this ever exciting and sometimes treacherous path, i'll hope for continued grace, and remembrance that:

the tremble of tears that shifts the ground beneath you
will make mountains one day
nature is at work inside of us

in light and love,
keep your head up.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

storm's a brewin'

tonight in brooklyn, something other-worldly happened: i heard thunder and saw lightning.  it truly struck me as something bizarre and almost frightening because this city is so loud, so thunderous already that nature just seems like such an extreme against the intense urban-ness.  any real, spontaneous life, anything volatile from the earth is just extra what you're used to.  so with that, here's some of my poetry...which may come across as just extra what you're used to...

sometimes i want to lick your face just
to show you how sweet you are...
or tuck you under my arm like a
blanket, trailing silently
behind me.
i trust you like a brother
and i want to fuck you like a train wreck,
hard, loud, run it off the rails
till something makes us stop.

the air between us is so thick
you could almost choke on it
and sometimes i wish you would
so i could tear down the dark walls
between us and set fire to the
misidentified luggage you brought home.

there's a delicacy in your gloved tongue,
it keeps things long and elegant,
covered, so that even when you grab your
audience by the throat and squeeze, no evidence
is left behind.
but i can smell it on your breath: undigestible

your touch feels like a broken promise
from all that fear
eating through the foundation
of our hell-bent love for one another,
grown outta summer sweat and
shadowy exchanges.
still there's something unbroached, unconsummated,
and i hang on the edge
of it like a cliff-jumper holding my breath in vain.

the most romantic thing you said
was i wish we could have breakfast, or
at least fuck again...
before you dropped me off for tomorrow,
turned around and drove to her
mentioning something vague about...

it's far-fetched, i know, that i
could breathe the life back into you,
resuscitate your hollowed-out heart
in time.
but if you'd just open your mouth
for me instead of all this
tight-lipped strategy
let the earth come up to meet you instead
of buckling in the
hard suck of gravity,
we could just be
for each other
like mac and cheese.
i'd rather sip on bittersweet bravery than
choke on a burnt chunk of good-bye.
now it's all polite and nice nice inside
the walls are dripping with
little pink bits of meat still pounding
in synchronistic time.
are you hungry?
the beast that gets blown apart at least
deserves the courtesy of becoming dinner.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

yoga and life and stuff...and lots of italics for emphasis

between the yoga classes and countless miles walked since saturday, my body and brain are fertile ground right now for thoughts, fears, emotions, pain, worry to all come shooting through the surface like the first day of spring.  the discomfort level brought on by moving to a new place has heightened my awareness around balance and what that looks like for me in my life, as it is.

particularly in yoga, when we talk about balance, there's a lot of this "masculine/feminine, light/dark, body/spirit" talk, but as regular ol' humans, sometimes i think that that particular kind of languaging gets lost on our ears and we still feel "bad" about fear and sadness and loneliness as very real aspects of ourselves.  or is that just me?

this all started in a class the other day when, after juicing up with lots of twists, in the middle of practicing side crow (not easy or comfortable), the instructor said, "so, you do the steps to set it up and you breathe, and some days you can do it and some days you can't."  and i laughed out loud because that is exactly the way i've been feeling about my life recently.  some days, most days, i'm capable of huge amounts of love and lightness, and some days i'm not.  some days i'm patient, some days i'm pessimistic, and some days i'm angry.  usually, just for a spell, though, and that’s what has to be remarked on: we're constantly in flux, and it's uncomfortable.  it's kind of annoying, actually.

there are these hemispheres of love and hate and light and dark, logic and intuition, cleanliness and sloth, trust and confusion which constantly rotate around the axis of our consciousness and come in and out of the light, our awareness.  we don't question the earth moving from day to night (although i am guilty of cursing the sun for rising on a perfectly beautiful night on occasion...), and our own passage from light to dark is just as natural, just as relentless, equally beyond our control.

the next day, i took another class which brought it all down, right here, to the ground level.  the instructor said over and over again, "sit well, align yourself so that we can do good work here, we are practicing techniques so that we might live well."  the practice became so pure with that instruction.  what's so often lost in yoga is the intention behind it.  i'm not practicing handstand so that when i get cut off in traffic i can pull over and do a handstand to prove how patient and strong-willed i am.  warrior II is totally irrelevant when it comes to being a good person.  i practice these postures to be strong and free in my physical space, so that what flows through me is pure, and not low blood sugar-induced hissy fits or clogged arteries or kidney stones.

the practice of yoga asana (postures) is difficult as a training tool for life.  just yesterday, as i was recounting my story of moving to a friend, describing my experience as "uncomfortable," she so gently reminded me that we could all use a little more time being uncomfortable.  and she didn't mean walking around on a sprained ankle or eating cookie dough three meals a day, but the kind of uncomfortable that causes a shift in awareness, uncomfortable in the interest of growth, not self-punishment.  uncomfortable, like holding a pose for seven or eight extra breaths.  uncomfortable, like going somewhere completely new for the first time and making new friends.  uncomfortable, like loving someone impossibly and hopefully over more miles than seems fair or reasonable.  uncomfortable, like allowing change to take the time that it takes.

in finding our "balance," or pushing into those spaces that bring up discomfort, we arm ourselves against the unexpected, fortifying our hearts to live this very brutal life of a human being.  like the rugged and raw landscape chögyam trungpa rinpoche describes in his "eternal ground," we are as the earth: violent and life-giving and beautiful, constantly dying and constantly giving birth.  our work is not to stop that process, but to participate in it.  pema chödrön talks about the peace that’s found in accepting our humanness, and when discomfort arises, we don’t push it away, we look at it as a means, “of ventilating it, of loosening the tension around it, of becoming aware of the space in which the discomfort is occurring.”

by holding ourselves up to the light with no expectations, we can just do the work instead of judging and wondering why we’re not perfect.  if you were perfect, there’d be no point in you being here.  as humans, our aim cannot be to make ourselves perfect- we already are, that is our essence: pure potential.  it has nothing to do with capability or physical beauty or intellect, but rather, i believe, with vulnerability, persistence and love.  when we practice intentionally, with the aim of keeping focused on our individual balance, we nourish the collective.  through generosity in your work, by focusing on your own healing, you make it possible for others to heal.  it is damaging and cruel to think that any of us is a lost cause.  practice for yourself, practice for your loved ones, practice for strangers, practice for people you think you know and let them surprise you. 

so, live well; not accidentally, not apologetically, not in secret.  there is nothing we can't rectify if we choose to.  don't give up.

*special thanks to bryn chrisman (http://yogamayanewyork.com/?p=282) and carla stangenberg (http://jayayogacenter.com/about-us/teachers/carla) for the inspiration and support.