Thursday, May 9, 2013

How To End

The parting gift was not
of softness and silk
there was no card attached
certainly not a love letter
except the one I penned
to myself in a journal
to be rediscovered
and set free in flames
a few years down the line

It was not a sweet sorrow
but a burning rage of
redemption song
confusion giving way
to clarity in the eye
of a storm that drowned
out the thrumming
electrical bite

When lightening strikes
it leaves a beautiful scar
on dead girl walking
on the splitting trees
a landscape on fire

When fire consumes
all of your pretty little
offerings mean a whole
lot of nothing, a wake
a flood, a drowning out
painfully clear is less
painful in the long run
than mildly debatable
what-ifs and maybes
and that is the gift

If you are going to kill
something, kill it dead
be swift and certain
in your swing of the ax
don't leave it thready
of pulse and shallow
of breath, clinging
to slender hopes
a clean kill is a kindness
a parting gift of peace

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Neurotica, A Nation's Guilty Pleasure

The body always asks for what it needs. When we ignore its cries, it gets louder and louder, until it eventually behaves in the same way as a baby left to cry it out. It shuts up. Not because the need miraculously ceased, but because it has given up.

Why, as a society, do we embrace ignoring our needs? We don't just embrace it, we elevate it as a measure of worth. If you pull all-nighters on a regular basis to squeeze in extra work, then hit your daily grind running on fumes, you get bragging rights for your work ethic and commitment to your future (that thing which is always somewhere other than where you are).
If you go on and on about how hungry you are because you are denying your body fuel, you have willpower. If you are holding yourself hostage in a shitty relationship,  you will get lots of kudos for all of the crap you put up with, your ability to stick it out for the long haul, especially if there are children involved.

The body may have stopped making a lot of noise about what you are doing to it, but it hasn't forgotten. You are angry and don't know why. You cry at the drop of a hat, or worse still, can't cry even when you feel like crying. Headaches are just a part of your day. Eventually you get sick, or crazy, or you simply drop dead prematurely.

No wonder the self-help industry is a multi-billion dollar racket. In one of my local used bookstores, this genre, which I not so lovingly refer to as neurotica, occupies more shelf space than any other. I wouldn't feel such irritation with it if I actually believed most of it did anything to actually move people towards helping themselves, but that seems to rarely be the case. How many people buy just one, read it, apply it, and then move on with their new and improved life? Maybe once in awhile. Usually what I have seen is quite the opposite. I see people read one, try some of the techniques for a few days or a few months, go back to what they were doing before, buy another, repeat the process, on and on until they have a nice little library that cost them a nice little chunk of change... and a life that looks exactly the same.

Would all of this be necessary if we stopped jacking each other off about how fantastic we are for abusing ourselves? What if we stopped praising people for these things and called it what it is? Alarming. Masochistic. Fucked up. It may sound harsh, but I think it is actually much more loving.

If you are tired, go to sleep. If your body is hungry, please feed it. If you need more hugs, or sex, or help around the house, or to be spoken to more respectfully, spend the time you are inclined to gripe to people other than your partner working with them to improve the situation. If it is beyond that and you know it, leave. Just stop. It isn't working, it never has, and it never will. Anyone who tells you otherwise has an investment in your suffering. Is that really where you want to go for advice?

You already know what you need. Get honest about that and you can burn the books.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spit Out Your Medicine, Save Your Soul

"Stare at your shadow for too long, it will spring to life and destroy you, girl. Don't go acknowledging your dark side. It's a precarious thing, to see the wrong side of your potential. Once you go poking around in there, you can never unsee your bones laid bare on the altar of truth. Just keep staring straight into the sun. Better to be blinded by the light. It's a mercy, really. Child, you ain't ready for the whole of yourself. If anyone would have you like that, you'd be better off to run in the direction opposite of which they came."

It isn't true, though. Self containment begins where denial ends. See the whole of yourself clearly, and the grotesque distortions are no longer monsters that can devour you. They aren't independent entities, these shadows. Their actions will never be anything you didn't choose to do first.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Most Dangerous Neighborhood In Phoenix

When we moved back downtown
the questions flew like confederate flags
from the lips of -ists
take your pick, they all exist
in the most dangerous neighborhoods
in Phoenix
elitist, segregationist
racist, classist
the -isms flow freely
like trash
on a river
along with the questions
that pretend to be polite
but never really are

"So, what made you decide
to move down there?"

"Wow, isn't that sort of a...
rough neighborhood?"

"Oh. My. Couldn't you find
anything further North?"

And I dodged and deflected
for as long as I could
because me?
I find it incredibly rude to insult
someone's home
but the -ists?
they know plenty about etiquette
and nothing of manners

Saturday evening
early Summer
sky still light
and my twelve-year
old daughter
picked up
by her friend's mother
sleepover
in suburbia
the streets were full
cars and people
music from open windows
Mariachi
rap
jazz
gospel from the choir
practicing across the street
people visiting
family
people hanging out
with friends
people
walking to restaurants
and bars
and coffee shops
and grocery stores
people
living their lives

but somehow
what that girl's
mother saw was

DANGER


and without a second thought
she flung that shit
in my daughter's direction
her thoughtless
linguistic shrapnel cutting
her down
in seconds flat
nowhere to duck and cover
in the backseat of
a mini-van

"This is a bad neighborhood.
I was scared to have you wait
outside.
I was scared to circle the block
again when I couldn't find
the address the first time around.
I was scared to drive down here
at night."

And I wasn't in the car
so I got the information
second hand
from my daughter's mouth
from the pain and confusion
in her eyes
from the anger in her stance
and the set of her jaw
that was strong enough
to keep tears at bay

I won't dodge those questions
ever again
I may be a pacifist
but this is a war zone
and my children
will not be your casualties
in the name
of keeping the peace

What made me decide
to move down here?
Couldn't I find
something further North?
Well. Since you asked...

I mean, I hope you don't
take this the wrong way,
no offense
I am sure you have your
reasons for living where
you do
and, I mean, if it was just me
I could live anywhere
but being that you're a mother
too
I am sure you will understand
when I say that I had to think
about my children
when choosing a neighborhood

Your neighborhood scares me.
I think it is dangerous.
My daughters are still intact
they know when you drive
"down here"
and say that it doesn't seem
very safe
that what you actually mean
is that it doesn't seem
very white
and it isn't cute when
you survey a group of
children
and say that it looks like
we have our own little
United Nations Meeting
in progress
it is insulting
and it is false, because
they were all born
in the United States
so around here, we just
say that it looks like we
have a lot of friends
over

and because I would
much rather live
in a neighborhood
where some of the houses
have
bars on the windows
than in one
in which the residents
have bars on their hearts

you will not have opportunity
to gate code
my daughters' souls
to install security systems
that ring false alarms
silencing
their still, small voices
called instinct
that feeling
deep in the gut
that tells them when
to cross
the street to avoid
the white guy
in an $80,000
car
because they will
not be programmed
to assume
security based on
skin color
or threat
by socioeconomic
status

Your neighborhood
feels dangerous to me
because
I am raising white teenage
girls
and they need to know
that
the men who will pose
the greatest threats
to them
throughout the course
of their lives
are rich, white, older
and have titles
in front of their names
like
Senator
Representative
Governor
Sheriff
Officer

and because they need
to know that
statistically
they
are much more likely
to be molested
raped
stalked
beaten
or otherwise
assaulted
by someone
of their
own
race
by someone
they know
than by some
stranger on the street
by someone
in a position of power
and trust

and no HOA
with their measuring
sticks
to make sure your lawn
is socially acceptable
and
outrageous fees
for parking on the
wrong side
of the street
will
ever create enough
of
a veneer
to protect from
fear
cloaked
in functional alcoholism
and
prescription drug
addiction
and working
yourself
into an early grave
because
you can't stand to come
home
to your unhappy marriage
and your
spoiled kids
who gauge their friendships
on the price
of each other's jeans
while
you turn away in disgust
from the
man passed out
in the gutter
from
corner store hooch
and gauge
the quality of your
peers
by the degrees they
hold

Why did I move down here?
Couldn't I find anything
further North?
Simple.
I had to think about my daughters.
It was a matter
of
Safety.




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Consume me.

Swallow me up
and then release me on the exhale.
You will send me out
into the world better than you
found me.

Penetrate me.

Find your way
into my bones and root
out the marrow
of who I truly am
Undo me.

Shatter me.

not with painful words
and violent emotions
love me
into a most beautiful
shipwreck
all of the old
stories dashed on
the rocks.

Ignite me.

Spark passion like
I have never
know and light my
soul on fire
with the light in your eyes
when you
look at me.

Entrance me.

Leave me spellbound in
your wake
smiling like an idiot
and following
you in full trust
down whichever roads
rise up
to meet us.

But.
Don't try.
Don't do that.
that would break my heart.

This is enough.
This is better than enough.
Just Be.

Be with me.


All you have to do
is show up
and I am
consumed
penetrated
shattered
ignited

entranced.

It is you.
It is
just.
You.

Easy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How To Break It Down & Break Through Paralysis, Step 8

Stop Ruminating, Planning, and Talking About It

Just do it. Go live your life. Make a plan. Make a list. By all means. But leave wiggle room for changing your mind, changing tactics, changing directions. If that seems overly simple, it is because it truly is that simple. We complicate everything when we go looking for simple solutions. You can't find a simple solution, because you are not problematic. This is not an equation with a set formula. It is your life. Your life.

So, you may be wondering why I outlined all of those other steps if now I am telling you it is simple. The reason for that is simple, too. It is far too easy to lose ourselves to the complications of our own thoughts, and in order to reach a place where we can even begin to comprehend that we are complicating things, sometimes we need to sort our shit within some defined parameters. At least I know that I did.

And then I found my stride, and I don't have to think about every last little thing before I do it, because I have established a way that works for me, and if and when it feels like it isn't working, I fully trust that I will be able to adjust accordingly.

Plasticity. We are flexible in these human forms. Rigid always leads to breaking. Allow yourself to sway in the breeze. Be bendy in your expectations. Be malleable under your own hands. Remember that you are composed mainly of water. that means you are capable of flow.

Most of us enjoy a greater degree of privilege than we realize. Even in the midst of U.S. standards of poverty. Gratitude begets abundance. Being still leads to being present in your life. Walking grounds you down, and forward motion lends itself well to forward motion. Fall in love. With yourself. With your kids. With someone else. With that homeless guy on the corner. With a tree that roots down and reaches and bends without breaking. With the wide open sky that hangs above you day and night, and never abandons its post. Everything feels more doable when you are in love, and if you can't find anything to fall in love with, it's because you are refusing to open your eyes.

Take the first step. That is all there is to do. There is nothing more. Just take a step. The ground is not going to fall out from under you. The world is round. You are not going to fall off the edge.

And if you need support, just ask. It isn't worth much, but it is always free.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Summoning

Come to me
be beside me
when I fall
asleep
and
when you
awaken

Run to me
because
I want
you
and
I know
that
you
want me
and
we both know
what
we know
and
we know
it
so
well

Come to me
with
your hopes
and
fears
your
fantasies
and
realities
bring
me your
one
sacred
life
and
honor me
with
your
presence
in
mine

Come to me
with
the dreamy
easy
bliss
and the
sometimes
harsh
realities

Come to me
as
you are
as
I see you
as
we are
as
we see us
as
it is
it
just is

Come to me
crawl
into my lap
and
wind your
fingers
through
my
hair
and let
me
breathe
you
permeate
my
cells with
the
soluble
aspects
of
shared
experience

You are with me
I can feel
you
in this
moment
and in
every
moment
from
the first
kiss
to
the first
I love
you
to
a
time
before
rememberence
but
clearly
not
forgotten

You
are with
me
and
I can sense
your
energy
in
all of
the
cracks
and
crevices
in
the
time-space
continuum
and
I can smell
you
on
my skin
and
feel you
in
my soul
and
hear your
voice
singing
in
my
ear

Come to me
when
the time
is
right
when
the right
time
is
now
when
time is
all
we have
and
we
realize
it
simply bends
to
our
bidding
and
we
are not
doing
time
we
are doing
right
on
time

Come
to
me
Come to
me
Come to me
whenever
you
choose
wherever you
choose
however
you
choose
and
I will be
right
there
right here
beside
and
around
and
within

Come
to
me.

It
won't
be difficult.

You
are already here.