Inside the Unclear

Unclear are the lines that frame my eyes, the way they change with time, creased from smiles and anguish, heartbreak and love lost. They twist and turn, little fragments of history written on my face. They form words of flesh, hollowed out space where skin was tight.

Blurred lines between borders. The kind that define love and hate, mother, father, son. The lines that mark territory…my son, my house, my street, yet nothing truly belongs to me.

Unclear futures spun in hope and desire, foundations built with no plans in place. The clarity of an open slate. Unclear decisions and the art of learning to trust myself, of trust in general. Seeking, searching in the mist of my mind for answers, the ancient kind spun from gypsies and severed souls who walk with the night.

Unclear letting go, murky inhales and exhales, the pounding beat of blood in my ears, clouded, collected…thick like summer leaves.

The way that autumn strips you of all things, draining chlorophyll, undressing branches and covering the ground in a blanket of dead leaves. Unclear demarcation of seasons changing, shifting winds and crisp clear sky.

Out of focus perspectives and the welcome of the unknown, the state of sleepwalking through days and following the earth’s cycle of death, of loss. A time to reflect where your body turns to blankets, your senses full of smoke from fires. Your words. Your words are still. A sense of waiting, of turning and shedding, of layers and lost cells.

A soft ringing, a muffled, broken bell, you sit in your haze of nostalgia. Twisting memories and quilting them together. Patchwork thoughts. Invisible stitches tightly bound…

The clear lines that separate the internal from external. Fading, erasing until you find yourself an unclear shape, you shrink, you molt. You have turned yourself inside out.

#liberatedlines #liberatedlinesclear #wedontedit#poetry #poem #unclear #autumn #blurredlines

Wild Knowing

What is known is the wild. This valley, the way she keeps me, calls me to her shores with whispers of westward winds. Vacated beaches and clouds thick like milkweed, like a soft crown around my head. The knowing I can always find a quiet place, away from sidewalks and sirens, in between the changing pink hues of the sumac leaves and the jagged rocks that collect distant memories, dead and forgotten pieces of time resting in pools of last night’s rain.

What is unknown is when and where these moments find me, pulling me to the earth, opening my dark eyes wide. They find me in the scurry of an otter along the banks. My back turned and something says “look behind”…there it is quietly sitting, watching me. The way both our senses collide and we respect each other’s space. An unspoken connection, a recognition of what wild feels like, what freedom lies in the stillness, in the moments between these moments.

The sweet surprise of the old Nepalese man I see on my morning walks, how we don’t speak with tongues, we see each other, through and through. I feel a warmth come over me as I study his face, the wrinkled tributaries that trail from his eyes. Folds of skin that tell time. That tell another life. Under this gray sky, he sits, legs folded wrapped in colored cloths and today I hear him singing from his balcony. I look up and exchange smiles, we press our hands together and bow to one another. His song whirling through my ears like a familiar lullaby. Generations and miles that had previously separated us disintegrate, they fall like sand.

Knowning and unknowing. In the release of decisive abandonment. I know the wild, the random pieces that fit together and make this day. Fragments of expectations and observations cast aside. The familiar unknown…we stand hand in hand, chests out, hearts open, eyes wide.

We weave the wild.

#liberatedlines #liberatedlinesclear #wedontedit #wild#unknown #eyeswide #poetry

Where the Heart Lives

My heart lives in many different places, in many different times. The place of my heart is often outside myself, tucked in the forest…really it could be any forest, but I love the quiet beauty of places most people don’t see as beautiful. I love swamps and bogs and old rotting trees where ¬†pileated woodpeckers hide and my son calls out to mourning doves in such a perfect tone that they answer him, they converse for what seems like days.

My heart lives in the peat comprised of so much dead matter building on itself, creating a space no person can enter, it will swallow you. There is something eerie and beautiful about swamps and bogs, the myriad of life, the morning dew resting in the cup of a pitcher plant.

Several times a year I find myself sitting on a bridge in East Callais, Vermont, feet on the edge of a fen (a particular type of bog.) It is silent aside from birds singing and crackling of twigs as animals roam through the forest. I wonder how deep the bog is. I think of how my body would be preserved if I were to throw myself in and surrender to the thick layer of peat and moss where cattails would become my arms and my hair would be a ragged mess slime molds and fungus. I find my feet dangling off the edge, the sun beating down on my face and I read the landscape like I read a book. The familiar words like the worn path. There is no sign leading to this bog, it is secret to most and when I first visited it felt like home, like I had known the landscape for a long time. I can sense the animals watching me, I want them to watch me. I don’t need to see them, but they know I am there.

I watch the birch trees on the other side of the bog, standing strong like soldiers protecting this ancient tomb. My heart longs to be part of this, part of the decomposition and the death that brings life to the surface, part of the mystery beneath the peat. I step quietly on my way there, passing old stone walls that were used as pasture, I see evidence of strong storms from hundreds of years ago where trees were knocked down, the ground pillows and cradles beneath their roots, I count the whorls on the pine trees and remember how long this land has been untouched, unaltered.

I climb over fallen trees and dark shadows to emerge in a bed of ferns, the oldest living vascular plant that lies in front of me like a bed. Just like the bed of ferns I used to nap in when I was a child, where I played with faeries and used moss as a pillow for my weary head. I notice the spores and what a brilliant strategy it is to disperse yourself like that, the let the wind carry you as it carries my hair, as it carries the red tailed hawk above me. I sit in the ferns and remember that feeling of innocence I had as a child. The ferns are the gateway to the bog, a darker and more mysterious side of myself dwells there.

My heart beats with the sound of spring peepers and crickets and again I am brought back to a silent place where I think, this is where I shall return, when I become ash, when I become peat, when I become truly silent and I can disappear here, where no one can see me buried beneath, where I become part of the hundred year process. There is something magic to me about the idea of letting yourself go, to decompose, to rot and become a bigger part of a living organism containing hundreds of other organisms. This is my peace and like the waves of the ocean, it beckons me in. I stick a toe in, just to see and the peat feels warm on my feet, like thick mud. It sucks my toe in.

This is as far as I will dive for now, but someday I will return and feed this ecosystem, or one like it. This will be the resting place for my heart, my bones. Untouched, no box, no skin. I am free in this bog. I lay down on the bridge that truly leads to nowhere and I let the sun touch my face, soaking it all in until I force myself to leave, wandering back into the shadows of the forest, back to the ferns with patches of light that shine though. Back down the beaten path where my feet pad along the pine needles. I keep that bog with me.

I am also ugly and deep like the bog, in my shadows, in my heart. There is beauty in accepting the ugly, in walking among the shadows. I can taste the air, damp, moist and soil like. I leave this place knowing I will come back, to wonder again, to bask in the sun, to watch the predatory plants, to walk in the footprints of deer. I leave a piece of my heart here each time so I know where to find it when I need it. The bog knows when to call me. My heart lies in many places, but the forest is the blood within me. My heart is a fragile ecosystem in a state of metamorphosis.

When lips part

When my lips part
ghosts slip out
A procession that pulls thoughts
A string of paper hearts
Swaying in the night
Dark and inviting
Like the of a hollow tree

From the cauldron of my stomach
Rising like steam
A lion’s roar
Where sharp teeth and tongue collide
Release.

Whispers of love pass through
and land quietly like leaves
Dispersing like seeds in wind.

I like my words to stick
Like pollen to a bee
Sweet like nectar

I take risks
Searching for the perfect sounds
The way to make you understand
To make the words pierce like a thorn
To make space in your skin
They settle there
Waiting for you to digest.

When I part my lips it is unfiltered
Muddied up
Messy and raw
Words echo inside chambers
Outside they are uttered
Then gone.

Traveling only as fast as sound carries them
Only far enough to reach
To reverberate and dance around another’s inner ear
Heard once
Then fades
Then disappears.

If

If you crack the sternum, forcing apart the ribs, opening like spider legs you will see rows of dusty books, worn pages, creased and bent full of years passed.You will smell a field of daisies I ran in as a girl. You’ll hear whispered words of love, echoing anger, the sound of loss falling like soft rain. My heart may tighten and recoil, lungs expanding like developing cities. Veins like an electric grid. The image of an iron bikini clad warrior woman riding a tiger, sword raised in the air, she lives within, guardian of the bones she spills over. An open window of flesh. This is what pours out.¬†

An open window, beckoning in the light, the soft filtered kind that sifts through curtains, that finds the scalloped holes in lace. A soft breeze, hibiscus tea, a shroud of burgundy silk to wrap around your organs, a needle and thread to mend the broken pieces, to sew new stories making patterns out of tissue and cells. This is what is let in.

New and old passing each other in torrents of escape and embrace. A big bang, a kaleidoscope. A window in my chest, only slightly ajar. The ever present motion. In. Out. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Practicing the Art of Opening

Open like a field
Grass between my toes
Brushing against my shins
Every insect alive with sound
Wings buzzing
Legs rubbing together
I sing with crickets
Their rhythm like the beat of my heart.

Eyelids jump like grasshoppers
Arms stretched like a praying mantis
Skin tight like a chrysalis
I sway with the wind
Bending like branches
Lips wet like morning dew on petals.

My thoughts carried on the thorax of ants
Twice my weight
Heavy and with purpose.

I open like a meadow from the forest
Streams of sunlight bursting through shadows
Translucent skin
Hot sweat
Sweet like nectar

Words fall like pollen
Dusting my tongue
Dispersing like cottonwood tufts
Seeds traveling high above my head
Free to find new homes
New roots
To share fresh soil with my heels.

A robin’s nest in my belly
Eggs as blue as a summer sky
Incubating
Hatching in my left ventricle
Wings erupting
Breaking my heart open
Spilling out of my chest
Resting on blades of bright green
Cutting me open
Like a wild raspberry bush
Aggregate fruits

Symbiotic mutualism
Every organism connects to another
Like veins
Like spiderwebs

Open like
Laws of thermodynamics
Energy cannot be created
Or destroyed

I am circadian rhythms
Evolving entropy
Carving out my niche

A Love Letter to Self

A love letter to myself. A parting gift, an offering. A bleeding heart tied in string, beating delicately. The removal of such vital parts, an open cleansing.

I float this anatomical heart like a velvet kite, wrinkled and worn. Let go like I did as a child. Push it toward the sun.

Third grade, a secret note scribbled with a message to no one, tied to a red balloon, return address complete. I imagined it would soar across seas, that some stranger in a foreign country would see it land softly at their feet, or save it, tangled in a tree. A simple red balloon with the power to soar in jetstreams, through fog in and around constellations. Waiting, just waiting to be noticed, to be read, to softly give in, allowing gravity to choose its destiny. 

I cast my heart, bleeding over fields, strawberry rain. Empty me. Mi corazon, washing ashore on some foreign beach. Children poking it with sticks, sealing it in a mason jar, tucked in a bed of moss. It rests far outside of me. I give it away without fear, without return. I feel the beat, a phantom organ pumping memory through me.