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

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What is clear? (Liberated Lines: Clear)

Clarity.The small space open in my window, letting the fall air drift in. Sweet smoky air, rich with dark clouds, sounds crisp and piercing. A rustle of leaves. The beginning change where humidity is chased by the amber hue of sunset, as if the air paints the colors seen through golden eyes. That light that lingers, that catches the last colors of flowers, petals drifting. Geese calling me back, echoing like ghosts, replacing songbirds who sung me to sleep in the warm summer nights. A stillness, a space. A moment frozen between seasons. Senses heightened. Thoughts muted, mind unfurled, stripped like branches tapping on my window.

Writing from Our Word (response to shamanic drumming and visualization)

I intended to be in the forest, sitting down and looking up at the trees, feeling my smallness in comparison. As soon as the drums started and I closed my eyes, there was a flash. I immediately become a red-tailed hawk, not entirely; I can still feel my human body. It enters me. I am a hybrid, human and hawk. My chest rips open (I can see through first and third person at the same time, which is often how I dream.) My ribs expand to be a broad chest. The energy flows down my arms, expanding to wings. My bottom half remains- legs, feet dangling. I am floating above the forest, near the sea. It isn’t a familiar forest, or sea, but one that feels as if I know it inside and out. My eyes are sharp and crisp. My face changes, my nose to beak, my eyes gleaming yellow. I circle the woods. I circle a fire below. I feel the wind run through my feathers, lifting them. We are one, the hybrid. I can still form thoughts like a human, yet feel everything as a hawk, my human body just resting inside. My legs disperse into a tail, spreading, stretching. Wiry legs sprout from my hips. My heart beats differently. I have consumed the hawk and it has consumed me. It runs through my blood. I start to lose balance, the earth seems to shift. I fall. I am diving into the sea.

As soon as my arms (wings) touch the water I am heavy, diving deep, pressure building. I see from outside myself. I see a humpback whale. I am that whale with my sensual curves and ripples, my haunting eyes. I dance in the water so gracefully and open my mouth, breathing in the water. I roll over and thrust myself upward, pushing the water to the depths. I glide out of the water, feeling the water drip, feeling the cool air. I am soaring, the hawk and the whale separate, yet one. I fly over the forest, back to the fire. I touch the ground. I circle the fire, still feeling, yet also seeing the hawk and the whale. I feel the fire. I circle it once more. Transparent faces shoot in and out of the trees. They flicker like fireflies. Ancient faces, spirits- they are here to watch us, to witness this ceremony.

I walk, looking down at the soil, this perfect circle of barren soil carved out of the forest. The fire. My feet. My feet are paws. The hawk and the whale sway opposite the fire from me.  I feel my teeth (sharp and strong.) I feel fur. I am regal and wise. I growl from deep within, like an echo in a cavern. I am a wolf. The wolf is me. I lift my nose, a familiar scent wafts over me. A deer steps close, I can almost taste it. I look to the whale and the hawk. We begin dancing, spinning in circles around the fire. I feel the weight of the whale rocking. I feel the wings of the hawk stretch and twist, moving in rhythm. My paws kick dirt and I move low to the ground. I roll my head from side to side, my shoulders grinding deep. I drop my hips. I move seductively. I stalk.  I JUMP! Antlers burst through my head, growing like the branches of a tree. I see the wolf, the hawk, the whale. They see me, they KNOW me. They hear my heart beat. The beat grows faster . I stomp my hooves (my feet.) I feel bare feet for a moment, inside and outside the hooves. There is no space between bodies. I can’t tell where I end, or begin. Do I end or begin?

I walk with pride. Tall, methodic, I dance. All animals dance around the fire. I see all the animals from outside. I see my feet with pale skin in the night. The air touches my breasts, my hair. I breathe the animals in. I see a smokey form of each of them rise above the fire toward me. Their bodies remain dancing around the fire. They have given themselves to me-the hawk, the whale, the wolf, the deer.

It is dark night. The fire burns bright, setting a tree ablaze. It picks up its roots and moves into the circle, slowly and calmly burning, as if it were meant to be on fire. It stands still, towering above us. I am alive, electric. I am sensual, my hips grind. I feel orgasmic, my body light. A wave of warmth comes over me. My legs part, my vagina is hot, panting like a dog. It smolders like the fire. I swallowed the animals; their smoke selves… and now I birth them, the same smokey apparitions emerging from me, becoming one with the flame, and sharing space with the smoke.

I climb into the wolf. I snarl. I hunger. Without thought I lunge at the deer. I grab it by the throat and pin it to the ground. As soon as it touches the ground, before I can taste blood, its flesh is gone. No meat, no skin, just bones. It lays- perfectly intact skeleton, its heart resting, its heart still beating secure in an empty ribcage. All animals fall like dominos. Down go the whale, the hawk, and then the wolf. All skeletons, all hearts still beating. I am now removed, watching from a distance. The skeletons rise and stand, animated. They dance and circle the fire, drawing closer. My flesh is glowing orange. I feel the heat. We, I, they, us walk into the flames.

We burn with pleasure. We have no fear. We disperse, molecules separating. Time slows and electrons spark, molecules swirling and merging with the smoke.  The smoke rises and changes shapes. The fire cracks and shoots up like a geyser, falling swiftly back. The smoke is me. I am the smoke, still dancing. We are the hawk, the whale, the wolf, the deer. The tree still burns. We take one shape. We rise in curls, in tendrils. In little clouds we gather, we form. We become leaves of smoke inhabited grass sent to the sky. We grow into a flower, a fern, we continue to rise.

The skeletons now lay in a circle around the fire pit. The fire sucks them in. They are fuel. We are fuel. We burn bright. The smoke becomes a geyser, shooting to the stars. The fire goes out, the smoke lingering with the stars. The sky falls. The night is pitch black. The stars litter the ground like fallen leaves. The sky lies with the soil. There is only soil and sky. I, me, they, us are nothing but soil and sky.

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.

How the Light Gets In

The light bends
refracts through glass panes
Dancing in and out of shadows
Penetrating curtains
like parchment paper

Yellow, amber hues
lost warm sap slithering on the walls like snakes
Pores releasing
Absorbing the heat

Pupils contract
A mask across my eyes
Beads of soft fertile sweat

Humidity winding my hair up like tendrils of morning glories
climbing stairs
Reaching

This is how my skin should feel
Golden, bronzed
Warmed from 93,000,000 miles away
Traveling to brush my cheeks

186,000 miles per second
Hurling itself 8 minutes from the past
From the gaseous star bubbling, breaking space

Seamlessly gliding through the atmosphere
To touch me
To remind me how small I am

It bends, it breaks, it cracks
Creating new shapes
Creating negative space
This is how the light gets in.

Exquisite Flaw

Torn petals
Seeds scattered in the wind
Unfurled like a wildfire
Like burning embers

Encased in a rib cage
A burning heart
The center is dark
Complex

Broken stamen like eyelashes
Wide eyed pupil
You are imperfect

Witnessing the death as spring fades to summer
Impermanence falling gracefully
Decaying

Bright orange stripped to yellow
Letting go of the light
So much broken beauty

No one mourns the slipping petals
the scarred leaves
We revel in the moment
In the color pasted on our retinas

Nature itself is a beautiful, broken order
Beginning to end
Efficient

A single beautiful, broken poppy
Called my name
and I answered
I spoke to every exquisite flaw.

Unfurl

The unfurling, unwinding, unwrapping of self. The removal of mummified remains. The moment when you close your eyes and another world emerges behind your lids, softer, easier to navigate. Right before you open your eyes. That moment, frozen, where light filters through your skin, your body still. I want a brilliant opening like a bud held tight bursting in color, from fiddlehead to fern. Like the open arms and heart of my child, the ripping of paper. Tear me apart and fold me in new angles, new geometry of the soul. Origami eyes, quietly shutting, yet I am never truly closed.