Chambers

If you press your ear against my chest you will hear a clock ticking, a slow and heavy pendulum dangling.

An aorta feeding organs blood, the sound of rushing rivers and waterfalls in suspended silence, then crashing on rocks below. Inside four chambers lie four very different worlds. One gray and black with a murmur, a flutter. A beat. A murmuration of birds, flying together as one shape changing trapeze act. Shifting with wind, with movement of an arm or the brush of fingers through hair. My body conducts them, endlessly swirling, colliding like chemical flakes in a snowglobe.

Second chamber is a field of grass where I would run naked as a child and pick daisies that were as tall as my head. Remembering the feeling of grass touching my skin and coloring my legs like a paintbrush. How the world was seen from inside that field and it stretched for as far as my eyes could see. A quiet crawlspace of a chamber where one could crawl beneath the grass and hide with crickets and ladybugs-poke your head out to be touched by butterflies.

Third chamber is for my sorrow. It is deep scarlet red, with chocolate undertones. This chamber is cold and hollow, yet full of voices and words that bounce off walls. Words like sex and love and ache. Words that mean betrayal and feel like sharpened knives. This chamber is for storage, full of drawers and old letters filed next to lessons learned and categorized by relevance. It is cluttered and often gusts of wind come in and scatter everything. Your patterns become clear stretched out before you and you promise you won’t make that mistake again-but you do, you just do it differently this time. You disguise it, but underneath it’s still the same. You cannot truly grow in this chamber. You come here to learn, to remember, to grieve.

The fourth chamber is for my son. A safe space beneath my breast where he still cradles his head and listens to the rhythm of my breath. Of my beat. Of the first sound he knew, before my voice, before a song or a story read. My pulse was his music, his soundtrack to dance to. He knows the sound of it racing or panicked, the sound when it sleeps or is alarmed, the sound it makes when I’m relaxed or contemplating or when I’m giving birth or when I was breastfeeding.

If you pressed your ear to my heart beat you would hear whispers of birch bark and beds of ferns by the edge of a bog, you would hear owls calling in the night, a galaxy being born and another dying.

You would hear the words, “Don’t leave me alone here.” You would hear fear and the voice of a little girl who just wanted to please. You would hear the words, “I just can’t let it go” and they would be a lie, because I can let it go, I choose not to. I choose not to because sometimes it’s easier to hold onto something that has hurt you when that pain has become so familiar that you know it like reading braille with your fingertips. Hurt is intimate. So instead of letting it go, you let it stay. It may be one of the only memories you have left of him. You may have thrown many of the good ones away. And sometimes we need reminders. You would hear the words, “Sometimes we need reminders, that even though love is painful, we accept and choose that pain. Sometimes pain is more familiar than pleasure.”

You might hear the sound of a smile, or my heart swelling, you might hear it burst or set itself aflame with anger if someone it loves is being mistreated. It may tell you to go. It may not say a word. It’s a powerful, yet fickle living machine.

If I stretch my limbs out I can feel it pumping, pushing blood to my fingertips and circulating. If I listen carefully I can hear it flow through my head, the murmur, the beat, the memories.

Murmuration
Beat.
Childhood
Beat.
Sorrow.
Beat.
Son
Beat.
Heart
Beat.
Write
Beat.
Now
Beat.

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.