Anchored

Anchored, I am tethered
Marionette strings,
I dangle
Abyss below
Eyes close
I am air
I am breath
Breathe.

Anchored, I am suspended,
weightless
The world rolling off my shoulders
The phantom planet tumbling
As heavy gusts lift me
Where memories fall soft upon your skin like snowflakes
Like warm rain.

Anchored, I am free
to roam and wander
to hold hands with spontaneity
I am exploration
Unmarked territory
Open space.

Anchored, I am
Silent.
I am lights off and shapes of shadow
I am arms wrapped tight around thoughts
I am a reminder
I am resurfacing and adaptation.

Anchored, I am
Safe in my skin
I am black and white
wooden frame on a wall
Circa 1983
Head falling back
Party dress
Feet almost touching the sky
I swing
Soft wind in my hair
Sailing through time on a tire swing…

Anchored, I am
That moment
That minute where gravity escapes me
and gently brings me down again
A slow, determined pull.
That kind of freedom,
Pine trees and blue sky.

Anchored, I am
limber,
arms and legs swaying
I am alive in these spaces
These random pauses
Between the love and the lonely
Between chaos and sleep
The flashes your brain captures
Snapshots.
Filmstrips.
A glass jar of stories mingling
Whispering eternally.

Anchored, I am
bone and flesh
heartbeat and fingertips
molecules and ribs
synapses,
muscle memory
I am tooth and nail
Involuntary electricity.

**(inspired by writing prompts from http://jenaschwartz.com/writing-groups/ )

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You Already Are

I dream of closing my eyes, head back, feet rising above the treeline,

toes touching stars-swinging in the midnight summer air.

Being thrust into space and gently pulled back down again.

I dream of rising,

of shedding skin and transformation,

of just letting go of the thoughts and actions that don’t truly fulfill me.

I want a house in the country with a little path leading to a deciduous forest scattered with conifers.

I want a lush garden full of pollinators.

I want color where there was dark.                                                                                                                                            

I want dark where there was color.                                                                                                                                          

I want to stir things up and shake them around.                                                                                                                        

I want to make noise.                                                                                                                                                                

I want to be heard.                                                                                                                                                                    

I want to know my younger self again and tell her she’s going to be just fine.                                                                          

I want my words to echo in someone’s head.                                                                                                                            

I want stories told and learned.                                                                                                                                                  

I want passion and solitude.                                                                                                                                                      

I want to hold a hand that whispers in my language.                                                                                                                

I want to sleep soundly and profoundly dream.

I am slow determined growth,

molting,

rising,

marking my space.

I am just a small part in a grand scheme,

a galaxy within a galaxy.

I am integral,                                                                                                                                                                           connected,

electric.

I am.

Slow Rumble

It happens when the dust clears
When the sunlight streams in the frost bitten windows
When the brass statues are polished, and all the books are gently placed on the shelves.
When the table is clear, the plants are watered
When there is space between minutes
And the room thanks you for noticing
When small gestures feel like rewards

It rests in the pit of my stomach
A fluid weight
Like diving under water and holding your breath
Just long enough to imagine what a different life feels like
To know where your primordial gills and fins would have taken you…

A tsunami.
A tsunami stirs my blood.

It feels like snowflakes, fresh fallen
Cotton, gray skies
The cold pressing against your tongue for a moment
…a second
(the impermanence)
Your senses left tingling

It rests right below the surface,
Skin like ice
A frozen epidermis – with waves and crystallized particles mixing
How it sounds different colliding with the shore
A hollow lullaby washes over the rocks

You ache for warmth
You breathe in the cold
Let it paint your lungs of lace
You pause
Releasing
A visible exhale
Yes, this is alive!
Hot breath, cold air lock hands in a symbiotic dance
A swift rhythm
A pulse

It feels like this,
Right now when the house is quiet and the snow gently falls.
When my pen touches paper and spills out letters one by one
Until they connect
Until they make something
Anything.

Sometimes a low, slow rumbling
Eyes open
An underwater scream
It is mine
However vulnerable or powerful or vain

My rattle
My shake
A ripple of concentric circles
Expanding
My tiny earthquake
A roar
A sound of eruption
A soft and deliberate demolition
A flow
An overflowing
A cadence
A moment
This moment
A satisfaction
A solace
A fierce whisper
An only escape.

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Naming the Bones

And he said to me, while curled up, head resting in the space between my clavicle, eyelashes reaching the stars, “mama, when you die I’m going to keep your skeleton. I’m going to keep it next to me when I sleep.” I kissed him gently and told him that he could be the keeper of my bones, of what will one day be left. I name them: his treasure. I name them love. I name them devotion.

Our beginnings are soft, malleable frames, dipped in fluid, an encased sanctuary. Islands afloat an embryonic sea. “You began like this”, I tell him, “I miss those moments sometimes, where you were everywhere I was. When we were one. When I knew you in such a different way” I name these bones: temporary, happiness, innocent.

Our ending is hard, frail, broken, chipped, worn. Life’s map of erosion. An artifact, a keeper of records. Full of love and laughter, of grass between your toes. Of loss and guilt, of dreams and years imprinting themselves. He is 10. He knows this. These bones. The ones that carry him, shelter him, the ones that gave birth to him.The ones that have moved and contorted, that have eyes and ears all their own. The ones that grind.The ones that can cut down and tear up. The anchors, the ones that hold, that stay, the loyal ones. I name them: a work in progress, a list of secrets, an unfinished story.

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Walk with fire

I awoke with languid limbs, heavy from dreams I was still speaking to.
My head a fog of past particles mixed by confusion and the sound of my son calling.
Winds had battered my window all night
A banshee knocking, beckoning me to come play
To be swept away in endless frozen gusts
I breathe deeply and promise myself I will get him to school, despite the arguing, despite the begging to stay warm and safe in dark blankets.
My gentle, yet strong words cut through his attempts
He finally cracks like ice beneath his boots and agrees to get dressed.
Only three hours late for school.
I sit in the car, warming my hands.
Just breath.
Just silence.
For the first time in sixteen days.
Home again, I dress the dog in his ridiculous coat and force myself into the subzero
The cold hard ground bites back
My face numb
Winter has taken me.

I walk slowly, letting the cold absorb me, watching the puddles, now miniature ponds
The smell of pine and smoke blowing past me.

I walk with a fire inside
A fuel
An eternal flame of defiance, devotion, disillusion
I envision the burning words I began this new year with

Goodbye to memories that taint my vision, goodbye to dead love lost and long buried, goodbye to fear of failure and exposure.

I am exposed.
Face and hands raw
Stepping determinedly
Like a predator
Like a wolf inside me
Ready to howl with neighborhood dogs paws up on fences
I stop and meet their eyes.
They know this cold,
This heavy gray

I walk with fire burning inside, my charred words resonating,
Hanging by strings
Held tight by ribs
And lungs
By layers of skin and clothing.

I release my breath, I bare my teeth
I watch this slow release
This air escaping in curls and whispers from my silent, empty throat.

I turn the corner toward home
I turn my back to the bitter cold.
I step inside
My stomach a space of grounding, of intuition and trust.
A new breath of fiery coals.

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Inside out

image

Between the wind and the midnight fireworks
I fell
Inside my breath
Watching it unfurl
Dance like the flame in the night
Ring loud like bells colliding
In this one moment
I watch it burn
The leftover parts
The shedding of skin
My midnight oil
Dividing days and years
I saw words scribbled without thought
Shriveling
Dispersing
Leaving trails of thin smoke
Of dragon’s breath
Of lungs of fire and throat of coals
A tongue of ash
Teeth of ember
Spitting out these last words
These last vows
Of tethered memories
Into the flame
Into the last minutes
With the cold air batting my face
My bare feet resting in soft snow
This is ritual
This is clean
This is the frozen time
Where intentions and lessons learned
Walk hand in hand
A destructive resurrection
My phoenix
My wildfire
I welcome you
I leave you and meet you again
In the orange glow
In the fragments of spark
I find that moment
Closed eyes
Words whispered
Extinguished
The wild winds come in like harbingers
A cathartic release
The last minute
The last hour
The last day
Come and gather the unconscious
The subconscious
The divine layers that divide and bind
The melting, binding fragments
Stirred once over
Paper fragments escape
Carried away
I open
I fall inside
The flame fades out

Grey Matter

My mind was full of thoughts, some stabbing, some burrowing, some digging deeper, past the bedrock of my limbic system where they found the grey. The grey matter of emotion where memory lay still in a cold room, wandering. Then the words came slipping out effortlessly, silently; while inside that cold room was screaming.

The words were quiet, falling out while blood vessels and the space between synapses held on tight.

Tight like my jaw, grinding, forcing bone upon bone, a bright pain. Tight like an animal in a trap, rusty teeth, sharpened.

Tight, closed jaw with eyes wide open, while my pupils grow full, dark resting upon black holes where nothing escapes. Eyes that defy gravity, nothing tethers them or forces them shut. They float freely, always seeing. Always watching. They always see. Playing over and over- an old filmstrip spinning.

I smile and the there is sadness.

I hope and the feeling of helplessness gets deeper like sinking in a bog, lungs full of peat, a stomach of decay.

I try and yet I am back at the beginning.

A rat trapped in a labyrinth, waiting to ring some bell, win some prize, be rewarded for all my hard work, my due diligence, some recognition for this perseverance. This constant state of survival.

Not some Darwinian survival of the fittest, because fit does not mean strong. It is survival of the weakest, the weakest moments, the weakest hours, the weakest lies…these are the things fighting to survive. The human parts that define.

The weak laughter drowned by sorrow.

The weak thoughts.

The “I’m not good enoughs” and the “why do these things happen to me’s”, the “I’m unworthy’s” and “the unlovables.”

I am more than this.

More than these weak, these willful insecurities.

I try to push them aside, tuck them away in corners of my mind. I try to overcome and affirm. The hardest memories. Not the ones where you were loved momentarily, brilliantly, blue sky, sun shining, passionate kisses and sunkissed skin, bodies in and around one another.

It’s not these memories.
The memories that hurt the most.

The ones you can’t sleep with, the ones that turn you inside out. Those feelings of happiness that feel like poison, like drinking sweet shiny pieces of broken glass. The traveling pieces you hunger for, moving from lips to eyes, to tongue, to arms wrapped around you and the feeling of losing something that has barely begun.

The fear, the constant sedimentary fear, the build up, the erosion. Climbing up and over only to be pulled back. You don’t hold, you pull yourself back like a rubberband stretching, like breathing, the constant state of a heart beating.

Those plastic memories.
The hardest ones to let go of are somehow the easiest to keep.