mud

a poem from March 2014 that has resonated with me recently 

At the base of the mountain is mud

thick

brown

heavy

the kind that seeps into my crevices and cracks

that builds forts under my finger nails

stamps into the soles of my feet

oozes down my neck

under my arms

across my body

 

far from smooth silt

this mud is sedimentary

this mud is dirty

this mud has history

 

Before I was always looking for water

clear

clean

pure

ethereal in quality

water that would allow me to climb

water that would absolve me

 

I had banished the bath

as soon as I thought I was too old

to let my brother see my naked

my mother had always liked her water warm

and so I hunted for the hottest showers

not caring

about dry skin

a frustrated father

global warming

 

I had always drank my tea

scalding

not willing to wait

for the water to cool down

to acknowledge

that the burned tongue

was my tongue

 

and that I was always falling

 

but this time something tells me

that I could wash with dirt

that it was not about what I washed with

but the way I washed

in slow circles, gently

up my shins, around my thighs

that I could cup my elbows

massage my shoulders

run my fingers through long, tangled hair

that I could kneel with my knees tucked under

hearting beating, breasts pressed against the earth, mother

moves inside of me

 

I am no longer afraid of pain

I am no longer afraid of shame

I am no longer afraid of never

 

reaching the top

I no longer needed to climb

the mountain

 

I am the mountain.

 

I have work to do

I have dancing to do

I have loving to do

 

And it does not matter whether you

will be willing to kiss the mud

on my belly.

 

stream

Part 1

These days the nights are long and somewhat stormy

I sleep with the window open

I acknowledge the things I’ve started that I may never finish

And fantasize about going back to sleep

I wrap myself in my loneliness

I find it comforting, almost

I’d like to learn how to ask for what I need

I know that I grasp too tightly

I know that so much lives inside that is still hiding

I want to be here for the small things

I cook the same food I always cook

And still ask people if things sound ok

And still wonder about canceling

And why people do it so often

And if I could do it more

I want to let the words flow through me

I think back to missed opportunities

And love crazy deep

I know that writing is the key

between life and life, life

I still fear inadequacy

Why am I never the right temperature?

What of all the things we prop ourselves up with?

What about when they fall through?

None of us are entirely drug free.

And I’m stunted again by a feeling of my own fragility

I don’t want to read you things I wrote long ago

I want to write breath into this moment

I want to stop taking things so seriously, so personally

I want to let myself flow with my being.

Every story, make believe or real, comes from somewhere.

 

Part 2

When are you coming home my dear?

I promise I will hold you and forgive

We are like twin mountains, sturdy

We can escape fear

I know that I can which means you can

I’m starting to understand things differently

Which means you will too, or already are.

Intentions do matter. And so does the desire to dance, I can do one thing at a time and I can heal. We can dance through this world together, spinning, not being afraid, I’ll catch you, and you’ll catch me, and we won’t even know that it was beautiful until much later.

salty

I can eat gentleness into oblivion and wonder at the pace of death, and the way in which our bodies, minds are littered with real, and the way in which we only have now, and we must grip it, precious.

My body wants to eat, but doesn’t know what to eat, I am left swimming through another day, thinking I know what I’m doing

I forgot to call back, forgot to do the deed that needs to be done, forgot to be the next level of good person.

I start things, and lose track

Like love poems, like healing

I wonder how not to be broken, I’m glad that you are breaking my heart, and I think that we will probably come, hunger knowing

All of us forget so much, I just seem to forget more, and less, unearthing treasures

like when I walked along the river with my family and made up stories

I was good at getting in my head, I practiced it constantly as a child, so when the time came to be present, I didn’t know how. And now I hurt, and crave salty things.

where has my writing gone?

Written about two years ago after a long stretch without writing. It’s been another long stretch and I’m glad it’s back. Rusty but real. 

Where has my writing gone?

It has gone the way of an anthill

Stepped on by a little kid

All that remains is a little smudge of sand

And 1,000 homeless ants

Where has my writing gone?

It has gone the way of my mother’s

Attempts to get fit

My father’s attempts to quit TV

And the number of times I told myself

I fucked up

Where has my writing gone?

It dripped from your eyes the night

I admitted I was scared

And you said you were too

It drips from my eyes

As I write this now

Where has my writing gone?

It was gone every time

I said a prayer to busy

Started a timer

Made a list

Where has my writing gone?

It was gone every time

I told myself I was telling you the truth

Even though I knew you don’t understand

The way I do.

Where has my writing gone?

Today I reached into the sink

To unclog the drain

And felt something too soft

Thinking it might be a piece of chicken fat

Leftover from lunch

I curled my hands around it

And swallowed a shudder

A mouse drowned

By dirty dishwater

Where has my writing gone?

It has gone the way of the chicken wings I ate for lunch

Never meant to fly very far

All that remains is bones.

untitled sonnet 12.16

Pitying health professionals haunt me
still, remembering the moments my tears
made my body, my mind so slippery
to their authority, hurry, their fear

they wouldn’t have an answer, my wounds gaped
and gangrene grew from thinking others know
like the teachers, the coworkers who taped
an ex on my chest before I could sew

myself together with a star, six points
of sunlight swirling up and swirling down
marigold streams from above, violet anoints
my forehead, from below, a deep green-brown

of knowing that I will burn regardless
of their scent, I will burn into softness.