Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

Archive for the category “Poems”

Guts and Pastels

​In honor of Mother’s Day, a message to me from the version of my mom that lives in my intuition:

Beyond the pain and mess
After the harsh words and forget-me-nots
There lingers the warmth
From which we all came.

That warmth is more important than getting it right.

Share your soul-fire with them
Let its imperfect authenticity
Envelop them
As you once did.

Nothing is more raw than motherhood.
The blood and mucus at birth are no anomaly:
Resist the urge to pull crisp linens over them.

Your time will come to fade like cut flowers.
Until then, use your roots.

————-

Something about Mother’s Day has always slightly unsettled me. Too many pastels, not enough guts. This poem, siphoned from the incredible woman who warms my memories, steadies that wobble for me. I’m a little more ready for the onslaught of sweet chaos that will be my tomorrow.

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Starlit Grief

​The moon is not visible from my window
And this is good.
Starlight is more illuminating of grief.

I hold my ceaseless craving for your warmth
Gently these days.
I take comfort now in its omnipresence.

The way the stars of this time and of this place
Are merely hints.
Would that I could see nebulas in their stead.

You and the unpolluted sky are both here
Safe in my heart.
Your absence, like your presence, lights my way home.

Countries

Countries are at once
Too large
And too small–
Too powerful
And too impotent–
Too simple
And too complex.

I long for the village.
The ancient, archetypal
Village in the wilderness.
Answerable only to itself.
Part of no larger plans.

I long for the universe.
The glacial, eternal
Universe expanding.
Answerable only to itself.
Beyond plans.

I am the country
Writhing within my skin.
Arrogant
Insecure
Devastated
Jubilant
Conflicted.

I am the village
Deep at my core.
Self-contained
Cooperative
Minute
Complete
Imperfect.

I am the universe
At the outer edges of my awareness.
Unknowable
Infinite
Inescapable
Intricate
True.

The village and the universe
(In addition to their many other tasks)
Must cradle the country
As a child who has, every day
Knowingly and unknowingly
Done terrible and wonderful things.

Cradle, without condemning.
Cradle, without condoning.

Cradle while seeing clearly
The universe
Far beyond this moment
The village
Deep within this moment.

Co-Sleeping Haiku

Baby in the bed
An island, cozy and warm
In sheltering cove

Each night, like clockwork
Ere I’ve fully awakened
My breath restarts yours

Lungs, sensing a gap
Sharply inhale when you pause
And yours follow suit

You lie between us
Caramel robed in chocolate
All gooey sweetness

Night begins to fade
Two older fledglings fly home
One roosts beside me

Cramped, beloved nest
Our world for a few short years
A harbor of love

Shoes

I see your shoes there, discarded in the doorway, a microdune of sand beneath the right one, laces tumbling from the left. I must shrink to the size of a mouse so I can fit all the way inside.

It is dark, darker than I’d expected. And smellier. Turns out the flashy colors are only on the outside. In here it is dim, musty, with only a small circle of light near the opening.

How often am I the one shining more brightness into this space? How often am I instead casting shadows?

From the outside, a shadow upon a sneaker is an unnoticeable blip. Inside, it is an eclipse.

Why is it so hard, in the moment, to stop, shrink, and enter?

Your mere presence demands this of me.

I demand it of myself.

And yet it is only after the words have flown that I remember.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Even when I am unrested, unclean, unbalanced, unheeded.

Even when you are a tornado of irrationality.

The shape is a little different, and the size. The colors, especially the outer ones, and the smell; they are different, too. But the feeling — oh, I know it.

Like the back of my hand.

Like the sound of my mother’s voice.

Like a well-worn shoe.IMG_20160324_074305770 IMG_20160324_074216880

Tangerines (and tupperware)

Some days our friendship is a tangerine
Ripe with laughter, wittily sour

Some days our friendship is a faded rose
With its musty scent of outgrown youth

Some days our friendship is a worn cotton cloth
Soothing fevers, binding wounds

Some days our friendship is a stalled car
Aching shoulders haul through the intersection

Some days our friendship is a word sung well
Summoning soul-dancing goosebumps

Some days our friendship is a pair of pennies
Almost forgotten but for a faint chime

And truly I cherish it as a coin just as much as a song
A wrecked car just as much as a fabric scrap
A boutonnière as much as a tangerine

For each has their place
And to do otherwise would be to leave fruit molding on the shelf
While eating dusty petals.

We two, we understand this
And so our friendship is the most tenacious of wildfowers.

————-
I say “we two” but am thinking of several people at once, folks who have hauled my sorry crumpled fender through more than I can recall and whose presence makes me happier than sushi (though the best, of course, is sharing sushi with these lovely souls). In addition to my beloved oldies-but-goodies I have been so fortunate this past year to find more and more kindred spirits, and I feel encircled now by people both local and far-flung who together form the village I once longed for, a village I am proud to call home.

A village that gifted us a bevy of meals for weeks after Cria’s birth! And a village, therefore, to whom I promise we will return jars, tupperwares, and casserole dishes one day soon… (Seriously! They are all clean and waiting for my scattered brain to remember to deliver them when next we meet.)

Here are the ones vacationing atop our fridge:

  

Valley Fire

Two weeks before the fires, we were there.

We drove on twisting roads through forests, past farms and vineyards and tiny towns. Homes for the humans and their animals, and for the wild ones roaming free.

Those things are gone.

The best caramel swirl ice cream I have ever experienced, in a little shop with a charming set of hand drums cobbled together somehow and attached to a single stand.

Those things are gone.

We bathed in beautiful springs sheltered by gigantic fig trees, splurged and slept in a fairy cabin like it was our honeymoon and not “just” our eighth anniversary. Yoga in a temple the spiral dance could call home. Full moon circle under rippling cloudy skies.

The springs remain. The skies remain. The native plants and fungi in their fire wisdom are still anchored deep, holding the land with healing fingers.

Everything else is gone.

Love’s Labour’s Won

Summer ignited, soul burst alive
Newly more completely myself
I danced for joy, then realized
By shedding my layers
Down
Down
Deeper
I was also shedding
Connections native to those layers
And you with them.

Autumn creaked in, decaying and hopeless
And all the leaves flared up
Obscuring my vision, making you
Impossible to find, but
Down
Down
Deeper
I was still searching
For a direct line
From my core to yours.

Winter laid all things bare, cooled the air
And you blazed your own path
To the center where the things that matter
Live and grow and dance
Down
Down
Deeper
We were finally reveling in
The true value of ourselves
Individually and together.

Spring fairly oozed with love wrapped in birdsong
All the rose and jasmine and citrus flowers
Prolific and heady and most deliciously
In perpetual bloom
Down
Down
Deeper
We were busily embroidering
The walls with stars
To light our way home.

————–

Thor and I have had quite a year. A partnership unraveling, stuttering toward recovery, and then thundering so far past our previous markers of good, great, and phenomenal that I can no longer clearly recall our former way of being.

We almost lost one another.

No one’s fault, just a simple matter of having drifted away from our own hearts and therefore each other’s.

And now we are found.

   
   

The Gardener and the Witch

The gardener grew, as gardeners do, in fertile soil
A farm surrounded by forest, by brambles and meadows and streams
Where property lines are drawn with moss-covered stones.

The witch was cast, as witches are, in earth’s palm
Wild imagination, story-fed, danced from season to season
Befriending maple and toad, cat and fern, lake and muck, stars and stones.

The gardener transplanted, to stretch out his roots a little
Swapping forest for cornfield, trading stone walls for brick paths
Drinking in friendship like sunlight and music like rain.

The witch was drawn by oaks and elms and sycamores
Into flight, and landed where her bare feet delighted in bricks wise and worn
Drinking in friendship like sunlight and music like rain.

The gardener soon saw how well her branches and his intertwined
The witch could feel that their stories together would weave
So he planted love in the ground where they stood and she sealed it with a spell.

Thirteen years later, the gardener is still sowing and nurturing and harvesting
And the witch is beside him, guiding and shaping and protecting
Their home: an orchard of magic and hope, light and love.

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13 to 31

Swap the digits and behold
How child turns to mother
How fragile becomes bold

Maternal cocoon lost, greatly mourned
Daughter once shattered
Now re-formed.

Wisdom longed for
Loving arms craved
Sheltering comfort destroyed

All now spring up
From within and around
A renewable source: heart, re-joyed.

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