When you take on other characters

You risk losing yourself.

You worry:

Will I adopt their ugliness?

Will I shine too brightly?

I’m used to feeling plain,

So why should I feel

Excitement,

Joy,

And freedom in my body?

What if I lose control?

 

What if?

Would that be the end of it all?

Or would it open new realms

Of possibility,

Ways of being,

Of inhabiting the world?

What if you could set your

Mind-

Body-

Spirit

Free

By throwing caution to the wind,

By turning off your “internal editor,”

By daring to be bigger than your

Own small sphere of existence?

 

Acting is empathizing

With another’s plight;

It’s taking on their story

And living it fully –

In all its messiness,

Ugliness,

And Glory.

We don’t live to be nice

And look nice all the time;

We live for experiences,

Relationships,

And love.

We live for the complexity

That each day holds –

Shouldn’t our characters carry this capacity, too?

 

To live is to take a risk

Every day of your life

To be better than you were

The day before.

To grow up

And into yourself;

To learn

About yourself and the world;

To deepen

Your connections

And tune into the collective pulse

That breathes life

Into every being

On the planet.

Anne Bonny

The lure of comfort is like a string

Pulling me inside-out.

It exposes my insides,

Making me vulnerable

And susceptible to the harsh winds

Of the outside world.

Every gust knocks me over

And each soft ripple

Brushes against my heart,

Stirring it

Until it dissolves.

I’ve built walls to protect

My insides –

Those squishy, malleable

Organs of life.

They guard me from feeling too deeply –

Until the clever wind

Creeps through the cracks,

And creates a wind tunnel.

Then it all bursts open

And comes pouring out,

And I’m left with the shattered pieces

Of my safe house.

I’m left to pick them up again,

Desperately trying to rebuild

What’s been lost.

 

But what if I lived

More on edge?

Not quick to anger,

But quick to action –

That same string pulling me forward,

Into life –

A visceral experience

That draws forth the

Guttural,

Wild,

Exuberant

Part of me.

What if my safe house didn’t need to exist,

Because I felt safe with myself?

What if I felt comfortable enough

In my own body,

That I didn’t need to seek

External sources of comfort?

The lure of comfort

Is what holds me back

From living life to its fullest,

From expressing my full potential.

Comfort tells me to stay complacent,

To deny the possibility

Of a more radiant,

Colorful,

And fantastical experience.

It could be dangerous,

But that rush of wind,

Standing at the edge of the cliff,

Would carry me up and out,

Into the world.

The longing wind inside

Threatens to destroy me,

To keep me wanting

With no real manifestation.

On the edge,

Something is bound to happen.

On Top
Cranes

The incessant noise drills through my spirit.
It rattles the fragile structure of my psyche,
Cutting straight to my core.
All of this “improvement” only dismantles my safe space,
My one corner of quiet
In this hellish prison of consumerism.
The slick sidewalk blocks my escape,
And the sky pours pellets 
That threaten distress
And discomfort.
When will this all plateau?
When will things be “good enough”?
Skyscrapers go up,
While the citizens’ spirits sink,
Into the cracked asphalt 
And drown in the Seattle rain.
I am choking on concrete dust
And being slowly smothered by 
“Smiles”
And the 12th Man. 
I remember when this city felt inviting
And full of wonder.
Maybe that was childhood fantasy,
But I’d take that over this reality 
Any day.

Candle Shadows

When you crack the window to the outside world,

You are faced with uncertainty.

Questions of 

Belonging,

Acceptance,

And purpose

Dance cruelly,

Disrupting your thoughts and

Distorting your vision 

Of the life before you.

Opportunity just overwhelms –

It is an obligation,

Not an invitation

For joy and prosperity.

You can only take so much

Before you begin to sink into yourself –

Trying to find solace from the madness,

The never ending conveyor belt of responsibility.

You no longer delight in company,

Take joy in conversation.

You want only to shut out all noise

And lock yourself away. 

It is not so much self-pity

As a retreat from the chaos,

The outer rush that floods

Your stream of consciousness. 

It is winter after all –

A time for hibernation 

And the dark womb of Mother Earth.

And yet we have so few opportunities for rest

And quiet.

Or perhaps we do not take them –

Make space for them –

For ourselves.

Perhaps if we tuned into the soul-call of our own hearts

We could see the flickers of light

That beckon us to explore the dark,

The wild,

The unknown –

To seek answers within,

Instead of from everyone else,

Who have their own questions to answer. 

We can’t go it alone,

But we can’t rely on others to lift us up –

We must find our own light,

Our own way through the dark.  

Joyful

I am always evolving –

I am not who I once was,

But I am not the final version of who I can be.

I have learned better

How to use my voice,

But sometimes it sounds too

Strong,

Hoarse,

Strained –

Or quiet.

Sometimes it doesn’t sound at all,

But it’s always there –

I can feel it –

Rippling beneath the surface,

Climbing up my lungs.

Sometimes it threatens to burst like a geyser;

Sometimes it gets stuck,

And threatens to choke me out –

But I know this is not my voice itself;

It is fear.

It is fear of being heard,

Fear of not;

It is fear of being understood,

Fear of not;

It is fear of being

Brave,

Bold,

Open,

Wild,

Sexy,

Luscious,

Alive.

Life is messy and unpredictable,

And I usually don’t know what to say –

What will get me through to the next moment,

The next phase?

It’s easier to let life pass you by,

Than it is to live it.

But which is more rewarding?

Which lets you integrate and embrace

All those parts of you?

You can only learn, grow, and change

If you keep living –

Keep using your voice.

We rode off the beaten path

(As we tend to do),

Looking for nothing but peace and freedom from the bumpy road.

And as usual,

We found the sheltered secrets:

Plump,

Juicy,

Sweet,

Just waiting to be devoured.

 

This tradition is the trend of our time together.

We stumble endlessly upon beauty

And the fruits of the Earth.

Our winding conversations

Sweep us through infinite fields

Of crackling summer grass,

And carry us along on the soft sea breeze.

We wade in deep waters,

Dipping our feet into possibilities for the future –

Daring to dream –

To imagine something different.

 

I wouldn’t have it any other way

Between she and I, though.

She tirelessly pulls me

Through the fog of my limitations,

Transforming it into a glittering mist,

Magical and refreshing.

The shimmering spray

Paints me with a new coat that is brighter

And filled with wisdom.

It seeps through my skin,

Changing me on a molecular level,

And planting the seed of hope

For the next generation.

 

When I was young,

We used to pick blackberries with my Grandmother.

The scent was just as sweet,

But the vines more tangled.

The small, secluded field was our own Secret Garden,

Tucked away behind her humble, but homey house.

In this little corner of my Grandmother’s world,

The air was fresh and clear,

Not smogged by cigarette smoke

Or stale whiskey breath.

How could I know the depths of her dark history,

When my head was nestled among the brambles,

My hand outstretched,

As if they could carry me toward the plumpest prize.

 

I am part

Of a powerful matriarchal line.

We are a bunch of

Sassy,

Sharp-witted,

Soft-skinned women,

But we have each,

At some point,

Neglected our power.

We have silenced our own voices,

Turned the other cheek,

Rather than standing up

And speaking our truth.

 

My truth is buried beneath my skin.

It is in the lives

And experiences of

My Mother

and Grandmother

and Great-Grandmother

and the women before them I never knew.

 

I wish I had taken the time

To talk with my Grandmas,

To show interest in their lives –

Before they ended.

But for now,

I am blessed with the Light that is my Mom.

And I won’t take that for granted.

I won’t waste a second

Of our precious Time.

For Bonnie June Baker, Jeri Marie Cabe, and Kymberlee della Luce. <3 

Blackberries and portrait credit to Kymberlee della Luce.

My passion has dissipated

And I know not where it went.

I am coated in cynicism,

Its chalky glaze pasted with rough hands over my soft heart.

I see beauty, but it does not breathe inspiration into the blackened cave of my mind.

Thoughts echo off its crystallized walls,

But they only ping on endlessly,

The feedback overtaking my reception.

My heart is caught in a net,

Rough ropes strung together by

betrayal

mistrust

insecurity

sorrow

and

rage,

and twisted taut by the refusal to face these embedded experiences.

They feel inextricably bound to who I am,

And who I was or could’ve been has disappeared.

The particles of my ideal image have disintegrated,

And been swept away by the tyrannous force of self-loathing.

My inward-turning has turned me inside out,

And I no longer recognize myself.

My stormy, serious eyes have cast a shadow over the carefree, radiant smile of my younger self.

The girl who used to climb trees

And play make-believe,

With elaborate stories and adventures.

I express this in a different way now,

But the visceral, vital connection feels lost.

Now there is “right and wrong,” “good and bad” –

At least says the little voice in my head,

Which grows bigger with every negative thought or image I impose upon myself.

Dispassion
Arboretum

The heavy fog challenges the restless leaves
That spin cartwheels
Down to the rough pavement.
These forces cannot stop their radiance –
The way they bound forth
And paint our city with fire.
 
Mystery shakes them loose,
The breath of the Goddess
Whispering secrets,
Speaking the truth of the trees,
The Earth,
The air
That fills my lungs –
Draws my spirit up
To drive me forward,
Along this crooked path –
Once familiar, yet forgotten.
 
These streets I walk are no longer mine,
The roots that have been planted
No longer connect us.
We are part of a network,
But one that is detached from the earth.
 
I find solace in the Gibbous Moon
That shines outside my window.
She gazes down upon me
And I think she feels some part of my truth.
She beckons to her friendly stars,
And they wink at me through the darkness of the city.
Her reflection is cardinal,
Stretching out in all directions,
Giving her love freely.
All she asks is
recognition –
And faith in her consistent inconsistency.
We must trust that she is always there.
Even when she takes time for herself,
Or is covered by the heavy fog.
 
She teaches us that darkness and death
Are necessary for light and rebirth –
That we can stay true to our place in the universe,
And still always be changing.

Greenlake Twilight

Your calm, regal presence,
Your silent strength,
Give me comfort this morning.
I feel your cool warmth
Radiating through my heart.
Your soft and gentle caress
Uplifts and soothes my spirit.
 
You are Goddess of the night
And those hours in between –
Where stillness is echoed through the barren streets.
You give me courage, Full Moon,
Elevated and distanced,
Yet engaged.
 
Your familiar call draws me to you, like the the
tides –
I am, after all, a Pisces –
My waters run deep.
 
You inspire me to be big,
Bright,
Bold.
To carry myself with such unabashed elegance and grace.
To share what makes my heart shudder and sing.
 
You, my Goddess,
Shamelessly reclaim your time every month,
Your changes and cycles are welcomed –
Met with awe and wonder.
No one can tell you
To be anything less
Than the powerful Goddess you are.

The city was up in smoke –
We screamed, we ran,
And then we were conquered –
Forced into hiding.
A mansion filled with secret passageways,
We scuttled in the dark,
Looking out for one another,
While avoiding “the Other.”
Yet it seemed we knew them.
There was history there –
Hurt, anger,
Melancholy for connections lost.
Something had broken and we were now in fear –
We did not trust their return,
Or familiarity;
They were strangers to us now.

Fire