I miss that place where you can be
Anybody and Nobody
You look at people
and can’t believe some
of the shit they wear Damn lady, comb your kid’s hair!
Strolling down the boardwalk
napchunga in the air
Grandma rollerblades in her bikini
not caring that she ain’t skinny
Have a slice
Enjoy the view
it’s usually really nice
to sell you their blood, sweat, n’ tears
using their art
to release their fears Does anybody REALLY know what time it is?
tagging is Art
Freaks are Normal
A place where you can be Anybody
and Nobody will care
In the distance I hear a familiar sound
Like Beats of my heart
the Drum pulls me in
it takes me away
the different Cultures of Drums
the melting Pot of People
all dancing to the beautiful sounds
lets me see that we can be free
the lost teenager
the skater dude
the business man
the raver girl
and feel the warmth of humanity
for just a moment in time
round and round they dance
without taking a second glance
at the human next to them
the sand massages their feet
one by one
letting go to the beat
but when the Beat drops
We’re Robots once again
On the daily routine
they all look back like this was all
just a vivid dream
where the salty air hits your face
you can be
Nobody will care…
“…be attentive to what is arising within you, and place that above everything else…What is happening in your innermost self is worthy of your entire love; somehow you must find a way to work at it.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
…Innermost self…worthy of your entire love…
Empowerment. Ultimately we are the only ones who can give ourselves permission to love, “what is rising within us,” above everything else. How many among us are able to grant ourselves that? I was born into a culture that revers ideals that represent the opposite of what Rilke encourages; self-sacrifice & martyrdom are fed to us, especially to females from the time of conception.
We are guided and prized along a path of continuous service. Service to our parents, our siblings, our faith. All needs, wants, desires, that rise within us are set aside to attend to the others: warm your father’s and brother’s tortillas; wash their dishes; do their laundry; make their beds; sweep the floors; mop…an endless circular list of chores. The older attend to the younger, females to males, younger to elderly.
We are encouraged to yearn for the day we will be the zero to the right of a man that will choose us based on our virginal worth. A silent partner that will give him courage, strength, and value. To raise our children in line with the values we have been raised with.
We have, many of us, been raised to distrust what may ever happen in our “innermost self.” We are provided with stories of fallen women, social discards, continuing examples of what could happen to us.
And then there are those among us who–so loved, were they, for their uniqueness by their mothers, fathers, a “strange” aunt or grandparent–were allowed, and who allowed themselves to escape to their innermost selves!
God was in love when He made me. His eyes were focused on something in the distance when His hands slid across clay to form my face. He stared for a long time in that direction, His warm fingers at rest against my rough, wet cheeks. As He pushed at the clay, I could feel a likeness being formed. A gentle frown creased His scarred brow as He corrected inconsistencies, perfected the proportions of eyes to nose, nose to mouth, mouth to chin.
Between two palms He rubbed a line of clay, steaming hot from friction, folded it in half, pressed it flat, then rubbed it round again; three times He did this, tempering and strengthening the rod until it curved in a subtle S.
God spun each rib with a practised hand, easily connecting each of eight to sternum and spine and tethering the floating ribs to harbor. But it was clear from the emptiness of His eyes that building my ribcage was not first in His thoughts that day.
He pulled at the layers of clay clinging to his hands, pushing the excess out of the scars in his hands. He kneaded the cracked and drying clay into a ball of earth between His fingers absent-mindedly. He looked down at it as if for the first time and put it in my ribcage, still warm and soft from His touch.
My belly He churned like whipped cream, and laid down the soft foam over my spine to fill my pelvis. He tucked it up into my ribcage, insulating my heart and lungs on a cushion of stomach and intestines. Sometimes He would become restless and bury His chin in it. We would lay there like that, He strewn across His workbench like a lazy child, and I only alive enough to feel the blush of pleasure from His closeness. Then His focus would return, and the pressure on my stomach would lift, and the starry sensation of being Made would begin again.
Into the back of my skull He carved a cavity and filled it with water. He pulled more of the clay off of his fingers and, finding it dry, dipped it into His mug next to the muddy water bowl. Feeling the hotness of his drink, He looked down to see the lump was stained black and dripping with coffee. Seeing it was good, he set it to float in my skull. With a smirk, He pulled down the back of my head and sealed it without a seam.
Having done all of these things, God decided He was satisfied with His work for now. He took me to His beloved and pushed me into your arms, saying I Was Working And The More I Looked At Her, The More I Thought Of You. And when you smiled down at me, I couldn’t help but laugh at the goofy look on His face, how much He blushed when you called me beautiful, and how He clicked His heels when He thought He was far enough down the hallway that you wouldn’t notice.
I hurried into a religious bookstore one day anxious to pick up a book previously ordered. Old-time church hymns played on overhead speakers. As I waited in line a nearby magazine caught my eye, the caption reading, “Woman of the Year.”
My eyes traveling upwards saw a blond woman with long softly curled hair, pictured in a white skirt and blouse. The blouse buttoned to the neck with a long bow draping over a pink brocaded vest. Continuing further up the page I saw the title: VIRTUE.
The choir hymns droned on, their words echoing in my mind like indigestion repeating. The walls seemed to narrow, the air diminished as the room for self-expression evaporated. I choked attempting to swallow this standard of womanhood for myself. Each breath became progressively more suffocating, evoking memories of agonizing contortions in appearance and belief to gain acceptance into this fellowship of women, thus pronouncing me valid for relationship with men.
I handed my money to the woman at the register as she smiled warmly yet seemingly vacantly of any inkling that womanhood could be anything more that what she had been told. I groped for the door and gasped fresh air as oxygen once again filled my lungs.
Sitting inside my car I gazed out through the window trying to name my sadness. Noticing a nearby tree I got lost in its configuration of branches. Each branch was different from another. Some branches were thick and sturdy, some thin and willowy, each were free to grow in its own direction, unique and distinct, yet still very much a branch.
When realizing women have shared this same freedom I understood my grief. As I drove away I thought, nothing is more stultifying to genuine feminine expression and growth than a superimposed standard of womanliness.
Half- truths marinated in mango juices
traipse slowly down the back of an arm
The eager tongue of naiveté sweeps them
onto the palate where
taste buds are obliged to slowly absorb
You just a little on the chubby side
Baby here, have some more macaroni ‘n’ cheese
A young lady never finishes everything on her plate
But honey you have such a pretty face.
With sticky sweet fingers
A little girl stuffs teachings of
‘not good enoughs’
under soft mounds of insulated flesh
that rises and falls in sighs of longing and discontentment
periodically whispers reminders that
Daddy’s love is dependant upon
the number that spins into view when he places her upon the scale
Eyes running over with pity and concern
look down upon her and say;
“If you lose weight you can be in Uncles wedding”
But in her mind a translation is made
And its mantra dances within the folds of her brain
Every pound lost is a pound of love gained
Insecurity seasoned with jerk sauce
pass between lips that wish more to be kissed
than to be fed the spicy morsels of
why she should not be loved
The young lady passes the peppery doctrine
to Teeth which set to break them down
make them more manageable
She swallows with a chaser of ginger beer Allowing lies to coat Esophagus run into Stomach who then
digests and files them in her Heart
And with each beat of life force
Sour reminders of
Why it is such a chore to embrace her
Bubble up in the back of her throat
I am the mother of my poetry
for each new poem is a labor of love
each one is conceived
and woven together
in the womb of my soul
each one flutters and kicks inside me
dancing into being
each one is pushed forth into life
there is pain
there is rending
there is a grueling labor
the kind that lets hours escape
while you gaze upon that
which is made up of the very pieces of you
the kind that makes you weep at what beauty
can come out of such a dark place inside of you
and is brought to life through such pain
the kind that erupts in irrepressible smile
out of the blue to daydream how
this new creation will move through the world–
I love my poetry
with a conviction I cannot comprehend
with a loyalty I cannot name
with a tenderness I cannot explain
I am the mother of my poetry.
It’s hard to explain what I mean when I say that I don’t believe in “God” anymore, so I don’t really bring it up. Some people who love me, they get sad.
It seems that what they hear is loss and despair–fearfully, desperately I claw my way through the dark unknown. But it is more like: exhilaration and relief! With hope and joy I fly into a limitless blue sky; or, fall slowly and safely into a good and happy, never-ending, fully accepting awesome. Things are better than they have ever been. I am more brave than I was ever allowed to be. The only thing that I really grieve is how firmly the feet of old friends and family seem to be planted on the shore from which I am gladly sailing away. I tell them, “How wide and clear is the horizon! Anything is possible now.” And I fly a flag that means freedom.
It is alright with me that the people who understood me once no longer do so. I only wish that we could all dare to dream that everything we’ve ever wanted might actually be true.