Wednesday, March 8, 2017

West Texas Lullaby

I arrived earlier than planned to Guadalupe Mountains.  Followed a winding road and set up my tent.  Pounded in stakes, rock against rock, hard and unyielding.  I filled up my two water bottles, and packed my pockets with trail mix, jerky and a cheese stick.  After orienting myself with the pocket map the ranger gave me, I directed myself to the Guadalupe Peak trailhead.  I subtly acknowledged a few fellow hikers milling about, some restless teenagers with their parents, a serious wilderness couple and some runners.  But they veered off to other trails before long, and I was alone with the heat, the stones and the dirt.  Just a few scurrying critters to keep me company and the majestic yucca cutting slices into the sky.  So I greeted the tiny cactus blooms, crouching down low to get a magnified look at their tissue paper petals surrounded by sharp thorns.  I marveled at their uniqueness, their resilience, the audacity of their delicate beauty.  I busied myself trying to capture the stark shadows and intense color with my camera. 
But as I wound around and up the mountain, I became more obsessed with the seemingly endless zigzag of the path and it’s teasing meandering.  The details faded and I got lost in the endless horizon stretching impossibly in the distance.  I played a game with myself trying to guess which way the trail would turn next and how far until I finally reached the top.  But I was repeatedly humbled by my inability to predict its mysterious pattern.  And each “summit” was but a mere stepping-stone for the next. 

Several hours in, my heart leapt at the sound of voices coming towards me, but when they appeared I saw it was a huddle of experienced adventurers with their firm muscles, sun leather skin, and scuffed hiking boots.  I found myself too intimidated to interrupt their heated conversation with more than a nod as I feigned confidence and plunged determinedly ahead.  But as the sun blazed overhead and the water sloshed light in my last bottle, I began kicking myself for the impertinence of my ego.  Why didn’t I at least ask how much farther to the top?  My calves burned with each incline and my mouth was cotton as repeated admonishments about hiking alone ran on loop in my brain.  Sweat slipped between my breasts, and my t-shirt plastered itself to my skin, thin and drenched.  Blisters rubbed raw against my boots like pebbles. So I sang softly to reassure myself and lose my damning thoughts in the mesmerizing switchbacks stitching up the mountain. 

When I finally I snapped out of my daze, I saw an arrow pointing to the summit and broke into an awkward lope.  Standing finally at the top with the wilderness unfolding as if I were stepping into a painting, I felt a rush well worth the climb.  All the insecurity and doubt drained out of me as I huddled in the sliver of shade provided by a small metal monument proudly declaring “tallest peak in Texas.” 


It was then that I saw it.  A flash of light in my periphery out west.  I turned and saw the thunderstorm threatening off in the horizon.  Heavy and ominous, jagged bolts of lightening ripping through the darkened sky.  And just as it registered that there was not a worse place in Texas to be at that moment, my feet were already up and carrying me by leaps and bounds down the steep slope I had so recently trudged cautiously up.  My body mutinied against my more methodical mind, and took over.  I could hear the crunch of pebbles under my boots, slipped and found myself sliding down rocky turns on my ass, skidding with scraped palms splayed to slow the fall.  The sky inky grey like a fabric hastily thrown over a lampshade.  Colors hushed and the breeze suddenly moist sifting through my salty hair.  My lungs were burning but I could not stop.  Though my legs trembled with the impact of each pounding step, I was lost in the momentum.  Before I knew it, I was rounding the last turn and saw the landscape roll out before me like a carpet, my campsite at last in view in the distance.  My strides lengthened into a sprint, leaping clumps of grass and stones as hail the size of golf balls bounced absurdly off my head.  Laughing hysterically, tears streaming down my face, I at last dove headfirst into my tent and sprawled spread eagle across the bottom, as jagged stones jabbed into my back.  Just a thin fabric separated me from the world outside.  But as the wind rocked me to and fro I surrendered my life to the night and swayed to my own West Texas lullaby.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ixchel

You take what is beautiful about me
and make it ugly.
You are afraid of my mystery
and want binding answers
with rigid straight lines 
and definitions I cannot give you
for I do not know them myself,
nor do I really care to know.
The unknown scares you
and you lash out
like a wounded animal
trapped in a corner.
The closer I get to you,
the more closed you become.
The sacred feminine both calls to you 
and repels you.
An ancient wound revealed,
that I cannot heal.
Yet seeing my Beloved wounded,
the Mother in me
is compelled to try,
only to get wounded myself.

So I retreat to lick my own wounds.
Like Ixchel and her jaguar,
waxing and waning moon 
at the same time.
For as I let you go,
I feel myself expanding again
to my full roundness,
filling in my curving lines,
voluptuous and strong,
threatening no one
as I shine from up above.
I only wish you could look up 
and see me,
feel my light.
Maybe one day,
you won't feel the need 
to pull the moon from the sky
and hold her in your hands.
But can fly up to join her,
like Orion.
And we can dance among the stars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love reinvented

I feel the brush of your breath
wild in my ear
like the crash of the ocean
whispering from a shell.

Coiled snake unfurls
spiraling warmth swells,
rising to sink her fiery fangs in my chest. 
Head thrust back,
she consumes her own tail
in relentless resurrection. 

Swaying in trance,
your hand cradles the small of my back. 
our bodies rock in unison,
an intimate choreography
only discovered as it unfolds. 

Your presence grounds me,
sparking chispas soothed
like melting wax
we merge, stretching tall and lofty
towering like a gnarled, ancient tree,
rough bark scarred with the blades of past lovers
but our entwined roots sink deep into rich tilled soil,
watered with tears of both sorrow and joy. 

But our arms still stretch hopeful
with the possibility of open sky,
I reach tiptoe to taste the softness of your lips. 
You surge regal as a mountain. 
Raw strength countered by my rushing river,
water smoothing stone. 

I cling to you as we teeter on the razor’s edge
a motorcycle, curving through unfamiliar roads,
unrolling, endlessly before us.
I reach out to touch life as it rushes by, exhilarated. 
Both terrified and exquisitely alive. 

Exhausted, I close my eyes
and let the silence swallow us
and we dissolve into the rhythm of the earth’s heartbeat. 
Placing our open, pleading palms on the trembling ground. 

Praying for just a little more time to travel in each other’s arms. 

Romance & Patriarchy

“I do not need you, I choose you!”
I bellow. 
Diaphragm contracting,
forcing the air violently out of my lungs
in every asthmatic’s last ditch effort to create space
enough to inhale, gasping erratically.

As if to prove the veracity of my words,
my feet pound out Kali’s dance of destruction
crumbling my temple of refuge to rubble yet again.
Anklets jingling, tongue protruding, skulls clanking.

But her right arm extends protectively around me.
“Fear not!” “This too shall pass.”
The audacity of a flower peeking out between the cracks of fallen stone
“Rest in my strength and know with certainty you will be reborn.”
I inch ever closer to center with each wild orbit of the spiral.

Look at the muscle in my arm! 
The bulge of my thigh
The fortitude that reverberates in this proud chest! 
Why would anyone want a puppy dog to follow them around
and not a powerful consort to dance with? 
Where is my warrior? 
Brave enough to match my steps.
Strong enough to laugh as the protective walls crumble.
Rough edges to sand smooth as we struggle in the grit of this cosmic play.

I’m tired of the same old trap like quicksand sucking at my feet.
Roles we step into in our sleep and blindly act out like somnambulos.
Who will help me deconstruct the bars of this cage
they’ve convinced us is love
to build a ladder to the sky? 
Open and endless,
where we can breathe.

Let these emotions rise and fall like waves on the ocean.
Wash over us like purified water, communion.
Breathe them in, honor them
and then let them rush back to the sea
from where they came.
I am like those tides,
the more you grasp at me,
the more I will recede.

Why must I be weak for you to believe my love?
I want to trade strength like passing a goblet of fire.
Wrap my thick thighs around you like the earth
cradle you in my healing warmth
that I call forth from my depths
Hold each other through the rocky patches,
Believe in the dawn on the other side of darkness.

My life is my art,
like a sculpture I am constantly building and rebuilding,
punching down as if it were lumpy dough
throwing the clay with a thud on the spinning wheel
caressing it with wet fingers
creating and recreating,
starting over and over again.

I yearn for you to match my moves
Bare your chest, speak your truth, and counter my flame without blowing it out!
Not back down, not be intimidated by my light.

For I must claim my inheritance
the one they denied me
god the father on endless loop
throughout my childhood.
I’ve seen my mountain lion
Branded her on my arm
Her eyes blaze through the darkness,
calling me to the wild.
Out of the darkness everything is born.

My hair swirls around my face
as I roll over
and straddle you
an ancient sadness in my eyes
pleading for you to want my strength
but fear if I let myself rise
If I let my true light shine

I will find myself alone.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Melancholy

Melancholy is the sweet ache for lost love
dissolved in the memory of its suffering
Blood pulsing beneath
the surface of transparent skin. 
All it takes is a scratch for it to flow fresh. 

For we are fragile beings. 
Resilient, we can hang by a thread,
outlive our fears,
and make amazing  resurgences when pruned back. 
We’ve learned how to manipulate
our world to keep us safe. 
But a sudden twist of fate
can just as easily snuff out the light. 

Melancholy is living with the knowledge
of good and evil. 
Tasting the fruit,
juice dripping down my chin,
without shying away,
to know my own nakedness
but choose not to cover myself. 
Prefer to stand bare in the whip of wind. 
Alive,
present
and attentive. 

Melancholy is to have found joy in pain
but also the twinge of agony on the far rim of bliss.
We hold the red hot embers that glow in the night
even when it burns the flesh. 
It shows in my eyes
that I’ve walked through fire
to stand exposed by your side. 
Heart pounding,
face tilted to the heavens,
hands falling open. 

Melancholy is to know there are no guarantees. 
We walk together only as long
as we continue to challenge each other,
a solemn promise to let go
rather than hang on or hold the other back. 
For life is too short and too precious
to drag around a bag of rocks,
even if they are beautiful.