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Poetry

Grief

What did we possess yesterday?
What will we lose today?
When the world is shattered like a window,
No glass remains between you and the sunflower which was always there.
No illusions, no barriers.
Just the opportunity to turn towards it.
For in the smallest of things, therein lies the greatest of things.
There is a grace to be found in those moments.
A grace that is lost to us when we are in the midst of grief
Instead of outside looking in.
When the shock and denial and groundlessness that is grief,
Makes the world around us stand still.
The stopping point before life flows down a completely different road.
If we resist the current of where life is now taking us,
If we try to change what we can not change because it has already been written in time,
We are drowning.
We are shutting life out.
Just as we shut out the sunflower with the glass of our lives.
It is only when we let go and surrender to the current,
That we have a chance of taking in air.
Today, in these astringent halls above the city,
These windows keep grief in and hold life out.
With a kind of cold devotion, the machines that keep lungs breathing in and out,
Tell of our inability to see death clear enough to not fear it or resist it.
Despair is in the minds and movements of people, holding each others grief tightly…
Trying to survive the unknown together.
Every trivial thing erased by the emptiness of loss…
By the earthquake of a moment of change.
A moment ago, someone was here.
Now it is an empty room.
The bed re-made a new.
The machines no longer pushing air in and out are rolled away.
The silence of death lasts only hours before another story of grief comes to fill its place…
For another family nearby.
But not for those the silence leaves behind. For them, the silence lasts forever.
And life does not go on.
Instead, what is lost to them, is their own lives as well.
They go along with the ones we love you see.
When the world is shattered by grief they leave us.
And we only learn to live again when we let go of their life and our life along with it.
And instead, go towards the sunflower…
That was always, always there.

Freedom

Freedom… is in the reclaiming of self.
The turning of life’s cyanide into honey.
And liberty, the pinnacle of color 
Sketched to a world full of petals, 
All of which grow from soil.
Perchance the squalid circumstances 
Of our given lives,
Were none but a call to ripen.
For the life within a life is transcendental.
Forever searching out the ways the world has bisected us…
In order to unite us again,
With a kind of soundness so brave,
It drowns out the throe.
So you can see that beauty 
In its most absolute forms, 
Is not virgin to rancor.
Instead…
It becomes from it.

The Re-Birth

Welcome the measureless
that I always was.
You fathom me not,
Nor my eternity which is permanent within me.
Great and small, all parts of this world are comprised of the soul.
I should not have remained here so many a time…
Given over my temporary, thankless body to death.
Yet I remain.
These things do not happen by accident, coincidence or happenstance.
I diverged instead from myself and was born again,
less guarded than ever.
Naked again.
I expand until I am seamless.
Spiritual growth is a thing that never ends.
It is either accepted or resisted
as it advances upon you… an inevitability of physical life.
Offering unparalleled calm
but only after a storm which rips you limb from limb
The only way out is through.
Let you know your freedom first by oppression it says.
Let you know bliss by suffering.
Let you know infinity by the confines of your own perishable, temporary, human nature.
And know me, by first knowing yourself.
It is only by being broken down 
that you can be re- built again.

Will You?

Did you love this world, 
The beauty and the beast in it, 
Or the flowers spilling fragrance in the air, 
Not deformed or perfect?
Do you love this world 
For its heaviness or the freedom it entails, 
Not admonition or blame?
Would you love this world 
Were it deserted by worth, 
Or the option to walk barefoot, 
Knee deep in mud, 
Not despondency or doom?
Will you love this world 
For any other sake but yours, 
Or any favor turned upon you, 
Not penniless or lone?

Punishment

You strive for power,
By stealing power from the powerless.
Until you are left with nothing
Traveling a dark and reckless path to a place that feels like protection from all the things you do not want.
But it only leads to pain.
You have forgotten this.
Your desperate quest to make this life controllable, when it is not yours to control is futile, 
Just like it always was, as rules which are made, are just as quickly broken.
It defies the basic rule of universal freedom.
You have forgotten this.
You have lost the power of knowing that anything you push against, 
You just get all the more of.
You can not fight away pain with pain.
May you come to remember this.

Hands

I remember your hands,
The cracked and calloused expanse of them across my face,
As you took my childhood from me ten and fifty and a hundred times.
My tear blind eyes turned up to heaven.
It was never quite enough until the flesh you crushed and blood you let had pulled me to my knees.
As a child I ran as you hunted me with your pocket knife and mule across the noisy hem line of so many a field back home, thinking I deserved it.
I was no longer a child; you were no longer a man. The blood and bone and sinew you took from everything, is what you made the landscape of your life from.
Indeed it was even your covenant.
A pledge I witnessed seven children die by, and I was almost one of them.
The lies you told, like scriptures I lived my life by.
You said you were my father.
You said it was my home.
That dark, forgotten hole in the ground, under a lattice of weathered and rotted planks that shut out the sky.
For years, you followed my path of bleeding pain, in the attempt to flush out my spirit...
With electric shocks,
With confinement,
With ketamine.
Trying to make the life you suffered as a child, my life too,
Dispatching little pieces of those who could love you and those who still do.
Deaf to “I love you” and Blind to “I care”.
You needed those words, but you couldn’t hear them, and I couldn’t yell.
I wanted so much to tell you that day that I left home…
To
Remember my hands.
Their scars are no longer fresh now.
Let them bring back the simple truth to you
That the universe suffers as you suffer.
That the universe smiles with your joy.
When all you are left with is grief and pain, you can hold these hands and witness what beauty is born of bent and broken lives such as ours.
We need not search for salvation. It is in us always, waiting to be seen.
An internal benevolence is burning just beyond the reach of anything that can happen to you in this life, though faint, it is not fragile.
The message of love can come from anywhere without warning.
I am not angry anymore.
It is now instead my greatest wish that you may know the ineffable solace of love and the freedom it brings with it…
As I do.

Worth

Without all ornament, and with substance still,
To love one’s self, despite life’s tainted course is no kind of false art form.
Is worth so faint a thing to perceive?
The seasons of life that cover it in complex cobwebs 
Would have you forget that potential… Is worth.
And all that dies around it, leaves it green.

Sunset

To begin with, you were sire to a chrysalis, which bore the difference between dreaming and awake.
The twins, which emerged were a sun and a moon.
And you taught them to walk in rotating circles around you.
Saffron back boned and violet faced.
Do you know the mountains believe, 
You are their water colored kiss goodnight?
A momentary, sandwiched emotion, 
Reflected for your own lacking of darkness and light.
Groom to the sunrise, covering the opposite end of the clock.
Protecting the ridges with your tangerine tendrils.
The fabric of nudity, which belongs to a day before it chooses to dress 
In a cloak of bruised and blackened leaves with white blossoms, 
Which it trails across the sky.
Teaser of artists, 
Daring man kind to come up with a color only you can recreate.
A color which was meant to hold to no canvass other then air.
Are you licking each part of the ground as payment for the amount of gold, 
That you've never been shy to dispense of?
You are the frame around an ornamental memory 
That though the sun and moon suffer a funeral everyday that I survive, 
They also suffer a birthday.
As does a personal desire in me to stay alive.

Nothingness

Go to bed tonight with the idea of sleeping with forever.
In hopes of making it conceive of you.
The illusion of nothing is only the fear of being so small, 
The only ship you have to board is your own.
Could you fathom your feet walking life, but not blindly?
Where an illusive smile leaves its hand print not only on the lips?
Nothing is a land without senses,
Where you're unable to find the other side.
A silent but spoken double dare to tour danger, but the will,
Which makes danger only a horizon to gaze upon and to want to cross.
Place void in front of the eye, and learn to see it.
Dull the tongue and learn to taste it.
Remove the music and learn to hear it.
Nothing was an ocean once,
Taught not to evaporate, only to blanket the world.
A place where you can swim if you can learn to love to drown safely.
Simply needing to leap from the birth inherited vessel you sail upon.
Its below deck kitchen, serving fear cooked over fire in sugar and spice.
Convincing yourself that is the only way to add flavor to life.
Then letting a virgin, 
Carved and mounted to the bow of your ship, 
Be your guide.
I bet you grew up thinking you should be more like her.
But that was before you swam in forever,
And stopped convincing yourself that nothing was only an endless sky,
And you were the only one piloting there.

8 Lives Left

Selfishness she called it,
The state of a slowly vortexing world 
That has been my prison of such isolation, instead of small,
It is the desperate expanse of every desert.
I have been here longer than I can attempt to not own it as home.
And this “end happiness” of which you speak,
I have been here longer than I can attempt to remember what that even feels like.
It is more that I seek a state of not desiring… something else so much,
I can’t ever really stop to see the day.
You see…
Selflessness I call it.
The state of a slowly vortexing world.
Imploding on an identity that instead of made,
It was given.
A way of ignoring open wounds and seeing torture as a validation of strength
And loving the man, above all, who did it to me.
I have been here long enough for freedom to feel like abandon.
It is more that my survival was those chains that kept me so tight,
I confused the claim for love.
You see…
A death you call it,
The state of a slowly vortexing world.
A woman can’t be until a girl dies.
And I am still 4 or 5 of them,
Caught in the prison that memory is for me,
Screaming to be held and heard and noticed, and “put to sleep”
I have been here so long that I have died without the falsehoods I believed.
It is more that the child died,
The one who silenced the truth to begin with but had been screaming to tell it ever since.
You see…
She died so I could live.

The West

I find now, that I have removed myself. No longer a part of a life that can be considered “western”… The life that I was brought into by default and cultivated from. It is easy to forget sometimes until caught off guard, at which point you can see it at my core, coming through the lack of repress. And then, it is like I truly am the land that grew me.
There was never a way to win against all the odds in the west. It is a commonplace cycle of death, birth and survival. Since the beginning, people have been coming here mistaking the impression of endlessness for opportunity. No one ever came to the west who wasn’t running from something. And those of us raised here by those people, were suckled with that desperacy. It has worked its way like a disease from one generation to the next.
The sun is fixed on life here, sucking the water from everything. There are wildfires in the summer, and blizzards in the winter. Dust and cold alike, covering sagebrush and skin and life itself, turning everything into the same numbness of grief so that there are times between one year and the next, when a person has no way to tell the difference. The valleys and plains, though dry, give more of a lonely impression of open ocean than of land, or of anything you could ride a horse across.
The men here (that I grew up with), are made as callous as the hands they work with. Stripped of unnecessary flesh… By weather. Rained, and sunned and blown and beaten into a state of crudeness where all elements of mercy are lost. And the women are disintegrated. Trying to muscle up an impression of invincibility and of grace, in a place where it was better to not be born a girl in the first place.
Out here, femininity is the easiest meat to feed on. It is devoured into rarity before most of us reach the age of five. So what is left is women clinging to religion as a means to cope with the insensible cruelty. Trying to extract meaning and purpose and control out of the constant tragedy, so as to not lose themselves.
To live without God here is to live alone, as prey. Children are bred heartless and made more heartless by the poverty of their compassion, as the law of the land has always been eat or be eaten. It is true in the emotional sense of the word as well, maybe even more so.
The main streets of the old western towns I grew up in are littered now with impermanent chain stores. Absent of a building code, it looks as if the businesses who came here, all snagged themselves on the destitution. Unprepared for the kind of customers who leave their Christmas lights on all year long (they are simply that degraded).
Walmart, Kmart, Taco bell, gun shops and E-Z Pay day loans are the only stores which have made it out here. Like scavengers they are the businesses which survive off of the unfortunate, and left behind as if they were a food source. People who would be driving cattle, growing gardens, canning their own food… Are now swallowed by the wave of modern society and left behind by it.
And now the cowboy, who once conquered the Native American, is conquered, their life made obsolete, making way for the new wave of people trying to take over out here. Now a days they live in trailer parks, or houses falling apart on the outskirts of what can hardly be called a city, living on cigarettes and chew and easy access television. Working in metal shops or corporate dairy farms, or meat packing plants, selling their souls to Walmart and Kmart and E-Z pay day loans, because it is all they can afford to do.
And so, still an infant by settlement standards (as it was conquered barely over one hundred years ago), it is already full of a hard won, gun shot, broken history. And the kind of wounds that never heal. Guarding freedom like prison was on the other side of every door.
But beyond the hot crackle of the grasshoppers and dry, winter frostbite, there is a slow, heartbreaking beauty, a vastness that can never be possessed. Un peopled wilderness where the night sky is so dark, the stars are a bright, white dust instead of interspersed lights of only those which can out shine the nebulous glow that humans create.
There are sunsets and wildflowers. Animals outside cages, people outside metal and glass. The collection of them, made intimate by having to live a life, simplified by realizing the temporariness of everything. Taking nothing for granted.
And though the struggle is a violent dance that no one would participate in if given the choice, it has a way of connecting you to the earth. In a way where life itself is distilled to it’s raw, original self.

Plead

A plead as simple as bleeding,
To be free of the warm veins,
forged for survival.
Where?
Directions are lost,
Obscured by wind and stinging soot
Pulled relentlessly from the earth,
No longer stable and turning black.
Where?
Is it the prison of it , 
That shapes you the most?
Or the shapelessness of your keepers?
Reality is scarcely a fossil here
Where?
The chemical blood, smeared on forearm and thigh…
It brings out the best in us.
Bravery’s way of finding us, where mercy would not
And honor’s taste, heavy on a bitten lip that will never speak of this again.
Where?
I am the only soul here,
The only thing living, besides molten,
That flows in slow, spitting rivers, breathed in by nostril and pore.
A living cadaver, in skin like wax that never melts.
As cold as the idea of this being not where I belong
or what I deserve,
has become.
Where?
The path of devastation, leads you in circles they say.
Back to the same Iron,
The same brand.
The same vision every way you see it.
You are a slave.
But the tears don’t come beyond the thousand degree heat, 
and the way it’s scarcely felt now, when it burns me.
Where?
Against what bones still un fragmented, and what flesh still un torn,
Fear is a rising tide.
The only thing I fear is fear itself.
It is the only thing telling me, life is not like this for any soul but mine.
But any love they drip to me will fall like blood in the end…
No way to take it in,
Once it’s outside you…
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