Friday, August 31, 2012

yes, the door.

yes, the door.

my doors are shut
i hear you say except
windows of words
flew out of a mouth

i saw through
a few, vistas
and kitchens, i heard
so many songs

my doors are shut
i hear you say
except this,
accept this

i reached for the pass
your hand outstretched
palm to palm
so many fingers

my doors are shut
i hear you
say it first with voice
and with eyes again
and again
i'll echo
shut my doors!
close the windows!
board up the house!

my doors are shut
i hear
storms held
back, rain brewing,
wind tossing, i feel
hot then cool

and drifting, i try to knock
against things, bounce
off of meanings, prove
myself alive.

my doors are shut
i heard myself
say i don't know
why i slammed hard
with a quick crash

in my room, i was framing windows
in my room, i painted stones onto walls
in my book, i put my forehead to the ground

i tried to say
sleep here
tell me your dreams

drumming a rhythm, a code
tapped with light
fists from the inside

here the walls serve as covers,
the floor a spine, 
a breeze through pages 

which door was knocking

supine blankness
an invisible book

against what matter


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

(eat of her voice)

this one's by e.e. cummings:::

sonnet entitled how to run the world)

A always don't there B being no such thing
for C can't casts no shadow D drink and

E eat of her voice in whose silence the music of spring
lives F feel opens but shuts understand
G gladly forget little having less

with every least each most remembering
H highest fly only the flag that's furled

(sestet entitled grass is flesh or swim
who can and bathe who must or any dream
means more than sleep as more than know means guess)

I item i immaculately owe
dying one life and will my rest to these

children building this rainman out of snow

Monday, August 27, 2012

polyamory part two

this topic is extra hot right now, emerging in about four different directions simultaneously. And with every mental muscle I apply, I keep learning, feeling, judging, affirming, stretching.  so i will continue writing.


Last night, the conversation hurt at times. I can't help but have empathetic belly-flipping body responses, as I know those desires and fears too.

Here's how I could boil it down: what we centralize is the important part. Is the central need- for one or both partners as individuals- to explore sexual/romantic desires for outside lovers? Or is the central need- for one or both partners as individuals- to create a sense of security that assures them that there will only be monogamy in thought, feeling, action? Or is the central need to build a strong relationship with a trustworthy foundation so that other desires and needs outside of it could be safely, securely explored? Building strong relationships takes time and patience! lots of mistakes get made, and lots of transformation and healing occur too.


as I reflect on my own relationships, where and when i've felt desire to explore non-monogamy, it always comes down to a sense of loyalty. If I feel a strong sense of loyalty from my partner, I feel more interested in (and capable of) exploring other relationships. words, actions, and time are the magic ingredients for building loyalty in my world.  However, if I don't feel this from my partner, or if it's too soon to tell, I tend to have a much stronger urge to cling and impose limitations.  i end up focusing so much on the primary relationship (and all my fears) that i don't have interest or space to relax and consider my full desires.

one example of how this played out in my life (in the past couple years) was when I began dating someone outside of my primary partnership last year. I was pretty excited about the relationship, but almost immediately, my former partner also started to date someone else. My feelings became so clouded with insecurity (well, my primary relationship was suffering from a lot of patterned dishonesty)... the initial excitement I had about my new sweetheart was emotionally hijacked by this separate situation, and I didn't have the capacity to continue exploring it. The space in my heart shut down, or rather, became preoccupied with doubt and pain.

At this point in my life, I am cautious about entering partnerships in the first place, as I tend to bring a pretty solid sense of loyalty with me. however, my desires for sex and romance will always extend beyond one singular relationship. The crux of this polyamory v. monogamy theorizing- for me- rests within the weighing and balancing. What is worth more to me in various situations? That question is complicated by multiple responsibilities: to myself, my partners, lovers...


often, an aspect of unconscious competition emerges between primary partners. I've seen this more often when polyamory is approached without explicit mutual, supportive intentionality. One partner feels a need to have an outside sweetheart because their partner does, and the desire is actually motivated by insecurity. Or one partner strongly encourages the other to explore outside relationships, because they want to legitimize their own explorations, & have permission to [continue to] do so. (i've often seen this pressure emerge after that exploring partner has been dishonest/untrustworthy.)

but another aspect of competition that isn't talked about so much is when theory competes with practice and emotions. There have been countless times that i've heard the poly-dialogue revolve around one or the other polarity. Since the theory part is much more mental and idealistic (and associated with patriarchy), I see this more often- a lot of valid emotional responses thrown out the window (by any person involved), because it doesn't fit the ideal, the theory. The reality is that a lot of folks in radical communities see that non-monogamy can be incredibly liberating, and theoretically agree with the arguments in favor of poly relationships. The discord that emerges is generally not theoretical, yet heady arguments are often utilized to escape the real radical emotional and practical cores of the practice.

It can be really hard for partners to speak openly about jealousy and insecurity without shaming themselves or blaming/being blamed. It can also be really hard for partners to speak openly about sexual and romantic desires without fear of hurting another. These honesties are so interconnected. I would argue that when we get really clear with our own desires, and have the ability to separate want from need, communicating this to our partners is quite radical. As partners who listen to and process our partner's (potential or actual) relationships with other lovers, we can get clear about our jealousies and insecurities, and have the ability to take radical responsibility for our emotions. As partners who explore relationships outside of the primary one, we can be highly respectful of our partner's emotional responses, and create a space of radical understanding, empathy, honesty, concern, and responsibility.

Both partners, ultimately, must be highly willing to explore polyamory in the first place. If one wants it and the other doesn't, this is a setup for coercive dynamics. Likewise, if one partner wants monogamy and the other doesn't, this can also be a setup for coercive dynamics. Within any variation on the spectrum, the healthiest of relationships have a common theme of mutual self-accountability. What this looks like in action is, first and foremost, a willingness- to be direct, intentional, reflective, cautious, curious, uncomfortable. We must be open to accepting our partner's true desires and true emotions, no matter how scary they might seem. And when we accept them, we must be clear in what is ours to own- our wants, needs, patterns, tendencies, intentions, wounds, mistakes. This is a LOT of work. it is best done once those foundations of commitment have already been built. And while we may end up hurt or hurting, we must take care to do no harm, to ourselves or others.

The best relationships I know of don't have a certain theme of polyamory nor monogamy in them, but a willingness to do the work of constantly growing, changing, expanding, and building trust.

(polyamory part three coming soon!  topics will include- to be hurt/to cause hurt, heteropatriarchy in poly dynamics, blame v. shame, the wisdom of dean spade)


Sunday, August 26, 2012

i love you, bell hooks

from feminist theory from margin to center

*praxis within any political movement that aims to have a radical transformative impact on society cannot be solely focused on creating spaces wherein would be radicals experience safety and support.  feminist movement to end sexist oppression actively engages participants in revolutionary struggle.  struggle is rarely safe or pleasurable.

*while it in no way diminishes the severity of the problem of male violence against womyn to emphasize that womyn are likely to use coercive authority when they are in power positions, recognizing this reminds us that womyn, like men, must work to unlearn socialization that teaches us it is acceptable to maintain power by coercion or force.

*though labeled "heterosexual", many womyn in this society feel little sexual desire for men because of the politics of sexual oppression; male domination destroys and perverts that desire.

*male violence against womyn in personal relationships is one of the most blatant expressions of the use of abusive force to maintain domination and control.  it epitomizes the actualization of the concept of hierarchical rule and coercive authority.  unlike violence against children, or white racial violence against other ethnic groups, it is the violence that is most overtly condoned and accepted, even celebrated in this culture.  society's acceptance and perpetuation of that violence helps maintain it and makes it difficult to control or eliminate.

*unlike working women, working men are fed daily a fantasy diet of male supremacy and power.  in actuality, they have very little power and they know it.  yet they do not rebel against the economic order nor make revolution.  they are socialized by ruling powers to accept their dehumanization and exploitation in the public world of work and they are taught to expect that in the private world, the world of home and intimate relationships, will restore to them their sense of power which they equate with masculinity.  they are taught that they will be able to rule in the home, to control and dominate, that this is the big pay-off for their acceptance of an exploitative economic social order.

*the home is usually this control situation and the target for his abuse is usually female.  though his own expression of violence against womyn stems in part from the emotional pain he feels, the pain is released and projected onto the female.  when the pain disappears he feels relief, even pleasure.  his pain is gone even though it was not confronted or resolved in a healthy way.  as the psychology of masculinity in sexist societies teaches men that to acknowledge and express pain negates masculinity and is a symbolic castration, causing pain rather than expressing it restores men's sense of completeness, of wholeness, of masculinity.

*men must begin to challenge notions of masculinity that equate manhood with ability to exert power over others, especially through the use of coercive force.  much of this work has to be done by men who are not violent, who have rejected the values of capitalist patriarchy.  most men who are violent against womyn are not seeking help or change.  they do not feel that their acceptance and perpetration of violence against womyn is wrong.  how can it be wrong if society rewards them for it?

*the focus on "men" and "male behavior" has overshadowed emphasis on womyn developing themselves politically so that we can begin making the cultural transformations that would pave the way for the establishment of a new social order. . . when feminism is defined in such a way that it calls attention to the diversity of womyn's social and political reality, it centralizes the experiences of all womyn, especially the womyn whose social conditions have been least written about, studied, or changed by political movements.  when we cease to focus on the simplistic stance "men are the enemy," we are compelled to examine systems of domination and our role in their maintenance and perpetuation.

*because there has been undue emphasis placed on feminism as an identity or lifestyle, people usually resort to stereotyped perspectives on feminism.  deflecting attention away from stereotypes is necessary if we are to revise our strategy and direction.  i have found that saying "i am a feminist" usually means i am plugged into preconceived notions of identity, role, or behavior.  when i say "i advocate feminism" the response is usually "what is feminism?"  a phrase like "i advocate" does not imply the kind of absolutism that is suggested by "i am".  it does not engage us in the either/or dualistic thinking that is the central ideological component of all systems of domination in western society.  it implies that a choice has been made, that commitment to feminism is an act of will.  it does not suggest that by committing oneself to feminism, the possibility of supporting other political movements is negated.  as a black womyn interested in feminist movement, i am often asked whether being black is more important than being a womyn; whether feminist struggle to end sexist oppression is more important than the struggle to end racism and vice-versa.  all such questions are rooted in competitive either/or thinking, the belief that the self is formed in opposition to an other.  therefore one is a feminist because you are not something else.  most people are socialized to think in terms of opposition rather than compatibility.  rather than see anti-racist work as totally compatible with working to end sexist oppression, they are often seen as two movements competing for first place.  when asked "are you a feminist?" it appears that an affirmative answer is translated to mean that one is concerned with no political issues other than feminism. . .the shift in expression from "i am a feminist" to "i advocate feminism" could serve as a useful strategy for eliminating the focus on identity and lifestyle.

*feminist movement. . . can transform relationships so that the alienation, competition, and dehumanization that characterize human interaction can be replaced with feelings of intimacy, mutuality, and camaraderie.

*unlike other forms of oppression, most people witness and/or experience the practice of sexist domination in family settings.  we tend to witness and/or experience racism or classism as we encounter the larger society, the world outside the home.

*in our society, sexist oppression perverts and distorts the positive function of family. . . even as we are loved and cared for in families, we are simultaneously taught that this love is not as important as having power to dominate others.

*politically, the white supremacist, patriarchal state relies on the family to indoctrinate its members with values supportive of hierarchical control and coercive authority. . .ironically, feminism is the one radical political movement that focuses on transforming family relationships.  feminist movement to end sexist oppression affirms family life by its insistence that the purpose of family structure is not to reinforce patterns of domination in the interest of the state.

*support of sexist oppression in much political writing concerned with revolutionary struggle as well as in the actions of men who advocate revolutionary politics undermines all liberation struggle.  in many countries wherein people are engaged in liberation struggle, subordination of womyn by men is abandoned as the crisis situation compels men to accept and acknowledge womyn as comrades in the struggle, e.g. cuba, angola, nicaragua.  often when the crisis period has passed, old sexist patterns emerge, antagonism develops, and political solidarity is weakened. . . many womyn who would like to participate fully in liberation struggles (the fight against imperialism, racism, classism) are drained of their energies because they are continually confronting and coping with sexist discrimination, exploitation, and oppression.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

saturday rumi

the way of love is not
a subtle argument.

the door there
is devastation.

birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
how do they learn it?

they fall, and falling,
they're given wings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

friday rumi

which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
or your own genuine solitude?
freedom, or power over an entire nation?

a little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

thursday rumi

how will you know the difficulties
of being human, if you're always
flying off to blue perfection?

where will you plant your grief-seeds?
workers need ground to scrape and hoe,
not the sky of unspecified desire.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


i've wanted to write about this for a long time.

In multiple situations in the past, when I have asserted a need for loyalty & fidelity in romantic relationships, the projection of restriction! has been thrown back at me, as if I was a cage door shutting, a cop locking my lover in a jail cell. Like a good anarchist, I swallowed this projection and began a serious evaluation of what polyamory really means, what monogamy really means, and where I fit in the spectrum of desires. Who wants to be a cop or a cage? Not me.

yet in the process of resisting my impulses in the name of liberation, I also did something horrible: I shamed my own needs and the boundaries that were necessary for me to create trust. I internalized this repetitious projection of being a police officer (as many people in this situation do), and felt forced into denying my own needs & desires. The irony has not been lost on me; the liberating concept of polyamory can enforce the same guilt and restriction that it is meant to free us of!


So what do I feel? What do I want? my spectrum of desires, as I discovered, changes all the time. Occasionally, I feel eager to explore multiple romances. In a way, this is similar to how i've liked to have many friends with varying interests, multiple social circles... I like to know lots of interesting people, and find our commonalities. It can be exciting to dance among a handful of lovers, to learn a bit about people who are different than I am, to share small windows of time and connections.

As i've grown older and built some deep, genuine friendships with confidantes I admire and learn from, I have come to realize that these are the types of intimate relationships that I need. These are the friends I can lean on and be weak with, talk out my fears and listen to theirs, build our relationships on mutual aid and amazement. And then, that's what I realize I want in a lover, that depth. The depth comes with a basic singularity of commitment to build upon (at least to begin with, possibly in perpetuity). Living in a society that objectifies, dismisses, and tries to own my body shapes my understanding of the intimacy of physicality with a lover. we all must work to consciously examine the messages we've internalized about ourselves and our lovers, to maintain the understanding that the personal, the intimate, the romantic.... is still political.

As I started writing about lovers & romance, I realize how quickly that takes me to friendships and confidantes. part of my heart gets wrapped around deep relationships, no matter if they are friend or lover. There is a loyalty that gets built, and it starts with being intensely honest with myself. The major theme in my relationships with my best confidantes is this: we are willing to be really really honest, both in speaking our truths & holding a common level of accountability to high standards of integrity. Boundaries soften considerably in relationships such as these, where trust is firmly established and is built with time & commitment.

I have seen polyamory primarily applied to relationships that include some sort of romance or sexual intimacy. Yet many years ago, one of my confidantes said to me: I think of polyamory as all the strong heartfelt friendships I have, and how I want to prioritize many of them, not just my primary romantic partnership. This echoes within me as well; I am not willing to sacrifice the depth, time, and commitment I have to my confidantes, simply to give more of myself to a romantic partner. While this might mean that I'm not ultimately as available, it also means that I don't just look to romantic relationships to hold me accountable, validate me, inspire me, or be reflections of deep love. I am often in love with my confidantes, even as we do not share sexual relationships at this point.

the “polyamory” that i've mostly been asked to discuss/accept within friendships & romances is that of having other romantic partners. The radical feminist in me sends red flags & rings alarm bells when cisgendered men initiate exploration of multiple hetero relationships (ie- mostly with womyn). So often, the first major question that echoes in my mind is: why do you seek out so much sexualized attention from womyn? Why is a singular partner not enough? [To be clear, although i've mostly seen a lot of failures of polyamory, I have also observed some successes, primarily in queer relationships (and even a couple hetero partnerships). But the few that have seemed to work have been due to some serious clarity within the individuals involved.]

Another question that arises for me is- Why is it so difficult for cis-men to have non-sexualized friendships with womyn, particularly those that hold them accountable? This came up often in my past relationship, as my former partner admitted somewhere along the line that he sexualized most cis-womyn he encountered, and gave attention based on this. He had to actively, consciously work to change this habit within himself.

I am curious about the sexualized signals that get exchanged between myself and others, particularly when I read the energy of individuals who have solid singular partnerships. Sometimes that energy is clearly beyond playful flirting, and it communicates a willingness to explore something sexual, if I wanted that. I have almost no deep non-sexual relationships of accountability with hetero cis-men; sexual energy tends to come out, regardless of my lack of interest, and then I feel as though i'm being heard or not heard based upon my response to being sexualized.

so, for anyone interested in or exploring polyamory: what are the unmet needs of the singular relationship that sparks a need/desire for multiplicity of sexualized attention/lovers? Is there an avoidance of vulnerability happening? Is intimacy too scary? Does juggling feel powerful? Does it help to split thoughts and mental/emotional time, so no one person gets too much? Is attachment easier to quell when there are other people tossing through the mind and the sheets?

Although I am critical, I also have a deep compassion for anyone looking to be known, understood, valued, loved. I have seen many people yearn for polyamorous relationships because they don't seem to have strong connections with friends or family. They look to the realm of romance and sex to meet these needs, instead of considering that deep, accountable relationships don't have to exclusively look like that. We all need intimacy, and we all need it with more than one person. But how do we define intimacy? What are our patterns, and how does society define it for us?


When i'm starting to feel vulnerable with someone (in a romantic sense), I often have to calm my own tendencies to try to run away or find a fling or distract myself with x/y/z. This process hinges on my internal commitment to being mindful; the need for distractions arises in me when I start feeling too attached. And I am in the process of learning what that looks like, how to feel/understand/change my habits of attachment, projection, and blame.

So I admit a bit of disappointment, when my lovers and my confidantes create situations with multiple lovers and don't seem to know what their intentions are in doing so, what they are needing, what they are inevitably asking others to participate in. This is amazingly commonplace in my life, and runs the gamut of pretty mild to wildly dramatic. We really really need to re-define our notions of open relationships, polyamory, monogamy.

I am critical of the ways in which we each avoid looking deeper at ourselves, and how in general, we look to romantic relationships to escape something. Why do we need to be attractive to someone else, in order to feel validated? Why do we compromise so many other aspects of our lives when someone steps in and romances us? Why do we tell ourselves that our needs and desires are shameful or wrong, when the spectrum of desire is rather endless?

I am in the process of redefining my own desire, reclaiming it as something that is truly liberating, even if others seek to define it otherwise. Right now, in my life, I am interested in creating deep relationships that teach me, hold me to a standard of accountability, are open and vulnerable and creative, and amaze me with each step of their unfolding. Those deep relationships are places I can be real, even in my sad exhausted moods, insecure modes, unexplored weaknesses, or grumpy judgmental days. These kinds of relationships help me laugh at myself, celebrate my life, and connect me to something so much bigger and greater than myself. These kinds of relationships also pass through times of great discomfort and challenges, where we come out on the other end closer & stronger for having the courage to face them & move through them.

I am so grateful to have a handful of confidantes with whom I share these relationships, and I don't have energy or time for many more. I bond primarily with other womyn and trans folks in deep friendships and queer community, and that becomes a big aspect of my self-definition of polyamory in some ways. If I choose to date a cisgendered man, those relationships with my confidantes are ones that they are likely not going to be a part of.

what I have to offer in a deep romantic relationship depends on where the spaces overlap. I pay attention to how similar (or different) desires are- without any type of request/restriction put upon them. For any relationship of depth, it doesn't make sense for me to impose immediate limitations. I feel a need to observe where the other person's desires unfold, and how they handle it. This tells me a lot about where other people are naturally inclined, what they are gravitating towards on their own. I learn so much from how they act, respond, check in, communicate, what they offer, what they follow through with, how well they know their intentions, or don't. This tells me a lot about the presence or lack of middle ground. My imposition of limitations on relationships tends to be a response to having my boundaries ignored or trespassed.

I have learned from past experiences that it doesn't feel good to push hard on people i'm close to. We all make mistakes, act selfishly or ignorantly, and show weaknesses. i am willing to ask difficult questions and express judgments, but the onus of responsible decision-making is on each of us individually. I resist continuing close relationships when I see someone being chronically dishonest or self-deceptive, as I want my presence in relationships to be encouraging & empowering, because that is my best & favorite way to be. I do not want to be anyone else's moral compass, as that unloads the other person's responsibility for being disciplined & self-aware onto my shoulders, and puts me in a restrictive role. For this reason, I cultivate deep relationships of trust where I truly feel close to people because of who they are right now, not who they might become some day. It is about keeping our eyes wide open, seeing eachother for real, & continuously getting clear with our intentions.


wednesday rumi

pale sunlight,
pale the wall.

love moves away.
the light changes.

i need more grace
than i thought.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

when the day has been too long

when the day has been too long

cracking the cage door,
i am no chicken

the unpleasantries worm their way in
with an expanse wide as range and hilltop
free with beak and burdens
free with feathers and claws
wings and wings

no flight could compete with such
fertility, i am a provider

breakfast splits/yolks sizzle
the morning produces a pattern of language

meow to stretch, stretch to encircle
sweat to moan, moan to merge,
relief, relief, to return,

the tea kettle steams
where is the in between

i am a keeper of vegetables in rows
who seeds and tends and watches death fall
in cold breaths and harvested hands
i am sensual in a city of sharp edges
from leaves to lies, creaky corners, abandoned desires
this mind of mine resists the absolutes

yet i am crushed under the obvious
needing a box to grow within
needing a box to grow out of

i could wrap myself in chicken wire
i could wrap myself in ribbons
i could wrap myself around myself
i could unravel

domestication describes me with quick glance
aren't i here to serve and serve
feed and flame
be tamed
to give
i take
the space
and bound out
the gates with rhythm, with canter then gallop
mind over matter coming into the long wild view


i will not be kept or caught
i will do no harm
i will not set traps or snares
i will do no harm
i will not conceal my own fears and reasons
i will do no harm
i will not reach for what is not offered
i will do no harm


tuesday rumi

if you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.

if you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.

both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

monday rumi.

whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief

disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

sunday rumi.

if you want something,
release the wish and let it light
on its desire, completely free of the personal.

then sit and sound the drum
of nothing, nothing.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

housing shortage

housing shortage
by naomi replansky

i tried to live small.
i took a narrow bed.
i held my elbows to my sides.
i tried to step carefully
and to think softly
and to breathe shallowly
in my portion of air
and to disturb no one.

yet see how i spread out and i cannot help it.
i take to myself more and more, and i take nothing
that i do not need, but my needs grow like weeds,
all over and invading; i clutter this place
with all the apparatus of living.
you stumble over it daily.

and then my lungs take their fill.
and then you gasp for air.
excuse me for living,
but, since i am living,
given inches, i take yards,
taking yards, dream of miles,
and a landscape, unbounded
and vast in abandon.

you too dreaming the same.

Friday, August 17, 2012

a thought

from a thought
by linda hogan

. . . but can't we swallow the sweetness
and can't you sing in my arms
and sleep in the human light
of the sun and moon i have been
drinking alone.
later we will rise up
and shake the sleep from our arms
and find we were not broken down
at all.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

when It called

when It called

i ran fast like bones
on fire

clicking and clacking and smackinglips.
without skin, the invisible enemy disappeared.

towards or away?
i'm always saying

something died in the midst.
more ashes, more birthing.

it was messy, unspecific
was there a knife, i don't know

something paled in comparison
something gave light like bullet holes

once, there was a baby with a mind all its own
which cried and cried and cried and cried

lonely. everyone examines with their impeccable taste.
nobody ate or dined or danced together.

this was the season of hoarding,
rivers shot backwards and fish

slept somehow, crops browned.
we forget. the permeable and impermanent

exist side by side, soul to soul, pools of water,
pools of mud. will there ever be

milk, bread, future, birds, ice,
catastrophe? this echoes down

up out ice milk future bread catastrophic birds
say: detail, divine, infinitesimal.

go ahead. see it, nudge it, light as a fingertip, an eyelash.
explode into the nothingness,

as usual. with no edges,
the infinite


Friday, August 10, 2012

of the great longing

(from thus spake zarathustra, by friedrich nietzsche)

o my soul, i taught you to say 'today' as well as 'once' and 'formerly' and to dance your dance over every here and there and over-there.
o my soul, i rescued you from all corners, i brushed dust, spiders, and twilight away from you.
o my soul, i washed the petty shame and corner-virtue away from you and persuaded you to stand naked before the eyes of the sun.
with the storm which is called 'spirit' i blew across your surging sea; i blew all clouds away, i keeled even that killerbird called 'sin'.
o my soul, i gave you the right to say No like the storm and to say Yes as the open sky says Yes: now, silent as light you stand, and you pass through denying storms.
o my soul, i gave you back freedom over created and uncreated things: and who knows as you know the delight of things to come?
o my soul, i taught you contempt that comes not as the gnawing of a worm, the great, the loving contempt which loves most where it despises most.
oh my soul, i took from you all obeying, knee-bending, and obsequiousness; i myself gave you the names 'dispeller of care' and 'destiny'.
o my soul, i gave you new names and many-coloured toys, i called you 'destiny' and 'encompassment of encompassments' and 'time's umbilical cord' and 'azure bell'.
o my soul, i gave your soil all wisdom to drink, all new wines and also all immemorially ancient strong wines of wisdom.
o my soul, i poured every sun and every night and every silence and every longing upon you: - then you grew up for me like a vine.
o my soul, now you stand superabundant and heavy, a vine with swelling udders and close-crowded golden-brown wine-grapes:
oppressed and weighed down by your happiness, expectant from abundance and yet bashful because of your expectancy.
o my soul, now there is nowhere a soul more loving and encompassing and spacious!  where could future and past be closer together than with you?
o my soul, i have given you everything and my hands have become empty through you: and now! now you ask me smiling and full of melancholy: 'which of us owes thanks?  does the giver not owe thanks to the receiver for receiving?  is giving not a necessity?  is taking not - compassion?'
o my soul, i understand the smile of your melancholy:  your superabundance itself now stretches out longing hands!
your fullness looks out over raging seas and searches and waits; the longing of over-fullness gazes out of the smiling heaven of your eyes!
and truly, o my soul!  who could behold your smile and not dissolve into tears?  the angels themselves dissolve into tears through the over-kindness of your smile.
it is your kindness and over-kindness that wishes not to complain and weep: and yet your smile longs for tears, o my soul, and your trembling mouth for sobs.
'is all weeping not a complaining?  and all complaining not an accusing?' thus you speak to yourself, and because of that, o my soul, you will rather smile than pour forth your sorrow,
pour forth in gushing tears all your sorrow at your fullness and at all the desire of the vine for the vintager and the vine-knife!
but if you will not weep nor alleviate in weeping your purple melancholy, you will have to sing, o my soul!  behold, i smile myself, who foretold you this:
to sing with an impetuous song, until all seas grow still to listen to your longing,
until, over still, longing seas, the boat glides, the golden marvel around whose gold all good, bad, marvellous things leap:
and many great and small beasts also, and everything that has light, marvellous feet that can run upon violet paths,
towards the golden marvel, the boat of free will, and to its master: he however, is the vintager who waits with diamond-studded vine-knife,
your great redeemer, o my soul, the nameless one for whom only future songs will find a name!  and truly, your breath is already fragrant with future songns,
already you glow and dream, already you drink thirstily from all deep, resounding wells of comfort, already your melancholy reposes in the bliss of future songs!
o my soul, now i have given you everything and even the last thing i had to give, and my hands have become empty through you: - that i bade you sing, behold that was the last thing i had to give!
that i bade you sing, now say, say: which of us now - owes thanks?  but better still: sing for me, sing, o my soul!  and let me pay thanks!

thus spoke zarathustra.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


"it is not unwise then to say
that the air is hung close with diamonds
that we breathe diamond
our lungs hoarding, exchanging
our blood sowing them rich and thick
along every course it takes
does this explain
why some of us are so hard
why some of us shine
why we are all precious

that we are awash in creation
spumed with diamonds
shot through with beauty
that survived the deaths of stars"

-pat mayne ellis, scientists find universe awash in tiny diamonds

"behind naming, beneath words, is something else.  an existence named unnamed and unnameable.  we give the grass a name, and earth a name.  we say grass and earth are separate.  we know this because we can pull the grass free of the earth and see its separate roots - but when the grass is free, it dies.  we say the inarticulate have no souls.  we say the cow's eye has no existence outside ourselves, that the red wing of the blackbird has no thought, the roe of the salmon no feeling, because we cannot name these.  yet for our own lives we grieve all that cannot be spoken, that there is no name for, repeating for ourselves the names of things which surround what cannot be named.  we say heron and loon, coot and killdeer, snipe and sandpiper, gull and hawk, eagle and osprey, pigeon and dove, oriole, meadowlark, sparrow.  we say red admiral and painted lady, morning cloak and question mark, baltimore and checkerspot, buckeye, monarch, viceroy, mayfly, stonefly, cicada, leafhopper and earwig, we say sea urchin and sand dollar, starfish and sandworm.  we say mucous membrane, uterus, cervix, ligament, vagina and hymen, labia, orifice, artery, vessel, spine and heart.  we say skin, blood, breast, nipple, taste, nostril, green, eye, hair, we say vulva, hood, clitoris, belly, foot, knee, elbow, pit, nail, thumb, we say tongue, teeth, toe, ear, we say ear and voice and touch and taste and we say again love, breast and beautiful and vulva, saying clitoris, saying belly, saying toes and soft, saying ear, saying ear, saying ear, ear and hood and hood and green and all that we say we are saying around that which cannot be said, cannot be spoken.  but in a moment that which is behind naming makes itself known.  hand and breast know each one to the other.  wood in the table knows clay in the bowl.  air knows grass knows water knows mud knows beetle knows frost knows sunlight knows the shape of the earth knows death knows not dying.  and all this knowledge is in the souls of everything, behind naming, before speaking, beneath words."

-susan griffin, from woman and nature

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

after love by maxine kumin

after love

afterwards, the compromise.
bodies resume their boundaries.

these legs, for instance, mine.
your arms take you back in.

spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

the bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs coming down.

nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

Monday, August 6, 2012



here is this list:

i might drown
lose focus
be all white inside
have more birthdays under my belt
i might talk in specifics
have too little time
forget to laugh
carry heavy shoulders
maybe there's some tender wounds
that window might open
you might shut down
i could fly away
someone might make a sudden shift
from close to closed

and here is another:

you could fly away
i might sing big
could we share truths full of holes
fall asleep with arms of relief
take long breaths and take long walks
and dance in and out of the normal
could we rub against the warmth, the edges?
sand and skin and shifting tides
softening and opening

i might not need
you might not need

what then?


Friday, August 3, 2012

love song by susan mitchell

Love Song

yes I went to the ocean
because I wanted to live expansively slopping
over recklessly
unheeding every warning I gave myself

take me I said to the ocean

do me up like the comics in lurid
golds and greens above the horizon clouds
big as boulders seemed about to topple ocean

I have not come to hear the tiny smack a snow-
flake makes touching down I have
come for the fizzy the bubbly the foam
my morning cappuccino drifting in

to lick you up to keep spooning miles of creamy
swirls unswirling who knows what sweet
new ideas trapped still frothing

call me extravagance call me lolling about

to loiter at the edge of amplitude why not

look how the ocean pushes up against me
its nakedness oiled and slathered how it showers
me in rhinestones and glitz

tomorrow it may come rolling in milks
and ermines three crones crooning

oh lambent umpires of the wily wastes should love
be given its own tense unfettered
by the pasts and futures

to found or to founder says the ocean

succeed or surcease cry the crones love is
the antidote to its own poisons

hwaet I say to the ocean chasing after it hwaet

does the ocean say that is one way to begin

does it cry tie yourself to the mast or
master your cry rage sing

the rage of or sing what is all the rage

oh those ragas those regal rags raging