The place where everything went wrong,
where all the layers of madness heretofore resided within,
No Man’s Land as palimpsest.
And now, hermeneutics,
and maybe a delicate surgical procedure will be implemented,
in order to understand
The raving man on the street said to only me,
“Once you’re pure, you never want to go back to the gutter.”
He understands the gutter is everywhere and all around.
One false move, one sticky trick of the mind
and it’s right back where you started, bud.
Even if you’ve been stripped bare by that pure fire,
even if you no longer fear death.
O Chiron, guard my gate!
With flaming sword and blaring iPod!
I can only be open to so much pain
and I no longer want to feel the fear of
Where’s the switch to turn this off?
Cue the elegy!
If only we still had ticker tape
to throw out windows and watch as it twirls and swirls
to the ground.
Thirty-two dead in Virginia and the stock market hit 13,000.
Doesn’t this deserve a parade?
We are such busy little bees.
We name our buildings,
divide and divide again.
we’d collapse under the weight of history.
we’d come face to face with the fact
we are inconsequential.
My books are alphabetized,
my closet is in order,
it’s my thoughts that worry me,
they refuse to be filed under anything.
There are so many people,
and hardly any of them speak English.
One day we may run out of things for us to do,
except we just keep creating problems,
and problems need solutions.
So many people and not all of us made for greatness.
You either go to the world or the world comes to you,
and there will always be those who live off the crumbs of others.
Just keep on smiling,
no one likes a sour puss.
And what am I to make of the fact
that the productivity of this nation
lies by the side of a highway exit ramp in the weeds?
Maybe this, “Prosperity ripened the principal of decay.”
A gob of spit on the side of the road has as much life in it as you do-
it’s all allegory.
No land will save you.
No highway will save you.
No computer will save you.
No stock market will save you.
Fight for your life
as if your life depended on it,
because it does.
The American Dream is a myth.
Prosperity is a myth.
Decay is a myth-
we’re nothing but stories.
Manifest Destiny is a story
God is a story
wagon wheels and Hitler
Rauschenberg erases a de Kooning
Ronald Reagan ends Communism, single handed.
Oh, but the stories I could tell you!
They must come out my mouth faster than my breath
in order to survive
Years ago, someone told me,
“You weren’t born so much as your father spit you from his mouth.”
So I am my father’s story, too.
And his story lives on because I’m not dead yet, not really.
But the story is only as good as the teller.
So please, little bees,
gather ‘round my knees
and pay attention.
In my stories you will see yourselves,
the mirror cracked,
stigmata or stigma is for you to decide.
But I feel it’s important to warn you,
my love won’t save anyone
and my compassion will only make you fat and lazy.
And keep moving along
all you slack jawed, glassy eyed folk,
this story isn’t for your kind.
My kind understands the needle
and the antichrist.
We understand the pills,
the ringing in the ears,
the shadows and the voices that lead us to all of the above.
Our stories are better than yours, slack jaws,
but who the hell listens anyway?
You can forget about your A-rabs and their Allah,
the real war is against my kind and we don’t carry enough credit to win it.
We’re turned into ghosts who haunt the outer fringes,
our lips krazy glued together to stop
the outpouring of “how things really happened.”
But remember, the written word mimics speech.
we’re not angry nearly enough.
Anger is good as long as you believe no one owes you anything
and righteous anger is power-
it turns those stories right on their ear and makes those myths stand to attention!
Tell the world to fuck off in the most obscene way possible,
there will be others around to love the children
and pick daisies.
You can spend your whole lives tackling the same problem from different angles
and never reach
So quit acting like a martyr,
the fey little St. Sebastian tied to a tree,
that won’t get you anywhere.
Choose instead St. Theresa,
the Bernini version;
sexual ecstasy through enlightenment.
Arrows pierce her skin with excruciating metaphysical pleasure.
Just looking at her makes my nerves stand on end.
Can you feel it?
You’re not trying hard enough!
Maybe she didn’t see God so much as the power of her own pussy but
Jesus was right; the Kingdom of Heaven truly is within us.
He knew, when the world’s too ugly to bear
look inward, inward, always inward.
Your skin will sag and rot off your bones
long before your mind catches up to all it knows.
Even the enlightened don’t know the full story.
The full story is nothing.
Creation and destruction, they have their dance to do,
we’re just along for the ride.
The trick is to gather as much light as you can along the way;
feast on light until you see the beginnings and ends of all things.
Until you talk in puzzles and dream the future.
Until you understand all is love
and you are all.
There may be a time when you, too
will explode out into the universe,
your self transformed,
and you, too
will have to forge ahead alone
into this new world of light and truth,
trying to find words for the wordless.
No Man’s Land as palimpsest;
awakenings upon awakenings.
More than in the Burned Over District,
when so many gave in to their longings for release
and labeled the feeling “God.”
Don’t you know, in God we read the opaques?
Oh! I’m burned over!
Lord, I am weary let me rest.
There’s nothing that can save me now because
there’s nothing to be saved from.
There never was, apparently.
So why now do I long for something better when I know better?
I have no illusions about changing the world,
I just don’t want to be another Emily Dickinson-
a weird lesbian who stuffed her drawers with poetry.
Then again, I know there are worse ways to be.
Creation and destruction,
the inner is outer and back again
and everything is Mind
and my mind is free.
Send smoke signals,
Morse code, semaphore,
telegram and telephone,
everyone needs to know
we are free.
Oh my god we are free.
A muddle of words on the tongue-
tai chi instead of Chai tea.
Something that simple can remind me of the vastness of difference.
A muddle of thoughts,
and I believe that everything I’ve thought, seen, believed
about my life is wrong,
and in a moment,
the potential makes me want to crawl out of my skin,
in a moment,
I will see myself in my life as I really was.
I begin to free fall.
Then, thought shifts again and everything is exactly as it’s always been.
Would it be so bad to lose this last bit of myself when so much has fallen away?
And so I continue to remember.
Fifteen years as a hausfrau without a haus of my own;
the years now lined up like empty Mason jars on a cellar shelf.
The cupboards were always full,
the beds were made,
the only place dust gathered was in my womb.
I was a widowed wife of nothing,
always with the undercurrent of not wanting to be tied down to anything.
I learned that a sense of duty is a prison;
that you can’t help anyone who won’t help themselves
and love is wasted on those who don’t understand what love is.
It’s no wonder the only thing that makes me happy now
Like echoes heard in the marble hall of a museum,
telling me what I want is “over there, you’re so close.”
I remember all the summer evenings
alone at my bedroom window where the smell of cut grass and old wood mingled,
sometimes with rain.
The strange habit of giving people too much power over me
began at this window, or thereabouts.
Outside, the neighborhood a lazy swirl of activity in the dying light of the day
the clinking of dishes, canned laughter from the TV
and voices muffled by heavy walls and floors-
I was not allowed to be a part of any of it.
All of this – nothing but a way to be made separate
without ever asked permission to do so,
and so I lacked an understanding of my relation to the world around me
and I observed everything through the lens of fear.
And how could I not fear, when the shocks of violence
burst out like scattershot through those early years?
Moving inward, deeper still, to places of my own devising.
In closets, under stairs and beds,
tiny places ruled by my imagination called “My Own.”
Is there fear here, too?
My feet must firmly touch the ground eventually,
to a place where I’m no longer betrayed by even my own mind,
or the cruelties of others.
Why did it take so long to land here?
Am I only deceiving myself in thinking the ground beneath me will hold firm?
I sometimes think I am ruined for life.
A more recent time;
it’s dark on the edges of morning
and I wake, cold.
Maybe my body has confused sleep with death
and I long to return
rather than put my feet to the floor and move forward
Some of us are addicted to wanting to die and don’t realize this is living, too.
I haven’t yet learned I have to run,
hurtling through space straight towards the truth,
right on into it,
until I feel it dissipate around me.
So what remains to grasp onto?
To grasp at anything
is to misunderstand everything.
And now I remember
the two Indian brothers who shared a hospital room across from mine
after my first suicide attempt.
They couldn't speak English
and when the nurse took their blood
it ran down their stick arms
bright red and thin as water.
Oh, how they cried,
so small and so afraid,
the pain of the world in their contorted faces.
I went home the next morning and nothing changed,
just one cold, rainy March day after another.
It’s only now, all these years later
that I can allow my heart to break wide open.
But this must be about joy-
suffering we know.
We must find joy
which languishes in the corners
while misery grows exponentially.
We must accept life as it really is,
and sit in all this muck
this fear this anxiety this despair
this meaninglessness this craziness
and still feel so joyful that we wish our hearts
Is it possible?
There must be a naming, a possessing of this joy,
we must stake our claim and not let go.
This is our true destiny made manifest.
I want to tell you about my kind.
The women separated
from themselves and the world around them
by the violence of men-
they are my kind.
The ones who are working
their way back to themselves
and the ones who made it back,
they are my kind.
Those, whose love is never returned,
who go for months without the touch of another.
The light catcher,
are all my kind.
The ones who struggle inside for something better,
the self aware
The bulimic but not the anorexic,
the prostitute but not the whore.
the ones in silence
the deaf, blind, dumb.
The ones who know it’s all meaningless but try anyway.
The fighter but not the soldier
the truthful and the trickster.
Long ago, gods and goddesses were buried alive at Delphi
when the irrepressible wave
of piety and repression loomed on the horizon.
Their stories past usefulness,
they were shunted, if not out of memory then out of sight.
It’s a generational leitmotif,
these cruel attempts to wipe out what we see in others
and refuse to accept in ourselves
because we never understand we can all be holy.
Yet every day, I hear church bells play this song,
“‘Tis a gift to be simple
‘tis a gift to be free,
‘tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
‘twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed
to turn, turn will be our delight
‘til by turning, turning we come out right.”
So I know I’m not alone
in this universe that began as a tiny point of purity
with no conceptions or assumptions.
This is where we must return,
but we are here in our present time
called the Quaternary Age,
and we’re divided into
inner harmony is now more imperative than ever
and harmony is another word for understanding.
Some say it’s the Fourth Turning, a time of chaos.
Yet as long as we have existed, there has never been a time
when there wasn’t chaos;
to believe otherwise is to believe more myths.
Maybe we don’t remember the other times,
we’ve repressed our Devonian DNA in the interest of progress,
traded in our instinctual memories for air conditioning and processed meats.
Or maybe this really is our first time around
and maybe we don’t pay attention to history.
Hold on tight anyway,
we’re in for a very bumpy ride
and you need to keep your third eye open at all times.
You will always find the infinite within the finite.