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Posts Tagged ‘ego’

The Path of Love


            with gratitude to Jude Janett and Joi Sharp
 
 
And here I thought the path of love
would look like love. Like kindness.
Like generosity. Like gentleness.
 
Instead it looks like me being bothered
by the sound of loud chewing. Me
wanting praise. Me needing to feel
 
loved. Hello me. How elegantly love
has arranged for me to meet
all the parts of me that would stand
 
in love’s way. How easily
it shows me I’ve thought of love
as a destination. But here is love
 
with no expectation. Here is love
with no name, no locus. Here
is love with no face, no shape, no
 
promise, no vow, no hope.
Here is love as itself, surging
and flowing, love as itself insisting
 
on love, love as itself eroding
all those layers of me that still
think they know something about love
 
(and love holds me while I rail
and love throws me back in the stream
and love is what is still here when I am not).
   

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once even the sea

wasn’t big enough for you—

now even a puddle will do

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a glimpse of bliss

knowing myself as starlit night

and wild expansiveness—

no coincidence my ego

wasn’t there to enjoy it

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It did not matter
if we cut the planaria
lengthwise or crosswise.
It did not matter
If we cut it once or twelve
or 279 times. Each piece of flatworm
could regenerate its missing parts
and become a complete organism.
Odd to me now that I
was in no way squeamish about
slicing the small black creature that moved
about the petri dish.
I was curious, I guess.

*

In the dream
a man waits outside the door.
Inside, there’s a party. It’s warm
and humming and bright.
As the people walk out,
he chops off their heads.
He spares no one.
I watch through a window.
He is wearing a hard white mask.
Every time I wake myself,
I fall back into the dream,
and I am watching,
watching as he carries on
his relentless, gruesome work.
Then it’s my turn to leave.
Instead of trying to wake,
I stand in the doorway
and before stepping into the dark,
I look at his covered face
and say to him in an even voice,
“What do you have to teach me?”
He drops the arm that wields the axe
and lets it hang at his side.
I can hear him weeping
inside his mask.
“I am so lonely,”
he says.

*

If you slice the planaria in half
down its center, and each side
is retained on the organism,
it is possible for the planaria
to regenerate two heads
and continue to live this way.

*

Red as hibiscus, bright as a million suns,
Chhinnamasta stands
on the entangled couple.
She has cut off her own head
and holds it in one hand. In the other,
she holds the dripping scimitar.
Blood springs from her neck
in three long jets and is guzzled
by her own severed head and her two
devotees. God, she is beautiful,
naked except for a garland
of skulls around her neck.
She’s ferocious, and so alive.

*

And so when I feel the blade
on my neck, it is no surprise
to find my own hand
attached to the handle, guided
by something mysterious
and unrelenting, something
longing to know itself.

*

Yes friend, this is
a metaphor.

*

It is unwise to reproduce
alone, say the scientists.
Sex enhances the survival of a species.
Increases genetic diversity.
Plus, as the man and woman
coupled beneath Chhinnamasta’s feet
would seem to suggest,
there is so much pleasure
to discover.

*

In this metaphor,
the head always grows back.
Sometimes with a mask.
Sometimes while the blade
is still soaked and red.
But sometimes,
the regeneration doesn’t
happen right away.
Sometimes I forget
to be afraid.

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My current contemplation is how universal it is for all of us to want to feel good about ourselves and how we edit the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves to that end.
—Sally Estes

Covered in maggots, white and grey,
and tiny granules of poison. No one
wants to remember it this way. It doesn’t
matter if they were real or metaphorical.
The maggots did not wing into butterflies.
The poison was poison. You groveled
and cried. If we can’t be the hero,
we sometimes thrive on becoming
the narrator. It suits our pride. Say:
It happened in someone else’s staircase.
Say: I was younger then. Say: No, they
were ladybugs. Say: It was sand.
But you remember. They were white
and gray, the color of snow on the side
of the highway. Their bodies were soft.
And the poison, it pitted like small stones
into your knees, your bare knees.

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I am not fit to tend that garden yet.
Though I walk by it every day. Though it
is on my property. Though there’s a thriving
patch of shoulds sprung up around the fence.

The gate is twined in bindweed, green and dense.
The rows are long-since overgrown with grass,
oregano gone viral, clover, spears
of mullein, dandelion rosettes. I’ve grown

familiar with neglect, at times forget
it’s mine to cultivate. But there it is.
Last week, I stepped inside the disarray,
took one long look at shamed disorder, tried

to see a place to start, and quickly left.
I am not ready for that garden yet.

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How’s the dissolution going? –Joi Sharp

Flatten me.
Shuck me.
Dissolve
and melt me.
Disperse me
in the air.

Scatter me.
Shatter me.
Fling and
unmatter me.
Shred, slough,
shear, split, tear.

Loose me.
Reduce me.
Erase and
untether the
small self
who compares.

Help me
abandon
any hope
I’ll ever
arrive
somewhere.

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You can’t solve being human. We will have this affliction till the day we die.
—Jeannie Zandi

I tried to know it,
catch it, show it,
to splay its wings
and pin them—
to chart it, graph it,
plot it, map it,
quantify and reckon,
I tried to stuff it,
box it, pack it,
leash it to a pole,
I wanted answers,
wanted keys,
I wanted oracles,
and in came tamarisk,
rodents, dust,
whole rooms
of I don’t know,
a screaming child,
my milk dried up,
my fear devoured me whole.
Splintered, rumpled,
rankled, crumpled,
my all collapsed,
unplastered.
Undone, released,
exposed, relieved,
I flowered
utterly mastered.

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Today it’s the bread
that reminds me
how human I am—
how I want people
to like the bread
that I baked, how I hope
they can taste
the organic grain
that I ground myself
for the pleasure
of grinding it, sure,
how I can get the texture
just the way I like it,
but also for some small
way it makes me feel
as if I am a better person
because I have ground
the flour. Oh it is
so tricky, the way
I start to believe
that if the people I love
like the bread I bake
that they will like me more.
As if rye and winter wheat
have anything to do
with who I am.
But I do not despise
the bread for this. Its taste
is the taste of harvest,
sunshine and rain,
patience and earth.
The bread wants nothing
and nourishes despite.
Nor do I despise myself
for the longing to be loved.
Well, not much.
So human, I tell myself
to think we’re not enough.
Of course we’re enough,
Of course. Just as we are.
Still, I can’t help but wonder
if I made the butter, too,
well, then they might really,
really love me.

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Two Together

I want to write
my way out of this feeling.
The feeling wears its best leaden shoes.

*

Though she is a breath
made of stone, she notices
how yellow the jonquils.

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