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Posts Tagged ‘humanness’

The Bidding


 
Again, I am ruled by it,
this invitation to be wildly open
the way a day is open,
this invitation to be porous
the way birdsong is porous,
this invitation to feel it all
the way skin feels it all when
I slip into a blue alpine lake.
Again this urge to fall all the way
into the mystery and refuse
any rope thrown in an attempt
to rescue me. Morning comes
with the scent of autumn,
charged with ripeness and rot
and the kinship of everything.
What an honor to be mortal,
to know the value of a day,
to know how vulnerable we are
and then give ourselves away.
 

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Sometimes when I catch myself
judging someone else—
a stranger or perhaps a beloved—

I imagine my son and father watching me,
not looking down from above,
I imagine them looking out from inside me.

I don’t worry I am disappointing them—
I feel certain they would be generous with me.
See how human she is, they might say,

loving me despite my humanness,
because my humanness.
In that moment of imagining,

I feel myself soften,
feel my heart unfurl like a new leaf in spring,
feel how possible it is to be generous

with the humanness of myself and others
and the relief it brings.
In that moment, it is easy to be alive.

Easy to notice my annoyance
and be gentle with the self who gets annoyed.
Easy to touch my palm to my heart

and know it as the palm of my son,
the palm of my father,
reminding me how truly I want to walk it,

this path of compassion.

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Blessings, Blessings


 
Believing it matters,
today I bless all that seems unable to grow.
I bless the stems of larkspur
broken in yesterday’s storm.
I bless the broken. Bless those in pain.
Bless all who feel as if they are drowning
in the ache of aloneness and betrayal.
I have felt the wide blessing of sky,
cold blessing of rain, green blessing of field,
I have felt the dark, sharp blessing of loss.
How it’s changed me.  
For all I cannot fix, I bless it.
For all I cannot hold, cannot heal, cannot mend,
blessings, blessings, impossible blessings,
tender blessings, blessings
mighty as wildfire,
blessings as gentle
as tears.

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It surprises me she is fragile,

this woman who labored for eighteen hours

 

to birth me, this woman who cared for me

every time I was sick, who coached

 

my soccer team, who led my Girl Scout troupe.

This woman who went hunting and fishing

 

and still often comes home with the biggest

catch. This woman who walked ten miles

 

to raise money for hunger. This woman

who prays for everyone, everyone.

 

And so tonight when I walk her

to her room and she needs to stop

 

a moment to catch her breath,

I marvel at how human she is,

 

this woman who has been more

than human to me my whole life—

 

a super hero, a champion, a star.

And somehow, knowing this, and

 

understanding that it’s been true all along,

I fall even more deeply in love with her

 

as she leans back on the bed, lets out

a long sigh, closes her eyes, and smiles.

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and saying yes to the world as it is,
my body craves what it craves.
Oh this terrible, beautiful bright stitch of longing
sewn into my breath
with red, red thread,
it pulls, tighter and tighter,
then catches on something
deep in my core,
and some voice,
is it mine? insists,
more, more, I want more.

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It always seems as if it should add up,
except it doesn’t. Not like the story problems
did in school. No. In this equation, x
represents the rate at which sweet peas
climb an orchard’s wire fence, and y
is the speed that snowflakes fall without
accounting for wind. And z is the reason
that all those snowflakes never seem to find
your waiting tongue. Don’t take it personally. It’s statistics.
Then s is the way that the low light at sunrise
makes every other variable shine. Which changes
everything. Until f is the sloth-like velocity
of a deeply held sorrow just starting to mend. And g
is the relative effect of one extended open hand.
And h is a pair of seahorses with their tails
intertwined. Or maybe it’s a flock of seagulls
returning to the land. Or maybe it’s crazy
to try to assign meaning to any of this.
It seems obvious. The heart just wants to love.
But then y is the hole the size of Saturn that
you sometimes feel ringing inside your gut.
And g is the swan-like gracefulness
you thought you’d have once you grew up.
But d is the way you are more like a squirrel.
And j is the value of a sand dollar saved
for twenty years. And p is the sweet scent
of strawberries, ripe. And k is the surfboard
you never bought. And o is the way you often feel
like a sidewinder—edging slyly, slantly along.
You dream of straight lines, of answers that work out
neatly, efficiently, sure of themselves. But already,
x is a starfish, and y is just a homophone, and t is
the way you see yourself sometimes, scribbling away
as if it’s all some kind of test. And s is the sweet compassion
you offer yourself, even now as you watch yourself draw up
a new proof, determined to solve it right this time.

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the fine print

No, it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair and most promises are broken. Everyone and everything that you love can and will eventually be taken from you. You are ultimately alone. Just because you do everything right does not mean that anything good will come of it. Right is more malleable than you think. Good is subjective. There are mind blowing miracles, and they are happening right now all around and inside of you. Peace happens within the greatest upheaval. It’s an inside job. Results may vary. If it could happen any other way, it would. No refunds. No guarantees. Expiration date subject to change. Must be present to win.

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Five Humannesses

holding three flowers
thinking only of the fourth
that lost its petals

*

valentines
in August, a heart-shaped
hole in the night

*

unfolding memories
trying to read through
the creases, the tears

*

staring at the aspen
all those living scars
so beautiful

*

another hole, another
hole, my wounds make it lovelier
this music

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I bow to the ache of it,
the deep inner eating
away at itself, I bow
to the shivers, the gooseflesh,
the waves of nausea and pain.
I bow to the unnamed,
to question, to dark.
And I bow to the fear
that swells in small spaces
and the vast quiet
that dissipates the fear.
I bow to every other human
who hurts and I bow
to the yellow flowers tonight
blooming in the muck
where the river used to be.
I bow to the ache, goddammit,
I bow to it and I bow
to the reluctance to bow to it,
bow to the longing to shove
it all away, and I bow,
hush now, just bow.

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this heavy shell
I sometimes forget it, too
is holy

*

your eyes
everywhere I look
your eyes

*

god needed a flute
tried blowing into me—no note
still too much of me here

*

it sure does make
a lousy guard dog
pride

*

every pore, every
bone, every hair, every cell
an altar

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