Posts Tagged ‘release’



for Corinne



It is muddy, the road,

and steep, and that feels,

somehow, just right today

as we walk with no sense

of destination. You tell me

your dreams. I tell you mine.

By accident, I find myself

holding the string of your hoodie—

the long blue ribbon has swung

from your waist

into my hand, and somehow

it becomes just enough

of a lifeline for me to weep,

as if this thin connection

to you is enough of a tether

that whatever in me

has been trying to be strong,

can crumple.

Sometimes we don’t know

just how much we need each other

until, by chance, we find ourselves

strangely connected. Umbilical,

we are all each other’s children.

As we walk, we see the spindrift

of small avalanches misting at the end

of the box canyon. Such dangerous beauty.

Something inside each of us longs

for this kind of release.

We walk on, and talk and listen.

Each time I take hold of the string,

I begin again to weep. There is no shame in this.

We reach a turning point—

though it is arbitrary.

On the way down,

you take my hand

and we swing our arms with our gait.

When we let go,

I feel in my hand where your warmth has been.

All day, I feel tethered.

All day, I remember

how beautiful it was,

the snow as it fell

through the cliffs.




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I had worn it so long, that mask,

I didn’t notice it no longer fit.

In fact, I didn’t notice I wore it at all.

Every day I woke up wearing the mask.

I wore it all day, then returned to bed wearing

the mask. I don’t even remember putting it on,

what, was it as a child? Slowly, we come

to take habit as truth. Besides, on the outside,

it was pretty enough. Placid and happy.

It was only today I noticed how on the inside,

the mask had hair of snakes, how I was being

surely turned to stone. I did not want

to break the mask. I did not know

what the face beneath it might be.

I was afraid to not like what I saw.

There is a call to be ruthless, our hands

rising to do what must be done,

though some voice we thought

was our own shouts at us to stop.

And there is another voice. Perhaps

you’ve heard it, too. I notice

it’s easier to hear it when the mask

isn’t covering my ears. It’s strange

today to walk down the street.

I don’t know what I might say.

I don’t know what I might do.

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Looking for reasons to justify

my anger with you, I found instead

a silver handle without

a pitcher, the scent of peonies,

a bush of ripened berries and a hum.

Is it any wonder my hands forgot

how to fight? That missing

pitcher filled with spring water,

that is what my silence wants

to say to your silence. And

that ripeness, that is what

my hands long to bring to yours.

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When the red hydrant bursts,
all my life I have wanted to be
there at that moment, with the water
shooting into the street and all the kids
and me splashing and barefoot and laughing.
It is always sunny in this fantasy,
and I am not carrying a laptop
or hurrying to a job interview.
My hands are remarkably free
and I am ready to play as long
as the water erupts. Is it any wonder
I long for this kind of explosion
in you—a wild release. A giant mess
as it all comes out and you hold
nothing, nothing back, and me,
in this fantasy, I don’t take
it personally. I just roll up my pants,
take off my shoes, throw away anything
that resembles a plug and say Darling,
let’s dance.

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Noticing the space around people and things provides a different way of looking at them, and developing this spacious view is a way of opening oneself. When one has a spacious mind, there is room for everything. When one has a narrow mind, there is room for only a few things.

—Ajahn Sumedho, “Noticing Space,” Tricycle Magazine

Never mind that she didn’t know

how to spell it. Never mind she didn’t

know where it was. Never mind

she had never once given it a thought.

Rosemerry’s psoas was aware of her.  Buried in her body,

engaged in its habitual patterns of holding on,

the psoas had not heard about how

fine she was doing, how relaxed she

she was, how she was learning more

each day about the art of letting go.

The psoas was not in any hurry. The psoas

let her believe whatever it was she wanted

to believe about her posture, her flexibility,

her strength. And when Rosemerry finally

did meet her psoas, it was a very quiet invitation.

She had thought she was on a date

with her ischial tuberosities, or perhaps

with her left adductor, her left hamstring,

or her left knee. But there, beneath her awareness,

patient and persevering, the muscle waited

in silent revolution. It’s all subtle until it is not.

The burn of it, the gasp of it, the unlayering

of pain. The red of it, she nearly panted,

the wilting of her bravery. And oh, the space

left in her then, how lying on the table

she felt how she was being breathed

and for one moment glimpsed, not with dread,

but with gratitude, a little hint of just how much

deeper she might go.

*with thanks to Tim Lafferty

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Not the song but
the silence under the song,
not the stars
but the darkness between,
not the kiss
but the longing before the kiss
and the trembling long after, and
not the snow
but the spaces connecting the snow,
not the heart
but the pulse that persuades it to move,
no not the web
but the light in the strands,
not the certainty
but the wonder that birthed it,
and the branches, bare
and the cup, empty
waiting to be filled.

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losing all my leaves
I did not yet know I would
lose my roots too


chipped, this cup,
the wine in it
tastes no worse


chanting to the sky
long after the prayer ends
these hands still raised

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Four Fallings

empty the trees
and thousands of lily bulbs
not yet bloomed—
in my heart
still spring


floating into the pond
the cottonwood leaves—
each one a boat
I would ride in
with you


for some things
it is too late, some nests
will never be built—
every hummingbird
is gone


I have wanted
to love you perfectly
petal after petal—
now I just want
to love you

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We’re human. We hurt each other.
–Wendy Videlock

As wind softens canyons
as water smoothes glass,
the days erode what is sharp
in me and grinds down
these layers of sludge
that have built up on
my shores, all these stories
that I have collected
—even believed—
as portraits of myself.

I remember reading
of a Chinese monk
who decided to rid himself
of worldly possessions.
Instead of giving them away—
for they would become burdens
to someone else—
he set his every thing in a boat
and let it drift to the middle
of the lake, where he sank it.

I would like to sink my stories
this way—heap them
into a heavy box and lock it
tight and drop it in
the deepest lake where
they could do no one else harm.
I’d like to believe
that it could be so easy
to release the burdens of the heart.

But no, it’s this slow,
wearing down, wearing down—
the sloughing of the known.
And who is that wants
to protect someone else?
As if she could control
how the world goes?

Let’s put her and her story
into the boat, push it off
and wish her the best.
the days do the rest.

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