I am that rock on the river bottom,

rendered rotund by countless days of rushing water.

 

I was not always smooth.

Once I had crags and crevices.

Gnarly places,

where things got stuck.

Debris of old lives

hiding in my skin.

Became more than I could bare,

carrying all the broken bits,

rubbing myself raw with my own roughness,

overwhelmed by my own heaviness.

No one was brave enough to risk the scratches and rendings

of holding my sharp edges.

So I fell to the bottom.

Where there was nothing but darkness and moistness.

Water, ceaselessly rushing over me.

Tumbling me just enough to reach all of my places,

but mostly just letting me be in it.

I lost track of time, shape, or anything else seemingly certain.

 

Vanity melted in the gently relentless reshaping.

Who knew I was so attached to my untouchability.

no more

no more

I am not identifiable by any obvious means,

indistinguishable from the other stones polished by patience. 

I am just that rock on the river bottom,

 

sitting at the ground of being as it all rushes by above me.

Curious enough to watch it go by, 

let it rouse me enough to travel a bit further downstream,

but mostly just let it be.

Though it will take more time than I care to count,

eventually, eventually,

there will be no more substance here.

Just as there are no longer edges on my cool grey skin,

there will be no leaves or logs or bits of bird's nests,

and there will be no stone.

Just the water, 

carrying it all away.

Holding the Hunger like an old friend.

An old beautiful, dangerous, intimate friend.

A lover who knows this body and heart so well.

so well.

A lover who knows how to play 

every

inch

of my psychosomatic experience

until I lose myself in his embrace.

Because I invited him in,

taught him the curves and waves of my desire.

Showed him where I keep my heart.

Thinking he would guide me home.

But now I know his motives are so ulterior, 

I dare not give in to this offered pleasure.

 

This ultimate seduction.

The hardest to resist is also the deadliest.

I have learned the hard way not to feed this 

Hunger,

for his devouring 

only leaves me hung over and wanting.

 

 

But there is no ending the torment.

No prison that will hold this beast.

No reigns that control it for long.

No where to run.

He knows every place I'd think to hide,

every cranny into which I would slide.

The more I seek to flee,

the more he stalks me like the prey I then make myself to be.

 

I can distract us for a moment from our deadly dance.

But then he finds a new enticement.

Carefully scratches 

at the edge of an emptiness 

that cannot be filled.

A rawness that must ever be exposed.

In desperation,

amidst prayers for absolution 

from the self-same force that gives us life,

I release every strategy.

Every clever plan and delicious fantasy.

 

I can only sit with him.

Tenderly hold this raging ache,

this numbing force,

this tumultuous yearning.

And wait for him to reveal the gift 

he has been this whole time holding.

Braving the claws.

Staring back into the hungry eyes.

Extending my open palms.

Bearing my naked chest.

And bringing him right next to my heart.

 

We breathe together, Hunger and I.

I remember all the joy his toying has brought me.

All the anguish our war has cost me.

All the lessons addiction has taught me.

The compassion this being human has wrought in me.

 

And I am fed, and I am found.

Should is the sledgehammer of shame,

wielded against the marrow of our souls.

 

“You should have known better.

You should do what you’re told.

You should let go of what’s old.

You should already be evolved…”

 

Robbing us of our spontaneity,

humanity,

vulnerability,

and any sense of worth.

It tells us that frailty is inexcusable.

Omnipotence and omniscience requirements for acceptance.

That somehow our futures can inform the past

in concrete and solid ways.

We do not know what we do not know.

 

This weapon of mass destruction,

the torturous instruction

to be something other than we are.

To conform, follow the norm, or be ever informed.

This pounding shattering soul-crushing illusion

that holds us in heart-aching confusion,

that hides so close to the desire for greatness,

stealing words from our higher selves’ edicts,

and twisting them into whips

with which we scar our own backs.

 

 

Stop. Shoulding. on yourself.

Put down the hammer you have used

to punish yourself for being human.

Listen, yes, for the wellspring of discernment.

The wisdom to make life-giving choices.

The knowing of when a misstep needs atonement.

But do not contort to the whims

of a half-awake world.

Do not cast yourself out

from the circle of your own love,

for any of the ways weakness, failure,

or especially authenticity find you.

Let not your mind bind you.

Speak words that unwind you.

Allow intention to define you.

And hold up your open hand.

This is that bliss.

Voices joined in adoration 

of the wealth of our becoming. 

A devotion born of the longing

that is the true answer to our incessant questioning.

Our calling to everything that is holy,

wholly, hole-y, holy,

within and around us.

We call to the Earth, 

that birthed us, stone and bone,

wood and blood. (Durga…)

We call to the air that carries the music to our ears,

that moves the trees so we may see how they dance. (Krishna…)

We call to the fire that is our passion, is our dying, is our flying. (Mahadeva…)

And we call to the waters,

the rains, the ocean, the river flowing from Síva’s wild hair,

giddy and grateful as children who have just learned what it means to drink. (Saraswati…)

We drink this in,

And though a thousand flagons of finest wine may never quench our thirst,

one true taste of the holy on our lips can set us free.

 

The mantra that protects our minds, 

protects us from our minds,

so we can remember

re-member, as in put back together,

remember who we truly are.

This is that bliss,

not a state we find by seeking,

but only those who seek shall find.

Only those who sing shall hear.

The sacred land,

the home of our true selves

is not a rarified museum only accessible to the pure and perfect.

Grants no pass to those who not yet been broken open by love.

What is sacred resides in the messy, fecund, spectacularly confusing garden of life.

Goddess lives in the soil between the thoughts, 

She is the yoga, the space that unifies everything.

Most of us have never seen 

the lands that birthed these particular words,

but we know them with our whole hearts.

We know them with the part of ourselves that remembers

that Goddess lives in the sound,

Goddess lives      in the sound.

And we can actually be attuned,

in. tune.

with all of life.

We are not lone carrion birds on desolate mountain crags.

Not barren islands in tempestuous seas.

We are instruments in the orchestra of life,

listening for the inherent frequency

of our innate divinity.

Tuning ourselves home

through the simplest, greatest vehicle: song.

This is that bliss.

Searching for home.

Upturning stones,

disentangling dry roots

entrenched in unstable soil.

Where is the place to rest this dream-filled head?

Even wildflowers need a well-tended bed.

Even the phoenix has a soft nest,

when she is not busy dissolving

into the flame of her becoming.

These beings intrinsically reside within a belonging

that comes from knowing 

that they are indivisible from that which makes them.

 

Humans are the only creatures that claim to own bits of Earth,

and the only ones to believe in the existence of homelessness

on this garden planet.

This glowing orb that is all home.

I don’t need to own,

to claim,

none of this precious dirt need to be mine.

But I want to be claimed

by a living temple of wood and stone,

a soft nest of clay and earthbone.

I feel the ache of ancestors ripped from all that was known

forced to flee, to roam.

This greed to own

born of the fear of freedom

and addiction to others’ resources

displacing everyone.

Interfering with our innate connection to our fountain,

our taproot, our true source.

I cry the tears of a thousand people

who have buried dreams and children on the side of the road.

 

I want to go home,  

but it’s a place long lost

and not yet found again,

not yet emerged

from the ashes of a history

of aggressive agriculture and possessive war.

We don’t need to own, to claim,

no place need belong to us.

But we need to belong to place.

Some place with space 

for our seeking roots and tender hearts.

 

I don’t want land to belong to me,

I simply want to belong to Her,

and thus, to get Her, to gather, together.

Sometimes it’s a joke both of you know is not really funny

but in that moment you laugh richly, 

and for a hair’s breadth 

the pain subsides.

Clarity rushes in,

and you can open your tear-filmed eyes

and blood-thump muffled ears 

a little wider,

to receive the next instructing,

the next diagnostic prodding.

It’s the sincere warning that it will hurt, a lot,

and she is not sure if it will work,

but that she will do her best.

Or that she takes the time to ask how to pronounce your name, 

even if you are one of a dozen people she will see that day,

and tells you how well you are doing,

through the panting breath and unintelligible moaning.

 

It’s the realization of the preciousness of true connective presence

when most people walk by you on the sidewalk

with the speed you knew just a few days ago,

but now seems like a dream clouded over with sharp despair;

the few who offer help,

who give even a sympathetic gaze,

who say with words or eyes 

“I see that you are suffering now, and I wish you well,”

remind you that there is still humanity

in humans.

That we’ve all been here, 

in some way or other.

And to be humbled is to open

to a deeper level of compassion.

 

It is easy to forget the definition of care

in a world where nearly everyone is stuck in survival mode.

Seemingly unavoidable to let selfishness build wall after wall around our hearts’ homes,

until all we ever see are each other’s backs,

or the ubiquitous resting bitch face that cannot register

recognition of another soul,

because the facade is so disconnected from the center. 

 

I want to live in a world where we care about each other.

Where we show that care as if our lives depend on it.

Because it does, it does.

And a moment in a care center 

helps me remember

that people can do just that, not only as a function,

but as a gift.

Forgetting and remembering, and forgetting again.

loosing my way in all that has been,

the generations of anguish and misspent power,

bringing us to this fateful hour.

this now

this now

when everything matters,

but nothing is what it seems.

I am created from my dreams.

or is that nightmares?

Half-remembered phantasms, 

plotted patterns remaking the world

in every played out power dynamic.

 

I may cling to the aching ages of wrongness,

the betrayals and lies, the subjugation

sublimation of all that is precious and fertile,

the time and time again 

I lost my life or kin

to the hunger of another's ignorance or greed.

The role of victim

worn like a worthless coat,

hiding my true raiment,

providing no real warmth,

but too familiar to cast off.

 

I can carry the bitterness until it is all I know. 

holding it close like a lover on a heaving ship. 

But resentment is a jagged bomb, 

potentizing until it explodes,

waiting to shred our hearts into shattered bits and fractured lenses.

 

Seeing only the pain blinds me.

Thoughts of hatred bind me.

make we want more want revenge want reclamation want justice want destruction want hiding want numbing want forgetting want forgetting want dying.

But I can no longer be for getting.

We are not for  getting.

We are for  giving.

forgiving 

for  giving

for giving something new to our children,

for making a song of the discord,

for weaving a blanket of the shards,

to catch the babies coming into this healing world.

Nothing we have held onto will carry us to the clear dawn of our species' morning.

There is no more time to be for getting.

There may be countless reasons to be a victim,

but choose to let the light in.

choose the deep breath.

choose the open eyes

choose the bright morning

choose to be for giving.

giving it all away.

 

 

Image by Julie Interrante

The power of being loved as we are.

Radiantly spinning around our own stars

born from the willingness to writhe and rise in mutual burning.

This effulgent elegance, this single branch

of a dream-tree long understood as essential to the unfolding

of a heart’s prismatic holding.

 

I am made partially of him, now.

Cells rubbed open by an unquenchable desire for knowing

of what we are truly made.

The words whispered in the depths of our mornings, mournings, moorings,

but a brush painting vague shapes across the ocean upon which we sail.

This boat made bit by bit,

each breath taken together a well-laid plank,

the lavish tears a lacquer against the inevitable demise of our preconceptions

into something that will wear our finish, but never break our bough.

This ship, made of every wish ever made to know the marrow of love

rocks on the uncertain certainty that we can never be more or less than our wildest imaginings:

that we can never be all we hope, yet that is all.

 

The undiscovered country looms before crystal-colored eyes,

and for a moment nothing is known

but the feeling of this heartbeat under my ear as home,

and the ground quaking to reassemble into an Earth where my island has been obliterated

and in its place stands a bridge;

backdrop to an unfailingly open palm. 

 

Receiving the unending acceptance and unblinking reflection

that transforms shame into celebration,

that makes art of every fat roll, every wrinkle, every disappointment

and dribble of well-crafted cynicism,

that calls and entices and awakens me into the fullness of the shape love would invite me to fill.

Which is exactly as I am, 

precisely imperfectly fully the me that sings,

minus the surrender of my brokenness,

and with the silhouette of tandem wings.

Desert of our own making.

Deserted by our own forsaking

of our places within the sacred hoop,

of the dancing that gives the skies tear-filled hope

for the possibility of Earth’s creatures’ beauty.

Desolation as far as the I can see,

deposed from our yearning to be free

by the learning that we have no homes

for which to be brave.

Slaves to a system

built on the illusion that anything can be owned.

Land, soil, oil, minds, bodies, bodies, bodies

these bodies that know only breathing and being,

planting and tending,

loving and dying.

Ripped up from roots like so much tender sapling,

told to wander the dry places seeking shelter,

from the elements that are not intended to be so harsh.

Thirsty for a rightness we hardly remember.

Seeking a garden whispered to our hearts

through the long ages of forgetting,

of raping 

of traipsing over the sacred

and digging far too many unwishing wells.

We are spelled by the sins of our fathers,

with no comprehension of the legacy

that spurs us to strap our be-longings to our backs

and walk until these bodies give out.

In every direction seemingly endless brokenness,

unquenchable parchedness.

Even the wildflowers choke on the dust of our forgetting

of the interdependence of life:

that caring for ourselves includes caring for each other.

 

And so I pray for rain.

Long for the smell of it reaching this dust over my faith

in the innate goodness of humanity.

I dream of dancing in verdant food forests.

A whole species remembering what it means to receive ripe fruit from trees

who are grateful that we wait beneath them with open palms.

Eating the corn cooked by happy people,

who never have to question where we will sleep that night.

 

I pray for rain,

as fields lie cracked and fallow,

as we no longer know who to follow,

as generation after generation loose our homes,

as we face the worst droughts in the history of our society.

 

I pray for rain,

to wash our hearts clean,

to wash clean the eyes of those who see only distortions of green,

to revive fecundity in these bodies, these lands,

to resurrect the garden of eden.

 

These tears, these tears, these tears

bring water to the desert,

But quickly it fades. 

I cannot wail enough to make up for what has been lost, is being lost.

So I pray for rain,

that our children may know what it means to dance in joy again.

What is failure?

What wounds the heart?

The razor’s edge of integrity

a fine line, a vast chasm,

between what is true

and what we wish could be.

How we betray each other again and again.

Lifetimes of layered lies,

regrets, recriminations, revenge.

Born of sorrow, born of pain.

This distortion of creation,

like snaking fire through a wood,

slowly overtakes all that is life-giving,

turning fertility into a dangerous thing

that only creates more suffering.

 

What is failure?

What wounds the heart?

Truth is a fluid thing,

words medicine or poison,

bringing healing,

or piercing the tender flesh of being,

depending on intention, and timing.

Yet somethings are absolute.

I hold a banner high.

Inviting the fullness of pure fire.

Comfortable in my own righteous anger,

Confusing the quest for impeccability with the living of it.

Many times I have lied.

Splitting my tongue, spitting deception, 

needling under another’s skin 

to plant deadly seeds.

Countless lifetimes

marked by fear, need,

sabotage, poverty, hypocrisy,

and other veils of the Maya.

Does my past, my endlessly fractaling failure

make me only worthy of the worst of others?

 

What is sacred?

What heals the heart?

How do I find the glen wherein forgiveness dwells,

the scented meadow where everything has a place

and everything is understood as a gift?

I can hide from the fire,

but it snakes through my veins,

settles into the pit of nausea,

stirs the stench of injustice,

and stealthily laps at the edges of my garden heart,

threatening to make it a barren desert.

Yet this rage only covers the bottomless sadness,

the endless prison of never trusting

never trusting anyone,

until they find a way to prove me right.

Where does forgiveness live

when the wound is ancient, endless,

only inflamed by this latest sin?

Seeking the unconditional in this conditioned world.

Are some actions unforgivable,

words unrepeatable,

windings and bindings 

no amount of prayerful fire can purify? 

Wondering if it is betrayal of self to continue loving one 

who has perpetrated or perpetuated the pain of separation

from the fire of truth, 

or an absolution

that would set us all free.

 

No strategy left but to offer it all up.

All of it a sacrifice.

The despising of self and others.

The layers of blame and shame.

My forked tongue and blood-stained blade,

pulled from my back, pulled from yours.

My longing for a healthier way.

Holding an open, at last unclenched hand.

Praying for the courage to love anyway.

Hold me,

but not too tightly.

Protect me,

but let me be free.

Provide for me,

but remember I could do it myself.

Make my fantasies real,

but honor the frailty of my humanity

Be a man

Be a man

Be a man.

Or rather,

be the idea I hold of what a man should be.

Rising awareness of the reality

 of centuries of subjugation of the feminine

does not permit projecting everything onto the masculine.

 

This longing is not for you to satisfy.

This emptiness is not for you to fill.

This pain is not for you to fix.

This place in my heart where love dwells

holds a bench whereupon you may rest,

a nest to shelter us both,

and inspire our awakening communion.

But I cannot expect you to enter it

nor be annoyed at the garb you choose to wear in my temple,

or that you have scars and needs of your own.

 

This is the age of remembering.

First we remember ourselves.

We remember women, we remember the great fertile She.

Then we remember we can only get there 

if we go as "we."

Discovering personal and relational wholeness 

that leads at last to free.

Desire and wounds have blinded us 

to the ways we perpetuate slavery

on the very ones we hope will love us.

"You should man up!"

Perhaps instead it's time for manning down

unwinding,

softening the grip,

releasing the wounding and the will.

Dear man,

here, take my hand.

Let's climb up

together.

finally the tears come like an orgasm,

breaking open the dam.

The next wave of grieving

gently relieving

all that has been heavy on my heart.

Melting the foggy numbness 

that hides agonizing hurt.

 

These days they seem the same,

the rush gush light blast of ultimate pleasure

overtaking everything,

and the warm salty overflow

as my eyes are washed clean by understanding.

Letting go,

surrendering,

a vastly humbling way 

of making love to the Mystery

that only passes through us

never to be owned,

never held in place.

We do not posses love

love possesses us,

if we allow, if we open enough.

It pulses through and around us 

like the eternal ocean,

always one, yet never the same.

 

I taste salt, 

and peer through the moistness

to realize that I am breathing 

with my whole body.

Releasing what I thought I wanted

gives me a moment of boundless majesty.

I don't want world tonight.

 

World is long and full of distortion

I would rather reach
into the clear-poised mystery that ever resides,
draw up from it's silent contours 
words and worlds that came before this life--
Nurture the wild symbols of infinity from within.

Scrolls, 
Scrolls therein were written 
names too long to memorize 
names that contained a power so real,
when spoken, 
ushered in entire new skies.

 

Stars were born of this.

Lapis ink searing light prose to dust long pages…
from behind the hexagonal silk screens of noble gases,
from within the deepest antechambers of distant moons, 
from the storehouses of the Gods of the stranded suns;
the Craftsmen of Eternity building matter from dust
dust from emptiness
emptiness from?...

Or so it has been written.

Am I Scribe?
I had thought she already died,
Descendant of Thoth, daughter of moon dusted seas
Buried long ago with quill and pen,
drowned in the salt warm pools of the Aegean Sea

But what is this?
Words breathe and stream into form once more…

As if to say...
and only to say...

there is another Way.

Code Reborn.

When World Bends to Truth again

 When World Sees Eye to Eye with the Wide Knowing of Sky
When World Burns through its poisoned glands
And sets a balm of hidden moons to the gaping wound left behind 
Soothing and mending the anti-countenance and trembling scars of war…

When World comes to its knees in surrendered prayer
in the light of a memory so real, 
in the face of a love never again to be forgotten,
In the heart of hearts of all worlds...
There, there you will meet your only God

And a band of singing white day birds will fill your very air…

How we hold to our fables 
Even as everything crumbles before our eyes.

 

  By Caitlin Naramore

© Naramore Creations 2015

Sometimes we cannot look at a thing directly,

only its reflection.

The connection to Source made through pulsing perception.

Careless gaze an invitation

to our own destruction,

as Medusa rendered immobile

any who would not humble

themselves in the presence 

of the primal life force.

 

Sunlight is blinding straight on.

But we can witness it in rippling sparkling water,

growing food,

the brilliance of the Moon,

the effulgence of our songs.

Wind can only be seen by its effect.

The force of its motion only visible on what it has moved.

Music is intangible,

its essence undefinable.

It cannot be felt with skin,

or deciphered with mind,

yet it transforms time, ​

spirals into our cells,

entrains our hearts with rhythmic spells,

sparks awake our DNA

in a chain reaction of activation

until there is no telling

who is playing,

and who is being played.

 

Water is immobile on its own

yet ever flowing

on this planet beholden 

to gravity and slope,

wind and condensation,

perpetual evaporation,

rapid temperature fluctuation,

and all the things that give water her properties.

 

Life is made of life.

We are all built of the selfsame dust, 

dependent upon gravity and fire to become stars.

Nature knows no such thing as isolation.

This dimension is made of mirrors.

We are defined by our interpenetration

of everything.

It is the dappling of sunlight that gives it meaning

and allows our perceiving.

The wind-made waves that let us observe the water

as it reflects the bottomless sky.

resting in the breath at the beginning of creation.

the precious petals still spiraled over center.

trusting in the lightless journey of incubation

and the wisdom of growth’s unfolding; beyond fear.

 

I have grown accustomed to being excellent at everything I do.

I have convinced myself that I must do it all alone.

A forgetting that evolution is ongoing,

and we have ever-shifting knowings

of what is true.

And that I am partially made of you.

Wanting the promised satisfaction of completion,

without accepting the necessity of uncertainty;

the fragmentation required for deeper integration.

The interdependence inherent in real power.

We revere the fully-bloomed flower,

adore its scent and beckoning openness.

But the mountaintop is only one moment of the trail.

The fragrance of forgiveness may draw us towards freedom,

but darkened woods and bottomless chasms

elicit many a vital despairing wail.

 

Baby birds, bits of primordial viscousness

sticking to their uncoordinated wings,

do not judge themselves for their undeveloped ability to sing.

Roses do not believe they will only be worthy of love when their petals unfurl.

And lion cubs roar with abandon, regardless of their obvious harmlessness.

Embrace unblossomedness.

How can you expect to be at your destination when you are still on the road?

Why collapse your life into someone else’s mold?
What if you stopped demanding perfection,

allowing life its own form of completion?

Put down the sledgehammer of should, 

shaming the sap out of your soul

Put down the chisel and awl,

and rest in ever-curious awe

at the beauty of your becoming:

the unplanable inevitability of your timeless blossoming.

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry