Picture me dancing.

Along the wild edge, 

where land meets the sea.

Belly and thighs bare.

Salt in windswept hair,

sand under bare feet.

Pressing soft tracks

along the warm ocean.

When you think of me,

this strong black woman,

it would be easy 

to envision toil

my endless struggle, 

how hard I must work.

As black women have 

long been measured by 

what we can produce 

and by what against we fight.

Do not lend your voice to the chorus

that would clamor “rest is indulgence

and fun is only for the lazy, or the white.”

Disagree with the hordes 

saying, “we must work ourselves to exhaustion.”

Capitalism was built on our brown backs

Do not try to beat us with that whip, again.

Question that which would ask 

if I deserve 

such relaxation,

and why we believe 

we must earn feeling well.

I have spent too many years 

believing myself worthless 

in this dark skin,

too many hours never accomplishing enough.

My grandmothers did not sing me into being

to work myself to death

for them, or for you, 

and especially not for the system 

that tried to eat them.

No single nap could touch the tiredness settled into these bones.

Play must be my path, now.

Pleasure my guide.

And art my tool,

to chisel the new paradigm into being through our joy.

Strong is a word I, too, have earned,

and also brave.

but now,

but now

let it be brave, too,

to put down shovel

and pick up snorkel

or paintbrush, or pen.

To trade, for a moment,

a sword for a swimsuit.

When you think of me,

do not envision me working

though that will come in myriad essential ways;

Not struggling, please, never that again,

not distressedly shaking my fist at a concrete sky.

Picture my unbound thighs jiggling as I play in the foam,

my unfettered hair swept by the tradewinds,

my copper-brown skin shimmering as I twirl and bend

as I dance my gratitude for this body’s place

in the symphony of sun, sea, and sand.

The taste of salt, and freedom, 

and a soft smile on my lips

as I gaze into the beyond.

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.

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry