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.

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.

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.

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry