The future

not fixed

draws us forward

as we reach towards it.

Spider tickles my skin

we are weavers, both.

I draw filaments of light

braided with heartstrings,

play our yearning as a harp

in a song not yet learned.

Let the wind sing through me.

Let the children sing to me.

I am my mother’s child.

No thought will free mine

of the legacy of slavery,

only the careful unbinding

of the dragon under my skin,

whose volatile breath 

rips the pleasantries out of my mouth.

The taste of ash gives me courage.

I will scream until no more babies are beaten by the ones sworn to tend them,

until no more Black churches crumble in flames,

until no one looks at my flesh and decides I am less for it.

See my scales, weak men playing God.

See my claws, and shudder.

Recognize reckoning in my serpentine gaze.

Perhaps one day you will understand that I am powered

not by the rage you fear,

but by this underbelly, once rent and rewoven,

which waits for those willing to bare their own.

The downy fullness visible only to those who have also braved fire,

and trauma,

and learned the skill of grief,

and that the hardest thing to do

is to find one’s voice and sing.

The future,

not fixed

draws us forward

as we reach towards it.

We learn that tears are pickaxes,

breaking through the concrete over our hearts.

Wails the tethers that bring our soul pieces home.

Outraged howls the hammers that destroy that which wastes life.

Fists to the sky and voices speaking truth to power the shovels of the Great Turning.

This weaving is not done in a day,

or a lifetime,

and cannot be done alone.

Uncertain, yet inevitable.

Beauty calls us on.

Chaos and infinity

a maelstrom,

a concordance,

the paradox of birthing a tomorrow

where we can see the sky:

One part opening,

envisioning our dancing grandchildren.

Creating through our believing.

One part destroying,

dismantling the structures that imprisoned our ancestors.

Healing through our unraveling.

Seeds cannot grow in undigested shit.

Learn to make compost again.

Let me feel your hot breath.

I will not mind too much if you brush me with your scales.

I know they are there, beneath the patina of fragility

and the weight of complacence.

Don’t tell me you have no time for the revolution,

that it's not your job. 

We are too wily and wild for such nonsense.

I will only listen to your tenderness,

be it whisper 

or roar,

and the truth

that calls you on.

My grandmothers sang

in the Master’s tongue,

for their own were beaten into forgetting.

Songs of Kingdom come; songs of rhythm for picking,

songs to endure the soreness and shame

of being something less than human.

My grandfathers spent their days

bent over fields,

robbed of all decency and dignity

until rent flesh 

and inhuman cruelty

finally overtook their clinging

to the miserable shadow of a life.

Slavery was obvious then.

Some would say it has long since been transcended, 

like racism,

that we understand now that all humans are equal.

But some Orwellian axioms 

are taken as scripture by the profiteers

and those “more equal” make the rules.

There is no way that I should be able to buy a pair of jeans

or pound of corn 

for a handful of change.

My cells remember the agony of picking cotton,

my lungs the ache of its toxic fibers,

how it sticks to the hands, 

cutting them in a thousand tiny ways that never fully heal.

Today a 13 year-old girl 

is bent over a sewing machine in India

with that same cotton;

unable to leave,

praying for the better life she was promised.

A tired old man is bent over the dirt in Mexico,

picking fruit he will never eat,

for a restaurant he will never see,

in a country that would call him illegal.

All for the hope that his children will be free of the poverty

that seems as endless and vast as the mono-cropped fields before him.

A 6 year-old boy in the Ivory Coast is dragging 100 pound bags

and using a machete to open a pod he has to hold with his bare hand,

hoping he will work quickly enough to avoid another beating,

resenting the very thought of the chocolate he will never taste.

But heaven forbid Levi’s go up a few dollars,

or we pay the real cost of growing real food,

or we give up our fancy gadgets and fast lifestyles so that factory workers can keep their hands,

indigenous tribes can keep their lands, and children can keep their freedom.

When you have no real choice,

which lesser evil do you choose?

Slavery lives on.

Our most tenacious addiction,

inherited affliction,

made of mistaking power for value

and difference for distance.

How we convince ourselves

generation after generation

that we are powerless to change the system

that gives us just enough to keep us on our knees.

The Master that has no face, but many,

who whips us with the threat of poverty

and the illusion of hierarchy,

until there is no fight left,

and we pass a prison to our children

in this so-called land of the free.

Looking through the ages,

we see slavery is an inside job,

perpetrated on ourselves, on each other, on the Mother,

passing along our debts and our pain

until there is nothing left but miles of chains

and the broken world we have built on other people’s backs.

There is no living being more equal than any other.

These ideas are created in the monstrous minds of oppressors 

who are already, themselves, oppressed.

There is no true prosperity for one unless there is prosperity for all.

It is time for a new song.

To compost this strange fruit, this strange and bitter crop.

To educate, to inspire, to remember each other.

To lift one another, so we can all rise to the top.

The responsibility of the information age,

is that now is when we can make slavery stop.

“Let your gift by guided by something more clear,”

he said.

I listen for the

not this. 

not this.

Not this structure,

not this triage suture

we call modern art:

pretty bandaids

on a punctured world.

Bleed out.



Rend the rendered reality

until we see what is not real.

We got this

from before us

just a chorus

of a jagged song.

But some part of us 

knows it’s not the best of us

saying, “not this.”

Not our attachment

to reenactment

of every story told before

of fists banging the drums of war

not knowing what else to do with the “no,”

what direction to flow

when all we know is

not this.

not this.

the knot this is, 

fraught this is.

We caught this,

this sadness,

this dis-ease,

this homogeneity,

this false piety

to plastic gods.

It finally shows its hand

wound into every talon 

of corruption. (not this…)

Listen to the aching,

allow the breaking,

the leave-taking.

the dawn 



finding the way to the truth:

a process of discovering what is not you.

Light defined by shadow.

Center seen by edges.

Clouds melt to

shrouds part to 


what lives beyond the clutches of fear.

not this

not anything we’ve made before

unwinding thus finding

a story lightly woven from golden threads,

a gift of something more clear.


found in inspiration,

found in finally hearing

our souls’ communication.

knot this.

we got this.


Listen to the audio of Niema speaking this here.

(Inspired by the words of Prince and Elizabeth Gilbert)




The path to presence. 

Different, every time.

Time as a spiral, not a line.

The true way never looks the same

Because open eyes are always changing.

Wisdom is born of the silent spring,

the fertile darkness that lives below our knowing,

that begets our awakening,

and opens to our remembering.

Ancestral light, the substance of our wings

though they look like muscle and bone;

and, however caged, some part of us 

still remembers these hearts where meant to sing us home.


The truth is, I am afraid of my shadow.

And though all the teachers say it contains a gift,

that the birthplace of my fecundity is the ugliest part of me,

I want only to look away from it, to numb, to hide it, to hide from it.

I want the well-lit path. 

So I flee towards the Sun,

the fanfare and exultation,

seeking triumphant exclamation

on a road sparkling clean like my brightest meditations,

in a quest for transcendence;

retracing the steps that have brought me thus far,

centered me before,

but I turn and the shadow is still right there,

stitched to my heels.

The path to presence 

is different every time.

There is so much further to go 

than only light

we must balance above with below.


Pilgrim, there is no one road to follow, 

the road is made by walking

over stone and bone,

is made by breathing 

beyond everything you’ve ever known,

and home is an ever-shifting location.

You may taste the sweet nectar for a moment

but then the flower dies,

and you’d best learn to see the beauty in compost.

This path is understood for only an instant

sunlight caught in the hand through a prism

a rainbow bridge to absolute nowness.

This path found in the effusive glee

of a child’s first spinning dance in a summer meadow,

in the feel of my lover’s lips upon my brow,

in the silence before every sound.

The path is different every time,

because it leads to a place that can never be known,

and only in the seeking

can we ever be found.


{{{Listen to Niema speak this on soundcloud}}}



little by little


this growth that begins and ends with me.

Dynamic tapestry,

threaded stitch by stitch,

inch by inch.

I am made of a million miniature choices,

microscopic voices

in the chorus of the song of learning.


Grand leaps are important

soul’s dark nights most relevant

and sometimes a whole lifetime

comes into perspective in an instant.

But evolution is primarily a journey of persistence,

taken one step at a time.

It may seem interminable

the wait for full freedom unbearable

from the outside imperceptible:

wisdom blends and bubbles like slowly-rising bread,

each breath another woven thread.

Rarely do we leap tall wounds in a single bound

or unbind ourselves in a single prayer.

little by little,

tortoise, not hare

hearing the way,

we get there by learning

there is nowhere to go

only this next curious moment.

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.

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.


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

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.

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 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

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry