When The Heart Breaks Into A Thousand Pieces, Know That Life Goes On aka Like The Ash Of A Log, Give Yourself To The Wind

from North Philly to Westville, NJ
passing ghost towns
dead as can be.
The kind of places
where the wind blows
and all you hear is
the wretched creak
of a sign.

Metallic symbols communicating both
direction & abandon.
Like industrial wastelands
speaking in
graffiti, linguistics of the local

working the land
on a suburban homestead
people talking of
(the cling of pitchfork
against wooden chips,
& a snake appears
shedding skin.

Another sign.

It must be
the age we’re in.

Traversing the space between,
from reclaimed warehouses
to reclaimed land
full of artists
full of gardeners,
like the time from sleeping
to waking,
a dream worth writing down

a mishmash of industrialized earth
a collage of decay & growth,
rustbelt visions

While building a tiny teepee structure,
starting with twigs & the tiniest branches,
someone said in a light of bemusement,
“Look at all the hands…”
and there were hands
grabbing leaves
placing sticks
so many hands
building fire
& in that moment
we decided (it was necessary)
to say a prayer
a prayer honoring
the four corners
the distant past
the present past
the here & now
the future tense
the generations
& dreams to come

As we honored the directions
in space & time, I
thought about my own ancestors
as well as those
who lived the land before.
A sadness,
tinged with anger
swept over me.
I apologize.
I do not know how
my bloodline is wrapped up in
mass genocide,
but we arrived in a white wave
shortly thereafter.
And working with the land,
the plants whisper
of the blood spilled
the terror unleashed across the land.
It’s in the herbs, it’s in the flowers,
the native spirit comes to life
in the trees, there are stories
in the meandering of roots,
there are ancient faces
in the bark.

When I am in a silent place,
I listen
I learn
I understand
to live closely
to live appropriately
to heed the call of wildness
to preserve the primal nature.

To honor the beast within.

The sacred rush of river
The vast expanse of ocean
The reflection of stars
hidden by the sun.

I had a dream-
I was on the outskirts of a village
living in a hut made of branches.
It stood on the edge of a forest.

And one day,
the hut caught fire.

I walked closer & closer
until I was inside.
People gathered,
worried I’d catch fire too.
I assured them,
It’s not a problem,
after all, I lit the place up on purpose.

I disappeared in the flames.

I woke up in the dream.

I realized
I’m standing amidst raging flames,
but nothing of me has caught;
& as I get to know
the lick of fire,
it’s not so angry
as it is alive.

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