subconscious bandits, marketing perverts,
advertisement imperialists, exploiting deep listening
to rob us the ability to think below the surface
to see the emergence of wildness
blow thru the omnipotent bits of news
the fabricated apocalypse so tightly constructed
a chokehold on third eye esophagus
how many people are suffocating in unknown depression?
downward spiraling, shallow breaths
hearts bursting uncontrollable
the frantic tick of moments
unable to make sense of the passage of time
the lightning speed of language
the thoughts rolling in disaster after murder after police acquittal
the state playing joker, executioner
the political players swimming in blood money
unfeeling, unrepenting the call of nature
stuck accumulating greed
needing to consume and devour the poor
ignoring the righteous path
to share material visions
the caress of eros
lovemaking in forests
the moon shifting in slivers, tugging at bodies
the post-scarcity abundance, the socialist project
feeding the hungry
taking care of the elderly
no more war
the sky isn’t the sky anymore
it’s held up by wires and telephone poles
invisible currents, thought bubble webworks
the earth rocked over by concrete and brick
hidden like a fantasy
empathic insight obscured
puppets confounded, blind to the sacred
it’s not goddess, it’s science
strip away the mystery, no fucks given
we’re not human, we’re disposable cogs meaningless as stardust
tools to increase profits
fools that peel away the flesh
replaced by xenolinguistics, computer ballistics
the touch screens, you know what button to push
to touch, to rile up the people, to divide common sense
to subdue passion, wily, untamed,
angry, seething, desiring openly the destruction of systems
invisible yet clear as day
downpressing majority minorities
attempting to pray oneself out of misery
coming together to eat, to hug
to remind, to remember, to reconnect
to organize as anarchy, the unruly love
ripping out hair, lungs bursting screams
we deserve primal touch
the basics, necessities
time to be, space to create
to grow wilderness, health, gardens
to fuck in the middle of the day
to celebrate and mourn at leisure
no more toil, i want meaningful work & play
to fully express the entangled wondrous breath that gives life
that speaks truth in shadow when we are most vulnerable
like the thump in the chest, the pulse, boundaries unrolling
ripples that once deceived make sense
the silken threads of webs that glisten in rays after rain
the grin on a baby’s face
how much does it take to know the shit
have a drink, a good night’s rest
free from the sleepless phantasms
when the struggle feels weightless
when gratitude infuses
when it’s easy to awake for the sunrise
the colors, a hallucinogenic palette
absorbing, growing, breathing water
less of the ephemeral rhetoric
i’ve been coming out as non-monogamous my whole adulthood
slowly hitting bumps & shadows
fucking up because i get stuck in infatuation
i get stuck in the binary of two
always wanting elsewhere
breaking her heart, my heart, their hearts
because my fragile male ego couldn’t take responsibility
for inflicting hurt
for the inability to reveal
for the lack of communication
the convoluted decisions
hiding, repressing emotions & connections
becoming a monster full of rage at myself
taking it out on others
for which i regret being stubborn &
full of self-righteous supposed knowing
there are not sufficient words to dispel scared immaturity
you can’t erase memories.
you can forget them,
but the moments still happened.
growing up in Christian Catholic Puritanical America
surrounded by guilt and shame
finally breaking through the status quo denial
to more fully act upon & trust my desires
to live openly, sharing romance
and intimate visions of loving one another
yet new struggles emerge
with every transcendence into collective selfhood
if eros is pleasure and the urge toward life
then thanatos is the urge toward pleasure and death
the wrenching loneliness
panging through blood
the shit-ass wasting away in bed, sagging like
the whiteness of hospitals
trapped and aching
aging, dying, in a room alone
the fucking sadness, riddled
this is where we go to die
like a bullet in a body
like a catheter
a heartbeat simulation on a screen
beeps and valleys
beeps and peaks
the white noise static
the beat in the chest
instead of dissociating into embodied fervor & collective madness
we dissociate into digital fantasy
so often ((far)) away from others
crushed by propaganda, entertainment,
apartheid, stricken to believe
the singsong narrative of explosions
beholden to comment on the going rhetoric
wrapped up in another’s tongue
excruciating awareness of the tears, heaving
body shaking, repeating the same words
over and over
“what is this mental institution?”
the way the spit dribbles, baffled
scattered in dementia
memories fleeting like tiny rivers
what of the song of grandmothers chanting
the stomp of feet on earth, the ancestors stirring
what of the echo in ribs like mountain winds
calmed yet stirred by the beat of drums
“isn’t there something better?”
the fucking tear through life
the bullets ripping
pandora’s box unleashing
fire, murder, flooding
the scorching realization of apocalypse
the absolute state of terror
the gut gripping,
“isn’t there something better?”
celebrating in dionysian fields of forgetfulness
the intoxicated fear
trumped up like the trumpets of death
the squabble of lovers disappears
the desire to kiss and kill
cascading bodies atop bodies
consumed by chemistry
the flesh dripping sweat
like flowers after rain
petals falling from the sky upon climax
to cuddle & whisper
impulse to closeness, closer
abruptness of intimacy conflicting
drawing on tensions
the sting and flush of skin
swimming in spit
the sumptuous feast of little deaths
“what is this mayhem?”
“where is my breath?”
the cry of the dying rings across the land.
the empathic flame of people,
blowing prayers in the air with the smoke of a cigarette
“isn’t there something better?”
a collective dream with porous edges fading into the surrounding city.
when we see it snuggled within the multifaceted dimensions of reality,
there is so much more at stake
simply down the street.
especially on new years. what a random day. what’s it connected to? well intentioned partying. people need that. rhythmical celebration. resolution. it can take on the form of community when it is not all dressed up and soaked through. it seems empty, but it’s not quite like that. not quite vapid. it won’t entirely disappear. i believe it has a lot to offer people and society. but its transformational ability seems quite like the ouroboros. the snake biting its own tail. round and round it goes, reinventing itself yet still maintaining the same form.
the snake who peels through layers is still a snake.
“where’s the after party?”
“which one? there’s so many!”
“the party is in the elevator. right now!”
“i want to go home & feed my cat first.”
“the sun will be up in 3 hours.”
“honey, i love you.”
she appeared at the beginning of the party.
no one saw her. but they felt her presence.
she swept through the crowd
a hard, shadowed edge
bright as the sun. & warm like ambrosia.
it wasn’t the sun’s glow that lit her up.
she was not the moon.
she appeared dripping with what the witches call profanity:
full of sustenance, ravenous, & yet
she possessed a particular stillness that draws out the depths of sound.
like a mountain,
outside the temple,
the whisper of leaves,
the cackle of coyotes,
the wind upon precipices,
visible & meaningful, fresh.
she spoke in a weird tongue. but not weird in the strange sense.
weird in the way her language licked movement into the future.
although some chanced to see her, many never had such fortune.
everyone danced, grooved, strutted, sexed up the atmosphere. wheeled around. costumes and fancy dress to the nines. glitter. tights. lights. the bass hit deep, knees bent animate, hips punched quick, the rhythm, the night, a swirl of psychedelic symposium. an upheaval of platitudinal seduction, gushing, not so much from a deep-seated wildness, but rather an urge to love the world into fantastic nonexistence.
it’s a fun scene, but it’s an exhausted scene. the burning healing aesthetic-expression-of-spirituality scene. it’s a necessary stepping stone for some, a home for others, i’m sure it has saved many lives. and yes, it’s true- it’s abundant with people who want to explore further, who want to know deeper, who want to love freely without abandon or shame. it’s a scene that is a vehicle for nonconventional ways of relating & being. it’s true, it’s a global phenomenon and has surely impacted millions, and it’s clear people will continue to cultivate it as one might see to family. but despite the penchant for flow arts, it is a scene that lacks movement. its pitfall is hedonism. it gets lost there, and it floats, almost too comfortably, in a paradisiacal bliss, a cuddle puddle dripping tenderness into the enchanted hours of the dark night.
mama matrix most mysterious,
the lust for idealism is potently choking.
ancestors honored & blessed.
“it’s a derivative of a derivative.”
“what about the offshoots?”
“what if everyone ate ecstasy and the doors were locked for six hours
and we had to get real with one another!”
“a social experiment?”
“and afterwards, everyone hopped on a bus and went to feed the homeless.”
“a socialist burn?”
she appears like a vision at the end of the evening. when everyone else is blasted and spilling a smashy smash of semblance, she is refined and elegant. she is kept together. she isn’t at the same party as everyone else. maybe she is staying at the hotel, sipping a hard drink at the bar before heading off to her room. or maybe she waltzed in with an irresistible charm, spontaneously called from afar. her chariot, the deep cold of the night, collectively arriving, carried lovely from the sea by a murder of ravens guided by moon and stars.
they woke up sweaty. a boutique hotel the dead of winter. they fell back asleep. adjusting. cuddling. two husbands and a wife. she in the middle, turning one side to the other with the frequency of a full moon. sleepless, dreaming. the three lavishing the sunrise. each one, the other, a lover. resting.
a man like a hobbit asleep on the floor. he snores like a chimney.
have you ever gone to bed and awoken in another dream?
a woman sits at a diner’s table staring into the distances.
her eyes blank, gazing, she cries lonely without a tear. a thought flits across her face, seen in the catch of her eyes, her cheek muscles pulsing faintly. she is not alone. she snaps into her body and looks at her husband. she beckons with her lips, perched, cooing, purring moist like a cliff overrun with waterfall. enticing him with her eyelashes, batting at a distance, dancing gently in the air, wings light as feathers. love, love me. love you.
he’s engrossed in his phone.
he mumbles something to her without looking up.
she laughs without a sound.
she coolly recoils into her own blank stare, looking at the space ahead, nowhere, a fantasy too far away, it flickers & wisps like a cloudy dream, a morning fog, she almost grasps it, a reality so intricately webbed, so convincingly cradled, so fragilely lost.
the waitress sets a cup of coffee under her nose.
she smiles thank you. isn’t this happy, a tiny excitement.
she sips like a bird, the steam wafting hot.
a thought again flits across her face and she smiles, looks to her husband and beckons, lips pursed, so unforgivably supple, he feels a light pout, the fragrance of a kiss, and he moves closer, unconsciously, still glued to his phone.
she purrs, and snaps her neck quickly, any more sharply and it may have hurt. her eyes zip focus. another thought, her husband moves an inch closer.
they know this game well.
she stalks him like a wild animal.
why? she doesn’t need him.
she wants him.
her desire isn’t licentious.
it’s an indefatigable aspect of being human.
and the heat of her look touches him, but only nibbles the periphery of his being. as she massages with patience, he begins slowly to put down the device. he looks at her and she smiles, slowly drawing him closer like a mama spider wrapping up a bit of nourishment & death.
sometimes it’s fireworks. sometimes it’s guns.
Wandering downtown, on the lookout for the moon, but she is nowhere to be found. The buildings obscure the rise up. Instead, I find so many people, and emotions, the blur of city busy-ness sweeping up the wild instinct, cajoling the primal pulse of heart and erotic nakedness of thought.
You ever walk by a person and get a whiff of their life, little glimpses at where they awoke in the morning, what books their noses are stuck in… ?
It happens here and there, the stories. But more so, it’s a quick emotional sense, a drive-by connection, fleeting
Like a pedestrian passing, rushing with tinged anxiety, maybe late for dinner, trying headlong to be on time.
Another person, eyes wide in an attempt to repress fear, perhaps unused to the city, unsure what lurks in the saturated unknown. He’s probably watching too much cable news.
There’s youthful excitement emanating from those going out for the night, dressed to impress, feeling good, reeking of desperation and cheap cologne, unaware of their surroundings, loud as can be, ready to drop bills and gulp shots.
Homeless folks bundled up, broken down, begging, or just sitting, talking to no one in particular. One man slouched against the cold concrete of a building, he’s crumpled like his cardboard sign, fast asleep as people bustle by. I can’t imagine how tired he must be.
But there’s a lot of that in general: People tired, ready for a couch, a bed, ready for a vacation, a holiday, anything. And frustration. There’s so much frustration in the city. Furrowed brows, confusion, impatience, existential crises deeply expressed in far-off looks, wordless stares into the void of everywhere.
I stop to listen to a man on a loudspeaker. He stands with a small group out front the municipal building downtown. He speaks about dealing drugs, using drugs, finding God, encouraging the youth – and, I catch a wave of sadness. It echoes off the city walls, the faceless windows. The street lights absorb the words in fluorescent indifference.
I thought God might come through with unbridled lifeforce. Ecstatic dance, joy, unrecognizable movements even. Not every time, I suppose. In the fractalized everyday overwhelmingness of kaleidoscopic urban reality, sadness figures in prominently.
When I was younger, and still to this day, a curiosity of mine finds a home in mythos- gods and goddesses presiding over parts of life representing human behavior, personalities, archetypes, feelings.
I learned about Weeping Buddha when I was given a wooden statue by my mom. His story stuck with me.
He was a “great” warrior full of hubris. He fought everyone and anyone to prove his mighty strength. All his challengers fell before him, dead. Until one day, a masked man challenged him. They fought tooth and nail, evenly matched the whole way.
Blow for blow. Viciously.
And finally, the masked man got caught off guard, and they both tumbled to the ground. But not before a near death blow was made. The masked challenger fell limp.
To ensure victory, the great warrior slit the challenger’s throat. Blood stained the sword. With sweat dripping in maniacal laughter, he reached down and pulled off the man’s mask. To his great dismay, it was his son.
The great warrior began to weep. And he didn’t stop weeping. How could he be so caught up and kill his own son?
Right then and there, he gave up the life of war.
He continues to cry and cry, day and night, to this very day. People who find a terrible sadness visit him, and shed tears alongside him, and so, he is known as the Weeping Buddha. Sharing the world’s suffering.
I take a pause as I’m writing. Feeling as though I’m wrapped in a memory, getting off track, wondering how I’m going to return the writing to the city landscape.
At this point, I’m in a bar scratching up the blankness of paper with pen mark after pen mark. People leave me be, but through experience, it’s only a matter of time before someone barges in.
The bartender comes over and asks if I’m writing a book. We smile and flirt.
How many times have writers sat and stirred a particular feeling? Swiping pen to paper like a wand across a canvas, the ink trails a fleeting mark of romance. “By chance, dear writer, what are you writing? I don’t really want to know, though. You’re just piquing my interest. Tantalizing my creative sparks. I want a piece. A fleeting glimpse.”
And I let it happen. Why not? Part of writing is living the story. Giving over to mystery.
A trio of folks plop down next to me and the one guy almost immediately reaches out and says, “Hey, hey. My friend here is from Toronto and she’s loving the vibe and didn’t want to interrupt you writing, but she wants to know if she can trace her hand on your paper?”
I say “Of course, sure thing, why not.”
And just like that, we’re intermingling, chatting. Within a few moments, I realize I know the guy who first said what’s up. We share experiences. He’s showing both the woman and her husband around town, giving them a taste of Philly. We get to talking about mutual friends, free spirits, disappointments, and the complexities of relationships.
All this, in passing.
The woman who traced her hand chimes in a bit more, and we break off into our own little conversation. She says, “I saw you writing. I saw spirit. You know, I’m a believer, but not like that, nothing crazy, but I just saw SPIRIT, and oh my god it’s making me cry. I just saw you spilling your soul into that paper,” and she tears up and wipes her tears, sniffles.
I tell her what a happenstance. Look at what I’m writing.
It all makes so much sense. Weeping Buddha, the despondency of urbanity.
Before long, they take off, and we a hug a long hug. What warmth in a chance encounter.
in a big city
longing for connection,
from a stranger.
I kept dreaming of birds chirping loudly at sunset. It made sense. I was flying across the country. Traveling through the air. The wind brushing my feathers. In flight, ungrounded. Right into the mountains.
The air up there is fresh and thin. The lungs & circulatory system have to work a bit harder, or perhaps just in a different manner, to pump oxygen to the extremities of the body. It’s easy to get light-headed and lose your breath.
I felt pretty fit hiking through the mountains though. At one point I was spirited enough to run ahead of my fellow saunterers and scale a rocky incline as fast as I could. When I arrived at a precipice, I sat in meditation, breathing lightly, praying with the mountain. My mind in relative silence. The air was so thin I remember feeling as though I might float off like a balloon, but the power of the mountain surged through me. A flow of energy cycled unimpeded from head to toe, keeping me present.
It’s pretty different experiencing the occurrence of world events in that space too. I can’t say I felt far removed, or unaffected in the least, for instance, reading about Puerto Rico made my heart tear open in a way I’ve never felt before. I mean, it was torn wide to where it felt opened outside my body. A rush of suffering flooded in and images of the devastation just sank me like an anchor at sea.
It certainly wasn’t a depression. I didn’t feel paralyzed. It made me wrack my brain and alter the course of my future decisions.
I was affected by the altitude in other ways too.
I remember when I traveled to Bogota, the highest elevation I had been to at that point in my life, I felt an intense poking pressure in the bottoms of my feet. Spending time in the southwest brought back that bodily sensation, but it was less painful and only in my right foot.
I don’t know what that’s about, if that’s altitude sickness, or altitude discomfort, or dis-ease, but for that reason, when I’m hiking in the mountains, I like to step on the jagged edge of rocks and hop one to the next like that. It helps me practice balance, but it also gives me a sense of physical relief.
I did find, also, I was hacking up all kinds of nasty mucous. I think the lack of sleep on the bus ride to New York and hopping on the plane at La Guardia, getting barely any solid rest, in and out of fleeting dream space, probably lowered my immune system. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bug crept in too. I imagine it was a combination of all these factors that played into that expulsion of crap from my lungs.
And now that I’m back to sea level, the mucous is nearly nonexistent (or seemingly so), and I feel light as a feather. Buoyant, as though I’m floating.
I don’t feign this high will last forever. But I think the goal is to integrate what I can, and allow that to move me into the future.
Coming home and grounding is proving to be more difficult than I thought. Perhaps that’s a lesson I need to learn though, because every time I leave on a flight and come back, every single time, it takes a couple days to touch down. Perhaps even a week to feel like I’m on the same page as most others. I’ve been called arrogant more times than I like, but it’s true. I return with new understandings that I want to share, but people don’t necessarily want to hear that, because they are revelations mostly personal to me. I wind up trying to project my own individual growth patterns onto others, which is essentially selfish; my own desire to share replaces the compassion and empathy I usually make space for when interacting with strangers and loved ones.
There is most certainly a balance to strike. I’m still a work in progress.
Despite hacking up my lungs, and the pressure in my foot, I maintained my energetic levels throughout the trip, and thankfully, there is a root for respiratory nourishment and antiviral activity. It’s also said to be spirit medicine for the warrior who wishes to dive more deeply into the darkness of her own depths. And what do you know, it thrives specifically at about 9,000-10,000 feet.
I never met osha up until this point. But I had caught glimpses of it in my studies, especially right before traveling to the Taos Mountains. Plants seem to work in that way. They teach in the dream-time. The osha was already entering my field of vision, preparing my mind and body to absorb its spirit upon arrival.
Osha is unlike most of the roots I’m used to working with: burdock, dandelion, and yellow dock are all rather hard and fibrous. Whereas osha, especially when wet, gets soft and mushy.
The root packs in the love hormone oxytocin too.
Oxytocin does not only affect humans. Bears love it as well, which is exactly how it gets the name. Osha means bear in an Indigenous language (I believe the original language is lost, but the word has traveled through time). Apparently the bears like to dig it up for medicine themselves, and take to cuddling each other after eating it. From what I’ve read, male bears give it to females in courtship, and they also chew it up, spit it out, and use it like a poultice to clean their faces and protect themselves from parasites.
Even the tops of the roots look like little paws.
So we took to the mountains to say prayers and retrieve the bear medicine. We kept repeating it over and over like a mantra, like an orgasmic release of language. Yipping and yowling with each harvested root OSHA ooosshhaaa oooOOSHAAAaaa. It’s better than saying the word fuck. This feeling. It’s intoxicating. Like an aphrodisiac, Ligusticum porteri, a guttural botanical howl, oshaa how the linguist cums, digging in the moist soil, fluffy mycelium, leaf matter, so deeply felt, grunting, praying, digging with tools, with hands, the root comes up from the fertile earth bringing with it an invigorating force. A whoosh of life. The heart unloads. A grounded lightness is sensed. Love. That which makes the heaviness of material existence feel weightless. How fecund. Breath upon breath of freshness.
I can’t find where it originates, but it’s also called the empress of the dark forest.
Today has been all kinds of purple.
Dropping off an elderberry syrup to a friend in the morning. Then finding a large patch of chokeberry which stained up my hands pretty inky. I foraged maybe 4lbs. and there was still so much more.
After that, we went hopping on stones in a creek. I was drawn to a weeping willow, under which I gathered a handful of shiso.
And I met heal-all for the first time.
Apparently the plants with purple leaves absorb more green light, and the green leafed plants absorb more red and blue light.
Seems kind of backwards, but what do I know. I turn 8 shades of pink red and white when I absorb whatever light.
Oh, and last night I made a salve using coconut oil infused with lavender.