Absorption Into The Ocean

If I could wake up
every morning so peaceful
so many people still sleeping
the silence of waves
arhythmic meditation
a briny thickness
hanging heavy
opening up the lungs
deeply breathing
the heart swelling
like the spray of sea foam
in the distance
a flock of sea birds
in flight
the horizon lights up
a brackish pink
the receding waves
catching violet
reflecting salt
and purple rays

The way the sun engenders vision…
And gives birth to the morn…
It must be so easy to drown…

I get a cup of decaf coffee
with a splash of regular,
a small dose of pick-me-up caffeine

and the ocean feels less
like a womb and more
like an old crone
dispensing wisdom with each
ruffle of wave

arhythmic meditation
packed into the push
and pull of crashing

I want to jump in
but only get my feet wet,
for now

It must be so easy to drown

like falling asleep
or jumping off a moving boat

This is what I think about
when I think about absorption,
little deaths,
the facade of self
crashing against sand and rocks,
the stubborn ego
holding on
to a capsizing ship.

I always wanted to be buried
naked in the earth
My dead old body decomposed
by the passage of worms
But I can imagine
being thrown overboard
at the edge of a dark, dark moon,
maybe a star will shoot off
and you’ll know I’m gone to the sky
the way a bird takes off and flies
a fleeting memory swallowed
by the unanimous nature of time

It must be so easy to drown

Last night we walked out to the ocean
to catch a glimpse of the setting sun,
but a heavy storm cloud
met us instead.
It brought with it
a deluge of thunder and rain.
We hid under a pier
at a vague attempt to stay dry.
Maybe to wait it out,
but there were dark storm clouds
covering the sky.

We were only delaying the inevitable.

So we ran out
into the storm
small acceptance
and shrieks of joy


Allowing Nature To Impress Its Gargantuan Self Upon My Tiny Mind

Keeping up with the on-goings of the news, the rubber bullets and bruises, the dead bodies and excuses, the anger and swirl of militarized states, the paranoia, seeping like poison, and here I am, taking a moment to speak from a place of ignorance and bliss, preoccupied with unknowing.

We were at a cafe and it happened to be Science Night. There was a lecture on “flat crystals” and it so totally lost me in a labyrinth of carbons and graphenes and the thickness of atoms…

Taking to the forest instead to learn from the trees, staring at the utter enormity of redwoods, the majesty, the trunks swaying, creaking in the wind, groaning with age and laughter. Hundreds of years old, one hundred plus feet in the sky. It wipes the mind clean. For a long, ecstatic moment I’m left questioning, What is politics? What is this election? Running and jumping and climbing, following a creek, a trickle, making our own paths, pushing back ferns, skunk cabbage, ducking under fallen trunks, stopping to appreciate tiny caves, discovering miniature waterfalls.

Why am I seeing dinosaurs in my mind’s eye?

The forest floor, soft and moist and alive. Banana slugs chugging along… Slowly… Mushrooms popping up in plain sight, forever a reminder of villages and families and the underlying connections we have but hardly see.

Taking time to sit on a fallen trunk for a moment’s breath. The sunlight shifting behind trees. Recalling earlier, when we read aloud from a hidden history of paganism and witchcraft. The ravens caw-cawing overhead, unseen, but heard, amidst the denseness of trees.

We were at a Halloween party the night prior and there was so much straight sexuality, it had me wishing for something other, transcending, an element of the spiritual, beyond the binary. A woman walked over holding a basket of thin branches woven into circles. “Look,” she said, “You can change your perception.” She held the woven branches in the air, peering through them as if into another world. She threw them in the fire and invited us to pick one and do the same. “This is Samhain. The new year. Let go of what’s burdening you.” She explained she had surgery on her neck to remove cancer cells, but we couldn’t see the scars because she drew a vine over them to give them new life. The vine covered her face too. “This is my pain,” she said. “And this is my medicine.”

She inspired me to feed the fire. I took scrap wood from the piles and walked around placing each piece on top of the already burning mass. It was piercingly hot. It kept me at bay, but slowly, I grew a rapport with the flames and made my way closer and closer until I felt inside the flicker and burn. It made me feel insignificant like ash, like I’ve been crumbling in transformation, blown indiscriminately by the wind, and returned to the earth. I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling, because currently the social climate of the country is experiencing breakdown and upheaval. Thousands have been taking to the streets, and now thousands are traveling to Standing Rock. To align oneself with the movements is to feel the structures shift beneath your feet, which is indeed returning folks to community action and protecting the earth.

As much as I get wrapped up in the mindset of the zeitgeist, I’m humbled by the world, how much there is to know, how many pathways there are to take, the grand totality of perspectives at play.

When I walk into bookstores, I’m swept away by the thousands of little worlds stacked on shelves, and the knowledge therein, held together by the thinness of pages. When I hop on the internet, I’m in awe of the way people string words together to create so many clashing realities. So many bubbles that build up and eventually burst. Communication is a wonder. And it goes beyond alphabets… Eye contact, art, the brushing of bodies, the touching of minds. When I walk in the woods, I’m dumbfounded by the number of species of flora and fauna I cannot identify. All I can do is stare at the mystery. And study. And study. No wonder the earth is said to be Goddess. She is both exhilarating and terrifying in sheer complexity.

It happens often when stepping out & into the world: To know so little, but to see so much.

I passed a river birch on my walk home today. I pushed the wiry branches out of my way, trying to avoid getting poked in the eye. As I did, a wisp of pollen dusted the air. It caught the sun, little specks of yellow
I thought for a moment a tree spirit had sprinkled me with mind-altering fairy dust;
time felt slow,
so soft
and my vision focused on minute details otherwise glanced over. Like a blue jay chasing a scared bee weaving
erratically through the air buzzing in agonized fear for survival. The jay missed the bee and landed on a fence perturbed. He looked at me as if to say, “Why didn’t you catch him!” He then huffed & puffed his stately plumage, & splayed out his tail feathers like a handheld fan. He flew to the nearest tree.

Nature is so animate.

A few inches off the ground, I watched a spider catch a beetle with her web. She roped him like a calf at a rodeo, and started drawing him up for a feast. But that beetle squirmed for dear life and slipped a leg free, and continued to lash about dangling & spinning in the air. It was a battle of life and death. A dramatic struggle. The fear of the beetle emanated in tiny waves. The spider kept throwing line after line of web to tightly secure her meal, but the beetle went into full freakout mode and his one leg broke completely off setting him free. He limped away disgruntled & hurt yet visibly relieved. The spider cast some last-ditch-effort threads like fishing line thrown at the end of a long day, but it merely slowed the beetle’s pace. As the spider finally settled for the broken leg, the beetle trudged on with a resolve for life.

And people wonder why I don’t have a TV.

White Noise vs. Nature

The birds celebrate loudly as the sun falls toward the horizon. I read poetry on a rippling creek & watch fishermen fish to keep their sanity. It’s a place of rejuvenation for myself & many. Nature. Slow, alive, and peaceful. The past few days I’ve been painting walls and walls and walls. Which is quite meditative, getting into a flow of brushstroke after brushstroke, rolling paint rolling paint rolling paint, and even driving my sister to work in the mornings and picking her up in the afternoons, there is a similar repetition. It’s a strange monotony I haven’t experience since, I don’t know when. Maybe high school. In a weird way, it’s illuminating. Sometimes I forget a daily routine exists and carves a way through so many lives. It’s a flow I readily accept (albeit a temporary one) because I’m pressed to find the uniqueness of a landscape & pattern I revisit over and over again. I like the way the road curves into the sunrise. I like the way the paint spreads and dries and blends, and damn, my life must be in such a period of slow motion if I’m watching the paint dry and enjoying it! Anyhow, the devil is in the details as they say… The past few days I’ve been visiting the creek & watching the lily pads sprout. They look like alien fingers, green & grasping toward the sun light dissipating beyond the horizon replaced by darkness and stars. The colors shift ever so slowly like the clouds or the birds changing forms as they flock through the sky. And the moon rises seemingly out of nowhere. She just appears and creates an illusion of distance and size. One moment she is high in the sky, and the next, she is hidden behind the tree line. And likewise, kids play for lack of care or seriousness or the oddness of rigid boundaries. So often we call it love, the unhindered nature of clouds, or the aroma of spring time trees. And when we take a moment, when we see fit to let go & be leisurely, the aliveness is palpable. And likewise, the absorption is nourishing. 

Little Spiders Crawl Across My Page Of Cursive And Ink

I’ve been sitting in a cemetery for about an hour, contemplating the softness of soil and the nostalgia of times gone past. I nurse a beer, which strikes me as an interesting word (nurse) considering where I’m at – a hospital is right next door. People often think it’s a morbid set up, for a cemetery to neighbor a hospital, but I think it’s fitting. Why shouldn’t we confront our own material mortality? I imagine it’s an abject thought for many because we have the drama of living & breathing & working & politicking to preoccupy our days. Who really has time to think about dying, about bones beneath earth, about the decomposition of skin & cells? Who has time to think about the flight of the soul when there are weekends to plan and bills to pay?

I digress, as I often do. It’s the mark of a wanderer. Or perhaps a free thinker.

I drank a lager earlier, and decided to return to the beer store for one more. I chatted with the clerk who laughed, “You need another?” I told him I’m writing poetry in the graveyard, and sometimes the meditation calls for an extra drink. He smiled. He said he admires people who can write with clarity, and he mentioned Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’ve read a few of his articles as well. He said Coates was just in Philly and he wished he could have gone, which reminded me Cornel West was just in Philly and I had similar sentiments of wishing I had known. From what I heard, Angela Davis made an appearance too, and he smiled broadly, Wow that brings me back to the Black Panther days. He reminisced for a moment before asking, “So how’s writing in the cemetery?” I tell him it’s peaceful, I mean, you can hear the traffic on the outskirts, but not too many people are around, so it feels undisturbed except for the geese and other birds. “Ah, but they don’t bother you, right?” I smiled. I tend to think they add to the poetry.

And another customer jumped in, at which point I headed out.

I sit with my back against a sturdy trunk, & robins flit and skit amidst the grass, & groundhogs scurry hastily to their holes nestled in the sides of burial mounds, & a great blue heron stalks in a not-so-shallow area of the pond, & the geese honk honk HONK, & the crypts reflect in water like portals to the ancestors, & roots always call to mind prehistoric times when the primal instinct of humans wasn’t so convoluted by concrete and wires.

& little spiders crawl across my page of cursive and ink.

As I meander the gravestones & trees, all I want to do is tramp through the fallen pine cones and hear them crunch under my feet. So I do. And the rain trickles ever so lightly creating tiny ripples in the man-made pond. I find a broken wing, a piece of statue smashed to bits and stare at it. I hold it in my hands comparing it to a large pine cone. The feathers of the wing and the wooden petals of the cone so closely resemble one another in their layering & falling, it reminds me of the snow we had a few weeks ago and how the flakes fell to the ground so softly like the flecks of wood fell to the floor as I sanded. There are these separate moments that accumulate and somehow become connected, and now I can’t help but feel like I’m falling too.