Whisper My Return (with Spoken Word)

Into my cathedral, no path to follow
Just my will. An alter of dirt and moss
Built by no human hand gives me pause.

I do not believe in God.

God, “I don’t believe in you.”

But when you whisper through leaves
Trees rustle back their peaceful thanks,
“How can your existence be denied?”

One thing that will endure, is beauty.
So while you and I may never break bread,
Interwoven inside each step taken on my path

A presence I can no longer deny.

God, I believe, now, believe in me.

Yesterday, I walked up a stream into a womb
It’s walls covered in soft beds of moss
The trees, eternal, whisper my return.

The Call of the Mourning (1987: Age 16)

April 25, 1987

A voice from the distance

A hollow echo within

The victory march – a funeral hymn

The call of the mourned
To the mourning:

Life is bled
Life is finished
The Lord takes away
To give again

An echo in the distance

A voice from within

A funeral hymn – Gloria

A call from the children
To the mother within:

Spare your tears
No seed will flower
The Lord takes away
To return again

Do not mourn
We are not to return
Unite our hearts
We need not mourn

In honor of the children and families of Manchester and around the world who have fallen victim to the irrational power of hatred embodied in terrorism of all brands, a favorite song of mine from 1987 performed by one of my guilty pleasures, Ariana Grande:

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

Blow Away the Smoke

When last seen, the smoke had settled on the water

He looked up at the fire ball screaming across the sky

Hoping it would soon end.  Night had become day,

Day had become night and he was left sorting stars.

 

This one tells the story of a dolphin dancing in the surf

This one tells the story of our hunter Orion and his aegis

This one tells the story of a mother chained for her beauty

This one tells the story of…

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Listened to the Lion

Lion, what roar remains inside your love?
We shall not be contained by the cages
Built around our souls, as if they’d define
Meaning inside the love we were bound.

No longer over the falls falling the tears
I hear the lion roar inside of me: “Love!”
So our souls build around us definition
Binding us to meaning, life still to live.

My voice:

Once upon a time, a version of me would have told you my favorite song was Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, and then my life began to change in ways unanticipated and a new song emerged that spoke to a deeper part of my soul needing to find its way into the world. I think the words above express something from that part of me. Song of the Week: Listen to the Lion, Van Morrison.

Artwork: Funky Lion Roar by Sarajevo2707
Funky lion roar

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Reflections on Massachusetts Ave, 7/23/18

It’s so fucked up
This culture
People with rucksacks walking there
Like There is someplace to be
As if here is never enough.

Right here!

Can’t you see what’s right here!

A tree some soul planted
Maybe from a seed or a sprout
Has grown up
Having found the sun.

A woman runs by
Exercising
Ear buds in her head holes
That could,
If she were still enough,
Hear a bird in the city, singing.
But no.
No!
She is talking business
Instead of just sweating.

Here!
Here! I tell you
The place to be
Right in this spot.

Don’t move
For a minute.

And see
And hear

And be.

Forget all the stones stacked up
Neat as can be
Organized like Earth never imagined.
A monument to nothing.
A dwelling for no one
We know.

Here
Hear
See
Now.

Greece
Vietnam
Philippines
Korea
Latvia
Turkey
Romania
Ireland

Water drunk from plastic.
Lifewtr. Purified.

In each, a stream
Asking us to drink it
From our open palms
Living, pure.

A bronze Gandhi
Walks. Frozen.
On watch. Who
Will wake,
Walk with him
To collect salt?

On Seeing the Sunrise, 7/20/18

I do not know God like you do
Or you
Or you
Or, even, you.

As a youth, I thought I’d meet Him
In Church
Speak to Him through Prayer.
We’d all chant together.

This morning, when I finally woke
Something entered me
Not a Man, or a Woman, but Being.
It knit a whole.

I quietly sat and listened
To the words of poets: Rumi, Kinnell, Lawrence
Blake, Kabir and Thoreau
Until their words invited me outside.

Under foot, the sand cooled by the night
Awaited my imprint,
And the sky, wow! the Sky!
Spoke through remnants of storms.

An orange glow pressed through a veil
Spreading its light across the horizon
The edges of clouds painted purple
And the silence of a new day filled me.

Perhaps, like Kabir, who knew nothing shut iron gates
That new love couldn’t open and wake
The beautiful woman asleep beyond the clouds.
“Fantastic!” He says, “Don’t let a chance like this go by!”

So across lines in sand set by human machines
I leapt to stand awake and in awe
At some divine being now inside me
Ready to swim in the bay, as full as the sea.

With thanks to poetry found in The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade. Harper Perennial, New York, 1992.

Begins Its Beat

So the chorus sings together, I hear them:
This is me, this is me, and this is me, no apologies.
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
To the flood it had held back like risk.

These words, too simple to be accepted
Now break down all of the barriers built
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
My heart brave, begins to more than throb.

It glows and drowns the darkness
This is me, this is me and I deserve your love.
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
My heart absorbs the flood and begins its beat.

My Voice:

The past month, I have been healing with my children and some amazing friends. I thank a one very good friend in particular for introducing me to The Greatest Showman one evening that provided a needed rudder shift. This week’s song of the week, the majestic and entrancing anthem, This Is Me, inspires and tonight I felt something change for good inside me. I am not sure this poem puts a finger on it, perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t, but something new now begins its beat.

The Song:

The Lyrics:

This Is Me
Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) ’cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

This Is Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

The Treasures of Her Day

The woman sits down in her chair at dusk
Having harvested the treasures of her day;
The paddle board and kayak stowed
Nothing remained but the words’ flow.

For many years, she wove a blanket
With certain colors and particular patterns
As seen in a book or demanded by masters. Yet,

The treasures of her day spoke different tones,
Exposed unique designs only she could see.
Time came, time went. Patience’s virtue
Slowly became the value she needed most.

The moon rose to offer its reflections.
At last, she had harvested the threads
With hues and their complements discovered

In the patterns of conversations, something
Undesigned at last but to be assembled
One stitch at at time. A life she could weave
Together with the moon’s reflection, the season

Inviting her inside out to dance: Stars,
As they point to a story yet to be told,
Ask the teller to weave for them her color.

This Cup

I offer this cup to you
refill it with the blood
of imagination and immortality
offered like a gift from the gods.

I let it slip from my fingers
into the desert of adulthood.

She offers this cup to me
filled with blood shed
to resurrect the gift of love
piercing the limits of imagination.

In her hands it throbs
with a longing for childhood.

We offer this cup
a dry vessel filled with blood
to rediscover life in red
more vivid than imagined.

In our arms lips shiver
and restores our innocence.

We fill this cup
with truths lost in the desert,
the blood of mortal life
and love immortal.

Your gentle hand
fills my cup.

Image: Breakfast Still Life with Chalice by Willem Claesz Heda 1634