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what is now

miraculous changes happen all the time

too often, the alertness required to spot them is lost from view

 

for instance-

 

a familiar scenario presents itself in some stylized variation

and you endeavor to fulfill the typical role, to take the comfortable stance

 

only now there is a halting of the spirit that says: this story has met its end

in one blessed moment you have chosen freedom, casting yourself

to the waves with wonder and terror

 

what an amazing and startling revelation! what a relief to know

that it is no longer an obligation to enact the ritualistic annihilation of the past

that time is the only death your soul might begin to transcend

 

the world opens up and that self which seems so enticing to your hungry mind

fades into the ether of hours and moments and long drives which never again will become

 

there is only this, what is now

and the memory of you, who is arriving

 

at the cosmic sea of possibility

 

 

a throwback to a very cold day at the Rigby Mansion with Emily Paige Townsend

a throwback to a very cold day at the Rigby Mansion with Emily Paige Townsend

when a man is a poem

what happens when a man is a poem
he speaks to you in the language of life

his love flows to you like water from the mountain spring

his sighs linger at the nearness of your shadow 

 

for once

there is no need to fight, to resist

there is no need to teach, to explain

 

still, you brace for that familiar blow

 

you can see that he is hurt by what the world has taken from him

that the man-making did not kill the life of his soul

that his heart is built up with the readiness to love

and be loved by anyone in this precious life

 

yet the very fact of his aliveness is a reminder

of those chains which still rattle with every step

where the weight of survival has made you weary

 

but what is liberation without redemption?

 

 

 

dedicating this poem to my soul-sister, Daniel, back on the east coast. you give me hope. sending blessings to you and to every man who chooses to live. <3

 

 

 

photo by Keren Fedida

photo by Keren Fedida

melania says it's okay

It's Women's History Month! It's International Women's Day! Hooray!
The meaning of sisterhood is something that is always on my mind, but it seems more appropriate to talk about it at this particular moment- not simply because it's March.  My notion of sisterhood has evolved as the balance of power in my country shifts and the forces with which we have refused to contend with are rearing their ugly fangs and threatening our progress and safety.
I am a feminist. Feminism has saved my body and my spirit from hatred and fear.  It has empowered me with a lens through which I can deconstruct the world around me and search for what is human and recognizable to my heart.  It has illuminated the need for a commitment to love which challenges me to be a steward of my own energy, and to walk through the world as generously as I can.
I hope that women in the United States can reflect on the notion that "sisterhood" is not guaranteed simply by the accident of gender or sex organs.  Sisterhood is earned by doing the work of challenging ourselves to learn, to show up for each other, and to let go of the cultural narratives that cause us to turn against one another.
Sisterhood understands that we are harmed by patriarchy, that we are maimed by misogyny.  Sisterhood acknowledges that those wounds look different for all of us, that they are bound up with other traumas that not all of us will face.  Sisterhood recognizes that patriarchy is propped up by so many forces in our culture.  Sisterhood challenges us not to turn our face away from the ways in which our wounds are different, but to learn to be of service to all of our healing. Sisterhood surrenders to the fact that we cannot build our fortress of love on a foundation that excludes, that erases, or that is implicit in the harm of any one of us.
I wrote "melania says it's okay" after the video footage surfaced of her husband bragging about sexually assaulting women.  Many women saw this video and dismissed it.  Many women heard of rape and assault allegations and dismissed it. Many women heard this man speak of women who displeased him as being subhuman. Many women heard him categorize people of color, and undocumented people as dangerous and criminal and turned their gaze away.
My words in this poem are a reflection on womanhood, sisterhood, and the harm we do to one another. All of us are called to a greater commitment to protect and strengthen each other- especially now. <3
 
 

this is america! women are free!

free to do whatever they want-to buy new titties and laser their labia

to wear blue jeans, clit rings, bonnets, habits or hijabs

free to do 3,000 kegels a day, free to wear strap-ons and strapless bras

free to slut it up with whomever they please, or buy a vibrator when it gets too depressing

 

 

this is america! women are free!

free to defend the pedophile priests

free to preach the gospel of misogyny

free to be sexist, racist, homophobes who fear trans people and the meaning of gnc

free to change their clothing and the route they walk home from work

free to forget about the poor teenage girl in a factory on the other side of the earth

free to go into debt for a college degree, free to eat carbs and free to eat pussy

this is america! women are so free!free to take hormones that make them feel sad

free to bleed chunks of uterus into a cup or a padfree to ride horses and lose their virginity

free to throw up after they eat and cry themselves to sleep

free to have their rape kits sit in the basement of a PD

to be criminalized for having a child they can’t afford to feed

to be villainized for not having a child they can’t afford to feed

to be scoffed at for apologizing and being meekto be skewered for demanding anything

 

BUT THIS IS AMERICCCAH!

 

women are so free!

free to do more damage than any man could do

so grab them by the pussy, why don't you!?

photo by Emily Paige Townsend

photo by Emily Paige Townsend

Alchemy

me and you
neither of us two
mind a little pain or a lot
we feel what the others forgot
where precious persons on vast verandas
in lives gone by have wept for us
 
me and you
neither of us two
use inside voices inside these walls
we speak in song and dance through halls
our laughter billows through the rooms
and the world is glad as it bubbles and booms
 
you and me
both of us, we
disown the white savior jesus freaks
we sip communion wine as we transmute time
for this is what love requires
when it assigns us to its sacred fire
 
you and me
both of us, we
wear rings and chains
and silver medallions
we paint our toenails in unison
for this is what love requires
when it assign us to its sacred choir
 
me and you
neither of us two
ever cared to follow the rules
we prefer the alchemy of humanity
fusing our bones with the soil of two continents
transforming our being in the womb of love's sacred relief
 
yet who could fathom but we
with fathom upon fathom
and dream upon dream
the miracle of
you and me
 
that while we were busy
with our joy and our weeping
our secrets and our singing
 
we made something
gold and everlasting

 

photo by Keren Fedida

photo by Keren Fedida

Silence

this past week was silence. stillness. rest.
lately, i've been living in extremes- basking in the noise and the hustle and then taking refuge in silence and rest.  listen for the silence in your world- it is always waiting <3
 
silence
it is silence that covers your secret voice
with blankets warmer than springtime
it is silence that softens the line of your mouth
when you realize that you belong, have always belonged
it is silence that reminds the tenuous beating heart
that is does not owe
the grinding world outside any precious affections,
that its glorious turning is enough, has always been enough.
it is silence that listens to the longing in your bones

photo by Keren Fedida

photo by Keren Fedida

Water- a love note

Wake up early, before the shrill of the day can match you to its fever pitch.  Wake up early while the rest of the house remains quiet and far off in sleep. Wake up early and listen to the rain rattle the old roof and rustle the endless piling of leaves in the yard.  Turn off the alarm and ease yourself into recalling your dreams.  Water.  It begins and ends with water.
    They say it never rains in southern California, that’s the song that keeps playing in your head.  You’ve been here for exactly twelve days and it has rained three times.  It reminds you of the very early spring back east, where the warm currents claw their way out of from beneath the thick and endless winter cold.  
This is not spring.  No.  This is winter now. Go ahead, laugh like an idiot.  Role around in your bed and smile until your smile muscles start to quiver.  You’ve done it. Here you are.
    You fancy yourself to be the water bringer.  You know it’s been drought here, so much drought.  Then the floods came and brought you tumbling forward, and now the rain is settling in as you start to live with the idea that you’re here and not there.  It is the dreams, you tell yourself, the dreams of water.  You are diving in, submerging, swimming.  You are listening to the water move across the sandy soil as if it were the sweetest soundtrack you’ve ever heard.
    Look at the mountains.  Look at the mountains and remember once more that you are nothing, you are not anything that can’t be ground down to dust by one single rock slide.  Remember that the water will never know the wonder and the terror with which you behold the mountain, for it will bury the rock slide as it births a new landscape.  In the end, even the rock cannot resist the will of the waters. You start to laugh some more.  Yes, like an idiot.  Your smile muscles are getting stronger, but they’re not strong enough.  You invite that ache in your jaw.  It reminds you of the person that you love.
    He’s somewhere far off beyond some other mountain range.  Most likely, his smile muscles are at work just like yours.  The string that you tried to cut from your ribs, the string that tethered you to his life, that string is wiser and much older that the two of you combined.  It did not snap at the distance of continents or the force of separation.  It became low and quiet, waiting in the ether of your vision just behind your eyelids and earlobes.  It began to tug at the smile muscles so that when he pulls in laughter you begin to twitch and move into aliveness. It lassoed around the water of your dreams so that when you submerge, he will take to swimming.  
This is the longest string in all the universe.  This is the string of so many lives that tangle and knot and bend together and apart, but never will sever.  So now you must ask yourself, as you have so many times: how can this be? how could this miracle choose me?  
Oh my, what a silly question! This is so much bigger than you or he or even any life you bring into the world together.  This is the thing that makes death so wild and sorrowful, to know you have found the magic that is worth living for, the kind of love that is worth dying for.
“No more waiting in line!” life has proclaimed.  
Oh, these smile muscles, teetering between laughter and tear.  Answer yourself this question: how could it ever be that you were not meant for this? how could it ever be that life would pass you over?  The answer is the rock slide and the rib bones, the thousands of miles you’ve traveled to see the red earth of the first nation peoples.  The answer is his eyes, the eyes which you imagine your child gazing up at you with.  The answer is his voice and the smile on his mouth which sweetens the turn of his words.  It is every possibility of joy that exists because he exists.  It is the rain, the way in which it flows through, even the bald faced mountain rocks which seems so impossible.  It is the water, the way it changes form but still retains its elemental magic.  It is water, like you and me.