Poof! Another chapter to add to the shelf! Wishing you a new years list of wonders, both lived and anticipated. Huge hugs and thanks so much for reading this turn. I will be compiling these past poems in a book as I do every year, it should be available in a few weeks. If you'd like a free paper copy, let me know!
Year of Flight
It is subtle,
imagine an attachment halfway
down the breastbone,
now feel the gentle tug.
Flying begins there,
a few inches from the heart.
It is less about mechanics
and more about becoming weightless,
letting time, worry and remorse
be heavy layers left on the tarmac.
It helped to become a pollyanna,
I refused to end a discussion
talking about terrorists or climate change
or school shootings.
On my news reel I list the roof garden
I glimpsed in the city,
that a bike path on State Street was painted kelly green.
One day my son tells me on NPR
a bill passed to pay teachers more,
included as well monies to educate native peoples
about their heritage, taught by natives even,
there is funding for outdoor education,
the program ended with the delightful,
and today a baby whale was born in Puget Sound.
I thought to take flight I needed to starve a little,
become virtuous in flesh and soul,
there have been days,
(more like hours) when I ate only seed and husk
trying to make myself worthy.
I promised to do ten sun salutations before breakfast,
without once checking my phone.
I found it has less to do with my body,
which remains occasionally
bloated, creaky and leaky.
You must find a way to unlatch the chest cavity,
perfection not required.
Perhaps I am practicing dying a little,
but it seems more like finally living,
to take the aviator eye view,
to lift and soar.
This prose is supposed to be an annual retrospective,
a what I did during summer vacation kind of poem,
it may have been the hardest round of my life.
Years ago I asked for a daughter
and one day in April she came,
a failed adoption sort of situation,
she arrived toting a dopp kit of drama, a bedroll of blame.
Her presence nudged out some things
I hold most dear, mostly my pride.
She challenges me to holdfast
to the stronghold that love conquers all.
To make space for her required rewiring,
a garage into a bedroom,
my thoughts on what being a mother means.
I had to turn over every object, consider each
earring, sweater and book, even friends.
Houseplants as well were welcomed
for the first time in a decade,
I considered it miraculous
that I watered them every Monday.
My lover stopped boozing.
In solidarity, I,
the one without a drinking problem,
quit as well,
only to discover sobriety is a cobbled village lane,
I miss pausing at pubs,
I trip on the uneven surface.
We had to learn not to stumble at the same time,
how to be sappy
without the lube of happy hour hops.
I left him once, during the super bloody moon,
drove away not sure I would be with him again,
twenty minutes later I drove back.
I often pray before sleeping,
these days to the deceased-
to Maya Angelou, for help with my new daughter
(her energy is as colossal)
to elder grandfathers for my boys
(I need each ghost and goblin).
Aphrodite and Persephone remain
in my quiver for all matters concerning romantic love
(how to stay strong and yet yield).
I believe in calling upon animals and minerals,
weather of all kinds, this year I noticed birds.
Did they respond in kind,
only the swans, swallows, hawks and owls,
eagles, ravens, crows and egrets
that crossed my path will ever know.
Some of us have lucky numbers or
for a time ladybugs seem to show up
on our forearms as we sit in deep grass,
painted on a mug we are handed by a friend.
I must mention a dream.
I was on a beach with warm sand, a slight breeze,
an albatross approached me
wanting to make love, but I was afraid.
I remembered my one and only ayahuasca journey
where twice I had to succumb to death,
the first by a threshing machine,
the second from carpet bombing over rice paddies,
both times I turned my neck toward
the surrender as I did with this feathered beast.
As on the drug trip, once I yielded,
I was then embraced by Spirit.
It was sexual and not sexual to be taken
by the bird, I briefly became him,
felt his musculature, the buoyant boldness.
Today I asked for help with this poem
and set out to walking,
I tried a new trail by my house
and ended up crossing a seasonal creek,
came upon a clearing,
there a picnic table and brightly painted totem pole.
I’ve lived here twelve years, it seemed improbable-
the outstretched white wings of a large bird
formed a cross,
there was an owl as well and salmon swimming,
a monkey at the top, holding a small yellow cat.
I may have been trespassing,
it may be communal land I don’t know about.
Tomorrow, New Year’s Eve,
I will bring the children, pens and tissue,
a candle and snacks.
On the fine paper we will write
what we’d like to let go of,
release burdens and regrets into the river,
what we want for the new year,
we will set on fire,
letting the ash take wing.