Year of the Root

I have been writing weekly poems for almost nine years. In this format, on this website, for five. For five years I have (mostly) considered this weekly poem with the utmost of respect, staying up late to finish a poem, scheduling my writing around when I could get to it. When I started graduate school to become a therapist, I suddenly was busier. The poem seemed less relevant at first. The more I sit with people in therapy sessions, however, the more tenderly I regard this little island of thought and reflection. I have collected these weekly poems in books and am working on the fifth one. I originally saw a series of ten. I am at 13.1 miles in the marathon of my Year of series, working out the kinks, which day is most possible to publish. I needed a break to not write poems for a month, although poems still presented themselves :) My weekly poem has migrated and settled from Wednesdays to Fridays. I love it still. I love that you still read them. Here's to 2017! Here's to 2018! 

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Year of the Root


I wanted to call this book year of the horse
but truth be told, I don’t like horses.
Their grace and strength are mythical,
their beauty unending,
but they terrify me,
that much weight should not be housed above
so such nerve,
a savannah of scare,
festival of flinch.

I’ve been startling my whole life.

It is good to have working titles,
Year of the Course,
Year of the Norse,
Year of Source
would also have done nicely,
given I went back to school,
& love a man who loves snow
& finally found a deep reservoir
b
e
l
o
w
wanting.
Is that groundedness?
It is squishy and warm,
a mud bath at a resort where
they offer big fluffy white robes,
dried fruit and nuts are provided in little bowls,
glass cisterns glisten with cucumbered water.

Roots are deceiving,
like glacier ponds and introverts,
not much happens topside.
Rye grass’s feelers extend 378 miles.
There is a colony of quaking aspen called Pando
which is the heaviest and oldest living known organism
boasting one massive root system.
I believe people have one massive root system.
In therapy we call it The Field,
as in there is anxiety in the field.

Back to horses.
I had them once, one twig snap and our patient mare
galloped away with my six year old daughter,
my horse bolted as well and I fell off, 

peed my pants running after them.
It was a hot day, my heart, the muscles hurt for weeks.
My girl was found by a neighbor under a tree,
alive but dazed, our horse grazing nearby.
I don’t deserve horses, not to be on their backs,
I am too nervous, too flighty, they must hate my quaking hand.

Back to therapy.
I became a therapist this year.
I spend my day communicating to the herd,
you are safe now.
I have a pillow with sequins on it,
people like to smooth the shiny circles one way and then the other.
I have bamboo which has been shaped into loops,
some are concerned how it is watered.
One client didn’t notice a wall size tapestry until I mentioned it,
another comments on a small sticker behind my desk.

In my own therapy sessions
I am encouraged to simply feel my feelings.
Not where did the anger come from, not was it your childhood,
sometimes those themes emerge,
but more I am told let yourself be angry.
My therapist has a recliner and a blanket and stuffed animals.
He told me to buy myself a teddy bear as I like to pat its beary bottom
and move its teddy limbs
the way I’ve seen Indian women massage their babies.
The way my middle son needed his legs rocked after nursing
because he had a hard tight stomach.
So many of us have hard tight stomachs.
When I am happy and during particular orgasms,
I feel warmth in my feet, Melting.
This is my practice, to melt.

When I first became a therapist I tried to hold onto myself.
If a client didn’t show up, I took out my journal.
I didn’t schmooze with staff,
I didn’t join the monthly potlucks because I was bored
listening to other therapists commune about movies or television.
I still don’t care for what they talk about,
Crossfit exercise routines and commutes, but I sit there now,
on the banks of something I have wanted forever,
putting my toes in the human race river.
It is too cold sometimes, it often moves too fast.
It is also glacial and refreshing,
there are dragonflies and cottonwoods.

I like to think of the skin of the earth, of topsoil and its fauna.
I like to imagine people, the same way I behold ants and ant colonies,
I like to remember the bugs and beasts of this planet
don’t hurt one another meaninglessly.

I teach my clients they cannot pay attention
to more than three sensations,
when a panic attack is cresting to notice sight, sound, skin.
The clock is ticking, the chair is hard,
the car’s brake lights ahead of me are red.
Since we can’t pay attention to several things at once,
it is important to choose wisely.
They wronged me, they hate me, I will never
are not the best affirmations.
The apple is green, my arm is soft, I like the trumpet in that song on the radio.
It is important to swell our playlists with memory as well,
to have wave upon shore, birdsong, cello, a little bass,
to know the magic of the color between orange and red.

I don’t have answers for my religious clients who feel safe enough
while holding my sequined pillow, to ask, if there is a God
how did he make them get in cars with their mother’s drug dealers.
I feel my feet and encourage them to feel theirs,
I teach them to put experiences in bubbles and float them away.
I teach them about cords of energy between people and pasts and to reconfigure.
Some are barbed wire, some are sticky black licorice,
sweet but also pungent, some are handcuffs, chain link.
In session we cut them, we use jaws of life.
Others need more flex, as for our teenagers,
from umbilical to bungee cords.
For loved ones often the bonds need to breathe and be permeable,
like roots, curving around stony obstacles.
Roots remind us to take in nourishment,
we must remember it is with out and within us.