21 December 2011

Queen of our Long Night

Our Night Queen is rich and unattached
The seed pearls that she grows in her throat
and her diamond sweat drops
roll down her dark neck, her dusky arms, and off her fingers
onto the velvet sky of winternight
there to radiate an unconfused light
of that which we don’t yet know
because we’re just not ready
However one night very soon,
as her sickle moon cuts through the cobweb clouds 
that we trust
to keep us from seeing as high and clear as we must,
ready we will be

15 December 2011


I am a Law Man
I am the Outlaw
I draw the line
so I can see it

I walk the line
and I cross it
I tour my walls every hour with my torch held high
and I slip like a night whisper under barbed fences
I wear black all over
I am masked most of the time
I am silent and sudden and my walk seems threatening, weightless
I cover my prints to find that
I’ve lost my own trail
I swim naked through white-water rivers 
and I track my scent anyway
I track myself down
I throw firecrackers under your chair
I shoot silver into the air
I am dangerous
I am not deadly
I build a bridge 
I defend it
I hold it for you
I burn it to ashes
and then
I do it all again
Arsonist and warden
I am sooty
from being on fire for so damn long
My helmet gleams in a way you don’t like,
and yet my baton only swings in my fingers 
It hammers the shield I have yet to put down
in a drumbeat chant
for streets of dust and grease
Dance on my beat if you will,
it will be under you as long as I’m around
When I am trapped 
I pepper spray my own feet
until they’re burning so fast 
they will lead me the way I need to go
I am the Good Guy
My brutality has awoken to its options
and is looking in its own smoking mirror
I am gut-shot
Bleeding onto the floor is no problem for me
I have this shining star on my chest
I have miles to ride
Through me blasts
the panic of a million desperate boys
fundamentally abandoned by the world 
yet charged to carry its weight
Through me rolls 
the uncontrolled thunder rage
of their two million desperate fathers and mothers
Through me the desperation cry becomes
a gesture worthy of Athena the Just
and Zeus the Wrathful, both together
Through me the self-cutting rebel yell
becomes a really really really GOOD talking-to 
from one with kind hands to match his eyes of mercy
What it comes down to is this
My discipline is self
My aim is wild

I contain a lost commandment
and I am open to suggestions

13 December 2011

Drop of Blood Speaks to You

There is no doubt 
that I am a heated drop 
of Goddess blood
From my small point of view I have noticed that 
some of her thoughts travel as foaming ocean rollers 
pulverizing themselves on all shores
roaring her devotion to abandonment
her strength to surrender
her ability to let it be
Yes, I am negligible drop of blood
and I am also one of those:
a fearsome, obedient wave of the One
a fearless shore-meeter and self-giver
that has learned to walk and dress herself and shake people’s hands
I am a messy collection of her cast-off fragments
My intentions are vast
My acts are immense
I know how to look
And I even know 
why to care what I see 
with eyes of Oneness
Sometimes I wonder why every person I meet
doesn’t recognize her awesome face as my simple one
But I already know the why
I already know the why
You know it too:
Whispers of the One must be listened for
and the heart-beating love-wringing Oneness of the world -
once it’s half-forgotten -
it must be sought
and so we are busy
busy very busy
In the midst of your busyness, still you know that you are her
You are the Her the Him and the It
The Oneness that crawls in your veins
the Oneness that shelters in the shining bowl of your belly
and threads between your teeth
and sleeps in your ears,
that Oneness
lays its Mother-Father-Friend hand on your tired brow
and you feel it 
even when you don’t
But today it’s easy to see that
your chest holds the cries of each babe born
And I see without looking 
that each wee seed 
each mote of soil
each dusty speck our effort to be godly
fits into the soft heavy sack of your heart
and therefore your heart is nothing other than
Hers, and His,
and Mine

12 December 2011

You are the Breath of the Wheel

You know that 
wheels are in you
And I see you 
feel them
You know that
galaxies wheel in you
Galaxies sweep with arms longer than imagination
arms strung with beads of worlds and worlds and worlds
and yet you contain them
Arms with universal hands
wave in the midst of you 
open and closed and halfway
Their finger bones are raucous living stars 
They have fingernails of planets and planets
Fingernail dirt: entire and whole envelopes of sacred life
Many-armed world wheels turn in you 
and their fingertips of new constellations
write on the insides of your eyes
Like child-fingers drawing squishy hearts
drawing speeding ships and
lasers and arrows
in the car-window steam
made of your own
universal breath
Breath of suns 
Breath of skies anchored by heavy whitestone moons
Breath of night sewn together with mighty star thread

Breath of seas rains rivers always trying to become each other
Breath of rumbling tangled bed of rock
Breath of all soils under foot, paw, hoof or root

Breath of the wheel
turns in your skin
in your intent
in your word
Your hands do the work of the wheel
and your eye sees the spinning
of each thing doing
of each thing done

6 December 2011

The Using

Just let me move I will untie this cord.
Just let me move I will pick apart this tangle.
Just let me move I will loosen it, and

sever this tie which is my own.

I cut
and cut.

Eye eye eye
undo my

And so, then,
I sew I sew I sew.

Always sewing,
never mending,
never mind.

I shall not be fixed.
Not be fixed.

It so happens
I like cracks.


Stretched, shrunken
pitted, pilled, pulled



Life uses me
just like it does


I offer me.
To the using.

I walk to meet
the using of me
with my hand outstretched.

And I can already taste it.

Yes, I can taste it again.

The flavour we always want to taste
but never want to hold in our mouths too long.

Because the using, it's

the using will lie on my tongue
for just a moment or two after I've moved on.
Long, long gone.
Long, long gone.

My non-existent, used suitcases
left unattended.

Project Projectile

See here?
See this animal skin
       strung between the riverbanks of my ribs?

It's pulled tight
       so tight

over the breathing well
       over the oasis the deep river

Drum it drum it drum it
       make it pound

Drum it drum it drum it
make it
       make its sound

Drum it drum it drum it
Let the lights shine
into this tight-capped valley sealed under lock-lid sky
       between rising hills of rib bone

Drum it
Let the light shine
into this thick dark wook
with its no-trail, no-breeze back
       turned on me

Let the sound shine out here

Let the work be taken in hand
And let the hand drum it
into here

While the heart rests
Heart, beat if you must
       but beat barely

Project Projectile

Because here

       I AM IN HERE

Imaginary Interview: Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945)

Chantell: Ms. Kollwitz, how can as visionary an artist as you be so neglected?  Except perhaps in parts of Germany...

Kathe: Do things make sense to you in this world, Chantell?

Chantell: Ah.  Okay, moving on.  I notice that hugging features prominently in your oeuvre.  Would you give me a free hug if you were alive?

Kathe: Hmm.  How good are you?

Chantell: Today my sons said my hugs are rare.  They meant good.  I think.

Kathe: Well then, provisionally, yes.  

Chantell:  How did you bear your apparently fully-realized human capacity to love in a time of total intent to annihilate?

Kathe: The children.  Their parents' hands.  But why are you asking me, do you think things are better in your 'now'?

Chantell: You got me...

Kathe: You still there?

Chantell: Right, sorry, um.  But the Great War took your child.  How could your love prevail?

Kathe: I was out of options.

Chantell: Why do so many people think of mothering as boring, a non-job, and apolitical?

Kathe:  You got me.

Chantell: I guess it's the money thing?

Kathe: Are you kidding me?

Chantell: Um.

Kathe: Okay, dear.  Gotta go.  Good luck.

Chantell: Hang on, one more thing.  Please.  What's the remedy for fear of destruction, violence, apathy?

Kathe: Fear wants to control.  Courage guards willingness.  To love.  To try.  To open.  Just... remain willing.

25 November 2011

This Is The Ground On Which We Meet

you mended
with thread of spider silk
where you touched me
they were opened
until they closed
they were reconciled
without their arcane names
and then you burned
you burned from a dark heartwood inside
your seedself bringing forth a fire
all white-hot and silver 
and like the heavy
perfumed fingers 
of cedar boughs
you burned in your thriving deep green
breathing blood
your sweet-water rain blood
your blood of tall trees
whipped and whistled
in its own storm
no way to stem your flame flood
no wish to stem your fire tide
not even a moment’s contemplation of stemming this
and as you burned
my skin shone
like a plucked harp string
in a stone-silent night
and as you burned
my skin scalded
in exquisite vining patterns of yes
and as you burned
my skin was a silken shred of dove-grey ash
and I shed it
in a new direction

One Of Her True Colours

There was a time
I really thought your flight feathers
were black
as stone-carven sphinxes found in caves over the mighty Nile
Now I see differently
because you have stood
between the sun and me 

just enough times
to let the secretive old earth magic in your hair 
reveal one hundredth of its mysteries
I have seen you wear Sun as your crown 
and you should know that in your coronations
brown does a thing it rarely does

it shines

Tangled through your hair and eyes
your face and fingers
fragile threads and rich veins of brownest brown 
wave their way
The same brown that pools in shadows
of heroic serpentine roots
of the cedars that line our river
standing witness to the passing
of storms fish squeaking children
owls ravens rolling stones
Seen against years of summer’s best and most shattering light
you show the brown of cedars
who stand with their shoulders touching
listening to the passing by
of all the waters of the sky
and their brown trunks rise
in praise of the passing of everything
through the clear brown bed of life

Raven Queen Flies From Mountain Mother

A raven queen, her dark eyes are that bright.
And she drips with golden workings of far and long-gone fingers.
Her mind turns toward things that catch light, 
and if she can’t collect them, 
she makes them.
I know there are gleaming obsidian feathers 
under her shape-shifting 
or river 
or tide 
of hair,
but I haven’t caught sight of them yet.
Today was the first day I was to see her fly, so I waited for feathers.
But she chose humming white wings to wheel over waves
toward a maze of pharaonic towers that glimmer 
in their rows 
and rows 
in the rain.
She will land and prowl for splendid things 
in the dirty shadows and eerie reflections.
In her wake, I am dealing with this mountain, 
rising as she does
in her tawny skin of sodden maple leaves.
I labour, a negligible creature creeping around her knees and feet: 
her apron of trees falls low down her shanks, 
yet it is high above my head.
Much protection here, many sheltered ways, much softness, much to drink.
So secluded not even the sun with his golden white eye can find me
and my ankles want to turn themselves over 
to maroon me here 
for longer 
than I will give 
And they have plenty of excuses for their willing stumbling.
The rounded stones have been bathed in rain so long. 
They gather in slippery herds to slumber.
The trusty paths are full of talkative water.
The moss, 
almost invisible in its meek green blanketing grace, 
sweetly drapes more rounded stones 
to show the world 
their lowly, curving ways.  
Moss gives way most obligingly.
I don’t think she watches me, 
she may not even feel me, 
the mountain woman.
What with the immense emptying of rainrivers over her lips
and their white down-pounding on her lap stones, 
why would she notice that her fierce breath lifts my hair from my face 
as I stand and look up 
at one of her faces?
What with the bounding pulses 
of a thousand streams 
from her thousand hearts,
how could she feel the slow, slipping dance of my faltering feet?
What with the running and racing and tripping and trickling 
of worldwaters down her shins -
skirting nurselogs 
floating fir cones 
between ferns 
through mushrooms 
over roots 
right into my shoes,
how could she know anything but this pouring forth?
I emerge from under the last threads of her skirt: 
tiny trailing swards of moss and grass.
Unseen by any but me, out I crawl.
Out onto her bare stone toes where she dips them into the sea.
And still she covers me from the bald, cold sky.
She holds me here. 
I will not fall up into that space.  
And it will not come for me.

18 November 2011

People's Mic Speech

Repeat after me
All I can see
are seven billion 
heart-beating, people-shaped reasons 
Please repeat after me
All I can see
are elephants wondering
if they can wrap their noble grey heads 
around the idea of offering
their superior mourning rites
to the almost-buried dreams 
of us,
their small, lost, two-legged cousins
Oh my people
repeat after me
All I can see
are trees rooting in the mouths of rivers
rivers pouring from the hearts of mountains
and mountains patiently checking their watches:
when will they GET IT TOGETHER?
Repeat after me, why not?
We know full well
the time has passed
Well before our births
The time to lay it all down
Lay them down
the sword and shield
VISA card remote control
the tax-cut lust
the make-them-pay-in-blood-lust
Repeat after me
and make it loud
This us and them thing
it’s the worst lie 
we ever agreed to believe

And repeat after me
It looks to me
like a whole lot of us
are really wondering
why we ever agreed to need
to divide ourselves
and conquer each other
maybe not a whole lot of us
But more than a few
Possibly just enough
So please repeat after me
and tell me if you believe
that enough of us
have had enough

30 October 2011

Sweet Futility

How many mornings 
does one wake up in a meadow?
I was there.
Skirting thistles.
In the morning.
in the hour of the blue-black bruise dome
I had unzipped my door
avoided tripping outright into the wet grass.  
I’d glanced up then.
No sky.
Just a blank, awfully close to my nose.
And not a clean slate either.  A poorly erased one.  Smudged.
Not star-salted.
Thick pudding of night cloud touching my hair and worrying my eyes.
when Aurora had carelessly stalked through her bedroom sky-door
that’s where I was.
And I was in the light.
Picking my way through thistles far and wide.
In the company of slugs finishing their night salads.
Arguing with the late summer sun: O beloved orb, just don’t go.  
(I know you will.)
(No matter what I say.)
One arm went up as I turned my feet in the sticky web of my 
argument with the sun dance.
The hand on the end of the arm travelled higher.
It passed beyond the tops of a row of quiet trees 
keeping sunrise from waking more tent sleepers.
And as the hand passed its little zenith
it uncovered fire.
A fire content to contain itself
in a droplet of night air that got too cool and heavy 
to lift itself back up.
The whole sun 
in fact.
The light of this world.
Lazing in a drop of dew.
burning in water 
hanging in air.
The chosen droplet broadcast its orange speech at top volume
touching everything to its west
with its eloquence and its beautiful goodbye.
The best thing it ever had to say.
In the end
of course
the sun did climb its daily steps.
And it made a little dewfire irrelevant 
with its meadow-baking statements. 
Crickets sunbathed between hay stalks.
Dragonflies cruised the sky party
clacking their wings.
Sounding the bells
of the end
of every futile argument ever made.

6 October 2011


seeing you turns my chest into a flower garden
pink orange white red and yellow begin to buzz
they fly in small silly hardworking circles
restless under my chin

seeking the colours you flash

the colours you snap without noticing
in your perfect rhythm
slow and mellow
half beat behind the rush

seeking and seeing this
the colours of my breath all open
open so fast

my chest blooms 
as if the sight of this
is a rare chance to turn its inside out 
and live
the chest opening its quick petal wings
like left and right hands unfolding from each other
to hold the new warmth 
of a gentle, traveling sun
so golden clear
is this sight
no less sweet than a jar of honey 
left to glow on a bright windowsill

30 September 2011

I am a spirit of a class lower than the angels

I am a spirit of a class lower than the angels

and so yes
maybe I am your genie
if I am
I’ve had a revelation

it’s much much busier
and way more familiar 
than your wish is my enchanted command

you’re not alone, o wishing one
I for one did suppose 
that any granting they might get done
was a matter of magic 
in their red blood
in their white bones
in their tree green eyes

a simple side-effect
of their unusual pistachio cinnamon breath 

well I don’t want to 
dis your illusion

cause it’s a pretty one

it’s just good planning
and heroic labours
many small stitches by hand deploying
soft hopeful blankets of coverage

and what’s that other word?
tilting sliding stacks of best guesses
where, when, how and what will be your wish
more wishful thinking on the spirit side by far
seeking to influence is hard work
you see?
every so often a djinni’s palaces towers legions and crowds of wishes
collide with a single uncomplicated desire
of the beloved
the tracked
the served the observed
and that 
dear wisher
is how it’s done