Fifteen minutes of Flame

HONK! The beeping squall announces sacrament.

Ruffle of coat as the door becomes locked against the world

With a practiced swirl the coat is laid down over his bag

Puppy howls and purring clucks sing greeting.

Fluffed heads and ruffled butts, affection gifted.

Maybe fifteen minutes then the worship service is over,

He vanishes like an unanswered prayer.

I am blinded by my faith, accept it as my truth

even as I’m told I’m a sinner:

“You do this.”

“This is your fault.”

“You don’t have courtesy.”

“(s i l e n c e f o r w e e k s)”

FUCK YOU!

As I kneel at my altar after giving all I’m able,

it isn’t enough because I’m not whole-y holy.

I am “The Chosen One.” I am “loved dearly, but,”

This church is beginning to feeling like a silent prison.

I meditate in deep communion to ponder pontificated parole.

Sondering

I want to talk about the people that are peripheral to your every day. In my life, they are the bus drivers that work so I can get around town. They are the retail workers that ring up my purchases at the stores where I shop. The gas station attendant who explains I can save a couple bucks if I grab another off the shelf holds a special place. Just people doing what they do.

But then if you realize that their lives are as rich as your own with complex relationships, health issues, families, hobbies, friends, etc; the world explodes. It’s as if, like your own family tree, they expand into an infinity. When you see everyone as intricate parts of one another, things get fascinatingly complex.

But we don’t typically enjoy complex. We’d rather look past that woman in the beautiful dress that manspreads. We’d rather not realize that the armrest we’ve been using was someone’s leg that they kept crossed because you were unwittingly borrowing it. It’s like we put on blinders to the lives that are happening around us to maintain simplicity.

That really isn’t very human of us and yet it is perfectly human. It’s like looking at a painting but only seeing the picture, not the colors. We gray out the things we don’t want to pay attention to like a speed reader does for the words, not letters. We do a human shorthand so our brains can remain focused on our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. We can ignore the background noise without having to actually participate.

When I ride the bus, I do my best to be mindful of the people I’m riding with. It’s not out of fear or anxiety, but more like an observation of my surroundings. I’ve found some pretty great people to talk to about many different topics. I’ve discovered, as I’m walking to or from the bus, secret codes embedded on the sidewalks. I’ve found trinkets such as a honking duck, a tiny bird that got stunned on the glass windows of GVSU, dollar bills, and even a guy who loved my art and bought one of my pieces.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpAPrKxHp8W/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

I challenge you to reach out to the world by opening up your eyes and turning up the color. See if you can guess their story about their appearance without asking. Make up their backstory so that you can practically sit down at their dinner table as their invited guest. See how quickly their lives become full and rich with color and flavor.

Make up their relationship with the person sitting far away from them. See if you can make them meet in your head. What will the conversation be like? Will it be angry? Long lost? Happy? A reuniting of high school BFF’s? Who have they lost in their life? Why is that important to the narrative?

I’m asking you these questions because at the beginning of the new year, I am to begin writing one of four books to be completed by the end of 2019. I’m a procrastinator so I’m going to give you a brief synopsis of each:

  1. (Working Title) Seventeen Days: A love story: A woman estranged from her best friend takes a road trip to rescue her. Their reunion is a wild adventure.
  2. (Working Title) Talking to the Ceiling; Looking to the Sky: A spiritual evolution that occurs when a woman seeks to release her anger toward God.
  3. (Working Title) The Fireman’s Son: A loving father describes life as a Fireman via letters to his deployed son during WWII.
  4. (Working Title) The Loves of Clara: A woman born in the early 19th century leads a secret life as a famous artist.

And there you have it. Why don’t you help me out here and comment which book you’d read first and why. It might help me narrow down my choices. I’ll let you into my world so you can sonder around as a repayment, how’s that?

Sometimes Maybe

Sometimes I want to be a kite

Ripped and tugged by wind’s whim

Rising above spectators

Admired for my brightly colored dips

That write nonsensical whispers

Of promises made to a forever not witnessed

Sometimes I wish I were a bear

Raw with raking power paws

With heavy duty claws that help me eat

People I don’t like or those who disturb me.

Sometimes I wish I were a siren

One that rests on rocks singing sweetly

Lulling sailors to their doom upon my rocks

Jutting breasts and flirty hair calling to boys

“Beware! Beware!”

Sometimes I’m glad to be me

A chubby tubby funny woman with dimple cheeks

Cracking open frozen hearts, not of ice

But stuck in places not so nice

Places that don’t remember their worth

Burying their beings without much mirth.

Running Rampant

There is a degradation of masks piled up in the middle of society’s living room floor. The pink elephant with polka-dots has begun the erotic dance of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” It’s such a beautifully awful dance played out with vicious words typed with anger and a seemingly absolute belief that the brilliant slice taken from a “Libtard/Wingnuts” dignity will most certainly have them eating crow and begging for forgiveness.

This deeply ingrained battle to be right has caused discourse on every level from global down to the familial microcosm. It has pushed down buttons of justice, conscience, defense/attack, personal rights and freedoms for many politically minded adults.

This rhetoric presents itself as friendly fire but is subtly far more bombastic. It is meant to disrupt unity. It is created with both sides seeing the same information but with their preferred “AMEN” spin attached.  It has created a sense of terror, injustice, righteous indignation, and cries of prosecution from every participant.

When the weight of Donald’s election settled into my brain, I admit, I was convinced we’d reached the epitome of desperation. I lamented to my friend, through ugly sobs and heavy snot, that I didn’t believe I’d make it out of this administration alive. The cruelty I heard through soundbites on national news caused such a feeling of anxiety because, although my father died in March of 2016, the alt-right had just, essentially, elected my father to run the country.

How can a dead man be elected?

My sperm donor was the kind of man who took great delight in making other people uncomfortable. It was his passion to destroy anything or anyone that said they loved him. His fragile ego, narcissistic personality, abusive behavior, as well as his habit of gas-lighting others while never once taking responsibility for his actions or their consequences made Donald identical.

The rawness of that realization is so potent that two years later, I am still broken wide open with my muscles dried to jerky. I look like an anatomy book that shows nothing but muscle without skin to hide the innards. Each nerve screams in a constant high pitch because there is no relief. It hasn’t stopped. It will continue until he is no longer in power.

I can only read the news a little bit before I have to put it down and walk away. Many times I’m finding myself going for days without checking anything out that I normally would because the injury to my sense of decency is brutal, bloody, and truthfully, exhausting. With this administration, it’s been like living with an abusive relative that you can’t escape from, despite futile efforts.

The only people who do not seem to see this are, I suspect, so used to being abused that this is their normal. They’re used to everything Donald does from lying to name calling, finger pointing to shifting blame. They believe because the alternative would mean they put their faith in the hands of a psychopath which is totally unacceptable.

They honestly believe the lie that he will build the wall, that we won’t pay for it (and even if we do, Mexico will pay us back), that he is an anointed of God, that he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.

It is my further hypothesis that the people who are so vehemently protesting are people that have been in abusive relationships and have either left or minimally recognized they are in danger. They see all the red flags that have been run up the flagpole (but only to half mast because…guns). They understand that if this is allowed to continue, someone is going to end up dead, which further means it will be themselves or someone they love. Theses are the people who are taking to the streets and rampaging wrathfully for justice to be served.

I wake up each day wondering if today will be the day the world ends. I wonder if the people I love, both Veteran and not, will be able to continue the care they get through government programs. I’m deeply concerned about my brothers and sisters with more melanin and whether they are going to survive the onslaught of violence which has escalated since the induction of white supremacist Donald Trump into the White House. I worry also about the LGBTQ community with Donald Trump’s cronies running around threatening imminent bathroom attacks by trans people or conversion of youth to being gay because they were raised in loving homes with same gender parents.

The focus is completely egotistical to the point that the news cycles barely touch on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Children, women, men, entire communities are starving to death. There is nothing left to eat. The death toll is rising.

Russia is making power plays that are starting wars with their neighbors in the Ukraine. It’s a vicious game of cat and mouse that is being willfully and freely condoned by this administration.

Murdered American citizens by foreign royalty are dismissed as no big deal because there is profit to be made. What’s one life when billions of dollars could line the pockets of the ultra-rich? Life holds no value which, in turn, means none of us matters in the least to Donald. Unless we bring profit, he has no interest in keeping any of us alive.

What’s even more twisted to me, is that Donald’s “Amen corner” seem to agree. They stand behind him as if they are in awe of his boldness while they whole time their hands are held out for more money. It’s a disturbing trend which has been around probably since politics were invented. It’s shameful pandering to the deepest pockets.

I don’t have the answers to how this could possibly be solved unless we can reset the last save and start back in 2015 again before this insanity became the reality TV of real life. When I was a young child, I was proud to be an American. I was proud that this country stood for justice around the world. Now, my shame for what we’ve become as a society makes my head hang like Ol’ Glory, at half-mast. I do not know this Republic that I once loved so dearly. I truly wish she were the Land that I Love once more.

 

 

Revision

Rolling down the road before

Been there, done that, know the score

Crossed that bridge, then burned it down

Trapped myself in my hometown

Ghosts of me walk laughing by

Anger driven, cocaine high

I barely know the face of then

But I wear them as my diadem

Broken heart lay broken wide

Spilling love from what’s inside

Trains of childhood sing forlorn

Don’t chase those tracks. Don’t heed those horns.

Meat Loaf

Did you know meat suits come with fragile halos and fierce wings?

You know, the ones hung on ideals, beliefs, but rarely on faith?

The halos may as well be bent together like pipe cleaners

fuzzy and limp if not woven together to be fuzzy or less limp

You probaby don’t even realize you have anything divine

in your very being

You lay around on the couch after an average dinner

watching programming so you become programmed

You walk the dog, feed the cat, check the kids, go to bed.

Alarm goes off, take a shower, wash around the halo

which mostly is a pain in the ass, but it remains.

Then, around half past ten, while heading to get coffee,

a young man steps from the curb while deeply involved

in a conversation on his phone that holds his attention fast.

The fierce wings spring from your average back, halo blinding.

Without thought or personal consideration, you grab the man.

The bus barely misses him. He grimaces at you for contact.

You apologize for saving his life un-sarcastically. Wings and halo gone.

Later, you lay around on the couch after an average dinner

watching programming so you become programmed

 

Into The Otherwhere

There are times in my life where I felt so much weariness just maintaining my facade that I couldn’t bring myself to explode. I mean strip down to the bare bones and rebuild myself into my birthright. The very idea of destruction to create something real seemed counter-productive, but without truly understanding, I invoked Inanna, Goddess of Love, Fertility, and War. One of the Ultimate Mother Goddesses that I embraced with great fear but deep trust. I had no idea what I was doing, but in the core of my being, it was the right thing to do.

Gate of Authority

I removed my crown. I released my prayers to a God I didn’t believe in, or rather, doubted his existence. I surrendered my name that identified me by birth and allowed it to become dust of the earth. I gave my power to the winds of change, the solid earth, the fires of passion, the waters of emotions, the edge of the Universe clenched tightly in my abandoned fist. I allowed myself to become whatever would become.

Gate of Perception

I took off my rose colored glasses to allow any vision of the new world to manifest. I needed to understand the rawness of reality. I required it because I could no longer make my mind see what wasn’t there. I had to face the illusion that I’d created; safety, love, comfort, stability. I couldn’t lie to myself any longer. I opened my eyes and felt shame for what I’d allowed myself to be fooled by because it was truly obvious.

Gate of Communication

For every time I justified words that weren’t my truth. “Oh, you just have to get to know him. He’s not really that bad of a guy.” or “You don’t understand. He’s not like this at home.” or my favorite lie, “He didn’t defend her because he was defending me.” All lies.

Things I told myself because I wanted so desperately to be loved, to be worthy of love. I needed to speak a truth that nobody seemed to want to hear. If I raised my voice, deafness fell on my audience. I became (to cross pantheons here) Cassandra, the soothsayer that could see the future with 100% accuracy but nobody would believe her.

When I realized my voice was aimed at the wrong people, I let it go. They didn’t need or weren’t ready to know me at that level. Onward!

Gate of Compassion

For so many years I was groomed to be the perfect victim. So much so that it never occurred to me that I was one. Even now, at 50, I still have difficulties thinking of myself as anything other than me. But world events or politics such as they are, remind me on a deep level that I was bred to be consumed by men like popcorn, until I found this gate. I had to find a way to love every broken piece of myself. I had to discover that the words I was taught to destroy myself by people that sought to destroy me, were theirs, not mine.

My words were those of a mother caring for a sobbing child. My words were ones of comfort and reassurance that I was worthy of love, capable of love, in fact, I AM love. This gate held me for the longest time because centuries of anguish had to be unwoven, stripped, and remade into my light, not into their darkness.

Gate of Personal Power

At this point I realized that I was harming others with my shards of broken edges and broken promises. I released deception of myself. I released deception of others. I had no reason to manipulate others to suit my needs even though I tried constantly. I allowed others to take from me because if I gave it, they couldn’t steal it.

I returned the power I had stolen from others and set them free of me. For example, I had to walk away from relationships that no longer served me or my companions. I gave up drugs, abusive relationships, alcoholism, nicotine, and the acceptance of violence against me.

I no longer gave sex away willy-nilly (I know). I found more power in holding my core strong. I mean, I love sex, I won’t lie, but there’s something different when it’s given freely and not coerced or forced from my loins. Now, you may think, “Well, duh, Mare!” but I again point out that I was groomed to believe that my vagina was my worth. I didn’t understand the power because it was not seen as power but shame.

Okay, so I also learned that telling my truth to large groups of people was extremely cathartic. I was allowed to say what happened to me and my family lived. I was safe when I walked the stage and spoke of the gun violence I’d experienced at the hands of someone I once loved. I learned at this gate that my personal power was more than who I am, it’s what I am to myself, to others, and to the world. It is my light of LOVE that will not ever again be dimmed.

Gate of Creativity

I found new ways to value myself. I had to believe, from top to bottom that I was created with a purpose so Divine and sacred that only by walking deep into my belly could I find the earth in which I was planted, the water which nourished me, the air that I knew so intimately, the fires that cleansed me, the spirit which guided me. I had to eliminate anything that contradicted that balance of perfect love.

You may hear me joke about my body size, but it’s my shell. I love every inch of this meat suit. It’s kept me moving forward for half a century. It’s weathered so many stormy seas and still sets sail each morning. How could I discount one inch of this glorious being I am? I love me. I love my body. I love how I feel. I love how I look. I love who I am. I had to accept me to love me with no conditions. It was hard work, but baby, look at me now!

Gate of Manifestation

So at this gate I stand Naked. Bare bones flapping in the breeze like wind chimes. Flesh stretched over shells to make drums, entrails stretched into harp strings, and nothing of my former self remains. There isn’t a door or an audience to applaud this place I find myself. I can’t even stand to be around people at this point. It’s not that I’m afraid, I can see them as they are. I see them for their lost paths and misguided anger. I’m not different than them, but I’m not the same either.

I want to step through and see myself reborn. I want to become what I’m meant to be. I’m ready. I have nothing more to lose. Seriously, nothing. Every material good is vanquished. Everything I thought I knew is scattered on the side of the highway between there and here. I have so much lost blood that I’m crusty with scabs of things I’ve torn from my body that didn’t belong there. Leeches of my energy, parasites of my love, rapists of my body, shamers of my spirit are all released into the mud I’ve created in tears cried zig-zag across the country. I am ready.

Gate of Death

And there she died. The part of me that couldn’t love. The part of me that was so devastated she hated the sound of her own name. The knife-like pieces that stabbed anyone that got too close, that wanted to take anything from me, that needed anything from me, that wanted me to be happy or not. I had to allow her to die. I had to lay her to rest with a fancy wreath of flowers in a cold field under the ever-watching stars where the milky-way sang a dirge and witnessed the sacrifice. I was finally free.

Rebirth

As I write this, I realize that for many years I struggled to find my footing. I had many people along the way that helped me even when they didn’t have my best interests at heart. I had to trust the journey. I had to reach out to people that I was deathly afraid of, but found them to be some of my strongest allies. I’ve trusted some people to my error, but they taught me to be cautious with whom I interact my power with because not everyone has my heart.

I still have years to go in this life, Lady willing, but I want to know what it’s like to find that peace of mind. I am strong, I know that, but I’d like to help others find what I’ve found. I’d like to show them the way to love of self, others, and the divine spark within. Here’s hoping for another fifty years!