Becoming a Warrior of the Light & Discovering the Sacred: A Spiritual Autobiography of Sorts

Last week I had to write my Spiritual Autobiography for the Spirituality and Counseling class I’m taking this quarter. This particular assignment scared me a bit. More than a bit. In fact, just thinking about this assignment made me itch. … Continue reading

E is for (what else?) Ethics

  Don’t have sex with your clients. Just. Don’t. Washington State law forbids it and even goes so far as to outlaw intimate relationships with former clients. Forever. The American Counseling Association (ACA), in section A.5 of its 2014 Code … Continue reading

Shadows, Poems, & Projections: Just a few haiku

It’s one thing to say I’m going to start writing the truth, as I did in my previous blog. Actually doing it? That’s quite another matter, but here’s a first attempt. When I write these haiku, whom am I speaking to? Who is the “you” in my poetry? As I was reminded in one of my classes last week (rather inelegantly, but still), whenever we point our finger at someone else, we are really pointing back at our shadow selves, those parts of ourselves we are at war with. We are always projecting our fears and hopes, desires and needs onto those around us. And so it is with my poetry. Sure, these may be inspired by a particular person. There’s a muse, to be certain, but on deeper reflection, I am “you.” You are me, and to paraphrase the Beatles, we are all together. Goo goo g’joob.

I loved the way you
Swept the door open and bowed,
Welcoming me in.

We had a language–
an undercurrent, riptide.
I drowned in your words

You bequeathed to me
This gift of desperation
Exquisitely wrapped

Stop outguessing me.
Just walk your way, and I’ll run
mine. We’ll meet midway.

You do walk alone.
Were you breathless, keeping up
With my racing heart?

I’ve been your hostage
Since I read that first poem–
Enslaved by those words.

I am the blue sky
And you are the deep green sea
Breathe the air between

New Year Haiku

Sitting, staring, contemplating

Sitting, staring, contemplating, notebook in hand.

During the holidays I had the luxury of time, during which I was able to write some new haiku. I’m always amazed at how a few moments of contemplation can result in words, images, and phrases arriving and coalescing into something more, how an hour or two staring into space or at the sea creates the space in me to realize metaphors and make connections.

I want 2016 to include more of these moments, stolen away from the pressures of daily life. I want 2016 to be a year of more poetry.

This ache, unyielding,
Spreads through my bones. Malignant
Love, metastasized.

Pulled by your tides and
Seduced by your moon, I float
Free in your salt sea

Dreams of you send me
Beyond the curve of the earth
Spinning through night skies

Wash me, erode me–
Rough surf, relentless pounding.
Can’t swim in these waves

I hope you don’t mind,
Ersatz inspiration, you
Are my makeshift muse

I want to be as
relentless as the ocean
pursuing the shore

Anxious attacks me–
All soft syllables, she bites
With ferocity

We could be breathing
Side by side. Instead you chose
Only to exhale

There’s new light on the
horizon. Nighttime will slip
Away into dawn

Some days I forget–
Even deep scars fade with time.
Blood and tears both dry.

I googled your name.
A thousand not-yous filled my
Screen. Damned imposters.

We are all blind in
Our refusal to really
See one another

Choosing blindness won’t
Render you invisible.
My vision is clear

Uninsulated
This fear electrifies–my
Body, conduit

Just a Few End of Summer Haiku

Here is my entire haiku output for August and September. Not much. Not many syllables. Haven’t felt inspired. Except for these few haiku. Enjoy.

I have stopped writing
Poetry for you each night,
My reluctant muse.

What if we just breathe
together? Inhaling the
essence of ourselves

Marriage should not be
reduced to a tally, two
columns, keeping score

Today we untwist
One last thread, our gradual
great unraveling

Still unspoken, the
Honest truth sticks in my throat.
Captive to these fears.

Our story landed
Hard on my heart–opening,
Tenderizing me.

Inhale these words—breathe.
Let me carve our script inside
of you, a rough draft

Overdue Haiku

I haven’t been writing much haiku recently—but I have managed to eke out a few in the past several months. Now is as good a time as any to share them. I’m working on a longer blog piece—my intention is to finish out the alphabet that I started in April, and I’m currently working on V. It’s proving to be somewhat Vexing—but I plan to finish it before school starts again in July. In fact, I’d like to wrap up the rest of the alphabet: V, W, X, Y, and Z before I resume my studies.

In the meantime, enjoy these, please.

We can’t finish what
we started. The pieces of
our pasts too puzzling.

You gifted me this
path. A bittersweet gesture
Since it leads nowhere.

You’re my Proof of Life
photo, ignoring this, our
relentless torture

Here’s tonight’s lesson:
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
It’s like this. This too

You left just silence
On my altar–some off’ring
Bloodless sacrifice

Open that tightly
closed fist–you can cradle worlds
in an open palm

Paradox
Loosen your grasp. Let
me go, and in the release
find deliverance

Rise with me–spiral
Up. Let us float heavenward
Toward hope and bliss

Sink with me–spiral
Down. The depths await. Sometimes
Hope simply won’t float

This grief well runs deep
Dowse here to discover my
Tears’ artesian spring

True happiness lies
In the letting go, in the
Absence of desire

I paid your ransom
With deposits from my soul–
Some installment plan

Even in silence
the Muse inspired. In her
quiet presence, grace.

I’d steal your kisses
If I could–a thief in the
Night. Unexpected.

I have read about
the tomb of longing and find
I am trapped inside

One awakening
Or many? Dwell in the now.
Breathe deeply. Again.

I’ve electrified
The fence around my heart. I’ll
post High Voltage signs.

Drown me. Hold my head
Under your water, gasping,
Breathless. So alive.

Ignite me. Touch your
Match to this tinder, my dry
Fuel needs a flame.

Once, someone asked me to explain my poems. This is what I said:

For me, it’s all about what is churning inside of me at the moment, feelings that I can’t make sense of or get a grip on I can somehow, magically or through this alchemy of words, distill the feelings down, make them manageable. The reader brings her own feelings to the same words and the meaning changes–I love the ambiguity and the not knowing. The mystery and the freedom to interpret and wonder. I started focusing on the power in each word, the impact that just the right word could have, double entendres and deeper meanings. I’ve started bringing this consciousness to my regular writing though it’s much easier in 17 syllables than in a book length manuscript and it makes it richer, deeper when the words can have meanings on so many levels. I feel like I go on a personal journey writing these, and then when I release them to the universe I see them  differently again. Layers.

Be Brave! September Haiku Wrap Up

Every month when I review my haikus from the previous few weeks, I think “there’s no way I can post that! It’s too X.” Fill in the blank: too personal, too sad, too obscure, too depressing, too much. So, I go through them and edit and delete a few that don’t seem ready yet for the world at large. I’ve done some of that this morning with this group. But, I’ve also been listening to Sara Bareilles’ song Brave.

What would happen if we all let the words fall out honestly? This song also inspired one of my haikus which came to me as I was studying on the deck last month, enjoying the sunshine and reading about gender roles (there’s a rabbit hole that will require an entire series of blog posts).

I am embracing Brave–here are my words, as they fell out of me these past few weeks:

I gifted you with
A river of words. Language
In which we might drown.

Follow this tattered
Thread. My worn out and used up
Words. Can we mend us?

In this race against
Time, no judge, no jury. Just
The clock. Tick tock tick.

You read me like a
Favorite book, turned each page,
And savored my words.

We created some
Thing we wasted–it became
Some nothing again

Daddy’s little girl
Drops the old man’s hand and her
Heart turns into stone

Fighter jets and blue
Herons vying for sky space
Competing contrails

We each have our own
Calvary–those hilltops where
Our innocence dies

We had something and
Now we have nothing–what dark
Magic did we weave?

Sadness envelops
Me, an uncomfortable
Cocoon. A tight frame.

Hope is riding shot
Gun–we’re mapless and lost in
Uncharted terrain

Race. Class. Gender roles.
We are bound by smaller minds–
Too tiny, too tight

How big is your brave?
Could you be homo, bi, trans?
Are you strong enough?

Procrastination Poetry: July Haiku Wrap-Up

I should be writing a paper for my Gender Development class—six to eight pages “telling your story of how your gender identity has developed across your lifespan thus far.” Alas, I’m procrastinating. Funny, how the assignments I think will be easy turn out to be the most difficult. Instead of writing about my non-gender conforming ways, I thought I would share some of my July haikus instead.

I’ve not been terribly prolific—not quite back up to one a day, but I have managed to cobble together a handful of decent poems this month. A few have to do with running—since I ran my first half-marathon a week and a half ago; some to do with writing, and most to do with life in general.

Enjoy!

How hard must I wish,
To conjure your words from air?
Eyes shut. Hands open.

(I know, I already put this one in a blog, but I really like it, so it bears repeating)

We dwell here between
Words, beyond voice, in this our
Violent silence

Early morning run–
Lightning fast feet, pounding heart.
What’s ahead? Behind?

Catch and release these
Vivid fantasies. Unhook,
Swim fast, silver flash.

On the precipice
Staring into the void–what
Happens if I leap?

Some Sundays digging
In the dirt is more sacred
Than going to church

How many poems
Must I write to get to your
Chewy soft center?

These words, my breadcrumbs,
A crafty trail I’ve contrived
For you to follow

An itch I can’t scratch
That’s what you are, embedded
Deep. Unreachable.

Nights like this your words
Arrived on moonbeams, dancing–
Spinning into memoonbeam_1

Super moon rises–
Feel gravity’s pull and the
Tsunami’s release

Super moon rises
Between Mt Baker and the
Endless sky. Listen.

Seven hundred miles
Logged since January–I’m
Running for my life!

Distill it down to
Seventeen syllables: Life
And Love. Poetry.

Thirteen point one miles
First ever half marathon
One step at a time!

Facebook lives or Face
Book lies? What deeper truths lurk
Beneath these facades?

Do you ever walk
Alone or lonely, keeping
Pace with your own heart?

X is for April Haiku Review

I cannot believe that April is almost over and I’ve spent another month writing haikus (and daily blogs). Again, so many of these haikus defy explanation—I will try to give some insight into as many as I can. Some, though, just pop into my head fully formed. Others I get pieces of and have to then work out the remaining syllables. Occasionally, I will sit down with a topic in mind—generally these poems turn out to be the ones that sound the most forced, the least authentic.

So, as promised, here’s a haiku that begins with the letter X (which is the letter for today’s blog):

X—a crooked cross,
Sideways marks the spot, and, drawn,
Erases me gone

X can stand for so many things—ex, as in former. A place to stand. A place to dig. A spot. A signature. X’d out, as in erased.

My heart’s flame burns white-
hot blue tongues arise, dancing,
Seek your oxygen

Poetry sparked and
Ignited passionate fire–
Stark truth doused that flame

This one came directly out of Jake Ballard’s mouth on Scandal one night a couple of weeks ago, after Olivia tricked him into sleeping with her so she could get her hands on his phone. I just wrote it so that it lined up 5-7-5:

Tell me you felt it
Too. Tell me I’m not crazy.
Tell me you were there

The Little Woman and I were born under the same sign—we’re both Geminis, so when I read my horoscope in the morning, I’m reading hers as well:

Every day I
Read my horoscope and yours–
Astral projection

This year I seem to have a huge amount of pent up energy that I keep trying to expend through running and writing and now, school. So I wrote these:

I’ll sleep when I die–
Til I’m exhausted, weary.
Sounds good in theory

Wet sneakers pound through
puddles, toes shriveling, cold.
Insidious rain.

I woke up on Easter morning and this came to me, fully formed. It is one of my favorites:

Whatever tomb has
You trapped–Push away that stone,
Step into the light

I woke up another morning just wanting to write a haiku in Latin. I’ve never even studied Latin, but there it was, this desire I think to break out of the limits of the language I know, the desire for more meaning, maybe. I had to resort to Google, and it’s not exactly the right amount of syllables, but good enough:

Verba volant
Cor ad cor loquitur
Clavis aurea

(spoken words fly away
heart speaks to heart
golden key)

I struggle often with what to write, what parts of my story, my life belong to me and what parts of my story belong to others. I’ve written blogs that have upset people in my life—these haiku deal with finding that line, that balance between speaking my truth and revealing someone else’s:

Truths stuck on my tongue
Peeled off, now forced to drain through
The nib of my pen

I beg forgiveness
again for speaking my truth—
Is my story mine?

The scales tip toward
truth, and compassion falters–
Elusive balance

How does the writer
tell her story, pen her truth?
Dull the sharp edges?

Truth wants to vibrate
up and out in minor chords.
A sharp dissonance

Warrior woman
Draws her word sword, aware it’s
Double-edged, dang’rous

More on writing—this first one seems pretty self-explanatory. Here’s a whole series of haiku on writing into silence. Sometimes all I want from my writing is a reaction, feedback, someone on the other end to acknowledge my words. I don’t need cheers and accolades always (though occasionally that sort of feedback is awesome), but it’s difficult to write into silence, day in and day out. I don’t care for it much. My frustration seems pretty clear here:

Some days the words must
be pried piecemeal from dry earth
dusted off, washed clean

Looking for Divine
but finding only silence–
The great unlearning.

I have to escape
great silences, vast chasms
echoing within.

I can’t keep birthing
Words into silence. These are
Boisterous children

I’m pushing my words
Into silence and meeting
Resistance. Friction.

Your silence echoes
Through my canyons of desire–
Freshly gouged and deep

My words like wafers–
communion offered, received,
Ingested. Some Truth.

My sentences, like
Wine. Drink from the blood rivers.
exanguination

These paragraphs, my
soul. Transubstantiation.
Sacrifice. Rebirth.

These poems take a little liberty with the haiku form:

(Sorry–)
I just meant to tug
that one thread, not to make the
whole thing unravel

(Can we–)
Mend this ragged edge
Knitting word bones together–
Follow this thread home?

Please do not invite 
me in and then abandon
me at the threshold

What lives behind the 
sets we construct, the masks we
wear? Step off the stage.

Mudslide

Nature knows no bounds—
Follows her own path toward
wreckage, renewal

Oso Strong. Forty-
three gongs of the bell between
Amazing Grace and Taps
.

This last one also came to me one morning, after I woke up from a vivid dream and starting writing about how someone so far in my past could occupy any space in my head while I was sleeping. It didn’t seem fair. This is the haiku I ended up writing, not quite where I started, but it turned out to be a favorite:

See this hotel in
My heart? Revolving door for
Itinerant guests