Unbridled

from an early age,
I’ve had this crazy feeling,
as if I somehow came into this deep, unexplained power,
an unbridled magic it’s taking me a lifetime to embrace and hone

it compels me,
even when I don’t want it to –
it wants to bulldoze,
excavate,
to crack me wide open,
exposing all the hidden, vulnerable places,
to break me down to my simplest form

I’ve always felt the need to stay ahead of this thing,
or it might destroy me,
and everything in its path

sometimes it feels like I’m gaining ground,
sometimes it feels like I’m losing,
but the whole point has been to just keep moving

-image via Pinterest

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He Bakes

have you ever really watched a man make bread?

the way he concentrates,
his unruly brow furrowed so seriously as he carefully reads the recipe and measures each ingredient

the way he bites his bottom lip,
his tongue sneaking out to wet it before his top teeth clench down

the way his fingers ever-so-slightly pinch the top corner of the cookbook page,
effortlessly gliding down the backside with a push as he turns it

the way the flour powders his cheek and nose and backside where he’s unconsciously touched himself as he mixes and measures

the way his forefinger delicately and evenly slides across the top of the measuring cup to level it,
swiping away the extra ingredients

the way he so fluidly moves around the kitchen,
following the recipe from step to step,
organizing and arranging,
in control

the way his hands envelope the dough,
pushing and folding in rhythm,
knuckles and palms pressing and molding it precisely

the way his forearms lend strength to his hands in ripples and waves of movement

the way his shoulder and upper back muscles so swiftly tense and release in knots and threads as his arms work

his easy patience,
waiting for the dough to rise

the persuasive curve of his backside and the clenching of his thighs as he bends to smoothly slide the baking sheet into the oven

his pride and eagerness to share when the bread comes from the oven,
perfectly baked,
ready to be devoured

the bread is heavenly,
but I’d rather devour the baker

-image via Pixabay

Magic Hour

every individual leaf and blade of grass seems to be separate,
the breeze’s chilly prickle-bite gently pluck-plucking at every one,
an unpredictable, yet tranquil symphony,
as the moth’s umber wings glide her by,
speaking in a delicate whisper,
like everyone knows her name,
and all I can think is –
Mother Earth’s voice is such a magnificent view

it’s Magic Hour,
the time when the sunlight is golden,
polished by the friction of time’s passing,
softened by the imminent falling of the night,
lending the world an impossibly beautiful glow,
and it’s music to my eyes

-image via Pexels

Sparks

she was all softness and soap,
no makeup or jewelry,
skin with a polished translucence,
as if she only ever bathed in mountain streams

she smelled like one of those overpriced, crafty shops you find in small, country towns,
all sandalwood and lavender,
an easy comfort that wrapped itself around me like a well-worn sweatshirt

as I walked to her,
light seemed to whoosh through my head like a brisk breeze,
leaving behind a mesmerizing feeling of reverence,
of old books and mom-and-pop coffee shops I never wanted to leave

and when we stood so closely together,
I couldn’t see the ground below,
only the horizon,
a sheet of flattened, shiny tin that stretched as far as I could see,
stamped with the buoyant sparks of possibility

-image via Pexels

Absence

they say the pines a’whisper,
a rustling lullaby song,
as the breeze plucks at treetops,
and cool nights grow dark and long

but their sound does not lull, no,
it sings harshly of a ‘bye,
disappearing in shadow,
and cruel whispering of lies

there’s no bogeyman hiding,
in the darkest nooks of night;
it’s absence that’s a’haunting,
hollow howls in the moonlight

-image via Pexels; revision of older poem as part of Imaginary Garden with Real Toads’ prompt, hollow

Lucky

Twenty-five years ago, I kissed this boy for the first time.
He looked at me, and it didn’t matter where I began or where I was.
He made it feel like we could exist in a world where every day might contain at least a tiny spark of magic.
He made truth feel like magic.

The time we spent together began to feel like helium in my veins, and his eyes were the most tangible slice of hope I’d ever seen.

He still looks at me like I’m his forever.
I still cry sometimes after he closes his eyes and falls asleep, because I feel so grateful.
Not because he loves me without reservation, but because he exists,
and I am so lucky to be a part of that existence.

-image via Pexels

Opaque

I looked at her, eyes the same as mine,
yet entirely different. Mine searched for truth, not rescue.

I couldn’t nod like I knew, couldn’t get angry, because it would make no difference. So I just listened.

Too often, my mother spoke about things I didn’t want to understand, but I knew her words needed somewhere to go, so I absorbed them through my skin, until my own breath tasted brackish.

I shelled it all in until I became little cracks, unobservable to the naked eye. A weeping window that grew opaque.

-image via Prexels

Freedom

Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil,
after the longest of winters.
It’s the sound of your voice,
without anyone drowning you out.
It’s having the grace to say yes,
and the right to say no.

At the heart of freedom,
hope beats; a pulse of possibility.

I am the same woman I was five minutes ago;
I am rooted in the same chair.
Nothing has changed,
and everything is different.

-art by Daniel Gerhart

Student

last year,
I committed to continued work changing what wasn’t working in my life,
to letting go of things and ideas that no longer serve me,
to de-conditioning myself from a lifetime of culturally-imposed and self-imposed bullshit,
to questioning my personal stories, assumptions, and beliefs that made up my version of reality,
to showing up differently for myself and breaking old patterns

it hasn’t been easy,
and there have been so many unexpected challenges,
but this year has been a wonderful teacher

I learned to observe the voice in my head and not necessarily identify with it,
to work toward letting go of the idea that I’m doing this life thing alone,
to understand that I am valuable regardless of what I produce,
to become more conscious and present,
to work toward being more patient, embracing the growth process, and feeling all the feelings that arise along the way,
to reflect and express these feelings and lessons in writing when I’m so moved to do so,
to work toward continuing to listen to the central voice that is the core of who I am,
and to act more in line with that

I’d like to continue to move forward this year,
to further this journey by finding out what the hell ‘self care’ looks like to me,
to stop eating the things that are poisoning me and not missing them,
to forgiving myself more naturally and in healthy ways that move me forward,
to getting out of my own head and being a good friend to the people whom I hold so dearly,
to developing a different relationship with work,
to being less instinctively guarded and spreading love in as many ways as possible,
to including more of the things that feel expansive and less of things that feel draining or contractive,
and to loving myself through all phases of my evolution

I’m a lifelong student,
and I know this year will be a good teacher, too

Happy New Year! 💜

–image via Pexels

Elements

I have been beyond tired, beyond lonely –
simultaneously lonely and never alone,
with an emptiness settling in so deeply,
it was a stone inside of me,
hard and sharp

my past and my fears are the leaden shackles I have always felt a duty to escape;
my rest is formed by my waking life,
and my waking life has too often been formed by feelings of defeat,
sorrows I allow to permeate as I set forth in my duty

but, in the center of my core,
I have always known it is possible to break the old, rusted, fear-forged chains of the past,
to encourage elements to transition from one state into another,
transforming and casting an entirely new life

sadly, chains made of blood and memory are a million times more difficult to sever than those made of steel,
and the past has a tendency to overtake me when I am not paying enough attention,
or, when I pay too much,
and I’ll find myself making the same mistakes as those who’ve come before me,
with the same resentments set to boil

but, I have also been tired, yet content,
simultaneously fulfilled and alone, but never lonely,
hard-won self knowledge settling in so deeply,
silence and gratitude are all I need to feed the gentle stillness in my soul

because those old, rusty chains do eventually break,
even though the breaking is an endlessly tiresome business,
and when I look the fearful past in the face and call it by its name,
it loses its rigidity and strength,
becoming just another corroding element,
flaking away with time

-image via Pexels; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s prompt, The Art of Confessional in Poetry