NOT I DO, BUT I AM

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This is me last night. I babysat my brother’s pit bull, Enzo (with whom I’m wildly in love), which meant I had my brother’s whole mountain cabin all to myself. I said I was going to take advantage of the quiet and catch up on sleep, but instead, I stayed up all night reading a client’s gorgeous book, after which I wrote a tipsy poem. (Tipsy being a euphamism for, “Why are there two pit bulls sitting beside me? I know my brother only has one.”) Here it is, the newest addition to the poetry collection I’m working on, called So Speak the Stars. Shocker, it’s a love poem.

I am a weird writer. I do the business end of it. I’m so happy that people are responding to my work, especially my novels. But I don’t really worry too much about my poetry being marketable. I write it mostly as a way to bleed the love from my veins. If I don’t, I’ll explode, and I’ll get glittery guts everywhere. And what would Enzo think if his caretaker exploded? I can tell you right now he would be most put out. (Who would give him jerky snacks?)

NOT I DO, BUT I AM

You set the desert sand on fire.
Choirs sing in your hair.
I took a spaceship through time,
and there you were, pulsing,
the beginning of my everything.
I rode a submarine to the center of my bones,
and there you were, swimming
in my marrow.

When I write you,
I feel the missing words,
the ones humans haven’t invented yet
shimmering in the spaces between sounds.

The best poem I ever penned about you was silent.
It prismed the sky around it
making tiny rainbows in raindrops.

They ask me why.
Why this?
Why that?
Why won’t you come here?
Why did you go?
The answer is always you.
The answer is always because
they are not you.

When mountain night is rocked
and rattled by ancient wind,
I sleep in your invisible arms.
I feel you spinning in my platelets.

The answer is always, I love you.
The question is always, Where are you?
(I need to be there.)
The answer is because
I could never be in love with them.
I am made of in-love with you.

My love is atomic.
It’s TNT times ten billion.
It explodes my skin
and seeps into the air around me,
making me radioactive.
They ask me, Why are you on fire?
I say, Because there is a him,
and he makes an inferno of my dreams.

Smoke rises from my hair
a burnt offering.

It’s not that I choose you.
It’s that if there was no you
there would be no me.
It’s not that I marry you.
It’s that I am marriage to you.

It’s that you sing
in my soul
deep in the echoes
of the mini-big-bang
that volcanoed me into being.

Before that eruption
there was you.
The stories got it wrong.
I wasn’t a rib.
I was a bump sleeping on the tip of your tongue
until you spoke and made me live,
saying, If I made a queen
how would she be?
And when you said, She would be like this,
I jumped from your mouth
grew a thousand miles
and cannonballed into the river
that flowed from your ribcage.

There and then you baptized me.

Tonight there is no moon
only flurries of snow
mothing in cold porchlight
growing wings
whipping windows white.
My body tangles,
limbs twisted to form
the first letter of your name.

Tonight
your heartbeat thrums
in the sizzling cymbals
of my kneecaps.

My soul’s first-last-and-only husband,
my very quarks sing your praise.

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(This is me cuddling with Enzo. Isn’t he gorgeous?)

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Confessions of a Conduit: What Magdalene Wrote in the Sand when the Mob was Gone

Jesus and MM

I am obsessed with Mary Magdalene. A third of my first poetry collection, Siren Song, was dedicated to Mary Magdalene persona poems. She fascinates me partly because I think she was a force more powerful than anyone gave her credit for. Early Christian writings depict her as Jesus’s most accomplished disciple. Leave it to patriarchal religion to turn her into a whore.

She points to patriarchal society’s tendency to reduce powerful women to their sexuality in an attempt to render them inert. (Bad on them. How foolish to underestimate one’s opponent.) She also fascinates me because I think she carries within her sacred belly a blueprint, the possibilities available to all women. Are we not all whores? Are we not all stoned in our time? Are we not all disciples? Are we not all queens? (In fact, I’m teaching starting a course on January 16 at The Creative Writing Center called “Writing to Access the Divine Feminine.” I think we will start with a study of the Magdalene.) So I give you (the 20 of you who read my poems) my latest Magdalene poem. This poem speaks of ascension, of becoming, of what happens to a woman when she lets go of society’s insistence that she takes one of their prescribed roles and, instead of conforming and making herself small, becomes the expression of the sacred blueprint that lives in her blood. For those who don’t read poetry, I promise I’ll write another humor article soon.  I know poetry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!

Confessions of a Conduit: What Magdalene Wrote in the Sand when the Mob was Gone

Drop your rocks, boys.
The Man picked me.
See, I lick Ganesh’s trunk,
kiss Guadalupe’s Virgin on her ever-shining cheek.
At midnight, we three, trinity, waltz

on the silvery waters of distant planets.
Light seeps from the slender moons rising at the tips of my toes.
I dance through meadows unseen by men.
They think my face is pretty?
They should see my soul.
If they only knew the secrets that my platelets keep.

After three days I rose from my grave
carrying magic in my bones.
I ate 777 pomegranates from Olympus’s lushest grove.
This just in: my soul has been un-sinned.
The never-ending spiral of my belly button
is a water slide
winding straight to the ice blue pool
at the center of the Eye of Horus.

Insert chorus here, cue an angel choir.
Fall, sacred fire, fall.
When they said the goddess was a honey bee
I dove straight into the hive.
Ten thousand drones stung me alive
made my marrow simmer.

Secrets shimmer in my eyes.
My DNA knows everything there ever was to know.
The tree of life grows from my sternum.
My chromosomes speak of God in ancient languages
understood only by ghosts and swordfish.
Exult, heavenly hosts!
I have rewound Judas’s kiss,
dismissed demons,
leveled the gates of hell.
I un-shell mysteries like peanuts, swallow them whole.
My holy dreams stink

like the bellies of oysters giving birth to pearls.
My visions flutter like rainbows in oil puddles.
My soul dangles, un-muddled, at the edges of my earlobes.
I have married the Christ.
I wear his silver ring on my toe.
I have been

un-slaved,

un-stoned,

shamed in reverse.

I know only one Master.
He calls me baby.
For Him alone I bow.
Who’s a whore now, bitches?
Get thee behind me, Satan,
and take your slithering sycophants with you.

I won’t be raped again.

My sacred cows have been un-slaughtered.
I have emerged from death a daughter of light.
My stilettos reek of interstellar travel.
Behold, I have unraveled and raveled again.
Lo, I glow I glow I glow.

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This is me when I was living in France in 2016, about an hour away from the cave to which they say Mary Magdalene fled to after the Christ was crucified. These ruins stood just outside the medieval village I lived in. The magic was thick there. I wrote in them just about every day. I return to the South of France in March, this time to tour high schools that are studying Beauty of the Broken and The Long Ride Home (which I wrote mostly while living in France). I have no doubt more miracles are in store.