THE BREAKING YONDER
Alone in the back of the breaking yonder,
Where pines bend and grass curls and
Water hardens in the sun,
Left there to toughen or die,
The rocks too hard for weary heads,
The night too black for swollen eyes.
Bring me a bucket of stars for my journey,
Leave me a trail of wind to follow home.
Walk with me until I safely pass the desert,
Freed from the winding of the tale.
See the cracks there in the sky?
They point the way, but carry warnings:
Hurry home before mountains collapse,
And the breaking yonder swallows you whole.
Scatter your stars and gather the wind,
As you scramble through the dense and dark.
Hurry home, bringing the news of the wild,
And bravely sing us your song for the lost.
The last two weeks of this month have felt endless, and at times, unbearable. I wasn’t sure, some nights, whether I would make it back to my life, whether my life would be recognizable if I did. The familiar was crumbling under my feet as I scrambled to find a solid path to follow. Everything I grasped dissolved in my hands, leaving me nothing to hold onto for comfort, and nothing to light my way. I don’t have a strong faith anymore, though I want to believe in Something bigger than myself: God? Spirit? Divine Intelligence? Ancient Aliens? None seemed present in the darkness this time. What song will I sing of this time in my life when I look back on my journey?
WHEN I PRAY
I pray to a god
Who doesn’t exist
And beg blessings from
An indifferent universe.
I reach for another,
But find only myself.
The world begins
Beyond my fingertips.
It’s me and all else,
No us, no we.
And the god I
Don’t believe in
Hides a smile.
Separate and alone,
While the sea laughs
At my tiny pail,
Delighted by a child
Who holds the whole
Ocean in her hand.
SO SADLY SATURATED
So sadly saturated
Pale illuminated scene
Starring someone who is no one
Someone caught there in between
While life like wasted water’s
Dripping slowly through the seams
Of the lonely living loveless
Of the dreamer without dreams
Fair thee well, my fair and blameless,
Go ye gently on your way
Wring the sadness from your clothing
Hang to dry the sodden day
Soaked in lifedrops uncollected
Falling hard from cloudless skies
Washing clean your dull existence
Rinse and reuse your old lies
You can watch the puddles forming
As the love pools with your sin
You’ve been drenched with life
But still don’t dare to stop
And drink it in
I took a week off. I was thinking of calling it vacation week, but if I want to be completely honest, it was more of a meltdown. It turns out that Yellowstone isn’t the only supervolcano harboring undiscovered magma reservoirs. I found mine a week ago Saturday.
I like to think of myself as relatively stable, with most of my shit together most of the time, just trundling along living my little life, making the best of things. Sure, I’ve got that one magma chamber that heats the ground and fuels a few geysers and makes mud boil, but those are minor things. No surprises. Until you have one of those days (or two of those days) and you find yourself tapping into something so deep and painful that you meltdown completely. And you had no idea that running deep under the surface was this reservoir of boiling, churning emotion that threatened to swallow your entire life.
So I took a week off. I stopped writing anything but my journal. I cried a lot. I thought about what pills could mix with what booze to blot out the world without killing me. And I braced myself for the Big One, the world-altering eruption that must be about to happen. But it never came.
Ground temps went back to normal. The meltdown ended. The tears stopped. And I slowly crawled out of my hiding place to survey the damage. Life goes on.
I cry alone where no one sees
Beyond the boundary of the seas
Far away from breaking wave
I hide in the forgotten’s cave
There alone near barren shore
Where names aren’t valued anymore
I loose the fears stored deep inside
I cry the tears I’ve never cried
So alone, so long I weep
Though tears can’t wake me from this sleep
I struggle long against the pain
But bruise my soul against the chains
Oh cry and cry, Heartbroken One,
You’re safe here hidden from the sun
No more will sorrow pierce your heart
You’re worlds away and worlds apart
So stop your thrashing, calm your mind
Those chains seem strong but gently bind
Softened breath will melt their grasp
And free your troubled soul at last
TEARS FOR ME
Are those tears for me?
So hopeless do I seem to you,
So sad, that only tears can speak
The thoughts you try to hide?
Look not with pity on my
Lined and weary face,
Look not with loathing on my
Sagging, wrinkled flesh,
Look instead deep into youthful eyes
Where mirth greets your tears.
Cry only for yourself and the
Dimness of your understanding.
In a moment out of time
I’m caught not being me
This door, the lights, my arm
All belong to another
Where am I? Who?
Which way am I to turn?
I’m not thinking this
Because I forget to
I just am
But not I
Not this body or mind
The moment passes
Like a highway trance
Have I missed my exit?
This happened to me one day in January as I left CVS. I had stopped to pick up a prescription for my daughter, and as I was nearing the exit, my perception shifted for just a moment. Nothing about myself was familiar, and even though I kept moving, I wasn’t sure what I would find when I passed through the doors. I had no idea who I was or where I was. There was a fraction of a second, just as I left the building, when I expected to see our old hometown. (Expected is a rather strong word for what I felt…it was less than that.) Once outside, everything snapped back into place. I remember taking a breath and feeling relieved: Oh, yes, the car is over to the right. Turn right. Until that moment, though, there was nothing—no car, no town, no me. Very odd.
I wrote this not long after the incident and have reworked it several times trying to make into something…more. This is the original. I keep coming back to it, even though I think I could improve it.
You catch the night when it falls
And send my days tripping
Over daisies, across meadows
When the ocean waves, you smile
And send the moon packing
You’ve got this
So why the smile
I’m waiting for the punchline,
Knock me out, but you don’t
Stars imitate the twinkle in your eyes
And, oh, the sun,
The jealous sun
Simmers and boils and wishes
He were half as cool
So why the smile when
When mountains reach out for you
And forests yearn for your touch
How can you waste such a smile