VIGIL

What has transpired is transpiring.

 

A virus sweeps like the loose winds dance on these candles. Like the breeze that bends the oak, moves the grasses, sheds the seed. Like the water that runs flames from fracking. Like the hands that deftly kill. Like the tears of mother's torn from children. Like the arc of bomb to target, a geometry of power. Like the friction between rope and limb as a noose slides on bark and neck. Like the saliva that trickles dry as the chorus of calling out all the names needing to be heard gets hoarse.

 

How these eyes absorb and tire, integrate, avert and squeeze shut information emitted by liquid crystal displays of ions and headlines calling for action, pleading for change, selling sensationalism. 

 

(the wedge that drives us apart is on sale and one click away).

 

And still, and surely, a prayer. Does it lessen the shock? Prayer. That the great divide rocks the shores of privileged feet so that they feel the laps of waters edge. That the chill of those waters shock internal temperatures into recognition. Prayer. That the great space, yes the void not the vacuum, is like the humidity of the East- that dense oppressive blanket heat, the blockade that slows time, the barrier that makes swift motion into slow motion, dripping molasses from a spoon. Forced to the gentle face of Eternal Essence. Feel that and remember true history. Remember white role, black and brown toll, power structures gifted from the queen. Dig the earth to find the roots and plant again. Regenerative. A prayer to shift the inner compass of Those Who Keep All That Power. The pendulum has to find center. 

 

It starts within.

 

A prayer for empathy and safety. 

A prayer for love and goodness. 

A prayer for our neighbors' health. 

A prayer for our plants. 

A prayer for the 1,000 ways magical moments still rise. 

A prayer for resistance and a prayer for peace.

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W O R K I N G I R L.

 

Naturally dyed tumeric shirt bleeds and blends crimson when mixed with the salt of sweat. I can't help but delight. How absurd! The playground on outer Bangor is wrapped in caution tape. Face masks hang from mirrors like fuzzy dice. How very absurd. Surrendering to this reality. Surreal. I deeply sigh at myself as I wonder how long the kettle has actually been boiling. How long have I been sitting without really breathing? Did I remember the gloves and Lysol? Am I standing six feet apart? I marvel at the light dancing on the Piscataquis River. I continue to collect treasures washed up on the banks. Seeking solace. But am I remembering we're in a pandemic? Am I integrating it all? I do and I am. Pit stains for souvenirs of my movement in life. Holding that lightly, experimenting, playing. Sweating and noticing. Advocating and pushing the fabric of the universe around until Community comes home and says Damn babe you really spruced it up nice in here. Community sets it's luggage down and flops onto the couch and says I think we can ALL finally breathe. Welcome Home.

INTREPID TRAVELER

Oh intrepid traveler

Of tepid waters..

 

What is it you seek?

 

A boat to hold on to? 

A row to give guide to?

 

Propulsion for waters so meek.

 

Even land lives for its waters

As still as they may be.

VENERABLE HANDS

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Oh, those hands.

Such fine lines.

Such wisps and weeps.

 

The venerable right of wrinkles,

Unfolding and forgiving,

Fleeting, flitting,

in seeking.

 

Hands still, giving pause 

so vibrations’ essence can speak this truth:

 

Death be the ever-present carrier. 

 

Yes, those currents. 

That distant passage on the backs of birds 

ceaselessly lifting. 

 

Fleeting.

Flitting.

Seeking.

 

Like grains passing through fingers, 

tying knots, clasping with pain and fever.

 

Like creases smoothed flat by thumbs,

Caressing skin, picking flowers.

 

A trust upon birth

That the end too will follow.

 

Engraved veins

Cyclical 

Hair follicle change

Folds of fabric

Laughing eyes crease to

Tired lines and angles

Showing such beautiful essence. 

 

Physical maps for navigating towards

A view-post for greeting

Soul and body

Ascending the spiral.

 

My father’s hands still their seeking to ask:

Will wonder be what kills this man? 

 

Perhaps it will be a total obliteration 

by sight and sound.

 

That elusive sky.

That vitality of bird.

That shape of petal.

That form of essence.

Or the weight of snow.

 

My fathers hands 

don’t stay still at eighty.

 

The Will might be too great,

To pen and line and draw to him

What surroundings call to sight.

 

Eyes, though they hollow,

Still fill and brim 

with visceral clouds, sky in motion.

Bones upon flesh, though they strain

Still absorb and appreciate

a morning’s cool breeze, the good fortune of a meal.

 

Plight of aging, lament of time.

Such tremendous speed by which life gains.

 

And yet-

My father’s moving hands at eighty 

Pause to remind me of this truth:

 

If it be a summit

That we’re called to mount

May the spirit calling be 

The lamp light shone from front.

I woke up from a dream this morning and the inescapable, visual and spoken phrase was "This New Life Is Disruptor".

So peculiar. And so we must? Keep disrupting, erupting, shifting, changing? And then keep holding, embracing, love-making, rearranging the space for your personal "home decor" and then the nextdoor neighbors "home decor" and their grandma's "home decor" and the "home decor" for the cousin in the town over and their nephew in the midwest and their highschool buddy in the lowsouth and their exgirlfriend in the bahamas and her lineage in another country and the ancestry that helped us be here and the generations that will be here after us and if it wasn't clear, the interior designer is the fabric of social responsibility and when I say "home decor" I mean "heart design".

I thought of this when I visited a couple in a small trailer in the county, as she lay on the couch, due to physical difficulties, suddenly exclaiming that their cat died, the "one you like but we had to put her down" he says as he comes out to receive the food, barely able to stand because of a life I might never understand though I wonder at the weight of the hip holster he carries even though it's probably arthritis on the first wet snowfall of the season. A peculiar feeling of familiar sadness and deep care, a wanting to draw closer to these lives I intersect with so peripherally washed over me. There are 32 minutes left to vote in Piscataquis and you can't be turned away if you're still in line at 8. Draw close those lives that radiate far from personal sight.

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UNTITLED

SEDIMENT OF HISTORY

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Layer me/us/them/you/we in the sediment of history, the wood grains of old barns, the old nails from window panes, teak board traveled from India, the dust from unknown bones and tines from a farm tool discovered in the field. Wrap it all in so that I/us/you/we/them/they may know there was a before, there was a path leading here, we are a part of the whole, an ingredient for mixing, for taste testing before serving, for it's a history of bone broth healing, for nature's world reverence, land relating/returning/responding/repairing.

“Who do you work for? What will you sweat for?” Ammonia, selfie, hanger, shirt, bobcat bones, armoire headboard rescued from the local dump; pieced together to create a deeply confessional installation. A white shirt was dyed when seeking the sharp brightness of turmeric to contrast the societal dimness, a time of transition, upheaval, anxiety, loss, absurdity. Seeking to re-create the act of coming home to something, placing clothes on a hanger like an altar, being with oneself in quarantine, working the land, working to advocate, working to observe, working to remain alert, working to integrate, working to delight, working to pause, working in worry, working without shame of the sweat that turns red, and working with the shame of blood and tears shed that have shaped a history of empires for a few built on the backs of so many. 

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