I see a strange light coming
from this ragged roadway tonight.
I follow the glow out your kitchen window.
I walk and walk, listen, sniff the air,
and I begin to see.
I see that the places where it has been
broken open in the black pavement
are glowing. Incandescent.
I feel the moaning of hearts beneath my feet.
Because of this feeling, my body cannot help but
there in the space between the pavement
and the fields of old vines and the black
bowled breast of the sky.
I whisper tender reassurance
into the hollows and roots
hoping they will reach your doorstep
and enter into any loveless rooms
of your casa. Mi casa. Nuestra casa.
My fingers brush away the
stray hairs of loss
from 0ur wrinkled little brows.
My forehead longs for
my mother’s thumb on my temples.
Tiny rocks imprint
my cheeks with little invisible
messages that smell like the color green.
Leaves tattoo my body.
Earlier I tossed my wish laden rose
petals onto the creek – is this road the
pathway to my wishing, so soon?
Is this how it begins? Does
transformation always begin
with a little love death?
Shhh…I am listening. Are you listening
with me Beloved? Do you hear?
My tears trail into the tangled
grasses and water them. I keep the dew-kissed
tip of one golden grass between my lips,
plugged into the earth’s wisdom.
I wonder, why must I do this work
by the side of this road?
This road, both familiar and
unfamiliar is not always a welcome
exit on my journey.
I know the dotted yellow
line in the middle is still
my compass away and towards.
I know the old coke can, the raven feather,
the rusted bolt and the dogbone
and the dirty rag and the pacifier
and the sageplant and the footprints
and the tiny yellow flowers that part
the pavement live here together in harmony,
where I am now learning
to live myself alive again. Side by side.
Sorrow and love. Joy and despair. Hope and loss.
My moon stains my thighs red with an ending
of one cycle and the opening to the next.
The strange light is
both lavender and green and gold,
and is not just going in one direction,
it is coming in and going out
of the openings and cracks. Ahhhh….
So this is how it is.
Some of us are glowing
and some of us have grown dim from
and caused by careless words
and actions like dull hammers
thumping on tender places.
Some have lost their alma fuego
from too much pleasure
and some not enough.
But I have tired of these
kind of poetic explanations. (sigh)
I strain to ‘hear’ what I do not hear.
I beg. I am not beyond begging.
I will the ground to rise and meet
my expectant ear, I am looking and listening
for a sign, a sound, a humming
that will save my life and yours.
A canto jondo, the deep song
that wrecks and wakes and widens
the closed chambers of the heart.
I cross myself and see the image
of Our Lady in a constellation.
She sees me. I see her. I see you.
I am going to survive this night for us.
I want to show you the sacred humming.
But first I have to locate its
origin here beside the curb
of my lover’s roadway.
It is my job to bring back the
little wisdoms, the storycitos
from the stones and seeds
and swords and sidewalks and splinters.
I wait. I wait because of you. Because I love you.
I wait because the my Lord’s love is in me.
I hear, but only the silence of the stars.
An occasional howl chills me.
I fight the desire for a wolf to come
and get me so I can catch a ride home or
devour me for a midnight snack. I sleep.
I fight the desire to want to stop feeling.
It is so very cold here.
But I practice welcoming this shadow of angst because
it tells me I am alive.
In the heavy misted hanging down darkness
headlights come and go
but do not notice
the moonless map of my pale body
stretched between worlds like
a curandera who will use night gravel
to make milagros in the morning.
I dream of a crown of bones,
and a skirt of scorpions and a
dress stitched of Fall
golden green colored leaves.
I wake up
knowing what I knew
but knowing it newly:
There is no true
language for “this”
though our poetry
tries the mightiest pen
upon this page and honors
this endless quest with eager words.
I mark my body with the blood of this knowing
so I will not let myself forget.
Listen now to what you already know:
The places that ache in us the most
are not the ones named for
someone or something that is known.
But something that is unknown in us.
For many, most, all? of us?
Here is our ache:
The internal disbelief
of being missed, not seen,
not heard, not known.
To be known,
for longer than an hour
or a day. To be
seen in the way one
sees oneself, truly. Beneath
the shame and lack of self love,
and childhood stories, and
deaths and divorces and dream dashed days,
beyond the endless quest for a romantic
beginning and ending to the story,
there lives in us
a knowledge of true self
that never ceases to
want to make itself seen, somehow. Somehow.
Since we broke water and parted the veils
of our mother’s womb with tiny fists of fuego,
we have always known. God placed this seed in
us so that those who choose to grow, can,
even on the coldest night you have ever known.
We need to be seen. To be known.
We can have love and not
have ‘this’ and not survive
the stilted bonds of each other.
If only we knew how to see! To listen. To taste.
To feel and say the sounds that belong to that feeling.
If we lose the desire to be known,
surely we shall die of mediocre poison
from eating forbidden fruits and carne
left to rot in the ditches
even the hyenas left for muerte.
My disbelief in how ‘this is’
both ruins and sustains me.
So this is life. Por lo tanto, esta es la vida.
This broken open ragged
hopeful incandescent road of the heart.
So this is how it goes.
I taste morning on my tongue.
I gulp some of the lingering milky way
from the nipple in the sky offered me,
so that I have strength
for the rest of the journey.
My heart’s hum leaps me up
from the holy gravel
and begins to run
down the middle
of the road.
My forgotten wings extend
into light and cast off the dew and the dawn.
I gain momentum.
Casting off gravity.
Heart open like
a ready wound
Willing to risk.
As many times as it takes.
To feel and be alive.
To find you.
To tell you the truth.
To see you.
To know you.
For this I will reason I
never cease to do the
work of finding you.
And each time I find you
I will remember to tell you.
I see you. I see you. I see you.
We see because we look,
and we show ourselves, shining selves,
when we are looked upon
My wish for you,
for me, for all, to be
looked upon with love unending.
May you be seen.
Known. Cherished. Loved.
May the road teach you
the stories that are yours to tell,
and may you be free enough to tell them
and transform yourself on the dark nights
of teaching under the stars.
©2012 Shiloh Sophia