Moonrise: 2:30 a.m.

WalMart Entertainment Section for Seniors

I woke at 1:30 a.m. I often wake during the middle of the night if I’ve not had enough physical activity during the day, but more if I have something pending, when Mind wants to work out that event, that idea, that problem. I try not to wake up to worry, tho that happens occasionally.

In this instance, I woke because I am giving a talk soon on public speaking. It was Time to design the workshop, scribe my thoughts on how to handle this exchange with others. I anticipate my audience will be friends, acquaintances & strangers – some will know my style of storytelling; others will be unfamiliar to my ways.

I first learned I love to speak in front of others in the fire circle at Girl Scout Camp. My co-leader & I brought the troop to summer camp – the culminating reason of our cookie-selling success. The highlight of a weekend campout was always the Fire Ring, during which we sang songs, acted out skits, practiced fire safety & prepared s’mores. The minute the Song Leader opened the circle & the silly songs began, I was entranced. I remember turning to my co-leader & breathing, “I want to be that person!” So I set about learning every ditty I could, all their complicated motions & how to laugh at myself & with others. It was wonderful for me!

And now I continue to teach the topic of speaking in front of groups, leaving behind most of the silliness, but none of the humor.

After designing the workshop’s talking points, which will become the handout for the class, I walked outside to enjoy the total stillness.

The sun rises over our beloved Caballo Mountains with a slow flourish, illuminating every growing plant, every sentient rock, awakening the songs of birds as it spreads life & warmth to the desert. Although I’d never really thought about the moon in this way, of course it rises in the same way & amazingly, in the same place where the sun will later replace it.

I leaned my back on my car to watch…my first thought, “Oh, this’ll take too long to stand out here for this.” But I’d no sooner finished thinking this than the horn of the half-moon glowed above the familiar mountain crest. The rest followed within a minute – what I thought would take too long was accomplished in three long breaths. I felt dizzy; the earth was turning I knew, but this fast? I felt it a good thing I had the car to support me. I felt the night air, cool but welcoming, through thin silk pajamas. I know sunlight on my skin (I still love to be recipient to its rays, to tan with oils as I sit, eyes closed, feeling Vitamin D coursing into me. I am a sun-worshipper to no small degree, almost welcoming the wrinkles & the dryness accompanying this habit.)

The moon knew its path, had obviously climbed this particular mountain many times before. I could feel the sleepy wakefulness shared among all the life out there as it made a way to that starring position overhead. Even knowing all I know about the moon from more esoteric fascinations, there is nothing like being “out in it” to appreciate how an entire planet can so lightly make itself known so swiftly, silently, thoroughly.

The workshop will be a success. I’ve no worries on that score. Later in the morning I will prepare a handout from my notes poured out, accompanied by honeyed coffee. I wrote these notes quickly & carefully – I’m famous for profound & totally unreadable midnight thoughts – so I erred on the side of penmanship.

When I give my talk, the moon will rise again, outside & behind my eyes. I will watch faces light in understanding, smile back at the learning, enjoy the idea that one day they will be in front of a group delivering their knowledge to waiting ears.

So do the macro & microcosms entwine & blend. So does a little dream of one day holding many minds in mine develop & manifest. I no longer fear holding the attention of many who may be looking for flaws in me – I surely have plenty to share among them. But tho grounded from silliness to strategic information, that thread of humor runs through it all, lightening  & lighting both.

I am calling the talk “Making Yourself Comfortable.” The thoughts will continue to arise; may they be as smooth & homey & as mystical as the moon finding a place to shine the sky.

And, if the audience wants a follow-up to this introduction, I still know all the moves to “The Donut Song”

Well, I walked around the corner & I walked around the block, And I walked right into a donut shop, And I picked up a donut fresh from the grease, And I handed the lady a five-cent piece.Well, she looked at the nickel & she looked at me, And she said “This isn’t gonna work, you see, There’s a hole in the nickel & it goes right through. So I said, “there’s a hole in the donut, too!” Thanks for the donut, so long! (Sing to tune of “Turkey In the Straw)

Starving

These places made of hunger deep within:

I’ll touch them with my heart to open wide,

That never shall you hunger there again

Starvation will not find there to reside.

My hands are made of light, thus darkness fails.

This whimper that discovers its own shout

In fear of darkness, never will prevail

With truth of such divinity about.

We shall not starve together but shall serve.

Eliminate the vacuum in our souls

Abhorred by nature’s blessing, shall observe

A flame all coaxed from darkness in the coals

I cannot help but see you as the light

I dare not hold the darkness near so close,

You bring me to the edges of my sight

To places where the limits only pose.

We far extend these, turning one to two

And two to one, we join in sheerest grace,

We knit our worlds in blessing, me & you

I touch you with my soul wearing your face.

Happy Easter, World

To my sister, Teri. I love you, dear.

Come, sit awhile in my stony yard, remember with me. Here, in New Mexico, where grass is a rare commodity, one dares not venture outdoors barefoot. But I don’t worry about my feet when my face craves the sunshine. I look up & close my eyes to its caress. I feel my mouth curving into a smile, even as my heart expands under its rays.

I have read in some blogs that the sun is actually an entity named “Ed.” Well, Ed & I have had a lifelong affair. I treasure sunshine like I treasure love. I crave it in the same way, with a similar longing & a powerful responsive opening of every cell to take it in. The sunshine here is like oranges, clearing the palate, a breath of gold, a blessing of warmth in which to sit &, in simplicity, To Be.

When I was little, when church was the biggest commitment of this day, I woke to an Easter basket of plastic-color straw & chocolate. Ah! Chocolate for breakfast! In a household where treats were always fruit, chocolate for breakfast was an unheard-of peak experience.

We dressed in our best for Easter… white gloves, hats, black patent leather shoes. We were given a dollar for the collection plate (the usual Sunday contribution being 50 cents, at least 25 of which went for a sugar cookie at the bakery en route.) I was in choir, we sang in clear-child voices, singing the glory of God, powered by Hershey’s Kisses.

(I lived in Hershey, PA at one time, The 6 a.m. exercise class smelled of hot chocolate, the afternoons of Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars, the nights of syrup. But that was later, far beyond childhood by the sea.)

I still believe in resurrection after years of insurrection, misdirection & sporadic, sometimes unsteady, affection…

I still believe!

We walked to church, unless it was one of those lingering winters when there was still bits of snow on the ground, I recall my first pair of heels – little bump-buds far unlike the shoes I’d wear later in life. And if the shoes were new & there was snow, I had to fight to wear them (Mom throwing up her arms over her head, (Pazienza!), but New Shoes! even with bobby-sox holding them on – looking a bit patched together, all dressed-up for the Lord. I was shivering, but set for Spring underneath the heavy coat, the ear-flapped hat. The church would be warm in the rafters of the choir box – we were songbirds coaxing in a season of change.

Years moved along, crisp & uncompromising. When I was a child, my Mom prepared huge dinners that started with salad (ensalada), that coursed through soup, buttered Italian bread, pasta & turkey. Sometimes ham appeared on the table, of which I was less fond than a turkey drumstick. Sometimes relatives drove the long distance from up near Philadelphia to the seashore. Relatives were a kind of blessing – they meant crisp dollar bills to buy ice cream with or hoard in tiniest slot of the rolltop desk. They also meant pinched cheeks (Que Bella!) hugs from folks with hearty garlicked breath or smelling of cigarettes, in scratchy woolens & practical footwear. They meant much chattering in Italian, waving of arms & hands in conversation which could take out water glasses on the table or Easter decorations walking to it. They were filled with chesty laughter, family reunion, exclamations, questions, (How old are you now? What grade are you in? Look at how much you’ve grown – this a nuanced, side-eyed comment since I never made it into quite fitting the clothes I was wearing, always pushing my glasses back on my nose with a finger I’ve learned not to use in traffic.)

My Mom had us living at the seashore – a commonplace to us – but a rare & wonderful ride for the others. Ah! Salt Air! Names morphed into exotic pronunciations (Carol drew into Carrrro-lena) as the jokes & comments around the table flowed from language to language.

The adults would make knowing remarks, heads nodding, all gossip & glamor. At some point the oft-repeated “Go out & play!” would herald the talk’s real beginning into the state of the world, the old neighbors, who had died & who still lived – names I heard only on holidays, only in the context of the visits; people I would never meet or know. I would hear the conversations on my way out the door, the voices lowering only to rise again in loud laughter. A jug of wine would be on the table when I got back from my bike ride or climbing the tree in Mrs. Cannon’s yard, or the hideout behind the yew bush clutching a handful of candy to be devoured in sticky bliss.

However, I have never, ever, liked jellybeans, so all mine were roughly pawed out of my basket by my brother, as I watched ferociously to assure he took none of the hollow-core bunnies. And those marshmallow chicks were challenging to nibble all the sugar off of without devouring any of their white fluff.

My hair, done in sausage curls for face-time with God, would straggle & eventually be pulled (with much force) into braids that made my eyes Chinese. Still, I would come home sandy, or with twigs & greenery tangled into it, the rubber bands of control loosening or lost…for all of my good-girl ways, I was a fierce, feral child who favored trotting over walking, who wore a clothesline belt tied tightly around my narrow waist.

I would never change my childhood, although it was fraught with fear & what is now called stress (Catholic School & nuns), My part-time mother – the ocean – never changed, never gave up on me, smiling her waves every time she touched my toes. My bike never wobbled once I was up to speed, pedaling madly. I sailed the bumps of the boardwalk like a mobile Queen, thin legs churning, braids streaming behind. I explored for shells, I stole candybars from the corner store, I saved pennies, cherished new sneakers. devoured books about horses (The Black Stallion!), wrote poems & stories generously plagiarized from these.

I grew up in the sun: I so love it still. I climbed dunes, scratched from sawgrass, sported mosquito bites all over, danced on beaches, suffered unholy disciplines from “holy” women…

I am the me I am because of it all. I did pretty okay, yeh?

So I thank the universe for Ed, for sand, for the kind of bubbling energy stoked by a sugared childhood. I thank my Mother & my family, I thank my distant, divorced-with-a-new-family Dad, for pinching Aunts, for tobacco’d Uncles with Aqua-Velva cheeks, waving crisp dollars – “Here, honey, go buy some ice cream!” I thank my comfort of home-made pasta, for the sweat my mother wiped from her hot-kitchen brows with the dishtowel plugged into her apron.

I am alive: I am Spring: I am holy. I am still a Carol, singing the glory of God!

Wearing PJ’s

“If grass can grow through cement, love can find me.”

My heart has learned to keep many secrets
too many I am told, from the other parts of me…
my hands can make all known to another
of love, of regard, of comfort & blessing-touch
my head can wrap around a thought & express it
in one of many ways
my mouth can encompass your kisses
an orbicularis orbis stargate…
My skin is made of tiny cells calling “more”
my eyes may be closed, but you are behind them
& I am not quite embarrassed, but more focused in giving
I exist in the present of your presence
in a way I am not in any other –
a being made of space-time, infinite, encompassing,
allowed to be a child-woman, to sing & dance & show
you paper cut-outs; I am permitted to be shy & bold &
all that occurs in between
My whole life flashes before us in a safe space.
Allow me to share me; allow me to gift you;
Permit me to offer all I have in the moment
of all you are.

That’s a Plan, Yeh?

It’s ok to be just little me with a big dream, isn’t it? Okay to find my way one footstep at a time across a dark room where light shines from my heart & my eyes to bring along anyone who wants to accompany me to my “here,” right? I hope so, cuz that’s how I’m handling it now.

The palette of emotions drips from the wood; even Michelangelo would be hard-put to create from these colors. The beauty of what is out there is contrasted by the harshness of what is in there – from the macrocosm to the microcosm. And yet only by revealing the ugly can we persevere through the creation of a new world a-borning, bearing us along with it into a dimension where sound is color & senses reel at the promise being created before our very eyes.

I take in one world through all my outer senses while my inner senses vibrate to another. My reality is not real estate, but an imaginary realm of the real that forms up around me like an invisible filter through which I perceive.

Friends fall away if their motives do not bear scrutiny. I wave them off & turn to continue my way. Sometimes I will wonder what happened to them, where they went & why. Sometimes it will seem I did not have to give them up, but somehow, they gave themselves away. Sometimes my heart will open to a glimpse of them “through a glass darkly” … will they miss me?

I am finding out who & what truth is, what it means to me, how to perceive it from best presentation. I discover what I can afford in terms of being a friend. Being in service brings the most return…friendship assumes, with concomitant outcome. Friendship impinges, at times, costs me phone minutes, hours on the clock better used for self-development, little stings to my heart of which I once took no notice. Now, not only aware but sensitized, I understand the difference between the ley lines & the lay of the land. What do bells & whistles serve but to make noise? What do I crave but the silence of my own thoughts happening inside my own head?

I do crave the thoughts you think about me – but only if they’re good ones. Bullshit on constructive criticism: take me as I am or take yourself away. I have grown from a cuddly kitten (tho there are at least two husbands out there to argue that point, the third being dead.) Anyway, from a cuddly kitten to a scaly armadillo, a spiky porcupine, a blowfish thrilled to puff into a terrifying sight, but still vulnerable to protective custody.

Does that mean more than it says? Why do you think I’d know? I am doing a consciousness stream here, a flow of brainwaves washed up on your beach…a glisten of bubbles soon popped by sandpiper feet.  And as some drop away, others rise up cuz that vacuum thing just can’t happen here. Even when I’m sitting still there is something happening inside. My heart beats, my liver thinks, my kidneys filter … all in what I might perceive as silence, but which is actually a storm of perfect precision & hum.

In the mineral water hotbaths, I like putting my ears underwater where I can hear the swish-lub-dub of my heart. In this one organ, clamoring over all the others, I find an existence, a proof of life unavailable in the quiet buzz of adrenal gland, the static revisioning of the colon, the lost movement of muscles in stillness.

An ambiance of spacetime surrounds me. I am spackled with creative clay, which is fun to play with, but which, in my hands, shapes no masterpieces.  I am both starred & tarred with the brush of God’s love – pushing me into sure adventure in His name & tickling the belly of exactly where I am this moment.

Ok. I confess, I have no idea what I’m doing here. I live day to day & work it out as I go. I’ll never lead a country to a promised land, unless others want to follow me around on the off chance I’ll discover one. I intend to live it my way, try hard not to be a target, continue to improve my verbal & written skills, wind my way into your psyche & love all I can.

That’s a plan, yeh?

Thursday Morning: 7:02

Poems drift out of me

Like islands form in an ocean

Of infinite space

A sea of creativity

Into which others dip & swim

& nourish themselves & my selves

Some grow shady trees

On which fruit hangs, juicy & nurturing

Some grow worn tracks where thoughts

Have gone round around, grooving the land

To grow themselves

Some are parks for picnics & play.

What a life that gives me gifts such as these:

What a life that has offered me love

At a late age; love I’ve wished for forever

Even now, rare as unicorns, ephemeral as double rainbows

Even now made of prayer & songs of morning.

I pick up the threads once again

To knit? To sew? I have no ideas

Beyond my hands having something in them

With which to work a working

Towards magic? Towards love?

How can I tell, for all is such

In this life:

“Everything is holy now:” *

Don’t bring me figs; I do not care for dates

Don’t bring me excuses; live up to your own dreams

Don’t put anything dead at my feet for me to prepare to food.

I cannot tell you what I want

For if you don’t know by now, you never will.

Life is made of one continuing surprise, after all

What you bring forth today

Bears fruit on the morrow

As one day passes,

Another  lines up in its place

Like some cosmic Stairmaster of before & after.

Exercising the soul.

Filling in the blanks I didn’t know were there

Frightening small dogs with my heavy tread

Still, it is only me

Shrugging on a jacket

Or pulling off my shoes

Or climbing on top of you on the couch

To stretch my body around you

To make a wish for a dream

Worth dreaming

To engage with my age

In eager enjoyment/enjoinment

To taste & test & touch

To yearn into & tease away

And all of all, to love.

Who has time to live a conventional life?

Or the inclination?

Not when there are worlds & words to

Uncover, discover, recover

To render into small bites

For chewing: a cud of circumstance & dream

An element mixing surface & inner elements

A deep’ning dwelling of hope & holiness

The place where these meet & rebalance

All of who I am

That I walk forward in this world

That I take your hand in intimate delight

That I bring my smile to you

That I offer the who of I am

For your love.

A hobbyhorse on a carousel

Colorful & gilded in morning

A turning of around; an eternal wheel

Whereupon the world may never change

Yet the universe is shifting from up to down

From rote to miracle

From beginning to ending

All upon a calliope.

Circus music, mustang mortality,

Bright lights, small encounters

Bought & sold, given & retaken

An afternoon’s delight

A morning’s withdrawal into coffee & comeuppance.

O bring me no resolutions, no fake news

Restrain your anger, suck it back inside of you

I have no use for it, no space in my life

Where that fits: your angry logic…

Allow me my miracles

Stand down or look away

For I am dancing to the tune

Of my own being, a cosmic ballet,

A giggling shimmy

A vest of fringe over clown clothes

I am whomever you make me to be

While you have nothing at all to do with it…

*

Riding the Light

#1

Sticky with need, hungered with longing

Speaking In Poetry: a potlatch of words/images

Ideas like pebbles tossed down a well

Just to hear the splash.

I once thought words built houses

Safe spaces wherein dwelling

Was of comfort & whole

Yet the wind whistles through verbs,

Rain washes away adjectives.

I am left holding only the idea

I thought writing would coalesce into love.

#2

And this is her fate:

The always of the clock

Hanging silent for one D battery…

Still right twice upon each whirling day

At Ingo’s, the clock runs backward

But offers no undoing

Simply reversing Time’s forward dance

Now the Mandela Effect

Of my soul’s Mandala steps forward

Running down my arm onto paper

The lanky outpour of a million years lived

A thousand years loved

A past of pens, a present of words

Writing.

#3

If words are a spell, I am deeply ensorcelled

Splayed on a pentagram of circles, stars & points to ponder.

If love is an event, I arrived just in time to take down the banner.

If heaven is a train, my watch put me past its departure.

I’m always arriving after the wards are set;

When time rests on its haunches

Always in between beginnings

Resounding climax dying away

The years haven’t softened me any

They washed off the pluff mud

Rending me to bare rock

Knuckled & craggy

Slapping back at the waters

Urgent & laughing,

Bent on uprooting me

To tumble downriver.

My footprint is a mantra

My pedigree soundly peasant

I am who I am that I am

Blessing & Muse & all that occurs

In that Between.

#4

Dumbledore’s Cauldron

I love the Pensieve

Where a wizard fishes out a single memory

From the mercury swarm afloat

Freeing if from fellows

All a-clamor for attention…

The memory, laid upon a towel to dry

Smelling of holy water & salt

Circling up with the prod of one fat finger

A stain of brine, a sharp cut of odor

A former place to be in the mind

Moved on to the present & far beyond.

I rest it upon my upper lip:

A clarion moment to inhale

Chill with wet suppositions –

Sodden strings of should/could/would/if

And just before it dries to sere

I flick it back to its pickling medium

It brightens, bubbles, swims away

A squirt of ink, an idea of smoke

Who will venture a guess who’s more free?

#5

I am a rogue mouthpiece for one small voice in the universe

An egg & a sperm penetrated long ago,

Perpetrated in a cosmic giggle

No longer in gravitas, simply gravid

Yet so fully lifted into life by the dreams of heaven

A breath of patchouli, of sage & ylang-ylang

A brilliant magnolia blossom, white on green-wax leaves

A ciliated, petalled moon.

I am a night-shadow, caught for a moment

In sweaty mystery.

The light of a false dawn, fading but a moment after.

Yet for all the ephemeral I find myself to be

There’s no doubt of my footprints

Crossing space-time, my spoor off the paths of heaven

Leading to those mountaintops, to the moment insubstantial

When I return to the memory of God

Who’s almost forgotten me,

“Oh, there you are! I just thought of you the other day, my dear!

I felt you all this time, you know, playing peekaboo on the trail.”

#6

These poems are running waters wearing me away

Rushing over grooves of white-salt runnels in rock

The years serve singled purpose: teaching me to fly

Oh yes, there will be a time

When laughter is my only memory:

The Holy Grail of life softened by a smile.

I have stalked the boundaries of heaven,

Drawn by a promise, a waft of pie-on-a-windowsill

A cool glass for an overheated soul to rest against

Taken by the view inside.

I am a vision, a shimmer in the corner of your eye

A snatch of bright song on an emptied-out day

A dip into perfume’s transitory promise

God has scraped His knuckles over me

I am bruised, imperfect, parts I started with now missing,

An angel touched down but for a moment but netted by gravity.

A breath of calm moisture on a searing hot day

I am the red shoes not dancing, the bare feet rejoicing; free.

Step out of your cities to my green velvet pastures

Allow the sun of my morning to break your frosted night,

Find in me that once-told joining of all you are to all you can be

Where you are born once again; born Holy.

Only One Friend Away

My friend went into Silence at a retreat recently. I did, too, in a way. Somewhat in honor of her spiritual commitment; somewhat in just that she is someone with whom I correspond every day & for two days, there was no word. It was okay. I guess I am just being conscious now, perhaps because of the silence.

I have no close-up relations. I used the last of my minutes talking with my daughter of everyday lives, hers & mine. “How are you, Mom?” she asked. I’d just awakened from a nap, the prescience of a phone about to ring bringing me to wakefulness. “I’m a little depressed right now,” I replied. “What’s up?” “Oh, just an old sadness returning, an emptiness in an unexpected place; but I’ll get over it.” And we talked.

My lover said he would meet me in a week. A week doesn’t seem so long & faraway, does it? But as they say, time is relative, devious, grinding away at the clock in a relentless circle. I am still more than 24 hours from seeing him. There isn’t much of me left.

I have read six books, eaten many meals, fulfilled my volunteer obligations, answered emails, acted “normal,” hosted Open Mic with my stand-up comedy routine – jokes about churches this time. I did a little job in Hillsboro, picking up chinaberries from sidewalk cracks…seated on a yellow plastic bucket that sagged ever so gently, depositing me flat on my back & laughing.

I washed into & pulled myself out of a tidal cold, drinking more water than I ever have before. I wrote off a disappointing friend & wondered what to do with the card when it was returned to me as a wrong address. I wonder if that means we are still friends. She, too, let me down in a show of non-support, collapsing under my expectations, depositing me flat, but unsmiling.

I feel as though I am at the center of a map compass, all around me dials spin, decisions are made, lives are lived. I offer ideas to others seeking input & they sink below the radar quickly – all my questions unanswered, all my ways to set things straight set aside for no apparent reason. I am left once more with silence. Why did they ask me to help?

My body longs for a cigarette, it’s been weeks now since I last smoked & in my mind & heart I’ve quit… But I have said often that addiction is a comforting habit, familiar & ritualistic, a place where it isn’t just so alone anymore.

I buy hats made of feathers & wrap these around my plant holders. I walk the flea market, finding a perfectly-fitting blue ring with daisies in a wreath, a frowning half-moon pendant. Acquisitions like this are cheaper all around than smokes. But no one sees them & the gap they fill yawns once more after swallowing them whole.

I understand the deep feeling that causes one to walk off into the desert, to lie down until snakes slip close for body heat. I understand the wakeful wind pushing me into foolish choices, like a moonstruck cat. I sit, stolid, like a pole in a pier, holding up wood & fishermen while an ocean salts my feet.

Sometimes, there is only one thing to do: that is to endure.

I endure.