only mountains and valleys

she asks me about him
and if i’m going to marry him
and i laugh it off easily but

i want to know why
everything
literally everything
has to have
a tidy box to
reside in

lately i have to ask,
is something not important
or valuable unless you
marry it?

can we find value in things
as they are, as they develop
as they unfold
and change?

i can’t see in black and white
and there are so many dimensions to
being alive

i used to run along the cow pasture
my lungs burning in the cold winter air

i used to huddle under my blankets
my lungs breathing in my own stale air

i am both of these,
at once

i mean, there is no box
for me

only mountains and valleys

-A

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between sleeping and waking

from your silent shadow, you wept
and weeping sustains
the cracked earth

not blood from death
only sacrifice
can carry the weight of
question or
purpose

in sleeping, we dream and
in dreaming, we collect
moments, fragments
undiscovered and unattainable

in waking, we smell and taste
and touch
but in dreaming,
we survive

landscape of a heart

in my heart live ten thousand memories
and ten thousand more, unlived

i can feel them with the rough skin
of my fingertips
smell them in unwashed hair
or hear them on the street as i amble by

sometimes a premonition
often a flashback

i think that my heart’s landscape is green hills
filled with forest ferns and sycamore trees
drinking in the muddy river

there, i run freely
my pace changes
my breath
up and down the hills
around and through

i think your shoulder
is one of the hills
of my landscape

my weary mind’s resting place
if only for a moment

but i’ll beg for ten thousand more

i want to be part of
your heart’s landscape

-A

Anthem

They like to ask me why I have changed
so I explain that I have returned.

I have always been
Stained glass
throwing odd shapes of colored light onto
wooden floors
to stacks of books, both new and worn;
And I have always been
Wet grass
sparkling under the glow of the moon in
the dark night
crickets chirping, warm breeze blowing;
And I have always been
Water
humming by lazily in the sun so
felt not seen
swinging back and forth, my eyes closed.

They sometimes ask me what I mean
so I put it in simpler terms.

I have always been
Quiet,
choosing to listen more than be heard;
Curious,
reading to learn as much as I can;
Thoughtful,
striving to know the world around me;
Introspective,
wanting to understand myself most.

They have only known
Riotous nights,
not quiet mornings;
Strong opinions,
not changing my mind;
City living,
not wildflower bliss.

And I cannot apologize for coming home to myself again.

-L

did you know

woman,

did you know you are much more than
the brittle bones beneath your skin?
than the sun’s illuminated freckles
splashed across the bridge of your nose?

and that each time you cry out,
the stars remain
burning through
the night sky,
if only for you to
stand at peace with
yourself?
*
digging
through the dirt

stuck in my nails
thick on my skin,
my scalp
*
the truth sought after
the colors of
a spring wind storm in the desert
the smell of bread dough rising

dust, flour
dirt
grit between my fingers
inhaling

and i’m digging
and i’m digging
*
the process toward peace is,
they say,
a lengthy one

i’ll sit patiently
listen to her tell me her woes
tell her i love her
speak of her knowledge and
inner beauty

when i look in the mirror,
though
i tell her
to shut up
and get on with it
*
woman,
did you know
you are so much more than

-A

hidden resistance

in a world of those that notice the shine of my dress shoes
what do they know of the muddy feet underneath?

the feet spent the morning tending to the earth
from garden to garden they guided the body

though the eyes behold the process,
the feet understand how the earth is grateful for that first drink of water
in the same way that they too find comfort in
the soft soil fresh with morning dew

though the hands planted the seeds,
the feet notice, step around, as they sprout above the soil
beckoning the sun to feed them
for the feet also find energy in the light

in this way
i suppose i do not believe that i need to be clean
or fragranced
or styled
in the same way day after day

my prayer each morning is that
i may find delight in the life
that i am surrounded by

outside, in the sun this morning
I wanted to lay down
bury myself in the earth
like a bolita bean seed,
crack out of this shell,
and grow

-A