Ritual No. 24

Dogwood petals fill the gutters like a fluttering snowdrift. See the women scurry, living sacramentals, unlocked from each box. A rush of brooms and rakes sweep and scrape, purging all proof of the fleeting blooms. On low branches the skinks bask in the sun, speaking their own truth and untruth, flicking their blue tails as they turn away. Hoses uncoil to wash the gutters clean. Pinned to the sky, above the tree, a mass of bumblebees hovers and hums. Along the edge of the hill below there comes a quiet crash. Children crush plastic birds and doll hands to meet the flood of petals flowing towards the sewage drain. So soon the street is the clearest gray. Only a shadow of tree remains. Running up the hill the children pluck the skinks from the dry bark. Each box locks again. Curls glisten under glowing clouds. Thin blue worms twitch, pinched between tiny fingers and thumbs.

The Rented House in Spring

I invade unworthy of the reds, purples, yellows, pinks. You are gone to God knows where now. He is dead. I am sleeping in a clear glass bed in the deep night of the front lawn. Entangled, like vines, your secrets fall out of my ears. My eyes ache. The ground curves, swells, ruptures, as each tulip speaks words as smooth as milk. Your mail just keeps coming. Letters spilling from the box. The season’s last frost rests, then melts, on my skin. I wake with torn eyes, cut and split by every lush bloom emerging from your gardens–hyacinth, lilac, wild phlox, climbing rose, jasmine. The most gorgeous inheritance. Darkness can be found beneath the mossy wooden border, under carefully placed rocks, stone lambs, worn bricks. I pick them up to find the worms, entwined, sensuously busy at their work. At night the moon falls to the ground, explodes, covers the creeping Jenny with its juices.

Dream Noise Weekend

Enjoying this last weekend of winter, looking forward to the coming of spring, and adding this latest single from Veronica Falls to the list of music that makes me realize I’m nostalgic for the ethereal jangle pop of the 80s and 90s. Whimsical dream noise bright halftone dot color flash and relentless beat. Breathe. Dance. Smile. Love.


This Is Here

This gallery contains 12 photos.

  The sun unfurls magnetic storms. The sky is too blue. It is the end of winter. Petals decay on the front lawn. At night, two fingers form a V to cover Venus and Jupiter, while Mars sits alone, ruddy orange, on the other edge of the sky. But today there is warm. There is sunlight. There is medicine. There is worm. […]

Being Peace in the Belly of the Beast

I have an adversarial relationship with suburbia. I’ve been referring lately to the inner realm of our suburban subdivision as “the belly of the beast.” Sometimes I say it with a smirk, sometimes with a scowl, and sometimes with a bit of laughter at finding myself inhabiting this utterly strange and unfamiliar place. Often I don’t even have to say it. I just sense it deep within my core as I make my way out of the District, onto the Beltway, into the suburbs, and then deep into the center of my subdivision. My soul sinks. My heart catches. There is actual physical pain as I pull into the driveway. This can’t be healthy. My home should not be my enemy. How can I transform this relationship into one of peace?
I’ve been considering the idea that I don’t have to see living in suburbia as a long, agonizing sentence to the deepest dungeon in the “belly of the beast.” Perhaps it is possible to see, to visualize, living in suburbia as an extended, intensive spiritual retreat in an “our enemies are our greatest teachers” sort of way. If suburbia made me completely content every single day, I would not have the opportunities that I currently have to practice compassion and love. I have been given a gift of 13 more years in suburbia. What do I need to cultivate in myself to make this relationship one of peace?
In suburbia I become most distraught, hopeless, and hostile when confronted by the irrational conformity to mainstream everything, the adherence to uniformity, the love affair with the violence of consumption, the mindless cultural hibernation, the obsession with the tiniest details and minutiae of the accepted norms of childhood development, the environmental degradation, and the thoughtless overuse of fossil fuels that is taken as a matter of unquestioned entitlement. What can I learn from my reactions to these elements of suburbia?  How do I grow to create love, peace, joy, wisdom, bliss, and blessings even as I live in relationship with this enemy known as suburbia?
Can we change suburbia? It is possible, but not entirely, at once, in this very moment. But in this very moment, I can change my consciousness. I can change my energy. It is perhaps even more radical to strive to transform from within, to foster an inner revolution, right here and now. I can recognize in my reactions to my enemy that I have much work to do regarding my own arrogance, rigidity, complicity, fear, anger, and lack of faith in the choices of others. Now, thanks to suburbia, I see where my compassion must be focused. I see where the intention of my meditation must rest. Without my enemy how would I understand the ways in which to become peace? Instead of railing against the enemy, I must slow down, be still, be love, be mindful of each moment’s reactions, and make it my intention to transform those reactions with loving kindness and compassion.

English: An aerial view of housing development...

One day I may find myself fully in love with suburbia. For now I walk along these rolling concrete hills and past grassy chemical lawns and promise, at the very least, peace to my enemy. Breathing in…I am learning from suburbia. Breathing out…I am grateful for suburbia.