Serpent

I’m shaped like a cock, but move like a cunt. My throat’s open all the way down and my tongue’s forked for her pleasure whispering “eat!” Women have had food issues ever since.

Ask yourself- doesn’t even human law make the ability to know the difference between right and wrong a prerequisite for punishment? Eve was slapped down for doing something she’d been told not to, but before she tasted of its tree, she had no knowledge of good and evil. She disobeyed with no ability to know it was wrong. Screw the cat (and the pussy) Eve was killed for her curiosity.

But what she swallowed in the garden was not just the simple split of good and evil, but duality itself- the differences between things- all things- good and evil, god and human, man and woman, and she went scrabbling for fig leaves to cover them up.

And that’s original sin, my friend, the cleft in your mind that can’t span every truth and its opposite contained. It’s why you are damned forever, dimensionally bound to torture your inherently non-dimensional selves. It’s so elegant, really, no work from me required, to stretch you on the rack of paradox.

But some will make the rack a ladder, discovering in its horizontal stretch a vertical reach, and raise yourselves to Eden before the fork in the road, the fork in the tongue, the pre-fall non-dual, pushing man into woman, trying to find oneness once more, to blend yourselves, lose yourselves in another and find yourselves in love. And you get pretty close, touching heaven and gutter, orgasm blind seeing self and other, your recreational re-creating of creation procreating. Sex- the perfect symbol, apes god and creates life again; not two made one, but a third, a child who will want to fit in and stand out, and you will never own even your whole heart again.

Mystics too will bridge the oblongata snake in rapture to stand outside themselves- ecstatic. And they too will suffer to expel from the womb that pleasured them, the sweet red fruit of prose- creating two from one once more, the writer and the written, duality. And I- self-pleasuring, self-destroying, place my tail in my mouth, and suck, and swallow.

Cosmology

In the beginning,
it was as with
a child.
She was,
but did not know that she was.

And yet, she was all that there was
and had ever been.
And all that there was not
and would never be.

And in her being, she
creates all things,
building block on block.
Growing order.
Making each new thing
Separate and fitted perfectly.
Intricate, individual.
Elegant and ordered.

And in her being, she
pulls all things apart,
returns them to herself
To formlessness,
Chaotic, destructive, decaying.
Unintelligible, a patternless reunion
Consumed, obliterated,
Scattered on random winds.

Making and unmaking
Being and not knowing
All that is.
All that is not.

And we are her children.
Made of, pinched off from, flowed through.
We feed on her with twin teeth– love and fear
Separate from her, and from our siblings
We- we who believe that we are,
Can neither create nor merge

But we carry her.
We, in moments, timeless
This is why we are.

For although she is
(and is all that is and is not)
It is only through us,
In those moments
when we are and do not know that we are
That she knows she is.

We, her children, birth her into her own creation.
And she is, and knows she is.
And we are all that is, and all that is not.
And are gone again.

Something Else

Once there was a brave girl with beautiful long red hair who could run very fast and was very good at math. When the time came for her to join a school she went first to the School of Fast Runners. She showed them how quickly she could run. They were very impressed and accepted her at once. She was proud and worked hard on her running until the day came that they told her she must cut her hair. It interfered with her running and must be cut off they said. She refused but they were unbending and said she could not stay at The School For Fast Running if she would not cut her hair, and so she left.

As she was leaving one of the fast runners shouted at her “why don’t you go join the Beautiful Haired? They are all as stuck up about themselves as you are”

Well, she didn’t feel that she was stuck up , so for a long time she wouldn’t go to The House of the Beautiful Hair. But finally, she was so lonely without a place to belong that she went and knocked. The door was thrown open to her and she was welcomed by people who taught her to care for her hair properly and style it in many wonderful ways. She realized that people with hair like hers weren’t all stuck up (though some of them certainly were) and she stopped feeling like her hair was something to be embarrassed of, and indeed learned to love it and feel proud of it.

She was happy there until one of the teachers caught her with a math book. The teacher was very kind, but explained that books in general, but particularly math books, drained blood from the scalp and should be avoided as it would eventually damage the hair. The girl tried to stop, but she found herself irresistibly drawn to math.

She’d catch herself doing arithmetic in the shower or find formulas in her doodles. The more she tried to avoid numbers, the more she seemed to encounter them. She felt terribly guilty and sought advise from many of the teachers on how to best excise this destructive part of herself. Though everyone was very gentle and understanding, they could not help her. They didn’t ask her to leave but, ashamed and embarrassed she eventually snuck away one night alone.

Her hair was still beautiful and they would always have welcomed her for that, but she couldn’t stay. She wandered for a while until she came across girl who was walking along carrying math books. At first she looked away, embarrassed for the girl who didn’t seem to have the sense to hide the shameful books, but carried them about for all to see. Eventually though her curiosity got the better of her and she struck up a conversation. They had so much in common that the girl quickly forgot her own shame and reveled in the company of her new friend. They walked some distance before she even bothered to inquire where they were headed.

Her new friend, it turned out, was headed to Math School and invited the girl to come along. She was doubtful at first, she’d had such bad luck at the School for Fast Running and the Home for the Beautiful Hair that she was afraid to try again. But at last, because she liked her new friend so much, she decided to apply. The entrance test was very difficult and even though she was very good at math, it had been so long since she’d done it and since she’d not had any instruction, she did not pass the test. Her new friend said good-bye to her sadly and went inside.

For a while the girl was very sad indeed. She had never failed at anything before and couldn’t help feeling like it was her own fault. She was lonely without a school to belong to and she missed her new friend. She decided to get to work on getting into Math School. She hired a teacher who was willing to coach her and she worked very hard for a long time learning everything she’d missed in her time at the Hair and Running schools. She hardly noticed time passing because she was working so hard, but she was really happy during this time. She had a goal and a plan and even though she was alone and tired most of the time she felt really good.

Finally the day came to try the test again. This time she passed and was admitted to the Math School so proud to have won at something. She had never gotten to compete at Running or Hair school because, though everyone had said she was very promising first the hair and then the math had stopped her before she’d been there long enough to enter a completion. She was confident now that she’d be able to win at Math School.

It didn’t come as easily to her as the other things had though and she found she had to get up extra early to go running and wash her hair before classes began and she began to get very tired. Soon, in fact, she got so tired that she began to hurt herself running and had to quit brushing her hair before all the knots were out. She began to make stupid mistakes in math. This frightened her and she resolved to stop getting up so early to run. This helped but she quickly found she had to give up the hair care regime too in order to get enough rest.

She was miserable. She hated the way she looked and felt and she began to resent the math, even as she was getting better at it, but every day she woke up early enough to do her hair or run, her math suffered. She was tired all the time.

Because she was brave, she began to try and find a better way. She looked back over her life trying to find when she was happiest, and realized, to her surprise, that it had been while she was training to get into math school and yet she knew she couldn’t live her whole life in training. Training implies that there’s something you’re aiming for and while she could train for Science School perhaps, she knew that she wouldn’t fit in once she got there any more than she had at Math school.

Finally, she decided to start her own school. She found a little building on a crowded street and opened The School for Long Haired, Fast Running Math People. Once again, she was happy. She worked hard cleaning up the building and getting everything in order. She learned how to set up the books and arrange desks. She made up brochures for her school and took them around. She imagined the people who would come and be so grateful to have finally found a place that fit them well. And then one day everything was ready and she opened her doors for business and no one came. No one came the next day either. Or the next. On the day after that a young boy knocked. The girl ran to the door and opened it.
“Hi” she said excitedly. “I can see your hair is long and beautiful. Can you run and do math?”
“No” said the boy. “I can run and write really well though”
“Oh” she said, bitterly disappointed “I’m sorry.” And she closed the door.

In the days that followed, no one else knocked and she began to wonder if she’d done the wrong thing. She was lonely again. Perhaps she should have let the boy in. Perhaps she should open a School for People with Beautiful Hair who Run and do Something Else. But she knew that wasn’t right. She was very sad because she knew this really was the right school for her, but there was no one else there. She thought she would be lonely the rest of her life.

She began to take walks in the afternoon around the streets by her school. One day she passed a new school being opened. She watched it for a while fondly remembering the days she had worked setting up her own school. Several days later when she passed that way again, the sign had gone up. School for Short People who Dance and Read Books.

She sighed. She read books and liked to dance, but she was definitely on the tall side. She knocked all the same. The person who answered was confused to see a tall girl standing on the step, but she was polite all the same. She said she had had only one other person come by since she’d opened, a short dancer who sang. The short dancer who read and the long-haired runner who liked math talked for a long time. They had both opened schools, they both liked books- though different kinds, and they found they had a lot to talk about.

They became good friends and since no other short dancers who read or long-haired mathematicians who ran showed up at either door they both had a lot of time. After a while though, the girl began to feel bored. She remembered the busy days at Math School and wished to feel that involved in something again. Then she had a very strange thought in deed. Maybe she didn’t need to belong to a school at all- not even her own school. She went to visit her friend the short dancer who read and told her:“I’m going to leave my school. I will be a Tall Mathematician with Beautiful Hair who Runs Fast doing something else completely, a school of one, but I’d still like us to be friends because even though we belong to different schools because I like you very much.”
“OK” said her friend.”What will you do?”
“I don’t know” said the brave tall mathematician with beautiful hair who ran fast and had one good friend. “But that doesn’t matter. I know who I will be while I’m doing it.”

Trees

In your garden two very different trees grow not far apart. Limbless, leafless, each forks at the top into two branches. Upon those four branches balances a beautiful golden bowl in which your divine and liquid fire glimmers and winks. Your sun-bowl radiates joy and peace, glowing from the top of your interwoven trees. Your brightly burning bowl-light can encourage the fire balanced on treetops in my garden and in other gardens, and can even lighten the fearful forest’s long shadows.

Slender and lithe, the first of the two trees in any garden is the heart tree, fragile even at its most healthy. A successful planting responds with gentle swaying to breezes and tremors, a smooth rocking which transmits, through the bowl, a circular motion to the liquid sun. Through the movement of the heart tree the bowl-light is stirred and increases. The movement must be gentle though, for if shaken too hard, the bowl can unbalance and precious sunwater be sloshed out and lost.

How easily a heart tree is moved from generative stirring to dangerous shaking is determined, in large part, by the health and proximity of its sister tree. The mind tree is a hardwood and altogether different from the pliable tree it grows beside. While heart trees benefit from the early tending of roots and from balmy atmospheric conditions, mind trees respond to rigorous hands-on care. With its visible growth rings and thicker bark, the mind tree can be trained to support its companion’s more reactive branches.

When cruel, careless or blind things stumble against the tender heart tree and unsettle the liquid sun, a strong mind tree can counterbalance the movement so that little liquid spills. A well-tended mind tree can absorb or redirect a surprising amount of force.

Every gardener is different; every delicate interplay of trees and bowl and fire and wind is unique. Garden location plays a role- some are gustier, some more calm, and some have gotten stronger starts. Some gardeners are naturals, others never learn that anything they do to any tree makes their own trees more or less healthy. When trees starve or sicken they sag, the bowlflame dulls and shrinks below the bowl rim, its light lost to the gardener and to his trees and to every gardener and every bowl of light. Shadows from the forest may even reach into the bowl, but I personally do not believe they can ever put a bowl-light out.

Do not let every gusty breeze rock your golden bowl. Your water is too precious, too god-like to allow it to be lost to any minor thing. Allow into your garden only what feeds your trees and reflects your bowl-light. Invite in gardeners who recognize your liquid fire for what it really is: your puddle of the holy, the god of you in you, your soul and your spirit; your inner peace.

36 Year Old Tree

I’m invisible.
I don’t go to work someplace where people see me.
Not so attractive anymore that I’d catch your eye.
Not so unattractive that I collect scornful glances.
At the grocery store I’m another woman in a line with a cart and a toddler.
If the checker looks up, she doesn’t see me.
On a good day, she’ll smile at my son.
My children see me through children’s eyes.
They see me for what they need, not who I am, and that’s as it should be.
My husband looks at me, looks to me, for sex, for clean socks, for a constant steady friend. He says being near me makes him feel peaceful, he says I’m the source of everything good in his life. He loves me deeply, but he’s simply not interested in the life of my mind. Something I’ve always known.
My best friend is married with a full-time job and a busy life half a country away.
It’s ironic, really, that this place is where I come to feel seen. Where no one sees my face and no one knows my name.
But I have felt seen here.
Maybe I shouldn’t need to feel seen, acknowledged, recognized.
Maybe the inner workings of a 36 year-old stay-at-home mom aren’t interesting.
I pay attention to my children, to my husband, to my friends and my house and my responsibilities. I pay attention to self-growth and continuing education.
I pay a lot.
I don’t make much.
I see quite a bit.
But nobody cares what I see.
Or how it looks to me
I keep up my end. I don’t make a mess. My life is intact. I don’t call attention to myself, don’t get in fights or run up the credit cards. I’m not sneaky. I don’t cheat or gossip.
No one looks at me and shakes their head.
No one frowns in disapproval or scowls in worry.
No one looks or frowns or scowls at all.
I’m Responsible.
Invisible.
If a woman lives and no one sees her, does she really fall?

Miss Waiting

It is because I can’t sing that I know there are no gods. Yeah, I can dance, but what good is that on long car trips?

Once, religion was sexy and happened naked around fires in the deep woods. Or is that just a fantasy we tell ourselves, like how much better things were before pollution and penicillin?

I just won’t fake it Jack.

What bites about getting older is learning that the fire inside that whispers “you’re special and are going to do something wild” burns in everybody else’s head too.

The bitch.

It’s my funky little war zone baby. And Waiting, — that whore with leather lips–she puts the bit between your teeth. I’m too young to shake it alone and too damn old to care.

Yeah, like I’m the only sad little bastard waiting in the rain for my mama to see me. Like I’m the only soul who burned with wanting and not having and dying.

Billy talks all night. Cold spit on his throat and the insides of his elbows and wrists and belly, says “everyone you don’t know fucks the same”.

And I’m still awake in the milky morning and that old whore Waiting, in stale make-up and dry underwear, scurries and hums. And wouldn’t you know it?

The bitch can sing.

Water

I am watching the poolbank from the shade of a friendly tree. I will take my drink later. It is rimmed with people now, some kneeling transfixed, some dipping long handled small spoons into the deepest currents for cold water so sweet they near faint with the tasting and with the working of so unwieldy a spoon. Here is a man walking by me. His cup is broad and he will carry water to many mouths in the village beyond the beach. I wonder whether the water is hot by the time he will arrive. But he looks calm. He drinks his fill as he replenishes the cup.

There are those, of course, who race between the pool and the town, slinging bucket over shoulder to slosh into the common trough, water that is tepid and sometimes pulled from stagnant puddles on the way. Even the most uncouth is warmly welcomed in the town. Water must be brought to drink or we all would die. And although any could come to the pool himself, drink and then return, we pay the water bearers to bring it to us. We believe that, heralded and rewarded as they come, their water is better than ours whose cup is not a basin any lip can fit, or leaks too much to reach the town. There have been those with long jars, but I don’t see one now- one that can reach the deepest current, rise full, carry cool and pour out to every mouth the thing we need for life.

Indeed, even the tree that shades me now drinks from the deep still pool we all adore, and leaning here I taste the water in the scent of its green bark. And I will drink also. Cool and sweet and long. My cup is mine. If no mouth other touches it, it is still my good cup. It is the water that I love.

Jello

I put the spoon in the bowl. I put my bowl on the table. I look into my bowl. My mother’s generation called it salad. It contained fruit, and you served it on a slab of lettuce: salad. In the austere post-Twiggy 90’s, it is dessert. I blame Jesse Helms. Newt Gingrich, Jesse Helms and several of their cronies are systematically doing to art and creative expression in general what Cosmopolitan magazine did to Jello and other forms of previously acceptable food like cheese. These fitness guru politicos are turning something sound, healthy and wholesome into an indulgence, unnecessary and morally suspect. Those with real willpower choose not to indulge in art, remaining artistically slender, enabling themselves to feel superior to the flabbily creative. But people who make easy choices regarding dessert have never understood the struggle of those to whom hot fudge sauce genuinely calls.

Jello parallels creativity in more ways than in its mere sensual temptation. Jello, for instance, like art, is boundless in its variety. Perhaps an infinite number of grape and banana slices in an infinite number of Jello molds would eventually produce identical Jello slices, even as the same number of monkeys and typewriters would, theoretically, duplicate “War and Peace”.

Jello requires heat, and the gas fire of passion, grief, and deadline-stress warms the creative saucepan in which the colored powder of imaginative intelligence dissolves. These packaged powders of innate creativity come in a wide panoply of flavors and sizes, and bless each recipient with the joyous choice of molds. The shape into which one forms one’s spark depends, in large part, into what media one pours the liquid artistic impulse. The same artistic sensibility will express itself differently in dancing and in painting. Grape Jello is different in a copper fish mold than it is in a freestanding, quivering, cube.

As pristine and beautiful as Jello is on its own, however, it is not until you begin to stir in fruit that Jello truly shines. These succulent citrus gems are the actively sought and accidentally realized trinkets that learning and living and experience-seeking yield to the creative person. Dumped into our Jello-lives from above, it is our experiences and thoughts that, when added to the creative powder and shaped by our choice of form, are stirred around within us to yield surprising new combinations of taste and pleasure.

Finally, into the fridge. This is the step, the jelling time, that the corporate fogies do not understand. The Jello only sits there. It cannot do it faster. It cannot do it more proactively. It is only sitting. And yet it is working magically hard. It is knitting its fruity experiences together within its colorful creativity. It is learning to truly inhabit its shape so that when the mold is removed it will retain its form. It is growing in internal consistency and surprising clarity. No longer a soupy, sticky jumble of half-formed ideas and uncoagulated emotions, it is becoming art. It is becoming lunch. It is becoming gone.