Artist

I’m an artist without artistic talent

A visionary with no eye-hand coordination

Keeper of vibrant dreams, seen only by my third eye

I’m a wordsmith suffering from silencing anxiety

Collector of hand-me-down ideas

My vocal road rage surprises me

I’m a better driver when I’m alone

I’m a workaholic with a new year’s resolution

To not work next new year’s day, one long year away

I’m a night owl working day shifts

I’m a closet non-binary person missing her gay best friend

One killed himself, the other I dated

Relationships with friends are ill-fated

Not that I recommend dating strangers either

But at least you won’t lose a friend in the end

I’m a newly married polyamorist

I’m currently in the market for amethyst

I fear hurting others so much that I withhold truth

Thank you for letting me share these self-evident truths with you

Whatever your hopes are for the new year, I hope you receive them

Though things often don’t go the way we want them to

Know that you are enough just as you are, and many people are sharing the struggle alongside you

When feeling trapped and overwhelmed, open the door to liberation

Remember that you are not your thoughts

When in doubt, take a breath

Even while standing, sit and pause

The Point

I found a years-old grocery receipt with the following message I’d scribbled on it:

The point of life is to become enlightened, again and again.

For me, the quick and easy way to become enlightened is to suffer beyond words to the point that my ego splits open and divine light pours in.

Every time I arrive, I bow to my suffering in gratitude.

I remember that what I had grappled and struggled with was actually on my side the whole time.

When I arrive at enlightenment, for a moment, I know peace

Then the journey starts again, like bringing my awareness back to my breath, most of the time I am unconscious of the miracle that flows through me.

Perhaps suffering is not necessary, however it seems to be a catalyst; speeding up the process.

I want to hug the whole world, wrap it in a hand-knit sweater

To those who feel sick, I hope you feel better.

I want the glow in my heart to grow and light up the dark.

I’m glad I kept that receipt

I could frequently benefit from a reminder about what the point is

It is most difficult to remember when I am surrounded by those who cling steadfast to their self-centered identities, awash in all sorts of drama, trying at every angle to drag me into their mire

I pray they will know enlightenment, even if for a moment, someday

I pray that I will know enlightenment, even if for a moment, today

Soar

This body is my prison

Everybody has a body
Everybody is somebody’s son or daughter or both
Everybody is somebody
I’m tired of trying to be somebody and failing and flailing
When I could shed the skin I’m in
Crack open my ribcage and fly free
I’d let go of my eyes that once gazed into yours and kiss goodbye my lips that once kissed yours
I’d let go of my strength and my softness, my curves and my curls
I’d give up my form, vanities and imperfections
I’ve flirted with suicide my whole life
And spoken of it to no one except the one who pulled it off
I heard his rib cage crack open on the concrete below our college dorm
I understood
Afterward, we sad survivors put on a show- a tragedy!
But he just did what he wanted to
What many of us want to
Those who want to be free from their body know
The temptation to empty the lead from their pockets
And soar

Bouncy Ball

Resilient sphere of color

I throw you down but you only bounce back higher

Dancing down the stream
You get caught on rocks and fallen leaves
I free you and follow you down the babbling brook
Your journey is again halted by forest debris
I dislodge you with a stick and you bound onward
Carried effortlessly by the water
I was told that all rivers flow to the ocean
I am determined to travel there with you, to see this through
Then I learn that water sometimes moves underground
Branch still in hand, we are both stuck on land
I didn’t account for this
Years later, I am an adult in a high-pressure profession
Just now pausing after years of running
As if I’ve been chasing a ball down a stream
Bouncing from one goal to the next
I am bewildered by the restless movement which only distanced me from my heart’s desires
In exchange for passing tests, I received more tests
No one ever asked me if I want to be tested
I value serenity and peace, meditation in nature
I was already where I wanted to be
When I was a girl with a rubber ball
Bring me back to that forest stream
I will stand in it
Let the cool water wash over my feet
Bouncy ball by my side
In stillness and simple satisfaction
We will stay

Flame

Your rage strikes my heart like a lightning bolt

Cracking it open and setting it afire
I am at a loss for what to do, so I warm my hands over the embers and wait
To transform, part of me must die
I cannot rush, only trust
How many times can one heart break?
As many times as it takes
To learn the sacred lessons
To consciously unite with the divine
Time and time again
Pain is pain, sensation is sensation
No matter the form or formal education
Lucid dreaming just before waking
I see a sea of broken hearts glowing in the dark
Each a floating lantern offered up
Burning with the same flame

Strong

Let’s start where we are

At the end of my rope again
Wanting to kill my body to liberate my spirit
Free myself from the grips of your jealousy
Your hands can’t grasp the air, can’t contain that which is intangible
Only the heart can do that
I want to throw a wrench and stop the drama-go-round with a screeching halt
Would it shake you awake from the illusion of reality?
Would it finally lift your veil?
I have felt hunted by you my whole life
How refreshing to be the one to hold the knife
I want to get out of my own way
I balance a negative thought with a positive one
Remind myself that I create my life each moment through perception, attention, intention
Even now, you are another a poppy in the field, trying to keep me knocked out instead of awake, empowered, enlightened
Wrapped up in visions of destruction, I remind myself that I have a choice every moment
I turn my mind’s eye to that which uplifts me, and give a wink
How much more energy would I have for that which I love if I let go of that which I loathe?
I don’t have to prove that I am strong anymore
I don’t have to take your shit anymore
You are the one who needs strength
At my best, I pray for you and the healing of our relationship
At my worst, I fantasize about taking a shit on your grave

Good

I no longer strive to be labeled as ‘good’ by others

Like a trained fucking dog

I don’t want to act sweet
When I feel salty and bitter
I never wanted to fit into a box
Or stay between the lines
I don’t even belong indoors
I am a wild, free woman
If that means I’m not the angel you thought I was
Then light up the fire and brimstone
Too long have I carried the burden of trying to save the world while looking cute and put-together
Always satisfying other’s needs like plugging holes in a dam and I’m about to burst
I tremble and ache to let go of the many ropes which bind me
So many roles to play and expectations to meet
No wonder I have no time or energy left for me
I am the only person I can save, and my liberation doesn’t require fake smiles or insincere social pleasantries
To live my best life
I must aspire to be more than simply good
I must liberate myself from the ribbon I am wrapped up in
Rip off the docile doll’s dress and burn it,
Warming my hands and illuminating my night
I must feel my body and ride the waves of my emotions with shuddering ecstasy
You want me to be good
But I want to be better

Unbridled

I finally found my life partner, my love

We’ve lived together for more than a year, peaceful as doves

Happiness pours like sunlight into my life

We wanted to make our union legal before starting a family so we applied for a marriage license
I let my two sisters know the good news- one sister was warm and loving, the other sharp daggers of ice
The first sister offered to sing a song and bake a cake
The second could not be present on our tentative date- so she rained down anger and hate
She was irate that I might celebrate the day without her in any way, however small
Her tyrant insecure ego ruled all
So I gave in to her, as I do
And excluded the rest of my family too
I am trying to understand her thoughts strange and cruel
Why should she have a say on how I carry out my wedding day?
I am a grown woman
She is unwell, wrathful as a demon unleashed from hell
She took the day dedicated to my happiness and love and made it about her anger and pain
That’s what narcissists do: they take your plans and shit in your hands
I was about to take flight and she pulled me back down, the way she does
Like everyday of my childhood, she still can’t kill my hope
Now if I do have a ceremony in the future, I wouldn’t want her there
Forced and coerced, I’m frozen in PTSD
I don’t want her in my life at all, too long have I suffered abuse and trauma from her disproportionate drama
Growing up I wished for her death for my liberation, but that’s not the way
I must be brave, face her and say
Your presence in my life is toxic
You ruined my childhood and now the day of my marriage too
How many ruined days of my life will be enough for you?
Never enough, I know that much
I ache to break free from your trauma-bonds
My brain throbs from the damage of abuse
The blade of my tongue dangles, hungry to cut you loose
In trying to tie me down, you only tied your noose
Your tight grasp only pushed me away
I’ve got this strong itch to tell you you’re a crazy bitch
If you want to stay in my life, stop being a dick
The narcissist and the co-dependent is an act I’m tired of playing
That’s how I know my man is right for me- he is giving
You have an insatiable appetite for my energy
You can’t imagine the pain you inflict on me
As you claim to care about me
I don’t want your conditional love
Love is unconditional, you’re the one who is fucked up
So I cry and kick and punch the air, wonder if you feel it out there
I hope you have nightmares about me in your sleep, that I set fire to your sheets
I learned terror and violence from you
I want to scream
I want to shout
I want to let my feelings out
A deafening roar presses behind my teeth, that old jangly door
I could drown you in my tears
We are both angry: you were born angry, and I am angry that you impose your anger as my problem; you blame me for your meltdowns which are your responsibility alone
If only everyone did what you wanted, there would be peace, or so you’d have me believe
Peace comes from within, stop your deafening din
I am not responsible for how you feel
You are the one who unleashes your anger
I am the robotic doll with no apparent emotions at all
I am also the bride, and there is no room for you in my sphere of love and positivity
With each breath I regain space for myself
By meditation or medication, I wish you well
On second thought, go to hell
It is OK for me to speak my truth
In the eye of your drama storm, I followed my heart and wed my true love
Amidst healing from your narcissistic abuse
I unite myself with self-love
You always tried to break me, but it only made me more unbreakable
You poisoned my wedding well-  I don’t want to sip from it again
You silenced my wedding bells, not knowing that the ringing in my ears cannot be suppressed
When we were little girls, I believed that I was responsible for your feelings
What an impossible task- you’ve always been mentally ill!
I believed it again when I didn’t stand up to you about getting married- when I took responsibility and cleaned up your mess by hiding my marriage from everyone else so that you wouldn’t feel left out
I hurt myself in the name of not hurting you
Yet you are hurt nonetheless, despite my best efforts, my ultimate sacrifice
I’m so fucking exhausted by this awful game
I hope that I fell for the lie for the last time
Armed with understanding, I slay the dynamic between our archetypes
There will be more tears to shed until the day that you are dead, and probably after that too, just to have known you, to have had my developing neuroendocrine system deformed by you
I struggle between wanting to make amends, to be sisterfriends
and to speak my truth, tell you what I think of you
Here is my unbridled rage: fuck you
Your misery is not my responsibility
I may not feel free yet, but with the pen I can write my revenge
Liberate my thoughts even though you may never read this
For a minute there, I lost myself
All these asshole experiences- with family members, exes, bosses
Simulating that I am a hunted and trapped animal
All this elaborate illusion to challenge me, push me to the limit to see if I can remember under pressure
That I am one with everything, that everything is one
In the quantum field, I tap into my innate healing energy, and radiate healing energy out to those motherfuckers as well
To the haters- though you are hurting, you are still loved
I may not like you, but I can assure you that you too are one with everything
Though you may never believe it in this lifetime, that is your loss, that is your spiritual amnesia to recover
I pray for the swift and complete liberation from suffering of all beings

Death Certificate

Another day, another death by COVID.

My COVID patient who died today was relatively healthy and young.
While filling out his death certificate, I paused over the ’cause of death’ section:
 
My patient had multi-organ failure with a subsequent cardiac arrhythmia incompatible with life and viral pneumonia causing respiratory failure, however the failure that lead up to his COVID infection was systemic at a societal level.
 
My patient was a prisoner, infected by COVID-19 because he was denied the ability to socially distance, robbed of the right the protect himself.
 
I didn’t know him, but as I studied his body during his final hours I imagined what his life had been like, and wanted to include on his death certificate:
 
Cause of death:
Complications resulting from loss of human rights due to imprisonment
Secondary to the prison-industrial complex
Secondary to class warfare
Secondary to poverty
Secondary to racism
 
I didn’t know him, but I shared pieces of his struggle:
Adverse childhood experiences, trauma on trauma on trauma
 
His premature death is another stone in my pocket
My path is liberation
Wherever his soul is now, I hope he feels liberated too
Liberated from the brown skin which lead to his incarceration which inevitably did him in.

Corona

I wear my crown of martyrdom

On the front lines, yet still at the back of the testing line- haven’t been tested

I think of you, virus, though you do not think of me

Coronavirus, on the news
Coronavirus, in my body
Is the aching in my muscles and bones your calling card?
You desire to enter my cells, virus, as much as I long to keep you out
Together, yet separately, we hunger
You want to pick my lock, use my typewriter to transcribe your RNA, then mail your enveloped self-promoting propaganda air mail special to Hadestown.
Don’t bring me down on the way, I pray
Not like this, not today
My heart breaks to think of those who have lost their lives to you, and those who needlessly will still
My head is intoxicated with fear
You always seem too near
Perhaps we Americans deserve the repercussions of our recklessness
Though it is the innocent who pay, as usual
Another day deep
I march on with trembling hands and heavy feet
Tracking invisible mud out of the wards and onto the street
Ashamed to stay in the job I was fixing to quit anyway,
Ashamed to leave now and abandon my post
The war is on, dwarfing the existential crisis of living the life I want versus fulfilling my societal obligation
I am among the minority who have a medical education
Only in following my heart can I grow up at last, no longer a slave to the judgements of others who do not bear my burden
My mind’s liberation opens up like a blue sky
Back to here and now, overcast again
In clinic and in the hospital
I struggle to bring my heart into the mundane and mission-impossible tasks which overflow from one day to the next
Virus, I gaze at your storm clouds accumulating on the horizon, and feel small
I see your silver lining, as I am well practiced in finding positivity amidst disaster
You are rich in potential
Look at the way you are uniting humanity, virus
People are taking care of themselves and each other like never before
Practicing presence in hospital hallways and supermarket aisles, smiling shyly at each other from behind our suffocating masks
We are finally being mindful of our precious resources, thinking globally and acting locally for sustainable solutions
We are cultivating more community and camaraderie than we could ever quantify
Teamwork and solidarity are weaving our spirits more closely together even as the physical distance between our bodies grows
I take a step back to take in the beauty of the tapestry you wove, virus
You bring opportunity for innovation and flexibility, you demand it
Many of us no longer take life for granted
We are cleaning our hands as often as we always should have
People are being prioritized over profits as we focus on what is essential
We settle in, acknowledging at last that we are in the same boat
Living in unspoken gratitude for each day of health
Please don’t rock my boat too much, virus
Though you are armed with cunning skills
And you may bring about more positive change still
I plan to ride out this storm, though land is not in sight
Virus, perhaps you could rest tonight?
Virus, my type II pneumocytes are mine, my lungs are a celebration of life and you are not invited
I wind-down after another day on the front lines,
I give thanks to those who are doing their part in time
To those in the comfort of your own homes,
Please stay where you are, be satisfied
Coronavirus, we will destroy you with patience and ingenuity, with solidarity and community, with soap and water, and with love for one another