My Power Tool

I have feet to dance to any beat and legs to carry me down the street

I have a belly to laugh and lungs to breathe

Arms to reach and hands to make

I have a heart to love and a brain to think

But my most powerful tool is my voice

To sing my truth and express my choice

To move mountains without breaking a sweat

All I need is courage and my breath

To share what is beneath my skin and let out what was once within

Alice in Recoveryland

Alice had her heart broken

When she was quite small
And healing a broken heart
Isn’t easy at all
So she drank
To forget it all
But she couldn’t forget,
Even when she felt tall
In fact, the more she drank
The more she felt like she was falling
And falling…
Until- kerplunk!
She hit rock bottom, landed on her badunk
She had no where to go but up
But getting up is hard when you are on your badunk
Though Alice was hurting, she was also incredibly strong
So she climbed and she climbed, though her journey was long
To this day, she is climbing still
She is higher than she ever felt when she was looking out over windowsills
In towers guarded by grumpy ogreish men
Alice is a survivor, and she’d survive it all again
Her heart may have been broken,
But it never stopped beating
Though the sweetness of love was fleeting
And the bitter years of sadness and tears
Left a sting on her cheek and made her feel meek
She is finding her true voice
She is exercising her choice
To express herself in this world
Hers is the story of one small girl
Who grew into womanhood
The only way she could
Smoking this, drinking that
Sleeping with men wearing mad hats
Alice is every woman, in a way
Doing her best to recover from her past today
Building herself a better future
Re-writing her fairy tale
After giving so many men happy endings
She is creating a happy ending for herself
Filled with love, hope, and peace

The Warrior-Princess and the Dragon

Once upon a long enough time
There was a Warrior-Princess who could spin mad rhymes

She slayed other people’s dragons, as she earned a dime
Solving problems for fun, in her spare time

She invited all possible stress into her life
She felt strong as she stood amidst the onslaught of strife

She gathered knowledge and skills
To prevent and cure ills
But one thing seems to evade her still-
Overcoming the fear of her own dragon self

Every princess is also a warrior
Though she may feel trapped in a tower
Or a hospital corridor
Held captive by her fear of disappointing others,
Our heroine kept the fear of her dragon-self near

Our warrior-princess, while a vanquisher of things big and scary,
a master of getting into situations quite hairy,
was scared to death of her inner dragon,
she was terrified to speak her truth- to let out her desire, spit her anger-fire

The warrior-princess is me, and I’ve come to see
that the fear of dragons is all in my mind
My dragon has been my dear companion this whole time
ready to make noise if I’d only let it be free

I’ve let my reptilian brain keep me in trouble
when I could have been riding my dragon
floating like a bubble

For too long I shut my dragon down with stress
I felt so helpless and under duress
My dragon was ready to roar all along

I let my mammalian brain drive me insane
sticky emotions pulled me down the drain

Yet somehow my spirit persisted
My healing couldn’t be resisted

I’m ready to rise up and vocalize my voice, choose my choice
That may sound like a no-brainer,
but actually it’s a neo-brainer
Our Neo-cortex can function and rise above
When we trade our fear response for love

I’m ready to breathe my fire, let my power transpire
Let my dragon protect me
Instead of keeping it hidden
For too long I cowered as I became more trauma-ridden

I’m ready to become the Dragon Princess Warrior
Gather up my best, and leave the rest

I’m ready to combine the finesse of my Princess
with the courage of my Warrior
and the fierceness of my Dragon

Si se puede!

Yes I can live my best life

For so long, I sang a sad song
I silenced my self-advocacy
When as a young child, many molested me
I thought my dragon abandoned me when I yielded to the dragons of others
My dragon was protecting me the best way it knew how, the only way which I allowed it to- freeze, collapse, play dead

I am afraid of my dragon self,
and it is my fear to own
It is my fear to express through a poem

I’m ready to give up my crouching chameleon life
Shed my reptilian and mammalian skins
take my sweet hummingbird and eagle’s flight

To the fear of my dragon-self,
I bow in gratitude for the sacred journey
A-ho!

And A-ho! to us all
as on the journey we heed the call
to balance our inner princess, warrior and dragon
We have within us everything we need
and by balancing ourselves, we help bring balance to all, yes indeed
A-ho!

Shout-out to the mighty mitochondria-
I hope you’ve enjoyed the wild ride inside me
Thank you for all the ATP-
divine light energy
A-ho!

The Mirror Box

All my life
I feel like I’ve been trapped inside a mirror box:
A glass box made of one-way mirrors
This is cheap trick

When people look at me
They see only what they want to see
They see themselves in me
They see their desires come alive before their eyes
They can’t imagine that I’m locked inside

I can look out and see them
I try to scream
They don’t even hear a peep
Alas, this glass is sound proof

How can I break it
How can I smash it
How can I make it to the other side

Will I be able to breathe outside the safety of this mirror box, this cube-shaped solitary confinement that I call home?
It is all I have ever known
My voice does not obey me
It says what others want it to say
What cruel trick is this
That my voice is not my own?
Only through writing, ladies and gentlemen, can I let my true self roam

I want to break free from the mirror box
I want to feel the sun and fresh air on my hair
I want to feel safe in my skin
I want to feel like a person without fear

Triggerfinger

I wish I wasn’t so easily trauma triggered
It doesn’t take much to push me out of touch with feeling safe
A slightly raised voice makes me lose all choice but to
freeze and collapse
The physiology of my stress response takes over
Though I try to stop it, my heart races, my pulse pounds, a heaviness crushes my chest, suffocating me, it feels like I can’t breathe
How long has it been since I last took a breath?
Now I make a conscious effort to unclamp my rusted-shut jaw from my tongue but the battle is not so easily won
Years later the everyday trauma tape continues to play on loop I feel like I’m still in those moments when I didn’t know what to say, the epic fail drags me down into a pit of mental battering and spirit shattering
‘Good enough’ remains just out of reach
I hold the tension in my body and the voices of my aggressors echo between my ears
I’m caught between anger and tears                                                                                Regretting the past and fearing the future
I worry that if I ever get married or have a baby, my ex-partners will come after me in fits of blind jealousy
The ex’s that have expressed ill-will and death-wishes to me,                                                the ones with guns, violent tendencies and criminal histories                                               God, will I live my whole life without ever feeling safe?                                                    Mental abuse is physical abuse: you can see it, feel it, measure it in my body                       It is detrimental to my health and wellbeing                                                                                    I meditate on being held in a sphere of protective light                                                          and pray that I won’t have nightmares again tonight                                                      Healing the mind is not easy                                                                                                               I am humbled at how quickly I slip into depression and anxiety                                           my constant companions of which I am never truly free                                                       The next time my trauma gets triggered, which will happen soon                                      May I relax the grip of my fingers and remember that I am held in safety                      even when it feels impossible to believe                                                                                          I find peace in remembering that not even my trauma,                                                      which seems to be at the very core of me                                                                                      Is mine to keep                                                                                                                                   All things end eventually

Pretty Man

He is looking
So good looking
Did you see his physique?
Built like a tiger
Did you hear him speak?
He has a face
That I like to see
I want to feel him stand near me
Touch his skin and his hair-
That fountain of ebony
Pouring lavishly from his head
I want to kiss his face
Lose myself in his embrace
But I have felt this way before
So I know better than to knock on his door
Without pausing to remember
How often the ones who I adore
Are later the same ones who I abhor
Though I long to swim in the depths of his eyes
And his magnetism is a difficult force to defy
Though I flutter near him
I will enjoy his flame
From a healthy distance
And rest in my resistance
I know too well
The trouble on the other side of the kiss
I have already been burnt enough in my life
It is better to imagine the bliss
But I say again:
He is pretty
So pretty

New Role

New Role

While I was sleeping last night
A baby cried nearby
My dream translated the sound
Into you talking to me
You said, ‘I hate you because I’m shy’
I asked incredulously, ‘You hate me because you’re shy?’
Already in this short dream I had had enough of taking the blame for your issues, so accompanied by a friend, I stormed out
As fast as I could
But in dream-scape
It was like moving through thick gelatin
The next room I entered, with you right behind me,
Had my male cousins in it
I said, loudly enough for you to hear,
‘Hey, it’s my male cousins!’
And they each extended a hand to help pull me forward
I took this to mean that I have protective forces in my life
And I have help, if I just reach out and accept it
After waking, I reflected that I am the one who often resents others
Because I am too shy to express myself to them
So I feel like a victim
But I’m ready for a new role

I awoke to the sound of the baby crying,                                                                                       And prayed that she would continue to express herself freely;                                                      A gentle reminder that I once knew how                                                                                              To release my voice                                                                                                                         Without a filter                                                                                                                                         And let it fly