“Such Phenomena” – New Poetry

Rare snow this day– normally too warm for such phenomena.
Blood flows at last from my darkened places,
auspices of Winter’s night. Long travels.
Cramps loosen. We are not yet to the Land of Spring,
and I am not too eager for light’s exhausting dominion.
We know we sleep deeper still, time slows to observe inwardly
the Soul’s guiding lantern.
Footprints mark a path outside my small burrow;
Who comes to visit me now from you, Darkened Woods,
who are most beautiful.
The Lord’s beasts may visit our dreaming
and will lead us unto snow’s contemplations,
and to the heart’s spark of candle’d delighting,
and to the Visitor who is the face of the good night
Whose footprints draw nearer now
to my aching door.

Gentle J. Pine

Further journaled thoughts today:

Being sensitive is no joke: it means hearing every different type of music your apartment neighbors are playing and therein hearing and feeling precisely every different personality in physical proximity closely around you. It means being painfully intolerant of the smallest insincerity or manipulative lie when it would be easier to not feel or care, or to conspire therewith. Fatigue and Depression hound these good hearts of the Sensitive; it is nothing to mock and everything to respect. A Soul Guide, a Holy Teacher, a Truth Teller, an Underworld Guide, a true Elder, a Mentor to the Heart: all these are the ones whose baseline hyper awareness is ultimately empowered into a rare gift to The World. They learn to concentrate their gift into deep power and truth, without being overwhelmed by the massive, life-giving intensity within.

Dreams of Two Spirits

On a different night I met her whom I saw die bloodily, as I did not want to see, but how she threatened me, and what spirit stood over her to vanquish her too much I angrily don’t know but that I was floating there with it, gone from her violence against me, but witnessing her own self-brought destruction? What Question mark is appropriate when you face Wicked Chaos in the shape of a known face, and I have dreamt often, too often of female demons, terrible and manipulative and overwhelming as their insanity. She was cleaved in two halves, I saw her perish, vertically and what was inside was a mortal form as my own, and what was lost was unknown.

She appeared to me as if she were a priestess and I were welcomed back into her holy fold after expulsion. At last. But I did not adore her as if she were mighty. She was a beast who became lost in a human’s body, and could not grapple stably with the terror of human awakening, and she grasped for the watery depths of the dark earth where, in a room of well-lit and comforting candles, we spoke together and stood and rejoiced on a cob floor in creaturely dancing under festival lights strung for us, celebrating reunion. It had been a long time since I had seen her, since she left into anger and took no-speech as her feral tongue. She couldn’t go back, now. And I knew that I may have beheld in her only a shell that bore a rare spirit, visiting, as strange as our first meeting, stranger than the blue depths of her vanishing back again.

Our Species at Dusk

Last night I wanted to go to sleep and wake up as a happy five-year-old in this house of my grandparents, with both my Grandma and Grandpa alive, healthy and vital, the decay of the future far away or nonexistent; that present that is now the past, eternal again in a child’s unending summer day. And I found myself crying quietly in Grandpa’s study where I sleep when I come to Fresno, California to visit, because he is ten years still gone and Grandma is here in body but is barely and unrecognizably tenuously “alive” in her spirit.

I’m twenty-eight now and, for the great majority of my adult life under the rational light of the sun, I am accepting of and at peace with the situation that has come to be: our time is one of seeing more beloved elderly people slowly and pitifully die than ever before in society, proportionate to the numbers of the young who must witness it. Our grandparents and parents, once all medical cures are exhausted, languish in a half-life awaiting death, this rite of passage of which I have increasing faith in as a great liberation and the ultimate cure itself. People are living longer, but not necessarily better lives past a certain point. It became known to me in the past few years that Grandpa had considered seeking physician-assisted self-euthanasia, had his incurable physical pain become unbearable and death had not taken him in his sleep. The thought of it would have been too hard for me to handle when, at his death, I was eighteen and he was eighty, but now I have more and more serious respect for the natural and ancient dignity in such a choice. I had the freedom to euthanize my beloved cat of thirteen years when her veterinary ailments became unbearable for her, but we are in such stupid denial about the dignity of human beings in valid situations being able to choose the same for themselves. Instead, we force our beloved humans to have their butts wiped by somebody else, a humiliation that should never be forcibly born by a person because those around them are too chicken-shit to accept the reality of death in The World.

Sometimes, it’s the very resiliency of human beings that scares me so much: we can go through any hell and keep living. Other animals are not averse to the peace of death as a natural response to a suddenly severely maladaptive environment. But we humans are terrifying in our ruthless, pertinacious will to keep breathing through any plague, and now I wonder what this insect-like insistence has made of us. We have become titans of battle against everything, against our own brains and against Nature itself, and we have become unloving of Reality, at odds with The World, constantly unaccepting of the limits of the universe. Do I share in this same inclination to be at odds with The World in my childlike longing for a theoretical universe that could have (should have, would have, but only might have) been?

I was a child of the 1990s. I’ve long had a quietly uncanny feeling that something happened in the ’90s, and it was the end of the world. It was the end– or maybe the world spun off into different directions, dimensions, and this who I am in one of them is not who I am in another. And yet I do not feel divided within myself: through all my depression and the shit I went through as a kid with an insanely emotionally abusive mom with Borderline Personality Disorder, I have had the great luck of always feeling continuously whole within myself. Imaginatively, this uncanny sense of differing possible realities is more that I was pulled into one possible universe where things were not as whole all was meant to be, and something was off, only because, in contrast, I also glimpsed that deep Beauty of the Original World peeking through into this one. As a child, I saw this through the lens of my family. And who I am here have always been a little exorcist, who descended only deeply enough in time and in worlds within worlds to confront something, finish something, set something right. And any day now I will find my way back home to where I am supposed to be, waking up, relieved, from a dream.

Back in this world, I have lately been enjoying the lighter quality of trying not to feel so much all the time, for once in my life: my nature is to be so deeply feeling that it is frequently maladaptive to my environment, and I am weak and as yet unskilled in spinning this sensitivity into strands of gold. And now it suddenly and forbiddingly occurs to me that this ability to turn away from the tender heart is the necessary –and terrifyingly natural– shadow underlying my hominid ability to uncanny adaptation. How comfortable we are pressed to become among prolonged sickness and wrongful decay in our dogged search between a rock and a hard place for survival: the loss of tender feeling for that shimmering Original World, peeking through the slats of our weighted days, becomes an unbearable heartache for those with too much to carry. So much of an aging human life is full with the totalistic and unbending trial of coming to accept the absolute finality of death and loss, when still our persistent hearts in their deepest chambers yearn for life eternal. Among all of this, we must find a way to be happy– on pain of death. No wonder that those who find a path of absolute acceptable of reality while somehow keeping a tender heart are rightly called the saints of our species. And so I wonder if the Christians really have it right about something: humanity’s omnipresent longing for a semblance of eternal life, evident in all cultures, makes me wonder if there’s really something to it, in the way that hunger is an indicator that food exists somewhere.

But I am here now, born into this land of the vast old Earth, where my species is restless and beautiful and full of ancient and unknowable strangeness. Drifting into sleep last night I heard the night birds of this warm valley cooing their evening song from their perches and nests, calling steadily to their mates in their peaceful language, comforting their young in their downy breasts. I know their names, some of them, and the names and intimate formations of the trees that they love, that I love with a tender heart, that are bequeathed to me in an unending ancestry of natural lives in exchange. It was the Descent of Man, a going-down which Darwin spoke of, into the World to be among it completely, in totality. And in this moment of my brief human heart in the glorious life of the dark Earth I want nothing more than to be among the sounds of the night-songs forever, here in The World, so deeply is their avian comfort entwined with the blanketing world of the dusk, the old bones of the mother-sound of my animal life.

 

The Surest of All Loves

 

 

Great World, Great Soul whom I love,

I run into your arms

without perfect words, a mind-full

but never quite perfect words

recited by mortals, save birds.

Where, my love, are your hands?

Your hands that will hold us?

I sit in the rain and the snow,

meditating, finding you there.

Surely you are more clearly seen

by the hoofed ones, and by the creatures

of feather and fur.

They do not spend their lives in worry of grief.

Be at peace, heart of fire.

This human anguish– fall now into the arms

of the dark earth, the surest of all loves.

 

 

 

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

Guardian Kitty

Proof of how loving and tolerant is my cat, Rose (“Rosie”), whom I have had since I was twelve years old; recently I was having a dream where I had to run down a tunnel toward a bright light, and I had to do it quick. But I wasn’t leaving my kitty behind. She’s comin’ with! ‘Took me a minute to realize I was sitting up in bed, eyes wide open but still asleep, wiggling toward the light of the hallway like a comedy show with my completely relaxed cat flopped over my arm without protest (I would save her, too!), not struggling but metaphorically rolling her eyes because she knew it was a dream before even I did.

Then, a few nights ago I awoke at a dark hour from a sad dream. My Rosie was sleeping right beside me, but the moment I awoke and she heard me cry, she immediately got up and planted herself snuggled right into my shoulder in a ball, nuzzled her nose into my neck, put her paw on my heart and purred me back to sleep. Now that’s what I call a Guardian Angel Kitty.

 

 

Image © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.

A New Kind of Top Predator

 

Walking out to my sit spot last night in the dark, I listen to what is around me, and what is in me. An excitement and subtle fear surfaces, and I ask myself what I am afraid of. Of course the dark is still spooky. But I am one of the top predators, I assure myself. My back straightens. The Big Cat and I have a treatise to keep our distance. We are equally terrified of each other, and for that, we have sworn to not see each other as prey. Then another thought, one that makes me weak in the knees for the love of it, like a treasure remembered. I turn my face upward to the lighter ribbon of starry sky through the canopy, and I know that I have been given a great gift, a birthright. I am of that species of top predator, the only of its kind, who has the ability to choose it’s actions compassionately, to employ forethought and empathy in my predation. Yes, I eat meat. Yes, my species currently rules the whole world, and not often with our better selves. But we can choose: that is what sets us apart. A feeling of entwined humility and power came through me, and I was thankful, and at peace.

 

Photo by Unsplash. Public Domain. Pixabay.com

Nebula Bed

 

Night forest, black trail.
Second-growth February.
Water-thick gaping mouth wide
the dark wood eye-blinds the pitch path,
brush before sight.

I go to my solo bed
in the place of the forest
where mankind does not
see this animal aching.

Let me lie contented with dreams
as companion
sleeping warmly alone in
thick wool, heat condensation
–those pretty nebula clouds
far above me.

 

 

image source: public domain