Kinda Sounds Like Love

My notions of love-

I thought you had to do

something to get it,

borrow it and

give it back-swallow

it whole until

it finishes

and leaves you.

I named this hunger.

It sounds something kinda

like love;

I can see my reflection

in mirrors and rivers and

moving things–

for the first time.

I had to be my own

first witness

after and even during

the burning of becoming,

the burning of relaxing

my fists to palms,

giving away definitions

of self love.

Look at her

look at me

in the wings

and

on the stage,

giving away

old love notes

and hand grenades.

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Drops

and it comes back down

to the same thing

every time I remember to look,

habit heavy in my chest,

searching for the left over words

of old familiar songs

but most things feel pretty foreign,

lovers and loves and friends long gone.

 

I’ll circle all around you,

give you what I got, that’s fine

but I let and let it’s suffocating

when I’m quiet all the time.

 

These bones feel like water.

I want that stone anchored in the sea.

I want to scoop it up and touch

its skin, my own burns

too much these days.

 

 

 

(artwork found on Pinterest…)

Self-Exam

All I wanted was the shadow

of your fingers

and cool eyes to kind of soften as

I gather my wounds in this tulip

and with you I would say

here

here

enter and close me up

 

I waited in your room

like this, folding and unfolding

my fingers over my palms as if it were

the tulip opening and closing,

bearing witness to my wounds

you know so much about, and then each time I

closed them, I saw a sort of smooth scar spreading

over old stitches, and the new ones

blended so well in these new petals.

Read More

La Loba

 

My mother collected the pieces

one by one

in the desert, the sand and skulls

cutting at her feet.

The Bone Mother, they call her,

La Loba

La Que Sabe

the Wild Woman.

Piece by piece she collected

the bones of the wolf,

her ratty cloak sweeping the dunes

behind her, her weathered fingers

clutching those indestructible pieces,

never resting until each one was accounted for.

Patience, she’d whisper to me at night

My love, you’re going to need patience

as I lost count of the scars

as I lost another piece slipping

out the window toward the moon.

Once she found the very last bone, the paw,

she’d take them to a fire, lay them

in place, raise her arms, and sing. Read More

When it Makes Sense (Temenos)

“And it is so simple…you will instantly find how to live.” –Dostoyevsky

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, I contradict myself.
I am large.
I contain multitudes.

–Walt Whitman

Temenos:a Greek word which refers to a universal instinct to create a protected, safe space in which to heal, reorganize and regenerate the fragmented personality; taking shape in circular shapes like Mandalas (Jung)…

“Heart on your sleeve”—I had been doing it for years. I’ll admit that for the first one or two years after breakdown, I had to. I didn’t know who I was otherwise, or where I was, or why I was here. Yes. A diagnosis became a light out—a red-pinned focal point on a map of black behavior that was almost sociopathic, because there were no feelings or compassion or empathy behind the wheel. Just actions. Behaviors. Thoughts. An almost death.
I realized I’ve stepped out of my laziness a little—I no longer define myself by some diagnosis or history or trauma. Why do we need to define ourselves by such intangible things? But enough is enough. I’ve been spending a lot of time in silence, and quite a bit making a few new friends online—and woo-hoo one in reality. That was tricky shit at first. But on the real level, the level I care about–I am seeing changes. I am making changes. I have been changing rapidly for the last six years, and things are finally feeling…right. I am feeling forward motion. I am even having flashbacks of beautiful things—that smell in the country air with Erica on our bikes by that shaded plateau of forest where the ground was moss-covered and fragrant. I can smell it. And sunscreen. Mello Yello out of the clean hospital cups her mother worked at outside of town, us on our bikes, thirteen, Walkman speakers connected to the handlebars. Or walking in the cold winter mornings—the world is blue and suffocating and it’s beautiful. Puddles reflecting branches in the cloudy sky, the way water rivulets on pavement, sounding like Spring is coming and then I smell Easter candy and marshmallow peeps and I see Emma the year she was four and got a new bike—bubbles in the chilly air, her orange hair and squinty eyes not so amused, and I smell the carpet of that upstairs apartment and how I climbed the roof to clean windows when she napped, black coffee on the counter and wet lilacs from the rain in my antique mason jars—this is the strange shit I can’t help but notice lately. Smells are overwhelming. And physical oh my god physical–sexual—which is also at its peak. My prime must be here, and I’m only learning my sexuality. I have slept for so long. I was asleep before I got sick. So this being okay and kind of healthy is a whole new trip for me. I define my health. Or I’ve always been sick. And this is me now. And I’m creating who I want to be—or what I want to be. I think we already are whatever we were born for—be it reincarnation, or, what I believe, stardust (the ever-present connection of Taoism and Science)–and our choices and desires only direct a life. And that life is small. Insignificant. And beautiful. When everything is taken away, and I have been completely annihilated and there is no god anymore and there is no purpose, I was forever changed. I cannot unsee. And at last I learned how to stand—because I chose to. Because it was time. It’s easy to lay low as I did for a few years. I could be gentle on myself and say I was recovering and heavily medicated, and that sometimes it’s too much– or I could be harsh on myself and say I was weak to be so afraid of myself. I had not prepared myself for something I had always known was coming. I refused to look in the mirror and be brave. Face myself. Face illness and rot and emptiness. I guess because I didn’t think she’d make it. Huh. I dreamt the other night that I was assigned to this beautiful futuristic apartment in London, and I went to my sister’s apartment to check myself in the mirror. I looked. I was stunning. My dimples, the high cheekbones, the long lashes. Pink lips. So I stepped closer and I startled for a fraction of a second, but didn’t trust my instinct so I leaned closer. I’m suddenly wiping all the makeup off, and beneath the colorful layers, my face is a blackness, a vacuum, a shapely hole of what I imagine to be hell, because it reminded me of being in the mental ward. It scared me but not enough. I was more so curious and imploring.

A few years back I felt like I woke up. I was sitting in the sun and it was spring and there were fat bumble bees. I could smell the mud and budding grass. I believe Sonny Boy Williamson was playing through the window screen. But I wasn’t quite ready. So I kept on, but I knew it was building somewhere in me. Then one day, maybe 2 years later, I woke up to words, as if I’d never used them before. And they began to heal me. And then I found I wasn’t waking up to anything but myself. More and more every day. And I was curious and am curious about this woman. I don’t take any pride anymore in my “wounds”—that’s such a sad way to exist. They are not wounds but just parts. No name to them. They are there and that’s that. Small parts.
I used to fear being so many fragments and pieces. Yet somehow they are all managing to start to fit together a little. I have many masks. I am many people. I change all the time. And I like it. I like that I don’t believe in something or feel I have to. Because I know in my gut I come from something—something as vague and enormous as the universe, and as small as an atom. I’m starting to crave things too, things I was unable to find before or even fathom. I’m hungry for everything and my god, it feels so good.
It’s all become so simple, and it took the most complex existence to figure that out.

“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.”

Thanks for listening dear readers.
–Amy Jo

Self-Portrait Drawn by Me

20120718-144115.jpg

The Upanishads (Indian Spirituality)

The Upanishads (introduced and translated by Eknath Easwaran)

the works in this set of translations–the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Dhammapada, are the earliest and most universal of messages like these, sent to inform us that there is more to life than the everyday experience of our senses.  The Upanishads are the oldest

"Nothing can be more important than being able to choose the way we think." Eknath Easwaran 1910-1999

 Some excerpts from Indian Spirituality:                                               

     You are what your deep, driving desire is.

      As your desire is, so is your will.

      As your will is, so is your deed.

                         As your deed is, so is your destiny.  [Brihadaranyaka IV. 4.5]

We live in accordance with our deep, driving desire.

It is this desire at the time of death that determines 

what our next life will be.  We will come back to earth

to work out the satisfaction of that desire. 

But not those who are free from desire; they are free

because all their desires have found fulfillment in

the Self.  They do not die like the others; but realizing

Brahman, they merge in Brahman.  So it is said:

When all the desires that surge in the heart

are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.

When all the knots that strangle the heart

are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal,

Here in this very life.

As the skin of a snake is sloughed onto an anthill, so

does the mortal body fall; but the Self, freed from the

body, merges in Brahman, infinite life, eternal Read More