Live, Love

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I love the way darkness frames
a most colorful entry to light,
not engulfing, not obliterating,
but celebrating our passage there.
I love how the colors of my childhood
both veil where I am preparing to go,
and emit their own spectral flavor,
cutting through my rationalizations,
inviting the little girl inside of me,
the seed of the woman I am still,
everyday, becoming, to be here,
every last part of her perfect being.
I love every last inch of this place,
that cocoons every last part of me,
holding nothing back in its embrace,
the darkness all consuming, total,
the promise of the brightest world
lying just on the other side
of my pretty, precious obstructions,
for me to linger with, converse with,
and finally, when I can, let go,
this space of dark and light
reminding me above all else
that until we die, we should live,
until the end, there is every beginning.

-tt

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We All Want Home

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It’s possible to spend a
lifetime looking for home
 
After many humble beginnings
Many false if hopeful starts
 
After bowing in thanks and
reverence for finding ourselves here,
 
For being given the chance to
know the awe of our humanity,
 
Thankful, too, for the realization
that home is a space we seek
 
Having found it in juicy parts,
the fiery sun descending over waters,
 
The bird’s first chirp as it arches
its tiny neck for mother, for food,
 
The cicadas heralding their arrival
for a cycle in comforting song,
 
The startling clarity of a cool,
clear river rushing downstream.
 
Between solid ground and the
expansion of sky, we are here,
 
Where for a startling moment,
inside matches out and our breath
 
Is the air of a thousand ways
to soothe and balm the world.
 
We will travel through many
places that will not be home,
 
Where we squeeze and constrict
and try and anguish and scream
 
In confusion for why home is not
our birthright, now, at the ready,
 
And then we will breathe, and breathe
again, and find that the pursuit of home
 
Is why we are here, and that there will
be nothing sweeter than arriving. -TS
 

The Sky on Long Summer Days

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I remember scrunching up into a ball

as low as I could in the backseat of

my parents’ car on summer vacations

(sun-drenched and filled with sweetest things)

and squinting my eyes so that there was

only me and the sky and the whir of

all the things passing by

 

The feeling comes back to me often

though I can’t find the words for it __

the being one with the sky, that seemed

the only constant thing and I could

never touch it or fly right up to it,

though the gravitational pull up

there was so strong

 

The safety of being so still amidst

all that movement, the getting from

here to there that existed to my

childlike mind as a cartography drafted

by the wizards and sorcerers responsible

for all the best of our earthly wanderings,

treasures over the rainbow

 

And for all the adventures that awaited,

the junk cereal indulged in, the death-defying

walks across slippery waterfall rocks, the secrets

my father told his gleeful daughters in his

hushed whispers, it always came to this:

the sky through the car, the warmest invitation,

holding my future safe.

There’s No War in World: the fading mountain

Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone

The Fading Mountain

(Laos)

The new moon is a mist behind clouds but I turn to the mountains in the near distance, on the other side of the very narrow river.

There’s a small rickety bridge that crosses it and last year they were building a second bridge not far away. Now it’s done. It’s not rickety yet, like the others, but it’s flimsy so there’s a lot of promise.

Now the sky is thick like you can touch it and it’s a dress from the Victorian Age made of endless folds of velvet. I want to watch the mountains go dark the way you want to watch water boil without ever taking your eyes away from the pot.

They say a watched pot never boils, but of course that’s not true. It’ll boil as sure as the sun rises everyday (so far that’s a sure thing, until one day the sun will just run out of energy and die). I’m not sure what that expression is trying to tell us, maybe not to be impatient but just to go on with life and let the proverbial water boil on its own?

Personally, I just think we don’t have the patience to watch water boil and are afraid to see this. The mind goes elsewhere and the body follows because we’re not as in control of ourselves as we’d like to think we are. If you’ve ever tried meditating, you’ll see how difficult it is to watch your breath go in and out, in and out, with full concentration. This is mind-training, and the mind is stubborn. It wants to be anywhere else so you start thinking about the past and future, all sorts of happy and bad things, and before you know it you’re anxious and miserable and the breath has been forgotten.

How I love the mountains of Laos, their curves and shapes and strength, and I want to watch them change in the night, all night. I want to watch this water boil. There’s a large mountain covered with trees, and next to it is a series of smaller mountains, with one darker one dominating that’s also covered in trees. Above these the sky is now several intoxicating shades of blue. I look and immediately I’m back to when I was here years ago, and how I felt so protected under these nurturing mountains, and how lonely I was then.

The mountains were everything. I see again: the sky is darker, but you can still discern the varying blues of the sky. The mountains behind the darkest one have faded into the background. The large mountain next to it has become a silhouette. I missed this in the space it took for nostalgia to grow.

I hear someone start to cry. I try to find her but I can’t. I think of loneliness again and now my attention has moved away once again from the mountains, which are almost gone now. But I remember these mountains, and I’ll keep on remembering them. You can feel them even as they disappear.