in Lake Michigan
My first memory looks up to sunlight through water.
I'm on my back at the bottom and have already stopped
struggling for air. The sun's full hands overflow
light leaking through the flawless blue,
quiet and calm like a silent song, Mermaid, I,
I'm already at peace with my death before my father
plucks and pumps me out, sputtering
and crying as the water goes out
and great gobs of thick air sear my lungs open again.
I don't remember the coy ripple the lake lapped
at my baby toes before the wave slapped me down
and into the coarse-grained bed
cleanly wheaten and speckled shallow
this close to where she cozies up to shore,
but deep enough for the baby my father forgo
in a sociable moment, chatting up a new acquaintance.
Always a talker, my father could make new friends anywhere
While I was learning to love the depths. You'd think
It would scare a child, but ever since
I've leapt to water as my element, looked behind me
To catch a glimpse of the ghost of my forlorn and missing
Fish tail, forgotten in the rush of the rescue.
Wisdom of the Body
Because the gut is the center
it fills and empties, fills and empties.
The core of us receives all we take in
of the world - absorbs the gold,
discards the dross. We mean
Will when we say someone has guts,
closely related to courage, and the heart
cannot be other than true.
Once we get there, though
so much is in its tangles way.
The mouth knows the taste of its own tongue,
hungers for savor, makes meaning
o sound, trying to name truth.
Or not. The gut knows
the difference between shit and substance.
Keeps us honest.
are not like the Saints.
They do not discriminate
but come to everyone.
Their eyes burn green fire
but their kisses are icy.
They can play rough when we get caught
in the heavy crosswinds that swirl about their wings.
They are not above artifice
and sometimes appear in disguise:
a mask of smeared lipstick, gypsy
bangles, or an old man's coat.
Now and again they carelessly give us gifts:
an unexpected hobbyhorse, a day's free baby-sitting,
a poke in the eye with a stick,
or sudden slant of light on water.
And we are grateful, once we figure out how
to move within their state of complex blessings.
They work within great wheels and circles,
turning light to dark and back again.
They do not obey the laws of gravity
but laugh a lot and arise at will
to hover like vast hummingbirds
when we require attention.
What they want of us is the mysterious secret
we unravel and reweave
down to dark and back again.
I believe in the cave paintings at Lascaux,
the beauty of the clavicle,
the journey of the salmon,.
I believe in all the gods -
I just don't like some of them.
I believe the war is always against the imagination,
is recurring, repetitive, and relentless.
I believe in fairies, elves, angels and bodhisattvas,
Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
I have seen and heard ghosts.
I believe that Raven invented the Earth
And so did Coyote. In archeology
lie the clues. The threshold is numinous
and the way in is the way out.
I believe in the alphabets, all of them
and the stories seeping from their letters.
I believe in dance as prayer, that the heart
beat invented rhythm and chant -.
or is it the other way around -
I believe in the wisdom of the body.
I believe that art saves lives
and love makes it worth living them.
And that could be the other way around, too.