Intruder

Why do you still seep through my subconscious
and sour my dreams with your familiar scent?
even when I finally feel sure I can let go
your phantom reappears to pierce my heart

Months of black void nights suddenly ended
with blurry images and emotions on fire
still razor sharp after all these years
bleeding out onto my white sheets as I sleep

Even the me inside my mind has grown weary
of your semi-frequent infiltration
last night I told you I wished you'd never
have come back into my life at all

Even so, there is something distracting
about the way nothing else feels real
after our unconscious encounters
everything else becomes hollow

For this reason some part of me still savors
the sweet drops of pain you produce within me
a reminder of the tender stirring I once felt inside
a stark contrast to the silence that now smothers

Stifling Myself

Imperfection paralyses all endeavors
the subtle ache of not enough
clipped wing of creativity

The hovering eye of criticism
haunts each heavy pen mark
lips pucker with impatience

Who am I to exert my existence
in the form of further manifestation
polluting the world with more mediocrity

Embarrassed at the thought of
presuming myself to be a great artist
through blundering attempts at self-expression

When really I'm just letting out
slow exhales of tangled thoughts
in an attempt to postpone an implosion

Overwhelmed by Imagination

Mental illness is a side-effect of great intelligence
the convoluted, crippling creativity of an aimless mind
consumed by endless possibilities others cannot conceive
a life held suspended in anticipatory anxiety

A feedback loop that becomes incapacitating
a simple fear can become compounded tenfold
fearing the fear, fearing the fear of the fear, and so forth
spiraling into a paralysis of infinite indecision

Stuck in the self-deception of finding a solution
trying to think your way out of overthinking is absurd
salvation lies in the surrender to sensation instead
forsaking the mental landscape for the physical body

What does this fear feel like? Where is it held inside?
a jittering energy of dis-ease beneath my chest
the dizziness that sets in from a blood pressure spike
an unsettling static nestled deep in my stomach

The fever of neurosis is broken by awareness
how strange it seems to have survived the sensation
I've been running from all of my life
the cure of quiet curiosity

Being present in the storm as it passes
acknowledging the connection between
frightening delusions and flowering imagination
the balance between benefit and burden

Learning to embrace the full scope of being
this incredible entity with boundless potential
finally finding gratitude within the fear I carry
my best qualities sprout from that same seed

Embracing Autumn

The sleepy sun begins to blink
after months of brightly beaming
suddenly realizing the long, hot days 
have started to wane once again

There is a stirring of pumpkin spice excitement
as the air lifts and lightens its humid grip
rising early to greet crisp, chilly mornings
with socked feet and hot mugs held tightly in cold hands

Spiced apple cider and gathering together
to face the winter slowly creeping closer
crafting grinning pumpkins to keep the
growing darkness at bay

Learning to allow myself to enjoy this season
despite the inevitable mental decline ahead
bravely barreling toward the frigid cold while
celebrating another successful season in the sun

Take Your Medicine

Silence is the medicine
so desperately needed
in a deafening world of noise
the earth is always waiting
with gentle tea leave tonics
to soothe an aching heart
rough, strong branches
to support your tired limbs
soft, sweet smelling grasses
to cradle a head made heavy
with over stimulation
invite in the fearful feeling
that rises suddenly inside
at the thought of slowing down
prove to yourself
that the world keeps spinning
when you completely stop
rest is the only remedy
that can refill an empty cup
taking a break seems impossible
when you need it most of all
this is your permission slip
to settle into stillness
and reconnect with
the almighty ebb and flow
of ever-present earth energy
pulsating beneath your feet
you deserve to take deep breaths
and sprinkle your days with
compassionate commas
and plump, perfect pauses

Passenger

A coyote cuts across the foggy highway
a life held inside indecision, a moment's hesitation
could be a violent end of everything all at once

Sulfurous air that once shrouded out the sun
a sudden impact that swallowed the earth
in many decades of dark, lifeless winter

Time has a way of emphasizing
the absurdity of right and wrong when
final outcomes are impossible to predict

Half the suffering I've known has been
an inner upheaval of moral outrage
resistance to the evils of this world

My stormy turmoil subsides if only
I can learn to surrender all judgement
and accept my place as a humble passenger

Who am I to hold dominion over
the way life is supposed to unfold?
I prefer the role of patient witness anyway

To watch with curious eyes and an open heart
ready to embrace all of life with equanimity
a grateful submission to existence beyond understanding

To play my small part with a soft hand
extending a gentle, hopeful intention of pure love
prepared to let go of any and all expectations

Tender feet along the balustrade, balancing
between engagement and surrender
too often falling into indignation and anger

The perpetual repetition of life can be tedious
but it offers endless chances to keep trying
precious lessons linger behind a door that is always open

Every failure is an opportunity to find grace
there is no permanence, perfection, or wasted effort
everything is as it should be, everything is as it should be

Slow Fade to Black

Easy breathing, autumn air
early mornings turned satisfyingly crisp
the sun has softened like sleepy eyelids
drooping gently in the pastel sky

Time to get cozy and start lighting candles
celebrating sumptuous spices and savory foods
using up the squashes left over from one last harvest
patient preparation of nests for the cold months ahead

Another successful cycle completed
observing the graceful pirouette of mother earth
showering colorful leaves from her folded skirt
as she spins new life into old, familiar stories

Sit with me awhile and listen
to the cicada chorus begin its evening song
to signal the bittersweet surrender from summer
a goodbye serenade to constant sunshine

Learning to enjoy the subtle sadness of certain endings
seeing myself in the auburn fade of fallen leaves
allowing my own colors to seep out slowly
to nourish the dark soil with all that I once was

When You’re With Me

I start to get frustrated when you're away
I forget all the reasons I love you
seeds begin to stir inside my subconscious
spinning stories of mistrust and cynicism

I fill the space between us with thick shadow
unshakeable doubts that make me shudder
cringing at my own incompetence in communication
afraid of looking foolish in the face of disinterest

Prepared to push away when you pull me in
rehearsing my preemptive rejection for self-protection
perpetually surprised when I immediately melt
and let you fold me tenderly in your arms again

Set at ease by your soothing, sultry smell
the stability of warm skin under soft fingertips
stilling the tumultuous tide churning deep inside
replacing it with gently waving fields of sweet grass

Stay with me a little longer
let me linger in this sacred, silent connection
let it seep into my cells so that I cannot forget
the simple, supple harmony between our hearts
 

The Beauty of Broken Things

The sweet sadness of loss
and long, lonely nights
I once viewed as damage
chips and cracks to cry over
evidence of unworthiness
that everyone would see

I've learned to understand
that old wounds are what
weaved me into who I am
a wonderful landscape with
deep valleys of despair that
can be filled up with healing water

These dark caverns of past pain
create breathtaking contrast
and allow me to ascend higher
and appreciate the peaceful peaks
speckling my span of time here
with all consuming beauty

I am so grateful for all the tears
and the twinges of discomfort
that form tight tethers to my past
even my small sufferings have been
dear friends and teachers to me
I've learned how to love my broken pieces