A Road Running Two Ways

It has been a while since I’ve collected my thoughts fro publication, here. I’ve been occupied with learning Japanese  (again) in long and mostly satisfying hours of study. I began learning Japanese as a child, and I have always wanted to finish the job. T and I are also looking to move, soon, and I am fixated on discarding as many unnecessary belongings as possible, a task that is at once intensely cleansing and liberating while also anxiety-producing. Among the things that have piled up lately are the stacks of journal entries in various notebooks that I have been sorting through. Here are some of these writings.

The senses are an ally. They lead us into the heart of praise and happiness. Stoicism only takes a human heart so far. After the medicine of moderating and dis-attaching from inflated emotion, it is a sweet renewal to return to the upwelling praise and astonishment at the life of the physical word.

You who bring all the stars into being, my relationship with you is changing. I feel better about it because I am not so lonely when I am not missing you so much. I am more comfortable, now, in the natural apathetic doubt of adulthood. But I do not vilify this natural distance we humans feel from you, sometimes. Because of my refusal to vilify such a naturally-occuring disinterest in constantly thinking about the divine, I feel less theistic than ever. This is peaceful in its own way. Still, I hope that the quiet between us will not last too long.

Through the human ability to form words comes rushing the ancient, pre-humanly infinite energy of creation. But because we are so limited in our articulate power and so endlessly restless in our search for the holy, I am coming to understand how a departure from such chasing of truth and intensity brings great relief to the sapiens mind. Is this a part of what the Zen Buddhists allude to?

Our species, they say, was parted in ancient days
85,000 years ago at a road running two ways
out of Africa; it was on a cliffside, imagine:
the boundless earth of beasts beyond humans,
a deep wilderness yet to know a first campfire:
we wore the same skin, then. You stood
on the edge of a dry place, my right cheek
facing north to where the earth opened up
into a cavernous trail beckoning my progeny
into a country unnamed, a foreigner’s skin.

Word Magic Spelling Its Spells

The following piece is from an old journal entry written when I was practicing the free-form writing advised in such books as Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, which I have referred to with appreciation before. While this method has been helpful at times, I share here my reflection on the changing of my mind in the creative process. It has been too easy for me to have anxiety in my writing induced by my own “monkey mind”, the racing thoughts that arise when a writer practices free-form writing without self-editing along the way. I am now at a stage where I am no longer doing unedited journaling, because I have come to realize it is ultimately not the constructive mindset I want to cultivate. Ironically, the value of a constructive and sane mind in writing is taught by Goldberg in her book, so I continue to have a great appreciation for this part of it. While free-form journaling does produce some scattered gems, these gems are still emphatically scattered. This causes clutter in my writing archives that I don’t currently have the solution to editing. It leads to more somewhat anxiety-inducing primal chaos to wade through when going back to edit. It is paradoxical that by practicing a form of journaling which is beneficial to some people, in learning to let out their thoughts unrestrained, this method has become to me more of a burden than a help. But I would not have known this had I not experimented with it… and I am admittedly cheered to rediscover this journaling piece.

Don’t try to watch or only look from the sides just reporting what you see because you’ll never be there, really telling exactly what is. Be standing in the light and speaking from the inside of the dream where the power and love spirals. Be standing and writing from in the inside of the holy waters, holy rivers who flow down without giving up through the desert valley. Desert valley’s still loved and don’t you forget that. Mother waters mountain to the east have work to be done. It’s coming from the chaos that life happens. The earth was formed by magma. By fire and thunder, how frail we are here below. Plate tectonics cray insane volcanos roaring into life as fire make energy, this is how the earth was formed, and from this heat all life has come into being. Get out of its way. Beautiful! And what a tragedy especially when the feminine won’t by lava create.

 

See the magic here is too much, maybe like monk sitting in snow, a lot of distraction but keep quiet mind in the midst. Yes you want not too much of one way and a balance with the other. No rules, just energy. This way when you write with the truth, the truth doesn’t have to sit tucked up inside you threatening you. You get to look forward to all of life, ever in the in-between moments of everybody because it’s there that the power lives and you live with it, you conduct it in conversation with it, you begin to see that the raw pieces of another wise disoriented or disconnected or unfulfilled life actually do make sense after all. You begin to see you live in sacredness, you walk in communion with a tribe of the sacred and even a strip mall will not hurt you, or sap your vital energy. The power is sneaking in around everywhere and it’s the in-between moments between one place and another that she comes to you and whispers “I am here” and you are not alone. Your own small life is in her. You live in praise. The call to give praise in the core of our beings is the call of the bright mind, the writer’s mind who doesn’t know one holy place from another. To return here yet with the eloquence we have learned later on the journey is the task of the monk in the snow.

 

Sometimes the mind goes very fast. Thought becomes enormous and many splintering visitor-spirits in a modest country hut where you live can’t contain them, unaccustomed to such a commotion. They knock on the door of the back of the head at the base of the skull, at the top of the neck and say “enter”, for a human mind lives here. Traveling down your arm, first thoughts, the many spirit ideas get bottlenecked somewhere between your shoulder and palm. It’s what happens when you don’t know what to say next because you have so many visitors and this is why you’re never bored. “That’s exactly what it is,” said a fellow creature I met on a hot afternoon. She was an artist of pictures, this fellow creature, but it is no different. There’s a traffic jam getting stuck somewhere south of my elbow and that’s why I get a numbness sometimes north of the place where I figure out how to say what I need to say. I got to shake out my hand to get the traffic of word magic spelling its spells again.

Writings During Depression: Looking Back

 

7/8/2016

It is a risk to talk about the truth of personal experience because we are afraid others will think we are crazy or bad. But the truth is that most other people have quietly felt the same way, and by truth-telling you are liberating not only yourself, but the honesty of human experience.

I still pick at my skin as a coping mechanism in anxiety and grief. I have had hormonal issues since I was a teenager which have given me skin very short of flawless. I have had acne, scarring and male-pattern hair growth that have attacked my ability to feel normally female, much less attractive. This experience has given me great empathy with those who suffer other physical disorders. At age 26, I am starting to get the condition under control, and have had years of expensive and uncomfortable skin treatments administered by professionals that has, luckily, made leeway into solving the aesthetic remains of this pain. I used to pick at my skin constantly, because it helped me feel that I could do something about the feeling of ugliness and undesirability that weighed on me. I still do this to comfort myself. I see that this method of coping is not unlike an alcoholic’s, but is less disruptive to functioning in life. It is a compulsive behavior of self-soothing.

…….

One time, when I was a kid, my mom told me to wear a headband, to get my hair out of my face, to pull it back so other people could see my face. So that I could be a thing being looked at instead of doing the looking. It’s a fucked up thing to tell a kid to do to her hair what will please others, do to her body what will please others, but not herself, don’t please herself because what good is that for a woman, and don’t you want to keep your hair long so you can be pretty for boys? I didn’t want the headband. Later, she told me that men don’t like girls with scraped knees. I thought, Grown men aren’t supposed to like girls at all. I’m still a child! Leave me alone! And even if she had said “boys”, and not “men”, I would’ve said “fuck you”.

…….

I never had a problem with alcohol. Not because I’m good, but because I’m lucky. I’m oriented to cope in other ways, like picking my skin or dancing alone to my own music. I don’t pick my face as much now as I used to. But when I did pick at the skin of my face, it was not only to cope with anxiety and grief, but so that others couldn’t have my face, so that I could keep it for me. I hated the pressure of doing to my face what pleased others without also pleasing myself. Because I am not and have never been the people-pleaser sort, it has never been so for me that what pleases others necessarily brings me pleasure in turn. The two are not intrinsically connected. Now, I don’t pick as much. I was looking for catharsis when I cut my hair three inches long at age twelve. By fourteen, it was shaved. I’d never felt better at that time, because that Borderline wraith who used to be my parent couldn’t control it as an extension of her hyper-sexualized self. I made sure those knees were scraped, too.

My desire and instinct is to do the active looking at males. Beautiful androphilia.

…….

8/4/2016

Humans in general have a real problem with controlling people’s bodies for the benefit of the powerful without regard to the lives and experiences of the people living in those bodies. Here, a possible relationship is cut down, where real love and mutual affection could have flourished between humans. This is the foundation of all movements for equality. In anger at the breadth of injustice, it is easy to think that to reach equality there must always be some struggle, but struggle alone only breeds sour animosity. If we pull back the layers we see that anger is a response to a severed relationship, as a teacher of mine once said. Anger is the wrapping for grief in response to human beings not in right relationship with one another as they should. It even goes for two strangers. If somebody cusses you out for accidentally bumping into them, and you feel angry, it is because you rightly expected they treat you with respect, at minimum. Respect and courtesy would have been the right relationship, if even a brief one, passing on the sidewalk. When right relationships become severed, connection is not speedily repaired.

…….

Sometimes I still feel agonized in frustration when the stray hairs fall in my face. So I wear bandanas. My mom didn’t wear them. She always wore piles of makeup, which I never do, and it was her shield against all vulnerability which she volleyed on others, on I who was trapped and could not get away because she was looking at me like somebody who wouldn’t or couldn’t stare back with ferocious knowing in my own sight, seeing her horrible, abusive personality disorder. She told me things I shouldn’t have heard at a young age, completely inappropriate things about her stupid personal life and what she thought about men, at a time when female children are in need of joyful empowerment, not stories of predation and victimization. She spoke un-lovingly even of herself, not thinking how parents pass these beliefs onto their children, whether they consciously intend to or not. And she never once apologized, sincerely, without angry blame in her next breath. To this day, she lacks all serious self-awareness. I saw her six months ago and I don’t miss her. I told her by the shape of my back that I do not miss her. I always saw that white wine glass on her nightstand when she lay in bed, complaining before me that TV was her only joy. I remember asking her, when I was a child, if she loves me. She said she loves me but she doesn’t like me, with biting spite in her voice. What the hell is a kid supposed to think when a parent answers that way? She watched Lifetime misogynist terror, mistaking victimizing sensationalism for a worthy use of her spare time. Dante said the gates to hell are locked from the inside. Often, she locked her bedroom door against, and I couldn’t get in to comfort her, not realizing I was trying to be her parent, because I thought it was my job to save her and help her.

Sometimes I dream of female demons, soulless and angry and covered in sharp long nails and makeup, and I never want to wear makeup or fake nails in my life. In my dreams they come to corner me, but I fight them by songs and invocations to Joan of Arc and Artemis, who came to me in my Queer teenage years with their short hair and muscles to defend me and teach me to fight. When I was young they would show me the way through mazes to women who I wanted to be like, who weren’t horrible excuses for empty, angry, promiscuous, addicted, emotionally reckless, abusive, un-nurturing, terrifying self-absorbed moms.

…….

9/10/2016

I talked to my counselor; She says that once couples are together for a while, you feel more secure that you can sleep-in without thinking the other person will be too lonely. But she herself has been divorced. I don’t take my relationship with T for granted. Instead I say to him, if its my insecurity that keeps me so devoted to caring about our relationship, then so be it! Maybe there’s good in it. He says he agrees, this is the best possible expression of insecurity, which makes me care more about every precious moment together. “Every moment is precious,” he says, one night when I decide to go with him to fencing practice instead of staying home alone to write. We both feel the same way. Now, when I need to sleep-in, I have him tuck me in lovingly, saying “tuck tuck” with a kiss, that way I know he is alright, and won’t be too lonely.

“Maybe, whatever you’re doing right now is the right thing to do,” says T. To sleep well and long enough, or tend a space or finish a hand-crafting project is a fine way to be together in domestic love.

…….

Grandma dreamed of Great Grandpa. He had Bipolar, what they used to call Manic Depression. I was told that he was put in a hospital for this in the days before better compassion. I wonder what it must have been like for Great Grandma, to see her husband who she loved so much suffer this way. Was she the rock of the family? I have no records from Grandma about it, only that it happened, long ago.

In Grandma’s dream, dreamt in her old age long after her father’s death, she revisited her father. It was his brain she remembers: lit, with electricity, gold-sparkling yellow in coursing beads of dendrite flames in the night of the mind. The current of his brain appeared to her as sparklers traveling in the black of midnight from the base of his cerebellum, back of the neck, top of the spine where the nob of reptilian green evolution wells up in bone-memory of scales turning into to feathers, to fur, and finally to skin, tightened over the rare dome of the prefrontal cortex. Through these places the night-sparkler traveled up around his right ear, a railroad of electric-lit wires between one thought and another. Somebody said they cut the two sides of his brain, left divided from right side to save him. Who did this to him? Why did they think it was right? I only know of the story she told me: it was a breakdown. A loss of stability, while the two watery balancing boards of each inner ear tipped in slow-time, then suddenly spilling into the sea of Psyche. The ship of sanity surrendered, sending its planks overboard into the black waters below. I do not know where the sparkler stopped, but I remember that he was wide-eyed and strange when I, as a small child, met him in his ailing years. But my Great Grandmother still loved him completely.

…….

9/12/2016

Walking an hour to a cafe this morning in the clear light of day, sunscreen and hat applied, I realized I was going along without so much pain or heavy depression. I pick a spot in the shade under a tree when I arrive, not minding the faint smell of the garbage cans nearby. So it is. The smell goes away in the breeze. The air is cool to perfection on my skin, life in the sensory world. Wisdom comes from the life of the land and of animal bodies, who do not worry about the past or the future or the endless ghosts which plague the minds of humans. Our human heads are too easily filled with ghosts. I put them aside. It is said to us that we must right down these moments of insight before losing them, but I now know the other side to this fear of forgetting. We humans do not want to lose a part of ourselves, even it is better to keep it no more. Animals do not worry about always remembering. I want to remember their wisdom. They will remember what they need to, and not solely the aversion to trauma. To be happy is good because we hold something worthy inside. I want to always be an animal. The earth will remember the rest, remembering all.

…….

 

 

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash

The Words that Matter

I haven’t wanted to call myself a “writer”. It sounds like another big-deal identity label with all sorts of implications. The sound of it brings to mind people way more disciplined than myself, who are way more at peace than I am with sitting in a chair for long hours on end. They’re more organized than I am, and more determined to advertise themselves, and they use desks (I prefer the floor). Writing is just one thing I do as an act of devotion to remembering God.

I can be meditatively content indoors, like a writer, especially on a stormy or smoggy, hot day. It is delightful to be in a beautiful monastic place, like my house or a church or the library. But sitting in a chair? Feet down on the floor, my butt falling asleep? No. I need to sit criss-cross, then lay on my stomach, then my back, then stretch, then squat, then sit back in the chair with my feet up on the table like I don’t have no manners, all while getting up to walk around every 30 minutes or so. There’s a reason most of my pieces are brief. I agree with the sentiment of Thomas Mann: “I would rather live life than write a hundred stories.”

I’ve felt leery about the pantsuit of “writer” as an identity because I sense an attitudinal trend of self-absorption, cynicism and lack of heart-centered joy among the current writing scene, dating back a solid three-quarters of a century or so. People get stuck in their heads, something I’ve certainly been prone to but which I’m getting further away from, and happily.

Back in college, in one of my writing classes, I was engaged in a discussion about the responsibility writers have to real people on whom fictional characters are based. To what extent must we care to disguise their identity and protect their privacy? What gratitude do we owe this great source material that is reality? We covered the moral and legal implications to this, but a number of my classmates insisted they have no obligation to tread carefully with characters who are nearly synonymous with real, identifiable people.

It’s been said that writers don’t participate fully in the magic of imminent life, because they’re too busy writing about it from a distance. I think there’s some disturbing truth in this. The temptation is there for writers to long for the experiential magic of the beautiful world, then find it but not know what to do with it except take notes from the sidelines, where it is lonely. Then they become embittered that they feel shy and self-conscious and depressed and why aren’t they happy being stuck in their head all day? This has become the case of the modern writer.

Again, I say this because I’ve certainly had my own moments like these, but then I figured out it was ridiculous and not good for the human heart. The page is not the world. The vitality of the lifeworld comes first because that is where the sensual life of the world breathes and moves and it is where God is found looking out through the eyes of all creatures. That is the image of God I most love, the Beautiful One who looks out through the eyes of all creatures, feeling as we creatures feel, but larger than our individualism, our stupid notion of segregation from each other. How can life be worth the energy spent on anything else? To be a good writer and a worshipful human is to remember God always and play affectionately with the rambunctious Creator in the off-leash dog park, to look for the mysterious Lord, the Beloved, in all creatures and places, unto the shadows of moments. To worship is to stand in the presence of this deep and powerful Beauty, for you get the privilege to live in the Beloved’s breathing world of natural and ancient enchantment that hasn’t ceased to be in search of us even in modern, cranky cities. (How’s that for a paradigm shift?)

To get into the practice of this state of mind as a writer, it may require not writing for a time, if the result is to come out of self-absorption in your head to live more immediately in the lifeworld. You will finally not think so much about what you are pissed off about, but will revel more in the great Beauty that includes you but is more than you and outlives all our petty problems. Yes, then to write about it, to catch those images with words that strike the heart tenderly –that is to be a good writer. To practice, as devotion, the act of worship in writing. To do anything else with the gift of writing is to waste precious mortal time.

I don’t get the sense that the current “writer” identity has much awareness of any of this. There is not the act of standing in the presence of great Beauty: there is a sour attitude of nihilism. That isn’t to say that the occasional heated bit of written constructive criticism of injustice isn’t good medicine sometimes (the prophets of old knew this well). But now our words are sold for anger, for clicks, for the divisive poisoning of my beloved species.

Back in that classroom discussion, I said we have a responsibility to respect the lives of the real people who inspire fictional characters –and the lands that inspire fictional places–, for this marvelous reality is the world upon which all others are based. We can give praise from our hearts for that gem of inspiration, grateful that we get to live in such an enchanted world as this. We are not to abuse the source of the inspiration itself. This same principle should apply to all who would call themselves “writers” but use words of anger not for healing real and serious injustice, not for shining truth unto evil, but for instigating squalid fights over trivial political pickings that cause not healing for the people. Such poison words you sew are an infestation of resent among your countrypeople, among your own humankind, ye mobbing horseshoe extremists of any and every party.

Words have consequences; writing is a moral act,” writes Philip Zaleski, editor of The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004. “To recognize this pays a triple dividend, for it inoculates us against the three daily literary devices of pandering to popular taste, creative laziness, and didacticism. The last item may surprise those who fear that any talk of moral writing will unleash an army of bluenoses ready to censor at will or of apparatchiks who will demand a political subtext to every sentence. But such worries stem from misunderstanding the obligations placed upon us by the nature of the craft. To write ugly prose, or to cripple one’s language to meet the standards of the day, or to warp one’s creation into a political placard –all this is to write immorally. The task of the spiritual writer is to uphold truth and beauty at whatever cost, in whatever way his art demands.”

To be a good writer is to accept that writing is limited. It is not a living body, it is not the indescribably glimmering image about which a thousand words must be called upon to cumbersomely begin to describe it. It is not eternal, for language changes constantly and may persist in one intelligible form only a few hundred years, then be lost to the winds of change or forgetting. A thousand thousand languages have already gone this way, for as long as our ancestors had the vocal chords and brains to speak. Writing is not sound or light or touch, but a hopeful second-hand account of these. Writing is young in the age of the earth, and it is brash. Writing thinks itself to be authoritative and know a whole lot, like a teenager.

 

 

To be a good writer is to form words with loving joy and reverence, to stand in the presence of great Beauty. The human duty to live with such a heart is more important than getting a book deal or social media followers. Social media shall all someday be ground into dust by the shifting of continents. So, too, may the human heart, but its affect has more serious consequences, and underpins any value our media technologies may lay claim to. This temporality puts our priorities into perspective. Now, when I think about my own self in writing, I worry the most about choosing the right words with the right heart, because life is short, and I have the strange and rare privilege of being born a Homo sapiens with a species-specific power so rare among the eons. That is my identity, Homo sapiens, inheritor of the Phylum Chordata, called to know and love God. The call of the good writer is exuberantly subservient to this.

I don’t want to put anything into the world that I wouldn’t want to eat with my own heart’s hunger in another lifetime to come. I may be a Blue Whale someday, and I may find myself hungry for good krill and the love of my pod and a deep black motherly ocean, so may my words be as good as these. I may be a little worm hungry for comforting good soil to build a little house in the ground; so may my words be as good, as whole and right as these. I may be a cheerful speck of dust or a beam of golden sunlight who rides the space between the sun and sweet Earth; so may my words be as good as these. For God saw fit to make these friends of hers, and to put voices into our hominid throats, but it is we who sculpt our own words. May they remember her, these brief words of humanity. If I am to be remembered myself, I want to be remembered as the one who remembered God amidst my contented, hilarious, peaceful insignificance. Don’t write words that don’t matter, that you wouldn’t want a future intelligent alien civilization to discover five billion years from now and the words you wrote, providing their ability to decrypt your long dead language, are the only account of life on earth they find. There are so many words that don’t matter. Choose the ones that do.

Sources

Zaleski, Philip. “Introduction by Philip Zaleski.” Introduction. The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Print.

 

image sources: here and here

Night in the Kitchen: Poetry Fragments

 

 

Blessed are you,

Lord God of creation,

who does not guard us

from the work of your hands.

It is good that we are supple

It is good that we are fragile

adaptable and strange

among beasts

that we may continue

to be always remade.

For You have forged in white fire

the red of eyelids,

the cave of the earthquake;

You have set hominid-kind

among the vastness,

stoneground in waters

in alluvium loam

 

 

The body capable

like a canyon–

arms open

 

 

Night in the kitchen,

me sitting on a stool by the sink

while you wash up the last dust

of the light

Miles later, end of spring,

remembering the bed we have shared

and the air is warm and damp with rain

a pre-waking flood,

rising steam

 

 

Turn in toward

the path of the arrow

that you, with shields of

protection, will let

open, splitting,

the old wounds

of the warrior’s sting,

the nettle’s good venom

letting medicine in

 

 

the wingbeats of Sophia

whisper to the ground;

Her wisdom in the Aves’ taxa

knows no vertigo,

Her course unbound

 

 

Every small moment in worship

through some willing element of matter,

a word, a stolen kiss, a skirt of gold,

a bird diving or falling

from the vault of the firmament.

You could not have learned

any other way

the road between

here and another.

 

 

the eyes of the telescope

the mirror of the wonderer

the bowl of celestial milk spilling–

whatever comes out of my wondering

is the same as the prophets’ own.

Pristine spilt milk is so light,

let it fall like a flood

every ten thousand years

the great void percolating

into my living room,

to coalesce with a big bang

this second, somewhere

 

 

Holy fire settles

the continents in magma–

shifting nerves of Hades

 

 

Rosehips of the Nootka Rose,

the names of creatures, created order–

stars on the forest floor

 

 

Now it is time

to go from here

to leave and leave behind

the bundle, setting down the weight

of your years, time to put away graves

who are at peace in the ground

and what the long road

behind you

remembers.

 

 

Squall line,

white bark pine,

I go visit in my time,

long time

skipping out

 

 

 

 

poetry by Gentle J. Pine compiled 7/31/2017. Written all over the place 2012–2017.

image source: Creative Commons CC0. Please support the Public Domain and related freedoms.

Tellurian Words; The Harrowing of Hell

A collection words I have known while

various word-checkers haven’t:

Abrahamic, akathist, alluvius, applaudable, arse, barefootedness, bowdrill, chinchy, deoxyribonucleic, discipled, dreamt, duende, empathetically, entendre, full-hearted, hacktivist, hatchling, honeybush, inrushing, inwardness, Judaica, limbic, liminally, magnetics, Manzanita, miacid, millennia, montane, oxytocin, patrollers, permaculture, personhood, Pleistocene, putzing, prefrontal, primally, primitivist, reactionism, recusant, relatability, ridgetops, rooiboos, rosehips, sempre, sensei, shapeshifter, spilt, ultraist, unrighteously, vaulty, wonderstruck, yesterevening,

 

What’s a spell-checker for

if not to cast spells

with good words?

 

Tellurian

[te-LOOR-ee-uhn]

adjective 1. of or characteristic of the earth or its inhabitants; terrestrial. noun 2. an inhabitant of the earth. Origin: 1840–50; < Latin “tell?r”– (stem of tell? ) earth + -ian Alluvium [uh-LOO-vee-uhm] noun 1. a deposit of sand, mud, etc., formed by flowing water. 2. the sedimentary matter deposited thus within recent times, especially in the valleys of large rivers. Origin: 1655–65; < Latin, noun use of neuter of alluvius, “washed against”.

 

The Harrowing of Hell

Harrow. “hair-oh”.

noun

one. an agricultural device

with teeth of spikes or disks upright,

drawn chiefly over tilled land to level,

break up roots of clodded weeds, etc.

verb, (used with object).

two. to draw a harrow on the land.

three. to unsettle sharply; gall the mind,

feelings, etc. verb (used without object)

four. to become ravaged by harrowing, as soil.

five. of Christ. to descend into hell

to free the righteous

held captive.

 

 

 

 

The Harrowing of Hell was written by Gentle J. Pine on 10.31.2013

image source: Creative Commons CC0

Ruach and Scripturing (Flowers Don’t Get Distracted)

You think you know what you want to say, but get out of the way. Creativity says something bigger than planned, always. It’s hiding to leap, crouching gargoyle crying beautiful night howl, the marvelous night! What love is this! How glimmering the comfort of shadows! Walk into my dark wings! Great black wings to spread over the heart of the dark earth and go chanting your praise, good Wild God, you who live in both shadows and light. You, who drink hidden light, hidden in darkness. From the moon, from the fertile earth rip rolling wet soul under changeling dark castle in the low place love chakra get the words out of from undermind where the real poetry lives. Bring on back to the everyday the true knowledge of what is. Make the dreams live, the ones indescribable –babble– because you want to stay there where the holy is. His arms will hold you. Now, deeper into the soul of the world. Land, boxes and tunnels of animal’s of earth, He needs you. I will not forsake you. Even there the Christ-love sleeps and wakes and takes his pleasure in falling and rising by the season of day, ruach breathe in and out. Christ–love isn’t worried about linear time. He’s down here already. 

…….

I used to write for approval. Now I write for the craft I know I am called to by The Beautiful One who makes the stars and the world. That’s makes in the present tense, I say. Always happening and we’re participating. It’s a big job, being human. Being animal or plant sure is too. It’s a rare gift to be one of these and not nothing at all.

I write for God who is the Beloved. To know the Beloved Creator in great affection and friendship is the most satisfying voyage. I think I feel what the tellers of the old bible stories felt when they wrote for God. They focused on the Beloved, and it was spontaneous, and that was the only that mattered. Divine inspiration is absolutely spontaneous, as is understanding. This is what makes ever disjointed the literalism of our time. Of written history. I call scripturing the putting together of free form thought for the love of the Holy. This is where great writing comes from. It is poverty to say there has been only a small set of absolute scriptures with the answers forever. Poverty! It is a dire poverty of the mind to be so absolute. We must mind the muses, holy spirits, tongues of fire in the poets today not so different from ages ago, from Isaiah. God, who does not fear compost, of tuning the shit we’re afraid of into soil and food to sustain us, you are most worthy of unshackled wonder. By writing the world we access the world larger than us, give it praise, meld with it. When I am in pain I know it is not my pain alone, but the world’s pain, and I do not carry it alone. So be a flower who is loved by the sun and does not worry about its own life, when it blossoms or when it dies. Flowers don’t get distracted by crazy heads like we humans. They’re always being as the Lord of Love made them to be, in their direction. It knows it will be back again. It knows it exists in the great belly of life who is its Beloved.

 

 

 

Images © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.

Cordillera

I have dreamt the mountains are so close to my house in the city, the whole long range spanning the Cascades down to the Sierras, huge and magnified, their icy caps leaning over small neighborhoods in primeval protection. American Cordillera. In my dreams, the mountains spell the nearness of God. They are the mother mountains where clean waters come down and angels go to live in animal bodies a while. From the car driving by the foothills it looks sometimes like you can jump out of the car and run up there to catch fish in clear waters. Glitter white-gold sand, burnt-sienna Ponderosa pine needle trails, my California; wet Western Redcedar mossy deep green curling ferns, my Cascadia– I turn to the great land and the land turns in closer to me. A banner of turquoise in lakes, Milky Way trail of spirits –Inland Pacific! Lands of my birth! And the Range of Light is always at the edge of my mind, moving mountains in dreams.

 

 

image: Creative Commons CC0

The Swallows

 

When I was a child I told my spiritual father

that I had moments of insight,

fashes of understanding, like the wings of swallows

swooping into a city with a message to tell

that humankind must remember.

It was beyond explaining to grown-ups,

though I knew I had to help save them.

My spiritual father said,

“Remember these moments that come to you.

Remember, write them down,

Or they will slip away like birds.”

And I watch the way my thoughts fly

like they do not want to be captured,

cannot be told once and for all time

in the tradition of writing.

I follow the swallows out to the fields,

a pair of lovebirds chasing each other,

friends of the light.

How carefully close they come to the dark earth,

the tall grass brushing their scintillant feathers

like breath, one word of beauty before leaving,

a reminder to humankind

who is forgetful.

 

 

image source: public domain