Nakedness

January 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

you undress your soul for me
slowly, the shyest striptease
pausing with each layer, poised to flee

like when I walked careful and quiet through the woods
and stumbled upon a liquid-eyed deer
in the sudden openness of a greening glade
and we stood, staring and alert,
I, not daring to breathe
She, frozen and tail-flickering for danger
an otherworldly blown-glass moment
that lasted into forever and only an instant.

And here we are
in the tangled forest of our lives
forging new trails and stumbling, startled
into a dusk-drenched clearing
our wide eyes meeting, unexpected
and the world hushes
just to hear the aching perfect harmony
of our heartbeats.

What did you see, in that first moment?

I found myself absorbed in you:
your battered armor over rough scarred hide
glimpses of the soft tender places underneath
wondering, imagining at what lay at the core of you

and now, day by day, you show me more
you let me help remove a piece of armor
you pull off the worn gambeson
and there’s bracing tension in your every line
uncertainty and nakedness in your averted gaze

Oh, love!
have you truly seen yourself
beneath those layers of hiding and protection?
You are corded with the sort of muscle gained by heavy trials
amid the places you’ve tended into softness,
the webbing of scar tissue
and the way you’ve stretched through it,
the art inked upon your soul
molding yourself with Will and care
into a sculpture of your own choosing.

You are more beautiful with every newly revealed fraction of you
and my heart’s song winds even richer harmonies with yours
and I am falling deeper in love
the more of you I learn.

Three Needs of the Avian Heart

October 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Give me love like an anchor in the storm of my mind
a resting-place to return.
Give me love like a harbor,
the stone walls of a home,
solid and windowed and rooted below.

I fly, my loves; I soar.
This bird was not made for a gilded cage.

Give me love like the sky that can hold my whole wonder
an endless expanse to explore.
Give me love like the thermals
joy of flight, soaring height
discovering all we might learn.

I hunt, my friends; I strike.
This hawk takes no hood, just the glove.

Give me love like the pyre when my feathers have dulled
a passion intense and white-hot.
Give me love like a crucible
heat under pressure
to ignite, to renew, to transform.

I burn, my beloveds; I ache.
This phoenix requires the sun and the flame.

Veiled

September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Imagine a valley in the heat of a desert. Parched land, cracked and hardened for miles, dotted with hardy dust-drenched wildlife and prickling cacti. In the midst of the desert runs a river: sometimes nearly barren, sometimes overflowing its banks, carving a sloping trench of greenery through the dryness and the sand. And where the green meets the sand is a tent of jewel-bright colors.

They are this: the floating of silks in the wind, the soft heavy drape of velvet, the rustle of cotton and linen. Layers of cloth to make a dwelling, to signal a presence, to conceal and reveal. Shifting fabric of every texture and rich color. A tactile experience and a visual one and through it all the scent of oils and resins perfuming the night air.

Are they a tent or a temple? A disorienting maze of silken walls that shift with the wind or a draping comfort that muffles the sand and sound outside? Is the brazier of incense a thing of sensuality or sacredness, or perhaps it is both…

At times one might glimpse a repaired tear, a sword-gash sewn back up and layered over with watercolored silk, a rip mended with gold embroidery and glinting beadwork, a handful of loose threads longing for their former mooring. There is calligraphy along every seam and hem, tapestries holding knowledge in their warp and weft, a wisdom in the paint and ink hidden in the fluttering of layered veils.

Here and there are crystals to catch the twilight filtering through the gauzy roof, and sometimes an open space above to see the diamond starscape. Now and then there are chimes softly singing, and a tent-pole strong and bracing amidst the fluidity of cloth. The sand shifts beneath the woven tapestries of the floor, yielding yet supporting all at once. All is air and water, the night breeze playing on the surface of liquid cloth.

Puckish

September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

They are bright eyes in the summer undergrowth, the white of fangs in a merry grin. The greenery grows through the cracks of concrete and stone, and there they are too, bursting with irrepressible life.

Fairy-bells chime like silver laughter. Dandelions and chamomile erupt out of a sidewalk seam. There is a synanthropy of fluttering feather and flashing fur in city back-alleys. They are green summer life blooming in unexpected places, in spaces designed to keep it out, in scaffolding steel and the earth paved over. And they are the wonder and pause in the bustle of grayscale life upon noticing, like a sudden breath or a break in the clouds, the abrupt color of petals or the subtle gleam of fox-eyes.

There’s resilience in this verdant softness, and a gentleness. There is the service-delight of brownie and the green-tending of the sprite, yet there is too the tender sensitivity of brush-tailed fox and child-wise Fool. They are emotions experienced whole and pure, with sorrow and hurt flaring as vibrant as joy and delight.

They are the softness of fur in a close warm den, the tumble of fox-kits with their coats sun-shining. They are the shining fall of water down a cliff-face. They are soothing spiced tea and the warmth of friendship deepened over a shared cup. They are summer intensity in all its greenery and emotion and heat.

Dancing with Risk

August 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

You are not safe to love
with your quiet wounds and thorn-defenses
sharp hooves and antlered crown, accustomed
to being hunted, sensitive
to being prey, and determined
to defend you and yours.

You are not safe to love
with your hidden grove and covered trails
your hunted heart that harmonizes
with one who grasped me hard enough to break
your clever reading of the herd
and the shadow of your crown is colored with
the stain of dried heartsblood –

and I am shy of risk.

My heart still recovers from the infection She left;
the scar still runs raw and seeping in my chest.
You are many things I have said “never never” to –
your private ways, your dried-blood crown,
the fear-sweat of defensive prey-beast I smell when you feel threatened,
the physical distance, the generation gap,
this oh-so-quick closeness between our hearts.

I am not safe to love, either
clinical caution and cold analysis
peering under every crack and crevice I can find
prying beneath your armor
challenging, questioning, testing
to try to learn the dangers before I go too deep
before I get too attached (oh, too late, too late)
my chance-shy mind seeking some kind of control
constriction instead of trust, so rigidly wary

–and I am wounded too
a skittish hunting-bird, pupils pinning with stress
and a serpent lives within my breast, dry-scaled and hungry-eyed
its fangs rust-red with old dried heartsblood
(not unlike that upon your antlers, and so you see
we share the same color of a shadow
though they take different shapes)

And yet.

You do not push and pry at my defenses,
only share of yourself and wait for me to respond.
You ask for trust, as you stand there with open heart and open hand.
You ask me to gamble, to jump per chance to fall
(or fly, and it’s true that I have wings
and sometimes they even work)
–to choose trust, as you do with such fervent intensity
and joyous passion, despite betrayals and
all those old wounds in your unguarded spirit

and I am awed, I am humbled, I am set aflame.

We are not safe to love
with this gulf of land between us
connected by signals bounced between stars
by glowing mirrors sharing words and faces
the moon changing phases so many times
before we can touch.

Yet we do, love–
and I remember the last time I leapt into this level of uncertainty
this kind of deep passion and this whirling dance
long ago, and oh, the rewards of that are with me still
in the growth-rings of my spirit
in the warming of my heart–

It was worth it then, and I suspect
(thrilling, fearing, smiling)
that it is worth it now,
that you are worth this risk,
that We are worth this leaping into falling,

flying,

dancing!

Anatomy

August 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Her bones are steel – not the steel that comes only in rigid unyielding, but flexible, bending arcs of ordeal-forged metal. Her heart is passion-fire, sometimes consuming her from the inside out, sometimes fading to low embers from lack of fuel, and sometimes the ideal warmth of hearth-flame.

The easy analogy for this woman would be silk and steel, that core of refined steel with the outer softness of silk – but silk is an orderly thing, spun in crystalline moments by hungry patient spiders, and she is not so controlled. Her skin is not silk – it is living hide, dark and supple, warmed by the heat of her heart and her passion. A raw, primal creature dressed in civilization’s veneer, jewels on a wild thing, a sensual softness overlaying fire and steel and the hint of sharp teeth.

Bearsark

July 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Word Portrait.

The bearsark is clad in rough-hewn plate, bronze and iron and copper all dulled and scarred through heavy use. The stories say they go shirtless into battle but this one clothes themselves in metal, holds their shape to human with will and caution. They are armed and armored, solid-standing, watchful-eyed.

(Do you see the marked bear pelt beneath the chipped and tarnished mail? No? Look close. Look careful. Approach slow and steady, and maybe you can glimpse it.)

The bearsark moves with the stiffness of old wounds and healed scars. They move with the coiled power of long training and applied skill. They move with the carefully conserved energy of one who has experienced much and knows not to overspend themselves.

(Do you see the callouses and the scars on the skin beneath the iron plates? Do you see the bloodstained cloth and guarded stance? Look close. Look careful. Approach unarmed and unarmored, and maybe you will be allowed to see.)

They stand watch. They stand guard, and hold the meeting-place for the safety and comfort of others. They smile, readily; the armor is well-worn and rigid but they have a ready friendliness and camaraderie to them, a clap on the shoulder, a hard hug.

The mead-hall shines with firelight and merriment in the long hours of the night, and the bearsark stands at the door facing into the darkness. The mead-hall bustles with music and passion, and the bearsark holds the entrance. They greet and clasp hands with those entering and leaving; they drink a cup now and then; they share a dance here and there; they entertain with a joke or a story that diverts curious stares. They are part, yet apart. They maintain their human shape within their armor and stand steady.

(Have you seen the ferocious glory of the bear-shape, the beauty of claws and jaws and fur? Have you seen the battle-frenzy and the passion-fire? Don’t flinch. Don’t shy away. Have you seen the wide wilderness and smelled deep loam, old bones within the cave, the heavy heady musk of predator and primality?)

They are ferality tightly caged, they are wild and wounded, they are strength held in check, they are a warrior’s pride and disciplined focused power and a tender ferocity. They are taut grace, an immense force under tension and under pressure.

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