A Way Through 


The Philodendron uncoils, boils past space and time in air
I find her stuck in her dance at a horizontal beam there
ferocious in her push, tattooing her way along the wall
sending out feelers like scouts to search a way through
Undaunted vine, giant caterpillar battling a corner for supremacy
blind green hands shoving with the force of a mountain range
silently crushing all resistance from her dreaming heart
Tomorrow and tomorrow, only this.

Hustle of her push, unfurling cusp, rocket thrust
crisis-conquering bionic sword, shoving past all obstacles
soaring inside her insistent green wattage
dispatched to the job of life with a moxie beyond human
Superheroes pale beside this level of authority

For years she’s been a mute gangbuster humming Life! Life!
Sighing softly down the length of her serpent rising body
jungle roar of her will rages through my sleep
to bother my dreams just upstairs as she muscles her way through
Unsleeping rebel hammer set in motion, forever
and I, breathless witness of a task unfolding in sacred sovereignty
whether I watch or not, her kinetic intelligence
beating all obstacles
beating like a heart

She says to the men in suits—This is industry.
to the street-fighting activists—This is subversion.
Who’s unsung might lifts my roof with a single green finger
And I’m thinking about earth protectors
about witches created to speak for the land
and the wall that we shove against is ignorance and governance
arrogance and war, money and the corporate industrial waste society
So I pray for the ceaseless green vehemence of plants
to push in and pollenate our heart-minds and infuse us
with inspiration to keep pushing through every thwarting form
only to insist on Life
that must continue.

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 The Promise


To be responsible means to promise in return.
To whom is this promise made, and in return for what?
What is the source of your life?
As children we swallowed indigestible lies
that tied us to lifetimes of denial, paradise reduced to a world where
we produce and consume more of everything
but you can tell a child anything, and what we really are
is a seedbed for the future feeding on the grief of the present.

To whom are you responsible?
What is the source of your life?
They told us we can live without earth and air, rivers, trees, animals,
but we need to grow up and we promised in return.
We’ll learn to listen to other voices
the choice is ours —
Can we sprout this stump to a tree of revolution?
Will we jump like the pump in the heart of evolution?

We’ll sit in circles, tell the tales of our trauma
children coming home to a Mama who never left
Cos inspiration never left us here alone and
creativity’s just been wanderin’ around,
waiting for us to wake up and come on home
We are pieces of ancient earth
bits of sacred story soaked in intellect and dirt
flowing with time’s river

Beyond the daily data fed to us by liars lies the wind
and inside its spin swings the chrysalis
in a future forest world endlessly branching like questions I can imagine.
And under the branches, we’re seeds in the ground, crouching
ready to change the world again.
To whom are you responsible?
What is the source of your life?

This is not a metaphor, friends —
let’s be butterflies, re-entering, wet and tender
Let’s drop it all and pick up one thing at a time
You can’t do anything with your life that
you can’t first imagine in your mind —
I’m not ready to bring down civilization,
but I’m ready to imagine it.

Let’s just walk away, or stay and smash the state
Let’s liberate grace with a fuse and a match,
let’s hatch out in time to fall into fields of life and give back.
We work from the fringes, from the fertile growing edges
We’re shapeshifters turning from this lost and lonely shore
we are humans, returning, and we’re older than war.

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All My Relations


Trapped behind glass, flies buzz the morning awake
Light splits the seams of this valley
The forest shines

It was an ordinary day
when my Russian grandmother died
my mother tells the story—
A fly appeared and buzzed the family all through shiva
and no one would swat it
because it was spirit, not fly.

Feel the tug of history
in the ancient sun
Cedar, pine, oak, alder dip into the creek
murmuring waters tell a forest story
where branches, interwoven
clasp like hands across the freshened flow
This ordinary day, they are one family
Leafless alder, purple tipped
full bodied pine, fragrant cedar
and the small oaks who hold their leaves
still, in December.

I’m a dyke
on the fringe of the human wave
I circle with sisters who
reclaim Rosh Hadesh, Yum Kippur, Passover
I’m a Jewitch, trying to dig towards roots with a teaspoon
but the Goddess, Mother Earth calls  me deeper
past patriarchy’s thievings
Raised to be religious, I refused
but I wonder about my grandmothers’ faith
Separated by the rules of orthodoxy
isolated by the enmity of non-Jews
severed from the Amazon root of Lilith

I do worship, but not as a Jew
and I search the branches for pagan eyes
I love most the ancient evidence embedded
in my ancestors’ religion —
the moon, the candles burning, the trees
On ordinary days, I worship trees
Connected to earth and sky, they
hold the still center
free from the orthodoxy of separation
trees love.

Yesterday morning, womyn woke
to a chainsaw’s buzz beyond the flies
following, came upon just-killed limbs
a massacre of full-reaching trunks
cut down and left dying on the forest floor
Trees, dying, tell the story
of men who think nothing feels but them
Men making history, ignorant of history
family men, ordinary men, separated fully
who think those beings who don’t worship separateness
are less holy, don’t deserve respect, or feel pain
think they have the power to sever connection
But when the buzz moves on
trees, unlike my grandmother
sprout anew

Vines of history wind, remind us
Trapped behind mourning
we female outsiders
re-enter the generous space
of enmeshment, responsibility
a forest, fully feeling
who sleeps and bleeds and stands shining
in the light of this sun
Trees never heard of Beirut or Nicaragua
never seen photos of concentration camp survivors
or South Africa or Palestine on ordinary days
Nothing changes outside the woods, but a fashion of atrocity
but forgetfulness of history
but the weapons of orthodoxy
But a forest stands shining, sprouting
The spirit fly hovers.
Are we trapped inside
or can we join the dance out there?

So I’m crying for people
for limbs and roots and bodies green
I read a novel another womin tells
of World War II Jews in Europe
What has been one in the name of purity
is being done still
on both sides
Behind glass, I cry
for the first relations I knew
who wore the blue tattooed numbers
and so many more I never knew
and homelands I will never know

Who feels the tug of history?
Of camps, of cages, of orthodoxy?
Eastern Europe, South Africa, Central America, Palestine
Rootless hungers
Repeated betrayals
Religion, politics, the sacred earth trembles.
In The Land of the Patriarchs
images of branches & roots
buzz in the hearts of the women.
My small blood family are Zionists
all who are left, but not all my relations
Dulled with forgetfulness, nationalism, assimilation
Privilege — survivors tell the story
Zionism — the act of trees picking up chainsaws.

What is the history of wandering survivors?
The conquerors and the vanquished
of tribes that were and tribes that will be?
Barbed wire grows in the promised land
watchtowers and machine guns in Jewish hands now
The trees and I know
There have been armies of occupation
for forests of lives
tricks of fundamentalism, centuries of refugees
After a thousand pogroms
after gas chambers and mass graves under the sun
how did they outgrow the lesson of history?
Outside the landscape of time stands insensate orthodoxy
Inside a locked room, my grandmother turned into a fly.

The amputated trees you pass on ordinary days
stand shining
Deep in the forest, history reaches, rushes and tunnels
responding, fully moral, ever-changing
beyond chainsaws and the 6:00 news.
On ordinary days like this
the flies buzzing sunlight around us
I wake and walk down to the frozen creek
dip icy water and carry the buckets home to womyns’ land
feeling like a Russian peasant before the pogroms
touching living oak trees before the chainsaws

I think about surviving and the hidden costs
of ancient, steel-sharp hatreds
Of camps in Poland, Soweto, Gaza
and shining among the trees
I feel the spirit of my grandmother
Bubbeh, who I never knew
she was always beyond my touch
For her, Israel was an idea, buzzing round them
the golden reward for their suffering
It was history’s justice
creation by compassion, not barbed wire
It was planting trees of plenty
not arming them with chainsaws
This ordinary day, my grandmother, long dead
and the idea, Israel, is an armed camp.

I mourn with my sisters
for the shining world that never was
and for all my relations
For survivors and those who could not
and cannot and will not
survive this ordinary day
I mourn for green
for all women and all trees
for concentration camp survivors and their victims
for men and for chainsaws
I need to say chainsaws and barbed wire
religion and orthodoxy
Need to touch a shining above and beyond
my human family

All my relations, sprouting and connected
growing beyond touching
Beyond touching is nothing but cages
Beyond love of separation is love of life
a very green concept
that tugs back on the vine of history
The shining spirit of my Russian grandmother
continues to weave my story
Nothing changes while everything changes
the earth turns over and over
within a thin, solemn buzzing
To this turning day, Bubbeh
no one in our family will kill a fly.

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The Mushroom Messiah


The melt-down break-down
as coastlines drown
& we send our minds into the cloud
like dandelion seeds, up here
While down there
the wheelhouse darkness cuddles
an eminent domain of lichen, fungi, bacteria
Whoever makes up a story, makes up a world

Dear brave world of our human hearts
hearten up
Once upon a time
before our radically un-knowable future
before History was another word for Irony
the horrors of conscious extinction unrolling
as wars hammer us down
& liars and thieves take it all out
Before the monster imposters of illumination
beneath these impossible arrangements
lives an old story
so new it’s still in the middle of unfolding and
I stand in the echo of failed human
above everything that made everything
and everything that unmakes it

O, Mycilia
Our eco-crisis is their eco-solution
Evolution flexing all our frames
a magic carpet living beneath the ground
reciting every possibility down there in the storied darkness
This is the poem of never-ending leaf-fall
all the composted years
and all the leaves to come
Bubbles come into being and snap out of existence
stacked dimensionalities of everything possible
No dividing and conquering
just comfort and support
for every verdant unfoldment
every blue wave riding a green world
For flashing eons of
guns rusting, concrete cracking
flowers sprouted through eyeholes and rib cages

Can you hear them humming underfoot
the wild, joyful dreams of someone else
Someone who’s pressed
richly under to be raised
richly up, unfurling future comebacks
breathless with patience to
transform this nightmare
into something noble

What if
this suffering time sets the stage
for the coming of The Mushroom Messiah?
All Hail The Fungus!
Pure collaboration with all creation
healing the world from traumas
of human dramas
balancing every forest
holding Life in their great hearts
Invisible splayed-out universes
blind mimes mesmerizing this moment
repositories of memory
Mindful kindness branching
fingers threaded, interlacing generosity
born to share with the great forest trees
one living fractal
the threadlike masses networking

Benevolent spores
whose chanting laces ancient basement rooms
Cosmic demolition crew all set to begin again
O mycellium!
Caregivers of life
don't need air or light and so
they’ve lived with earth the longest
are indigenous deeper than anyone.

Fuck technological innovation, follow that fungus!
Through every mass extinction
they played horns in the subterranean orchestra
chanting songs to the creator 
drumming while ice covered the earth
Predicted the dinosaurs’ crash with their cymbals   
played sweet silvered flutes
through epochs of sulfur-spewing volcanoes
tinkled extinct ivories to Chernobyl and Fukushima
Like a whistle about to blow
the bow held just above the strings
down there
poised above despair
where strategic fairy looms map Gaia’s future
subsidizing life’s reprieve
Immanent alliances scarfing at the archeological edges
knowing the holy words or what passes for words
sliding from the space that passes for mouths.
Every mouthful, a renaissance
brewers of redemptive medicine
servants of synergy
relationship masters

They took notes on the Big Bang
remember in their vast lineage the face of god
are lit inside their deep darkness with memories
and remedies
for shit we haven't even imagined
Imagine now––
Patient, waiting through extinctions
monstrous mutations, toxifications
through global warming now, again
climactic cataclysm
these schisms are nothing but lunch to them

Fasten yr seatbelts, two-leggeds
‘cos here comes the end of our brief stay
of poetry and industrialization
farming and fighter jets
We end where they begin, it's all a spin
all endings are beginnings
in the great rolling hula hoop
nesting below breath
All endings beginnings
for them
who knows where they came from or where they’re going?
Just call Them Mother and trust that this is way deeper than we are.

Once upon a time
there was a vast silent invisible Being
and no religions are made in its image
A magical carpet of life beneath the ground
beating so slowly the rhythm
of beaded galaxies
slow-waltzing without end
and so
darkness spangled with Life survives
eternally creating flowers and babies from garbage and greed
No scams or nasty side-effects
just act upon act piled high on a cosmic plate for the gobbling of all consequences
No sin. No hell. No anxiety to claw onto
the smooth tube digests all karma
and out slides the next sacred thing
all consequences, just food for them
The Mushroom Messiah, picking up the check
for all our table
I wait with an open heart
to be taken down.

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