Feeding the Darkness

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.

—–

It’s nearly four, and Darkness comes to nudge me from the depths of dreaming. Her cravings won’t be sated. Outside the window, a cry echoes once, then again — the black dog’s voice is neither howl nor bark, and yet both.

Darkness paces impatiently, her boots echoing with my heart’s “too much, too little, too much, too little” syncopation. I feel her in my skin and my soul sighs out a name. I feel the cold and warming bodies of my children and their children pressed to my naked breast, see my mother’s dry lips pursed in disapproval.

I invite Darkness to dine with me, again — to dine on me — as she has done before. It’s a borrowed, black, denim work-shirt she wears, and though it fits poorly, it pulls at me, like a black hole collapsing my lungs.

The distant black dog mimics a wolf — calling again, and the Wolf who shares my bed doesn’t flinch. She doesn’t sleep anymore, my Wolf. Instead, she warily watches as Darkness takes a seat at my table.

I offer my heart as an appetizer, always too eager to see this inky void filled and satisfied. The Wolf who used to lay her head in my lap now growls at the riverbank, staring into shadows. The new moon has drawn the clouds up over her head, trying desperately to sleep in peace. I’m not certain there’s any peace to be found in these small hours when the black dog calls.

Darkness eats daintily, wipes her mouth on my skirt, then flicks her ravenous eyes at my Wolf. Her greedy, plucking fingers are alder branches, stirring widdershins in the murky water of my soul.

She draws the tarot from her pocket, and the cards fall before me like winter leaves, thin and colorless. Five coins tumble into lonely orphans, with no bread. King of Cups stands on his head, angry and brooding, while the Lovers gaze anxiously on. The inverted Moon stares at her confused reflection in the water. High Priestess is here too, offering a hand through the labyrinth. But Darkness exhales a thick, wet fog, and gestures toward my Wolf. “Feed me.”

I attempt a bargain, counting out five coins, like sweet cakes, and my desperate heart breathes a name into the darkness. The Wolf’s fur bristles along her shoulders and I close my eyes, slipping finally into the deep end of the pool, where sleep swims elusively upriver.

—–
AUDIO FILE: 

You Asked Me What it Means to Be a Girl

woman-walking-in-long-dress-down-a-wooded-path-sandra-cunningham (2)

I am female, and if you ask me what that means, I struggle to answer — to disentangle that feminine thread from the mass of yarn that is me, is a challenge, a task I’m not sure I can accomplish.

So rather than unraveling the ball, untying knots, and disturbing the wonderfully complex snarl of string that is me, I will turn the whole of it in my hands, examine the strands, where they fray and where they weave, where they get lost in the over and under of it all — I will tell you what I see. Perhaps in this describing, you may find what you seek to understand.

I am richly and deeply woman. I look in the mirror, and see fullness, softness, sensuality. I revel in the female habits, lotions, make-up, hair, jewelry and clothes. I love the decadence of ribbons and lace, pretty underthings, soft stockings and laced corsets, luxurious fabrics, perfumes and polish. I drink in poetry, literature, words and phrases about love and living passionately. I am that romantic girly-girl.

I wonder sometimes, when I walk into a public space, whether others can see the raw feminine sexuality that I feel in my bones; I think sometimes it paints my skin; I smell it as the wind tousles my hair. Can others look into my eyes, and read the thoughts that color my whole being with the joy of passion, of living, and loving more? I am female, strong and fragile, tough and weak, fierce in my passions and in my defense of those I love. I am a nurturer, a teacher, a sister and friend.

I am courageously vulnerable, daring to risk, choosing pain over numbness, in the hope of ecstasy. My heart and mind are drawn to those who allow my femininity to shine, while not being intimidated by my depth, my intelligence or my dominance. I am both self contained, and messy, spilling out passion and poetry on anyone who gets close enough to be splashed. I am confident, and sexy, and at the same time shy and unsure.

My female heart is drawn to strength in men, to confidence, and power, to a sharp wit, a rich intelligence, and a passion that complements mine. Yin to yang — rich, earthy maleness to dark, raw femaleness — I soften against that strength, like I cannot when I stand alone. I find in those places — the crook of his arm, the gruff tenderness of his voice, the wonder in his eyes — a gentle little girl, who can melt into him and find it safe to be imperfect, weak, emotional and a dreamer.

My female heart is drawn to the sacred female in other women. I am maiden, mother, sister and crone. I am rich in this femininity, and my heart longs to connect to that feminine in another. I yearn to share sisterhood, and to revel with another very female lover in everything that makes us woman. I crave that softness and warmth that can only come from a feminine touch. I believe the sacred female has an inner light and power that belies the physical strength of a man. It goes deeper, runs in her veins, a holy strength, an incantation and a prayer. My inner female longs to find that beauty and power in another, to trust it, surrender to it, and mirror it back.

I am hesitant, shy in that longing, as I have trusted my feminine vulnerability to another woman, and been hurt far more deeply than any man could reach. I have healed, and found my strength from that wounding. I have come away stronger, more beautiful for the scars. But while I can confidently gaze into the eyes of a strong, attractive man, and know that I have power to win his heart, to seduce his mind, I lack that sureness when it comes to connecting with a woman I find lovely, in spirit and body — I have been, again and again overcome and silenced by the beauty, the poetry, and the magic I find in her. But, I play it safe.

I am womanly in my reasoning, in my art, in the way I set my soul on fire every day to cast a light that leads others to freedom, to love, to living fully. I pour my femaleness into words and poems, into paint and ink, I shout my femininity from the rooftops, from the open windows of my car, from the air as I fly, soaring on the wind, my own music pounding in my ears, shaking the trees and clouds as they witness and sing along. I want others to see me, my freedom, and find themselves, see the beauty and the reward of living fully vulnerable and courageous. As a girl-child, I was taught to hold back, to demure, to dampen my enthusiasm, and to reign in my passion. As an adult, I refuse. I am determined to live fully in this richness that is every womanly part of who I am.

I hope those who see me doing so, are inspired to tear down their walls, to risk and live, to love and make and be with burning passion. This is my gift to the world, and to myself. I will burn in my femaleness, to light the path for anyone who might follow my faltering but enthusiastic footsteps. It may be tangled and overgrown, this path, there may well be an easier way. But I refuse to miss this rugged beauty, the scraped knees and bruised hands, the falls and the getting back up to press forward and celebrate. This is my womanhood. This is me.

On second thought maybe I am unraveling that spool, just to mark the path, in case you wish to follow, to catch up, and walk beside me through these woods.

Language Theory

image

I recently had an interesting email-conversation, about the nature of the word “lover”. I propose that the word has, over time, been narrowed in scope, diluted (if you will), until it’s potency is lessened and it’s meaning altered. As an advocate for language (as well as for sex and love), I  am determined, in my sphere of vocabulary-influence, to re-expand words like “lover”, if possible.

As a polyamorous woman, I welcome into my life those men and women with whom I develop a deep, psychological, emotional and romantic kinship. My heart is uniquely designed to overflow with love and intense human connection.

People have limits, when it comes to time, energy and resources — some more than others. Humans lead busy lives, we juggle relationships, we reach via technology across great distances, and if we’re vulnerable, trusting and fortunate… we find love.

I fall in love easily. I fall deeply. I seek out those bonds that ignite passion, engage heart and mind, and feed me positive energy while pushing me to be vulnerable, share myself, and give good in return.

Some of my most intense romances are with men I consider lovers. Some of these though, have not been men with whom I’ve yet had in-person, physical sex, and maybe I’ll never have the opportunity to do so. Still, intense sexual ties can be forged, without the benefit of physical proximity.

You see, in spite of the modern usage of the word, “lover” I do not make fucking* a prerequisite to using the term. There may in theory be friends with whom I enjoy occasional low-intimacy, recreational sex, and yet don’t consider lovers. On the other hand, there are those with whom I share profoundly torrid, amorous sexual interactions. These often include bodily pleasure, and orgasms, all from a place of psychological propinquity and physical distance.

When recently tweeting about the subject, I was admonished against confusing physical and emotional intimacy. I get it. My point is, life is gloriously messy, and thanks to the powers of technology and the human psyche, my intimacy spills out of its neatly labeled and organized boxes.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

———

*"Fucking" too, is a word worth discussing. It is, in fact, a favorite, and I will soon devote an entire post to the reasons why.

Depleted

writers-block

I wrote poetry yesterday, about feeling dry, needing sunshine, kisses, and some sort of renewal before the ink might flow again.  Today, I’ve spent too much time trying — to get something interesting down on paper — to find a topic that inspired me or a writing prompt that would push me into creativity.

I found out what I already knew, deep down.

I’m empty.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve written today.  I (semi) regularly put my backside in the chair, and write whatever comes out, even on days that I don’t really think it will be worth the effort.  I know there’s something valuable in the discipline it takes to write, whether I feel like it or not. Today, this may be all I’ve gotten out of the exercise:  a check mark on my list for a task completed.

But I know too, that what I really need is a few hours with a warm beverage, a comfy blanket, a good book. Perhaps I’ll dig into the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia I’ve got hidden in the freezer.

Life is good, my friends, even on days when the words seem to fight me at every scratch of the pen.  I trust the voices in my head that say a some good literature and perhaps a nap will kick-start me like a full cup of java on a cold, wintry morning.

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with something to show for myself.

Meantime, shhhh… I feel a nap coming on.

The Earth

http://www.terragalleria.com/black-white/america/arizona/monument-valley/picture.usaz20203-bw.html
http://www.terragalleria.com/black-white/america/arizona/monument-valley/picture.usaz20203-bw.html

The Earth is the strong, silent type. His broad shoulders cast a shadow wherever he goes. He looks awkward walking about, a little bit uncomfortable standing. He seems most at ease when he sits or reclines, relaxed with a smile on his face.  He’s dependable; if he says he’ll do it, you can count on him to keep his word.

He’s friendly, and gracious, giving the benefit of the doubt to all. He is a people person, though he’s not comfortable in the spotlight, he’s happier listening, watching from the sidelines, observant to a fault. He rarely gets angry, it takes years for his temper to build.  Once it erupts, he cools down quickly, and becomes his happy self again.

The Earth is ruddy and weathered — with lines on his hands and lines on his face — in that attractive way of old cowboys who spend their lives driving cattle across the plains.  His skin turns to leather in the heat of the sun and he strums his guitar by the campfire when the stars dot the cooling night sky. You’ll hear him humming softly, especially when he’s working, a tune that reminds you of childhood, the song you can’t quite place.

You may think the Earth is unaware, but he isn’t.  He’s the quiet one who feels everything, sees and hears everything.  He is a patient listener, never judging, always nodding understanding. He remembers what you’ve forgotten: when it last rained, which way to Albuquerque, and where you left your keys.

ABOUT THIS PROSE:

Inspired by “The Book of Qualities” by J. Ruth Gendler, this bit of creative prose reminds me that everything seems to have a spirit, a personality, even those things we call inanimate.  This is, in part, what poetry is, telling the world how patient is the earth, or how seductive is the full moon.

(image credit: http://www.terragalleria.com/black-white/america/arizona/monument-valley/picture.usaz20203-bw.html)