LET EVERYONE BRING THE GIFTS say the Bird Women

 
Let everyone bring the gifts!
The air is full of wings beating,
calling.
Let everyone bring the gifts!
This is the calling, the sound of spring,
the birds singing the plants out
of the ground, the buds
ready to burst,
the color, the immediate saturation of a
sigh
the word ah —again and again—
the sound of the origin,
a beginning,
ah,
Thank the Goddess, angels, Universal
Mother beings, thank the
ancestors, thank the bird people
and the seed people and the sea
people and the wee people.
Thank the forest and the wave and
the clouds and the seals and the mountains.
Thank the trees and the sands and
the chemicals and the stars.
Thank the pens and the inks and the
poets.
Thank the swimming creatures without bones.
Thank the eyes glowing in the dark,
thank the tremors and the volcanoes,
thank the dance classes and the musicians,
who feel the life blood of the spring,
thank the tender Earth, in whose footsteps we
walk, thank the curled and unfurling
ferns, the softnesses of the Earth’s body and
our own bodies.
Thank you cats’ fur, thank you breasts,
thank you sheep, thank you lions thank
you reeds and berries.
Thank you fungi.

The glow we receive we return back
again, again, again.

The birds sing and I remember.

The birds sing and I remember,
and my memories become a song in my body.

The flowers sing and I am reminded
instantly, to exhale, to feel the muscles
deep in my belly, my neck, my throat,
my ears, unclench and re-order,
ready to listen again
for more

xoc
3.18.21

words and image C.Savage 2021

listen to this poem read by the author (on Soundcloud)
LET EVERYONE BRING THE GIFTS say the Bird Women

On Landscape and The River Is the Path

 

photo Luis chumbe

On Landscape

Texture and Heat. Having been there makes a difference (does it?). (It does).

What I say is: “My body misses Latin America.” What I mean is: After 3 days in Iquitos, my body has recycled most of its water. I am now a living exchange with the air breathed by the Amazon River via the trees. I am made up of madura tierra, dolphins swim my blood, my body re-orients itself as a boat—after all the river is the path. (Wow, that one took a long time. 10 years maybe.)

As I am re-inhabited by the river, my body re-orients itself as a boat. The river is the path. As many times as I need to hear it and lose it. I lose it again.

Presently my body feels hollow, greedily metabolizing rare sunlight, missing the rainbow-haze droplet filtered quality. The water is life component. The swimming in the water-air component. The each footfall is a blessing communicated to the earth and lifted back up and out through the trees to be reabsorbed component. The roundness of walking as blessing and being blessed by the moisture in the air component. The Softness—if earth can be silty, slip silky, this is the quality applied to air. A warm stone feeling, hand warmed clay as walking environs.

Yesterday someone asked: How could you not miss the forest (la selva)? I miss the forest like I miss my sister, like I miss a birthplace, like I miss knowing where I actually AM.

Well! That was true! And elicited some breaking up of the dam inside of myself. I place myself there inside of it and the river land calls me, immediately, you can come home, you can come home. Yesterday I thought about it as my “spiritual birthplace” and that is not really it. It is the place where I became (and become) re-oriented to myself and to the world. My first and dearest long-term, long-distance relationship—with a river, weaving herself underground. Yes, I’m getting it, I’m hearing it.

Do I have to say, so obviously, the paintings with the black backgrounds are true. They are dreams, map flashes of landscape, they are connections of the human turned back in to communion with/of the larger experience. In the realities of Westernization we have an idea that perhaps were are floating in a kind of void, why we are obsessed with a cold-metallic-alone version of space craft and exploration, instead of an organic, community version. In the forest, I met a tree who is a spaceship. The presence of this craft-self was so obvious that it reminded me to myself, and that is a feeling that no longing for it could match. Coming home. Coming home.

That I will not be returning to this beloved, to this mother, this sister, this homeplace this turn is suddenly present with me. The recognition shuts something down in me, in the relationship, in the dreaming. But perhaps something else is being born in me, some hybrid seed of self that is both river and boat.

And to think–I was trained to feel that weaving myself back in to the dream is lonely. But that’s not true. It is Full To Bursting with Life, Blessing, Purpose, Meaning, and Beauty. It is filled with Truth. It is filled with the Real World.

Blessings on Your Heads,
Ashe
Charlotte

The Impasse

The Impasse

The implacability of it. the unmovableness. the immobility. the stuckness.
Two mountains face off. the size doesn’t matter.
A bird flies between them. sigh.
No rope can be stretched taught enough to hear between them.
A slack bridge is erected. we run out of wooden slats less than halfway through.
Is it better to burn down a half-built bridge? Does It, Itself, pose added danger?
Some people will cross on foot (ok Many Many people will cross on foot, especially the people who were here Forever—long before any idea of how many wooden slats would it take to…)

A bird flies overhead. sigh.
My mouth is dry and I drink gulps of joyful water. after months on this bridge-building expedition I
hear something
I hear the mountains talking
I am swallowed up in their singing
I am between the two, radiating to one another
Have I crossed between worlds?
(Certainly I have crossed between worlds.)
I am pressed through to the languaging of mountains, to older ways of hearing.
I am at the bottom of the river, the salmon rushing over me in their leaping.
I am dancing. I am the dancing water.
Do I have eyes, still?
(Most certainly I have eyes, still.)

A bird flies overhead. I am the bird.
I sigh.
(I sigh and a mist fills the valley, covering it in quiet, wrapping and warping the airs,
dampening, bringing down from the mountains the hovering, quivering sound. The waves of language sink and become the joyful river,

20.6.2
c.savage

Magical Missions P.2 How Children Come Into This World

Magical Missions
requesting children
having spirits leave my body
curled up and hurting
clutching rocks and praying on the forest floor
the moon bleeding out of me
I cried.
requesting children and a flood of children appearing to hold my hand and walk me through their lives
requesting children and being sent whales, and guava, and dolphin-eyes and pregnant dolphins and fishes and eels and the Io Valley
requesting children and finding loneliness and drinking and comfort of friends
requesting children and finding no-job
requesting children and going to grad school instead
requesting children and finding myself as my own child
requesting children and making my house into a joyful place for everyone
requesting children and encountering Indira’s Net again and again
requesting children and receiving dreams, and poetry, and stories of other women
requesting children and continuing to walk with them down the paths of neighborhoods
requesting children and watching love unfurl in others around me
requesting children and encountering rage, and more blood
requesting children and facing my fear of the dark, and aloneness
requesting children and one heard me, and made an agreement, through several strange trials, and made of me a chrysalis , a chrysalis who repeated the Bene Gesserit litany against fear into the mirror on a daily basis, a chrysalis who could not eat enough, or get out of bed most days, a chrysalis who dreamed, and dreamed, and dreamed as if making up for lost time on the way, a chrysalis who read and watched movies and frequented target and made tallies of the items necessary, a chrysalis who swam and chanted mantras into the ceiling of the gym pool, a chrysalis who was able to leave world-worry for focused task, and then endure a trial by fire of ancestor women in caves, the long lineage weaving and winding, sending smoke in lines through the ages humming and murmuring by fires, the ash lines being drawn out, predictions made, singing, making enchantments over the mouths of those venturing near to hear the cries of the mother, the first cries of the baby, say nothing that is not peaceful, encouraging, say nothing of fear, of potential of danger, do not call the darkness in. women with black smudged mouths and eyes keeping rattles occupied, drum skins tight and soft talking and in communication with that which is making its way though.
in spanish an expression for “giving birth” is “dar la luz,” meaning to give the light. bringing light through the tunnel, through the fire, through that which we have forgotten, or do not know, bringing the light.
my child, when he was born, was pearlescent, and quiet. he was tired, the journey was long and his ears were still whooshing with heartbeat and intestine and exhale. the midwife picked up his left pinky finger, splayed on my chest, and he opened one eye like a napping old man, scrunching up his face. with what emotion? raw exhaustion? disbelief?
it takes a long time, it takes a long time, it takes a long time.

Iquitos, Freaking Center of the Universe, 2018 ed.

Iquitos, Freaking Center of the Universe, 2018 ed.
I.

+swimming in the energy of Belen

+pink dolphins like twisting flags, traveling

+tossing friends into the air

+dancing and throwing limbs to the edges

+deeply surprising lunches and motorides

+witnessing transformation, mastery, awareness

+making a magical, medicinal space

+being held by the Amazon, swimming in space

+being healed by the hands of my community, creating a space for safety and direct contact

+listening and being delivered treasure

+receiving indigenous wisdom via community and plant medicines

II. Thank yous

Thank you
for the gifts
the gift of murga
the gift of seeing and being seen, of being heard
the gift of meeting, encountering, moving together like a cloud of birds, vapor,
molecules in a container, together, and flowing out to join with what is, with other, with water

Thank you
for the gift of your eyes
the gift of your heart—wide
thank you, thank you for your pouring
of intention and commitment to task
thank you for your sensitivity, your sensibility, your gentleness
your creativity, your flexibility

Thank you for bringing your magical self,
your mystical, mythical self,
your self as you walk in this land and other lands.
Thank you for bringing your awareness,
your care,
the extension of yourself in this and other worlds—your love,
your body full of medicine

Thank you for your kisses,
your hugs, your squeezes
around the middle,
your loving gazes

good morning, good evening, good night,
blessings, blessings on your heart, your eyes, your life

Thank you for being light bearers
thank you for being
thank you for thinking of water, and
river, and
grass, and
eyes, and
plants, and
hands, and
carrying,
carrying the gifts in
your hands,
your eyes,
your heart.

Thank you for your blessings,
Thank you for the blessings that you are.
Thank you for being kindness
Thank you for bringing joy.

xoc

Allegiance

Eastern Hellbender Cryptobranchus allegeniensis photo: Bronx Zoo

Listen to this writing on SoundCloud 

“To Whom and//or what do you give your allegiance?”
“How Does Such Allegiance impact your sense of self and thus your writing?”

Aham, my allegiance is to the trout, the stars, the folded cups of mountain laurel, pale pink centered.

“How is your writing a form of peyote?”
“How is your writing medicine to bring back to your community?”
“Take these 15 minutes of peyote time.”

Is my allegiance really to the shovel?
I bought such a beautiful one—German-made, expensive,
not from Home Depot.
I sparkled over its heaviness, its “heirloom” quality—
my five year old asked if it was his and I said “sometime.”
I hacked through 4—or, really 2 square feet of crabgrass and
cursed the roots, cried about deforestation of my place,
which isn’t really my place,
which doesn’t feel like my place,
without any living trees,
and hoped the cherry tomatoes would volunteer again,
and glared, sweaty, from my kitchen over a glass of cider.
This is work for machines.
And as I write this I think, “no.
I will take the shovel to the decorative parts of the land and
put in my peas and my radishes where the crabgrass
has not yet taken over.”
I will water the pear trees and make offerings to the
one great oak left—
I will tie it round with ribbons and flags
and people zooming by with confederate plates might wonder—
“what the fuck is that little girl doing, dressing up a tree?”
and will I have the bravery to make shrines?
Will I have the peace in my heart to walk with questions to the native peoples and request introductions to places.
I need an invitation, a calling card.

And the little, pointing, laughing, curious, drunken, activated little spirits say:
Stop with all that lamentation. You have had your introductions,
you have made the spaces and the fires in your heart and the
mountains see you, darling,
and the rivers love you,
dear one,
and the fishes and the dreams request your
full presence.
So turn your eyes TOWARD, instead of AWAY FROM.
Turn them into eggs, turn them into bellies, turn them into
honey and holes.
Listen with your spots, with your salamanders.
Speak with your stones and your hands and your bloody heart and your toothiness and your
radiant eyes. Speak little one, speak young one, speak.

Give your heart fully to the things you love
without fear that it will be removed from your body—
for it does not reside there anyway.
Remember the green, the smell, the water full of toes and
hellbenders.
I give my allegiance to the hellbenders and their
ugly, magnificent kin,
to their riffles and ruffles and
nose holes and hiding places,
I burn pyres for their deaths and for their lives.
I give my love and my honor and whatever I have—
my voice.

from a writing prompt at Asheville Wordfest: Geopoetics
session with Todd Levasseur: Writing Through Collapse

xoc

Asheville Wordfest

for breakfast

I weep for the magic of the world. And yet. And yet. Does it need my weeping?

Holding a small round of bread spread with white cheese and Imladris Farms raspberry jam and thinking of [slipping into] some far off homey fantasy perhaps populated by hobbits my still-physical body/eyes sense that the bread is steaming, though it is not hot in my hand and my dreaming-mind is providing the perception of molecular events…I hesitate to use the word “reality,” it has myriad personal connotations and while there are facts existing and we all share this world, etc, where our filters meet there is a glamour..[of…]

So my brain and mind are trying to make amends/make sense of this observed phenomenon and somewhere in there, in the next few [following] seconds I see the coffee cup, partly obscured and steaming in the background. And I am overcome by the desire to cry.

Though I do not believe I am a particularly special specimen, physically or chemically, my allowing of events to unfold in their own time gives me something I cannot find, could not find if I looked (and I am looking) [that i cannot find though i am looking] elsewhere. Somewhere other than my own mind. It’s not that it’s fascinating (here I am considering what my counselor has to say) but that time seems to slow down/alter in story. It is not My Own Story. It is a story of being in the world, and the curious moments that open up when the sensory input says something is happening [that is not happening] that is not corroborated by other senses. What then? That it is not “real”—well, in a sense, “who cares,” or “everyone already knows that.” But for a moment, I don’t know.

I am thinking of the parts of life the memory immediately erases, unable classify and place, and this small occurrence among them—a fucking piece of toast and some coffee steam—that would disappear before I leave the table, without this examination of the brief confusion I felt, between breaths. Most often they are in nature, colossal and unreal to the modern mind, unused to such patterns, unable to identify and store—a nearby breaching whale, huge beyond belief, a murmuration of birds (my, I really must have overdone it, or overnight without training become a mistress of object manipulation), the last moment of birth—my own body doing something beyond my imagining or processing though I have seen it on film and with [viewed happening in the body of] others. Those seconds disappear, replaced (if allowed) by wonder, by a sense of profound order of Earth.

And so here I am again, my hands covering my eyes and a lurch in my stomach. We need the magics imagined by women. We need the creation and the recovery. We need the rolling of the heavens, of the stars, of the…of the beauty swelling through. We need the memories, the singing, the trades. Do good deeds with your hands, I am tasked, I am asked, I am given. Do good deeds with your hands. My son sings seeds into punk music. Respect, love, honor, true love, true love woven into everything we do—the net must be created, or repaired, recreated for this era, the strands unravel, all hand-created objects must have care, must be made with care. Must be made with care.

Where is a place where we could go to figure this out, some fallow valley land, some mountain green nearby, some stream, some place, some heaven. Where could we sit on the ground and run in the sunshine and let our hair grow long and our minds grow wild. There were places like this and somehow the weavings were not enough—aha I am now thinking of old California and the idea of freedom The Idea of Freedom where there is already a system of unfreedom, of oppression, of struggle. I am thinking of the societies before ours, based in art, in making, in creation, in pulling the threads from the very atmosphere and I have seen it. I have seen the threads and sat in prayer and here I am with my eyes closed and my hands clasped and the streams and waves and waters of knowing and disbelief descending on me in ribbons of light. All parts of myself making amends, I stretch my arms and open my eyes and here this strange experience is happening to me in public, in an unassuming coffee shop, and I am thinking of my friend across town and perhaps she has been lost, separated from the web, and I don’t want to write about that.

Mine

I want to exchange words.

I want to absorb your vocabulary, I want your words in my mouth, I want to speak your language. I want to see recognition in your eyes. I want you to know, to understand, that it is you, a part of you, taken in, loved, and given back into the world (like breath, like breathing).

Communication, Relationships, Meaning—cornerstones of (my) life, beginnings of (a) path. They make my boat, and river, and body, and forest-mind or mind-as-forest. They make up my lake, my star, my mountain, anything I extend my hand toward or could even address as “mine.’”

“Mine” as not a possessiveness but an offering—fingers outstretched. “Mine” as “I am willing to believe you if you tell me you see me as myself.” “Mine” as “I can sink into this physical environment and know your eyes are everywhere, because I see them//because I see with them.” “Mine” as a feeling just had, fleeting, a feeling of between-two. A sensation of confirmation, ever-curious, never-guessing, something only briefly known, waiting to know again. “Mine” as “myself—in relation to—…”

The mountains claim me
“Mine.”
The sea claims me, the air claims me, the trees, the birds, the whales, the insects, the spiders claim me, wrap and prod me with their stick legs, their mossy fingers, wands,
the birches and the birch springs claim me,
the rushings and the whirrings and the whinings and the silences,
the soft paddings of feet and the intricate markings and the innate swivelings of ears
claim me
more than myself
“mine”
mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine.
Ours then.

Audio on soundcloud

 

Birthday Gift

 

 

Birthday writing, Sept 1 2017, Well Bred Cafe, Biltmore, Asheville NC, with Aile Shebar

I wrote to you, Aile, on the evening of my birthday to say, “look at the clouds!”

I was on the lookout for them, the memory of our write night last year with the shelf of clouds—impressive, ominous and awe-inspiring—this duality of non duality clash and uprising. Is something hiding there? or just
the feeling—TOO GREAT, must be something behind it—
GREAT, maybe something else AND
just the beauty, the great-ness the
simple combination of
super powers—air, water, wind, light. Something SO HUGE, so mystical
and ordinary.

My heart is calling me toward the color and the form— of
cloud, sunset, tree, leaf, stream. My eye is alerting me to
WATER. WATER. WATER.
Like a timer going off.

Many memories pop up in my brain like an alarm WAKEUP WAKEUP WAKE UP.

On my birthday, I sought the pool that is the color of my eyes.
Sitting, feet and hand in the water, praying,
asking,
Mother, what can I do, Mother,
what can I do for you—

singing.
Silently at first and then with voice,
(here I am starting to grip my pen closer to the nib)

singing. a breath. another breath.

Mother—
what can I do for you?
Please.

And like a wing beat the answer came into my body

you can return.
you can come home.

When I am singing
songs of longing,
longing for you,
you, you
I am waiting here always for
you
you
you—

like a drum my heart finally started beating
FOR.
ITSELF.
FOR.
MYSELF.
I have been waiting for
you you you and
you are right here.

I cried. I let the hot tears fill up and spill out. There was maybe one other person there, I don’t know if he was on the rocks and observing a part of this ritual, this silent, crying faerie in the sometimes sparkling water//A small woman crying with her feet in the pool, under a shelf of boulders.

I made the pool for myself, blocking the views other than birch and rhododendron and water and rock. With my feet I observed the small flows tucked back into the rocks. The undersides trembled a little bit.

I put my right hand in the water, to hear.

I cupped my left hand to my heart, to hear.

And I listened, until the question came,

and I listened, until an answer was there.

And then I listened to the heat in my tears and to the shush of the falls and to the color and the shapes in the rock sticking up in front of me and to the green, green leaves filling my vision.

Mother, I am here.

The Space Whale and Permeability to Dream

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The Space Whale, Black Rock City Nevada 2016

Photo from www.thespacewhale.com

I. Two weeks ago I dreamed of a permanently flooded city that had been re-designed to match with the water levels. Swim-up doors, resolute folks wet-suited for errands, makeshift boats picking up floating garbage. As I paused in a doorway and looked out to the bay I caught a huge movement. A baby humpback whale playing, slowly twisting in the water 20 yards away. I was filled with love and appreciation, and something larger. Shock, surprise, a tightness in my chest being so close to this huge animal, sadness, and knowledge that the mother was somewhere close, hugely, underwater. I pointed and exclaimed to others busily swimming, and they stopped to look. “The mother will be there too,” I said.

The baby swam close, closer, passing by us ten feet away. I could not even gasp. My body swelled, constricted with rising blood thrumming, panic and anticipation and wonder and there, underwater, almost touching us, almost crushing us against the building edifices, there was the mother. Colossal. Almost beyond belief, her movement, her body parting the water, designed for curving through, deep sea diving perfection, designed for singing, created by the water itself. If not for the dream, in waking life, I may have died right there, exploded into round particles of ecstasy, my brain and body ready to move on after this moment of contact with this embodiment of creation.

Holy moment. I am moved to crying, even recalling this experience. I could become, my whole body, the lump in my chest moving upward, a representation of tremendous quantities of water moving through. If I am listening, I can hear. If I can just keep my eyes open, I will see. The water, the trees, the living things of lands and waters call to us, singing. I am You, the mother whale sweeps through my dreaming, We are Become together. I want to say I cannot yet believe this. I want to deny, but we are at the very edge. We are osmotic. I am permeable to the dream. I am. We are.

II. Several days ago a friend shared this sculpture and my heart wanted to leave my body. Here they are. Our dreamers. Our friends, Our Relatives, Those who would warn and remind and inform us. We believe we cannot fathom, but we can. We can. Together.

Thank you to The Pier Group and Android Jones for creating this dream into physical space/time. It’s now.

For more information on The Space Whale project and mission, please visit www.thespacewhale.com.

With love,
Charlotte