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

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.

Take a deep breath of gratitude into your living lungs.

Take a deep breath of gratitude into your living lungs.

Frequently I am a guest in places of fear, trauma, captivity–hospitals, orphanages, jails, psychiatric wards, and some places where basic needs are not met, where “the issue of human rights” is not some horrible, sterilized bureaucratic catchphrase, but an ache of despair. My body gets hot with nausea and confusion, thinking of it from a distance.

40 girls died in a fire this week in their “safe house”/halfway house in Guatemala.

I was hoping to make some kind of coherent writing, but all of my senses came online, suddenly, buzzing.

The work that has chosen me grants me access to those in need. Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the snow, say a prayer with your actions, your choices, your thoughts, your hands.

I continue to travel, for now, that the deep pains in the world may receive even a moment’s respite.

xoC

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/10/519587231/35-girls-killed-after-fire-in-a-locked-room-in-guatemala-youth-shelter

Badger Encounter

14066240_10154222065565219_8890339796536433418_o

I have been making more poems recently and have filled almost a notebook per month this summer with a variety of writing while traveling through many states and into the Peruvian Amazon, deep heart of my hearts. I am looking forward to some time to sift and edit in the coming months, although my travel clowning season is picking up and is feels about to expand into every month of the year. My heart can only expand with this flow of beautiful work.

In addition to exploding my heart at the Festival de Belen (!), this August I have been working through the SHINE Expansive online course, offered by Jessica Chilton, and have delighted in making watercolor paintings of my experiences in the daily meditations. I have made 6 in the last 10 days, and it has been fun, relaxing, and a gift to myself (my birthday is coming up on the 30th!). Here’s a depiction of the first meeting of this badger within mySelf.

(I am also supplementing my paints with my grandmother Dorothea (Savage) Mitchell’s watercolor paints!)

For more information about Gesundheit! Institute clowning and signing up for a clown trip (!!!) visit: http://www.patchadams.org/global-outreach/

For more information about the SHINE Expansive (I’ve really enjoyed it) visit: http://www.sparkcreativewellness.com/shine-expansive/

C.Savage 8.27.16

Clown as Blessing

 

13669333_10154102273765219_2865742418207126611_ophoto by Atomic Adams, Guatemala City, shelter for community displaced by catastrophic landslide, November 2015

I must say, truly, clowning buoys my days and gives me courage and protection to rebel, love, play, smile, and be ridiculous as an act of peace and hope in the face of the horrors of the world we live in today. The clown gives me a buffer when I am crushed almost to death by the denial, greed, meanness, hatred, and fear in humans, and our wanton destruction of our home planet. We are making things unlivable for ourselves… and only we as individuals can begin to be accountable.

Clowning has given me many gifts– access to places and peoples I would have NEVER known or believed existed, moments or hours of play with people who may not have been looked in the eye or treated like a human in YEARS, it has given me singing–my own voice!, it has given me a deep well of inspiring friends around the globe to believe in and support and be supported by–a bigger community to love, it has given me permission to be odd/to be other…rather, to be MYSELF, because hey, I always have the cover of “well…I’m a clown,” it allows me to CHOOSE to try on the role of the lowest member of society–to be pointed at as the fool in any community– and to see what the view is like from down there.

Clowning has given me a global education in the various ways we treat the lowest members of our societies. I have been met with situations I will never begin to understand, have encountered the wounds of systemic oppression that leave me wanting to lie down and give up, and YET…what else is there to do? but show up and be myself, my individual, tender, in love, bizzarro little self, and witness and give my little heart to the places where people struggle every day to live.

Clowning gives me hope, and purpose on the path of good and love and joy and beauty and friendship and connection in the world, and gives me the tools to stand up and be brave and be a blessing in these desperate times. May I continue to be able to learn from this work and play, to take in the unbelievable and sad and lonely and suffering, may I take in the joy and love of communities and families in their resourcefulness and courageousness, and make of myself an offering of joy, of love, a spark, a light, an odd little possibility…may I be able to give and receive the blessing that I, as a clown, can be in this world.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my sister Lillie for sweeping me up into this way of being, together, to Patch Adams and John Glick for believing in me, to my family for supporting me, and to all of the clown family who believe that clowning is a powerful tool for social care.

C.Savage 7.12.16

Becoming A Mother

992952_10151676189375219_1653747330_nThree years ago, plus a week, I became a mother, and I continue to become a mother every day. It is not a switch that is flipped. For a long time before that I yearned for motherhood in a way that was beyond my understanding. Mother becomes a servant to life. My identity still reels against this. I frequently want to go my own way and realize I cannot, that there is no “my own way,” and really, the gift of this message is, there never was.

I love my son for himself, and for the hard lessons he teaches me, in nearly every hour of every day. We look almost EXACTLY the same, pictures from my childhood are practically identical to his. Even strangers comment on this. My stock response is, “Yea, I wind up chasing myself down a long hallway all day,” and we laugh, and my eyes get a little unfocused, because it IS funny, but it is also more true than someone outside of my life could begin to understand.

My midwife told me that each birth, with unique experiences each time, gives the mother things that she will need to raise that particular child. This (my only) birth showed me how NOT in control I am. Life gave me the gift of a Profound and Holy EGO FUCK. I actually received/hallucinated a “HA HA HAAAA” as Life Force barreled through me while I clung to the sides of a tub. There was no escape from the deep and painful knowledge that “I” am nothing but a vessel for Life. This birth dissolved many ideas I had about myself, and when I remember to remember, the message I got was not to waste time in doubt, of myself or the forces of nature, because if I could go through THAT, I could do anything. I tearfully, and with wonder, said goodbye to my self-critic. With my particular child, I simply don’t have time for that. I must light the way. I must make light to see my own reflection.

I continue to surf the confusion and not-knowing of living and mothering, I am fairly certain I always will, there is a lot to not-know. Though I frequently stumble, my greatest feat in life was being a participant in the birth of this child, this child, who, coming through me, gave me the gift of true respect for life, and for myself as a part of it. Thank you Theo, for allowing me to become your mother. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you dearly.

C. Savage 5.8.2016, Mother’s Day

Intimacy with Water

I ask the water to
hold me
I ask the water to
forgive me
I ask the water to
envelop me
I ask the water to
unfold me
I ask the water to
read me like a letter
I thank the water for letting me know myself
better.

I ask the water about
love.
I ask the water about giving life
life.
I ask the water to
hold me
I ask the water to
forgive me
I ask the water about
love.

C. Savage 9.15.15