Passing gazes, Intimate questions with Strangers in the street. This is what it means to be from New Orleans. Walking by, visitor, where are you from? Are you a saint or a ghost? What do you hope to see here, What magic do you seek, What remedy will make you whole?
You ask to take my photo, A thin rectangle appears. I tell you to please keep it.
Aware of the fear of the present Moment that big cat stalks closer rustling Between sharp grasses. Somewhere between Black gowns in my closet a rush against Velvet and bleary eyed in bed I fumble For that flashlight in the hot night & my sweaty Fingers anxiously find the light. There is a low thunder from Tiger’s throat.
& my trembling hands swoop a beam of light like a hawk in large arcs through the darkness
Tunnel vision. Rays and Squids could possibly float In this dark expanse a feline predator lurks Waits for me. Where might she be?
Cool sheets cling to me as I rise, toes first and spin, flashlight marking the walls.
A parting in the leaves, Expose A pair of gleaming eyes No, but it’s a mirror! Oh, terror! It is me! Simply me All of me Ugly and sexy and soft, ready to murder to anoint you holy to call you baby
I adore you quietly You rest in slippers in my mind There is no shaking of the Walls of my heart No prisoners, no hostages You or I cherish you purely And yet I am hurt in the Sweetest way comfort and care Come along and take pain Into swollen hands
& Heartbreak spends the night With compassion and I fall in love with wonder At this grassy valley these Soft creatures, again And again that Embrace the pain Of heartbreak. The Numb of solitude to have A glimpse at a lover’s Messy hair Each morning to Hum a body to Collide with Something Solid Something Human
I fall in love with the fragile pain of longing
This is not a story I do not have to be okay A happily ever after is not demanded by some Celestial editor. Censoring feelings and desires Approving expressions of Pleasure Rejecting the colors of Pain
I meet a tendency to Chase wonder Attribute healing To grandness a possible Exclusion not allowing the
To try her hand to whisper smaller truths Looking for the drum circle Listening for the bonfire who’s Full moon is here? In the less Exciting the Sacred Mundane What does she have to say?
Maybe in Houston In the Suburbs a 14 year old Blonde Girl may also Look towards the moon she is The Same moon I might be dancing around A fire in New Orleans, nude and Kissed with emerald paint In skirts in moss we sweat we Circle hot air Carries over to you The Grasses under Your Feet may be Manicured Planted outside a Stucco House with Broth colored walls. I Couldn’t tell the difference between The homes in your Existence yet Maybe you could Maybe The difference is all the matter The Shades of Blonde You choose to adorn your hair could Make all the difference
Her picket fence May look dead to me Her mom’s SUV reflects My moon crisply washed Yet she is the same moon I worship and maybe as You gaze towards her You will choose to live another day Maybe you worship her in a way I will Never understand
Maybe someone will find tiny spells In Cracks in the garden wall Maybe someone will find salvation In a gardenia flower behind an Air Conditioner Unit
Those Mockingbirds are as revered as a roseated spoonbill Those Grasses as meaningful as the haunted cypress
In fact it is I that limits wonder I am not the appraiser of magic There is wonder all around me All the time.
I climb in trees fate is thin branches hold a girl’s weight toll of a bell sway in the turn of seasons cling to the metronome wonder just how far over these old houses can I see how far can this branch bend take me towards the earth and back into space again spring me in and out of reality life exists between sky and earth life within girl in leaves and roots in soil death exists.
Doesn’t know doesn’t care where she will rest
She Swings. Allows fate to toss dice. Lets the wind make up its own mind. Sails or no sails. Swings Climbs trees Scrapes on Forearms Thighs Thick bark in hands rough feel my skin
Just as I am
See me as the girl in trees
Now in trees equidistant she is the connection of heaven and earth
I place a crown upon my head goddess of in-between connection meeting point electricity communication alliance
Sacred heaven mother earth I hold you to my cherished chest
Sacred body Magdalena’s earthly presence carried in silks across continents shared in a hush, in a cry, in a joyous song in the net in leaves catch the sun hold tight my moon crown glints night and day water, dark star dust floats through the fabric
I am on earth.
Held in comfort my arms bear, rejoice, uplift, empower
I stand firm feet in soil Hair wild and tangled in the wind
Chelsea says she’s invited to the Stone Wolf Camp, says they told her to stop by if she heard drumming in the night, and I can come if I walk with her by her tent first to drop off her swimsuit and pick up her smores supplies to share at the Heathen Fire.
Terror is equal to a molten curiosity in me. A cloudy night, darker than you’d ever walk back in the city, dark as entering a great sea. A post ritual exhaustion thick in the air, but radiating and smoldering coals burn on a few more hours into the night. Chelsea, the lamb in the darkness, her small lamp spilling across faded grass as she leads us on.
I’d loved her as soon as I saw her, felt her rush and she is so much like Sola I can’t hide the magnetic pull. We’d met just the night before at Gryhpon’s Nest Camp in Springfield, Louisiana, not far from my home in New Orleans. My fourth stay at this private campground, with my Pagan community for the sacred holiday Imbolc which doubles as my birthday and I now have 30 years.
All the way to the back of the property she leads me, brave and focus ahead, says we need to look for the big tires: the true entrance to the camp. Bare feet find twigs and we navigate through partially trodden bushes and briars that have been gently parted over and over again and lull loosely back into place.
murmer of voices in the near distance.
Chelsea turns off her small light and slows her steps. A warm light illuminates her brassy blonde
hair and our bare feet are grateful to find a straw softer than I knew existed,
covering the large area in a thick blanket, freshly placed down as a soft and
holds a last weakened vine open like a curtain for me, as the low murmers fall
to a sudden halt and we are left with the songs of crickets and we know we are
being watched, they know we are here.
My fear grows to an almost unbearable pressure but it is too late to turn back, we see their figures, pale faces offset with dark hair and dark clothing. They circle tightly around a large cooking fire, wooden shields and bright flags hung from the makeshift walls. A maze of temporary buildings fill a large dip in the field that is Gryphon’s nest, they stay close to the Cypress Swamp that circles us. In a collective trance they gaze deeply into the fire, ritual plants wearing off and a welcome back to ordinary reality. Women in chairs with young men on the straw floor, leaning back into the women’s laps.
Animalistic terror but I cannot turn back and Chelsea is with me, she would not hesitate to step through the fires of hell for a lunch with Hades. Tired Viking men maintain a loose grip on their handmade axes, carved with protection sigils.
The Viking King stands to give us a booming welcome with an order to make ourselves at home. Warm, and fetching us his personally aged burnt honey mead, served in a bison horn and passed around. The men shuffle their seats to offer us the best spot by the fire, passing us apple wine and a pipe. The young Vikings pick up their conversation, lightly teasing and joking with each other. Chelsea insists I tell of the 2 dreams I had the night prior, as they are a popular tale circling Gryphon’s Nest this Imbolc holiday. I flush at the attention but speak as they watch me. Smiling, they poke fun at my eels and we laugh together.
When Chelsea’s marshmallows emerge, a man is commanded to fetch us roasting sticks, which turn out to more resemble harpoons, and the soft candy looks comically small, stabbed and perched above the flame. The king declares his boar brought out, and a large shank, hooves and hair and all is placed on the fire and he sits back, satisfied. He speaks with me for a long while as his wife dozes next to him and sweet young men shyly meet my eyes from across the heart of the fire.