Time Swirls says She who spins along with the Galaxy.
pigments pave the way
drawings made from clay
stories shape each day
deep in our bones they lay.
swirl back a spin or three
who do you see
smiles from the old midnight suns
a caressing song from your greater than greatest grandmother’s hands
bellowing clouds from that only stew pot
a journey days long towards the winter lands
trees miles wide as far as can be
little ones carried on backs
the big fish of prehistoric seas
simple love as the first and longest story
remember there is no line between then and now
here is there in the cosmic corral
Time is but a Swirl from the long spindle whorl
singing a song symphonies long
Thank you Miss She Who Gifts Us Everything
Singing the Spindle
Knitting our Bones
Gifting your Stories
Keeping us Well
Teaching us that Time is a Great Symphonic Swirl
Moments before what is sure to be known as the Great Santa Rosa Fire darkened the day in a frozen red ember sun and changed the sound/sight/city/soulscape of thousands of lives, I thought about machinery and man-made plumes garbed in grey. Between then and now burnt half pages of books land on my porch, masks masks and more masks made appearances, dogs were walked, people perched like lollipop licks around the gooy tootsie roll center of petrol pumps, cars crammed children and pets and papers out of town, facebook became real important, and those of us who stayed in town watched and waited, looked and leaned to the fate of the gods, prepared and helped as best as we could, sweated, breathed (badly), relaxed, then sweated, and continue to carry both in the boil of our blood as the fire-breathing dragon still scours the land.
I thought of and did draw a dragon on this I-think-it’s-all-clear-but-never-know-we’ll-see-as-the-wind-gods-might-decide-to-change-their-tune-and-the-dragon-his-dance morning, but he’s not what I feel. I feel a mighty strong beautiful flower… the seeds of a Fire Flower to be more accurate as I witness and feel and see the seeds of a community in kindness and camaraderie much more powerfully than the quick karate-chop changes that came upon us overnight. And so the Fire Flower sprouts seeds of humanity and beauty and compassion, and may we continue to do so in the renewing of life on these once Pomo lands that we call home.
A thousand and one blessings to all affected by the fire’s scorched breath, especially those with lost loves.
Inspired by" Hopper", my daily friend whose broken limb eventually fell off. I then watched as he gradually adjusted his body and life as a one legged bird able to fly, land, eat and defend himself from the mocking flock that pecked and perturbed. Hopper was my medicine and a great inspiration during that layer of extreme pain, illness, and disability, and continues to teach me with a smile about ability, adaptiblility, and beingness.
Tangled form free from thought,
most often the place where knots are dropped.
Simple straw, moldy mud, pink plastic, or laundry lint -
matrix knitted by the Choreography of Life towards a mighty mitt.
For some the hustle & bustle of city life.
For others solitude that cuts like a knife.
Anger, fear, disheveled despair,
love, grace, faint kindness still smelling of rose-water air.
Daily nests are what we are,
constantly transforming alongside the dance of stars.
No waiting needed as we receive
some holy egg, often shrouded in soon-to-be crackling mystery.
One day this egg was was a one-legged bird
who was gifted possibility no other way learned.
Another day the egg look like a ghost,
teaching how to feed life with the reluctancy of an ill-mannered host.
Many an egg land in our nests,
never-endingly received till the last of breath.
And so, if nests we are to be,
might as well get used to it and receive gratefully.
H. Shariatmadari January 1, 2016
Pregnant Peila was the common given name to my 8th grade english teacher by a majority of his students. Red and ruddy with quite a round face, arms white with raised goose-pimply pinks, legs as skinny as they come on a tall man, and a firm belly so extremely large and protruding he was considered quite a sight by all the mean-spirited-ready to pick, punch, and wail junior-high kids looking jab and stab. Mr. Peila had the worst classroom in the entire school: a dark dungy basement room with no air or sun or sanity. This man allowed his students to verbally abuse him day in and day out while attempting to teach a thing or two within pockets of actual class control. Due to his physique, his pants would often slip down his butt for a whiles before he noticed, but for a long whiles after we all noticed. He spoke with a bit of a stammer and some sort of lisp, there was always a bright spot of yellow-white froth on the left corner of his mouth, and to top off the list of all the reasons that he was slung so much slang, he was also a gay man.
My year in his classroom also included the company of the three guys most often suspended, referred, and popularized due to their bad-ass behavior. I think the rest of my class was also mostly male, and us couple of chicks stayed quiet in the back so as not to have our bras unsnapped as fast as lightning from a cloud - an amazing feat now that I think about it. They were cruel and rude and loud and crass, and Mr. Peila allowed it all while trying to teach class. He changed my life like no one else the day he came in disheveled in shorts, swollen and red, crying openly and loudly.
Mr. Peila’s grown son had ended his life the day prior by asphyxiation. Mr. Peila told us the whole story: of how the outdoor barbecue had been brought into the house, the cracks sealed, and the entire ordeal of dealing with ambulance, police, and the school who wanted to keep him away for the week. He bawled this story out with all his heart to all of us - all these kids that had been torturing him with abusive disrespect for most of the year. And when the door unexpectedly opened towards the end of our allotted time, there was a thin short mustached man looking a wreck introduced to us as his housemate. I could see that this man just wanted to hug Mr. Peila and hold him and let him birth a deeper bawl. But he didn’t. Not one of those bad-ass bad boys said a word - none of us did. We were all in shock. Mr. Peila showed and shared with us his soul in deep grieving and extreme vulnerability, and although they wanted to smirk and stir up some sillyness, it was just not possible.
And so I share with you a short three paragraphed glimpse of Mr. Peila, and tell you that this glimpse has stayed with me all my life since. All these years I think about how this man bared his soul to his abusers, that on that day he wanted to come to school and tell us and show us his despair. I think about vulnerability and honesty at all costs regardless of the company in our keep. I think about sharing the reality of life no matter what flavor is currently being licked or givin’ us a licking. Mr. Peila showed me human experience honest and unhidden for the first time, and gifted me a great so-far-thirty-year respect for this man that I previously pitied.
Life is Life - a thousand twinkling midnight sun’s worth of flavors expressed within every millisecond of every moment through us, our stories, experiences, interactions, and we have to live it respectfully, honestly, and often vulnerably in the company we choose (or is chosen for us!)
You never know when your courage of honest display will gift another and in thirty years come to play. Thank you Mr. Peila.
Iranians, Afghans,Tajiks, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Uygurs, Turks, Kurds of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, as well as certain tribal peoples of Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakistan, India, and Pakistan all celebrate this New Day/New Year/Spring Equinox with traditions and festivities passed down from the eldest of our elders. Every inch of the house and it's belongings are renewed and revitalized, colorful New Year clothes have been sewn or purchased, the ceremonial cloth/Sofreh has been spread and on it the Haft Sin alter set for this 13 day celebration of Life. Families gather around the ceremonial setting for prayers and blessings as we count down the movements of the Sun into Pisces traditionally called "the first point in Aries" (March 19 9:29 pm PST). Gifts are given and the traditional meal of herbed rice with fish is shared. Mouths are sweetened for the year ahead with almond, walnut, rosewater, and rice created delicacies: Oh the Sweetness of Life! Then ...
the visiting begins as these 13 days are filled with tea and the sweetening of our mouths from the Haft Sin cloths of all our relatives and friends. Schools, businesses, and government offices close during these celebrations as what could be more important than celebrating life and renewing relations as we are gifted another year. On the 13th day all happily picnic and party as we release the heart of the alter, Grass, back to the wilds in the flowing waters of rivers and streams, asking the Waters to return to us this gift of Life in the year to come.
Wishing you all much Health, Happiness, Love, Laughter, and Peace - Nowruz eh Shomah Mobarak!
I used to think that pain could not kill you. A student of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology when beginning booked explorations, I learned much about synapses, the chemical transmissions of information, their processes, and such in fleshed form. These studies continued while training as a doula (a birth attendent) and one of my mantras & true beliefs was that pain cannot kill you. Literally, pain cannot kill you. It can alter your personality and perceptions, it can induce states of consciousness and unconsciousness never meet before, it can wrench and contract your muscles, trigger fear, make you shiver and shake, bring on tears, or screams, it can deplete the fuck out of you, it can make you clench your breath, long for home, and wish someone was holding you.
Pain can make you mad at yourself, mad at life, lose the mountain of patience you were born with that you thought would last the rest of your life. It can make you sick, and make you sicker, weaker, and unable to tread the waters of life. It can make you rely on others to feed and cloth yourself, to lift a small glass of water to your lips, or allow you to release the waters that flow out of the body. It can stop any and all healing from taking place, keep away the dimensional dream worlds where the gods often visit, and bring a dark veil of unrelenting clouds to our eyes and ears and mouths and tongues. It can isolate, push us away from having others seeing us so twisted in spirit and form, as well as allowing others to move themselves away from seeing the horrors of what pain can actually do to a person. It can suck all your life-force, lick by lick till the raw center is reached. It can kill you. It can take away your mind, your body, your self– forever. And does.
Pain can also heal you, teach you about the depths of the soul and the body and of all things sacred. Pain can melt your ego, your mind, your form into the watery abyss of nothingness. Pain can make you crouch before the gods like nothing else, asking for nothing, nothing at all. Pain can gift the explosion of self into all the molecules of the universe, with no form floating among the all that has been and will be. Pain can allow you to see beyond sight and sing without sound. Pain can create a womb, a place where you are feed by the beyond, by the invisible mothers, by the infinity of Existence, by the placenta of the Holy. Pain is pain. Pain is a teacher. Pain a holy being. Pain can change us like no other force in Existence. Pain is medicine. Pain is the hardest friend to make and love and honor and sit and have a cup of tea with.
This word “pain” comes from the Latin root meaning punishment; to atone for sins. Fuckin’ A - what if pain is a humongous exacting kiss from the Universe that’s hugging us so hard so that we may be able to hug back – not in the human worldly functioning way, but in the way that the Gods need, that the Ribbons of Time need, that we can gift if we learn to understand, if we allow its’ castings into our new molted forms. What if all the clenched twist and turns are what allow us to shape-shift into the new beings the world needs. What if I allowed it, stop fighting back, stopped hoping for it to go away, stopped clawing at my former life and expressions in this world, stopped fearing who I am turning into, stopped being afraid to die, and surrendered to this excruciating gift of a new self without expectation or judgment. What if this is one of the biggest gifts of my life that I will forever be grateful for and laugh a million laughs at myself for later.
Not what if, but great gratitude that I suffered and was kept in the dark for only months not years, that Life grants me this knowledge and knowing and deep faith, so that I may do the work, change acceptingly, flow with the pain towards the pool of what will be, who I will be, and the how. Not easy. Necessary. The only way to stay alive. To die well towards rebirth. To honor all the way in all ways. June 5, 2015
On the Shelf