Landing

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s nothing like freezing your ass off in the desert to have you considering your needs.  Nothing much like having your heart squeezed inside your chest to have you considering Desire.  In short, desperation breeds contemplation, and you’d do well to slow down and reflect.

I recently met a man that had experienced such loss and death in a fraction of his life that one could scarcely believe it true.  An ex-Marine who saw combat in several recent conflicts, a list he counted on deformed hands.  The tall finger of his left hand which marked Bosnia had no middle knuckle and could not bend, giving the proverbial “bird” to the establishment that refused to pay for reconstructive surgery because the wound was one of the few he did not earn in combat.  When I asked if he thought that ironic, he laughed brightly and sipped his Bud.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI met him on the road.  On the shoulder of Highway 14 just outside of Madrid, New Mexico.  He was conversing with an elderly Madroid, Sky, whom I had met earlier that day in town at Java Junction (yeah, I plug my people’s businesses!).  The white of their hair, the wisdom peeking from behind their stubble, and Sky’s excited beaconing compelled me to cross the blacktop into their company.  I was introduced to Crow, and stuck out my hand.  He clasped my forearm in a warrior greeting:  solid, affirming, Kindred.  Yes, he had me at “hello.”

My pack was on my shoulders, and he asked me if I was coming or going.  I figured both.  I had been hiking a hill nearby, burning time before my ride to the airport.  When I pointed to the ridge, he barely flicked his head and smiled, “Good job.”

He is half Crow Indian and half Russian, and had just finished a walkabout, landing in Madrid a little under a month ago.  He walked to Taos, New Mexico from Florida, carrying the ashes of his wife and daughter.  Tragedy saw his family taken from him and he was plunged into debt and despair.  After a dark time, he took up his wife and daughter’s ashes and walked them a roundabout route across the US.  He delivered them to his wife’s birthplace in Taos.  After laying them to rest he set out again on foot, this time carrying Life in the form of a dog he adopted named Scooby.  Crow said it was Scooby’s idea to head to Madrid.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

This man gave me a very long lecture on Humility in no poetic terms.  Please forgive me for paraphrasing.  I did not have the nerve to ask him for permission to record or take photos until the very end of our visit, so details are fuzzy.  He told me, “After my wife died and the government took everything, I could have watched the whole World burn and not cared.”  He touched on his descent into a very dark time.  Somehow, he decided to come out of it and make this Walk.  On his Journey he found “There are many that are much worse off than Crow,” and he learned Humility.  So much so that he considered having the word tattooed on himself.

I thought:  Worse off than Crow?  You have given Life and you have taken it many times over;  you have seen your friends killed or worse;  Life and Love have been ripped from your breast before dinner was cold on the table, and you have found many who are worse off than you?  You have been shot and stabbed several times, “blowed up,” left as a boy, then as a man in the wild to test your skill, strength, instinct, and courage, yet the ordeal of others brings you to your knees?

He talked and I listened, interrupting with only a few questions sporadically.  I will be going back and recording his stories.  Our brief acquaintance has already given me much to contemplate, and possibly saved me a couple of mistakes.  There are two ways to learn in life:  through Story and through Experience.  Stories are instructions.  You can avoid pitfalls or be led to fortune by heeding the tales of those that walked before you.  This is a key part of Awareness, a gift of our Ancestors, and the responsibility of Self Care.  I have told myself that I am done doing things the hard way. I want to learn from Crow:  to save my feet and use my wings, to Ascend, to reflect Sun and Sky against darkest plumage in bruise-colored beauty, to move between Worlds on Wind, to weave Life and Death into Medicine, to mock and call out the happenings in my Community and surrounding Environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrow also Counseled me on the other side of Walking:  Stopping.  I had asked what his next plan was and immediately felt silly.  Rest, of course.  He and Sky agreed they have been through enough and are ready to take it easy.  Crow said that one must know when to stop or run into the danger of walking forever.  The places begin to blur, and the body gets used to moving, but you have to listen for the time to stop and do it.  “There is a time when you must ask yourself, do you want rocks under your feet or grass?  I choose grass,” he said, leaning back on the couch in Sky’s modest cabin.

So Crow has landed in Madrid.  I am making camp in the area awhile, too. I will spend time with him this winter with a recording device.  He has given me permission to do so and says he wants his story told.  The prospect of this makes my mind buzz.  I told him I’m tight with Oprah and it’s a done deal.  He looked at me seriously.  I laughed and admitted I was bullshitting.  He said:  “Why would you say that?”

I thought and said, “I guess I mean Dream Crafting.”

We nodded at each other and a dear friend captured our Souls.*

IMG_0628

*Author’s Note:  It is known most Indians don’t like their pictures taken.  I told Crow I thought that was an old wives’ tale.  He assured me it was true and that he was sharing something very specific and special with me.  I Honor this now and share it with you.

One Love, Peace, and Light

DQ

Advertisements

a word from beyond the grave…

grave dog cropGreetings, Kindred.

i’ve been absent from my blog lately, and i do apologize.  you see, i’ve been Dying.

in all kinds of ways i’m hovering between Worlds, shedding my skin, and leaving several lives behind.   don’t worry, not this bit.  some of you met me at the beginning of this transition, many of you have watched from the gentle stirrings (excuse the pun).  the short of it is that i have dropped the farce and am walking boldly into the World as a full-time poet, writer, spoken word artist, vocalist, and musician.  i am leaving behind (temporarily) the beautiful, yet expensive, San Francisco Bay Areeeeeaaaa!! (where i’ve lived for 10 years), roller derby, my humble home, family friends, and loyal pup.  i will be driving my 20 year old sedan to a little artist community near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  i will continue to write, perform, compose, take photos and videos, travel more of the US, and share all of this with you. eventually, i will find my way to North India, Thailand, and other places yonder, maybe even catching a glimpse of the Dalai Lama.  but Asia is a ways off.

more immediately, i am in the process of publishing my first book with an audio companion called “Stirring.”  it is a collection of my poetry embellished by visual art and music from Kindred Spirits.  i would be most Grateful if you would help us fund it’s publication through the Indiegogo funder at this link.  this is a true labor of Love:  a rich tapestry of words, vision, and sound, awakening the senses and Spirit.  i have linked a video to a track from the audio-book below.

Dying is exhausting, so, regrettably, i must keep this post short.  the following link is to a video at my youtube channel, track 05 from the audio-book, “Stirring.”  it is comprised of three poems:  GODdess Vision I, Flow II, and Summoning.  words written and read by me, music by Eric James Chabot.  please enjoy and share!

Gratitude.

PEACE, LIGHT, and LOVE

Jada
aka
Dream Queen

how to enjoy Poetry

Mission Murals San Francisco CApoetry is a language.  as such, it has various dialects, cadence, slang, and ways about it no one can pin down.  the world of writing runs on specific rules, except when it comes to poetry.  however, there is one requirement it has in common with every other form of literary art or verbal expression:  it demands an active audience.

poetry tends to be a slow speak.  that is not to say it is always spoken with a casual cadence, but that it often takes time to process.  sometimes it is delivered with a slow tongue, few words, and peppered with pregnant pauses.  in modern culture we are strangers to the pause.  it would serve us well to reacquaint ourselves.

receiving poetry is like eating a rich meal:  to be rolled around on the palate, nuances sought out, considered, and savored.  poetry is sex when in love:  moments extend to hours for pleasure, pain be damned, wood for fire.  poetry is not to be rushed.  it could get tangled on the tongue, lost to the ears, baffle the mind.  poetry is made of words and words are meant to be understood.  it is the reason they exist:  to convey.

Mission Murals San Francisco CAwhen you have a chance to slow down, learn poetry.  the monks understand:  it is a step towards meditation.  a poem is lost when it is scanned with the hurried eye.  you will never get it if you read that way.  you have a poem with several breaths, reading it over at least three times.  this is how to begin to understand and enjoy poetry.  would you gulp a hot drink?  can you listen to a friend as you run past them?  and so you must pause for the poem.

when emotions are stirred, we sometimes move fast.  however, a poem is that friend, needing just a few moments to tell a deep story that would change you both.  with only a few lines one may portray a scene, event climax and transformation.  an entire play in three lines instead of three acts!  this is the concise language of poetry.  to affect an age with fifty words is the challenge of Lao Tzu.  empires were built and reigned long heeding his short lessons rooted in contemplation.

i learned the fast talk of the commercial world, but it was not natural to me.  i found myself prey to suggestions, demands, self-answering questions, sales pitches, and images that move too fast for me to digest, and therefore, make sound decisions.  Honesty is stripped away when the capacity for real Understanding is diminished.   i have always spoken poetry:  simple, sensitive, and honest.  as i begin to slow down and consider my place in the World, i return to my native tongue.  i will speak it to you, with the hope we will converse with carefully chosen words of Truth.

with Love,

DQ

the woman who bore a guerrilla

 

lifted from the interwebs google images, google pandaBlack and untamable
hot climate molded
a shape in fleshy oven
high calling
bell rings
gift served up
though not
to be enjoyed for long
this invested labor
took fast feet
into the urban jungle

what was spied there
rent smooth flesh
beat broken heart
inspired foaming mouth
to utterance

fangs bared at cage keepers
rejection of the treat
defiance of the rod
the move from hiding into action

and the human woman groans
What of her only child?
What of herself?
gasping above a tide of tears
flailing against a lonesome fate

on Smiling I

stolen from interwebs. copyright crystaltmc, 123rf.comfor safety reasons i don’t wear headphones when i bike. this also leaves space for me to be Aware of and Inspired by the Community of Human, Animal, and other Life exchanging Energy with and around me. exercise in general is good for the mind. we can let our thoughts relax and wander, leading to mediative moments and insight. i wrote the following poem during a bike ride to the store today after slipping into meditative consideration of what i learned from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Being Peace.”  in the first chapter he addresses the most difficult practice for me:  that of smiling.

Nhat Hanh says that when someone smiles at us we owe them thanks. they have brightened our moment with their personal ray of warmth. it is hard not to smile back, and once that is done we tend to feel good for a moment, sometimes the whole day. it is a gifted interaction.

there was a time when i would smile at people and if they continued to frown or look away, i would take it personally or feel sad for the person who is not feeling reciprocal. as i practice according to Nhat Hanh’s suggestion, i think of the smile as fitness for my Spirit and my face (frowning causes wrinkles, they say). i’ve noticed i feel better whether someone smiles back or not. like i’ve given both of us something special. maybe they will register it later, maybe not. the Energy is shared just the same. i am also practicing this for muscle memory to act in the face of difficulty. it is training to aid in approaching every situation as an opportunity to step up to the exhilarating challenge of developing a stronger character.
enjoy the lines.

ONE LOVE
DQ


on Smiling I

i practice smiling
sometimes it’s not easy
while bike ridingbuddhabike borrowed from interwebs. bodinsterba.com
i would grimace
tight cheeks
squinting eyes against
the wind in my face
the car too close
the pedestrian in the lane
the hills
and distance to go

Buddhists say
to practice smiling
it is Medicine
a Gift
i thought
“not much different muscles”
and at the wind in my face
the car too close
the pedestrian in the lane
the hills
and distance to go
i flex my mouth and my Heart
i feel the burn
it is part of the Exercise
on my way home
to share with you

Poets I

a Poet will tell you what’s what
in no uncertain terms
lay it all out
and name it
if you don’t like Poetry
you probably don’t like what you see
naked Life
even metaphors
describe a condition very plainly
Poets are Fear-less and Peace-full
that is the reason
for this RevivalImage

overdue process

Mission Art Murals, San Francisco CAuntil now, i have not written about my experience in my home town on September 11, 2001.  i have not been diagnosed, but i am starting to believe i suffer from a mild form of  post traumatic stress disorder because of the events that occurred on that day and in the months that followed.  i was born, raised, and at the time did reside in Washington, DC.

there was terrible destruction in New York City after two planes collided with the Twin Towers.  thousands of lives were lost in explosions and the buildings’ collapse over two days.  afterwards,  rescue workers, citizens, and children continue to suffer from chronic illness, infection, birth defects, and disease from the fodder.  it was gross, horrifying, tragic, and the mainstream media focused on the scene.

meanwhile, a flight crashed at Stonycreek, Pennsylvania due to chaos during it’s hijacking.  it has been reported that United Flight 93 was heading for the US Capitol building in downtown Washington, DC, but was downed during a presumed struggle between some of it’s 40 passengers and 4 hijackers 150 miles from it’s target. all forty-four people were killed.

almost simultaneously, a plane was crashing into the Pentagon, killing 125 people, only 4.5 miles from where my mother sat at her desk in a DC office building.  the site was ten miles from the front door of my apartment where i lay sleeping.  i worked the night shift at a local NPR affiliate radio station as a soundboard operator.  the phone ringing woke me up.  it was my girlfriend calling from her job in a nearby Maryland suburb.

“someone just crashed a plane into the State Building!” she exclaimed.

“what?” i was fuzzy from sleep.

she repeated it adding, “or, the Capitol or something! are you okay?”

both of those buildings were close to me, but closer to my mom’s office.  uncomfortably close.  3 miles close.

i don’t remember how the conversation ended. i don’t remember calling my mom.  i vaguely remember her telling me it wasn’t the State Building but the Pentagon.  i remember turning on the t.v. and seeing the horrific sight of the two planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the clip replaying over and over.  i remember pulling myself together enough to get into the car and drive towards the bookstore where my girlfriend worked.

one of the main thoroughfares, 16th street, was clogged with cars, all heading out of town and none were moving.   DC is among the top congested cities in the US when it comes to traffic.  i’ve never fully processed the events of that day.  i filed that eerie, silent, still traffic jam, where all the cars‘ windows were rolled up, as a weird mid-day commute.  i now realize i was in an evacuation though the media never called for one.  a large number of the drivers lived in the suburbs, but i also believe there were those like me seeking out Loved Ones, and people who just wanted out.  it took me 3 hours to go a distance that usually took about 20 minutes.

Mission Art Murals, San Francisco CA

twelve years later, i sit at my computer as individuals 2,800 miles away consider striking another hornet’s nest.  these past few days i have been a bit depressed and angry due to the US government’s desire to get involved in the Syrian conflict.  i am feeling very strong anti-war sentiments. i feel terrified and somewhat paranoid.  it is because my mother still lives 6 miles from the intended target of United Flight 93, 8 miles from “ground zero” at the Pentagon.

in the following days and for the next two years i lived there, the District’s sky was cut by the propellors of black helicopters.  men in jumpsuits with official looking utility belts and handguns patrolled the streets.  they had no badges, but they had an air of authority.  armed guards were stationed at all the federal sites downtown, including the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, where just one day before citizens were free to roam.  on many nights my friends and i would smoke on the stairs at the foot of Honest Abe, mourn with the vets at POW/MIA tables at the Vietnam War Memorial Wall, and chase ducks about the Reflecting Pool.  to this day, jersey walls surround the grounds where we used to stroll and marvel at history.  every year my grandmother insists on seeing the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse.  this past holiday season, as every other post-9-11, we navigated a labyrinth of barricades on foot to reach the  trees ambassadors from States of this country decorate and display in a celebration of Unity and a Peaceful Saviour.

tanks were posted along I-295, the freeway out of DC into the northern Virginia suburbs.  i had quite a few friends down there, and i remember driving on it by the Pentagon a  couple of weeks after the attacks.  i encountered a grotesque sight.  just past the newly installed military vehicles, there was a gaping hole in the side of the building.  i had never seen anything like it.  i had not been witness to a demolition event, i’d only seen buildings going up.  the structure seemed to me an eternal fixture until that moment.  brick and steel held up by the world’s largest superpower now lay open, ragged, and crumbling.  steel bracers and rebar stretched out like the limbs of barren trees.  i was devastated.  why was this not on the news every five minutes?  because, we could not compromise national security and expose the wound too brazenly.  also, the crash at the Towers imposed exponentially worse damage and lives lost, and therefore demanded more attention.

i am still afraid for my mother and grandmother.  i have begged them to move out of that place.  as things escalate in the East, i fear retaliation from terrorists.  the week after the September 11 attacks, anthrax was mailed to several government employees, politicians, media, and the like.  five people died and 17 became very ill.  again, i worked at a prominent public radio station and my mother worked for law offices in the downtown area.  we were both in a high risk group.  there were alerts and procedures for every piece of mail that came into our building for days.  more recently, in April 2011, a man pleaded guilty of gathering intelligence for a bomb plot on the Metro, DC’s public transit system.

i have no tidy way to wrap up this post.  conspiracy or no, terrorism is real.  i am fully terrorized.  my mothers sit on a bulls-eye.  i dare not compare them to their Syrian counterparts in this article, however, i will consider it in my meditation tonight.  i never want to live with them as long as they stay in Washington.  as they age and grow frail, yet still too stubborn to leave, this becomes a life altering consideration.

girl soldier heart

i am against war in all it’s forms.  i do not degrade the potential of HumanKind by declaring it our nature and inevitable.   i pray every day for Wisdom and Peace as i know others do as well.  i am working on Healing my Self so that i may help the Collective Heal.  part of that Healing is in telling my story.  know war is upon us even if some deny it or call it by another name.  as i share with you, i work through these events and soothe our hidden pain.  it has taken me 12 years to process this and i’m still not done.  i won’t feel better until my family is out of that city.  i hope to maintain access to the pain and fear i feel now.  it drives me toward my purpose.  i directly identify with the cyclical destructive nature of war.  may you never know such terror first hand, yet benefit from the Wisdom it reveals.  Peace is Work and a Practice we must Learn and Teach from this day forward, for all of our sakes, amen.

PEACE, LOVE, AND LIGHT

DQ