Growing Up, Learning, Love, Poetry, Purpose

She Says To Me

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith - Pachamama
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

Desire, heartbreak. A headline shrieks the momentary drift back to bloodshot vigilance.

She gazes back to now and says

Hold those eyes open. Ears too. Skin. Throat. You will find the break in thorn and bramble, the place your body fits though.

Soon you will draw into your orbit the curious, the travelers. You will join and break away. Duets, ensembles, and of course, your solo act. Make art, make joy, make contact. Also fortitude, also cookfire and refuge. You will gather all of that and sometimes fold what you need into your pack and sometimes stash it under a loose fence post by a bend in the road. Notch the place in the map you’re drawing with your gait, carving into your bones.

You are not alone. You are not stupid or worthless or any of the other lies. Good creature, you belong to the world. All of you. Even your grief at what you’ve chosen to let go. Grief too at what you’ve worn strapped to your flank since before the recollection of choosing.

You will learn to lead. By following. By falling. By stepping into the broken place and splinting it into the shape you must take in order to carry on.

Your rage will rise to action. Your hope will lift it.

She says too

So many things I can’t explain. We don’t share the vocabulary yet. Or maybe ever. You still hear and understand enough, I know you do. I see what happens in your dreams after the surge falls back to the sea and all that’s left is to help someone – anyone – to dry ground.

You will love people with a capacity you don’t realize you possess.

In your hands right now hum the nuclei of what you will make, colonnades and earthquakes and still, silent rituals. Can you imagine yet the room where you’ll unfurl your heart? It’s already here, echoing out from the other side of your walls. The entrance brushes your sleeve, waiting for you to peel back that second lid, the film across your eyes you believe transparent until the awakening when you see so much more.

You will watch the ones who turn the world and begin to make sense of the mechanics of motion. You’ll put your shoulder to the work. You’ll uncork your fury to oil the gears. You will receive the next apprentice.

You will grow hard in places that have needed toughening. You will warm and smooth free the sclerosis that has held rigid the parts that need to breathe.

Sometimes you will slow to a crawl. Sometimes you will claim an edge of shadow and curl up there for through what’s left of the season. Maybe the next too.

You will learn your true name and also what pulses under it, under all names.

You will discern the signs of spirits and gods. You will at least consider the possibility.

It’s hard to believe now but you are supple still. You’ll find out just how much of the ocean you contain when you lay yourself across another human and that person suddenly grows fins.

You will find the voice you thought you’d lost. You will discover muscles you never knew you had and you’ll move them through dimensions you haven’t yet detected.

You will go a day without giving up.

You will scale Othrys without giving up.

The buzz of all the mistakes will recede to static. Nothing more than traffic noise behind a thick copse of trees. Limbs choked with viscum cast shade over that damp, low place you find always just behind you no matter how much distance you’ve covered. You will learn the names of those trees. You will plant at their roots the sedge and lily that can read this angle of the sun. That flourish despite brackish soil, or maybe because of it.

You will bury in that place the memory of their hands.

Even now, do you notice the way song accompanies light, the way you can differentiate cricket from sandpiper from wind riding blade and vein?

You will stagger as the clouds break. You will regain your balance. You will hold a baby made from someone else’s love while your own expands beyond what you can contain.

You will ink blueprints of the temple naos, the council chamber, the nerve center, the underground.

You will smolder. You will ignite. You will burn through prevarication and half-measures. You will leap the firewall.

Your tongue will tangle in your mouth and the words will leak from the corners of the page. You will get lost and you’ll panic.

Then you’ll hear me

(she says to me)

and you’ll notice the way the earth slants, the way the thin edge of the sun always cuts between beam and vine, no matter how dense, no matter whose hands cover your eyes. You’ll hear me

(she says to me)

already your ear picks up the gathering of voices. Climb towards that chorus, scale the switchback to the next ridge. Feel the surge and jangle of the ones you are meant to join. Taste the sweat that pools on your lips and know you’ve lived

through this.

Image: Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, La Pachamama (2015)

4 thoughts on “She Says To Me”

  1. by Anais Duplain
    On How to Win With or Without Trying

    Stand by a church tower and mimic its stance. To your friends explain that nothing is to be taken for granted, not even the fingernail clippings. Adjust your sex. Invent the new sounds for pleasure. It is advised to study the voices of people splitting. Return to the church and lie at its base. Keep in mind that the fingernails continue to grow. Clip them now. Use an envelope to store the excess and keep this in your pocket. Confess for the last time. Rehearse the pleasure sounds.

  2. Holy crap… why would you ask me?!?!?!? So powerfully whatever I might imagine I might be trying to do, by trying to live, and trying to consider passion and living as similar things… “make art. make joy. make contact.” I bow toward you. This is how our children come. This is how literature comes. This is how love arrives. This is how … at least some of us … survive. Thank you

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