I’m a featured poet! Live reading this Thursday…

Hello Fans and Fam! It’s been 6 1/2 years since I was a featured poet (!!!) at a live reading, and the dry spell ends this Thursday evening!

I’ll be sharing the stage with the incredible Lauren Camp at Albuquerque’s long-running monthly Fixed and Free show this Thursday, March 25th at 7:00 p.m. Mountain (that’s 6:00 Pacific and 9:00 Eastern). Held monthly since 2008, Fixed and Free is a love child of poet, Renaissance man, and fellow seeker Billy Brown.

After some banter and a little open mic action at 6:30, I’m the first poet at the top of the hour. I’ll be performing a 15-to 20-minute set of some of my best, most popular and most recent work (in no particular order).

It will be good to be back in my poetry home, even just virtually, and see new friends and old!  Please stop by for my set, then stay around for Lauren’s work and the open mic. The only thing missing will be Billy’s legendary baking!

For more information, check out the Facebook event, or just log onto Zoom to join us live.

See you there!

I’ve Been Published (Yet Again)!

Greetings Poetry Fans and Poetry Fam!

I seem to be on a bit of a roll!  Following my inclusion in the incredible anthology We Don’t Break, We Burn: Poems of Resilience, Susana RinderleI’ve just been published again! This time, my work appears in the March issue of Deep Times: A Journal of The Word That Reconnects.

Deep Times is a biannual journal inspired by the work of environmental activist and scholar Joanna Macy. It “offers must-read articles, art, and poetry for people who have experienced the shift in perception invoked by the Work That Reconnects – of how life flows in relationships and systems, not isolated things, and how our selves are not separated from each other or Earth, but deeply interdependent.” As such, I’m deeply honored to have been included in this issue.

My published piece, “Shards” has been a favorite of many readers, especially recently. In it, I describe my archetypal loneliness and frustration trying to navigate a world in decline, deterioration and transformation. By hesitantly sharing this poem with others, I’ve learned I’m not alone. I’ve met more who are “truly weary of the brokenness” and who also seek a “path leading out of this shatter zone.”

Thank you for reading!

Terminal

This is the end.
No more arriving
No more striving
It’s irrelevant and futile.
This life now
was the destination.
It’s not a layover.
I will never be a rock star
Never birth a child
The man I truly crave
is not produced
by this culture.
I cannot make a living
doing what I truly love.
How sweet
these lowered expectations.
How precious
this humbled bar.
What welcome relief.
Once I accept
we all have a terminal illness
and today
is tomorrow’s memory
of better times
so much is forgiven
so little wasted
and good enough
becomes perfection.

© S. Rinderle, December 2020

I’ve Been Published (Again)!

Greetings Poetry Fans and Poetry Fam! Guess what?

It’s been five years sinwe don't break we burnce my work was last published in non-electronic form, so I’m pleased to announce that the much-anticipated anthology We Don’t Break, We Burn: Poems of Resilience is now out!

Edited by my uber-talented poetry brother Zachary Kluckman of Albuquerque, it features some of the best poets in the region, writing about a very timely topic — resilience. My piece, “Impact” was inspired by one of my sister Nancy Alder’s stunning art pieces, created after a serious car accident almost one year ago.

Please support Zack, MindWell Poetry and the artists by purchasing a copy for yourself or a loved one on Amazon. With only $13 you can vote “yes” to the necessary beauty and insight that only art can provide.

Thank you for reading!

Transient Amnesia

I have been away from God
for far too long.
I’ve been preoccupied
with the adamant hammering next door
and arrogant spreadsheets.
With putting every name
with its dates
and getting the colors right.

I’ve been worried
about the stickiness of my cells
the texture of my arteries
the numbers on my report
and the velocity of the grains
slipping downward
in the sand timer of my life.

These are the whiny problems
of the privileged elite
yet still they vex and torment.
Such is the amusing, noble struggle
of the human animal.
We suffer and thrive.

I’ve failed to notice
the droplets of sweat on my furrowed brow
that seeped out when I went down
for the mail,
failed to heed
the scent of rosemary
left behind on my aching hand
when I parted its piney leaves
to liberate a sneaky weed.

I’ve forgotten
the natural wave of my hair
still flows and rolls like the ocean
the sparkle of my olive-bronze eyes
still ignites faded heartfires
the curve of my soft waist
still delights my lover.

I almost forgot
that almost everything
is more infinitely vast
than almost everything
that plagues my puny mind.

I almost believed
that I was in charge
that I alone grasp the helm’s wheel
that the world
depends on me
that my life
is exclusively my own.

I almost forgot
because I was away from God
for far too long
but She
was always there
inviting me to cross
the threshold
and rejoin Her at the hearth
of Truth.

Once again
I remember reality.
Once again
I am home.

© S. Rinderle, 9/5/20

Priorities

I reached into the closet of my heart
pulled loneliness off the rack
deep in back
and tried it on for size.

Months had lapsed
since I’d last worn loneliness.
I’d forgotten how heavy it sags,
how it weighs me down
like a woolen sweater underwater.
How it erodes my nerves
like an unrelenting
inaudible hum.
How it colors all my doings with apathy
and stupor.

Loneliness makes me doubt.
It whispers:
What’s the point of anything
if you have no one
you can tell your story?

I’d forgotten
the most important condition
for survival
is some measure
of knowing.
I cannot wander aimlessly
like a wolf in barren winter
with no sign
of my next morsel.

The sky is too cloudy.
The darkness too quiet.
Hundreds of needly teeth
gnaw my insides.
Time suspends in silence
like the interior of a
white, unfurnished cube
where the walls, floor and ceiling
melt together.
Its sinister void
unnerves me.

Yet bravely I whisper:
Of what use is this pristine, empty space
if not to welcome the
unpredictable chaos
of another’s personhood?

I was willing to give up certainty
and perfection
for a kiss.

I guess
I still am.

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

Speak

Speak
though your throat quivers
your mouth dries up
and its moisture reappears
in your tears.
Speak.

Ask the questions
that invade your mind.
Voice the doubts
that berate you.
Offer them to your love
with open fingers
though your hands
tremble.

If he is good
he will not punish.
If he is true
he will answer.

The success of your union
doesn’t depend on your virtue.
You alone
cannot destroy it.
But
if you’re the only one
chopping wood
and carrying water,
leave.
You are a Woman,
neither servile beast
nor maid.

Speak.
Let him meet you halfway
in the space between.
Allow him to step
into his manhood.
For don’t you want to be met?
Don’t you want a man?

Or do you need control
or victimhood
more than
love?

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

Tides

Expand and contract
Come together
Move apart
These are
natural phases like breathing.
Neither air
nor tides
not orbits
nor human hearts
follow any other law.

Question:
Can my ecosystem
likewise endure
the ebb and flow?
Can my heart tolerate
the changing weather?

The city burned that weekend
as did the juvenile hope
of our illusion.
We fall in love with the fantasy
then one day the full person
shows up.

I cannot force change
even with my passion
and formidable will.
To try
is to inhibit
another’s sacred rhythm.
To try
is to inhabit
another’s sacred sovereignty.

There is a softer truth
underneath the hard one
I’m afraid to feel.
True, I allowed my fear
to overpower my wisdom.
True, I have good reasons.
True, perhaps I’m
the damaged one.

I gingerly embrace
my vulnerability
and gift myself perfection.
I can access divine connection
any time.
I sense it even now
as order comes to roost
inside my flesh
in the shape of calm.
It was not my doing –
it was grace
invited in by my humility.

Loving truly
is truly terrifying
for in the wake of rupture,
follow repair
or removal.

Question:
What can I do today
to invite safety
to come live
between my ribs?

No matter what happens next?

© S. Rinderle, June 2020

The Artist

I emerged from the tunnel
blinked into the sun
and saw you gathered ‘round
blinking back
uncomprehending.
I’d arrived
on an alien world.

I’ve never found a way into your eyes.
I showed you my heart
you scorned it.
I sang you a song
you shrugged.

I thought you were rejecting me
but it was my self-conscious ownership
you refused.
I couldn’t yet relax
into the curves
I wanted to be in charge
so I was always angry
I couldn’t trust the chaos
so I was always tense.

I tried to repair the world
for surely once all was fixed
I could flourish
all of us aliens and oddities
would be welcome
and nourished.

I was wrong.
The world cannot be repaired
and I am flawed perfection.
I need only step aside
let go
let flow
the truth and sublime
waiting to rush inside
with ease.

I don’t matter at all

Like electricity is everywhere
and only requires wires
spark and conduit.
Like the charge
that sets my nerves afire
as the curtains rise.
Like the surge that shoves my heart
straight out my ribs
when the beat and melody
are paired perfection.
Like the vibration that melts
my skin and time
when vocal chords
sync angelic.

Art
is a force
ever present
always abundant.

I am An Artist.
I don’t belong here
but that doesn’t matter
because I don’t matter.

I am just a channel
for the Divine.

© S. Rinderle, May 2020

The Predator

I wandered into a clearing
in the forest of my soul.
All day
I’d been journeying among the trees
and underbrush.
I thought I might camp there
for the night.

I heard a rustling
crackle of broken branches
and a Beast appeared
at the edge
where the light fell.

Its eyes pierced the shadows like torches
Its broad chest rippled
powerful jaws snapped
solid hooves stomped
and nostrils flared
with huffing breaths
that terrified
my heart.

My eyes widened
pulse quickened
body coiled
like a spring.

This time I paused
before I fled.

Is this Beast a true threat —
I questioned —
or an ally I’ve yet to befriend
whose honest fierceness
frightens
my insecurity?

Is it a mere ghost
of mistakes past?
Or a specter
of imaginary
outcomes?

Or is this Beast
me?

© S. Rinderle, May 2020

Image: Allan Martin