Gathering Storm

I sense a gathering storm
just beyond the horizon.

It is the sound of a million voices roaring
when the hands clamped over honest mouths
and oppressed throats
are clawed away.
It is the flavor of salty tears flowing
when unconscious blindfolds are torn off
and the frozen stiffness of terror
melts and moves again.
It is the color of crimson blood gushing
when the hands that clutch our intimate bleeding
cease their protective duty
and transform from shameful stoppers
into fighting fists, upraised.

This storm is a tidal wave of fire
one hundred miles high.
It is the momentum
of a seismic shift
birthed miles beneath the crust
gathering for hundreds of years.

I see the orange glow simmering
just beyond the dawn.
This is not the smolder of cooling embers
left in the pit after a night
of laughter and story.
It is the blaze of ignited torches
held aloft by growing legions
spanning east to west.

This storm is inevitable as sunrise.
As unavoidable as the earth’s turning.
For so much rage, blood and tears
cannot be stifled forever.

This tidal wave of flame,
this crescendo scream of justice and history
bodes inevitable destruction
as certain as havoc wrought
by a crumbling dam
heaving before the weight
of the surging river.

Yet after such great suffering
so long dismissed
such necessary reckoning
so long denied
this spasm of righteous retribution
threatens to burn more than the guilty.
This maelstrom of justice
violent pendulum swinging
threatens to torch more than the perpetrators.

As the rapists and torturers, liars and thieves, slavers and schemers
are pulled from their castles and beds
burned at the stake in the square
or banished to the punishing wilderness,
so are the suckling infants and young mothers,
orphaned youth and awkward fieldhands
turned to charcoal
in the blaze.

I wish
that we could save the goodness
and preserve hard-won wisdom
amidst the tempest.
I wish
that we might protect
the old growth trees
wild game
abundant meadows
and industrious mammals
from the inferno,
for blackened hillsides recover more quickly
when roots and seeds
are left to the soil.

But alas, I fear
too much time has passed
and the torches will not become embers
until all is ash
and ruin.

© S. Rinderle, June 2021

False idols

Disbelieve your gurus.
They are no more enlightened
than you.
The monsters haunting their closets
are the same
that torture your nights.
They are just as addicted to fear,
just as prone
to peddling tired platitudes
for weary coin,
just as recklessly controlling
and un(w)holy.

They will gesture towards justice with one hand
and grab your ass with the other.
Their lips will adorn peace and equity one minute
and spew fetid hatred the next.
They will perform calm and virtue
while secretly gnawing off their own hands
with vice.
They are just as afflicted as we
by the virus of decline
and narrow self-preservation—
their ability to name it
doesn’t make them
immune.

Disbelieve your gurus.
Placing faith and power
in an external god
—whether human or deity—
is an old-world custom
gasping its last.
Divinity and Wisdom
have always resided in you.
Stop questing for that
which was always waiting patiently
at home.
Stop searching and listen
within.

© S. Rinderle, June 2021

Image: https://www.hinduwebsite.com

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