Easier

It is easier to believe
you’re not worthy of being defended
than to believe you were worthy
but no one did.
The rage would be uncontrollable.

It is easier to believe
you’re not deserving of love
than to believe you were lovable
but no one could.
The grief would be unbearable.

It is easier to believe
you’re crazy
than to believe you’re one of the few sane
but no one realizes.
The horror would be unthinkable.

It is easier to believe
you’re wrong, a misfit
than to believe the world is wrong
but no one notices.
The fear would be insufferable.

It is easier to believe
you’re too flawed to belong
than to believe you’re valuable when included
but no one remembers to.
The loneliness would be intolerable.

It is easier to believe
you’re too difficult
than to believe you’re easy to understand
but no one is willing to.
The alienation would be unendurable.

Today I prefer to believe
it’s not them
it’s me
Today I prefer to believe
what’s easier
Otherwise how else
could I possibly
endure?

© S. Rinderle, March 2020

Pinocchio

I hate a liar
because he insults my intelligence
His lie says
I am smarter than you
You’re too stupid
to question a story with major plot holes
too stupid
to seek out easily available facts
and vet a story that makes no sense.
He says
you’re too stupid
to believe your own eyes.

I hate a liar
because he’s controlling
His lie says
my fantasy is more important
than your reality.
He says
I don’t trust you with truth
because that makes us equal
so I will limit your access to all the data.
He says
I will make your choices for you
I will create a reality for us
that is most convenient
for me.

I hate a liar
because he’s disrespectful
His lie says
my needs are more important than yours
my power more precious
than your sovereignty.
He says
I will write and direct our story
your version is irrelevant.

I hate a liar
because he’s a coward

His lie says
I am ruled by fear
I’m afraid of what you’d do
if you knew the truth
I’m afraid of you
I am more marionette than man
I am a lonely, self-hating
king of a castle built on stilts
in quicksand.

A liar says
he’s not a liar
He says
he was scared
says you made him lie
He says
it was just this one time.
He lies.

The liar always has reasons
but none of them
matter more than his abuse
of your confidence.
“Liar” is a label
that doesn’t require 100% compliance
Rapists don’t rape
every person they meet
Murderers don’t murder
every day
most only kill
just that one time.

Fragile wooden boy
that was one time too many
and now I see you.
I may linger
but I’m no longer deceived
I’m awake
and now I know
I’m real.

© S. Rinderle, February 2020

A Reminder to the Tender Ones

O tender one
remember who you are
The world nearly succeeded
making you forget
Yes, you are Warrior
But even the bloodied battle shero
drops her shield
at war’s end

Re-member your bones
You do not wear them
on the outside
like a shell
this hardness is only a shield
this armor is not your flesh
You are neither turtle
nor tender mollusk
you will not die
if you step outside
step out from behind

Yes, there is need for protection
and yes, for fighting
but remember the enemy’s tactics
They drop their guard
turn away their hateful eye
while you devour yourself
from the inside
their poison
is the parasite
within

O tender one
remember your original gifts
your brilliant birth
before the world taught you fear
Soften your gaze before the throngs
let go of your jaw in their midst
melt your bracing shoulders
relax your coiling center
soften
soften
Calm, vigilant
shield at hand
but softened

For what use is all the fighting if
when your eyelids drop
one last time
when the Earth turns to ash
at the end
there was nothing left
but angry shells
and fire?

© S. Rinderle, July 2017

Grief (the third movement)

To grieve is to
acknowledge the finality of loss
to face the possibility
it may not get better
you may never feel as content
as at home, as loved
as you did, there.

To grieve is to
be nostalgic for what was good;
for what never was
and never will be, again
for those missed opportunities
to speak or do that cannot
be recreated, for those
gone moments embossed on your mind
that you didn’t know
were so significant
at the time.

To grieve is to
peel back the scab of anger
reveal the weeping wound

To grieve is to
stop grasping
at hope
at salvage
at reconstitution
at straws
to give up and let go
let your lead heart pull you down
down like gravity
free falling into the abyss
into the bottomless deep

To grieve is to yield to helplessness
and that
is what I fear
most of all.

© S. Rinderle, 2016

Susana Rinderle poems

Grief (the second movement)

Ending things
before hatred sets in
requires releasing hope
those things will improve
which requires relinquishing
another piece of that relentless optimism
that makes you
you

I believe anything is possible
What stands in the way
is their will
Since I can’t control their choice
I control mine
and choose to stay
patient
longer than reasonable

I’m not a gambler
except in this
each losing hand proof
the big win hides in the next
I’ve lost years at this table
feasting on scraps
as years grow scarce
like bargaining chips
I finally fold

Better to end things
before hatred sets in
before too much is lost
like faith and stamina
sometimes optimism thrives better
at a distance
than under constant vigilance

Life is too brief
my wiser heart finally knows
I can bear the grief
as well as I stomach the rage
and grief
is quicker in passing.

© S. Rinderle, 2016

The Insignificant Wall

I know what you’re thinking
that I would slink away from the threat of your boot
like a centipede in hostile territory
or fade like crimson on vivid summer smocks
hung from country clotheslines
left too long
in the rays of your scrutiny

What were you thinking?
That I would melt like tallow
in the heat of your glare?
Shuffle away
defeated eyelids drooping south
shoulders bearing a cloak of shame
woven by your shouts?
That I would gather up my beloved toys
broken by your cruel, jealous hands
stagger home
and cry alone in my room?

I know what you’re thinking
That I am the villain
It’s necessary
You’re not ready to cede
your victimhood
to the understudy
you know this role too well
You dread mirrors
cling to tenuous competence and
empty purpose
I didn’t know your fear looms taller than mine
you walk on flimsy stilts
filling the leeway of my second chances
like sudden floodwaters rush
to mindlessly occupy idle space

I say
I know what you’re thinking
the truth is I have no idea

neither do you.

Still, you fooled me.
My optimism was too green
trust unripened by time
you crushed the papier maché box
under your feet
So much for pedestals.
I understand the attraction of minions
(I am a strong willed first born)
But I wouldn’t comply
with the role assigned
My crime was
I always saw you eye-to-eye
I wouldn’t follow
the script everyone else was reading from
I didn’t know it was a play
and we were onstage
I am neither tyrant nor peon.

It’s my fault
I lingered too long on this play-ground
trusted you with my toys
before knowing you
But I will not cede this corner of the sandbox
This is not your Kingdom
not the barren neighborhood of my childhood
I’ve been spending all my time
trying to make the wrong ki(n)ds like me
I will cradle my precious brokenness
maybe shed a tear
but then I’ll go
where I’m wanted

It was my mistake.
I imagined you The Great Wall
Once I lowered my pushing hands
relaxed my elbows
stepped back
widened my gaze
from the bricks blocking the bridge of my nose
I saw you were no fortress
only a lonely section
broad as my wingspan
high as my crown

The only decision now is
do I bust through
glide around
or fly over
insignificant you?

© S. Rinderle, 2015

The Change

I sleep generous hours
yet I am still exhausted
this is breakdown

I eat nourishingly well
yet I am still hungry
this is breakdown

I snarl and growl fiercely
yet I am still enraged
this is breakdown

I sob deeply
prone upon the earth
yet still I am not comforted
this is breakdown

I am going through The Change
what was no longer is
a shell I didn’t know I wear
is cracking
unknown parts of me are showing
tender, sore and frightened
I’m turning to mush

It’s not just me

The Earth also wearies and sobs
her People rage and hunger

Another afflicted youth
machine guns children at school
we change nothing
this is breakdown

Another politician
lies to our doubting eyes
we shrug
this is breakdown

Another uniform
murders a young Black son in our streets
we change the channel
this is breakdown

Another billionaire
robs us blind and deaf of trust and voice
we sigh in our armchairs
this is breakdown

We are going through The Change
what was no longer is
we are cracking
truthful parts of us are showing
we are not who we say we are
we’re turning to mush

I do not need more fire
I need water and spacious air
The world does not need more air
it needs floods and firestorms

Oh tell me how to have patience and faith,
how to set this immoral apathy
ablaze?

Oh tell me this strange affliction
this stifling restriction
is a chrysalis
and not a shroud

© S. Rinderle, 2/4/15
Published in Malpais Review, Summer 2015

Be Gentle

There is a time for Speaking
when words that can no longer lay silent
issue boldly from our eager throats

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Listening
for receiving messages from beyond
letting them lie, wordless

There is a time for Doing
for gathering thought into action
manifesting mindful purpose

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Being
for noticing who you are
when doing ceases

There is a time for Expansion
for venturing beyond former tamed bounds
into wild possibility

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Contraction
for neither muscle, nor breath nor tide
can live without pause and retreat

There is a time for Growth
when new ideas and beingness
spring forth to flowering

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Maintenance
to marinate in gratitude and
fortify for later expression

There is a time for Fighting
to exercise will and push through
stuck and stagnant scars

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Recovery
to heal our wounds
to marvel at courage
and feast bouteously

There is a time for Light
for bright seeing
illumination of night and
stretching upward

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Dark
for blindness and shadow
for faith
and downward seeping

There is a time for Going Out
into the world
with statement and exclamation

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Coming Into
ourselves
with commas and questions

There is a time for Pushing Out
of ourselves
out of the tired, spent ground

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Pulling In
gathering nutrients
from the dead and decaying

There is a time for Dreams and Waking
for envisionment and inspiration
future forward

Now is not the time

Now is a time for Memory and Sleep
to honor and learn what was
past in whatever shape

Dear One…

This does not mean that
if you are to speak, do, expand, grow
fight, light
go out, push out
dream and wake
— now —
that you are wrong

It means it will be harder
it may be too soon
leave you too empty

Allow your Body to fill
to remember seasons
eons of cycles
that let our Spirits breathe
Remember that Winter is for
cozying into huts
by warm hearths
and hot, hearty drink
simmering in story
while the dark fields lay fallow
and sleep with us
letting the frost sink in
deep

There is no time, you say!
The world thirsts for hope
aches for justice
craves r/evolution!

Yes

And the world also
thirsts for your renewal
aches for your rest
craves your wholeness

You are the World

Listen

Now is not the time for everything
No Time is
There is still time
Do not be fooled by the illusion of scarcity
Now is just
what is called for

Be gentle
Yet be fierce
in your gentleness.

© S.Rinderle, 2014
(Winter solstice 12/21/14 4:03 pm MST)
Published in Catching Calliope, Winter 2015.

Corajuda

The curandera 
laid hands on my belly and said
tú eres muy corajuda, ¿verdad?
I don’t think I was as startled
by her observation of the subtle anger
and hot-temperament
living in my organs as she kneaded them
as I was unnerved by my brain’s response
the brief headline flashing across my prefrontal cortex
shifted from “no, I’m not!”
to “how did she know?”
while my downstairs brain
just put up its dukes
and started to fight.

I’m not as interested
in writing about all the things
I’m angry about
or angry at
and how I have
excellent reasons and outstanding references
at this point giving them words
makes them hotter
expanding their presence in my ribcage
anchored in by hooks that stretch
their resilient mucoid bodies
from one rib to another
inside my hollow trunk
where somehow a heart
still manages a steady rhythm
like a volcano
that makes no sound
yet seethes and cooks
boiling silently
telling itself eruptions
are socially unacceptable
and alienating
allowing the molten toxins
to flow inside instead.

Once my brainstem is activated
it starts yelling over
the stories I tell myself
rational explanations
for why this unsettling
and unjust situation
feels so awful
or why it even exists
in the first place
bracing myself for the repeat
of some past trauma
or abandonment
feeling completely
out of control
unable to affect the outcome
feeling helpless about my own
reactions
and inability to handle
whatever.

So no
I’m actually not
helpless
I’m slowly awakening
from my coma of impotence
But yes
I guess
soy muy corajuda
I do store anger in my liver and bones
you see
I have excellent reasons
and outstanding references.

© S. Rinderle, 2013

On Anger

I’m angry
because my parents didn’t want me
like all children should be dreamed and coveted
I was the fruit of duty
conceived one spring evening
after church
I was born
on Sunday

I’m angry
because my mother didn’t love me
like all girls should be
adored and mentored
because her mother didn’t love her
the latest in a long matriline
of hollow faceless dolls
filling their withered daughters
with dry, empty breath

I’m angry
because I couldn’t run free
always the good one
trimmed of messy edges
neat and symmetrical
a patch in the family quilt
weakly sewn together
pulled in all directions

I’m angry
because no one could comfort me
and my self-soothing
dramatic pleas for help
sudden welts
closed-up bronchi
spasmed colon
and fits of self-mutilation
inspired rejection
instead of redemption

I’m angry
because my father didn’t
straighten his back for me didn’t
widen his shoulders for me
never taught me
to stand up protected
my boundaries too permeable
for safety or resilience
letting in all manner of
pestilence
virus, bacteria
free radicals
and human plague

I’m angry
because the world taught me
I’m a girl
I’m not allowed
beauty and brilliance
I’m not afforded
affection and respect
I’m second to any mediocrity in the room
if it has a penis
and a deep voice

I’m angry
because circumstance
was not the way it should have been
happenstance
rarely just or logical
so much imperfection and harm
easily avoided
or remedied

But as I reflect
relax my tightened triceps
accept
everything
was exactly
as it had to be
and I’m okay

I’m free

because
I’m no longer
angry.

© S.Rinderle, 2013