9 Regrets

one
that I coaxed his childhood
to lay on mine
But more that I never made him
the wooden car
I promised in exchange

two
that I never returned the wooden hanger
a kindly neighbor lent
to scavenging teens on a mission
on condition of its return
I said I would
I proved a stereotype

three
that I never risked being slapped or ostracized
by talking back
speaking true to power
when it mattered
I was already bruised
and pariah

four
that I missed her stormy adolescence
preoccupied by my own trauma
of premature adulthood

five
that I didn’t lose my virtue
to my beloved at 18
I let years pass in yearning and hope
only to find him again
changed

six
that I didn’t turn around
go back down the ramp at LAX international
fleeing home
borne by honest tears and indignation
abandoning him in response
to his abandonment

seven
that I didn’t give Margarita
my silver hoops when she asked
it was so little to me
so much to her
she’s 35 now
or died years ago
when her people rose up

eight
that I didn’t leave sooner
give up more easily
say no more often

nine
that it’s taken this long
to know I was right
all along
and all my regrets
were pauses.

© S. Rinderle, 11/2015

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Sacred Heritage of X

Despite what you’ve heard
women run the world
and everyone knows it
except women

Men need women
children need women
women need women
The World has ventured too far
past the point of no return
we are the dying canaries
choking in the coal mine
the ragged spring honeybees
searching in vain
for nectar

Listen

We are your women
Our bodies bear witness
to the multiple failings
of The World
our thyroids fade
where our voices strain
our cells turn cannibal
devouring our Selves
we falter, exhausted
stumble on, pharmaceutically
we forget names
of loved ones
yet still expected to remember
all of his-story

Understand

Our granddaughters will re-member our bones
with pity and awe-full pride
just as we ponder our grandmothers
wondering – how did they do it?
Endure, push forward, maintain
stay sane, sometimes thrive
manage a smile
wear those uncomfortable
garments?

Wonder

What will our granddaughters say?
We are not machete, plow
or icebreaker
clearing a path
for others to follow
We are tangled forest, fertile earth
abundant ocean
standing firm
between path clearings
Our generation
holds back further erosion
toxification
desalination
We are neither stone nor rocket
We are catapult and launchpad
critical yet quiet
we hold steady
and wait

Recognize

We have tried to write the whole book
honor our deprived mothers and
illiterate grandmothers
make up for their lost time
now in our mid-summer
our change
our charge
is to get our paragraph right
prepare for irrelevance
we are but a bridge

Know

Our granddaughters will marvel at our bones
our stamina and courage
their hardier flesh and nimbler Spirits
will know
they couldn’t have made it without us
even if their minds forget
because
they will be too busy
running The World.

© S. Rinderle, 2015
~ For ka ~

Lonely Hollow

I know you, emptiness
I’ve tried to fill you with distraction
denial
and bad habit
still you appear
unexpected and uninvited
at the most inconvenient hour

You show up even when I’m strong
stomach well-fed, limbs well-rested
mind stimulated by discovery
heart nourished by laughter and confession
my friends are many and dear
I enjoy my solitude

You show up anyway
a hollow in my torso
that crowds my heart
an uneasy absence
a misplacing of something
I can’t remember
an unanchoring in my timeline
I float
unaware I’ve drifted

Loneliness

A most particular yearning
an easy smile to come home to
or greet in my doorway
that accepting gaze to relax, unravel in
that does not look away
reliable shoulders to share this yoke
of grinding minutia and terror of change
eager arms to welcome, contain
like yin and yang
curl up silent and safe
when all goes dark
that kind voice
to bring welcome surprise to my monologue
needed stability to my see-saw

Loneliness
I will leave a light on
invite you in
I will prop this hollow open
with stray beams and intention
lest I fill you with too many meditations
too much activity and resilience
I will hold your space
lest I allow you to collapse
under too-tight agendas
despair, or common apathy

I will allow you to be
so he has a place to enter
a space to fill
I will allow you to ache
so my stories don’t turn
into lies
I will allow your emptiness
so my gratitude has a place to reside
leaving room for abundance and joy
when he
finally arrives.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

the meaning of life

My life means nothing
to the world

White men still murder Black women
in church
even after sitting in their pews
Confederate flags still fly
at full mast
in the aftermath
Politicians still lie
with their black eyes
and gun powder lips
Dim-witted masses
still cheer wild and blind
for their Savior

They want me to think
my life means nothing
to the world
Their gnashing teeth savor
my beaten-down bones
and tired flesh
My fierce optimism and tender heart muscle
nourish the fiery acid
of their putrid bellies
like forsaken bodies
in concentration camp ovens

I will become poison in their bowels
refuse to break down
kick my way out the other end
intact and fortified
I will shake off their filth
like a muddied dog
The growing throng
of kind hands around me
will midwife my rebirth
the pushing out of this rotting membrane
of constriction and intimidation
I will continue to speak truth
now turned up louder
I have been forged in the crucible
of their patriarchal terror
their shortsighted self-serving
smallness

I am Bigger than that.
We are BIGGER than that.
They are a blip
on the radar screen of history
a burp
during a long banquet of progress
long view trajectory over time
of increasing freedom and equity
We are the future
we won’t live to see
it doesn’t matter because
#OurLivesMatter
to our children

I don’t know what happens when we die
no one does
those who profess this knowledge
accept a comforting deception
to stave off this uniquely human affliction
this recognition
we are mortal

Meanwhile
if my life means nothing to the world
I will make it profoundly meaningful
to me
It will be a radiant statement
that NO I was not complicit
in our self-annihilation and
YES I was afraid but

NO!

I was not silent
and I did not lie
still.

© S. Rinderle, 6/20/15

2 = = <3

Today
is another distance marker
on my freshest trail of grief
a date
full of 2s
but for me
only 1

I walk vaguely familiar streets
with our ghosts
echoes of warm torsos and laughter
I throw myself on a heap of our memories
piled cold and soiled like city snow
face down
sudden tears on a four month delay

Tell me
where are the men with the power of discernment
who recognize the difference
between working too hard
and not enough
at connection?
Where are the men with the power of intention
with clear, soft gaze
who believe in their own longing
creating their desired destiny
in love?

Tell me
where are the men with the power of wisdom
who understand the heart
as all sacred forces
moves in dark tides
like the moon?
Where are the men with the power of maturity
who are willing and able
to know their soul
and mine
to comparable depth?

They are scarce, you say
a wild species out of season

I say give me just 1

So tell me
where is the man with the power of courage
who comes equipped
with tenacity for the long trek
strength to match mine
and a ready smile
for optimistic adventure?

Where is the man with the power of commitment
who yearns to abandon himself
but never me —
who needs no convincing
that love is its own gilded reward
and I am unequalled
treasure.

Tell me
where is the man with the power of faith
undeterred by the unknown path
who can imagine far enough ahead
to triumph?
Where is the man with the power of adoration
who I need not ask
to proudly display my likeness
compose me a love song
look me in the eyes when he says I love you
and make others wait
because I am his number
1?

Tell me
Where is the man who would be my equal?

Tell me
where that powerful man dwells
and I will call him forth
I will be faithful
for the remainder of my days
gifting the fruits of my hands
the jewels of my heart
the light of my eyes
that our mutual abundance be multiplied
our mutual souls
ever more joyful
and tested

Tell him
I weary of dreaming
I stand ready to embark on the noble journey
that is our birthright

Tell him
I am still waiting
I am the chalice of his quest
Tell him
I will call him
Beloved.

© S. Rinderle, 2/22/15

Sueños Imposibles

I wish
I could see all the people I love
living in one city
at the same party
I wish
I could take the perfect parts
of all my lovers
stitch them together
and live together happily ever after
I wish
I’d had an easier childhood
with happy parents who delighted effortlessly
in my authentic existence
I wish
I’d learned years ago
to love my deepest most obvious flaws
and to savor my glorious talents
I wish
time would pause when I wanted
or fast forward on command
I wish
I knew when you were going to show up
so I could maintain
my patience
Life has granted me abundant wishes
like a powerful genie in a generous mood
all but these
and even so
I find myself contented
inside their impossible bondage

© S. Rinderle, 2012