Elemental I

You can’t force the visionless to see
they have to be ready
You might pry their shielding hands from their eyes
they will clench their eyelids shut
You peel open their scaly eyelids
they turn away and shudder
double over and cower
to block the intruding light.

You can’t make the uncherished feel loved
until they’re ready
Your hands may soothe beaded brow
lips dry teary cheeks
arms cocoon tender insecurities
honey eyes perceive, unjudging
yet they refuse
shake it off
like unwanted moisture
numb and unconscious
to their stubborn armor.

You can’t convince a skittish child of safety
until he’s ready
Contemptuous, anxious mother
impatient, hard-to-please father
the game is long over
the lonely, dutiful child still hides
defers himself
you seek, prefer his Self
draw near, yet he fades
into misbelieving shadows.

(c) S. Rinderle, 2015

Sirens

I navigate this ocean of men
in my rowboat
a cool pre-dawn mist
blankets the briny deep
blocks the post-storm horizon
I see them floating
scattered like flotsam
the wreckage of formerly noble vessels
mutinied captains
who once commanded crew in fluid synchrony
towards shining horizons
compass and looking glass in hand
now marooned in their watery purgatory
aimless
and dazed

Some lie on their broken masts
and moan
others push themselves across my purposed bow
like swollen carcasses
hoping to convert my pity
into their salvation
still others grasp for the sides of my boat
clawing at the boards
I bent, hammered and tarred myself
from my own girlish wrecks

They feel entitled
to my generosity and grit
they mistake my gender for service
hoping to taunt and insult me
into compliance
they envy my life
above the unrelenting waves
I pry their feckless fingers
from my oars
leaving them in my wake
along with my guilt

These men are b(u)oys
signaling shallow danger
redirecting my course
I heed them as warnings
left by women before me
How many women before me
have made passage here?
Will those who follow
be fooled
by the unworthy captains I set afloat?
Will they heed the markings
I left behind in those b(u)oys
deceiving eyes
cowardly lips
weak chins
and feeble hearts?

Will they hear my sister siren call
guiding them to abundant seas
like the echoes I hear now?

Long nights always pass
sunrise breaks inevitably
across my face
I close my eyes
deeply inhale warm breeze
infused with fruits and flora
I follow the gulls to shore
to find a new captain
one whose ship is well-caulked
decks swabbed
larders stocked
strong mast and eager sails
charting a courageous course
parallel to mine

I am grown now
salt-cured and wiser
This time I will be less hasty
keep my rowboat sea ready
listen for the siren calls
and search his skin meticulously
for the warnings other women
left behind.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

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

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

 

Island

I’ve counted miles by the islands
hours by the days
wasting decades
of wanting
and waiting

I loved you
because you know the names of trees
Let no one mistake your kindness for weakness
You are like bamboo
You nod often and smile only
when you mean it
You kissed my forehead when I was ugly
comforted my nightmares like children
Your eyes are the color of stars

Your words brimmed
with the unstudied mastery
of attention and time
Your hands gifted the kindness of noticing
You move with imperfect grace
through the world
in reasonable expectation

You are not a doormat but a door
When my love knocked, you opened
You were the hinges on a trapdoor
out of my liver
allowing my rage to drain away
reviving my trust

I loved you
because you had a man’s feet
and a woman’s ears
You apologized with your whole torso
Your gratitude came as easy and abundant
as breath
Your fingers went into me asking
not to steal

When you said you missed me
you meant all of you
You spoke in complete sentences
reweaving the hanging threads of our conversations
You always found the North Star

You were the permeable boundaries
around the cell of my soul
the soft padding on the walls of my life
bouncing off my sharp edges
cushioning my corners
Your chest was a shield

I loved you
because you only follow gentle rules
and rebel when convention squeezes too tightly
You worshipped sanity
and called even when you didn’t say you would

You loved me
in public pride
out loud and declared
like that November morning
you asked me to be yours

Since then
this mortal organ in my chest expanded
beyond the confines of my bones
a butterfly who crossed the ocean
finally on land
cavorting through the greens
slowly feasting on nectar

I’ve counted miles by the islands
hours by the days
You were worth the wasted decades
You loved me the best you could
but you were not the shore

You are an island

Sometimes
the best so far
just isn’t good enough
so I return to sea
I return
to waiting.

© S. Rinderle, 2014

Tapatío Teenager

Guadalajara
Sabes que te quiero mucho
Hemos tenido una relación larga
y fuerte

We’re celebrating our
21st anniversary
As soon as I deboard
your scent fills my mouth
I breathe you in —->
the damp clouds
sweat, indigenous exhaust
ancient ubiquitous death
life popping
green, yellow, indigo, green
new money

You are beautiful chaos
a child I adore
that was never mine
just borrowed
who’s grown up suddenly
without my permission

I’m aroused
sex wafts, lingers, warms
seeps in everywhere
your dark well eyes
curly decorated words
narrow hips
designer clothes, exclusive drink
exquisite meals
antro rhythms and beat
early memories triggered
by cues outside my awareness
folded into my Being
permeating my Soul
an old familiar script I pull out and dust off
a luscious set of roles
I slip into
comfortably
like you
into me

The puddles of daily rain
reflect the trees on fire
fierce orange flames
cupping the sky or
perky rounded blooms
purple as royalty
flaccid fuchsia petals
flutter and cascade
in the languid melting air
everything drips

Who do you think you are?
I liked you better without your
periférico, your casino neon
Swim & Fitness
Oakland School
Chili’s, Applebee’s, Johnny Rockets
Costco, Kripsy Kreme
and brand new stadium
¿Cuándo te hiciste más gringo que los gringos?
Maybe I’m old now.
But didn’t I teach you
to learn from our gringo mistakes?
I suppose every adolescent
thinks they’re the first
to invent the world

Pero tú sabes que te quiero mucho
Rodo y rodeo
por tus avenidas anchas
We roll and roundabout
and it’s a good thing
I’m a little crazy too
otherwise your drivers
desastres y desmadres
would have been my death
a long
time
ago

Instead
they remind me of a dream
they revive me into life
and back
into sleep.

© S. Rinderle, 2014