Audio! — Performance at Women of the World local poets showcase

Hi!  The Women of the World Poetry Slam 2015 is over.  There were hundreds of the best female and female-identified poets in the country in Albuquerque this week, and I feel honored to have been in workshops, audiences and on stage with some of them!  Not only that, Albuquerque’s own Mercedez Holtry tied for third place in the finals!

Saturday’s Local Poets Showcase was one of the event’s highlights for me.  Thanks to everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t make it, here is the audio of my performance!

Alchemy

I have become that older woman
the one who walks to work
in dress slacks and running shoes
who stops to photograph flowers
on the side of the road

I have become that older woman
whose perky backside and luxurious mane
still inspire whistles from the rear view
eagerness that shrinks from the front
sight of frosted temples
and tired eyes

I have become that older woman
who wears purple and sensible shoes
who craves sleep over sex
prefers deep conversations to nightclubs
chooses in over out
who says “no!” and
“I really meant it!” and
“I’m not going to work harder than you anymore!” and
“don’t you EVER do that again!”

I still care about what others think
but less so
I still refresh my lip gloss
and listen
I just hear my inner voice more clearly
see truth more swiftly
speak less cautiously

When did I become this older woman?

The day my bleeding began to falter?
The day my heart broke for the last time?
The day I noticed the women like me
in my favorite boutique
were the moms and not the customers?
Or when I realized life
was half over?

Now that my life is half over
I wonder
what will become of this older woman?

What is her new alchemy?
How will I convert this fading
into flame?

© S. Rinderle, 3/4/15

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

Expedition on Venus

Today is a good day for poetry
It’s 11:55 a.m.
my wilted pajamas still hang
on my inert frame
my narrow fingers wander and rip
tugging at the roots
of my insecurities
and stagnant fears
as if to pull out the plugs
in the dike-walls
bracing against the ocean
of my roiling emotion

My weeping spirit turns its feathered head
towards the chirping
outside my window
inclined to flit there
among the suet and shit
of natural life cycles
among kin
repulsed by the quiver and chirp
of black plastic technology
stoic aliens of metal and glass
machines
dictating in the other room

There is a graying panther sprawling there
who should be my soothing mantle
my muse-mirror
my medium
to wild soul
instead she vise-locks around my forearm
all twenty claws extracted
and bites me fierce
yowling

In an hour they’ll pry open my birth canal
with massive steel tongs
stab my puckered pink cervix with needles
coaxing her to yield and fall open
like a green flower blooming out of season
a foreign invasion of my fruit
a metallic alien expedition on Venus
reconnaissance mission
to scout and root out hostiles
in my dying womb
the intel is inconclusive
the whisper of Weapons of Mass Destruction
may be but rumor
yet the risk lingers

Do I go to war under false pretenses
invoking Mars
coerce diplomacy

or try listening differently
as Venus speaks?

The to-do list drip insignificants
suspended in a false sense of urgency

Today is a good day for poetry.

© S. Rinderle, 2014