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

Elemental III

But
I’d turned down the volume for you
dimmed the light for you
spoke in hushed tones
plumped the pillows for you
waiting for you
to finally come home
You never did.

Now the mute button is off
pillows tossed
and I light up like firecrackers
4th of July
the day your rocky façade began to melt
fast and messy
like cheap birthday candle wax
when the wish takes too long

I have returned to fire and earth
Your weakness no longer my burden
your cowardice no longer my guilt
There is still love
but also consequence

I have reverted to stone
yet I am weeping water too.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Elemental II

My fishlove
you weren’t ready
you were the water
I drank, at first refreshed
for I was the rock
solid and sure
you would cover me
fill my cracks
linger in my dented depressions
make me the centerpiece
of your calming pool
while I grounded and contained
your evasive fluid

Instead, you were runoff
unchanneled
flowing away
gathering debris
pulled by gravity
downhill

So I became alchemy
transformed into water
to match your chaos
slacken your fleeing
with countercurrent
a river round your stoic rockface
to nourish and moisten
your stuck stones
to free movement

Instead you broke apart
when winter threatened

I guess
it’s not the fault of the water
for shattering the rock
when she follows the seasons
and freezes inside
nor the fault of the rock
for his ancient fissures
formed by heat and stress
over time.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

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

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

Skin

My skin is growing thin
the youthful firmness of my jaw
is melting downward
flesh now pools in concentric circles
around my knees and elbows
like the ripples in a pond
flee an intruding stone
a moonscape of meteorite scars
that were always there
now exposed by the erosion of time
on the continent of my face

My skin is growing thin
can no longer contain
its habitual yeses
does not stretch and give
like it did
during the spring of my blossoming
now midsummer
its lessened elasticity
no longer accommodates everyone’s demands
all shiny possibilities
every intriguing suitor
I am learning to say no.

My skin is growing thin
becoming righteous intolerance
and short fuse impatience
it can no longer abide
dogs barking next door
pundits barking their wares
blind and deaf fools
convulsing chaos around me
the common lack of sense and meaning
the apathy and obliviousness of those
outside my tribe

My skin is growing thin
so I retreat to safety
silk and bones to encase me
protective cocoon keep me
whole
in integrity
while I wait for my metamorphosis

You see
my skin is growing thin
but it’s
still

growing.

© S. Rinderle, 3/20/14

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.

December 11th

I do not know
when our paths first converged in the wood
I do remember our first meeting
on the eve of Aquarius moon
it was a gathering
a clearing
an assortment of noble creatures
You
fur, feather, scale, bone
leaf and bough
river, cloud, mountain
I
a tree
long since a sapling
44 rings at my trunk
yet my roots would deceive
short and shallow for lack of water
branches stronger than winters past
yet more frail than they could be

I was more Zeus than Hera back then
more Huitzilopochtli than Guadalupe Tonantzín
soul more old than wise
hands tired from so much grasping
soil too compacted for rain or seed
scale tipping
flesh heating
more fire
than water or air
more movement and phallus
than quiet or chalice

But it rained that spring
and all summer
Rain like Goddess
Rain like Life
flow like Spirit
mighty
purging debris and stuck places
from the river
of my soul
Rain
quickening this Winter earth child
finally
sinking down
seeping in
Water
plus yielding earth
equals adobe
bricks to build a new home
new life
with many rooms

The Rain has been good to my roots
they reach down to the core
Wisdom Strength Truth
they reach up to Source and Intuition
nourish my thickening trunk
into six branches
Awareness of thoughts
of body and feelings
extreme Presence
Clarity
Brilliant Possibilities
Peace of fulfillment

I hold a strong, safe
fully accepting space
I fiercely stand for true, best selves
and possibilities
to emerge

i am a tree woman. tree woman
I am a Tree Woman!
I AM A TREE WOMAN!!!

YOU
my fellowship
fellow creatures and travelers
my Teachers and Mentors
You
fur, feather, scale, bone
leaf and bough
river, cloud, mountain
Now
with a new song
thickened pelt
lengthened tooth and beak
broadened breastbone
vast expanding reach
and outstretched wing

We go now
Sagittarius wanes
we gather again in the clearing
another floor up on the spiral staircase
we are the burgeoning tribe
the burgeoning wise
the wild
today is Thanksgiving
Easter
and New Year

I do not know where our paths lead
now that they diverge in the wood
But I do remember our first meeting
and as gratitude surges in my wooden ribcage
I will not forget the last.

© S. Rinderle, 2014
Dedicated to my fellow graduates of the CFT DL03 cohort (yesterday)
and La Virgen de Guadalupe/Tonantzín (today).