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A Gift for Burning

I come by it naturally, with this Aries rising, the stampede of fire, of poised on the edge of my seat jump in headfirst dive swim lake of fire this alchemical brew. Sister Cathy said I have the gift of tears–an insatiable craving for water to wet my impermeable skin, to slather this fire-fueled fire-forged salamander with a love offering, a miracle of ocean, my salt-skin parches in all this heat.

The burning is anger, a hot red button, a thing of fury, a beast that claws its way up my esophagus, no matter how much water I guzzle down.

I have the gift of tears because it’s really sweat, kicked down the cliffs of my cheeks from an internal pressure, volcano innards, a rumblebeast that lurks dragon-like in my womb, that scaly guards its heaped-up gold. My rage is infinite and holy–a gully of flame-tipped trees that spread like oil their seed, their gift for burning.

Infinite fuel down here. The forest of my womanhood echoes with woodpeckers and is ripe for burning.

My woodpile all steamed up with real and true feeling, the more moist the more flame, I am water-submerged fire, that’s what the palm reader said–you can emit your own radiance in those watery caverns, you are a solar flare in the inky sky, beglittered constellations of poems and song. Fire is not wrong, your flame is not for shame.

Burn bright the emperor, burn bright leather door of my esophagus, fire pit sarcophagus rise, retroactive earthquake gear, gallon jugs of water stocked in the basement’s hollows.



Headphones cushion my face my wishful antennae into those planets that swirl beneath gods unreachable chin. Cushion. The bufferzone and noise canceller. My headphones are cracking, the padding’s been battered around in my bag because I am not to be without them. Giant things that strangle me if I rest them around my neck.

My headphones give the shape and weight to my worlds. I’ve begun to notice the chickenskin wrinkling of my hands and I am still sporting my giant DJ headphones. My knees creak in the morning, my back a cratered lava mass, a hot throb, my eyes loom large within the folds of my leaf-veins. I wear headphones: grocery store, library, bus, bus stops, Peet’s before my shift starts–thank Goddess that rigamarole is now extinct and good riddance–anytime I’m bothered by the noise I flip them out, like spy gear, the long fat cord gets elastic tangled in books, water bottle, whatever else is lurking in my bag. ┬áThe loop of the cord sometimes snags on bus seats and stretches rubberband-like before snapping back like the switches of saplings that pinked my childhood thighs.

Headphones: we block each other out, other out, other out of my face! My space! My head! Creating boundaries of sound barrier, the Puget Sound or barrier reef, who is the thief, who is the thief. We walk in silent shuffle, cancelling the need for headphones, programming our environments, our INDIVIDUAL environments, shutting one another out, this is sauerkraut, bitter cabbage, the rabbits twitch ears in the fields, the news is spreading.

I am afraid of the degree of disconnect. I have been growing in sensitivity: smells, sounds, textures. Saw my healer she said it’s fine to use headphones to shield but I feel guilty. Isn’t that blocking out the world, feeding the disconnect. Shaken by what I see parents and children with their own sets of headphones, their own cellphones, together but separate, everyone otherwise engaged, everyone separate together now pull apart the strands clinical, sterilize.

How can I talk on the bus and street when I’m barricading myself. The quarantine of machinery, gadgets get smaller and more compact while grander and farther-reaching and these things worry me.

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Poet and Tarot Reader, specializing in Water Cartography
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